I sang with the Valdosta Symphony Chorus in performances on Saturday and Sunday of "King David" by Arthur Honegger. The scowl on my face must be an accident as a result of taking my own picture. I am actually quite happy as well as busy down here. I have not decided about the beard yet, although it does seem to have the right effect on my students.
Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now, was arrested in Saint Paul today covering street protests on the first day of the Republican National Convention. Audio of protesters demanding her release and an explanation by Anjali Kamat can be streamed here.
Generic Peace Symbol Turns 50 I went to 7th grade in a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee. At the public high school I attended, I had a few friends who continued with me from my elementary school. However, it was a stressful period in my life in which one of my few continuing activities and stable peer groups was the Boy Scouts.
I had an extremely conservative and overtly religious principal who was also my teacher for social studies. He would routinely punctuate his lectures with "Amen, brother Men!" One day he went on a tirade against the peace movement and was characterizing the peace symbol as an image of a "witches' foot" with roots in worship of the devil. Somehow, I had heard the real story of the peace symbol's origins. I raised my hand and, when called upon, stood up out of my seat and related what I knew of semaphore signaling from earning my First Class rank in the Boy Scouts. I explained how the letters "N" and "D" were made with the semaphore flags and how that stood for nuclear disarmament. I do not actually recall my teacher's reaction. Perhaps the FBI has a report somewhere that he filed in the following days.
Today the peace symbol is one year older. One year older than that scared little boy scout.
Obstruction of Justice Obstruction of justice is a broad concept that extends to any effort to prevent the execution of lawful process or the administration of justice in either a criminal or civil matter. Obstructive conduct may include the destruction of evidence, the intimidation of potential witnesses or retaliation against actual witnesses, the preparation of false testimony or other evidence, or the interference with jurors or other court personnel.
New Hominid Genus Found in Europe! ! ! With a hat tip to Greg Laden, I am very excited to relate that scientists working on a remote island off the coast of Ireland have unearthed the first significant hominid in Europe in decades. In sediments believed to have been preserved by unusual glacial processes from prior to the last two ice ages, perhaps as much as 350,000 years in age, paleontologists originally searching for plant fossils of the genus Trifolium (thought to have evolved in this area) started to find something they did not expect. Distributed among the gravelly sediments in which they were excavating were nodules of both iron ore and flecks of gold, which they certainly did not expect. In an effort to understand this unusual geological occurrence, they opened up a much larger area, only to discover an unusual vertical, almost preternaturally round shaft filled with the same gravelly sediments they had been excavating but with a much denser quantity of the ores.
“I remember that we got very excited,” recalls excavator Albert Sharpe. “We were out looking for plant fossils, and we were finding potentially exploitable metallic ores. I remember quipping to my daughter and faithful assistant, Janet [Munro] that this could have been the beginning of a new era for the impoverished people of Blarney Island.”
Unfortunately, Sharpe and his team were forced to stop excavating by a period of thunder storms and other unusual weather common in this remote part of the North Atlantic. Sharpe remembers: “The weather was so bad, all we could do was hang out in our accommodations and sample the local whiskey. Which is quite good, by the way.”
“After several days of stormy weather, we woke one morning to the sight of puffy clouds against dark blue skies, and the clearest, most beautiful rainbow I’ve seen in my life,” remembers team member Munro. “We went out to the site, and found that there had been quite a bit of erosion. The area where we had found the unusual concentration of ores and the vertical feature was now a huge gaping hole in the ground. It took us all day to obtain the ropes and other equipment we needed for further exploration. It was almost nightfall when we lowered my dad, Dr. Sharpe, down into what looked to me like a very mysterious abyss.” ( More news from Blarney Island hereCollapse )