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Everything you would only do in the privacy of your own home, Jon Kyl prefers to do on a subway car. #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement

Last week during the Senate budget negotiations, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), gave a speech that included the following statement: "If you want an abortion, you go to Planned Parenthood, and that’s well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does." That statement is drastically different from the statistics reported by Planned Parenthood, which list 90 percent of its services as preventive in nature, compared with 3 percent that are abortion-related. When asked about this apparent discrepancy, Jon Kyl's office replied that "his remark was not intended to be a factual statement." And that is when things got noisy. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 15, 2011 - 136 comments

 

African-Americans in the Wild West: Nat Love, Cherokee Bill, and Stagecoach Mary Fields

The stories and pictures of the Wild West commonly feature white men, with little notion of the diversity present in the later half of the 19th century beyond the various regiments of "buffalo soldiers". In reality, black cowboys made up a large portion of the cowhand population, possibly a quarter of all cowboys. Estimations range from 5,000 to 15,000 cowboys being of African heritage. Many have been forgotten in the passing of time, but some of their stories live on. For instance, the cowboy Nat Love, the outlaw Cherokee Bill, and (all sorts of awesome) "Stagecoach" Mary Fields. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 25, 2011 - 21 comments

FDR: "People who are hungry, people who are out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made."

The United States was engaged in the largest two-front war of its, or any nation's history. Though victory was not yet certain, there were discussions on a multi-national level regarding the future peace, and on the President of the United States was looking to the post-war prospects for the nation. With that in mind, the annual address of the President to Congress and the nation was summed up in one word: Security. "And that means not only physical security which provides safety from attacks by aggressors. It means also economic security, social security, moral security -- in a family of nations." This was Franklin D. Roosevelt's third-to-last Fireside Chat, presented on Tuesday, January 11, 1944, which included what he proposed to be the Second Bill of Rights. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 16, 2010 - 67 comments

Journey to the Bottom of the (Cold War) Sea and Back

Submarine causalities are tragedies of war that are not always directly associated with combat. Systems failures at sea are often mysterious, with evidence and remains disappearing to all but the deepest diving vehicles. This was no different in the Cold War, with non-combat losses from the US and the Soviet Fleets. In that era of nuclear secrets, both those of nuclear-powered submarines and nuclear weapons, learning about the enemy's technology was paramount. Such an opportunity came to the US with the sinking of K-129, a Golf Class II Soviet submarine that went down with 98 men on board. The recovery took over six year, involved the possible payback of Howard Hughes, a videotaped formal sea burial that was eventually copied and given to then-President Boris Yeltsin, and decades of CIA secrecy. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 27, 2010 - 41 comments

Now, If I were you, I'd just take a few minutes and plan my escape route.

55 years ago, Brown v. Board of Education was decided, which lead to the controversial court-ordered school integrations in the South. Four years later, the prolific Charles Beaumont wrote his only solo novel, The Intruder, based on a true story but set in a fictitious small southern town of Caxton that is riled up by a mysterious man from out-of-town who wants to halt the school integration. The novel was turned into a movie by the same name in 1962, produced, directed and financed by Roger Corman, starring a charismatic William Shatner as the mysterious intruder, some 4 years before the start of his iconic role in Star Trek. Shot on location, using locals who were not fully aware of the plot of the movie, the whole film was made for $80-$90,000, and was Corman's only film to lose money at the box offices. The production was banned in some Missouri cities because the local people objected to the film's portrayal racism and segregation. The film finally saw a profit after its re-release on DVD in recent years. (Previously discussed as part of this 1970s Shatner post; video links inside) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 7, 2009 - 26 comments

Balancing the Budget is just sliders and buttons

The current federal and state budget woes have lead many to create their ideal budgets to keep it all in balance, and now you can try your hand at the push and pull of budgets large and larger. You can be a nation-wide budget hero (toggle-able music) at Marketplace for American Media. The LA Times makes the California budget into buttons, where you can add and subtract whole segments of the budget in a quick-and-dirty attempt at making things even out. Next 10 have created a more detailed budgeting system in their California budget simulator and localized Oakland variation. Too much information to handle? Stockton's budget balancing options cover police, fire community service and public works, with sliding scales of money to spend on each.
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 6, 2009 - 48 comments

National Running Day

Today is the first National Running Day in the US, with events taking place in metropolises like Boston, Chicago, New York, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Houston, as well as smaller communities like Chautauqua, New York. If you're not comfortable with running, you can try the Run Walk method, or start your Couch to 5k schedule. If you're already a runner, you may want to think up some creative ways to make today even more running-y. [Previously: no fancy shoes necessary]
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 3, 2009 - 13 comments

New US Fuel Economy Plan: Win, Lose, or Draw?

Car companies were facing a variety of efficiency and emission standards throughout the United States, from the Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, On May 19th, and then an even stricter emission standard from California and 13 other states (plus DC). On May 19th, President Obama announced nation-wide new vehicle fuel efficiency standards for new cars and trucks through 2016. The goal is to rapidly increase fuel efficiency,without compromising safety, by an average of 5, culminating in 39 MPG for cars and 30 MPG for light trucks. Currently, no auto makers are meet the final standards, though some are closer than others. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 28, 2009 - 85 comments

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