Friday, February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy 1931-2015

Leonard Nimoy, best known for his portrayal of the half-Vulcan half-earthling Mr. Spock in the Star Trek TV shows and movies, has died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at his home in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles.  He had reached the age of 83, thus living out the Vulcan blessing that Spock often recited, "live long and prosper."  Nimoy attributed the disease to years of smoking, although he had quit about 30 years ago.

Leonard Nimoy was born on March 26, 1931, to Max and Dora Nimoy, Jewish immigrants from Ukraine.  He started acting at age 8 and continued through his high school and ensuing adult years.  He served two years in the Army, getting his discharge in 1955.  Afterwards, he worked various odd jobs while studying acting, attended college, and appeared on several TV shows, before landing the role of Mr. Spock.  Besides appearing in the original series, he was also on screen for the first six Star Trek movies, two of which he directed, a few episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and in cameo roles in director J.J. Abrams' two recent Star Trek movies.

Besides his involvement with the Star Trek franchise, Nimoy also directed the comedy Three Men and a Baby, and hosted the TV series In Search Of and Ancient Mysteries.  His pursuits outside of show business included poetry, photography and music.  He wrote two autobiographies, I Am Not Spock and I Am Spock.  He is survived by his second wife, two children (with his first wife), several grandchildren, and a brother.

Read more at The New York Times, Variety, USA Today, TMZ and The Telegraph.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Escapees Recaptured In Arizona

This afternoon, two fugitives, one white and one black, ran through Sun City, AZ, eluding both police and civilians until they were finally apprehended.  The pair had shown an impressive talent for evading their captors, being exceptionally fast and agile.  This is likely because unlike most who run from the law, they have four legs instead of two.

Read more at the New York Daily News, USA Today and Fox News.

UPDATE:  I've run across an Arizona-based source, Fox10 Phoenix, which includes a 34-minute video, so read more there, too.

FCC Passes "Net Neutrality"

The Federal Communications Commission, by a 3-2 party line vote, has approved a plan, known as "net neutrality", to regulate the Internet like a public utility.  The new rules, which will be published in the Federal Register, are intended to replace earlier rules that had been struck down by an appeals court, and are likewise expected to be subjected to a court battle.

Read more at Fox News, CNET and Newsweek.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wednesday Links

As we get through another "hump day", here are some stories in the news:

From CBS Chicago, the Chicago police department denies that a West Side facility is used as an illegal detention center, as was alleged in a British newspaper report.

From Real Clear Politics, Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC) warns Democrats about not enforcing immigration law.

From The Daily Caller, an MSNBC host expresses sympathy for the recently-convicted killer of former Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle.

From the Washington Examiner, another MSNBC host hopes that Trayvon Martin had beaten the [bleep] out of George Zimmerman.

From The Telegraph, Iran attacks and destroys a replica of a U.S. aircraft carrier.  (via Western Journalism)

From WUIS, Englewood, California approves a plan for an NFL stadium, involving the owner of the St. Louis Rams.

From Bizpac Review, the Obama administration comes up with a new phrase to refer to illegal aliens.

From Townhall, a federal judge issues an injunction against a DHS immigrant detention policy.

From CNN, weather postpones the execution of Kelly Renee Gissendaner, set to become the first woman to receive the death penalty in Georgia in 70 years.

From The Corner at National Review, Jamiel Shaw testifies before a House subcommittee panel about the murder of his son by an illegal alien.  (via The Blaze)

From Mashable, a mysterious tunnel has been found under Toronto.

From, FCC commissioner Ajit Pai explains his opposition to regulating the Internet like a utility company.

From Fox Nation, three residents of New York City have been arrested for conspiring to support ISIS.

From The Hill, the FBI is investigating suspected ISIS supporters in all 50 states.

From ABC News, the owner of a maraschino cherry factory cooperates with police searching the facility, and then kills himself.

And from the New York Post, "Don't tease us, Mo."

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Famed Sniper's Killer Found Guilty

In Erath County, Texas, former Marine Eddie Ray Routh has been convicted of murdering former Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield.  Routh had admitted to killing the two men, but plead not guilty by reason of insanity.  He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Kyle was the author of the book American Sniper, which has recently been made into a highly successful movie.

Read more at ABC News, CNN, Fox News and NBC News.

Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Bill

As expected, President Obama has vetoed legislation that would have approved the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.  The construction would involve running a new pipeline from the Canadian province of Alberta to an existing pipeline in Nebraska, and extending the southern end of that pipeline to the Gulf of Mexico.  The bill may still be passed if Congress votes to override the veto, which would require a 2/3 favorable vote in both Houses.

Read more at USA Today, NBC News, The Washington Times, Fox News, the Latin American Herald Tribune and CBC News.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Marine Who Disappeared In Iraq Convicted Of Desertion

Marine Corporal Wassef Ali Hassoun, who left his post in Iraq in 2004, turned up at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, went back to Camp LeJeune in North Carolina, and disappeared again in 2005, has been convicted of two counts of desertion.  He was also convicted of losing his service pistol, but not of theft resulting from its loss.  He faces up to 7 and 1/2 years in prison, a reduction in rank, and a dishonorable discharge.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

ISIS In Libya Burns Drums

Via the International Business Times and brought to my attention by Red Fox Blogger:

In Libya, a group of ISIS fighters has done something that even their cohorts in Iraq and Syria, to my knowledge, haven't tried.  Near the city of Derna, they burnt a pile of drums.  From the Daily Mail:
ISIS in Libya have released pictures of armed fighters burning musical instruments as the extremist group continues its propaganda assault in the north African country.
Pictures of the heavily armed masked militants watching while a pile of drums burnt in the Libyan desert were released earlier today - purportedly by the 'media wing' of the local group.
It is understood the brightly coloured instruments had been confiscated by the religious police, and were destroyed near the port city of Derna, in eastern Libya.
I've heard of music being illegal in some Muslim countries, but these guys have certainly made their intentions clear.  Read the full story.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Links

As the temperature in my part of Maryland reaches double figures above zero, here are some things in the news and from the blogosphere:

From American Thinker, since the Justice and Development Party started to govern Turkey, crime in that country has gotten worse.

From My Fox Chicago, Fannie Mae posted a $1.3B profit for the 4th quarter of 2014.

From Multichannel News, the 4th quarter was also good for Hallmark, which reported a 14% increase in their ad revenue.

Legal Insurrection asks, "Why is the Clinton Foundation accepting donations from foreign governments?"

From Fox News, the World Health Organization approves a test for Ebola that takes only 15 minutes to perform.

From The Telegraph, the taxi service Uber, banned in Spain from transporting people, now offers a food delivery service in Barcelona.

From The Conservative American, how America has exported our concept of mental illness.

From Reuters, as stocks decline today, as uncertainty looms over Greek debt deal negotiations.  UPDATE:  From AOL, Greece and its creditors have reached a deal.

From The Christian Post, a Christian man in Pakistan is acquitted after a four-year legal battle during which he had been tortured into confessing to a murder.

From CNN, British police have appealed for help to find three missing teenage girls believed to be trying to travel to Syria.

From Creeping Sharia, in Minnesota, a fourth Muslim has been indicted for conspiring to help ISIS.

From The (San Luis Obispo) Tribune, the mayor of Rome says that his city is not secure.

From LifeNews, in a two-week period, newspapers in Ireland published 33 pro-abortion articles and just one pro-life article.

In National Review, Kevin D. Williamson agrees with former mayor Rudy Giuliani (R-NYC) that President Obama doesn't love America.

And from the Catholic News Agency, Coptic Catholics consecrate their first church in the Sinai, in Sharm El-Sheikh.  Besides the relatively well-known Coptic Church in Egypt, there is also a lesser-known Coptic Rite within the Catholic Church.  Some information on this and rites other than the Latin Rite may be found at this CERC page.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Music Break: Sad Songs

According to a certain Elton John song, "sad songs say so much".  So here are a few of my favorite sad songs, some being slow as you might expect, and others surprisingly more lively.  The closing selection, in fact, is both.  To start, here's one that would have fit into last month's theme of Beatles covers - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' version of George Harrison's I Need You, performed at the Concert For George.