Wednesday Reads: Back in the saddle again…

f4b5c963d201a5f61710522d22df3735Good Morning!

Hey, it’s been nice to have a week off…I haven’t read much news items lately, in fact I don’t really have any idea what’s going on in the world outside of Banjoville. (Just this last weekend we had a murder, involving an 80-year-old former cop from Florida who killed his daughter, shot his great-grandson in the leg, and kept two county swat teams busy in a stand-off for three hours before they threw a flash bomb and finally got him in custody…you should see the list of weapons he had in his house.)

Other news from Banjoville (good news), my son played his first varsity football game and kicked five for five, scoring four extra points and one field goal in the season’s game opener.  My daughter also cheered in her first varsity game as well…it was quite a Friday Night!

Little Luther

Little Luther

This weekend I added a little furry bugger to the family too. He is a tiny little thing, at three months he weighs just over a pound.

So as you can see, it has been a busy week…but since I am clueless about the latest debates on Syria, in the dark on the fire in Yellowstone, unsure of new draconian laws against women’s rights that have passed in state houses over the past week…I will just stick with a few links that I have saved from some days back.

Here is one article that is recent however, Fukushima Disaster: Japan To Build Costly Subterranean Ice Wall To Stop Nuclear Reactor Leaks:

The Japanese government announced Tuesday that it will spend $470 million on a subterranean ice wall and other steps in a desperate bid to stop leaks of radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant after repeated failures by the plant’s operator.

The decision is widely seen as an attempt to show that the nuclear accident won’t be a safety concern just days before the International Olympic Committee chooses among Tokyo, Istanbul and Madrid as the host of the 2020 Olympics.

The Fukushima Dai-ichi plant has been leaking hundreds of tons of contaminated underground water into the sea since shortly after a massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami damaged the complex. Several leaks from tanks storing radioactive water in recent weeks have heightened the sense of crisis that the plant’s owner, Tokyo Electric Power Co., isn’t able to contain the problem.

“Instead of leaving this up to TEPCO, the government will step forward and take charge,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said after adopting the outline. “The world is watching if we can properly handle the contaminated water but also the entire decommissioning of the plant.”

I don’t know how negative an impact the radioactive disaster will have on the IOC’s decision on Tokyo hosting the 2020 Olympics, I mean… look at the nuclear bomb getting ready to explode in Sochi. I get the feeling the IOC would prefer a radioactive leak of Godzilla proportions than to stand up and do what’s right in Sochi.

Down in Florida they are digging up some graves of a terrible past. Human remains believed uncovered in search at Florida boys school

The first of many to die at a Florida reform school infamous for inflicting beatings and abuse is identified in official records only as “Unknown colored boy.”

Researchers say he died in 1911. But his name, final resting place, and the reason for his early death remain a mystery.

He’s not alone.

The whereabouts of nearly two dozen others who died at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys are also unknown, researchers said.

Those who once stayed at the reform school — and were subjected to regular lashings by school officials — say many more could be buried on the property of the now-shuttered state-run school, located in Marianna, a small town in Florida’s panhandle.

“I think there’s at least 100 more bodies,” Robert Straley, who was at the school for 10 months starting in 1963, said in a telephone interview.

“From 1900 to 1940 were the most brutal years in that place. Back then, a white boy’s life wasn’t worth much and a black boy’s life wasn’t worth anything.”

A clearer view of who died at the school, and why, may soon surface. On Saturday, a team of researchers began a year-long exhumation of burial sites on the school’s property.

But the abuse and suspicious deaths did not end in the 1960s,

Former residents at the school, including Straley, have led the push for setting the record straight about the school’s treatment of its young inmates, which came to light in a 2008 expose in the Miami Herald.

An investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement concluded in 2010 that, although it found dozens of graves, there was not enough evidence to pursue criminal charges related to allegations of physical and sexual abuse of boys at the school.

The state’s Department of Juvenile Justice closed the school in 2011 as the federal government was investigating allegations of maltreatment and abuse. The federal government ultimately faulted the state for poor oversight and violating the rights of the inmates.

Take a look at the link to that LA Times article to read more about the project being carried out by my alma mater, University of South Florida.

Now I will give you a few updates on some stories from earlier in the year.

Check it out…they are calling bullshit on the stories that there were bottles full of shit at the Texas Capitol during the Special Session back in July: Still No Evidence Abortion Rights Protesters Had Excrement In Texas Capitol Ahead Of Bill Debate

And in Utah, Welfare Drug Testing Catches Only 12 Users

From August 2012 through July 2013, the state prescreened 4,730 applicants to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program with a written test. The state followed up with an actual drug test for the 466 of those whose written answers suggested a likelihood of drug use.

The 466 tests turned out 12 positive results, as the Associated Press first reported. The results were similar when Florida launched welfare drug testing in 2011 and just 2.6 percent of applicants tested positive. National surveys usually find that about 8 percent of respondents used drugs in the previous month.

Utah’s drug screening cost the state about $31,000. But state Rep. Brad Wilson (R-Kaysville) told HuffPost he thinks the bill saved more than it cost. He said an additional 247 Utahns dropped out of the TANF application process after they were told to expect a drug test.

“We had 247 who once we told them, ‘our test shows that you are likely using controlled substances, we need you to take a drug test,’ they refused to move forward with the process,” said Wilson, who sponsored the new law. “The Department of Workforce Services here in Utah estimates the benefits of those folks would have received would have been approximately $369,000 of, basically, benefits we didn’t pay to people who were most likely using controlled substances. We spent $31,000 on this program over the last year but we think we’ve saved at least $370,000, if not more.”

[...]

Utah’s law differs from Florida’s in that it first subjects TANF applicants to a questionnaire and only tests those whose answers give the state a reasonable suspicion of drug use. The reasonable suspicion standard makes the law less vulnerable to a civil liberties lawsuit alleging the tests violate the Constitution’s protections against unreasonable search. Florida’s law called for blanket testing and was halted by federal courts after only a few months.

The Florida law also denied benefits to anyone who failed a test. Utah’s law asks applicants to enroll in drug treatment. Wilson said the 12 people who tested positive for drugs are still receiving benefits.

The article states that the twelve are currently in treatment.

One last update, this one is something that hits home for me, y’all know that my brother Denny has Down Syndrome…so please read this one in full…and then, take some time to read the comments. Opinion: Justice for Down syndrome man who died in movie theater – CNN.com

Robert Ethan Saylor died on January 12 after three sheriff's deputies tried to forcibly remove him from a movie theater.

Robert Ethan Saylor died on January 12 after three sheriff’s deputies tried to forcibly remove him from a movie theater.

One day last January, Robert Ethan Saylor, a 26-year-old man with Down syndrome, went to see the movie “Zero Dark Thirty.” When it was over, Saylor briefly left the theater, then decided to return and see it again. The manager called security because Saylor didn’t pay, and three off-duty deputies, moonlighting at the mall, came in to confront him.

According to Frederick County, Maryland, police statements, he swore at them and refused to leave. The deputies tried to remove him, despite Saylor’s caretaker’s warnings and pleas for them to wait and let her take care of it. What happened next is a little unclear, but witnesses say the deputies put Saylor on the floor, held him down and handcuffed him. Saylor, called Ethan by his family, suffered a fracture in his throat cartilage. He died of asphyxiation.

The death was ruled a homicide, but a grand jury failed to indict the deputies and they returned to work without charges.

My son has Down syndrome, so I have been following this case closely. But for months, it seemed as if only people in the disability community cared about it.

Petitions for independent investigations sputtered out with just a few hundred votes. Local reporting on the case never made a splash in national media. Meanwhile, the Frederick County sheriff investigated his men’s conduct, ruled they had followed procedure correctly, and tried to move on.

Police violence against people with disabilities is not uncommon, but the cases don’t seem to get a lot of publicity. Most people see the disabled as, at best, passive victims, objects to care for, perhaps to love, but not people with whom we automatically identify.

This is a mistake. We are all only temporarily able-bodied. Accidents, illness, and age wait for us all. What happened to Ethan Saylor could happen to you.

In July, his death began to get more attention. Heather Mizeur, a member of the Maryland House of Representatives and candidate for governor, seized on Saylor’s story and called for new training for law enforcement. Debra Alfarone, an investigative journalist in Washington, began to broadcast and write about the case. A petition asking Gov. Martin O’Malley to investigate went viral in mid-August, garnering 300,000 signatures in just a week. This petition fueled a renewed, suddenly national, media narrative. Ethan Saylor and #JusticeForEthan are now an official cause.

It is heartbreaking to know that the cops who killed Ethan are walking about…back at work, without being charged. Where is the outrage?  Perhaps Ethan should have worn a hoodie? Maybe this injustice would have gotten more attention.

It is sickening.

Like I said, read the whole piece, it moves on to focus on people with disabilities…and what rights they have…or in the case of Ethan, what rights he was denied that invariably caused his “homicide” and allowed the men who killed him to walk free.

Okay, one last nugget or link for you today. Over at TCM they are presenting a special series that will be on every Monday and Tuesday for the next 15 weeks! .: The Story of Film :.

TCM IS PROUD to present the U.S. television premiere of The Story of Film: An Odyssey (2011), a 15-episode documentary directed and narrated by Mark Cousins, adapted from his 2004 book The Story of Film. Beginning in September and continuing through early December, one new episode, or “chapter,” will be introduced each Monday on TCM, with a lineup of related films. Tuesday evenings the thematic programming continues, and includes a re-airing of the previous night’s episode. By December, the entire festival will include 119 feature films and dozens of short subjects from 29 countries.

Cousins, a film critic from Northern Ireland, will appear as co-host with Robert Osborne in introducing the documentary, which uses film clips, interviews with filmmakers and location footage around the world to take viewers through filmmaking history from the late 19th century to today.

Here is the schedule in PDF format and you can find the Episode Guide is here.

The first episode was shown this week, and it was so damn interesting, be sure to catch the rest of the series if you can.

So…it is good to be back, guess I need to get caught up on current events. Seriously, I don’t know if I can do that just yet. Y’all have a good morning and I’ll see you around in the comments.

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47 Comments on “Wednesday Reads: Back in the saddle again…”

  1. Delphyne49 says:

    Welcome back, JJ! That Luther is sure one cute little guy! I can’t imagine only 1 lib!

    Ariel Castro found dead – http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chi-ariel-castro-dead-20130903,0,3067452.story

  2. peej says:

    Welcome Back, JJ!

  3. Geez, I wanted to put this in my post but while I was looking up the name Luther I found some stuff on a group called Luther Blissett. Anyone remember this?

    Luther Blissett (nom de plume) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Luther Blissett is a multiple-use name, an “open pop star” informally adopted and shared by hundreds of artists and activists all over Europe and the Americas since 1994. The pseudo-name first appeared in Bologna, Italy, in mid-1994, when a number of cultural activists began using it for staging a series of urban and media pranks and to experiment with new forms of authorship and identity. From Bologna the multiple-use name spread to other European cities, such as Rome and London, as well as countries such as Germany, Spain, and Slovenia.[1] Sporadic appearances of Luther Blissett have been also noted in Canada, the United States, and Brazil.

    For reasons that remain unknown, though according to one former member the decision was based purely on the comic value of the name,[2] the pseudonym was borrowed from a real-life Luther Blissett, a notable association football player, who played for A.C. Milan, Watford F.C. and England in the 1980s.[3] In December 1999, the Italian activists who had launched the Luther Blissett Project in 1994 decided to discontinue usage of the name by committing symbolic ritual suicide, or seppuku.[4] After authoring the best-selling historic novel Q as “Luther Blissett”, five of them went on to found the writers’ collective Wu Ming.

    [ L u t h e r B l i s s e t t . n e t ]

    The Way of the Guerrilla / 1
    A selection of Luther Blissett Pranks

    Luther Blissett’s media hoaxes were crowded with imaginary artists, because the art world is crowded with gullible people and makes for a perfect target.

    January 1995. HARRY KIPPER, a British conceptual artist, disappears at the Italo-Yugoslavian border while touring Europe on a mountain bike, allegedly with the purpose of tracing the word ‘ART’ on the map of the continent. The victim of the prank is a famous missing persons prime time show on the Italian state television. They send out a crew and squander taxpayers’ money to look for a person that never existed. They go as far as London and make fools of themselves until “Luther Blissett” claims responsibility for the hoax.

    June 1995. LOOTA is a female chimpanzee whose paintings are going to be exhibited at the Venice Biennale of Contemporary Arts. Formerly a victim of sadistic experiments in a pharmaceutical lab, Loota was saved by the Animal Liberation Front, then became a talented artist. Some newspapers announce the event. Unfortunately, Loota doesn’t exist. No problem, disappointed visitors of the Biennale may turn their attention to a lot of garbage created by humans.

    1998-99. DARKO MAVER is a controversial Serbian sculptor and performance artist. His works are life-size dummies looking very much like brutalized, maimed, blood-covered corpses. His art is the target of state censorship, and he’s locked in a Serbian prison for anti-social conduct. In Italy, pictures of Maver’s works are exhibited in Bologna and Rome. Prestigious, high-brow art magazines publish a solidarity appeal. Some respected critics even claim to know the artist personally. When “Darko Maver” dies in prison during a NATO bombing, pictures of the body appear on the web. Only, that man isn’t “Darko” at all, he’s a Sicilian member of the LBP. The truth is revealed a few weeks after the Seppuku. The “works” were pics of actual corpses, found on rotten.com. It’s the last big hoax by the LBP, and the debut of a new group, 0100101110101101.org.

    Wu Ming Foundation | A band of novelists from Italy (not the dark side)

    Wu Ming Foundation: Who we are and what we do

    I remember the thing about the bicyclist tracing out the word ART across Europe…anyway, check them out.

    Have a good morning.

  4. ecocatwoman says:

    Welcome back JJ. Hope you are rejuvenated and ready to kick some butt!

    Luther? But I thought you were naming him Bruce, after Bruce Campbell. Did I miss something? And about a pound? He’s the size of a newborn kitten. Is he a teacup poodle? I’d be afraid he would get lost, being so tiny. He is adorable. This is a great link for information on the best foods to feed: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/ You can sign up for recall alerts on any dog foods.

    There was an episode of Here and Now recently about the Dozier School for Boys. Between the horrible scandal of the pedophile Catholic priests and this story it makes me worry about any situation where men hold powerful positions over young boys, or even children in general. The episode was like listening to a horror story told by one of the men who had been placed in the school. Here’s the link: http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2013/08/21/disappeared-boys-florida It really puts this story in perspective since it’s a first person account of a harrowing experience from a child’s perspective. Who needs Freddy Krueger when there are real life, powerful men who commit such heinous crimes against children?

    Congrats on your son’s fantastic first varsity game.

    • Oh Connie, we had some problems that were beyond our control, but we now have a little black sable boy we call Luther. He is a bitty boy…When this litter was born it was between the brown one and this one…he is doing well and is healthy. Which is what is most important.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    JJ,

    I’m so glad you’re back and hope you’re well rested.

    Thanks for continuing to follow the Robert Saylor story. I posted this last night, but I’m posting it again here. Everyone needs to read this powerful article by Tommy Christopher about CBS disgusting reporting on a woman who murdered her autistic son.

    CBS News Should Retract Report Excusing Mother’s Murder of Autistic Child

    • janey says:

      When I first heard about this story, I could not understand why someone didn’t just say “sure you can watch the movie, just sit down and enjoy”. Would the world have come to an end if they had humored him just once? Would the theatre have gone broke? would the audience have rioted?? What was it about Down’s Syndrome that they didn’t understand?? Or were they just so ignorant that they just didn’t have any ideas??????????

  6. ecocatwoman says:

    Jon Stewart is BACK!!! Check out his take on bombing Syria: http://www.mediaite.com/tv/stewart-slams-syrian-red-line-begs-cable-news-idiot-parade-to-shut-the-fck-up/ I guess I’ve watched him too much because when I watched a teeny bit of Morning Joe (barf!) this AM it seemed like the “experts” were more concerned about the US looking weak instead of saving Syrian lives from more chemical attacks. Humanitarian and morale thing to do, my a$$. Their concern is simply dick shrinkage.

  7. Fannie says:

    Good to hear from you JJ………….hope your kids have a great football season. Luv the Little Luther, I don’t know what I would do without my Murphy, he’s 105 lbs.

    That was nice of Castro to end it all. I hope the women will have the greatest holidays ever this year. To me that is the best gift…….he’s gone.

    I can’t seem to get on the lighter side of Syria, and see they are bringing out the old machine against Hillary from 2008.

    Hope all of you dancers have a great day.

  8. RalphB says:

    tpm: Welp

    McCain says he won’t support senate Syria resolution, according to MSNBC. Not warry enough.

    ;-)

  9. RalphB says:

    tpm: Putin Calls Snowden A ‘Strange Guy’ Who’s In For A ‘Difficult Life’

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview Wednesday that Edward Snowden is a “strange guy” who will likely lead a “difficult life” after his disclosures of top secret U.S. surveillance programs.

    “You know, I sometimes thought about him, he is a strange guy,” Putin said in an interview with state-run Channel One television, as quoted by AFP. “How is he going to build his life? In effect, he condemned himself to a rather difficult life. I do not have the faintest idea about what he will do next.”

    Interesting.

    • peej says:

      RB,

      Putin’s statements are interesting indeed. Also from the TPM article:

      “Putin said in the interview that the U.S. ‘could have been more professional’ on the Snowden matter and revealed that the former government contractor was told while he was in Hong Kong that he could come to Russia so long as he stopped the leaks.”

      But Snowden hasn’t stopped the leaks. So, will Russia withdraw its offer of temporary asylum? Snowden isn’t adhering to the asylum conditions purported by Putin. So, when is someone going to ask Putin what Russia will do with Snowden if Snowden violates the terms of agreement now that Snowden has violated the terms of agreement? Hmmm. Methinks there may be unspoken layers of agreement here between the “strange guy” Snowden and the “strange guy” Putin.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Snowden can’t stop the leaks, as Greenwald had made very clear. Snowden gave everything to Greenwald and Poitras, and I doubt they care what happens to Snowden now.

        • bostonboomer says:

          I think it’s possible this may have been a Russian intel op from day one–either through Poitras/Greenwald and Assange or directly through Snowden.

          • RalphB says:

            I think through Assange and Wikileaks. they seem really thick with the russians.

          • peej says:

            I do think it was a Russian Intel op or more likely a coordinated BRICS op – Brazil, Russia, and China possibly without input/involvement from India and South Africa.

  10. peej says:

    Thank you for posting the Ethan Saylor story. What happened to him is unfathomable. I don’t want to deflect from the necessary conversation about police procedure, yet it seems to me that involving mall security was unnecessary altogether. In my view, it seems the appropriate management response would have been to allow him back into the theater and keep an eye on him to be sure that he was safe until his caregiver returned. It seems to me that management’s concern should have been that he was alone. Alerting the frontline staff to be on the lookout for his caregiver seems the obvious course of action and alerting mall security if his caregiver could not be located. I don’t know how much management was aware of the full situation – if they knew whether or not Ethan was accompanied by a caregiver. It seems to me the urgency was not that he hadn’t paid the ticket price, but that his caregiver needed to be found. To me, it doesn’t make sense for theater management to treat Ethan Saylor as a criminal when clearly he just didn’t understand that he had done anything “wrong.” He didn’t do anything “wrong.” I mean wouldn’t the concern be that this patron might need help? And this was a mall context was it not? Doesn’t the mall context heighten concern for Ethan Saylor’s safety? I can’t imagine that the first concern for mall security or theater management would be that Ethan Saylor hadn’t paid a ticket price. I should think his relative level of independence would have been apparent when he returned to the theater without obtaining a ticket.

    Perhaps what I’m getting at is not divorcing police procedure from reasonable expectations of the private sector as a whole. I’ve long believed all public and private buildings – any commercial establishment – should follow the same safety and security procedures nationwide for any level of incident. The Department of Homeland Security offers free, state of the art safety and security information/training on a myriad of scenarios. Most business don’t utilize this resource. I don’t know for certain, but I would guess that the Department of Homeland Security has a best practices for security/law enforcement personnel to handle in a situation like the one with Ethan Saylor. I would tend to view what happened to Ethan Saylor an epic failure at safety and security because it seemed to me from the moment the incident erupted Ethan Saylor’s safety should have been the first priority and it wasn’t. I don’t think any private business should be left up to its own devices (the questionable judgment of its managerial personnel) for deciding how to handle any potential incident. All private business should be required to adhere to objectively established procedures when dealing with the public, and private businesses should be accountable to that criteria. There should never be any question about what to do in a situation like this. Mall security (especially off duty deputies) surely should have been able to advise theater management on what to do rather than try to boot Ethan out of the theater. What happened to Ethan Saylor underscores the necessity for we as a society to shift our thinking with respect to our expectations.

    There is a rationally objective perspective here that necessitates recognizing difference and maintaining human dignity.

  11. dakinikat says:

    Glad to see you back! I’ve been reading the news again after a bit of a sabbatical from the worst of it. Even managed to get through Tweety’s screeds last night without throwing my nerfball collection at the TV. This Syria thing is bringing out all the usual dweebs, freaks, war mongers, and nuts! Don’t dive into it quickly or you’ll head for the hills with a banjo!!!

    x0x0x

  12. RalphB says:

    Shame this article is needed.

    Repeat: Barack Obama is not George W. Bush, and Syria is not Iraq

    You know how they say that generals always fight the last war? Well it seems many liberals are still fighting the “last” last war.

    The way some folks on the left have been screeching about President Obama’s proposal to punish the Syrian regime for its use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians, you’d think he had personally led the United States and its allies into a pointless and costly war of aggression against Iraq based on dubious and even fabricated intelligence about weapons of mass destruction.

  13. bostonboomer says:

    I’ve been writing about that Florida boys reform school for the past couple of years. This is just the beginning of the excavations. I hope they’ll have enough funding to continue to the bitter end.

  14. bostonboomer says:
  15. dakinikat says:

    Republican Communications Director Calls Female Senate Candidate ‘An Empty Dress’ #WhyDoYouGuysKeepDoingThis http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2013/09/04/2569061/dayspring-lundergan-grimes-dress/

  16. dakinikat says:

    Why my house value is skyrocketing…
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-27/new-orleans-rolling-in-cash-sees-rebirth-real-estate.html

    Notice impact of Federal Spending and the contrast with Detroit ….

  17. foxyladi14 says:

    Watching the hearings on C-Span. :)

  18. RalphB says:

    Can’t believe this is gonna be a problem, but it probably will.

    Gay Rights Ordinance In Texas Draws GOP Objections

    SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Gay rights victories in Texas haven’t come at the Capitol but at city hall. While nondiscrimination bills in the Legislature languish, Houston has a lesbian mayor and Austin offers health benefits for same-sex couples.

    But in San Antonio, conservatives are pushing back against one proposed stride — an ordinance that’s vertically identical to measures adopted in every other major Texas city.

    The San Antonio City Council is expected to vote Thursday on the ordinance that is drawing top-line Republican opposition from such heavyweights as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

    The ordinance would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Nearly 180 cities nationwide have adopted similar protections, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

  19. RalphB says:

    lgf: Snowden: All Roads Lead to Wikileaks, and on to Russia

    Functionally an extension of Russian intelligence