Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Sunday Edition (.006)

“If something is going to happen to me, I want to be there.” -- Albert Camus, The Stranger

This is the 6th edition of the NTD Sunday Edition. Please enjoy all the news that's fit to print and some that isn't.

• I saw where a guy from Wise County was convicted of murder and other crimes and I remembered once when he was a high school teen, he went berserk and went after somebody in the school cafeteria. I stopped him. I put him down nice and easy and even padded the back of his noggin so when he hit the floor he didn't crack his skull. True story. I may have prevented a mass execution. And what am I having for dinner tonight? Beans! Anyway, I wish that young man had turned out differently. When I had him pinned on the floor, I told him to take it easy. Apparently he did not take my advice. Like so many others, he was just naturally pissed off about his station in life. I know it's not an excuse.

• President Obama came into office seven years ago pledging to end the wars of his predecessor, George W. Bush. On May 6, with eight months left before he vacates the White House, Mr. Obama passed a somber, little-noticed milestone: He has now been at war longer than Mr. Bush, or any other American president.

If the United States remains in combat in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria until the end of Mr. Obama’s term — a near-certainty given the president’s recent announcement that he will send 250 additional Special Operations forces to Syria — he will leave behind an improbable legacy as the only president in American history to serve two complete terms with the nation at war.

Mr. Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 and spent his years in the White House trying to fulfill the promises he made as an antiwar candidate, would have a longer tour of duty as a wartime president than Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon or his hero Abraham Lincoln.

• The US Senate has agreed to pass a bill allowing families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia. Huh? Didn't bin Laden do it from a cave in Afghanistan?

The bill would allow victims of terror attacks on U.S. soil or surviving family members to bring lawsuits against nation-states for activities supporting terrorism. President Obama has threatened to veto the bill. Saudi officials reportedly threatened to sell off billions of dollars in U.S. assets if Congress passed the bill.

• The time is right. Rocky Horror is coming to the small screen. 

• I am off Facebook completely. Not only have I shut down my author account, but I've shut down my personal account and my half-dozen bogus accounts, including splendora79, bigbosshoss44, savedbyscreech, hackyou, googlethis, and my Indian name, fartnomoreforever. Now if I could just figure out how to avoid Google.

• Portland school board bans climate change-denying materials -- Environmental groups in the great northwest say the science is clear, so textbooks should be too.

In a move spearheaded by environmentalists, the Portland People's Republic Schools board unanimously approved a resolution aimed at eliminating doubt of climate change and its causes in schools.

“It is unacceptable that we have textbooks in our schools that spread doubt about the human causes and urgency of the crisis,” said Lincoln High School student Gaby Lemieux in board testimony. “Climate education is not a niche or a specialization, it is the minimum requirement for my generation to be successful in our changing world.”

The resolution passed Tuesday evening calls for the school district to get rid of textbooks or other materials that cast doubt on whether climate change is occurring and that the activity of human beings is responsible. The resolution also directs the superintendent and staff to develop an implementation plan for “curriculum and educational opportunities that address climate change and climate justice in all Portland Public Schools.”

• Moving on to more important matters, the Target Bathroom Policy continues to hold the nation in suspense. As retailer Target sees its stock plummeting and sales dropping in the midst of a boycott over its recently announced pro-transgender bathroom policy, the company’s CEO is insisting the weather is the cause of falling sales, not the company’s bathroom policy.

In a recent Wall Street Journal interview, Target CEO Brian Cornell pegged the downturn in the company’s fortunes to the cold weather as opposed to anything the company itself is doing or not doing.

“It’s been a very wet and cold start to the year and it’s reflected in our sales,” Cornell told the paper. “We haven’t seen anything from a structural standpoint that gives us pause.”

In other words, the weather is responsible for the downturn, not Target’s “structural” transgender bathroom policy.

Indeed, a month after the initial announcement, the Target CEO came out to double down on the transgender agenda, so it appears the company is digging in heels instead of looking for ways at appeal to customers.

"Well? Are you?"
Still, Cornell’s weather assessment does not quite tally with other reports stating Target has taken a major hit since it announced its transgender policy.

Granted, most retailers have been down over the first quarter and the start of the second quarter this year. But Target has been on a downward trend exceeding the fall of its competitors. Target, for instance, says it will post a $1 to a $1.20 adjusted earnings per share, which is well below the $1.38 analysts expected. Further, at 1.2 percent, the company’s sales are below the 1.5 to 2.5 percent annual target it had hoped to realize. With the tumble, Target warned that its sales might be flat by the end of the second quarter.

A closer examination, however, shows that sales and the company’s reputation have taken a particular hit since its April 19 pro-transgender bathroom announcement, a decision that sponsored a major boycott movement that earned 1.2 million supporters in only a week’s time.

A recent Business Insider article noted that Target’s reputation has tumbled six points among consumers in the last several months. In the months prior to the bathroom policy announcement, 42 percent of consumers said they would shop at the department store chain. But in the month following the bathroom policy announcement, the number dropped to 36 percent.

The reports also found that consumer perception of the Target brand is at its lowest in two years.

Whatever the cause of the drop, since April 19, Target has lost nearly $6 billion in stock values.

Blue Moon
• We are treated with the occurrence of a Blue Moon which happens, you guessed it, only occasionally. And it’s happening this weekend.

In fact, Saturday (last night) and Sunday will offer a dual opportunity for stargazers to get excited because aside from the infrequent Blue Moon Saturday evening there will also be some high-jinks from Mars on Sunday evening.

Mars will be in opposition, meaning the Earth will be passing directly between Mars and the sun. That could make Mars brighter than any star or planet in the night sky.

If you watch the southeastern part of the sky Saturday night you might be able to see the shining Blue Moon while the Red Planet also beams a bright rusty-orange glow at the same time. Mars will be bright for the next couple of months.

The last Blue Moon happened in July of 2015. The next one won’t happen until January of 2018. Traditionally, a Blue Moon is what people called an extra moon in a season.

Seasons typically only see three full moons, making 12 full moons in a calendar year. The fourth full moon in a season and 13ths for a year is rare.

A warning: A Blue Moon is not actually blue. It is mostly bright white but can take on a bluish hue depending on the season and conditions.

• Hey! There was a reported shooting at the White House. No pics, no video, just take their word for it. Do I think it happened? Nope. Likely another staged incident. Nothing to get excited about.

• This green stone bracelet was discovered in 2008, and after a detailed analysis, scientists concluded that its age is 40.000 years! This might not only be the oldest piece of this kind of jewelry we know of but one of the oldest, if not the oldest artifact that required the use of tools.

The bracelet was found in the Denisova cave located in Siberia’s Altai mountains. The mountains got their name from a hermit Dennis (Dionisij) who lived there in the 18th century. The first findings were made during the 1970’s and consequently led to more excavations. At the moment, there are 22 layers in the cave that are being researched, strata that cover the period of time from the 18th century AD to 120.000 – 180.000 BC.

• Joe Biden is like low-hanging fruit. He's just too easy. But here we go anyway: Vice President Joe Biden told the U.S. Military Academy's class of 2016 on Saturday that greater diversity, including more women and openly gay soldiers, will strengthen the country's armed forces.

"What the... !?$"
More than 950 cadets received their degrees and commissions as second lieutenants. Among them were the first seven women to be commissioned into combat divisions since combat restrictions for them were lifted.

The vice president saluted class president Eugene "E.J." Coleman for publicly coming out as gay.

Wow. West Point 2016.

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