Singer songwriter Ray LaMontagne cancels appearance due to gun law

Singer songwriter Ray Montagne cancels appearance due to gun law

Singer songwriter Ray LaMontagne has cancelled an appearance at the University of Texas, Austin, in protest of the state-wide campus concealed carry handgun law. Signed by the state’s governor in June, the law permits people aged 21 and older with the proper licensure to conceal carry handguns on college campuses throughout the state.

Many find it ironic that the bill became law on the 50th anniversary of a mass murder in which 50 students died on a Texas University campus, while others, who support the bill, believe it will make campuses safer places in the long run.

LaMontagne is very much against the law, but the law has strong support in Texas. According to LaMontagne, America doesn’t need any more guns. And many echo his sentiments, despite the majority view, including some officials in Texas government. Nonetheless, despite strong minority sentiment, many in Texas feel that the better access to guns will save lives. They believe it’s the best way to stop gun violence on campuses and other places. By encouraging law-abiding citizens to arm themselves, they believe that mass murderers and terrorists will be met with violent opposition before they have the opportunity to inflict mass casualties.

Alternatively, realists point out that the chances of young students getting into serious trouble with guns is quite high, and a much greater threat than the potential threat of mass murder. Young, hot-tempered college students, who haven’t quite completed their emotional development, often immersed in the atmosphere of heavy drinking found on many college campuses, would be at greater risk for crimes of passion, and suicide attempts, with guns easily accessible and permitted at Universities.

For better or worse Texas Universities have become a laboratory for the safety of University students, faculty and staff, across the state. Will the conceal carry law that LaMontagne protests afford the universities some measure of protection against violent criminals, or merely increase safety risks? What ever your heart felt opinion, at least there will be hard data to analyze in the coming years. And when those numbers are in, we must analyze them properly, and act without hesitation in the best interests of the people.

Learn more about Ray Montagne’s protest and this law (CNN)



Photo: mattCreative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Three Broadway Girls, 1932, a film by Lowell Sherman

Three Broadway Girls, 1932, a film by Lowell Sherman

Three Broadway Girls, 1932

A film by Lowell Sherman

This film is also known as ‘The Greeks had a name for them,’ and follows the adventures Jean, Polaire, and Schatze, living together as roommates in a luxurious apartment that’s way beyond their means. They are ex-show girls with gold-digging tendencies, who are on the hunt for wealthy men.

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Watch the 2016 Emmy Awards Ceremony & Backstage Coverage, LIVE!

The 2016 Emmy Awards Backstage, LIVE!

Enjoy an entertaining and action-packed live stream presentation of televisions prestigious 2016 Emmy awards backstage, hosted again by Jimmy Kimmel, starting with the Red Carpet Arrivals through the beloved award show, starting Sunday, September 18, at 5 pm Pacific time (8 pm EST)

Photo: (screen capture)

Playwright Edward Albee dies at 88

Playwrite Edward Albee dies at 88

Celebrated playwright Edward Albee has died at 88 years of age. Considered by many to be America’s greatest living playwright, he penned such classics as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?, The American Dream, and Three Tall Women, among many others. Long-recognized as a master of his craft, he wrote 30 plays and won the coveted Pulitzer-Prize for Drama three times over the course of his long career.

Adopted by a wealthy family with close connections to the old Vaudville tradition (his father owned several theaters,) he felt out of place both at home and at school. He was expelled from two high schools, and left a military academy early. Though he did ultimately graduate from high school, he was eventually expelled from college for skipping classes and failing to comply with chapel attendance requirements—-how times have changed.

Albee knew he wanted to be a writer very early on, and moved to New York City as a very young man, living in the fast-paced and avant-garde Greenwich Village neighborhood, long before gentrification, and then home to struggling artists of all kinds. Working odd jobs to support himself, he tirelessly practiced his art, and gained recognition as a writer fairly early. Openly gay for much of his life, he once said that he wanted to be known not as a gay playwright, but as a playwright who happened to be gay.

Learn more about playwright Edward Albee (


Photo: Wikimedia Commons, CC0 (public domain image)

Solar Plant kills thousands of birds

Solar Plant kills thousands of birds

The pursuit of alternative energy is a noble endeavor, but even clean solar energy methods can have serious environmental impacts, and sometimes they are quite negative. One solar power plant in California kills up to 6,000 birds annually. This is of course tragic, surprising, and unacceptable. But despite their best efforts, engineers haven’t been able to stop these deaths.

The plant uses mirrors to focus light on a boiler, converting water to steam, which powers a turbine and generates a substantial quantity of energy. It’s the same priniple as a kid using a magnifying glass to burn a hole in a leaf or piece of paper. Unfortunately, the highly concentrated light attracts large numbers of insects, which attract birds, seeking an easy meal. When the birds fly through the beams of concentrated light, they are incinerated within seconds. Counter measures haven’t stopped the carnage, and scientists and engineers are working to find a solution. Even the ground-based measures, like a huge fence to protect tortoises, have had unintended environmental consequences, like changing the relationship between coyotes and their prey, road runners.

This is very frustrating, since solar power is an excellent alternative to the burning of fossil fuels, like oil and natural gas. It’s completely carbon neutral, so it won’t contribute to the increasing global warming crisis. Most scientists believe that anthropogenic climate change is responsible for many serious environmental problems, including a greatly increased extinction rate of species world-wide, so carbon neutral alternatives to fossil fuels are essential.

Though arrays of solar panels wouldn’t kill birds, the method of solar capture used at this power plant is very efficient, and ideal for a desert environment with lots of sunlight and land to work with. Unfortunately the environmental impact in this case is considerable. If the experts can’t find a work-around that saves the birds from these horrific, fiery deaths, Californians will need to ask themselves some very difficult questions in the coming years.

Is this much-needed carbon neutral energy source worth the trade-off in animal lives, and negative environmental impacts? Or are the dangers of burning fossil fuels simply too great?

Learn more about the bird deaths at this solar energy plant (


Photo: Sbharris/WikiCommons

Afghanistan protests harsh and degrading treatment of prisoners in Iran

Iranian police blindfold and cage Afghan prisoners

The management of Face Activities decries the humiliating treatment of Afghan prisoners by local police in the Iranian city of Shiraz. We propose a petition of protest to denounce this maltreatment. We call on the Iranian people to stand against this degrading treatment, and to ask for a full investigation of the incident and the police officers involved. Justice must triumph, and humanitarian values prevail over ignorance, prejudice and cruelty.

We know that the Iranian people, heirs to a rich and ancient cultural tradition, are too civilized, educated and cultured to permit such indignities to occur in their nation in the name of justice, and we beseech them to take action to restore justice. People are so angry that it’s even been suggested that the police officers involved in this outrage should be blindfolded and placed in this same cage. Clearly such treatment is unacceptable, and all prisoners should receive humane treatment in captivity, and due process under the law.


Protests have rocked Kabul, Afghanistan, after about two dozen Afghan refugees in the Iranian city of Shiraz, arrested for entering the country illegally, were blindfolded and confined within a large metal cage for public viewing—-a great humiliation. A total of about 200 individuals were detained by Iranian Police, including the smaller group selected for humiliation. The images went viral, triggering denunciations, demonstrations, and formal diplomatic protests across the world.

Alongside the alleged criminals, police confiscated and displayed weapons, explosives, drugs, alcohol, and soft drinks that were smuggled into Iran. These individuals may represent a security risk, and should face consequences for their actions, should a court of law find them guilty of crimes, but abuse and degradation should not be part of the process. This arrogant and insensitive action has angered Afghans, and people all over the world concerned with human rights. The police and city officials involved have clearly denied these prisoners due process. In addition, they have subjected them to degrading treatment, outraging the international community.

Three million Afghans live in Iran, and almost a million are classified as refugees. There’s been a great influx of desperate people from the war over many years. And it’s important to realize that these Afghans are culturally Iranian, since a large section of Afghanistan was part of greater Persia for a long time, until about 200 years ago. Their language, traditions and religion are heavily influenced by Persia, the way anglo-Americans and Australians owe much to their British roots. It is sad and ironic that they are marginalized in Iranian society, where they are now treated more as demonized foreigners than long-lost cousins in need.

Learn about the degrading detention of Afghan’s in Iran (



Photo: Hanieh Hoseinpour, ISNA Photo / (screen capture)


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