Today in fake problems: Senators complaining that they had to come back to Washington, cutting their holiday vacations short, to fix a problem entirely of their own stubborn creation:
But for once, those lawmakers were fully united, if only around their sadness and frustration at being stuck in Washington in a holiday week, peering over the edge of the fiscal abyss.
“This is no way to run things,” complained Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, who checked off the various backyard sports he longed to be playing with his children: football, soccer and some golf.
Mostly, people just looked mad. Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, his tie slightly askew, looked as gloomy as the clouds hovering over the Capitol dome. “I didn’t realize how much I didn’t want to be here until I got here,” said Mr. Schumer, who had taken the red eye from San Francisco, where he had arrived only days earlier to visit his daughter.
Poor Senators, elected to a prestigious office, so despondent that they have to work like suckers, who couldn't even be cheered by Taco Thursday (which is actually a thing on Capitol Hill). I shed one solitary tear for you, people who make $174,000 a year.
UPDATE: Full credit goes out to Arizona's representation in the Senate, who both showed up this week (unlike some people...we're looking at you, Barbara Boxer). Kyl's appearance is especially notable, since he's done with the gig in January.
From the release:
“There are more than 3 billion people on the planet under the age of 25. The choices this generation makes will determine whether our planet and its wildlife and natural resource base are burdened with 8 billion or 15 billion people. The difference between these paths can be measured by how many other species are left to roam alongside us,” said Jerry Karnas, population campaign director with the Center. “Our Endangered Species Condoms are a great way to get a conversation started about how the growing human population is affecting the wild world around us, especially animals already teetering on the edge of extinction.”
Since launching the campaign in 2009, CBD claims to have given out 450,000 condoms, all of which feature animal designs. While I can't account for the effectiveness of their condoms, I can definitely vouch for the fact that the packaging (hah) is eye-catching: the Endangered Species Condoms come in boxes covered in designs featuring a number of endangered animals and snappy slogans.
For example: "In the sack? Save the leatherback," "safe intercourse saves the dwarf seahorse," "don't go bare, panthers are rare," and the classic "when you're feeling tender...think about the hellbender," which conjures rather uncomfortable images if you're not familiar with the hellbender salamander.
In all seriousness, they have a point: the earth's population of humans has doubled (!) since 1970, which will soon put an even greater strain on our already-aching natural resources. So the message here seems to be "for your children's sake, try to not have children," which is certainly a message that I can behind (hah).
Check out EndangeredSpeciesCondoms.com for a look at the packages (hah) and head to biologicaldiversity.org to read more about their campaign, including a report on the top 10 U.S. species threatened by population growth.
From the fine folks at Tucson Meet Yourself, their latest online newsletter features a video from one of Maribel Alvarez's UA folklore students that's worth your time (don't blame us if it makes you hungry and in the mood to listen to more Agustin Lara):
Food and Love. The two have been connected through the ages. Our speech is sprinkled with phrases about seduction, satisfaction, longing, indulgence, moderation that often implicate both basic human needs: affection and nourishment. Jose Serrano, a student in Dr. Maribel Alvarez's folklore course "Food Narratives" this fall has produced a beautiful video honoring his "Grandma's Gorditas."
So how many of you out there shopped local this holiday season? I know I tried my best, but while running errands with my mom one day, I realized that in preparing for the holidays there's not much you can do except buy local — masa for the tamales (Alejandro's for us), extra tortillas for a tamale party (Anita Street Bakery and La Tauna), and meat for the tamales (American Meat Market — BTW, they have bacon-wrapped weenies in the freezer section that I might write about later).
If you need more reminding on how important shopping local is, we came across a video produced by former Tucson Unified School board candidate and city council staffer Miguel Ortega with the purpose of doing just that — reminding you all the good reason to shop local as much as you can.
The video is part of a project Ortega is working on called Vamonos Tours. So far, Ortega told us, KXCI and Access Tucson are running the video as a public service announcement. The goal he said is to get local businesses to sponsor these buy-local messages.
"These are not commercials for their businesses. They have no say in the content. We only guarantee that we will tape the message at their place of business, use their product or services to underscore the message and thank them for sponsoring the PSA," Ortega said.
For more info on his latest project, go to its Facebook page at Vamonos Tours Arizona.
In the wake of Sandy Hook and the national discussion on gun laws, White Plains, New York newspaper The Journal-News, has posted an interactive map on their website, featuring the names and addresses of every licensed gun owner in three counties.
The map is a companion to an article entitled "The gun owner next door: What you don't know about the weapons in your neighborhood," an article with a fear-inducing title meant to raise discussion about how much we should know about our gun-owning neighbors.
The gun owner information was obtained via Freedom of Information Act requests, as gun licenses are considered to be on the public record in New York.
Obviously, their move attracted a fair amount of negative attention, as noted by a New York Times blog post:
The map thrust the paper directly into the heated national debate over guns that has followed the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., further churning the already frothy argument between those seeking curbs on certain types of weapons and those advocating gun rights.
“Now everyone knows where the LEGAL GUNS are kept, a valuable piece of information for criminals,” wrote an irate Facebook commenter who gave his name as Mike Pandolfo. “Why don’t you do something helpful, like trying to find out where the ILLEGAL GUNS are kept? That would be helpful to the noncriminal population.”
The comment was characteristic of the reaction of many of the thousands that had been attached to the article as it flew around social networking and news organizations’ sites, seemingly shared more in outrage than in support.
As part of that outrage, writer/blogger/real-estate agent Christopher Fountain took the Journal-News, and its owners at Gannett, to task by posting the home addresses and contact information on his blog in an effort to allow people to contact the reporters, editors and publisher themselves.
This spurs a huge debate about journalistic ethics now—the Poynter Institute is just one of many outlets that have questioned the move:
Timeliness is not reason enough to publish this information, though there are important reasons — including public safety — that journalists regularly invade people’s privacy.
Journalists broadcast and publish criminal records, drunk driving records, arrest records, professional licenses, inspection records and all sorts of private information. But when we publish private information we should weigh the public’s right to know against the potential harm publishing could cause.
My former colleague Bob Steele used to compare the journalist’s role in this situation to a doctor who had to decide whether to perform surgery, knowing she would have to cut through healthy tissue to get to a tumor. The damage caused to the skin is outweighed by the good that comes from removing the tumor. But, as Steele used to say, the surgeon uses great care and years of training to cause only the damage that is justifiable — and no more.
The question is, was the damage caused by the Journal-News justifiable? Was there even a tumor to extract here? If anything, it seems like they've caused damage, as a New York state senator is interested in closing up those records in New York State—which raises concern as to whether or not similar moves may take place across the country.
If you're near Weekly World Central, by the airport at 3280 E. Hemisphere Loop, feel free to come on by—Seis Curbside Kitchen and Catering is serving up great food and award-winning tacos here from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Their website may say different, but The Lodge Sasquatch Kitchen at 7265 N. La Cholla Blvd. is open. I happen to be in the area yesterday afternoon and saw a “Now Open” banner as well as a few cars parked in the lot. I popped in and was informed that it was their first day open and they were ready to rock. I had other errands to finish so I didn’t have the opportunity to sample the goods but I'll be back. Check out the menu here.
Agustin Kitchen at Mercado San Agustin will be the center of celebration and fun in honor of… More