Wednesday Reads: Just as ordinary as any other…

b56ea25e721a155f9971418bba9f27c6Good Morning to y’all!

Halloween is just one week and a day away and I can’t wait. That is a big day for us because that afternoon Bebe gets her cast off, hopefully, and she can start to move on to physical therapy. Yeah!

First thing this morning, it is the 100th day since the Atlanta Panda Twins have been born, so today is their naming celebration. Be sure to click the link and see what the cute little guys are called.

**Updated to add Panda Twin Names**

Panda Twins 100th Day Celebration

  1. Mei Lun (may loon) and Mei Hua (may hwaa), meaning “Lun Lun’s twin cubs born in the U.S.”
  2. Mei Lun (may loon) and Mei Huan (may hwaan), originating from a Chinese idiom that means “something indescribably beautiful and magnificent”
  3. Tian Lun (tee-an loon) and Tian Le (tee-an luh), a modified version of a Chinese idiom meaning “joy of family life” or “family happiness”
  4. Lan Tian (lan tee-an) and Bi Shui (bee shway), meaning “blue sky and clear water”
  5. Da Lan (dah lan) and Xiao Lan (sheow lan), meaning “bigger one (Cub B) and smaller one (Cub A) of Atlanta-born twins”

I voted for the “bigger one and smaller one” names myself.

Anyway, sticking with Georgia a bit longer…there was a very interesting blog post over at The Volokh Conspiracy written by Nita Farahany:  Bias in the Northern District of Georgia?

It is unfortunate that the paywall is up for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, because the article is something important indeed. But here take a look at the blog article:

On Sunday, the Atlanta Journal of Constitution published a front-page story: Workers Who Cry Foul Seldom Get a Day in Court. The story focuses on an empirical study on summary dismissal of employment discrimination claims brought in the Northern District of Georgia in 2011 and 2012. That study reveals that it is “nearly impossible to get trial in an employment discrimination case” in the Northern District of Georgia. [The study was commissioned by the law firm of Barrett and Farahany in Atlanta, GA, and authored by Tanya McAdams and Amanda Farahany (full disclosure: my sister)]. The Northern District of Georgia (and Atlanta, in particular) appears to be an outlier, in that “70 percent of cases brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are dismissed before trial [nationwide],” while in the Northern District of Georgia, “judges toss more than 80 percent of all cases.” In Atlanta, they toss 94% of employment discrimination claims. In 2011 and 2012, 100% percent of racial harassment cases and all but one sexual harassment case were dismissed. By comparison, when the firm compared the results from the Northern District of Alabama (also within the 11th Circuit, and also a state with no state laws concerning employment discrimination (like Georgia)), they found that 66% instead of 80% of employment discrimination claims were dismissed in full.

Then Ms. Farahany asks a loaded question…

How should we interpret these results? Could the Northern District of Georgia be facing far more frivolous suits than other jurisdictions?

You know why I say loaded? Because I guess I have seen the kind of shit that goes on in within the judicial system here in the mountains of Georgia…and it is scary as hell!

Yeah, I know that I may be talking about different courts here (Superior vs Federal) but take into account our Superior court judges.

We have had one judge, Chief Judge David Barrett,  pull a gun on a sexual assault victim.  A short time later another judge, Lynn Akeley-Alderman, resigns before ethics charges were brought against her. That left only one judge left in our district alone….in fact, check out this AJC article from 2012:  Rash judges bring disorder to court

You might think the exits, less than a month apart, of Barrett and Akeley-Alderman from the same judicial circuit would be unusual. They’re not.

In a span of just one week in April 2010, the Griffin Judicial Circuit, which includes Fayette County, lost two of its four judges to scandals, including one in which the chief judge was caught having sex with a public defender who had cases before him.

In just four months’ time in 2010, both of the Mountain Judicial Circuit’s judges left the bench in disgrace, including one after he was accused of going to Las Vegas with a woman whose divorce he’d signed.

Georgia has 49 judicial circuits and each has its own chief Superior Court judge. Since the beginning of 2010, six chief judges have stepped down while under investigation for ethical lapses. A seventh was reprimanded for a drunken-driving charge.

“Some people who should not be judges get in judicial office and think they can do anything,” said Stephen Bright, senior counsel for the Southern Center for Human Rights and a Yale Law School professor. “This does not say anything good about these judges or the process that put them on the bench.”

On the other hand, he said, “It does indicate that the Judicial Qualifications Commission continues to do an outstanding job protecting Georgia from unethical, dishonest judges.”

The state needs a less-political, merit-based selection process of judges to ensure that more people appointed to the bench have the integrity and ethical standards to sit as a judge, Bright said.

In Georgia, a lawyer can become a Superior Court judge by defeating an incumbent in an election, winning an election for an open seat or being appointed by the governor when a vacancy becomes available. Georgia’s governor picks the members of the panel that screens candidates for judicial vacancies and sends him a short list of recommendations.

Although other states do not give the governor such control over the selection process, there have been no legislative proposals in recent years to change the way Georgia goes about appointing judges.

Atlanta lawyer Kenneth Shigley, president of the State Bar of Georgia, acknowledged that the steady stream of judges leaving the state’s bench doesn’t look good.

No shit!

But back to Ms. Farahany’s question…

How should we interpret these results? Could the Northern District of Georgia be facing far more frivolous suits than other jurisdictions? Perhaps, although it’s hard to believe that’s a complete answer. I, for one, would like to know how these results compare to summary dismissal of other types of claims in the same jurisdiction. Assuming that the rate of summary dismissal for employment discrimination claims differs from dismissal of other civil claims, should we infer some implicit (or explicit) bias is happening here.? [Other studies suggest implicit bias in the adjudication of employment discrimination cases – see e.g. pp. 1154-63 of Implicit Bias in the Courtroom)]. If so, plenty of neuropsychological studies show that merely presenting judges with the facts may help to de-bias them and enable them to better address meritorious (assuming there are some) claims.

I think she should take a look at the examples shown in the state superior courts, and investigate the lack of cases being prosecuted by North Georgia District Attorneys. There is a huge amount of good old boy back and forth going around. I know first hand of bank embezzlement and theft of tax funds that did not get prosecuted by our DA. There is a big stink going on now in my county about possible millions in missing SPLOST monies and questions regarding the county commissioner, the judges that Governor Deal appointed to replace the two who “resigned” and who is greasing who. But…all that is just speculation. Anyway, take a look at that study, y’all may find it interesting.

In other rape culture news….UConn Failed To Investigate Sexual Assault Reports And Protect Victims, Complaint Claims You can go and read the article at the link. It is pretty much the same story…

This next article is a bit of sad news for those of us who suffer from insomnia: Poor sleep tied to Alzheimer’s-like brain changes

Oh, and then there is this Hitchhiking virus confirms saga of ancient human migration

A study of the full genetic code of a common human virus offers a dramatic confirmation of the “out-of-Africa” pattern of human migration, which had previously been documented by anthropologists and studies of the human genome.

The under study, type 1 (HSV-1), usually causes nothing more severe than cold sores around the mouth, says Curtis Brandt, a professor of medical microbiology and ophthalmology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Brandt is senior author of the study, now online in the journal PLOS ONE.

When Brandt and co-authors Aaron Kolb and Cécile Ané compared 31 of HSV-1 collected in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia, “the result was fairly stunning,” says Brandt.

“The viral strains sort exactly as you would predict based on sequencing of human genomes. We found that all of the African isolates cluster together, all the virus from the Far East, Korea, Japan, China clustered together, all the viruses in Europe and America, with one exception, clustered together,” he says.

“What we found follows exactly what the anthropologists have told us, and the molecular geneticists who have analyzed the human have told us, about where humans originated and how they spread across the planet.”

Whenever I hear the words “herpes simplex ‘ten‘” I think of that scene in Beverly Hills Cop:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmNJ03s2ZuM

Hey, are you ready for this? It is another link from AJC…New underwear filters flatulence | News To Me with George Mathis

Nothing spoils romance quite like flatulence.

Fortunately, military technology, the same stuff behind the Slinky, Silly Putty and nuclear warheads, has helped create fart-proof underpants.

An article by The New York Daily News that was likely written by someone in marketing says the “award-winning healthcare product is particularly useful for sufferers of digestive disorders such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Crohn’s disease, Colitis and food intolerances.”

But a photo of a beautiful woman shoving her scentless derriere into a happy man’s face illustrates the true purpose of the nigh-magical undergarments — it’s finally safe for humans to socialize like dogs.

As might be expected, the military-industrial complex has created a product as potent as any bomb dropped by a chili dog-eating husband who has given up on anything more emotionally complex than fantasy football. The aforementioned press release … I mean article … says Shreddies (that’s the name of these things) can effectively blunt the assault of a gas “200 times the strength of the average flatus emission.”

Here is the picture from the NYDN article:

Don't believe the claims? Test the odorless undies yourself with a sniff.

Don’t believe the claims? Test the odorless undies yourself with a sniff.

The thin and flexible cloth, which contains Zorflex — the same activated carbon material used in chemical warfare suits — is reactivated simply by washing the pants…

Seriously? WTF!!!!!  So underwear made of the same stuff they make hazmat suits out of…go figure.

And if those anti-fart knickers don’t get you going, maybe this will…just in time for Halloween, a sort of ghost story…haunted houses: Who died in your house? Here’s how to find out – The Washington Post

At least five people have died in my house. Three of them were children.

One of them was a Union soldier who had lost the hearing in his right ear to a musket ball he took in the head during the Battle of Sailor’s Creek, years after a career as a Capitol Hill police officer and Navy Yard clerk.

Was his Irish wake in our living room? Or in the dining room? Did he die in the master bedroom? Or the room that’s now our home office?

These are the joys and sorrows of an old house. And in the nation’s capital, where various degrees of stupid and scandalous always bookend the inspiring and historic, lots of people wish their old walls could talk.

This story goes on, give it a quick read…but I want to get down to the point.

USA Today did a story just this weekend on DiedInHouse.com , a Web site that compiles public records to help you decide whether those noises you’re hearing at night may actually be the guy who died in the basement.

“Yeah, that’s the kind of information we do find,” said the next very important person on the home-history research tour, Bruce Yarnall, operations and grants manager for the city’s Historic Preservation Office. “Doing historical research is like lifting up a rock.”

He remembered guiding one owner “who was horrified” when the paper trail led to a death in the home. “And we had another patron who was absolutely thrilled to learn that there were suicides in the basement and the attic of the house.”

Yarnall is better than a Ouija board for finding out whether that creak you hear in the hallway at night is a restless spirit.

I am so tempted to see if our old, old house in New Preston, CT has any hits on DiedInHouse.com. I bet it does! That house was built in 1823, but the foundation had hand hewn logs with a date of 1750 scratched into them. That house was haunted. I know it.

Well, you have a good day…and tell me, what are you reading about, and let’s hear what you’re thinking about too.

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42 Comments on “Wednesday Reads: Just as ordinary as any other…”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Good morning! The panda twins photos made me feel good about the world and everything in it. Thanks, JJ.

      • from the link:

        Chris McDaniel is taking the “GOP Civil War” to a new level. Two months ago, the tea party-backed Mississippi Senate candidate addressed a neo-Confederate conference and costume ball hosted by a group that promotes the work of present-day secessionists and contends the wrong side won the “war of southern independence.” Other speakers at the event included a historian who believes Lincoln was a Marxist and Ryan Walters, a PhD candidate who worked on McDaniel’s first political campaign and wrote recently that the “controversy” over President Barack Obama’s birth certificate “hasn’t really been solved.”

        McDaniel, a state senator, is challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Thad Cochran in next summer’s GOP Senate primary. After announcing his run last week, McDaniel quickly picked up endorsements from the Club for Growth and the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee founded by former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a prominent backer of the tea party. Both groups are key players in the internal GOP battle between establishment-minded Republicans and tea party insurgents and are backing right-wing challenges to incumbent Republicans whom they deem insufficiently conservative. Cochran, who is finishing out his 35th year in the Senate and has not said if he will seek re-election, earned the ire of tea partiers by voting to re-open the federal government and avert defaulting on the debt. McDaniel, whose campaign bus features an image of Article I of the Constitution, has promised to make Cochran’s debt ceiling vote a centerpiece of his campaign.

        With their endorsements of McDaniel, the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Club for Growth have shown just how far they are willing to go in terms of embracing the far right to prosecute their war for the soul of the party. In August, McDaniel addressed a neo-Confederate conference in Laurel, Miss., near his hometown of Ellisville. A local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), the Jones County Rosin Heels, hosted the two-day event, which the group described in invitations as a “Southern Heritage Conference” for “politically incorrect folks.” Attendees were advised to dress in “Confederate uniforms and antebellum ball gowns or wee kilties.” McDaniel’s appearance at the Rosin Heels heritage conference was not a one-off occurrence; weeks earlier he was the keynote speaker at a separate event in Jackson.

        The Rosin Heels does more than regret the outcome of the Civil War. Its monthly newsletter routinely features articles and essays advocating for present-day secession. Its August newsletter highlighted the seven-year-old “Burlington Declaration” from the First North American Secession Convention, which stated that the right of secession was a “[truth] of natural law and the human experience.” (While it did not advcoate for specific secession movement, the proclamation affirmed the right of the conference’s various attendees to do so.) In September, the newsletter included an essay on secession from the League of the South, lamenting the loss of southern independence at the hands of the “plutocracy and proletariat of the world.” A note from the editor stated that “we are living in the times that Jefferson Davis predicted would one day come,” in which the conflicts that presaged the Civil War would flare up again. The June issue compared Obama’s policies to the ravages of Reconstruction: “Our people have had to put up with for the last FIFTEEN DECADES!!!”

  2. RalphB says:

    One half of the douche nozzle twins Cruz/Lee is in trouble at home. Cruz will have problems regardless of what the MSM may report now.

    tpm: Sen. Mike Lee Takes Heat At Home Over Shutdown

    The campaign to defund the Affordable Care Act may have endeared him to the tea party, but Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) is facing an increasingly disgruntled constituency at home for his leading role in the quixotic effort that led to the government shutdown and brought the United States close to default.

    “Business leaders that I talk to, many of whom supported him, would never support his reelection and in fact will work against him, myself included,” Zwick told the Post.

    The Journal, meanwhile, caught up with Quin Monson, a pollster for Brigham Young University who said that Lee may have set himself for a primary.

    “Lee looks vulnerable to a challenge from within his party, but the real danger could be a challenge in a general election from the right kind of moderate Democrat,” Monson told the Journal.

    • NW Luna says:

      Let’s hear it for the “real danger” of moderate Democrats! Hope he gets primaried but good.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        That’s the only kind of Democrat that my State Dem Party will support. I had it out with a former State Party Chair because I bad mouthed one of his Bush-Lite candidates. The Red States are overrun with those Damned Blue Dogs.

  3. dakinikat says:

    http://science.time.com/2013/10/22/the-united-states-of-attitude-an-interactive-guide-to-americas-moods/

    For a country that features the word United so prominently in its name, the U.S. is a pretty fractious place. We splinter along fault lines of income, education, religion, race, hyphenated origin, age and politics. Then too there’s temperament. We’re coarse or courtly, traditionalist or rebel, amped up or laid-back. And it’s no secret that a lot of that seems to be determined by — or at least associated with — where we live.

    Now a multinational team of researchers led by psychologist and American expat Jason Rentfrow of the University of Cambridge in the U.K. has sought to draw the regional lines more clearly, literally mapping the American mood, with state-by-state ratings of personality and temperament.

    Oddly enough JJ, it says I belong in Georgia (Blech!!!)

  4. NW Luna says:

    Surprise!

    Energy Independence Act costing less than naysayers warned.

    In recent weeks, critics have taken renewed aim at a voter-approved state law requiring electric utilities to invest in new renewable-energy resources. The Energy Independence Act, they say, has significantly increased costs to consumers and has hurt the state’s economy. ….

    When Washington voters approved the Energy Independence Act in 2006, opponents argued that it would increase energy costs by $185 million to $370 million per year. At a recent legislative hearing, one group testified that the act is costing the average homeowner $50 a year.

    However, the companies’ recent filings to the commission tell a different story. They show that complying with the act only cost their customers an additional $35 million in 2012 — an increase to the average household bill of 1.2 percent, or a little over $1 a month.

    And when we get more renewable-energy resources on board, we should see cost savings.

  5. NW Luna says:

    Wonderful and touching event:

    A 90-year-old Holocaust survivor made his orchestral debut with renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma on Tuesday to benefit a foundation dedicated to preserving the work of artists and musicians killed by the Nazis. ….

    “I grew up with the words, ‘never again,’” said Ma, who was born 10 years after the end of World War II revealed the scope of the Holocaust. “It is kind of inconceivable that there are people who say the Holocaust didn’t exist. George Horner is a living contradiction of what those people are saying.”

    He said Horner was able to survive “because he had music, because he had friends, because the power of music could fill in the empty spaces.”

  6. bostonboomer says:

    JJ,

    Authorities have named Tamerlan Tsarnaev as having been involved in the Waltham triple homicide. The FBI claims Ibrigim Todashev told them that he and Tamerlan “participated” in the murders. The FBI still isn’t talking about why they killed Todashev.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Fox News Reportedly Used Fake Commenter Accounts To Rebut Critical Blog Posts. New Book Details An Extensive Campaign By The Networks’ PR Staffers

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/10/20/fox-news-reportedly-used-fake-commenter-account/196509