Sunday Reads: The Bitch is Back….With A New Modem, As A Matter Of Fact

Good Morning!

Well, what can I say…I’m back! I sure did miss you all.

My new modem is working fine, and it seems like ages since I posted something.

So keep that in mind as you read this long…long post. You may even want to take it in sections.

Elton John performing in Australia 1986.

I can bitch, I can bitch better than you…so let me get on with it!

One thing is for certain, being without internet is a bitch…there was so much going on this week. I am so glad that Boston Boomer has kept up with the Trayvon Martin murder in Sanford, FL. I have just been able to listen to the 911 tapes and it is so painful to hear those cries for help, which stop so abruptly after the gunshot…then comes that horrifying silence.

There is something wrong with that…I mean, if Zimmerman was the one screaming for help as the latest “secret” witness claims…why stop after he shoots the kid? I would be hollering for help, yelling for people to call 911. The lack of any sound after that gunshot is bothersome for me…it doesn’t play into the self-defense excuse.

And with that self-defense claim comes this question from Eugene Volokh:  Can the Police Arrest Someone for Homicide, When It’s Clear He Killed But Likely in Self-Defense?

To arrest someone for a crime, the police need probable cause to believe that he committed the crime. But what if it’s clear that the person committed the act (e.g., intentionally killed someone), but it seems likely that he has a good affirmative defense (e.g., self-defense)? My view is that probable cause should be probable cause to believe that the conduct was indeed criminal, and if the self-defense case is strong enough, that negates probable cause to believe that a crime (as opposed to a justifiable homicide) was committed. But when I looked into this several years ago, I saw that the few courts that had discussed the matter were split.

He goes on to refer to Florida law:

Florida law, though, clearly resolves this: “A law enforcement agency … may not arrest [a] person for using force [in a self-defense situation] unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.”

So in Florida, the police must have probable cause to believe that the defendant wasn’t acting in lawful self-defense in order to arrest the defendant. It’s not enough to say, “we have probable cause to believe that you killed the victim, so we’ll arrest you and then sort out later how strong your self-defense case is.”

It seems to me that self-defense does not cover a guy who had issues with “suspicious” black young men. The tape clearly shows he has already declared Martin a criminal…remember that comment about “these assholes” always get away…Zimmerman also says Martin begins to run away from him. How can you declare self-defense if you are the one running after, and confronting a person who is trying to avoid you?

Anyway, I don’t want to rehash what has been said about the Martin case…however, I would like to hear your thoughts about probable cause, and acting in lawful self-defense.

I must say that being without the internet has its merits. I got a reprieve from all the War on Women news that happened this past week. Even some of my good old boys from Georgia got in on the fun. Here is a quote from an email I received from Planned Parenthood two days ago:

-       On February 29th, the House passed HB 954. If this bill were to become law, it would be the first outright ban on abortions now legally performed in Georgia. HB 954 would ban abortions over 20 weeks regardless of medical circumstances.

-      During the House debate on HB 954, one Representative likened the tragic, complex decisions women face to the deliveries on the barnyard.

-      On Day 30, also known as Crossover Day, the Senate passed SB 438. If this bill were to become law, state employees would be denied access to the abortion care currently provided by insurance—with no exceptions for medical circumstances or rape and incest.

-      After the Senate vote on SB 438, nine of our women Senators took a stand against the anti-choice, anti-woman legislation by walking off the floor.

Fortunately, Dakinikat wrote about the livestock dumbass, Rep. Terry England…for more updates on other legislation being tossed around the 50 states: 50-State Blog Round-up

A few of my favorites:

Idaho: 43rd State Blues — State Sen. Chuck Winder is leading the assault on women’s rights in the state.

[…]

Massachusetts: Blue Mass Group — State Republicans are pushing a copy of the “shoot first” bill that was key in the Trayvon Martin killing.

[…]

Montana: Montana Cowgirl — State Rep. Krayton Kearns says that birth control is the “death nail in the coffin of our republic.”

[…]

  • Alabama: Left in Alabama — Less than 20 percent of Alabama residents support the strong anti-immigrant bill the state recently passed.
  • Alaska: Mudflats — Rep. Alan Dick is leading the charge to limit a woman’s right to choose.
  • Arizona: Rum, Romanism and Rebellion — Rep. Terry Proud (R) effectively admits that the forced ultrasound bill her party is pursuing is about shaming women who they consider “immoral.”
  • Arkansas: Blue Arkansas — Apparently State. Rep. Denny Altes (R) has some racist e-mails in his past.
  • California: Sacramento for Democracy — Occupy and social justice groups blockaded Monsanto.
  • Colorado: Square State — State. Rep. Daniel Kagan (R) wrote a personhood bill that passed the House on a straight-party line vote.

So give that link up top a click if you would like to see what your state has been up to lately.

As far as the Massachusetts GOP pushing the “shoot first” bill, I wonder if this is getting any attention from Brown and Warren. Perhaps Boston Boomer or Pat can give us a heads up on that.

Speaking of livestock, uh…the real livestock, not women: An Order to Ban Antibiotics for Livestock

The Obama administration must warn drug makers that the government may soon ban agricultural uses of some popular antibiotics that many scientists say encourage the proliferation of dangerous infections and imperil public health, a federal magistrate judge ruled on Thursday.

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg News

The practice of feeding antibiotics to promote growth has led to a judge’s order that moves toward ending that use of the drugs.

The order, issued by Judge Theodore H. Katz of the Southern District of New York, effectively restarts a process that the Food and Drug Administration began 35 years ago, but never completed, intended to prevent penicillin and tetracycline, widely used antibiotics, from losing their effectiveness in humans because of their bulk use in animal feed to promote growth in chickens, pigs and cattle.

The order comes two months after the Obama administration announced restrictions on agricultural uses of cephalosporins, a critical class of antibiotics that includes drugs like Cefzil and Keflex, which are commonly used to treat pneumonia, strep throat and skin and urinary tract infections.

[…]

In a separate move, the F.D.A. is expected to issue draft rules within days that ask drug makers to voluntarily end the use of antibiotics in animals without the oversight of a veterinarian.

Don’t get too excited…yes I know it seems like a move in the right direction, but…

…neither the judge’s order nor the F.D.A.’s expected rule changes are likely to fundamentally alter the large-scale agricultural uses of antibiotics because farmers and ranchers now say the drugs are being used to prevent animal diseases, not to promote growth. The F.D.A. has so far refused to propose restrictions on antibiotic uses to prevent disease even when the drugs are delivered in feed or water, and Judge Katz’s order does not extend to disease prevention uses.

Sigh…

In other antibiotic news, this time in humans: Drug-resistant strains of TB are out of control, warn health experts

TB patient

A TB patient in South Africa. Photograph: Alexander Joe/AFP

The fight against new, antibiotic-resistant strains of tuberculosis has already been lost in some parts of the world, according to a senior World Health Organisation expert. Figures show a 5% rise in the number of new cases of the highly infectious disease in the UK.

Dr Paul Nunn, head of the WHO’s global TB response team, is leading the efforts against multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB). Nunn said that, while TB is preventable and curable, a combination of bad management and misdiagnosis was leaving pharmaceutical companies struggling to keep up. Meanwhile, the disease kills millions every year.

“It occurs basically when the health system screws up,” said Nunn. “Treating TB requires a carefully followed regime of medication over six months. In places where health services are fragmented or underfunded, or patients poor and health professionals ill-trained, that treatment can fall short, which can in turn lead to patients developing drug-resistant strains. It’s been estimated that an undiagnosed TB-infected person can infect 10 others a year.

Nunn has another frightening quote I’ll lay on you here:

“There’s a vicious circle, because when new drugs come out they are expensive, so there is no demand. Without the volume of demand, the cost will not come down. If we can’t tackle this, we are going to finish up with a lot more people being diagnosed with multi-drug resistant strains. We’ve already lost the battle in places such as the former Soviet Union, and so we need a huge expansion of effort, especially in places like India and China.” He added: “In some areas we have probably already lost the battle. Globally, it is still just 5% of the total number of TB cases, but with sloppy management of treatment we are moving towards an accelerating problem.”

Let’s change direction now…and look at some World News items you may have missed this week:

The case for bombing Iran is quickly collapsing –  This is an op/ed from MJ Rosenberg, a Senior Foreign Policy Fellow at Media Matters Action Network, via AlJazeera.

Common sense dictates that war with Iran would be devastating for the region – and common sense must prevail.

The Guardian has this wonderful interactive timeline of China: a decade of change –  There are some changes occurring within the communist party.

As the communist party prepares for a changing of the guard, we look at the key events in the last 10 years that have shaped the world’s most populous country. A next generation of politicians will be facing entirely new challenges across all sectors, from the economy to civil unrest. Scroll through the timeline to explore the defining moments of the first decade of the 21st century

Hong Kong is getting ready to pick a new leader, well…at least the elite of Hong Kong: The Associated Press: Hong Kong elites heed Beijing, pick Leung leader

In fact, as I write this post, the winner has been announced: Leung Wins Hong Kong Election as Protests Grow Over Wealth Gap

Leung Chun-ying, a former government adviser who pledged to address a growing wealth gap, won the election to be Hong Kong’s next chief executive after a campaign marked by scandals and protests.

Leung, 57, won 689 votes from a 1,193-member election committee comprising of businessmen, lawmakers and academics, according to the returning officer. Henry Tang, the front-runner until scandals drove down his popularity in opinion polls, garnered 285 votes, while Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho got 76 votes.

Those of you on the West Coast of Canada…a ghost ship is heading your way:  Japan tsunami ‘ghost ship’ drifting to Canada

Japanese fishing vessel washed away by tsunami and spotted off Canada (23 March) Officials are monitoring the empty vessel in case it becomes an obstruction to other shipping

A Japanese fishing vessel swept away by the March 2011 tsunami has been spotted adrift off the west coast of Canada.

An aircraft patrolling the seas off British Columbia saw the 15m (50ft) vessel seen floating 275km (170 miles) from the Haida Gwaii islands on Friday.

It is believed to be the first large item from the millions of tonnes of tsunami debris to cross the Pacific.

Then there is this news out of Europe…and in a sense it also deals with debris…of the human kind. Europe no sanctuary for Afghan asylum seekers

Afghans hoping to escape violence and a lack of economic prospects at home face new challenges and new abuses in Europe.

As Afghanistan’s army was beginning to assume a more active combat role in 2007 – and as suicide bombings and opium production hit record highs - Omar thought a move to Europe would make his life safer.

Instead, as with the 300 Afghans who marched in Stockholm that year to demand their rights to asylum, the 19-year-old would realise the journey to seek asylum in Europe was rife with its own difficulties.

As one of thousands of young people trying to escape worsening insecurity, a lack of socio-economic opportunities and increased anxiety over Afghanistan’s future, Omar left his home and embarked on a three-year journey to France.

In each of the nine Eurasian countries he entered along the way, Omar thought he was finally safe – but, instead, each presented its own hostilities and threats of abuse.

Now 23, Omar told Al Jazeera that the struggles he faced led to an unexpected conclusion: “The difficulties in Afghanistan were better than the difficulties we face today in Europe.”

Now that is a powerful statement. You can read more about the thousands of applicants seeking asylum at the link. The article has quite a few personal stories to illustrate the hardship these people are facing.

There is another article in the Guardian that discusses the Basque child refugees meet for final reunion, 75 years after arrival in Britain

Young refugees fleeing Nazi bombs in the Spanish civil war found a mixed welcome in the UK after a nightmare voyage.

Basque refugees

Some of almost 4,000 Basque children who came as refugees to Britain in 1937 arrive at a Salvation Army centre. Photograph: Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORB

Her crying mother asked her sister and brother to take hold of Josefina and they did, pulling the screaming girl away from her parents and towards the ship.

“I didn’t want to leave, and of course my mama didn’t want us to go, but papa said it was only for a short time, just a few months, and so they dragged me away with my teddy and we went. The boat was terrible, really terrible. I remember the screams and cries of children packed into this boat. There was no space to even lie down. There were so many of us,” she said.” It was 21 May 1937, my 10th birthday.”

Josefina Stubbs, 85, was one of 3,826 child refugees to arrive in what remains the largest single influx of refugees into Britain. The “Basque babies”, as some UK newspapers and politicians disparagingly called them at the time, or the niños as they call themselves, were sent to safety from the bombers sent by the Nazis to aid Franco as the civil war ravaged the towns of northern Spain.

That is a real interesting article, give it a read.

Moving on to Mexico: A Final Embrace

This is a loving human moment, caught frozen in violent silence, such a sad emotional image…I will let you follow the link to a photo of a couple murdered in Juarez.

And that will bring us back to the U.S., after the jump.

Being the “token” Latina/Hispanic front pager here at Sky Dancing…I thought I would touch on some U.S. immigration news. (Even though I do not list my race as Hispanic, and my heritage is not from Latin America.) I mean, my mother’s family is Sicilian and my father’s family is Spanish, as in coming directly from Spain, “Spanish” Cuban, again meaning descendant of Spain, Austrian and Northern Italian.

I don’t know…I always refer to myself as Latin, meaning my heritage comes from “Latin” descent, as in Latin European.

Wait a minute, does that make me a “sellout?”

**Sorry, I took a moment to address some derogatory comments directed my way while I was unable to respond because of the modem problem. Yes, I could have let it slide without mentioning it, but as I said at the beginning of this post…the bitch is back.**

Anyway…back to the morning news round-up:

Banning illegal immigrant renters pricey, divisive  

A Dallas suburb has spent five years and nearly $5 million trying to ban illegal immigrants from renting apartments within city limits, but court challenges have kept the law from taking effect. Still, city officials say they’re likely to press on.

Report: US immigrant detention system, NJ facilities violate federal guidelines

The current immigrant detention system in the United States is deeply flawed, and New Jersey’s newest detention facility offers proof that federal reforms are falling short, immigration advocates said Friday at a conference on the issue.

A report by a coalition of immigration rights groups and New York University’s law school focused on conditions at an immigration detention facility in Essex County as emblematic of problems with immigration detention system nationwide.

Young immigrants’ legal status threatened by parents’ choices -

Jiovanna Campbell was 9 when her uncle killed himself.

Beyond her parents, he was the only family she had known since coming illegally to the U.S. at age 3. Her parents sold everything they owned to take his body back to Mexico, she recalled. They stayed for a few months while her parents coped with the death. Then they returned to the Bay Area, crossing the border illegally with others in a car. Campbell finished high school, enrolled in college, married a U.S. citizen and bought a home.

As Campbell prepared to graduate, she felt she couldn’t continue living without legal status in the U.S. Typically, experts say, people like Campbell have a decent shot at getting a visa if they return to their home countries to apply. So, on the advice of a notary public, she went to Mexico to request legal status as the wife of a U.S. citizen.

Once in Ciudad Juarez, Campbell learned that her childhood trip to Mexico meant she would be barred from the U.S. under current immigration laws.

Read the story of how Jiovanna is now stuck in limbo, and unable to come back across the border. Yes, she is married to an American Citizen and is pregnant and is banned from obtaining a visa…for 10 years.

Illegal Immigrants Number 11.5. Million –  Just a quick report on findings from the 2010 census.

I also thought you would like this article from a Spanish newspaper: Watching America   :   » Cojones: Spain’s Great Contribution to the American Political Idiom


Perhaps Sebastian de Covarrubias, the 16th century lexicographer and author of “The Treasury of the Castilian or Spanish Language” would be turning over in his grave if he learned that Spain’s greatest contribution to 21st century U.S. political discourse is the word “cojones.” And, possibly, Nobel laureate Camilo José Cela would consider it a vindication of his literary legacy.

But that’s the way it is. It began back in 1961, when John F. Kennedy said of the Department of State, “I just see an awful lot of fellows … who don’t seem to have cojones. The Defense Department looks as if that’s all they’ve got. They haven’t any brains.” It is a general description of the political and military classes, respectively. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright* continued the tradition in 1996, saying, “Frankly, this is not cojones; this is cowardice,” when the Castro regime shot down two small planes flown by Brothers to the Rescue, an anti-communist group. The quote was described by Albright’s boss, Bill Clinton, as “probably the most effective one liner in the whole administration’s foreign policy.”

More recently, in 2004, the venerable British weekly, The Economist, described George W. Bush as having “no cojones.” And now, with respect to statements by Rick Santorum about the use of Spanish in Puerto Rico, humorist Steven Colbert said, “It takes serious cojones to go to Puerto Rico and tell them to stop saying cojones.”

Yup, cojones are definitely trending lately. Check out the cojones it took for Jon Corzine  to Order $200 Million Raid on MF Global Customer Accounts Well, I guess he figured that he would just get away with it…like so many other blatant criminals on Wall Street.

Then you have those Justices with cojones…and a sense of humor: You’ve Got to Love a Judge With a Sharp Sense of Humor

Last year Biery ruled on a church-state case involving prayer at a Texas high school. He ruled against the school district, and the decision was overturned on appeal and sent back to his court for further action and to sort out the details. Over the last several months, Biery has been pushing, prodding, nudging, and otherwise encouraging the two sides closer together, and in February a full settlement agreement was reached [pdf]. But it didn’t happen without a real mess, as the judge made clear in the order approving the settlement:

In that settlement agreement, Biery started off not with the facts of the case, but the non-facts:

What This Case Has Not Been About

The right to pray.
Any American can pray, silently or verbally, seven days a week, twenty four hours a day, in private as Jesus taught [1] or in large public events as Mohammed instructed. [2]
_____
[1] Matthew 6:5-8 (“and when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. . . . But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray. . . . And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.”).
[2] 2 Quran 2:43 (“You shall observe the Contact Prayers and give the obligatory charity, and bow down with those who bow down.”). Muslims are obligated to attend the mosque at least once a week and other prayers may be said alone, but all prayer is always more acceptable to God in community. See PAUL GRIEVE, A BRIEF GUIDE TO ISLAM: FAITH, RELIGION, POLITICS (Carroll and Graf, 2006). Daily prayers within fixed times are done “with the entire brotherhood and sisterhood of believers facing towards Mecca from all around the world, following the same prescribed formula.” Id.

Thinks about that for a moment.

Those clamoring for the right to pray publicly — in Texas, we’re talking about strongly evangelical fundamentalists Christians — are told they are following Mohammed’s teachings. Biery inserts the knife oh-so-gently, and gives it a nice little twist.

But when you get to the end of the settlement, it gets even better. After he signed his name under the line that says “It is so ORDERED,” he added this:

A PERSONAL STATEMENT

During the course of this litigation, many have played a part:
To the United States Marshal Service and local police who have provided heightened security:
Thank you.
To those Christians who have venomously and vomitously cursed the court family and threatened bodily harm and assassination: In His name, I forgive you.
To those who have prayed for my death: Your prayers will someday be answered, as inevitably trumps probability.
To those in the executive and legislative branches of government who have demagogued this case for their own political goals: You should be ashamed of yourselves.
To the lawyers who have advocated professionally and respectfully for their clients’ respective positions: Bless you.

I can only imagine what his mail had been like from “those Christians,” and I love the way he called them out on it.

Read more at the link…the Judge put more oomph on an issue he labeled “Non-Kumbaya Order.” Priceless!

Here is one that seems in line with the links I have shared with you today: ‘The Righteous Mind,’ by Jonathan Haidt – NYTimes.com It is a book review that I thought Boston Boomer would find interesting.

 Jonathan Haidt, a social psychologist at the University of Virginia who, until 2009, considered himself a partisan liberal. In “The ­Righteous Mind,” Haidt seeks to enrich liberalism, and political discourse generally, with a deeper awareness of human nature. Like other psychologists who have ventured into political coaching, such as George Lakoff and Drew Westen, Haidt argues that people are fundamentally intuitive, not rational. If you want to persuade others, you have to appeal to their sentiments. But Haidt is looking for more than victory. He’s looking for wisdom. That’s what makes “The Righteous Mind” well worth reading. Politics isn’t just about ­manipulating people who disagree with you. It’s about learning from them.

I know it is a long post, but I need to make up for all the ones I missed this week…

You probably saw this Jerry Sandusky news item already…but if you have not, check it out: Open Channel – NBC exclusive: Sandusky labeled ‘likely pedophile’ in 1998 report

Another US story that is making the rounds this weekend: Cheating our children: Suspicious school test scores across the nation Give that article a read. It is a good one.

Personally, I still suffer from math anxiety, perhaps that is why this next article popped out at me: Brains of Kids With Math Anxiety Function Differently, Says Study

On the biodiversity front: Monarch butterflies numbers down again this year

Reports suggest that Monarch butterfly numbers will be down almost 30 percent in 2012 as they make their annual trek from their breeding grounds in Mexico.

We have come to the home stretch…Let’s end this monster of a post with a couple of geeky links:

45-Foot Paper Airplane Flies Over Desert

As part of its own Great Paper Airplane project, Pima Air & Space Museum built and flew a 45-foot-long paper airplane with a 24-foot wingspan over the Arizona desert. The plane, dubbed Arturo’s Desert Eagle, was helped into the sky by a Sikorsky S58T helicopter, and upon reaching 2,703 feet up, was let loose to fly.

 Doctor Who: Cardiff hosts first official convention

Now…I have to tell you…that this is the first “official” Doctor Who convention blows my mind!

Thousands of Doctor Who fans descended on Cardiff for the first official convention in the long history of the BBC sci-fi series.

People from as far away as America and New Zealand were at the Wales Millennium Centre.

Video report at the link.

I’ve got one last link for you, I would really like your opinion on it:

The Virtues Of Anonymous Blogging – The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan – The Daily Beast

Ari Kohen finds them wanting:

There’s something freeing, to be sure, about being able to say anything you want. You can engage in unfounded name-calling, or intentionally hurt someone’s feelings, or just generally behave like a twelve year old. And no one will know it’s you. And that’s why I don’t read many blogs that are written by people who prefer to remain anonymous or who write under pseudonyms when there isn’t really any reason for them to do so. In fact, I don’t think there are any blogs I read on a daily basis whose authors are anonymous. The anonymous or pseudonymous blogs are often just filled with cruelty, name-calling, and bad arguments. Indeed, there are a great many people who choose to write under an assumed name because they want to harrass or offend others.

But there are others who produce great stuff. Pseudonyms have a long history in political discourse, and I think they have their place. If they launch ad hominems, they’re cowardly and will lose readers. But if they’re a way to think out loud without any consequences in your other, say, professional life, I tend to agree with the wonderfully named Luke Simulacrum:

We’ve created a space where you can actually think and be different, be free of the norms, hierarchies and prohibitions of the “real” world, and be able to imagine alternative horizons of possibility. If you would really be willing to undo all of that just to prevent people from calling each other names on a comment board, you should really take a look at your priorities.

I know we have a lot of bloggers who read our pages, so…what do you think about anonymous blogging? Comments are below, let’s get the discussion going!


46 Comments on “Sunday Reads: The Bitch is Back….With A New Modem, As A Matter Of Fact”

  1. Minkoff Minx says:

    So good to be back, I really did miss you guys…and the blog so damn much!

  2. The Rock says:

    AND WE YOU MINX!!!!!

    Hillary 2012

  3. Welcome back, Minx. Even without normal access to the web, you’ve managed to stay on top of what’s happening around the globe.

    Thanks for posting the story on antibiotic use in the “raising” of cows, pigs, chickens & other animals for human consumption. I became of aware of this in 1990, when I first got involved with animal rights. Here’s a recent link that documents that 80% of the antibiotics used in the US go to agriculture. http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2011/02/fda-confirms-80-percent-of-antibiotics-used-in-animal-ag/ While that is the biggest cause of antibiotic resistance, both medical doctors & veterinarians over prescribe antibiotics, as well. Most prescribe these meds when the patient, human or animal, has a viral infection. I was in the hospital for 23 days in late 2010 and was on a cocktail regimen of nearly every antibiotic known to fight off the spread of flesh eating bacteria. I remained on 2 different antibiotics after I was released for another month. I ended up losing half of my right breast before they got it under control.

    The anti-immigration attitudes have existed for a long time, and not just in the US. I’m not sure it ever went away, but as our political climate has tacked hard right here it’s become “okay” for the haters to spew their prejudices & viciousness. Thanks for the posts about the Afghani man and the Basque children. Heard this tragic story on NPR yesterday: http://www.npr.org/2012/03/24/149171195/living-breathing-archeology-in-the-arizona-desert

    And is anyone else interested in the Reason Rally in DC this weekend? Here’s another NPR story: http://www.npr.org/2012/03/24/149285310/atheists-seek-acceptance-following-hearts-not-faith Wonder if those Ayn Rand fans are aware that she was an atheist?

    Finally, here’s hoping that Cheney’s new heart came from a caring & compassionate person & that it will transform him into a “real boy.” Maybe Darth Vader will come back from the dark side. Nah, never happen.

    Super post.

  4. Richard Dawkins is up next on Up with Chris Hayes.

  5. Minkoff Minx says:

    Take a look at this: Major Garrett: President Obama’s Trayvon Response ‘One For The History Books’ | Mediaite

    And I completely agree with the first comment:

    Catfishjuggling_redux
    Collapse
    I know half of the people on here hate Obummer and all, but take a second and look at that kid. If Obama had a son, he WOULD look just like Trayvon.

    There are plenty of reasons in the rational world not to like the President. His response to this tragedy is not one of them.

    The way he said that, about looking like Trayvon, sounded to me like something he would say talking to his wife and mother-in-law. That is what made it genuine.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Of course, this next link tells me Zimmerman has no remorse or even human compassion…which to me at least shows that Trayvon was not a person, or human in Zimmerman’s eyes. Trayvon Martin shooting case, Zimmerman friend: Zimmerman friend defends shooter of Trayvon Martin – Orlando Sentinel

      Neighborhood Watch captain George Zimmerman, who shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin last month, sparking a national outcry, thought the killing “would all blow over,” a friend, Joe Oliver, told ABC News this morning.

      “Because he was there and he knows what happened…he’s been very confident – naively – that this would all blow over,” Oliver said.

      Oliver, who said he has known Zimmerman for about 10 years, and Zimmerman’s legal advisor, Craig Sonner, also appeared on The Today Show.

      Oliver told the Today Show that Zimmerman is “just now realizing not just how big this is for him, but how big this is for the country.”

      Are you kidding me? What do you all think of that?

      • RalphB says:

        Glad to have you back! What that says to me is what I have thought all along. That the shooter and the police thought they could make this go away, probably because it’s worked in the past.

      • RalphB says:

        I’ll bet they had precedent in getting away with it. This may be the last time they try it though!

      • dakinikat says:

        Those stand your ground laws seem tailor made for vigilantes. I can’t believe the benefit of the doubt goes to a shooter.

  6. RalphB says:

    MIT Economist: Income Inequality In The U.S. Is Crushing The Middle Class’ Political Power

    when economic inequality increases, the people who have become economically more powerful will often attempt to use that power in order to gain even more political power. And once they are able to monopolize political power, they will start using that for changing the rules in their favor. And that sort of political inequality is the real danger that’s facing the United States.

    This falls into the realm of “hey, tell us something we don’t already know”.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    I’m so glad you’re back, Minx! This post is packed with wonderful links. Thanks for all your hard work pulling it together.

  8. Just watched Bill Moyers. His guest was Andrew Bacevich & WOW – what an incredible show. Here’s the link: http://billmoyers.com/

  9. janey says:

    That guy in Georgia holding forth on the poor dead animals was so creepy and then the ‘if we had been lucky enough to have children’ just set me off!! Another childless anti-abortion nut who has not faced these problems and decisions similar to Pat Buchanan. And like Buchanan I’d bet that he has not adopted!!!!!!!!!
    Some people should not be in on these decisions.

  10. foxyladi14 says:

    So good to see you back,MINX I really did miss you :)

  11. peggysue22 says:

    Welcome back, Minx. A wealth of information. Those pix from Juarez are chilling. On the Martin case, I read some depressing blowback–accusations that the photographs of Trayvon Martin were deliberately ‘lightened’ to make him look less threatening and a story of a presumed witness who now claims the boy ‘came at’ Zimmerman in a threatening way. My husband is a big guy. Not sure how a 120-30 pound, unarmed 17 year old threatens a substantially bigger man with a 9mm.

    But I guess that’s what investigations are for. When they’re actually done, that is.

    Anyway, thanx for the all the great links!

    • bostonboomer says:

      The lightened photos accusation comes from the Breitbart site and it’s disgusting. Little Green Footballs posted about it yesterday. No photos were altered, and why would looking lighter make him “less threatening?” How racist can anyone get?!

      The kid was 6’3” and weighed 140. Zimmerman weighed 250 and had a gun. I haven’t heard his height. The suddenly appearing witnesses are typical “rehabilitation” of the shooter. But the simple truth is Zimmerman stalked Travon and shot him dead. If there’s a “stand your ground” law in Florida, surely it must apply to Travon’s right to defend himself from a total stranger attacking him? Or is the law only for white people with guns?

      Witnesses on the 9/11 calls said there was a scuffle and one person was on top of another. Witnesses also said the cries for help stopped suddenly with the gunshot. Furthermore, Trayvon’s parents recognized his voice on the 9/11 tape crying begging to be spared.

      Zimmerman has not even contacted Trayvon’s parents to say he’s sorry. At least if he did that, it might show a modicum of a sense of responsibility. After all, he confessed to shooting an unarmed boy.

      Sorry for the rant, Peggy Sue. It’s not directed at you. I’m just so angry that this case is moving along just as expected. This is phase two, when the victim gets blamed for his own murder.

  12. Minkoff Minx says:

    Here are some links that make a good Sunday afternoon reading session:

    Shakesville: Sunday afternoon reading

    [Content Note: the full text contains one reference each to First Nations peoples as "savages" and "reds". Twain appears to be taking a satirical swipe at James Fenimore Cooper's egregious deployment of the "noble savage" stereotype, but still, one might well have had a bellyful of this language by now and not care to encounter it yet again. What would Twain have to say, I wonder, if he could know that this framing is still rampant nearly 117 years after he wrote the essay.]

    Mark Twain, “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses”

    First published in the North American Review 161 (July 1895)

    Whether you like Cooper or not, this piece is full of great tips on tale-spinning. It is also flat-out funny.

    Here is the link to the full essay by Twain: Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses

    My favorite part…

    Cooper’s gift in the way of invention was not a rich endowment; but such as it was he liked to work it, he was pleased with the effects, and indeed he did some quite sweet things with it. In his little box of stage-properties he kept six or eight cunning devices, tricks, artifices for his savages and woodsmen to deceive and circumvent each other with, and he was never so happy as when he was working these innocent things and seeing them go. A favorite one was to make a moccasined person tread in the tracks of a moccasined enemy, and thus hide his own trail. Cooper wore out barrels and barrels of moccasins in working that trick. Another stage-property that he pulled out of his box pretty frequently was the broken twig. He prized his broken twig above all the rest of his effects, and worked it the hardest. It is a restful chapter in any book of his when somebody doesn’t step on a dry twig and alarm all the reds and whites for two hundred yards around. Every time a Cooper person is in peril, and absolute silence is worth four dollars a minute, he is sure to step on a dry twig. There may be a hundred other handier things to step on, but that wouldn’t satisfy Cooper. Cooper requires him to turn out and find a dry twig; and if he can’t do it, go and borrow one. In fact, the Leatherstocking Series ought to have been called the Broken Twig Series.

    It is so damn true!

    Another link for you:
    A Festival of Lies – NYTimes.com

    It is a piece written by Thomas Friedman, about some Victor Davis Hanson article. I really can’t stand Hanson, but you can read for yourself…

    • RalphB says:

      Saw the Mustache’s article earlier. He’s really no better than Hanson.

    • bostonboomer says:

      That is my favorite essay by Mark Twain. It’s hilarious!

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Isn’t it? I just downloaded an app for my phone that lets me comment and stuff. just trying it out

      • bostonboomer says:

        My dad gave me that essay to read when I was in high school. I’ve read it many times since. I’ve read Huckleberry Finn many times too. It might be time to read it again.

        • Minkoff Minx says:

          The link got my mom talking about Twain and Cooperstown and The Pioneers…which led to miracle workers and muckrakers…which led to Matt Taibbi.
          She asked who was a present day muckraker and I told her to look up Taibbi at Rolling Stone. Granted, I still can’t stand him, but it was kind of nice to talk about all of it with her.

  13. RalphB says:

    Rachel Maddow’s book could be important on military policy. I’m gonna buy it for sure.

    Rachel on Meet the Press this morning to talk about ‘Drift’

    • RalphB says:

      Holy crap. talk about being treated as chattle.

    • Woman Voter says:

      That is deserving of a post of its own, for the mere fact that women are sold daily as slaves, mainly as sex slaves and that our own country often times still charges the women (even minors) for prostitution leaving them as criminals (abused once more). We need Safe Harbor laws, for these women.

  14. Minkoff Minx says:

    And one more: Vogue Writer Publicly Humiliates 7-Year-Old Daughter On Diet | Care2 Causes

    Public Humiliation Of 7-Year-Old Bea

    But as Weiss justifies the weight-loss strategies she put her daughter through, I started wondering about her fitness to be a mother. It seems that she is projecting her hatred of her own body onto her daughter through this year-long diet: the author admits to having had issues with food her whole life, including obsessive dieting, fasting, and using laxatives.

    From Vogue:

    I once reproachfully deprived Bea of her dinner after learning that her observation of French Heritage Day at school involved nearly 800 calories of Brie, filet mignon, baguette, and chocolate. I stopped letting her enjoy Pizza Fridays when she admitted to adding a corn salad as a side dish one week. I dressed down a Starbucks barista when he professed ignorance of the nutrition content of the kids’ hot chocolate whose calories are listed as “120-210″ on the menu board: Well, which is it? When he couldn’t provide an answer, I dramatically grabbed the drink out of my daughter’s hands, poured it into the garbage, and stormed out.

    Other passages describe ‘awkward moments at parties’ when Bea is told she cannot have both cookies and cake, and ‘the many times I had it out with Bea over a snack given to her by a friend’s parent or caregiver.’ She also admits to depriving her child of dinner. Shaming your child in public? What kind of parenting is this?

    Like Mother, Like Daughter

    Instead of this draconian approach, why didn’t Weiss focus on positive messages about eating healthy foods, rather than calorie-counting and deprivation? Did she recognize that her approach might be related to her own unhealthy attitudes to food? And hasn’t she heard of the importance of both exercise and diet? In reading the entire article, I didn’t see one mention of activity, play, even walking. Why didn’t she choose to Get Out with her child? How about exploring nature, walking, running? Or riding a bike together?

    How did Bea feel at the end of this? From Vogue:

    For Bea, the achievement is bittersweet. When I ask her if she likes how she looks now, if she’s proud of what she’s accomplished, she says yes…Even so, the person she used to be still weighs on her. Tears of pain fill her eyes as she reflects on her yearlong journey. “That’s still me,” she says of her former self. “I’m not a different person just because I lost sixteen pounds.” I protest that, indeed, she is different. At this moment, that fat girl is a thing of the past. A tear rolls down her beautiful cheek, past the glued-in feather. “Just because it’s in the past,” she says, “doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.”

    Weiss’s approach to her daughter’s weight probably means that Bea will be stuck with weight issues for the rest of her life.

    Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/vogue-writer-publicly-humiliates-7-year-old-daughter-on-die.html#ixzz1qA2DIqtd

  15. bostonboomer says:

    Some state senator is trying to introduce a “stand your ground” law in Massachusetts. And he’s a Democrat. Can you believe it?

    • This is simply horrendous. I just don’t understand how anyone in this country cannot understand that by attacking, physically or verbally, Muslims that those actions will intensify the hatred of America by more & more Muslims. And then you have the Republican neocons & Rush & his Rush wannabes shouting hateful speech to inflame an already unstable percentage of people, inciting them to commit violence. I’m beyond anger & simply deeply saddened by the mood in this country. Maybe if preachers would preach “love thy neighbor” & “do unto others” more often instead of attacking women’s right to choose & LGBT people, some modicum of sanity could return to this nation.

    • dakinikat says:

      I read that. A bunch of right wing blogs are trying to call it an honor killing. This is a middle aged mom with 5 kids and a husband that teaches members of the service going to the ME about the culture there. Can you believe it?

      • RalphB says:

        I would say this is clearly not an honor killing. The right is afraid their own hate is gonna catch up to them.

      • Woman Voter says:

        I read she was 33 years old? Her eldest child is seventeen and seen here:

        Muslim woman’s attacker left note reading ‘Go back to your own (seventeen year old Fatima asking why her mother was attacked).

  16. Ralph, I hope you’ll weigh in on this: http://www.alternet.org/story/154685/obama_picks_sides_on_keystone_xl%3A_transcanada_wins._earth%2C_everyone_else_loses/

    The article seems to be talking about Obama’s approval of the southern leg of the pipeline, starting in OK. But the author implies he has approved the building of the full pipeline. I think it’s misleading, but maybe I’m missing something.

    • RalphB says:

      The author makes some good points about not bringing down gas prices now and not being able to guarantee the refined products stay in the US. However, that frankly doesn’t really matter much since we’re in a global market and we already produce more fuel than we used in the US in 2011.

      The southern leg of the pipeline is distinct from the XL pipeline since no tar sands oil will pump through it, even after the northern portion is built. Pumping oil from OK storage to the Gulf will preclude that as you would never mix the two substances. To begin with the OK crude is much easier to crack and more expensive. Diluting that with oil from the tar sands would foul the whole thing. Maybe he means TransCanada wins since they will operate the pipelines?

  17. janicen says:

    I had to share this story before it disappears. It was on the front page of the WaPo earlier, but now it’s been moved off. So sad. It’s been twenty years since “The Year of the Woman”. I remember it well.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/twenty-years-on-year-of-the-woman-fades/2012/03/21/gIQA41UUYS_story.html