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Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2011, 03:57 AM
Number of posts: 14,878

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White guy, computer programmer.

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China destroys more than 660 kilograms of smuggled ivory

Source: AP

BEIJING -- Chinese authorities Friday destroyed 662 kilograms of ivory that was seized after being smuggled into the country, as part of a crackdown on the illegal trade.

In front of reporters in a suburban section of Beijing, wildlife officials placed raw tusks and ornate carvings onto a conveyor belt that fed the ivory into a machine that crushed the pieces into tiny pebbles.

China bans smuggling of ivory, but in 2008 secured an exemption to a global ivory trade moratorium to import legal stockpiles for traditional carvings that can be sold domestically. Conservationists argue that this legal trade has prompted a resurgent demand for ivory while providing a convenient cover for a thriving black market. They have demanded China impose a complete ban on imports and domestic trade.

China announced a temporary, one-year ban on all imports in February, saying that would allow authorities to gauge the effect on poaching.

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/nation-world/world/article22584483.html

I could’ve been a Duggar wife: I grew up in the same church, and the abuse scandal doesn’t shock me

Note: The author of this essay is a fellow Southwestern University alum, Brooke Arnold.

Unlike most of the writers covering the Duggar sex scandal, I was raised in Advanced Training Institute (ATI), the fundamentalist Christian organization with which the family is affiliated. Joshua Duggar’s confession of sexually molesting young girls in his family’s home when he was a teenager didn’t surprise me, nor should it surprise anyone with any intimate knowledge about this organization, because ATI’s theological beliefs and practices cultivate an environment where women and children are more vulnerable to rape and sexual abuse. Ironically, the same theological beliefs and practices at the heart of this scandal are the same beliefs that created the Duggars as a media phenomenon, and drew viewers and fans to their TLC show “19 Kids and Counting.”

Non-mainstream religious sects have certainly been enjoying a cultural moment on television: “The Following,” “Sister Wives,” “Breaking Amish.” Netflix’s dark comedy “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” explores the media hype around religious cult survivors in satirical detail. For me, though, that show should have come with a trigger warning, because in many ways, I am a real Kimmy Schmidt — a woman who spent her adolescence trapped inside a metaphorical bunker, and then was thrust into a world that she had never been prepared to be a part of.

The Duggars didn’t emerge from a subterranean bunker, though. They’ve been on TV promoting the fundamentalist Christian theology of ATI since their first special in 2004 (“14 Children and Pregnant Again!”). ATI is a Christian homeschool organization that hosts seminars worldwide, provides homeschooling curriculum, and even runs its own paramilitary training center. At one point, it was strongly affiliated with a Christian correspondence course law school. Its members are not concentrated in one area, and yet they maintain insular groups and often form churches in which all members are affiliated with ATI and/or follow its basic principles. Referred to as “Gothardism” within fundamentalist Christian circles, the teachings of ATI form an ideological system of practices based on the extremely strict, fundamentalist, and idiosyncratic Biblical interpretations of the organization’s founder, Bill Gothard – a man who, in 2014, stepped down as head of ATI following allegations of sexual misconduct with young girls.

The allegations against “Mr. Gothard” (as he is respectfully and worshipfully referred to by his acolytes) were an open secret among group members for many years. As a friend who worked at ATI headquarters once said to me with a wink: “The prettiest girls are always chosen to work the closest with Mr Gothard.”

Read more: http://www.salon.com/2015/05/28/i_couldve_been_a_duggar_wife_i_grew_up_in_the_same_church_and_the_abuse_scandal_doesnt_shock_me/

Washington farmers are dumping unprofitable apples

SPOKANE, Wash. -- A record crop of apples, coupled with the West Coast port slowdown earlier this year, is taking a toll on Washington apple growers.

Nearly $100 million worth of apples that cannot be sold have been dumped into fields across central Washington, the nation’s most productive apple region. The apples are being left to rot and compost in the hot sun, an unusual occurrence for an industry that has found ways to market ever-growing crops.

“If we wouldn’t have had the port slowdown, we wouldn’t have needed this,” Todd Fryhover, president of the Washington Apple Commission in Wenatchee, said of the dumping.

He estimated that apple exporters lost at least three weeks of their season because of labor problems at West Coast ports. Along with a record supply of apples, that created surpluses that could not be shipped profitably to markets or processors, Fryhover said.

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/nation-world/national/article22584411.html

Note that none of the farmers are dumping unprofitable weed...

Waco - Three more bikers released after bond reduction agreements with DA

Three bikers jailed with more than 170 others for more than a week and a half after a deadly shootout at Twin Peaks were going home to Austin on Thursday, after winning significant bond reductions in an agreement with the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office.

State District Judges Matt Johnson and Ralph Strother approved bond reductions from $1 million to $25,000 each for Jonathan Lopez, Theron Rhoten and Ryan Craft, members of the Vice Grips Motorcycle Club who ride antique Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

The judges said they met with District Attorney Abel Reyna on Thursday and agreed to consider significantly lower bonds if attorneys for the bikers and Reyna’s office could reach accords.

Reyna did not return phone messages left at his office and on his cellphone Wednesday and Thursday.

Read more: http://www.wacotrib.com/news/courts_and_trials/three-more-bikers-released-after-bond-reduction-agreements-with-da/article_efbb7d1f-4c4f-5385-a1ee-3911bea15df5.html

Gun activist calls on Texans to arrest and hang state lawmakers after open carry bill is delayed

Kory Watkins (Facebook)

A Texas gun activist is once again calling for the execution of lawmakers over a bill that would allow the open carry of handguns.

Kory Watkins expressed his frustration Thursday morning in a Facebook post after open carry legislation stalled the day before over law enforcement concerns.

“I’m calling for the arrest of every elected official in Texas that voted against open carry,” Watkins said. “They should be arrested, charged with treason and should face a punishment that could result in being hung from the tree of liberty.”

The Texas House appeared close to passing the legislation, but law enforcement groups persuaded lawmakers Wednesday to remove a provision that would prevent police from asking those carrying weapons for their licenses if there was no other reason to stop them.

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/2015/05/gun-activist-calls-on-texans-to-arrest-and-hang-state-lawmakers-after-open-carry-bill-is-delayed/#.VWdt3aYNDwQ.facebook

The Real “No-Go Zone” of France: A Forbidden No Man’s Land Poisoned by War

When you imagine France and its scenic countryside, you might think of the picturesque villages, vineyards a plenty and endless rolling green hills to drive through on a blissful summer road trip. But there’s one corner of this scenic country that no one has been allowed to enter for nearly a century, known as the “Zone Rouge” (the red zone).

Pictured above is an artist’s impression of the forsaken territory, originally covering more than 1,200 square kilometres (460 sq miles) in the years following the Great War. Today, around 100km2 (roughly the size of Paris), is still strictly prohibited by law from public entry and agricultural use because of an impossible amount of human remains and unexploded chemical munitions yet to be recovered from the battlefields of both world wars.

Step inside the real “No Go-Zone”…

Photography (c) Olivier Saint Hilaire

After WWI, unable to keep up with the impossible task of removing endless undetonated weapons, human and animal remains, the French government decided on a forced relocation of residents which led to the creation of the Zone Rouge. Entire villages wiped off the map were considered “casualties of war”.

“Douaumont, Destroyed Village”

Once manicured farmland was abandoned, and without human presence, soon became unrecognisable thick forestland.

Read more: http://www.messynessychic.com/2015/05/26/the-real-no-go-zone-of-france-a-forbidden-no-mans-land-poisoned-by-war/

Donna ISD superintendent arrested; accused of bribing police chief

Donna school district Superintendent Jesus Rene Reyna walked in the back door of the courtroom about 10:15 a.m. Thursday, handcuffs linked to his wrists and sunglasses over his eyes.

He stopped and stood quietly next to a motivational poster that read “Leaders: Leadership is action, not position.” Hidalgo County Justice of the Peace Bobby Contreras approached the bench and began to read his charges: bribery and obstruction of justice.

Donna school district police launched an investigation into Reyna and Ernesto Lugo, a school board member, after officers said they attempted to pay off Police Chief Roy Padilla to drop a probe into theft and insurance fraud involving the superintendent and his family.

Instead of dropping the case, it was Padilla who arrested his boss Thursday morning on the two felony charges.

Read more: http://www.themonitor.com/news/local/donna-isd-super-arrested-accused-of-bribing-police-chief/article_cce7df86-054e-11e5-aaa4-4322d8e7883f.html

At Dallas forum, GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson criticizes Obama foreign policy

Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson emphasized a need for more aggressive foreign policy Thursday during a Dallas visit, likening current U.S. efforts to a mismanaged third-grade classroom.

Addressing dozens of guests at a World Affairs Council forum, Carson criticized the Obama administration’s response to the threat of the Islamic State radical militant group. He blamed the administration’s withdrawal of American troops from Iraq for its rise.

“We had essentially won that war, and we gave it away,” Carson said of the withdrawal.

Carson, a retired neurosurgeon best known for his work in separating twins conjoined at the head, called the Islamic State an “incredible threat to us” and noted a recent rise of cyberattacks from China and North Korea on the U.S.

Read more: http://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/national-politics/20150528-at-dallas-forum-gop-presidential-hopeful-ben-carson-criticizes-obama-foreign-policy.ece

Update: Cat Case Not Presented to Grand Jury Wednesday (Vet that shot cat with arrow)

BELLVILLE - A small but vocal group of animal lovers gathered in Bellville Wednesday asking for justice for Tiger.

He's the cat allegedly killed with a bow and arrow by a Brenham Veterinarian who bragged about it on Facebook, and then got fired for it.

News 3 visited with protestors and looks into the latest on the case.

Protestors spread messages outside the Austin County Courthouse in memory of a cat whose death went viral.

Tiger is believed to have been killed earlier this month by Kristen Lindsey, a veterinarian who was fired from the Washington Animal Clinic in Brenham earlier this month after bragging on Facebook and posting a photo of it.

Read more: http://www.kbtx.com/home/headlines/Cat-Case-Not-Presented-to-Grand-Jury-Wednesday-301699161.html

Groups claim parents of US-born children denied birth certificates (mothers in country illegally)

WESLACO — Texas has refused to issue certified copies of birth certificates to U.S.-born children whose mothers are illegally in the country, a lawsuit filed Tuesday alleges.

Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid and the Texas Civil Rights Project filed the lawsuit on behalf of six children with U.S. citizenship and four Mexican women living in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso .

Lawyer Jennifer Harbury said at a news conference Wednesday that the lawsuit came after registrars’ offices across the Valley and in El Paso turned people away, telling them that the matricula consular card — a secondary identification issued by a Mexican consulate — is not being accepted as a valid form of identification.

State officials ordered employees to follow a policy that denies the use of the card and a passport without a proper visa, even though no changes were made to the Texas Administrative Code, Harbury said.

Read more: http://www.brownsvilleherald.com/news/valley/article_bfa01370-04e5-11e5-ac09-1788825f6548.html
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