George Zimmerman’s attorney Craig Sonner and his longtime friend Joe Oliver have launched a public relations offensive arguing that Zimmerman acted in self-defense.
This morning on ABC News, Oliver was asked about the moment on the 911 tapes when some believe that, just prior to killing Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman used a racial slur. Oliver suggested that Zimmerman did not use a racial slur but said “goons,” which Oliver described as a “term of endearment.” Watch it:
More facts on Trayvon Martin that everyone should know here.
Fatima al-Himidi (in brown headscarf), 17, embraces an unknown person
In the wake of the senseless killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida, another possible hate crime in California underscored the chasm between American values of equality and non-discrimination and incidents of intolerance.
A 32-year-old Iraqi victim of a brutal beating in her San Diego, California, home died yesterday when, with doctors’ expectations that she would not survive, her family removed her from life support. Shaima Alawadi’s family thinks the beating constitutes a hate crime, and police acknowledge the possibility.
Alawadi, a mother of five children aged 8 to 17, immigrated to the U.S. from Iraq in 1993. On Wednesday, her eldest daughter, Fatima al-Himidi, found Aalwadi “drowning in her own blood.” Al-Himidi said her mother was beaten with a tire iron. The daughter told San Diego’s KUSI television news that a note near her mother read, “Go back to your country, you terrorist.” (Another report said the note read, “Go back to your own country. You’re a terrorist.”)
“We’re not the terrorists,” al-Himidi said, speaking to the news camera, her voice shaky with emotion. “You are, whoever did it.”
Watch the KUSI news report:
Fatima al Hamidi also told KUSI that the family had gotten another similar, threatening note earlier this month, but that her mother dismissed it as a prank by neighborhood kids. No report was filed with the police.
A family friend, Sura Alzaidy, said the al-Himidi and Alawadi family had only returned to San Diego — into their new home — three weeks ago after an unspecified period of time living in Michigan. Speaking with the San Diego Union-Tribune, she described Alawadi as a “respectful modest muhajiba,” denoting that Alawadi covered her hair with a scarf in keeping with traditional Muslim customs.
Police spokesman Lt. Mark Coit said the investigation, in its early stages, was still broad, but did not rule out that the murder was a hate crime:
A hate crime is one of the possibilities, and we will be looking at that. We don’t want to focus on only one issue and miss something else.
He added that the killing appeared to be an “isolated incident.”
The family friend Alzaidy told the San Diego paper that her father and Alawadi’s husband, al-Himidi, worked together for the U.S. Army:
Alzaidy said her father and Alawadi’s husband had previously worked together in San Diego as private contractors for the U.S. Army, serving as cultural advisers to train soldiers who were going to be deployed to the Middle East.
Neighbors said the al-Himidi-Alawadi family left Iraq because they were “running away from war, running away from problems.”
Rick Perry Makes Fun Of Mitt Romney’s Wealth: ‘Do You Have Any Grey Poupon?’ |
At last night’s annual Gridiron Club dinner, Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) roasted himself and skewered the GOP field. On the Republican presidential candidates, Perry said, “It was the weakest Republican field in history, and they kicked my butt.” On Mitt Romney: “I keep waiting for Mitt to say, ‘Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?’” And on his own degree in animal husbandry: “[It's] what Rick Santorum thinks gay marriage leads to.” He also zinged his predecessor, President George W. Bush, calling “the petting zoo” the best part of Bush’s presidential library.
The answer to the oft-asked question of whether an event is caused by climate change is that it is the wrong question. All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be….
The air is on average warmer and moister than it was prior to about 1970 and in turn has likely led to a 5–10 % effect on precipitation and storms that is greatly amplified in extremes. The warm moist air is readily advected onto land and caught up in weather systems as part of the hydrological cycle, where it contributes to more intense precipitation events that are widely observed to be occurring.
Seasonal Jun-Jul-Aug 2010 sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies relative to 1951–70. Record high SSTs were recorded in the locations and at the times indicated with record flooding nearby.
Kevin E. Trenberth, senior scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research, in the journal Climatic Change, released under a Creative Commons-Attribution license (PDF here, HTML here)
Framing the way to relate climate extremes to climate change
The atmospheric and ocean environment has changed from human activities in ways that affect storms and extreme climate events. The main way climate change is perceived is through changes in extremes because those are outside the bounds of previous weather. The average anthropogenic climate change effect is not negligible, but nor is it large, although a small shift in the mean can lead to very large percentage changes in extremes. Anthropogenic global warming inherently has decadal time scales and can be readily masked by natural variability on short time scales. To the extent that interactions are linear, even places that feature below normal temperatures are still warmer than they otherwise would be. It is when natural variability and climate change develop in the same direction that records get broken. For instance, the rapid transition from El Niño prior to May 2010 to La Niña by July 2010 along with global warming contributed to the record high sea surface temperatures in the tropical Indian and Atlantic Oceans and in close proximity to places where record flooding subsequently occurred. A commentary is provided on recent climate extremes. The answer to the oft-asked question of whether an event is caused by climate change is that it is the wrong question. All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be.
How big is the human influence on climate? Is it big enough that a question such as “Is this event due to global warming?” even makes sense? Here these questions are addressed along with improved ways to frame the questions that inevitably arise when new climate extremes occur, and there have been many over the past 2 years. Clearly natural variability plays a major role. Accordingly a brief commentary on some of these extremes and how they relate to both natural variability and climate change is provided.
By Amanda Peterson Beadle on Mar 25, 2012 at 11:15 am
After President Obama weighed in on the shooting on Trayvon Martin, the GOP presidential candidates also rushed to condemn the African-American teenager’s death. But Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum were equally as quick to blame Obama for making it a racial issue after the president said, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” Gingrich called Obama’s remark “disgraceful,” and Santorum accused Obama of trying to “drive a wedge in America” by using race.
But on CNN’s State of the Union, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said the attacks by his fellow Republicans are unhelpful. He told Candy Crowley that, yes, there is a racial aspect to the case, but said that doesn’t mean the president would be insensitive if it had been a white teenager:
GRAHAM: We all know there’s a racial component to this, and when the president highlights it, I don’t think it adds a whole lot. But nobody suggests that the president’s insensitive to the 17-year-old if he’d been white. I think the criticism by our guys was a little off-base.
Graham echoed a White House adviser David Plouffe’s criticism of the GOP candidates. Plouffe called Gingrich’s remarks “reprehensible.” “You can make a decision whether to go out with some shred of dignity or say these irresponsible, reckless things, and he’s clearly chosen the latter path,” he told George Stephonopoulos on ABC’s This Week.
President Obama expressed regret at the death of Trayvon Martin last week, saying, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon,” and called for law enforcement officials to “get to the bottom of exactly what happened.” Despite the fact that political leaders from Rick Santorum to Rep. Allen West (R-FL) have called the Florida teen’s death a tragedy, Newt Gingrich seized on Obama’s comments, saying they were racially motivated and “disgraceful.”
Obama campaign adviser David Plouffe shot back at Gingrich this morning, telling ABC’s George Stephonopoulos that Gingrich’s attempts to disparage Obama’s stance were “reprehensible”:
PLOUFFE: Those comments are reprehensible. And, you know, Speaker Gingrich is clearly in the last throes of his political career. And, you know, you can make a decision whether to go out with some shred of dignity or say these irresponsible, reckless things, and he’s clearly chosen the latter path, and that’s unfortunate for the country.
Plouffe was also asked about “stand your ground” gun laws, but said re-examining such laws was not Obama’s focus. “Right now, our focus ought to be on sympathy for the family and then making sure an investigation is done thoroughly,” Plouffe said. “And there seems to be…agreement on that across the partisan divide. You have Democrats and Republicans, independents, everybody, saying let’s look into this. And I think that’s what’s going to happen.”
The world’s first 6-MW offshore wind turbine went up in the North Sea this week. Wind company REpower and C- Power NV, a Belgian offshore development company, installed the wind turbine, the first of 48 for the Thornton Bank II wind farm, which is being constructed approximately 28 kilometers off the Belgian coast.
The wind turbine is actually rated at 6.15 MW and is the first turbine of phase 2 of this offshore wind project — REpower has an interesting interactive image on its site where you can explore its 11 main features. “In the early hours of 21 March the rotor star was connected to the nacelle by a team of C-Power and REpower engineers and the crew of Neptune, the installation vessel of GeoSea (DEME group) carrying the components for the turbine,” REpower writes.
Here are more details:
The offshore turbine REpower 6M has the dimension of two family homes and the rotor star has a diameter of 126 metres, with a swept area greater than two football pitches.
The installation of the first 30 turbines for phase 2 of the wind farm is planned for 2012, and a further 18 are designated for installation during a third extension stage by mid-2013.
Thornton Bank Wind Farm 1 in Belgium.
Phase 1 of the Thornton Bank II wind farm was constructed in 2008 and 2009. It includes 5-MW wind turbines. More details: “The offshore wind farm, located around 28 kilometres off the Belgian coast in waters between twelve and 27 meters deep, was officially put into operation at the end of June 2009. Since it started operation, Thornton Bank generated almost 350,000 megawatt hours of electricity.”
Belgium intends to get 13% of its energy from renewable energy sources by 2020.
Zachary Shahan is the editor of CleanTechnica.com and PlaneSave.com. This piece was originally published at CleanTechnica.
Larry Pratt, the executive director of Second Amendment group Gun Owners of America, offered a rare defense of the man who killed Trayvon Martin, saying George Zimmerman was acting in self defense when he shot the Florida teen. As the facts of the case have emerged, everyone from President Obama to RIck Santorum and Rep. Allen West (R-FL) have condemned the killing.
But appearing on Current TV’s “The Young Turks” with Cenk Uygur Friday, Pratt said Zimmerman and the police acted properly. “Martin passed from becoming a victim to becoming an aggressor” during an alleged altercation, he said. Pratt’s said his view of the facts are based on a single eye witness interviewed by an Orlando news station. “[Martin] should have run away,” Pratt explained, saying Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” laws are irrelevant, because “we’re talking about fighting off an assailant.”
“Once Martin had neutralized the threat, that’s when he should have taken off to get out of there. He doubled down, and he started to really beat the tar out of the guy,” Pratt said. Martin “gave up his rights,” Pratt added.
Gun Owners of America is a major firearms group several clicks to the right of the NRA, but nonetheless attracts significant support from mainstream conservatives.
If you haven’t already been over to the Climate Desk, check it out. They’ve accumulated some great reporting on climate issues and produced some very slick films on science and clean energy.
The latest film put together by Climate Desk producer James West cuts through the knee jerk political reactions to the President’s support of algae biofuels and asks: “will it ever be the fuel of the future?” In truth, there’s a lot of debate over what impact it will have.
Algae-based biofuels have come down dramatically in cost over the decades, from hundreds of dollars per gallon to between $8 and $30 a gallon. However, companies reaching commercial scale still haven’t inched over the last few yards to achieve cost parity with petroleum-based fuels. Experts don’t expect the resource to play a major role in our fuel mix for another 5-10 years.
But there’s a lot of fascinating research happening the field today, and companies are closer than ever to cracking the code. Even though algae fuels won’t have an immediate impact, this film illustrates why mocking the President for supporting innovative alternatives to petroleum is just silly.