During the next two weeks, the major political parties will assemble their faithful in Tampa, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C., to officially nominate their presidential tickets. These conventions were once places of high political drama. But over the decades, as the primary system has determined the candidates well in advance, conventions have become political theater. With that in mind, there's much to be said on staging in politics — not substance, but style.
Amb. James Cunningham on the Afghan people's support
With "green on blue" attacks by Afghans in uniform increasingly in the news, Americans officials are being asked whether the people of Afghanistan are turning against the coalition troops that have been in the Central Asian nation since late 2001.
Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 8:32 pm
Cecilia Giménez, 81, thought she was doing a good thing. A 19th century fresco by painter Elias Garcia Martinez had slowly been battered by time. The masterpiece portrait of Jesus had faded. His tunic was splashed by bare wall and half his face had gone missing.
Giménez, a member of the church where the fresco is located, took it upon herself to restore it to its former glory. Except, well, her artistic skills weren't up to the task.
The pictures tell the story, so we'll just show you.
Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 3:27 pm
Van Hunt is something like a cross between Thelonious Monk and Prince: throaty and suave yet artistic, bold and a little weird. His inventive style speaks to his strong will, a trait that propelled the college dropout to move from his home in Ohio to the music hub of Atlanta.
A family rides past the house of Rimsha Masih, a Pakistani Christian girl arrested on blasphemy charges, on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, on Thursday. Rimsha is accused of burning pages of Quranic verse — a crime punishable by death in Pakistan. Her case has reignited debate over the country's blasphemy law and the growing influence of Muslim extremists.
Jorge Castro, a visiting professor of ecology from Spain, sips water in the shade of a burnt tree in New Mexico's Bandelier Wilderness area, adjacent to the Bandelier National Monument. This site was devastated by last year's Las Conchas fire.
Driving along the Forest Service roads on the edge of the Bandelier National Monument, you can see the destruction wrought by the Las Conchas fire. The megafire burned more than 150,000 acres of forest — about twice the area of Manhattan.
Craig Allen, a research ecologist with the United States Geological Survey, points to the devastation in Bandelier's Cochiti Canyon, which was burned by the Las Conchas fire. According to Allen, these megafires are "the new normal."
Wildflowers and weeds dot a once-forested landscape. The suppression of natural forest fires during the past century has set the stage for devastating megafires, setting new records in size and intensity.
Allen (left) and Castro look across the wasteland of a plateau reduced to ashes during the Las Conchas fire. Because the fires stripped vegetation from hillsides, these areas are now vulnerable to flash floods during the summer rains.
Collin Haffey, a biotechnician with Bandelier National Monument (left), and Allen examine a tiny Ponderosa pine tree sprouting up in the burn zone in the Dome Wilderness. Indigenous species of trees have failed to return to the area since the Las Conchas fire.
Jorge Castro, a visiting professor of Ecology from Spain, sips water in the shade of a burnt tree in New Mexico's Bandelier Wilderness area. Last year's Las Conchas fire devastated the area burning over 150,000 acres of forest.
Fire scientists are calling it "the new normal": a time of fires so big and hot that no one can remember anything like it.
One of the scientists who coined that term is Craig Allen. I drive with him to New Mexico's Bandelier National Monument, where he works for the U.S. Geological Survey. We take a dirt road up into the Jemez Mountains, into a landscape of black poles as far as you can see.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 2012's outbreak of West Nile virus is on track to be the worst in U.S. history. The mayor of Dallas recently authorized an aerial spraying program to kill the mosquitoes that carry the virus, which provoked protest from area residents.
Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 10:00 am
Federal regulators and fast-food companies reacted with unprecedented speed this week to the release of an undercover video that animal-rights activists shot inside a California slaughterhouse. The video — which, we'll warn you, is pretty graphic — shows employees of Central Valley Meat Co. using electric prods repeatedly on cattle that appeared unable to get to their feet.
My significant other, Angela Hartsell, is the Community Gardens Program Manager of Green Spaces Alliance Of South Texas. She builds public and private coalitions to help communities and their gardens in San Antonio. So far her efforts have helped create 33 gardens.