- Friday was a day of fallen heroes. Jesse Jackson, Jr. was indicted (after he'd already plea bargained), alleged to have stolen $750,000 of public funds and spent it on everything from Michael Jackson memorabilia to a $40,000 Rolex. In the face of such outright ignorant behavior from someone who held such promise, there are no words. (And no, his depressive episode ain't an excuse.)
- Earlier that same day, South African paralympic Olympian Oscar Pistorius was arrested and is to be charged with premeditated murder in the shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius, who has been celebrated the world over as a brilliant sprinter despite having artificial legs from the knee down, insists (as does his family—because everyone knows that the family of an accused abuser always knows exactly what's going on behind closed doors) that he's beyond innocent. Pistorius breaking down in tears in court just to prove that he fired 4 shots through a closed bathroom door because he mistook his girlfriend was an intruder when she apparently was just using the loo. In contrast, news sources reported that there had been arguing between Pistorius and Steenkamp that was significant enough to have the police called out to Pistorius' residence to intervene just a couple of hours before the shooting. They also report that a former girlfriend has been asked to testify against Pistorius as it relates to previous domestic conflict. Either way this comes out, it's another /heavy sigh moment as it relates to the too-often deadly intersection between domestic relations and guns. May Reeva Steenkamp rest in peace.
- Let's be clear: those of us who are addicted to Hollywood end-of-the-world "extinction level event" disaster movies and those think that meteors entering our atmosphere are the "fucking awesomest thing ever" are just kidding. We were not actually asking the cosmos to send us a real meteor on Friday to hurt real people and cause real damage (including a million panes of shattered glass in the dead of winter in Siberia where, in case you didn't know, it is currently very COLD.) Who knows if this "Oh, @#!@%#@%!" moment results from fragments of Asteroid 2012 DA14, which was scheduled for a "near miss" with Earth sometime Friday anyway unbeknownst to most of us. The physical damage from the largest meteor in 100 years may not have lined up with what we cheer in movies (for example, Paris was not blown away in a sinkhole the size of…….Paris), since it was the shockwave from the meteor and not the actual impact that put the hurt on in Chelyabinsk, Siberia. That still doesn't make it alright: emotional damage probably more than makes up for it. Earth to Universe: We really don't need life to imitate art, sometimes. Really, we don't.
- Apologies are forthcoming from the Rev. Matthew C. Harrison, the so-called man of God that lambasted a fellow Lutheran pastor's participation in a memorial service for the victims of the Newtown massacre. Harrison had previously demanded (and received) an apology from Rev. David Benke for the deep offense that Harrison's version of God apparently have felt having to hear Lutheran worship at the same time as representatives of other denominations participated, no doubt because it reinforced the message. Or something like that. Obviously, God was trying to tell (and did tell) Rev. Harrison something which is that he was being a jerk.
- That 100+ year old rag called The Onion continues to be one of the best of the best when it comes to telling the real truth behind current events. This week's truth: Los Angeles On High Alert As LAPD Back On Regular Duty. Say what you want about the late Christopher Dorner, his "manifesto" and his death from being deliberately burned up in a cabin like he was just another piece of cordwood by those sworn to protect and defend but the Onion has it right on this issue (even though it's too impolitic for many liberals who don't live in neighborhoods terrorized by LAPD and similar police forces on a daily basis to admit). Just imagine what the headlines (and potentially deadly results will be when the LAPD gets its hands on drones.)
- Speaking of drones, they aren't just for taking out alleged terrorists hiding in the stereotypical middle eastern desert or right wing whack jobs hiding out in bunkers anymore. Indeed, apparently more than 1,400 drones have already licensed (with 327 still apparently active and in use) in America, as the FAA tries to comply with the directive contained in 2012's FAA Reauthorization and Reform Act to open up American airspace fully to drones used for whatever purpose by 2015. This week, the FAA sent out RFP's for six "test sites" so that it can begin the process that some estimate will have 10,000 drones deployed across US skies within 5 years of full implementation. Civil liberties groups are screaming bloody murder, and lawmakers are introducing legislation to try and protect what little privacy rights we have left (since "local and state law enforcement agencies are expected to be among the largest customers".) No surprise there.
- To the surprise of absolutely no one (other than, possibly, Harry Reid), the Senate recessed on Friday until February 26 with Republicans having successfully filibustered the nomination of Chuck Hagel for Secretary of Defense. Even if they refuse to call it a filibuster. It's like Lucy and the football, I swear 'fore God, Republican obstructionism—but this time, the nation is left with no Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta's term having ended on Thursday. The only good news in the whole debacle: President Obama made it clear, publicly, that he's pissed (in that smooth Obama way that he has, of course, unlike his Anger Translator.)
- As the Vatican searches for a new pontiff, questions are arising about whether the Pope really just felt old and tired, or whether his departure was hastened by increasing corruption and the controversy about the Pius Brotherhood. If you go by Pope Benedict XVI's brother's word, those thousands of pages of private papers his former butler is now doing time for having stolen and the information he leaked is at the heart of the pontiff's decision to buck 600 years of tradition and quit rather than serve out his (lifelong) term as head of the Catholic church. At the author's household, money is on the another theory related to the butler: the Pope resigned not for the "exposed corruption" reason that most of the media has embraced, but because of the possibility that within the private papal papers (gotta love alliteration!), most of which are still missing, is information that puts to lie Ratzinger's official story of having been "just an innocent who had no choice but to become a Hitler youth." Just speculation, admittedly, but not unreasonable speculation.
- Because it simply can't be said enough, this week as part of the discourse surrounding Black History Month, yet another someone has called for Americans to finally move forward to rid the nation once and for all of its original sin by embracing the easiest, fastest, solution: White People Should Give up Racism. Like all those having made this suggestion before, he will probably be ignored, too. (Seriously. Read, and think, before your knees start jerking.)
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