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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Morning News and Views

Happy Father's Day!

My dad went to high night job at the US Post Office, where he sorted mail and served as the union steward, the even prior to the final exams of my junior year of college. I was awoken early in the morning by my mother, "dad had a heart attack and is in the hospital." True to my family, the risk was understated and denial was strong. At the hospital I saw my dad, he held my hand tight. When I said I had to go to take exams, he held my hand tighter and without words indicated I should go, I do not recall how. It was the last I saw him alive. 

That summer the theatre ensemble I started with my friends fresh out of high school dedicated their show to my father, William Arthur Lynch, World War II vet, stock yard employee, insurance salesman, son of a cop, grandson of cops and firemen going way back to just after Ft. Dearborn was burnt to the ground, at the start of the Great City of Chicago.

The fall semester I wrote a story so strong and deep that my writing professor wanted to see me in his office. Of course I thought I was in trouble. But as a dad himself, he wanted to know what my dad did to make the bond so strong between us so strong, so lasting and deep.

My deep unionist beliefs, and my long hour and solid dedication to the Screen Actors Guild, despite a lack of work or opportunity, and without any pay, find their strength in the moral and ethical foundation of my father.
Work hard, look out for your fellow worker, use your talent and skills, help make the world better for others.

Hug your dad for me.

This one is for Nevada SAG Council Member Charlie DiPinto. June 19, 1897, 114 years ago today was the day Moses Horowitz was born in Brooklyn. He headed to Vaudeville. He and his younger brother, plus Larry Fein, launched "the Three Stooges" in New York, but quickly earned a Hollywood Contract. "Moe Howard" died in 1975. Next year a three stooges movie tribute will hit the screens. 

The Nevada Republican Party's state central committee has picked past state chairman Mark Amodei to be the party's nominee in a special congressional election in September for the seat left vacant by Republican Dean Heller's appointment to the U.S. Senate. Acting state chairwoman Sherry Dilley says Amodei won 221 of the 323 votes cast Saturday. State Sen. Greg Brower received 56 votes and retired Navy commander Kirk Lippold 46. It's not clear if Amodei will be the only official Republican on the ballot Sept. 13. The state Supreme Court is still considering a lawsuit that says anyone who filed for the race should be allowed in the contest prompted by Sen. John Ensign's resignation.

Astronomers have discovered an amazing sight...a black hole "eating" a star. Black holes appear when as circular holes when approaching in the direction of the telescope, but most of the time they are "tubes" coming form a common point. The tube first seemed to bend toward the star's gravity, then pulled most of it up in one "gulp", slowly sucking up the remnants. Scientist now believe black holes are matter traveling at just a microscopic percentage less than the speed of light, generating tremendous gravity "suction" in the process. What we are seeing is the tiny percentage of  light escaping the suction of the hole. Unrelated, but also recently, nine more planets were identified, bringing the total number of planets seen from Earth to just under 3,000.

The oldest complete Buddhist Monastery in the world may fall to the wrecking ball as the Chinese mining industry strip mines for copper and other minerals. The temple is no longer occupied but remains in tact, with gardens, Buddha statues, world class art on the walls and ceilings and a glimpse into how the earliest Buddhist monastical monks lives, prayed and earned their livings. But the monastery is not in China, it is in Afghanistan, spared by the Taliban but soon to be the victim of that nations pressing need for income as the US prepared to withdraw. It has remained in tact since the late fourth century. 

"Batfish" are dieing near deep sea drilling rigs. Batfish are flat fish where the eyes migrate to the top side of the pancake like fish, along with it's thin mouth, giving the appearance from a distance of the bats of the sky. They are just one species being impacted as oceanographers investigate the environmental impact of drilling on the very fragile ecosystem of the sea floor.

This past week marked the fifth consecutive week of falling U.S. gas prices. Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst with the Oil Price Information Service, says prices will remain about where they are through the summer and that consumers should get use to the "new norm" of $3 a gallon for a long time, with spikes higher when world events lead to speculator driven increases. That means prices for everything from big screen TV's to food will keep going up until they catch up with the price of fuel.

Scrutiny of al-Qaida's financing has increased and strikes have taken aim at its money men. So al-Qaida's core organization in Pakistan has turned to kidnapping for ransom to offset dwindling cash reserves.That's according to U.S. officials and information in files retrieved from Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan after he was killed last month by U.S. Navy SEALs. Bin Laden's interest in kidnapping as a money-raiser bolsters accounts that a financial squeeze has staggered al-Qaida and forced it to search for alternative funding sources. Officials would not detail al-Qaida's role in specific crimes,
but the group's affiliates have targeted diplomats, tourists and merchants.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says Shiite extremists, not al-Qaida terrorists, are to blame for most of the recent U.S. military deaths in Iraq, and they're "clearly getting some fairly sophisticated and powerful weapons" from Iran. Gates tells CNN's "State of the Union" that he's worried about the Iranian influence in Iraq and he thinks Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki
largest loss of life for American troops in two years.

Gates says the Taliban will only negotiate when they feel they are under greater military pressure. Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Saturday that the U.S. and Afghan governments have held talks with Taliban emissaries in an
effort to end the nearly 10-year war. Gates says there's been "outreach" to the Taliban by the U.S. and others, but he describes the contacts as "very preliminary." Gates tells CNN's "State of the Union" that he doesn't think
the talks will make any "substantive" progress until at least the winter. He says that before the Taliban are willing to have "a serious conversation," they'll have to feel under military pressure and begin to believe that they can't win. He says a political outcome is the way that most wars end. 

President Barack Obama's chief campaign strategist is dismissive of the Republicans who want his boss' job. David Axelrod says they're eager to criticize the Democratic incumbent without offering substantive ways to help the country. Axelrod also says it's too early to start sizing up the competition. But that isn't stopping him from taking on the emerging field of candidates when he was asked to assess the GOP' first major debate of the campaign season last Monday in New Hampshire.Republicans at that forum condemned Obama's handling of the economy and pledged to repeal his health care overhaul.Axelrod tells CNN's "State of the Union" that there was "a view of
unanimity of antipathy toward the president." He says he didn't hear many ideas, but rather "a lot of pat
partisan platitudes."

The NBA Finals delivered some great basketball this year -- and that's a good thing. It may be the last professional basketball we see for a while. The NBA and its players' union are miles apart when it comes to a new contract. This past week they cancelled the summer NBA season, based here in Las Vegas, where many players are kept in shape, whipped into shape and new players are evaluated. So basketball fans need to fear the same thing as NFL fans, the potential of no season come the fall.

Clarence Clemons, the legendary saxophone player in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, has died at the age of 69. He was hospitalized a week ago after suffering a stroke.  Clemons sound helped define Springsteen and his sound.

Fifty-one beauty queens from around the country are getting ready to smile and strut before a panel of judges and a live audience here in Las Vegas to determine the country's next Miss USA. Tonight's winner will replace Miss USA 2010 Rima Fakih and be America's representative at the Miss Universe pageant in Brazil in September. Fakih overcame a near-stumble in her evening gown to win last year. This year's contestants hope to avoid missteps and shine in swimwear, evening gown and interview competitions at the Planet  Hollywood. A Las Vegas oddsmaker has tabbed Miss California Alyssa Campanella the favorite of the competition. Contestants from North Dakota and New Hampshire are the long shots in just-for-fun odds.

He helped me learn how to be a college professor. RIP Tony Ferri, UNLV

Anthony Ferri
FERRI, Anthony J. Jan. 24, 1951-June 15, 2011 It is with great sadness the family announces his passing on June 15, 2011. Predeceased by his parents Leo and Irene, brothers Michael and David and nephew Jeffrey. Loving father of Theresa and Steven. Brother of Tom (Judy) and Gina Graston (Mike). Brother-in-law of Pat (David)and Donna (Michael). Tony also leaves behind many loving nieces and nephews, as well as his dear cousin, Bob Ruzzin (Lenette). Tony enjoyed an accomplished career in academics. A graduate of University of Windsor (B.A Hon.) and Wayne State University (M.A.) (Ph.D. 1979), he went on to earn many academic and administrative appointments marked primarily by his Assistant Professorship, Communications, Indiana University- Purdue University at Fort Wayne(1980) and his later move to the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (1985 to present) as Full Professor. Tony also published numerous articles and several books which are used in many university media studies. Tony's biggest Collegiate accomplishment however, was to participate in and witness first-hand, as a cap and gown clad faculty member and proud father, Theresa's UNLV graduation ceremony this past May 14th where she earned a B.A. in Psychology. Tony died peacefully in his sleep. He will be dearly missed. While no details have been confirmed, a Memorial service is being planned by UNLV. Tony's ashes will afterward be transported to Windsor for a church service and interment with his family. Details will follow. Funeral arrangements in Las Vegas are being handled by Bunker's Eden vale Mortuary 925 Las Vegas Boulevard North, Las Vegas NV 89101 (702)385-1441
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Flip Flopping for a Vote?

 U.S. Sen. Dean Heller's stance on abortion appears to have changed completely from the congressional candidate who stated five years ago that he supported a woman's right to an abortion.When running for Congress in 2006 in Nevada, Heller said he backed a woman's right to an abortion. Since entering Congress, the GOP lawmaker has voted consistently for legislation sought by abortion foes. For example, he voted in April to strip federal funding from Planned Parenthood. The 51-year-old Heller was sworn in May 9 to the Senate after ohn Ensign resigned. He says he took a libertarian approach before entering Congress.He says voting in Congress helped crystalize his conservative position.

Stop texting,, Facebook or talking on the phone while driving

Talking or texting on a cellphone while driving will soon be illegal in Nevada. Gov. Brian Sandoval on Friday signed a ban into law that brings Nevada in line with the majority of other U.S. states. Despite ample evidence that hands free is as dangerous as holding the phone, the law makes exceptions for people talking on their phone with a hands-free device. The law takes effect July 1st, however until early next year policemust give only warnings to people violating the ban. A fine and penalty structurebegins on Jan. 1, 2012. Violating the law is a misdemeanor and subject to a $50 fine for the first offense. A second offense within seven years comes with a $100 fine and a third offense gets a $250 fine. A person convicted of a third or subsequent offense within seveny ears will have their driver's license suspended for six months.