Saturday, June 25, 2016

Music Brexit

To celebrate the Brexit, this music break will consist of songs by British artists.  To start, here's something from Fleetwood Mac, back when they were all British.  To my knowledge, Down At The Crown does not appear on their studio albums, but is included in the compilation Madison Blues.  The lead vocal is mostly from guitarist Danny Kirwan, who wrote the song, but one section is sung by keyboardist Christine McVie.  Jerry Spencer plays slide guitar.

Friday, June 24, 2016

United Kingdom Votes To Leave European Union

As noted in yesterday's post, updated very early this morning, the people of the United Kingdom have voted to leave the European Union.  In other words, they decided to make the Brexit a reality.  As a result, here come the stories:

First and foremost, from BBC News, the referendum results.  I admit to refreshing this page quite often yesterday evening.  The page includes a map by which local results can be searched.  Of the three areas where I've stayed in Great Britain, two (Eastbourne and Cornwall) voted to Leave, while the other (Stirling, Scotland) voted to Remain.

From Politico, how leaving the EU will work.

From National Review, the vote was "just the beginning" of the process.

From CNN, the whole process "will take at least 2 years".

From The Week, why the Brexit should scare Americans opposed to Donald Trump (R-NY), who just happens to be visiting Scotland right now.

From The Telegraph, the British have "defied their jailers", and the Brexit is "more impressive" than the French Revolution.

From the Express, Muslims in Calais, France throw a fit - and rocks.

From the New York Post, in response to the Brexit, American stock markets plunge.

From Roll Call, the Brexit deals a blow to President Obama, who had tried to warn the U.K. against leaving the E.U.

From the Belfast Telegraph, a huge compilation of news items.

And last but not least, from The Guardian, a video "political obituary" for Prime Minister David Cameron, who announced his resignation.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Brexit Vote And Other News

Today the people of the United Kingdom vote whether to stay in the European Union.  The result will be announced tomorrow.  Read more at USA Today.

Meanwhile here in the United States, House Democrats end their sit-in.  Read more at CNN.

In Baltimore, the police officer who drove the van in which Freddie Gray sustained fatal injuries has been acquitted of all charges against him.  Read more at The Baltimore Sun.

The U.S. Supreme Court has voted 4-4 with regard to President Obama's executive amnesty.  The tie vote leaves in place a lower court ruling against his attempt to provide "quasi-legal status" to illegal immigrants.  Read more at Politico.

UPDATE:  A Los Angeles jury has ruled that Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven was not plagiarized from Spirit's Taurus.  Read more at the Rolling Stone.

UPDATE 2:  Just after the polls close in the U.K., UKIP leader Nigel Farange "concedes defeat" as a YouGov poll has Remain at 52% and Leave at %48.  (This is not the official result, which will be announced tomorrow.)  Read more at the Daily Mail, and if you scroll down to look at some pictures, you might think that former London Mayor Boris Johnson looks a bit like American presidential candidate Donald Trump.

UPDATE 3:  Here's something worth adding because it's literally from out of this world.  Observations taken with the Hubble Telescope have confirmed that Neptune has a new dark spot.  Read more at Phys(dot)org.

UPDATE 4:  It appears that UPDATE 2 has been overruled.  According to projections, Leave will win the Brexit referendum with about 51.5% of the vote.  As I write this paragraph, it's about 20 minutes past midnight and thus June 24.  Looks like I'll have plenty to post about later today.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Why There Might Be A Brexit Tomorrow

Tomorrow, the United Kingdom will vote on whether to stay within the European Union (EU), the possible leave being called "Brexit".  Among the arguments for leaving is that the Union's commissioners, an un-elected body of bureaucrats, have legislative power over the ordinary affairs of the people of the member states, without any accountability thereto.  As Jonah Goldberg, who finds some parallels here in the United States, points out in National Review:
The European Union’s bureaucracy and paper-parliament were set up to be as insulated as possible from the concerns of actual voters. Representatives to the European Parliament are selected by party elites as a kind of highbrow patronage. They invariably defer to the permanent bureaucracy, which acts like a transnational cartel, one that happens to be composed of governments. As Daniel Hannan, the rare Euroskeptic skunk to infiltrate the garden party that is the EU parliament, put it, “faced with a choice between democracy and supra-nationalism, the EU will always choose supra-nationalism.”
The rules flowing out of Brussels are in no way the source of all of Britain’s economic and social challenges, but when diktats come down about everything from the proper curvature of bananas to age requirements for the usage of balloons, you can understand why some Brits might be tempted to have their own version of a Boston Tea Party.
Imagine if NAFTA had set up a bureaucracy under which unelected officials had the power to control the lives and economic affairs of ordinary Americans, Canadians and Mexicans, and determine such things as the immigration and trade policies of the United States, Canada and Mexico.  Imagine if gradually more and more powers currently belonging to each national legislature were transferred to these NAFTA bureaucrats.  Now imagine if the citizens of the three countries had no recourse when the commissioners enacted something unpopular.  If you can imagine all of that, you know what the British and other Europeans are dealing with.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ithaca Falls

The third and last waterfall I visited in Ithaca was the city's namesake falls.  Ithaca Falls, on Fall Creek, is located just west of the Cornell University campus.  It can be reached by a short walk from a small parking lot on Lake Street, next to a neighborhood north of downtown Ithaca and west of Cornell.  As I approached, I took this picture of the falls behind some trees.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Links For The Solstice

I interrupt my tour of waterfalls in Ithaca, New York to bring you some tidbits in the news:

A Taliban suicide bombing kills 14 Nepalese security guards.

Iranian authorities claim to have stopped a terrorist plot.

U.S. authorities will release a partial transcript of the Orlando shooter's 911 calls.

What the transcript won't include.  UPDATE:  The full transcript is released.

How Democrats disarm us by suppressing the truth.

Anti-Trump Republicans make their pitch.

Speaking of Donald Trump (R-NY), he and his campaign manager go their separate ways.

Over 1000 people meet via conference call to discuss unbinding GOP (and thus Trump) delegates.

An archivist in Harlem discovers letters written by Barack Obama the Elder.  (via here)

A solar-powered airplane leaves New York and heads for Spain.

In Pakistan, a cop beats a Christian pastor for "exuberant worship".

In Saudi Arabia, Ramadan iftar dinners bring "massive food waste".

Turkish President Erdogan sues people for insulting him.

Erdogan "condemns" the attack at a Radiohead concert in Turkey.

A Christian pastor gets a nasty phone message after putting a Ramadan greeting on his church's sign.

A warning about Muslim immigrants who favor Sharia - from the daughter of Muslim immigrants.

In Syria, ISIS crucifies "Ramadan violators" daily.

ISIS calls for attacks on American military bases.

Talk about Justice Clarence Thomas retiring is "bogus", as pointed out by his wife.

Hundreds of Japanese people suffer from "earthquake sickness".

And to finish, in his back yard, a teenager finds, not badger, not a mushroom, but it's a snake, a snake!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Wells Falls

After leaving Buttermilk Falls State Park, I drove over to Wells Falls, located along Giles Street east of downtown Ithaca.  Pretty close to this waterfall is a small parking lot for the Mulholland Wildflower Preserve, but it was full, so I continued westward down Giles and found a parking space along the street.  I thus had to hike for a bit, but at least it wasn't uphill.

Wells Falls is also known as Businessman's Lunch, and is located next to an abandoned hydroelectric plant along Six Mile Creek.  Its uppermost section is formed by a dam, which was probably used to divert water into the power plant.  The bridge behind and above the dam is part of Giles Street.

Buttermilk Falls

During my western New York state childhood, I had traveled to Ithaca a few times, to see places such as Sapsucker Woods, but had no idea that the city included a bunch of waterfalls.  I recently returned to the area to check a few of them out.

Buttermilk Falls, in the state park of the same name, is located just off New York state highways 13, 34 and 96, which combine into a single road south of downtown Ithaca.  The falls is really a series of cascades separated by relatively level sections of Buttermilk Creek.  This is the lower end of the falls, with a pool just in front of it.  (No swimming was allowed that day.)  To the right is part of the Gorge Trail.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Song For The Tube

If you've ever visited London and taken a ride on the Underground, a.k.a. the Tube, you've probably noted the names of quite a few stations.  If so, you'll appreciate this little ditty by British musician Jay Foreman, which mentions every single one of them, or so he claims.  Here's a map for your convenience, if you want to check to see if he indeed got them all.

The next time you're in London, happy Tubing!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Philadelphia To Tax Soda

The place known as the "city of brotherly love" has apparently lost some of its love for carbonated beverages.  Philadelphia has passed a 1.5 cent/ounce tax on sodas, both sugary and artificially sweetened, which will take effect this coming January 1st.  This will be in addition to the 8% sales tax that is already in force.  Philadelphia will thus become the second American city to tax soda, after Berkeley, California.  City officials estimate this new tax will bring in about $90 million.