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Published: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 @ 11:49 AM
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Senate on Sunday passed a resolution to urge law enforcement officials to name white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups as terrorist organizations in the wake of racially fueled violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Chicago Tribune reported that the resolution came in response to the weekend’s violence, which claimed the life of a woman protesting a rally organized by white nationalists.
In addition to naming white nationalist groups as terrorist organizations, the resolution encourages authorities to dismantle “the criminal elements of these domestic terrorist organizations in the same manner as other manifestations of terrorism.”
Democratic state Sen. Don Harmon, one of the resolution’s sponsors, said in a statement that the resolution was meant to condemn the “inexcusable acts of violence committed by white nationalist and neo-Nazi groups in Charlottesville this weekend.”
“It is vital that we stand in total opposition to the hatred, bigotry and violence displayed by these groups,” he said. “They are the heirs to the Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis. We fought two bloody wars in opposition to their ideologies. We must continue to fight those same twisted ideologies today.”
He said the groups are contradictory to what America strives to be.
“Diversity has always and will always make America stronger and better,” he said.
I introduced a resolution in the Senate today condemning the inexcusable acts of violence committed by white nationalist...Posted by Senator Don Harmon on Sunday, August 13, 2017
Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 10:47 PM
— Everyone wants to feel self-sufficient, and even those with deep pockets find it's a good idea to stick to some kind of home maintenance budget. If you chuckled at the thought of having "deep pockets," you're probably even more concerned with controlling costs on the home front.
But frugal isn't always better, even if you have monster DIY skills. "When it comes to doing your own home repairs, there's a thin line between being fearless and foolish," noted Joseph Truini of Popular Mechanics.
Involved electrical work.
Feel free to install dimmer switches or replace an old ceiling light with a new ceiling fan, Truini advised. "Upgrading existing devices and fixtures is relatively easy and safe, as long as you remember to first turn off the electricity." But anything more complicated than that and it's time to call the pros (and heave a sigh as you get out your wallet). "When it comes to extending existing electrical circuits or adding new ones, call in an experienced, licensed electrician," he said. "When homeowners start messing around with electrical circuits and running new cables, there are two likely outcomes and both are potentially lethal: electrical shock and fire."A leaky roof.
Those drip-drips on the floor, even if it's only the attic floor, can indicate big problems for a homeowner who ignores them. They include possible structural damage, mold or loss of personal property, according to The Balance. "It's nothing to mess with. Address roof leaks as soon as you discover them, and you'll save yourself a ton of cash," it added.
Roof problems can be caused by weather, which can decay roof materials, or a simple lack of maintenance, which most commonly makes a flat or low-sloped roof uneven, so it accumulates water that can destroy roofing material. While a few adjustments can be made by an amateur, the most important roof area to inspect is the flashing, which is supposed to provide a watertight seal between your roof's sections and other parts of the building, according to The Balance. If you try to install, adjust or replace the flashing yourself, you're risking a disaster. "Incorrect installation procedure or attachment, and improper sealing of the flashing will allow the water to enter between the roofing systems and the roof structure."
If the problem is the roof's design, including the slope, drainage or incompatible materials, you should also get an expert roofer involved before the leaks start leaving impressive levels of destruction. While design adjustments are expensive to correct and have to happen while another roofing material is happening, ignoring them will cost many more do-overs and potential roof failures.
Defective water-based plumbing appliances.
Being a homeowner requires a little bit of DIY plumbing for the occasional leaky faucet, clogged drain or stopped-up toilet, according to the Louisville, Kentucky-based Tom Sondergeld Plumbing. "These basic projects can be finished in a couple of hours and don't require any specialized skill," the owner admitted.
But there are larger plumbing issues that can't be ignored, or tackled by a homeowner who's handy with the wrench. One time not to skimp is when a water heater, sump pump or other water-based appliance stops functioning properly. "When these appliances need maintenance or replacement, it can be an extensive process," TSP advised. "A licensed plumber can either repair or replace the appliance properly."
All jokes about hourly rates and attire malfunctions aside, sometimes a plumber's efforts can prevent out and out disasters. One of these instances is when you spot standing water in the house, according to TSP. (Mysterious standing water, that is, not the result of a recent large dog being bathed or a spill you recognize.) The standing water can be close to a water heater, toilet or sink, but the damage may be far more extensive. "A plumber can see if there is more than meets the eye," TSP said. "Typically, standing water is a sign of a much larger problem. Before you start digging into the issue, call a professional and let them use their expertise to diagnose and treat the issue before your home becomes a splash park."
A dirty chimney.
Due to the potential for fires and dangerous fumes, sweeping the chimney annually is not optional, according to the Balance. "Hire a professional chimney sweep once a year to make sure your chimney is free of creosote, bird nests and other flammables," the site recommended.
Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 9:55 PM
Updated: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 9:55 PM
— Famed evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham, who counseled several presidents and preached to millions of people worldwide, died Wednesday, according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. He was 99.
Funeral arrangements have now been finalized and a public viewing is scheduled for early next week.
Billy Graham passed away this morning at his Montreat, North Carolina, home and met his Savior, Jesus Christ. Mr. Graham was 99. For more visit: https://t.co/BqTSDigeaT— BGEA (@BGEA) February 21, 2018
READ MORE: Photos: Billy Graham through the years | Photos: Notable deaths 2018 | Billy Graham quotes: He made Christian principles accessible to millions | Billy Graham named among 10 most admired men for 59th time | MORE
Published: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 @ 6:23 PM
WINDSOR, Ontario, Canada — Residents of a Canadian town have been plagued with a bizarre humming noise for years and say it’s completely wreaking havoc on the city.
The persisting humming has been going on for years and has been described as a similar sound as a truck idling or distant thunder. Some residents even say that the noise has damaged their quality of life and people’s health. Residents have also called the Canadian House of Commons and complained of headaches, irritability, depression and sleeplessness from the noise.
Some residents even claim that the odd sound has been bothering their pets and has rattled windows in their homes.
But it’s not just limited to the city of Windsor, Ontario, either. The New York Times reports that it can be heard on the Detroit River and there have even been reports from McGregor, Ontario, 20 miles to the south.
But, tracing the origin of the noise has been difficult because, apparently, not everyone can hear it. It could also be difficult to get the government to do anything about the hum as regulations typically only cover decibel levels that could lead to hearing damage or loss. Though, Dr. Darius Kohan, a neurotology at Lenox Hill Hospital and Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital said that it is unlikely a low-frequency hum could cause damage to one’s hearing.
Sleuths have been looking for answers as to where the hum is actually coming from and have reportedly narrowed it down to furnace operations on Zug Island near the Detroit River. United States Steel, which operates the furnaces, have allegedly been “uncooperative and secretive” when it comes to inquiries about the hum.
Though Mike Provost, a resident of the city refuses to give up and has devoted six years to running a Facebook page that focuses on finding the source of the hum and debunking theories about it.
“I’ve got to keep going,” he told the NYT. “I’m not going to quit this.”
Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 2:56 PM
— There has been a spate of headlines over the past week heralding something pretty awful -- potentially less tequila on the liquor shelves.
“A Tequila Shortage Could Be on the Horizon,” a Fortune article announced on Feb. 1. Stories from other news outlets quickly followed, and they all have a similar doom-filled message.
Essentially, tequila producers can’t keep up with demand. That’s led to the skyrocketing cost for agave -- the Mexican plant from which tequila is distilled -- which has shot up six-fold in the past two years. That price squeezes the margins for smaller distillers and causes worry that even the bigger companies will be affected, according to Reuters.
Since the plant takes seven to eight years to reach full maturity, the ideal point at which agave farmers harvest them for tequila, some farmers have resorted to pulling their plants early, before the agave is fully mature. The young agave doesn’t yield as much tequila, producing a cascading problem of supply.
The shortages are expected to be much worse this year, and they might not get better until 2021, “as improved planting strategies take years to bear fruit,” according to Reuters. In that time, small producers might not have the capital to stay in business.
“Already, the 17.7 million blue agaves planted in 2011 in Mexico for use this year fall far short of the 42 million the industry needs to supply 140 registered companies,” the Reuters story said.
Finding sustainability in the tequila industry has been an ongoing issue. Though tequila was once that cheap liquor we took shots of in college with some lime and salt, in recent years, it has been recognized globally as an artisanal spirit made from a particular species of Mexican plant. With that recognition has come greater demand for tequila — and thus, a greater strain on the Agave tequilana plant.
Mezcal and sotol have similarly found popularity, primarily in the U.S. because of our proximity to the Mexican border. But the demand isn’t nearly as high for them, and mezcal can be made from a wider range of agave plants. Tequila, which is technically a type of mezcal, comes specifically from blue agave.
What does all that mean for us? Well, we’ll probably still be able to order a margarita from our neighborhood bar in the coming year. But the price of our drinks and our bottles at the liquor store might depend upon whether the large producers, like Patron, experience the pinch that smaller tequila makers are already enduring.
Industry insiders forecast that they will and that the problem isn’t about to let up soon.
“We are sure this will have a strong impact on the big firms such as Cuervo or Sauza,” Raul Garcia, president of the National Committee for Agave Production in Tequila, told Reuters, which noted those firms haven’t yet had problems paying for agave.
An Austin-based brand, Dulce Vida Tequila, has also managed to stay afloat in the turbulent industry.
“Dulce Vida is mindful of its consumers when developing products and pricing,” according to a PR representative. “Amidst this initial shift, the brand has opted to remain consistent with their current pricing and premium-quality product.”