Monthly Archives: December 2012
The builder of a fantastical fortress in the Mojave Desert has been sentenced to jail for failing to pay for the demolition of his lifes work. Why art isnt sacred in the eyes of code enforcers.
Semantics are everything when it comes to getting people to take sides on the abortion issue. For example, a journalist recently used the phrase “term fetus bones” instead of simply “baby bones” to describe tiny bones found in a field.
Similarly, Troy Newton, head of a pro-life group in Kansas, has his own way with words. He said this, after an attack on his office in Central Kansas:
“Each innocent child is totally helpless against the abortionist’s deadly knife as he wickedly stabs her in the back of the skull, pulls her out by the feet, twists her tiny head around to break her neck, and then tosses her lifeless little body in the trash with yesterday’s garbage.”
We live in a blood-soaked society that loves and glorifies violence. And I am not just talking about video games and movies. The horrible truth is that more than 2000 children are murdered in the United States every single day in our abortion clinics, and most of our “leaders” actually approve of this practice. When you add in all other forms of abortion such as “morning after pills”, the number is closer to 3000 children a day….[T]he mainstream media seems absolutely obsessed with the idea that more gun control laws would solve our problems. Oh really? Adam Lanza broke at least three Connecticut gun control laws. Would adding a bunch more really make a difference?Just take a look at the city of Chicago. Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the entire nation. The intent was to greatly reduce gun crime in the city. But instead, Chicago is now being called “the deadliest global city“, and the murder rate is running about 25 percent higher than last year. Well, what about in other areas of the world?Down in Australia, gun murders rose by about 19 percent and armed robberies rose by about 69 percent after a gun ban was instituted. Ouch. The UK has some of the strictest gun laws on the planet. So how has that worked out? Well, gun crime in England and Wales rose by 89 percent over the course of a decade… The latest Government figures show that the total number of firearm offences in England and Wales has increased from 5,209 in 1998/99 to 9,865 last year – a rise of 89 per cent. Banning guns is not going to solve anything. The criminals are always going to be able to get guns.
On April 28, 1996, a gunman opened fire on tourists in a seaside resort in Port Arthur, Tasmania. By the time he was finished, he had killed 35 people and wounded 23 more. It was the worst mass murder in Australia’s history. Twelve days later, Australia’s government did something remarkable. Led by newly elected conservative Prime Minister John Howard, it announced a bipartisan deal with state and local governments to enact sweeping gun-control measures. A decade and a half hence, the results of these policy changes are clear: They worked really, really well.
Would this work in the United States, with its Second Amendment?
A shooting involving two gunmen erupted at a Connecticut elementary school this morning, prompting the town of Newtown to lock down all of its schools and draw SWAT teams to the school, authorities said today.
State Police confirm that one shooter is dead. A second gunman is apparently at large, sources told ABC News.
The shooting occurred at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, about 12 miles east of Danbury.
Children are likely to be traumatized, says Dr. Victor Fornari, director of Child/Adolescent Psychiatry at North Shore-LIJ Health System in New Hyde Park, NY. Schools are supposed to be safe, nurturing environment.
More than 26 people have died. At least 18 of them are children.
The five peaks of Mount Hua have been vertical sanctuaries for monks, hermits, and spiritual seekers, especially Taoists, for centuries, but to get to them pilgrims must cross treacherous trails, such as those made from links of chain and wooden planks joined by iron staples. And now with winter approaching, it’s the most dangerous time of year to attempt what could be the most dangerous hike in the world. All five peaks are joined by steep, narrow trails, stairs, and ladders, and dotted with temples and lookout points. Though some peaks involve riskier ascents than others, all hikes require slow and steady climbing along the trails, or you’ll risk a speedy decent. Numerous visitors have embarked on the hike and never returned, although the Chinese government isn’t saying how many.
The era of private conversations on city buses — and even on San Francisco’s iconic streetcars — may be coming to an end. Government officials are quietly installing sophisticated audio surveillance systems on public buses across the country to eavesdrop on passengers, according to documents obtained by The Daily. Plans to implement the technology are under way in cities from San Francisco to Hartford, Conn., and Eugene, Ore., to Columbus, Ohio.Linked to video cameras already in wide use, the microphones will offer a formidable new tool for security and law enforcement. With the new systems, experts say, transit officials can effectively send an invisible police officer to transcribe the individual conversations of every passenger riding on a public bus.
Planners would do well to listen to Tea Party activists, not because they are funded by big interests and mega huge corporations, but because they can be a counterpoint to unmitigated coercive planning. As a planner, I was not trained to impose my viewpoint on the majority, on property owners or on anyone else. My training and practice has always involved inviting all stakeholders to the table to discuss and negotiate outcomes. Planning is a give and take between differing interests and viewpoints to arrive at the best possible solution for most of the community. While not everyone can be pleased, or ever will be pleased, neither developers nor city officials have carte blanche to impose regulations or projects. Fortunately, regulations reflect agreements, or should reflect agreements between different sectors of a community. When they no longer reflect these inherent agreements, they should be changed. Closer inspection by affected individuals should lead these to determine whether community regulations matter, whether they reflect the vision of the community. When they cease to reflect the true vision of the community at large, they become coercive. It is at this point that they should be revamped, community by community. Regulations are not one-size-fits-all. They must be customized if need be.
In the spring of 1968, Jane Jacobs walked into a high school auditorium in the Lower East Side and addressed a rowdy crowd opposed to the Lower Manhattan Expressway, a 10-lane highway proposed by Robert Moses that would have blasted through what we now know as SoHo.
The public hearing was a sham, she said. The city and state officials had already made all the decisions to move ahead – they were just collecting neighborhood opinions so they could fulfill the obligation to get citizen input. After leading a defiant march in front of the transportation bureaucrats, somebody ripped up the stenotype roll and threw it in the air like confetti.
For her trouble, Jacobs was arrested for inciting a riot and driven away in a squad car. The charges were knocked down to a misdemeanor, but one of the author’s greatest legacies grew out of that night: that when it comes to our homes and communities, the power should be with the people. Citizens must be truly involved with plans and projects, not just told that proposals will be good for them and society. A generation of planners and environmentalists has grown up dedicated to the notion of civic participation.
So it is with particular angst that many of these same planners now are forced to reckon with the modern-day Jane Jacobs, at least in terms of tactics and a libertarian streak: the Tea Party.
New Urbanism’s tenets are simple: Suburban life undermines a sense of community. People spend too much time in their own private space and in their automobiles. Communities should be built at much higher densities. People should be able to walk from their homes to stores.They should be able to hop on a bus or a rail line rather than take their car. Every town should have a vibrant and hip central area, and there should be open space between towns. Cities should grow mostly within existing urban boundaries. Each urban area would have a core, with growth occurring in an orderly diameter around it. Neighborhoods should be diverse, ethnically and economically.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is expected to finalize a long-awaited proposal to make event data recorders standard on all new vehicles.
In a notice posted Thursday, the White House Office of Management Budget said it has completed a review of the proposal to make so-called vehicle “black boxes” mandatory in all cars and trucks, clearing the way for NHTSA to publish its final regulation.
Nearly all vehicles currently have the devices.