Power has been restored to the Austin area where the Austin Daily Herald has an image of the tornado's initial moments. The Post Bulletin has after-the-storm video. Nobody indicated it sounded like a train.
It's been good tornado-chasing weather this week, too, but sometimes the excitable folks get a little too close:
Believe it or not, we've actually been contacted by multiple media outlets wanting to know PETA's official response to the executive insect execution.
However, PETA recommends its humane bug catcher for the job (shown here), the operation of which would be worthless for house flies.
A better idea? How about sterilizing the critters?
The network also has an excellent analysis from a University of California professor on the future of Iran.
The official Iranian position on these things can be found on the English-language site of the Mehr News Agency.
Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight.com takes another whack at the claim that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's strength in rural areas tipped the election.
So it's not exactly correct to say that Ahmadinejad's strength was in rural areas. What we certainly can say, however, is that almost all of the improvements that Ahmadinejad made over his 2005 totals came in rural areas. What was once a weakness of his turned into another strength.
This means that at least one of two things must be true. Either the urban-rural dynamics of Iran have changed significantly over the last four years -- at least insofar as it they affected perceptions of a candidate like Ahmadinejad. Or, alternatively, the election was rigged, and those who rigged it for some reason decided that rural votes were easier to steal.
Meanwhile, Slate looks at how the protesters of the election are co-opting images of the 1979 revolution.
If The New York Times ever strikes you as an abstruse glut of antediluvian perorations, if the newspaper's profligacy of neologisms and shibboleths ever set off apoplectic paroxysms in you, if it all seems a bit recondite, here's a reason to be sanguine: The Times has great data on the words that send readers in search of a dictionary.
Admit it, my Public Radio friends, you love this sort of stuff!
WHAT WE'RE DOING
Midmorning (9-11) - First hour: President Obama's proposed rules on regulating financial institutions. Second hour: How alcoholics hide their illness.
Midday (11-1) - Dr. Jon Hallberg will be in the studio to answer listener questions about all the latest health and medical issues in the news.
Talk of the Nation (1-3) - First hour: Saying the prison system is broken is easy. How do you fix it? Second hour: Another author becomes a father and does what so many fathers these days do. He writes a book about being a father.
All Things Considered (3-6:30) - MPR's Mark Steil looks at Minnesota dairy farmers. Despite lower grain prices, dairy farmers are still losing money. Do dairy farmers ever make money? Annie Baxter will handle the bad news -- the latest unemployment numbers in Minnesota.(5 Comments)
Posted at 10:45 AM on June 18, 2009
by Bob Collins
A pilot of a trans-Atlantic Continental Airlines flight died enroute from Brussels to New Jersey today. Is this a big deal? Yes, certainly, for the pilot and his family but it's not a situation that appears to have presented a significant safety risk.
There was an eye-opening fact in the Midwest Flyer magazine interview with Jeff Skiles, the first officer of the US Air flight that ditched in the Hudson River in January.
The Airbus actually flies with a side-stick; it doesn't use a yoke. And this is something totally new in my experience. I've never flown anything that did not have a yoke before. I only had 35 hours in the airplane. The vast majority of the time, it was on autopilot, because they encourage you to use the autopilot as much as possible. Ideally, they want you to takeoff and put it on at 100 feet, and don't take it off again until you are on short final.
A machine/computer flies the airplane from just a few seconds after take-off to just a few minutes before landing. Sometimes autopilots land the plane, although someone has to enter the data.
What's more likely to be significant in the story, however, is the age of the deceased pilot: 61. That's one year more than the mandatory retirement age that was in effect for decades in the U.S., until the FAA raised it to 65 not long ago. At least one pilot on international flights still has to be under 60.
(Photo: Daniel Barry/Getty Images)
The U.S. Senate today passed a resolution apologizing for slavery and racial segregation. It now goes to the House.
Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin first introduced the measure years ago. Today he suggested, however, that it passed in light-year speed, by Senate time-keeping standards. "Let's face it, it's more meaningful to those who fought discrimination for years, many of them still alive today," Harkin said. "I mean we didn't really end segregation in this country until 1964, the Civil Rights Act."
Republican Sam Brownback of Kansas co-sponsored the resolution but it took more than a year of negotiations to agree on the language.
A film released last year suggests the reckoning should involve more than just the Senate...
Posted at 12:09 PM on June 18, 2009
by Bob Collins
It's not the best quality, but some video just posted on YouTube shows the size of the crowd at today's giant protest in Tehran.
"The most you can say is that there are several hundred thousand people here," an unnamed BBC correspondent wrote on a blog. "And just like Mr Mousavi asked, the great majority are wearing sombre clothes. Many are in black, especially the women, who have turned out wearing black chadors."
Analysis: The situation has grown to the point where officials in Iran are going to have to "crack down or back down," says The Economist.
Flickr has a slideshow of images from Tehran, but it's unclear when each photo was taken. (Note: Some are graphic)
Twitter remains the best aggregator of information for people willing to sift through it.
Update 12:41 p.m. - TED has posted Clay Shirky's talk on the role of Twitter in stories like this:
Now it's Democrats lamenting "judicial activism."
Today's case: The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that in any suit over age discrimination brought against an employer by a fired employee, it's entirely up to the employee to prove it (ruling here).
"The burden of persuasion does not shift to the employer to show that it would have taken the action regardless of age, even when a plaintiff has produced some evidence that age was one motivating factor in that decision," Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the order overturning an award to a 54-year-old insurance claims adjuster who lost his job to a 40-year-old woman.
The liberal wing of the court lined up behind Justice Paul Stevens who wrote in his dissent, "Yet today the Court resurrects the standard in an unabashed display of judicial lawmaking."
His comment echoed Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Patrick Leahy. "This overreaching by a narrow majority of the court will have a detrimental effect on all Americans and their families," Leahy said.
The court's ruling comes almost a year to the day of a Supreme Court ruling that overturned a similar ruling by a federal appeals court in New York, which held the employee had the burden of proof.
Neither side appeared to address the obvious question: Absent a memo or a phone conversation that said, "Let's get rid of Joe; he's old," how would you prove age discrimination in its entirety?
Discrimination complaints usually rise during recessions and this one is no exception. But it's not always the older worker. Employees in their 20s and 30s are finding themselves more at risk of a layoff, the Wall St. Journal reported last month.(2 Comments)