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Archive for May, 2009
Unfortunately, I’ll be out of commission most of it.
President Obama has chosen Judge Sonia Sotomayor as his Supreme Court nominee to replace the retiring David Souter. She’s been on the bench since 1992, and the White House notes that she has more judicial experience than any currently serving Justice had at the time of nomination. I’m sure that won’t stop some right-wingers from claiming she’s an affirmative action nominee.
The California Supreme Court is expected to issue its ruling on Proposition 8 around noon Central time today. Deeky at Shakesville notes that the Court is likely to uphold the marriage ban but confirm the legality of the marriages that took place before it passed, and he says the opinion will be posted here.
I’ll be checking in later. Have at it in comments.
That may very well be the answer the city of Birmingham receives from the Justice Department, which will throw a giant wrench into the works for this summer’s elections. Or this fall’s elections. Who knows?
The City Council three months ago voted to ask the Department of Justice for permission to move up the election dates to comply with the federal Help America Vote Act. However, a request was not sent to Washington until May 7.
Nothing like a little procrastination…
City Clerk Paula Smith recently sent a memo to the council listing two election schedules – one if the Justice Department approves the new dates and another if approval is not granted.
Smith referred questions to City Attorney Lawrence Cooper, who declined to explain why his office waited to make the official request.
“My only response is that we have not received any response from Justice at this time,” Cooper said Wednesday.
Gee, I can’t imagine why they haven’t received a response to a request that they didn’t even mail till two weeks ago. The Justice Department has 60 days to respond. Let’s hope Mr. Cooper gets really lucky; otherwise, it could easily be mid-July before the city has a firm election date.
The request also include changing polling places to those used in statewide elections, a proposal that makes a great deal of sense and cuts down on the number of confused voters turning up at their usual location only to be told they’re in the wrong place. It sounds like a no-brainer, but it means more to review than a simple date change. All the more reason for early submission.
Valerie Abbott cuts to the chase:
“For them having fooled around at least two months – all this time everyone on the council was assuming we were waiting for the Justice Department and we’d be hearing from them any day now,” said Councilwoman Valerie Abbott. “It all seems pretty inept to me. But who am I? I’m just a member of the council who doesn’t know when her election date will be.”
Sorry for the blog silence. Work has been crazy this week, which is a good thing but really cuts down on writing time. If there’s a story you want to discuss, feel free to use the comments section. JeffCo’s impending implosion, Richard Scrushy’s upcoming testimony in his civil trial, heck, even the weather — sunny now but rain by the weekend. (Meanwhile my tomato and pepper plants still sit in their pots, waiting to go in the ground.)
What’s on your mind?
Head over and give him some love. And tell him to quit whining about turning 26.
Happy Birthday, dear nephew — we love you!
I’m really excited, and surprised, by this. “Dollhouse” is dark, thought-provoking, and frequently downright disturbing. And, in the course of a 12-episode first season, it didn’t hit its stride till halfway through. It was buried on Friday nights, paired first with “Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles”, a show I liked a lot but one that suffered a sophomore slump mid-season, and then with the already-cancelled “Prison Break”.
But, as Maureen Ryan points out, the TV world has changed.
…and the news story was from last year. Boo! Sorry for the confusion, and thanks to Joe at Bessemer Opinions for letting me know.
Jesse Ventura on Dick Cheney:
[Water-boarding] is torture… It’s drowning. It gives you the complete sensation that you are drowning. It is no good, because you — I’ll put it to you this way, you give me a water board, Dick Cheney and one hour, and I’ll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.
He goes on to call “five deferments” Cheney a coward for avoiding service in the Vietnam War. He also says the US should legalize marijuana and calls Norm Coleman a hypocrite for hanging on to a lost cause in the Minnesota Senate race. When Jesse Ventura is the voice of reason, I know the world is crazy.
h/t, Dear Husband
While walking Prissy this afternoon, I spotted numerous fire ant beds along the side of the road. Those little suckers are everywhere! South American fire ants entered the United States through the Port of Mobile in the early 20th century. When I was growing up in central Georgia, we didn’t have fire ants, but we had to watch out for them when we visited my grandmother is south Alabama. Now they’re all over the Southeast.
Anyway, I wondered aloud (yes, I talk to the dog) how long it would take for fire ants to come up against a natural enemy. And it turns out they have, big time — Texas researchers have introduced a fly species from the ants’ home in South America that turns the ants into ZOMBIES!
Ironically, the ants don’t eat brains; their brains are eaten by the flies.
The flies “dive-bomb” the fire ants and lay eggs. The maggot that hatches inside the ant eats away at the brain, and the ant starts exhibiting what some might say is zombie-like behavior.
“At some point, the ant gets up and starts wandering,” said Rob Plowes, a research associate at UT.
The maggot eventually migrates into the ant’s head, but Plowes said he “wouldn’t use the word ‘control’ to describe what is happening. There is no brain left in the ant, and the ant just starts wandering aimlessly. This wandering stage goes on for about two weeks.”
About a month after the egg is laid, the ant’s head falls off and the fly emerges ready to attack any foraging ants away from the mound and lay eggs.
Plowes said fire ants are “very aware” of these tiny flies, and it only takes a few to cause the ants to modify their behavior.
“Just one or two flies can control movement or above-ground activity,” Plowes said. “It’s kind of like a medieval activity where you’re putting a castle under siege.”
Okay, I hate fire ants, but I am now officially grossed out. We’d better hope those flies don’t develop a taste for humans.