Monday Reads: Crazy from the Heat (and other things)

53-23340-grapefruit-ad-1421368259Good Afternoon!

The heat is just unbearable around here.  I’m not sure I can take another couple of months of this but there doesn’t seem to be much I can do about it other than keep the shades drawn and send good thoughts to my functional but struggling central air unit.  I’m definitely wearing as little as possible around the house.  I thought I’d take the opportunity to feature crazy and strategically placed fruit today.

There’s a lot of craziness out there along with the crazy heat.  This first appalling story is from Indiana about a second grade teacher who punished a child for not believing in gawd.

A Lawsuit recently filed against a teacher at Forest Park Elementary School in Indiana alleged that a 7-year-old student was “banished” from sitting with other students at lunch after he revealed that he did not believe in God.

According to the lawsuit obtained by The Washington Post, second grade teacher Michelle Myer interrogated the student, who was identified with the initials A.B., about his religious beliefs after he told his classmates on the playground that he did not go to church because he did not believe in God.

As a result, the child was ordered to sit by himself during lunch for a three-day period.

“The defendant’s actions caused great distress to A.B. and resulted in the child being ostracized by his peers past the three-day ‘banishment.’”

“Ms. Meyer asked A.B. if he had told the girl that he did not believe in God and A.B. said he had and asked what he had done wrong,” the lawsuit explained. “Ms. Meyer asked A.B. if he went to church, whether his family went to church, and whether his mother knew how he felt about God… She also asked A.B. if he believed that maybe God exists.”

Several days later, Meyer sent A.B. to talk to another adult at the school, who “reinforced his feeling that he had done something very wrong,” the lawsuit said.

“On the day of the incident and for an additional two days thereafter, Ms. Meyer required that A.B. sit by himself during lunch and told him he should not talk to the other students and stated that this was because he had offended them. This served to reinforce A.B.’s feeling that he had committed some transgression that justified his exclusion.”

“A.B. came home from school on multiple occasions crying saying that he knows that everyone at school – teachers and students – hate him,” the suit continued. “Even now A.B. remains anxious and fearful about school, which is completely contrary to how he felt before this incident.”

I’ve been writing about the AirBnB Crazy GreedFest being perpetrated on our historic neighborhoods by out of towners.  Here’s a first hand look at what this is doing to affordable housing in the famous Treme 53-18095-helen-mirren-1404951104neighborhood.  The author of this is Deborah Cotton who was a blogger of note post-Katrina.  Cotton was shot when some one fired into a celebratory second line parade.  She nearly died and is now disabled. This link goes to the listing for her former home owned now by a carpetbagging lawbreaker from Austin.

“AIRBNB is a serious problem people. This lovely apartment was my home in Treme for ten years until it was bought by Carrie Altemus who owns and runs bed and breakfasts around the city. I was still recovering from being shot when she bought it and told me I had to leave, that she needed the apartment for her elderly father. I asked for a few extra months because I was on a list to get subsidized housing due to my disability and was waiting for an affordable apt to come available but they told me ‘NO’. I was rushed out so they could renovate it and then rent it for $150 p/night – $4,500 p/m, def more than I was paying in rent. Another affordable apartment turned over to tourists and this Austin ‘entrepreneur’. Pretty soon the whole city will be rented to tourists and the rest of us residents will have to move to the West Bank and drive in to serve them.”

50377633The NRA and whack-a-doo politicians like Bobby Jindal always want more guns and armed citizens out there looking for the OK corral moments.  Well, here’s some experimental research that shows that’s a really bad idea.

The notion that more guns are always the solution to gun crime is taken seriously in this country. But the research shows that more guns lead to more gun homicides — not less. And that guns are rarely used in self-defense.

Now a new study from researchers at Mount St. Mary’s University sheds some light on why people don’t use guns in self-defense very often. As it turns out, knowing when and how to apply lethal force in a potentially life-or-death situation is really difficult.

The study was commissioned by the National Gun Victims Action Council, an advocacy group devoted to enacting “sensible gun laws” that “find common ground between legal gun owners and non-gun owners that minimizes gun violence in our culture.” The study found that proper training and education are key to successfully using a firearm in self-defense: “carrying a gun in public does not provide self-defense unless the carrier is properly trained and maintains their skill level,” the authors wrote in a statement.

They recruited 77 volunteers with varying levels of firearm experience and training, and had each of them participate in simulations of three different scenarios using the firearms training simulator at the Prince George’s County Police Department in Maryland. The first scenario involved a carjacking, the second an armed robbery in a convenience store, and the third a case of suspected larceny.

They found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, people without firearms training performed poorly in the scenarios. They didn’t take cover. They didn’t attempt to issue commands to their assailants. Their trigger fingers were either too itchy — they shot innocent bystanders or unarmed people, or not itchy enough — they didn’t shoot armed assailants until they were already being shot at.

Calendar_01_1088551451A government shutdown is looming once again.  Taking our economy and our federal agencies to the brink appears to be a ritual of summer and fall these days.

The chance of a federal government shutdown increased dramatically and precipitously last week from 40 percent to 60 percent. It’s now more likely than not that a shutdown will result from the craziness going on in Washington.

With the House already in recess until after Labor Day and the Senate about to leave town this week, all of the components that had led to my previous 40 percent estimate got worse. There’s now even less time – Congress will be in session only a handful of days before the fiscal year begins on October 1 – for the House and Senate to devote to appropriations.

The leadership has already admitted that nothing has been decided about how to deal with this situation. In other words, this will be the kind of last minute, ad hoc decision that in the past has repeatedly failed and led to unwanted consequences…like a shutdown. In budget technical terms, the House and Senate leadership will be flying by the seat of its pants.

With the House having passed only six of the fiscal 2016 apropriations and the full Senate having considered none, few of the major program decisions have yet to be made and there won’t be time in September for Congress to make many (or even any) of them,

Thursday night we will have an live blog of the Republican Rumble of the Really Unhumble.

With just more than half the declared candidates on stage, the event will give voters a chance to see whether the debate gets into policy differences or ends up being a slug-fest.

Recent primary debates have produced a share of race-defining moments: Mitt Romney’s $10,000 bet over whether the former Massachusetts governor was for individual health insurance mandates; then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s “oops” moment when he forgot one of the federal agencies he would eliminate as president; and then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s quip that Hillary Clinton is “nice enough.”

But this debate includes one major factor not seen in past debates: Donald Trump.

The boisterous real estate magnate, who has been a walking headline since he jumped into the race in June, has exceeded expectations, rising to the top of polls for the last couple of weeks.

That will likely give him the right to stand center stage at the debates based on plans reported by Bloomberg last week. But what happens then is anybody’s guess: Will Trump draw a peppering of questions from moderators, attacks from other candidates or be ignored? What will he say?

“The expectation is that he is going to be a bull in a china shop, perhaps a lack of specifics on policy, perhaps flouting the debate rules, getting too personal on stage,” said Geoffrey Skelley, a political analyst with the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

“He needs to confound those expectations by having some substantive policy points on issues that are important to him, perhaps acting in a less abrasive manner than he’s well known for.”

Political junkies and experts believe Trump will bring his typical braggadocio to the debate stage despite their sentiment among Republicans that it makes him unelectable in a general election. Trump has been mum about his debate prep, telling CNN he doesn’t have a coach.

I’m thinking this should be a slugfest.  Trump is definitely not going to be the only crazy one on the stage but he will definitely be the loudest.

So, that’s it for me.  I have to get some grading done.  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?  And mind the strategically placed fruit!!!


Saturday Night Fixation Read

SuziThis is going to be a rather short post.  Last Saturday, BostonBoomer wrote about the New York Times and its seemingly endless need to write completely unhinged things about Hillary Clinton.  We’ve also written about MoDo before and her strange fixation on the former Secretary of State and presidential candidate.   Peter Daou and Tom Watson have completely dissected MoDo’s screeds in a must-read blog post.   I want to make sure y’all read it.  Daou traces the memes and name calling back to Karl Rove and has a rather complete list of misogynist adjectives frequently assigned to Hillary.

• POLARIZING
• CALCULATING
• SECRETIVE
• OVER AMBITIOUS
• WILL DO ANYTHING TO WIN
• DISINGENUOUS/INSINCERE
• MACHINE-LIKE/INHUMAN
• INEVITABLE/OVER-CONFIDENT
• OLD/OUT OF TOUCH
• DEFIANT/UNCARING

Just about any woman with grit, ambition, and a talent for assertiveness has worn those labels at one time or another.  Why on earth is Maureen Dowd and the NYT allowing Karl Rove to control their narratives on the former Secretary of State?  I’m always first in line to attribute the nonsense to the Dudebro culture where all white men with coveted college educations believe that only they can be the masters of the universe. See what you think.hillary-clinton-iron-throne

In The Great American Brainwash: Half a Billion Dollars to Turn the Public against Hillary, Peter explains how these memes work and where they originate:

From a revealing report on Karl Rove’s Crossroads:

An expensive and sophisticated effort is underway to test and refine the most potent lines of attack against Mrs. Clinton, and, ultimately, to persuade Americans that she does not deserve their votes. Republican groups are eager to begin building a powerful case against the woman they believe will be the Democratic nominee, and to infuse the public consciousness with those messages. The effort to vilify Mrs. Clinton could ultimately cost several hundred million dollars, given the variety and volume of political organizations involved.”

Crossroads’ goal is to indoctrinate the public with anti-Hillary narratives, to insert carefully tested negative memes into the public debate.

Voters need to understand that what they think they know about Hillary is often the result of sophisticated propaganda techniques, where tightly-crafted talking points are focus-grouped and deployed by shadowy GOP groups then magnified by the mainstream media and pundits.

This is the subtext to Maureen Dowd’s new, vicious attack against Hillary. Dowd’s words are chosen meticulously: they fit perfectly into the narratives and frames that have been developed for over two decades to smear Hillary. Each of these terms is taken from Dowd’s new op-ed – many are verbatim matches with our compendium of anti-Hillary memes:

“Acting all innocent, disingenuous, egregious transgressions, militant fans, craving a championship, surreptitious, wanting to win at all costs, calculating, history of subterfuge, crafty, sketchy value system, seamy, Faustian bargain, sheen of inevitability, robotic, queenly attitude, suspicious mind-set, unsavory.”

Delivering such excessive negativity in one piece is not opinion writing. It is not journalism. It is a personal vendetta aided and abetted by the New York Times, with the intention of spreading potent sexist frames crafted by conservative opposition researchers.

Dowd’s history of Hillary-bashing is notable:

Dowd has written more than 200 columns on Hillary, most of them negative. A detailed analysis by Oliver Willis and Hannah Groch-Begley published last summer found that “Dowd has repeatedly accused Clinton of being an enemy to or betraying feminism (35 columns, 18 percent of those studied), power-hungry (51 columns, 26 percent), unlikable (9 columns, 5 percent), or phony (34 columns, 17 percent). She’s also attacked the Clintons as a couple in 43 columns (22 percent), many of which included Dowd’s ham-handed attempts at psychoanalysis.”

The abuse continues. Just this past April, Dowd wrote that Hillary is a “granny” who “can’t figure out how to campaign as a woman” after she “scrubbed out the femininity, vulnerability, and heart” required to do so during her 2008 presidential run. Claiming Hillary is now trying to shift her image after she “saw the foolishness of acting like a masculine woman,” Dowd asserted that the candidate “always overcorrects,” and is now “basking in estrogen.” Dowd concluded, saying hopefully Hillary will “teach her Republican rivals…that bitch is still the new black” instead.

At #HillaryMen, we’ve dubbed this endless invective directed at Hillary in the media the “wall of words” and we’ve argued that it is the single biggest obstacle on her path to becoming America’s first woman president. Although Dowd is the master of anti-Hillary memes, she is hardly alone.

With that in mind, I have a lot of respect for the role Senator Bernie Sanders has played in the U.S. Senate even though he’s never been very influential or effective in getting anything passed. He at least is one notable voice from a point of view we rarely get to hear in this country.  I also admire that–unlike Donald Trump or Ralph Nader–Sanders has said he would never run as an independent to try to unrail any other Democratic nominee. However, the same group of dudebros from 2008 have been popping up trolling women supporters of Hillary.   There still seems to be an incredible discomfort among white male elites with the idea of a woman in charge.

On my side of the aisle, it’s all about Bernie. Well, Bernie vs. Hillary. And that’s where the rub is getting… rubbier.

I like Bernie; I’ve always liked Bernie. I’ve shared his memes and quotes over the years, I’ve appreciated his unvarnished views on issues of the economy and fiscal equity, and I believe he’s a passionate, powerful idealist who has a lot to say that bears hearing. I’m thrilled he’s running; I think he’s energized many on the left who’ve felt Hillary wasn’t left enough but didn’t have another candidate to support. He makes the Democratic ticket a true race, one that’s vibrant and competitive, and that’s a good thing.

The rub is in the way too many of his supporters are comporting themselves in their effort to promote the cause. I don’t mind the enthusiastic postings about big crowds, electrifying speeches, or hope-inducing polls. The ideas he’s touting, the kind of government he’s visualizing, the core principals of his platform are all admirable, and it’s easy to see why people are excited. That’s how it should go in campaigns, certainly at this point in the process. I don’t even mind the countless invitations I’ve received to join this “Bernie group” on Facebook, or come to that Bernie event in Hollywood. Invite away; I’m a big girl and I have no problem being gracious in my responses.

But lately I’m seeing too many threads on the topic turn into sadly-typical spitting contests, with those supporting Bernie flinging epithets at Hillary supporters, breathlessly listing all her purported transgressions and foibles, denigrating her accomplishments, insulting her personal decisions, and acting as though anyone who supports her is an idiot who doesn’t grasp the folly of their ways. I’ve had Bernie supporters get snarly with me, bait me to answer questions about why I might support Hillary, push me to defend her record, explain her business decisions, even parse her choice to stay with her husband. As a woman I find it appalling, but frankly, many of those most zealous on this topic are women… Hillary has always had the capacity to trip the wire with some on that side of the gender aisle!

feminstwellbehavedwomen1My moment came when I posted this and said wtf was he thinking on Facebook.  In 1972, I was a kid in high school working as a volunteer in the origination of what’s now one of the most successful rape crisis lines and centers in the country. I was like all of 16 and I can tell you that rape is a woman’s nightmare and one likely to happen.  It’s not a damned fantasy. Well, this was evidently a satire piece but hell, the immodest proposal of eating Irish Children was good satire because it was such an over the top unlikely scenario.  Being raped or held down against your will by men is something most of us will experience and by that time I’d been held down by upperclassmen and yelled at for not being humble like Jesus.  I just considered myself fortunate to not get the rape part of it but I have many many friends that have.  So, my question is what was he thinking then and what has he said now.   (RAPE TRIGGER FOR THAT LINK)

So, one of the responses I got was from a friend of a friend “Looks like the Hillary supporters are dredging for straws to grasp.”.  Uh,  we’ve got no straws to grasp. Being a self-proclaimed socialist in today’s USA is about all it takes to sink a candidate outside of a few states. I’m fine with him being in the race. It’ll make for interesting debates.

I also “like” being mansplained about a piece being a critique of entrenched gender roles.  My response was as follows.

No one thinks it’s his own sexual preferences nor was the critique of gender roles lost on me. It’s the idea of using a rape fantasy for a woman that’s appalling period. But the dudebros back then were as misogynist as they are today. I just want to read something explaining what on earth he was thinking back then. When you write satire you assign outrageous scenarios but you don’t make ever woman’s nightmare–and a likely one at that–a fantasy. I don’t think this will impact any election. It’s just appalling no matter when it was written and no matter by who

You can read more on the Bernie Swoon and the way the press is encouraging him to Hillary bash by reading this example at The Atlantic. They should debate and establish contrasts but there’s no need for anyone to be combative.

I just absolutely hate to think that we’re going to have to go through another one of these political seasons where we get dick-thwapped just because a woman wants to be president.  I especially don’t want to hear a rehash of all that Rove crap coming from the New York Times.  We’re going to be treated to the Republican Primary Debates shortly.  I hope they just stuck to trashing each other.  Otherwise, it’s going to be a long, stressful, misogynistic political season.

The original MoDO screed is here at today’s NYT where she compare’s Clinton to Tom Brady and says they have an attitude of “win at all costs” with a history of “subterfuge.” She even quotes a Wall Street Journal article. Wow, the NYT really needs to reassess their relationship with her if that’s the stuff she reads and cites.

Anyway,  you can consider this an open thread.  I slept late today and took a huge long nap this afternoon. I’m exhausted.


Thursday Reads: The Most Vile, Repugnant People In the World …

new-jesusGood Afternoon!

Religion-based bullies are always the worst of the worst when it comes to meanness because they have that extra self-righteousness about them that infers they can never be wrong even when everything they say and do pretty much violates every tenant you’ve ever come to understand about their religion.  This behavior is as old as religions themselves.  I mean, who really are better bullies than any of the gods?  The Greek gods excelled at it.  The Abrahamic god not only has corned the market but has followers that basically travel from land to land and culture to culture just to act out on hapless indigenous people.

My first real experience happened in high school in the choir room when two upper class boys decided I needed a lesson in the humility they believe was shown by Jesus.  Of course this was just old fashioned misogyny which is really one of the oldest tricks in the bullying books written by those following the entire Iron Age myth of the Abrahamic god.  Believe me, I was traumatized by being held down for a period of time and shouted at on the choir risers about basically being an uppity woman who really needs to understand what jeebus wants her to do.  Women aren’t allowed to be too talented, too smart, too pretty, and not passive enough.  I’ve really just started talking about this craziness around 40 odd years after the fact. I had no idea what to make of it or do about it as a teenage girl who had to deal with these guys daily.

When any one asks me what one thing I would eliminate in the world if I could I answer quite quickly.  It would be religion.

My second experience was, of course, my lesson in what neighbors are really about when I ran for office as a pro-choice Republican. Nothing, believe me nothing stands up to what fetus festishists can do. Lying and bullying are rituals for them. The day I started getting messages on the answering machine telling me where my small children had been and what abortion “procedure” they’d perform on them was the day I decided I wanted to leave that state and NEVER go back.  I’d stack the lot of these Fetus Fetishists up against ISIS.  They’re actually worse because most of them have the benefit of an education, a job, and life in a first world country. We are resplendent in religious bullies these days.  From Bibi Netanyahu, to Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum and just about every dude in the Government of Saudi Arabia.  I could probably just spend a post of thousands of words listing them all.

So, I’m going to start with a story out of Alabama where a prisoner has been basically bullied into carrying a pregnancy to term.  It starts out with the State seeking to 6ita2vend the parental rights of the pregnant woman. These multiple attempts confusing fried chicken with scrambled eggs always concern me.

The state of Alabama is petitioning a court to strip a pregnant prisoner of parental rights in order to prevent her from obtaining an abortion.

Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly said Wednesday the woman won’t have legal standing to seek an abortion if a court takes away her parental rights.

The woman has already asked a federal judge to order the county to let her have an abortion. A ruling is expected Friday. Her lawyer says any decision by a federal judge would trump any decision by the court in Lauderdale County.

The head of the Alabama State Bar Association’s family law section calls the state’s request “absurd.”

The woman has now dropped her bid to get an abortion.  I have no doubt that she was coerced into serving as an incubator.

An Alabama prisoner who went to federal court seeking an abortion filed a court document Wednesday saying she’d changed her mind and wanted to give birth, after the state had sought to prevent her from undergoing the procedure.

The sworn statement, filed on behalf of a woman identified only as Jane Doe, didn’t say whether the state’s action resulted in the change of heart. In the document, the woman said she made the decision on her own without any “undue influence, duress, or threat of harm.”

“After much consideration and counsel, I … have decided that I no longer desire to pursue an abortion procedure and intend to carry the unborn child to full term and birth,” she said in the statement.

The document was filed by Maurice McCaney, an attorney appointed to represent the woman in juvenile court, where the state had petitioned court authorities to strip the pregnant prisoner of parental rights in order to prevent her from obtaining an abortion.

McCaney didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment. Neither did Randall Marshall, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who represented the woman in the federal lawsuit seeking an abortion.

The Lauderdale County prisoner had originally filed a federal lawsuit last week against a local sheriff, seeking a court order that would clear the way for an abortion. A federal judge had said he would rule by Friday on her request.

In the meantime, the state had sought to terminate her parental rights over the unborn child.

Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly recently said the prisoner in question would be stripped of her legal standing to seek an abortion if the court took away her parental rights. Connolly said via email that he filed the request on the state’s behalf.

The woman, who filed suit July 20 against Sheriff Rick Singleton, said in the earlier court documents that she was unable to obtain an abortion before going to jail, and denying her one violates her constitutional rights. Court papers do not say why the woman is in custody or provide any personal information about her, but Connolly said she is an adult. A court-appointed attorney was named to act as guardian for the fetus.

The woman, who is in her first trimester of pregnancy, had at the time urged a federal judge to order the county to let her leave jail to have an abortion that she planned to pay for privately. Her ACLU attorney, Marshall, had said a federal court ruling in favor of the woman would trump an attempt by the state to stop her from having the procedure.

This amounts to forced servitude. But of course, who argued more briskly for the rights of southerners to own slaves but the same group of religious fanatics.  These are the same yahoos that are threatening to shut down the government–yet again–over funding of Planned Parenthood.  The basis is the highly deceptive video put out showing the process of fetal tissue donation has triggered the outrage in the ignorant again. The worst outcry is, of course, the old dudes who are insisting the gawd told them to run for President of the world’s oldest secular democracy.

Calling next week’s Senate roll call to defund Planned Parenthood a “legislative show vote,” GOP firebrand Ted Cruz said Republicans should do everything they can to eliminate federal money for the group — even if it means a government shutdown fight this fall.

He’s not alone. On Wednesday afternoon, 18 House Republicans told leadership that they “cannot and will not support any funding resolution … that contains any funding for Planned Parenthood.” Meanwhile, GOP social conservatives like Sens. James Lankford of Oklahoma and Jeff Sessions of Alabama said they’d consider supporting an effort to attach a spending rider that would eliminate Planned Parenthood’s $528 million in annual government funding to must-pass spending legislation this fall.

It’s a potentially ominous sign for GOP leaders desperate to avoid another shutdown debacle. While Cruz may be radioactive in the Senate GOP conference after calling his leader a liar, his analysis of next week’s vote has merit: With Democrats vowing to block the measure, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) won’t be able to get the 60 votes he needs to advance the bill next week, a result that likely won’t satisfy a conservative base itching for confrontation over abortion.

In a Wednesday interview, Cruz said the GOP should go as hard as it can to block funding for Planned Parenthood, including the same strategy he tried to use to defund Obamacare in 2013: force the issue by blocking funding in a government spending bill that must pass by Sept. 30.

Asked whether he would support such a maneuver again, Cruz replied: “I would support any and all legislative efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. We do not need a legislative show-vote.”

On the other side of the Capitol, Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) said dozens of House Republicans will back his effort to oppose any spending bill — whether a continuing resolution stopgap or longer-term funding package — that includes any money for Planned Parenthood.

“This is one of those line-in-the-sand type of issues,” Mulvaney said Wednesday. “Every time we say we don’t want to spend money on something, the answer is it will provoke a shutdown.”

Mitch McConnell is already in the process of setting the vote date. He’s actually fast tracked the vote.

anti-christian-bigotryCecile Richards took to the Op-Ed pages of WAPO to call these freaks out.

The most recent attacks in this decades-long campaign represent a new low.

These extremists created a fake business, made apparently misleadingcorporate filings and then used false government identifications to gain access to Planned Parenthood’s medical and research staff with the agenda of secretly filming without consent — then heavily edited the footage to make false and absurd assertions about our standards and services. They spent three years doing everything they could — not to uncover wrongdoing, but rather to create it. They failed.

While predictably these videos do not show anything illegal on Planned Parenthood’s part, medical and scientific conversations can be upsetting to hear, and I immediately apologized for the tone that was used, which did not reflect the compassion that people have come to know and expect from Planned Parenthood.

While our opponents have been working to create scandal and panic where none exists, doctors and nurses at Planned Parenthood health centers have continued to provide care to thousands of women, men and young people every day — contraception, cancer screenings, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and safe and legal abortion.

Control of women is central to the dictums of oppressive religions and a way of justifying violence and violations of women’s autonomy and humanity.  Patriarchal religions–throwbacks to the Iron Age–still support some of the worst inhumane practices imaginable all over the world.  The United States is no exception.

Last month, 13-year-old Izabel Laxamana put on a sports bra and some leggings, took a picture, and sent it to a boy at school. Soon, administrators at Tacoma, Washington’s Giaudrone Middle School, where Izzy was poised to finish her seventh-grade year, heard about the picture. Izzy’s parents were called. As Tacoma police would later report to the News Tribune, the Laxamanas expressed concern that their daughter had been sending selfies of any kind. They had warned her against using social media. If she disobeyed, they had told her, they’d cut off her hair.

Back at home, Izzy’s father, Jeff, made good on the threat. On May 27, he cut her hair to her shoulders, leaving just one long strand untouched. Then, he started filming. His camera panned from Izzy’s downcast face to the heap of glossy black strands at her feet. “The consequences of getting messed up. Man, you lost all that beautiful hair,” her father said. “Was it worth it?”

“No,” Izzy replied softly.

The next morning at school, staff members helped weave Izzy’s hair into a French braid in an attempt to hide the damage. But a new humiliating social media artifact—her father’s video—was now being passed from phone to phone. School administrators heard about that, too. This time, they called child protective services. School counselors were dispatched to aid Izzy. The next day, just before school let out, Izzy wrote eight notes on her iPod to family and friends, passed the device to a friend, headed to a bridge over the highway that separated the school from the mall, and jumped. She died in the hospital the next day.

Women and children are still subjected to laws and legal treatment that assign them chattel status.  This happens with the explicit consent of many religions and danishcartoon_0religious. Granted, not all religious people and their practice of beliefs fall under this purview. But, when one of two governing parties falls under the sway of a cult, it’s women and children who pay the price.  Think about this again.  The State of Alabama argued that their right to crawl inside the body of a woman in the first trimester of a pregnancy and run around a constitutional right happened just this month. The Republicans in Congress have been on a jihad against what stands as the sole provider of women’s health services in many states.  They’re not defunding abortions.  They did that with the Hyde amendment.  What they want to defund is access cancer screenings, birth control and basic health care.

I can’t even start in on the impact this nonsense has had on every GLBT American whose lives are riddled with religious bullying continually.

Here’s an example today from Israel that’s pretty vile. Six people were stabbed by an Orthodox Jewish man during a gay pride parade.

A homosexual-hating Orthodox Jew stabbed six marchers Thursday at Jerusalem’s annual gay pride parade before he was wrestled to the ground.

Yishai Schlissel, who had recently been released from prison for stabbing several people at a gay pride parade in 2005, attacked without warning as the marchers were going through the Jewish side of the divided city, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.

Dressed in a dark suit, Schlissel stabbed several people in the back as cheers turned to screams and blood spattered on the street.

“I saw an ultra-Orthodox youth stabbing everyone in his way,” witness Shai Aviyor told Israel’s Channel 2 television. “We heard people screaming, everyone ran for cover, and there were bloodied people on the ground.”

While medics rushed in to take care of the wounded, police officers on horseback corralled the bearded suspect before he could do more harm, Samri said.

That’s the problem. Every day I read yet another instance where some one insists their pet superstition should rule the rest of us AND there’s an entire major political party just willing to let them have at the rest of us in this country.  One of the strangest things I always here when people start Muslim bashing is the question of where are the “moderate” Muslims? Why aren’t they condemning these radicals?  Well, the same could be said of the moderates practicing any religion. Standing up to the folks who use religious beliefs to bully and hurt other people is as much the duty of a believer as it is to the victims of those believers.

The State of Alabama probably won its case by letting this woman known that her life was theirs one way or another so she might as well give up her constitutional rights and act like a good little sperm vessel.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Wednesday Reads: Like the Dormouse said, feed your head …

opalized woodGood Morning!

It’s been a horrible few weeks and I’m in for some things that are interesting and will feed my brain for a change.  For example, That’s a  beautiful piece of opalized wood providing those rainbow colors and it’s selling for around $7000 if you’ve just gotta have it.

I’m not sure you’ve read how the excavations at Jamestown have been going recently but they’ve found some interesting graves.  (Yeah, you know me and my thing for old graves.)   They’ve discovered four bodies and one very odd box.

When his friends buried Capt. Gabriel Archer here about 1609, they dug his grave inside a church, lowered his coffin into the ground and placed a sealed silver box on the lid.

This English outpost was then a desperate place. The “starving time,” they called it. Scores had died of hunger and disease. Survivors were walking skeletons, besieged by Indians, and reduced to eating snakes, dogs and one another.

The tiny, hexagonal box, etched with the letter “M,” contained seven bone fragments and a small lead vial, and it probably was an object of veneration, 20150727_JAMESTOWN_imagecherished as disaster closed in on the colony.

On Tuesday, more than 400 years after the mysterious box was buried, Jamestown Rediscovery and the Smithsonian Institution announced that archaeologists have found it, as well as the graves of Archer and three other VIPs.

“It’s the most remarkable archaeology discovery of recent years,” said James Horn, president of Jamestown Rediscovery, which made the find. “It’s a huge deal.”

Boys in the BoatSo, my brother-in-law is retiring on his next birthday and my sister has a great gift idea.  She’s getting him a Kindle and asking us to tell her what book we’d like to load up there for him.  I’m torn between 1Q84 by Haruki Marukami, A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy O’Toole, and Fooled by Randomness by Nassem Nicholas Taleb.  I had to ask what others are offering up too.  Doctor Daughter and Doctor Son-in-Law wanted all the Game of Thrones books.  Youngest Daughter chose Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  The book that was offered up the most times was The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.  So, now I’ve decided I have to read those last two.  What book would you offer up for a newly retired guy with a lot of time on his hands?

I just learned about the group of unlikely working class boys from Washington that beat all kinds of uppity crusty rowers and the NAZIs to win the 1936 Olympic Rowing medal.

On the morning of Aug. 14, many people in Seattle woke up excited to catch the regatta’s final event live on CBS. Those listeners had a vested interest in the race. The United States team, a crew from the University of Washington, came very close to missing the trip to Berlin. Immediately following the Huskies’ victory in the Olympic trials, the team was informed by the U.S. Olympic Committee that it needed to come up with $5,000 to pay its way to Berlin. Seeing an opening, Henry Penn Burke—chairman of the Olympic Rowing Committee and a University of Pennsylvania alum—offered to send his beloved Quakers in place of the Huskies. The sports editors of Seattle’s top two newspapers, outraged on behalf of the local heroes, enlisted newsboys to solicit donations while hawking papers. With American Legion posts and Chambers of Commerce throughout the state chipping in, enough money was collected in three days to send the team to Berlin. As a consequence of the funding drive, remembered Gordon Adam, who rowed in the three-seat, “people in the city felt that they were stockholders in the operation.”

The Washington crew had been rowing together for less than five months prior to the Olympics. Coach Al Ulbrickson had originally named a different group of rowers as the varsity at the start of the college season. The second boat, made up of strong but inexperienced oarsmen, knew they rowed faster than the first string and was angered by the slight. After the varsity shoved off the dock for their first practice, the angry eight carried their boat to the water silently. “We were standing about a little bit after we put the oars in the oarlock,” Moch explained to me the year before he died. “Somebody said, ‘You know this thing is going to fly.’ ”

The teammates soon devised a mantra. Quietly, they would repeat the letters L-G-B. When asked the meaning, they would explain it stood for “Let’s get better.” What it really meant was “Let’s go to Berlin.”

You can read more about the rowing team and the 1936 Olympics which is best known for Jessie Owens’ amazing performance.

Hillary Clinton has taken a stand against Big Oil and the Koch Brothers in Iowa.  Go Hillary!!HIllary

Hillary Clinton vowed to take away big oil’s subsidies and use the money for clean energy while campaigning in Iowa.

During a speech in Des Moines, Iowa, Clinton laid out her vision for combating climate change by encouraging clean energy technology.

In the process, she dropped a bomb on the Koch brothers:

We will make America the world’s clean energy superpower.

We will develop and deploy the clean energy technologies of the future. Transform our grid to give Americans more control over the energy they produce and consume. And yes, I will defend President Obama’s Clean Power Plant—Clean Power Plan against attacks from Republicans and their corporate backers.

We’ll launch a Clean Energy Challenge that supports and partners with states, cities, and rural communities that are ready to lead on clean energy.

We’ll stop the giveaways to big oil companies and extend, instead, tax incentives for clean energy, while making them more cost-effective for both taxpayers and producers.

We’ll support—and improve—the Renewable Fuel Standard that has been such a success for Iowa and much of rural America.

 

bloomcounty

The happiest news I’ve had for awhile is the return of Bloom County. 

Fans of the well-loved comic strip Bloom County are celebrating this morning, after cartoonist Berkeley Breathed issued the first panels of his satirical strip in decades.

Breathed won a Pulitzer Prize for his work on Bloom County back in 1987; two years later, he quit producing it. On Sunday, he posted a photo of himself to Facebook in which he sat in front of a computer screen with an empty cartoon template titledBloom County 2015.

“A return after 25 years. Feels like going home,” he wrote.

And on Monday, one of Breathed’s central characters, Opus, awoke from his long slumber with a question:

“That was some nap!! How long was I out, Milo?”

“25 years.”

Breathed released the new strip via Facebook. The most popular comment on his post seems to sum up many fans’ response: “And suddenly the world is back in alignment. Thank you Sir.”

Yes.  Thank you Sir.  I’ll have another.

So, this is a totally open thread because I’m probably having another challenging day while you’re reading this.  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Late Sunday Reads

16195811-standardGood Afternoon!

Sorry this is so late.  JJ’s mother-in-law passed so she will be taking the week off.  It’s my turn today to fill those big shoes!  However, my A/C went out yesterday afternoon late. I thought it was only struggling to keep up with the heat when I left for a cocktail hour gig.  When I got home from that gig last night, I opened the door on a very hot home and three very miserable animals. It was obvious that the A/C wasn’t just struggling.  It was pretty dead.  I spent the night trying to get to sleep and only did so at about 4am with the help of Benadryl. Fortunately, I got some relief at 8 am when the owner of the local repair shop got to me and fixed it quickly! I was lucky to meet Julian Marin at my local watering hole awhile back because he ended our suffering here at the KatHouse. I went back to sleep and didn’t get up until around 2 my time.  Fortunately, it’s a bad capacitor that’s still under warranty.  It turned out to be a quick fix.

So, I’m not letting this mass shooting in Lafayette go for awhile.  Several things stand out to me.  First, the killer was a rabid misogynist who went on Talk Radio shows screaming about the Biblical roles of women. It shouldn’t be lost on any one that he chose an Amy Schumer movie which was going to have a larger than normal number of women in attendance and that a solid majority of his victims–including the dead ones—were women.  Second, there are mass shootings in New Orleans all the time.  Gun Violence is a near every day occurrence here and many victims are innocent children playing in the street and elderly people sitting on porches.  Where is the national news media on those instances?  Third, Louisiana’s gun laws are among the loosest in the country and our deaths attributable to guns are the second highest.  Our governor is eager to show the NRA and the state his gun fetish.  His policies of disabling whatever few gun laws the state had are exactly why these kinds of problems happen.  He can pray to his imaginary friend as much as he wants and focus on the victims.  But, he needs to realize that the blood of every gun victim in this state–since he’s started disabling the few reasonable restrictions that we’ve had–is on his hands.  If he and others only say “no one could imagine” then he and those others join the ranks of the deliberately avoiding the obvious club.

A governor issuing a call for prayers in the wake of a fatal mass shooting is almost boilerplate by now, but what good does it truly do? Prayers will not pull the bullets out of those people, nor repair their flesh. The frequency of these terrible events has somehow numbed us, and the lack of political courage on the right (and at times, on the left) to do anything to stem the flow of guns into our country is staggering. But can it help, somehow?

“Prayer in these moments serve two basic functions in my opinion: one as a sincere attempt at showing sorrow and hoped for comfort for the deceased, and second, as a hope the violence will stop,” Butler told me. “However, these prayers, while sincere, tend to be diffuse, non focused, and often are not prayers that are about the root cause of the situations: usually people’s actions, changes in gun laws, or repentance—sorrow for being a part of a culture that promotes the violence. Personally, I think it is more about soothing of those who have lost loved ones, and a way to forget the real issues at hand that need to be addressed.”

Jindal is asking us to comfort ourselves in this moment, which sounds right. There he was in Lafayette on Thursday night, recommending prayer as the first recourse and saying,“We never imagined it would happen in Louisiana,” and expecting to be taken seriously. Having now suspended his presidential campaign, he’s going back to being just the governor of the state with perhaps the nation’s weakest gun laws and definitely its worst gun violence. Jindal uses guns as campaign props, frequently touting his hunting acumen, A+ grade from the NRA, and enthusiasm for firearms in speeches, interviews, and in his Twitter feed. “In Louisiana and all across America,” Jindal told the CPAC audience in 2012, “we love us some guns and religion.”

Both came into play on Thursday night in Lafayette. But comforting people after mass shootings, by definition, makes them comfortable after mass shootings. Praying may make you feel better in the moment, but Jindal is essentially asking that citizens do nothing to solve the actual problem of gun violence. People can talk to God if they want, but someone had better be calling Wayne LaPierre at the National Rifle Association. A few members of Congress, too.

As Slate writer Jamelle Bouie noted Thursday night on Twitter, we live in a country willing to accept dozens of murdered children—in a tony Connecticut suburb, no less. Also, we seem to be able to swallow a child and five others being killed in an assassination attempt on a sitting member of Congress, Gabrielle Giffords. Urgency on this issue seems to be out of style, but I’d think that perhaps even out of sheer boredom, this nation would not simply shrug its collective shoulders in grief and resignation for nearly a hundred times in the last several years, and join those actually trying to make our national gun policies make sense. In the absence of any faith that can be done, it will take work.

The words “well-regulated militia” are always the ignored parts of the second amendment when you’re around the gun nuts.  Their answer to gun violence is always more guns.  Let me ask you something, if you sawguns mental illness a child throwing rocks at other children in a playground would you give those other children rocks and expect the problem to be solved? And, what would you think about arming every one in a dark crowded theater then calling for a virtual shoot out at the OK Corral? Certainly, responsible gun owners know that kind of environment is not likely to produce a positive outcome.  However, white male apologists like Rick Perry always blame mental illness and are blaming “gun free zones”.  It’s never about the issues of right wing extremists and their racist, misogynist, radical christianist screeds. It’s always about mental illness and not enough guns.

Rick Perry said in an interview Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the shooting in Lafayette, Louisiana, earlier this week shows why gun-free zones are “a bad idea” and said he believes people should be able to take their firearms to the movies.

“I think that it makes a lot of sense to send a message across this country,” Perry said when asked by host Jake Tapper if the former governor believed a way to prevent such violence would be to allow moviegoers to take guns inside. “If we believe in the Second Amendment, and we believe in people’s right to protect themselves and defend themselves, and their families.”

John Russell “Rusty” Houser on Thursday shot 11 people, killing two, in a theater using a handgun he legally purchased from a pawn shop, authorities have said. Houser, who authorities say had a history of legal and mental problems, then turned the gun on himself.

“I will suggest to you that these concepts of gun-free zones are a bad idea,” Perry said. “I think that you allow the citizens of this country, who have appropriately trained, appropriately backgrounded, know how to handle and use firearms, to carry them. I believe that, with all my heart, that if you have the citizens who are well trained, and particularly in these places that are considered to be gun-free zones, that we can stop that type of activity, or stop it before there’s as many people that are impacted as what we saw in Lafayette.”.

Perry said shootings in gun-free zones like movie theaters and churches — such as the one in Charleston, South Carolina, the scene of a racially-motivated bloodbath that killed nine last month — happen because of a failure to enforce existing gun laws. He said current laws should have prevented Houser from obtaining his gun.

“I think we have the laws in place. Enforcement of those laws is what seems to be lacking, both in Charleston and here in Lafayette, Louisiana,” he said. “We see individuals who are obviously mentally impacted. These are individuals who I think that somewhere, somebody didn’t do their job in the standpoint of enforcing the laws” that are already on the books.

Governors like Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry aren’t about enforcing laws already on the books. They are about eliminating them and installing some Hollywood version of the Wild West in every state in this country. Blogger Julian Drury discusses the steps Jindal’s taken to appease the NRA and to remove any sensible gun regulation.  Remember, even the constitution uses the worlds “well-regulated”.

Why does New Orleans have so much gun violence? Yes, many nuances and history of gangs and crime are to be taken into account. City crime is always complex to certain degrees. Yet, one of the major contributing factors in Louisiana is the fact that the availability of guns is much higher than in states like New York, Illinois, and California.

Louisiana has one of the most lax gun laws in the country. Gun sales are hardly regulated properly. You can buy a gun at a pawn shop quickly, provided you are 21 years old and have a Louisiana state ID. If that doesn’t work, well there are the gun shows that Louisiana has held.

The gun show loophole is problematic, and allows anyone to buy military grade firearms without proper background checks. As long as the cash is in hand, many retailers at these gun shows will sell guns if the buyer has proper ID or not.

Now who would show up to a gun show with thousands of dollars in cash, and not want a background check? Hmmm? Criminals, perhaps?

Then factor in Bobby “Louisiana Loves Guns” Jindal, governor of the state, who seems to sit deep in the NRA’s pocket. Under his terms in office, Jindal has regularly weakened gun safety regulations, and often appears at gun stores during his campaigning, to have pictures of himself with whatever the shop’s biggest rifle is.

bobby_jindal_gun_ap_imgIn 2013, Bobby Jindal signed six gun laws.   Most of these laws made it easier for criminals and mentally ill people to obtain laws.  He should’ve known he was setting the state up for more mass shootings but as usual, he’s more concerned about things that would contribute to his presidential ambitions.  He did sign bills into laws to increase the ability of state and federal agencies to share information on people who should not have access to guns.  However, the gun show loop hole alone means that nothing will ever be done with that information. The Lafayette shooter is perhaps a textbook example of some one that should not have access to guns, yet he legally acquired one.

The most discussed piece of legislation in the batch signed Wednesday was House Bill 8by state Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Bossier City. The new law will enforce penalties on the intentional publication of the personal information of concealed handgun permit holders.

Citizens face penalties of up to six months in jail and $10,000 for those who “intentionally disseminate for publication” the personal information, such as names and addresses, of permit holders. Law enforcement or public safety employees who share such information will face up to six months in jail and a fine of $500.

Thompson, who helped found the pro-gun group Defend Louisiana this year, said the legislation was introduced largely as a reaction to the publication of New York gun permit holders’ names and addresses by The Journal News last year. He said permit holders’ lives and property were put at risk by the release and he wants to ensure such publication will be penalized in Louisiana.

“It is a great day in Louisiana and across this nation for those of us who refuse to give an inch when it comes to defending our right to protect our families and we will stand strong in the defense of the Second Amendment,” Thompson said Wednesday.

“Responsible, law-abiding citizens should not be villainized simply because they are concealed carry permit holders,” he added.

The bill received significant push-back from journalists, including Baton Rouge Advocate Executive Editor Carl Redman and Louisiana Press Association Executive Director Pamela Mitchell. Penalties will not be imposed if the permit holder had approved the information release or if it was already in the public domain. Publication would be allowable if the permit holder committed a felony involving a gun or if the information is subject to a court order.

jindal gun shopBobby Jindal says “Lousiana Loves us some guns”.  That’s not exactly obvious to any of us that live in a city where gun violence costs many lives every day.

“We love us some guns,” Bobby Jindal once said of his fellow Louisianans. Two of them were killed, and nine others wounded, on Thursday night when a man walked into a movie theater in Lafayette, sat for a while, and then fired more than a dozen rounds from a .40 caliber handgun.
“We never imagined it would happen in Louisiana,” Jindal said afterward, though the state has the second-highest rate of gun deaths in the country, more than twice the national average. Louisiana also has some of the laxest firearm regulations, for which Jindal bears much responsibility. During his eight years as governor he’s signed at least a dozen gun-related bills, most intended to weaken gun-safety regulation or expand access to firearms. One allowed people to take their guns to church; another, into restaurants that serve alcohol. He broadened Louisiana’s Stand Your Ground law, and made it a crime to publish the names of people with concealed carry permits. At the same time Jindal has pushed for cuts to mental health services.

Jindal treats guns not as weapons but political props. On the presidential campaign trail he’s posed repeatedly for photos cradling a firearm in his arms. “My kind of campaign stop,” he tweeted earlier this month from an armory in Iowa. After the Charleston massacre, he called President Obama’s mild comments about gun violence “completely shameful.” The correct response then, according to Jindal, was “hugging these families,” and “praying for these families.”

So, today on MSNBC, imagine my shock and surprise when I heard that Jindal said the Layfette shooter should’ve been denied access to guns.

The gunman who opened fire in a Louisiana movie theater should not have been allowed to legally buy the gun he used to kill two people and injure nine because of his mental history, Gov. Bobby Jindal said Sunday.

Shooter John Houser “should have never been able to buy that gun,” Jindal told NBC News. “That should have never been able to happen.”

Houser had been involuntarily hospitalized for mental conditions in Georgia and denied a concealed weapons permit in Alabama in 2006 because of a domestic violence complaint and a previous arrest connected to an arson plot.

Jim Cavanaugh, a retired Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent and now NBC News security analyst, said those red flags should have kept Houser from buying a gun in any state.

“If he’s adjudicated as a danger to himself or others, or not able to handle his affairs due to his mental capacity, he is also barred from having a firearm,” Cavanaugh said.

Still, Houser was able to legally buy a Hi-Point .40-caliber handgun in Alabama in 2014. And that is the gun he used to fire more than a dozen shots into a Thursday night movie audience of about 25 people before killing himself, officials said.

It is unclear whether officials in Georgia filed records about Houser’s involuntary hospitalization, which would have been funneled to the FBI’s database and therefore surfaced during a background check in any state, according to The Associated Press.

“Obviously somebody with this kind of history should have never been able to buy a gun,” Jindal said, noting that Louisiana laws would have prevented Houser from legally buying a gun.

In order to acquire a concealed handgun license in Louisiana, an applicant must “not suffer from a mental or physical infirmity due to disease,” according to the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections. But private owners and gun show sellers aren’t required to perform background checks to determine the mental health and arrest history of prospective gun buyers.

In the immediate wake of the shooting, Jindal, who is running for president and is generally known as pro-gun (the NRA last gave him an “A+” rating), declined to speak on gun policy, saying he wanted to give Lafayette a chance to grieve.

Authorities have yet to determine a motive for why Houser chose to attack people at the showing of “Trainwreck,” why he chose to target Lafayette and why he picked a Thursday evening.

So, let me address the mainstream media and police confusion about Houser’s “choices” of victim.  These are the same groups of people that rarely address the daily violence against and murder of women by the rick perry gunmen in their lives.  This is from a blog that tracks and monitors male misogyny called “We Hunted the Mammoth”.  The author is David Futrelle.

Police in Lafayette, Louisiana are evidently struggling to understand why the outspokenly misogynistic, racist and anti-Semitic John Russell “Rusty” Houser murdered two women and wounded 9 other moviegoers at a showing of “Trainwreck,” a film written by and starring Amy Schumer, a feminist comedian with a Jewish father, known for joking frankly about sex.

[For more, see my latest post on Houser: “Did right-wing attacks on “Trainwreck” inspire John Russell Houser’s shooting rampage?”]

Col. Michael D. Edmonson, superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, wondered aloud about Houser’s motives at a press conference: 

Why did he come here? Why did he do that? … We may not find a motive.

It seems to me that Houser’s likely motive is staring them in the face.

Because it turns out that Houser was pretty well-known, at least to regular viewers of one local TV talk show in Columbus, GA, as an angry right-wing fanatic who hated women. As one former host of the show recalled,

He was anti-abortion. … Rusty had an issue with feminine rights. He was opposed to women having a say in anything.

Houser evidently appeared on the live show dozens of times as a “gadfly” whose appearances “would generate calls.”

When Houser’s career as a loudmouthed crank on local TV apparently came to an end years ago, he moved to another medium, leaving a long trail of hateful comments on assorted websites, many of them openly praising Hitler and talking ominously about the future of what he saw as a deeply “immoral” culture.

Yes. “Men Kill Women in the U.S. So Often that It’s Usually Not Even Newsworthy.”

When news emerged that a middle-aged white man in Lafayette, Louisiana opened fire at a showing of the Amy Schumer vehicle Trainwreck, I immediately had this sinking feeling that the movie choice wasn’t a coincidence—that this was, like theElliot Rodger and George Sodini killings, an act of rage at women. While Trainwreck is a fluffy rom-com, it’s also a popular topic of chatter in the feminist-sphere, and therefore likely to be noticed by the seething misogynists who monitor the online activities of feminists with unsettling obsessiveness.

That fear is now moving from the uneasy-feeling column to the likely-possibility column, with Dave Weigel of the Washington Post reporting that alleged shooter John Russell Houser was a rabid right-winger—he even went to one of those unranked conservative Christian law schools—who had particularly strong anger towards women for their growing independence and rights. Former talk show host Calvin Floyd had Houser on as a frequent guest, knowing that his off-the-wall opinions would generate audience interest: “The best I can recall, Rusty had an issue with feminine rights,” Floyd said. “He was opposed to women having a say in anything.” Houser also had a history of domestic violence.

It would be nice, as Jessica Winter argued in Slate after the Charleston shooting, if this country could have a grown-up conversation about gun control in the wake of crimes like this. Instead, we’re just going to hear a bunch of ridiculous rhetoric about how more guns will fix this problem, as if Lafayette isn’t one of those parts of the country where every and their poodle is packing heat. But since that’s not happening, maybe we can talk about the continuing role that misogyny plays in the relentless drumbeat of gun violence in this country.

My colleague Ben Mathis-Lilley noted today at Slatest, there were 14 other gun-based murder-suicides in the past week in this country, resulting in the loss of 36 lives. If you look down the list of the killings, an unmistakeable pattern pops out: “shot and killed his 37-year-old wife… shot and killed his ex-wife… shot and killed his 62-year-old wife… shot and killed his 23-year-old girlfriend…” and so on. Most of these killings involve men killing women that they were in a relationship with, had lost a relationship with, or likely wanted a relationship with, but were rejected. This last week also featured a bizarre story of a woman who not only survived beingkidnapped and raped by a man but also saw her boyfriend and a random other man killed in the rapist-murderer’s rampage.

So much of this stuff seem clear to us and it escape our policymakers, the police, and the media who are co-conspirators in the gun deaths that impact so many women and racial minorities on a daily basis.  I can only shake my head at the amazing lack of self evaluation by those basking in the glow of  white male christianist privilege.

The Advocate says Jindal has wound up in a “controversial spotlight”.  Well, it’s about time some one write about this.

The day after the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina, that killed nine people in a church June 17, Jindal said it was not the time to discuss gun control but rather an occasion for prayer and hugs.

Jindal officially announced his entry in the campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination a week later, but he was regarded as a candidate for months before then — and it was in that light that he was asked to respond to President Barack Obama’s suggestion that the Charleston tragedy fit a distinctly American pattern of firearms violence that should be addressed.

Jindal characterized Obama’s comment as a “completely shameful” attempt to “score cheap political points.”

In the hours after the Lafayette shooting, in which a gunman fatally shot two women and wounded nine others before taking his own life, Jindal again said prayers and hugs made for the appropriate response.

“There’ll be a time; I’m sure folks will want to jump into the politics of this,” he said. “Now is not the time.”

That didn’t prevent gun control advocates from landing on Jindal with both feet. The New Republic accused Jindal of enabling gun violence in Louisiana — a state with one of the highest rates of firearms violence and least-restrictive gun regulations — citing his enthusiastic pro-gun record and support for legislation that permits guns in churches and creates lifetime concealed-carry permits. In the Daily Mail, commentator Piers Morgan was particularly vehement, saying the blood of the victims was on Jindal’s hands.

But such attacks are unlikely to faze Jindal, said Bernie Pinsonat, a veteran Louisiana political pollster.

“That’s like throwing him into the briar patch,” Pinsonat said. “Democrats or anyone else who is anti-gun, they’re not voting for Jindal anyway.”

Like some one on Twitter said, once you allow a mass murderer to come in and gun down innocent children and you can still do nothing as a policymaker but talk about more guns and prayers, you’ve pretty much lost the battle to the gun industry.  You’ve also conceded to the moral high ground to greed and political ambition.

What’s on you reading and blogging list today?


Friday Reads: Here We Go Again …

stop-gun-violenceA movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana became the latest mass shooting site last night.  The shooter was a 58 year old man whose identity is known but has not been released. He plus two of his victims are dead.  There are more folks in surgery and in critical condition that will hopefully survive.  The police were on the scene rather quickly because one of the victims–a teacher–pulled the fire alarm.  The state is in shock and the Governor lost no time making political hay on site.

Three people, including the shooter, are now dead after a shooting at the Grand Theater on Johnston Street.

Brooks David of Louisiana State Police says the shooter was a 58-year-old male white male.

Lafayette Police Chief Robert Craft tells KLFY that the shooter died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The shooting happened during a showing of the movie ‘Trainwreck”

Photo Gallery:  Grand Theater Shooting Scene

Photo Gallery: Grand Theater Shooting Scene

Nine people were injured in the shooting. Three of the victims are being at treated at Lafayette General Hospital, three are being treated at Lourdes Hospital, and two are being treated at Acadiana General Hospital.

Investigators say the shooting appears to be random. The shooting happened around 7:30 p.m. at the Grand Theater on Johnston Street.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is currently visiting victims and families at Lafayette General.

Here are some of the details. 

» Gov. Bobby Jindal visited with a pair of teachers who were in the theater when the shooting started. One teacher was shot as she threw herself upon the other. She then pulled the fire alarm.

The injured teachers have been identified as Jena Meaux and Ali Martin from Iberia Parish, via a Go Fund Me page set up by educators’ groups.

» Col. Mike Edmonson, Louisiana State Police, said late Thursday that investigators would work in the theater throughout the night collecting evidence.

He said some bodies remained inside the theater, as did items of interest that police dogs had “hit on.” They included a backpack.

He said although the suspected shooter was dead, investigators still needed to process the scene to determine what happened.

The investigation would include a review of the shooter’s background and his family history, he said.

» Former Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Brown told The Daily Advertiser The Grand Theatre is part of Southern Theatres. The company is headed by his brother-in-law, George Solomon of New Orleans, who was on his way to the scene Thursday night.
Brown, who was on the scene of the theater, said it would be closed for the indefinite future.
“He’s devastated, obviously,” Brown said.

» At 10:33, KATC reported that police were investigating a bomb threat at Greenbriar Condos on Doucet Road, across the street from the theater. The threat caused media to be pushed back from the area. Haz-Mat crews were responding.

» Unconfirmed reports indicated that Aries Marine CEO Bo Ramsay and his wife Gerri were among the wounded. Bo Ramsay was reportedly shot in the leg, and his wife grazed by a bullet. Neither injury was considered life-threatening.

This comes as the same day President Obama admitted in a BBC interview that American Gun Laws were his biggest frustration.  The President will once more be in the position of calming the families of victims of a mass shooting.

President Barack Obama has admitted that his failure to pass “common sense gun safety laws” in the US is the greatest frustration of his presidency.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Obama said it was “distressing” not to have made progress on the issue “even in the face of repeated mass killings”.

He vowed to keep trying, but the BBC’s North America editor Jon Sopel said the president did not sound very confident.

However, Mr Obama said race relations had improved during his presidency.

Hours after the interview, a gunman opened fire at a cinema in the US state of Louisiana, killing two people and injuring several others before shooting himself.

In a wide-ranging interview, President Obama also said:

  • The UK must stay in the EU to have influence on the world stage
  • He is confident the Iran nuclear deal will be passed by Congress
  • Syria needs a political solution in order to defeat the Islamic State group
  • He would speak “bluntly” against corruption and human rights violations in Kenya
  • He would defend his advocacy of gay rights following protests in Kenya
  • Despite racial tensions, the US is becoming more diverse and more tolerant

Mr Obama lands in Kenya later on Friday for his first visit since becoming president.

But with just 18 months left in power, he said gun control was the area where he has been “most frustrated and most stymied” since coming to power in 2009.

“If you look at the number of Americans killed since 9/11 by terrorism, it’s less than 100. If you look at the number that have been killed by gun violence, it’s in the tens of thousands,” Mr Obama said.

You can read the full transcript of the President’s Interview here.   The President expressed frustration at race relations and guns in our country.bbc Obama

OBAMA: There will be. Look there was never a promise that race relations in America would be entirely resolved during my presidency or anybody’s presidency. I mean, this has been a running thread – and – and fault line in American life and American politics since its founding.

And so some of the most recent concerns around policing and mass incarcerations are legitimate and deserve intense attention. And I feel that we are moving the ball forward on those issues. What I will say is that – eight years – well, after eight years of my presidency, that children growing up during these eight years will have a different view of race relations in this country and what’s possible.

Black children, white children, Latino children. America is becoming more diverse, it’s becoming more tolerant as a consequence there’s more interactions between groups. There are going be tensions that arise. But if you look at my daughters’ generation, they have an attitude about race that’s entirely different than even my generation.

And that’s all for the good. You mentioned the issue of guns, that is an area where if you ask me where has been the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied it is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense, gun-safety laws. Even in the face of repeated mass killings.

And you know, if you look at the number of Americans killed since 9/11 by terrorism, it’s less than 100. If you look at the number that have been killed by gun violence, it’s in the tens of thousands. And for us not to be able to resolve that issue has been something that is distressing. But it is not something that I intend to stop working on in the remaining 18 months.

Anyone reading headlines these days know these are major problems.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

UPDATE:  Here’s a profile of the shooter who pretty much fits the perfect description of a home grown terrorist but of course, we’re getting the mental health issues angle.

Houser is also known as Rusty Houser, and apparently has a presence on social media as an outspoken conservative.

The last thing someone posting as Rusty Houser posted on Facebook was in 2013, when he linked to an article called “A woman’s place in the church and the weak church elder.”

He wrote, “The bible doesn’t ask me to like what it says, only to obey it. Death comes soon to the financially failing filth farm called the US.”

He only had two things liked on Facebook, among them “I hate liberals!”

Police called Houser a drifter and said he had only been in Lafayette since early July.

A man identified as John Russell Houser on Twitter tweeted only twice. He wrote, “If you don’t think the internet is censored, try reading a newspaper from a country that hates liberals the way I do,” in June 2013.

A little earlier, he wrote, “The Westboro Baptist Church may be the last real church in America members not brainwashed.”

A man identified as Rusty Houser also posted on the website http://www.politicalforum.com.  His last post, dated March 27, 2013, refers to the state of the American and world economies and says, “It is true that the US is about to fall. I will be in fear at that time as will everyone else, but not in a fear which resembles that of the leaders of foolishness and the brainwashed that follow.Truth carries with it an understanding of death. Rather than live without it,I will take death.” [sic]

According to his LinkedIn profile, Houser claimed that he was an entrepreneur.  The profile claims he owned and operated two bars and was a real estate developer.  However, his last listed job is in 2006.

In addition, a John Russell Houser from Phenix City, Alabama, is listed as a member of a group called the Tea Party Nation.  However, KATC could not confirm if this John Russell Houser is one in the same with the shooter.


Monday Reads: Vacation All You Ever Wanted … (Just don’t come here!!!)

Boomieworks.com-freevintageposters.com-05Good Day!

I’m still drinking my coffee and looking towards another few days of horrible heat.  Audubon Park tied a 100 year old record yesterday of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. We keep getting a few more days each year of more temps above 90.   Today, it’s also pouring so there was a distinct steamy jungle feel to the outdoors.   I’m just glad my electricity and A/C are holding up at the moment.

I’ve been finding some really interesting reads this week about the number of “tourist” cities that are fed up with tourists.  I wanted to mention the horrid heat to you because some crazy young man staying at the illegal air BnB next door has been trolling about with a black and white “Where’s Waldo” thick knit cap.  He and a bunch of other tourists now roam my streets at night like it was Bourbon.  Needless to say, it’s odd to see so many folks acting like that in what used to be like any other neighborhood full of small, working class homes. It is rapidly turning into tourist trap.

The Danes have a good idea.They’ve designated “quiet” zones. I get tour buses and bike tours and segway tours roaring by the house all the time. I know it seems odd that a bike tour would be loud, but then you’ve never heard a guide trying to shout stuff at people.

Barcelona, a city of 1.6 million that receives over seven million people a year, represents the turn toward regulation. Taxis and tour buses have taken over entire neighborhoods, while souvenir shops and bars have displaced pharmacies and greengrocers.

The city’s mayor, Ada Colau, 41, who was elected in May, announced a one-year ban on new tourist accommodation citing the swarms of students who have all but taken over the Ciutat Vella, or Old City, of Barcelona. Last August, hundreds of residents erupted in spontaneous protest after images of three Italian tourists wandering naked in the neighborhood of La Barceloneta were circulated online. Her greatest worry, Ms. Colau says, is Barcelona’s turning into Venice.

In Asia, alarm has centered on Chinese tourists; there are more of them than from any other nation. China began loosening severe travel restrictions only about 25 years ago, and the rapid rise of the middle class has sent curious — but often naïve, rude or even destructive — visitors throughout Southeast Asia.

In Thailand a Chinese tourist was recently caught on video ringing and kicking sacred bells at a Buddhist temple as if he was in a game arcade.

There have been reports of Chinese tourists littering beaches and even defecating in public. One tourist even opened the door of an airplane, as it prepared for takeoff, reportedly to get fresh air. The Chinese government responded by promising to set up a tourist black list to ban notorious known offenders from traveling overseas for up to two years.

We even get a mention in this NYT article.  I feel like my neighborhood has turned into a whore pimped by money hungry state and city officials.see-america-wpa-travel-poster

Battles like these have even reached the tourism-friendly United States.

A decade after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, city officials have eyed tourism as the best path for a revival. But homeowners in the French Quarter complain that the city fails to properly enforce zoning and noise regulations, inviting the party crowd into their streets. Last year, residents of Charleston unsuccessfully sued to block the South Carolina ports authority from opening up the port to more and larger cruise ships.

Tensions are bound to get worse. Notwithstanding worry about carbon emissions, more of the world’s peoples are crossing borders for leisure than ever before. Now tourism accounts for one in 11 jobs worldwide.

In 2012 the global tourism industry counted a record one billion trips abroad, and many more tourists travel within their home countries. Travel contributes $7.6 trillion to the global economy, nearly half the entire economic output of the United States.

One reason tourism is hard to regulate is its positive associations, not only with pastime and leisure but also with cultural prestige. People are proud of the vistas, landmarks and monuments that their homelands are best known for. So efforts to regulate tourism aren’t always popular.

I lived in the Quarter for five years across the street from Gallier House–a historic home–on Royal Street.  The block is full of homes with iron-laced balconies and features prominently in postcard and ads for the beauty of French Quarter Architecture.  My front door alcove was also frequently used as a urinal by young white college male students who should freaking know better during sporting events weekends and Mardi Gras.  For some reason, many people who visit here act as though we have no rules.  They mark up our grave yards, leave litter every where, and basically act boorish. I’m fine dealing with them when I’m down town which is a Tourist Mecca.  But, I’ve had it with them overrunning my neighborhood like ants at a picnic.  You can get away from them in the Quarter by retreating to your courtyard.  I’ve got them walking around all sides of my house at all hours of the night and day.  Many times they’re dragging bicycles and most times they talk very loudly.  I’m just glad I no longer have small children in the house.

vintage-travel-poster-london-englandBarcelona is evidently one city that’s really fed up.  I feel their pain.

First there were mutterings, then there were street protests, but now Barcelona is showing signs of “tourist phobia”, the city’s guides are warning.

As many as nine million visitors are expected in Barcelona this year, crammed into a few small areas of a city of 1.6 million inhabitants, more than five times the number who visited 20 years ago. With the weak euro attracting ever more tourists, and as many as 2.5 million visitors disembarking from cruise ships a year, residents are feeling besieged.

“People push us, give us dirty looks and make nasty remarks when we’re showing tourists around,” said Mari Pau Alonso, president of Barcelona’s Association of Professional Tourist Guides.

Even Jordi Clos, head of the city’s hoteliers’ association, which wants to see visitor numbers rise to 10 million, says there is an “urgent need” to make citizens more sympathetic to tourists, given the “sense of being overwhelmed” that people have experienced in recent years.

“If we don’t want to end up like Venice, we will have to put some kind of limit in Barcelona,” said Ada Colau, the city’s new mayor, shortly after she was elected in May. She is proposing a moratorium on new hotels and licences for apartments rented to tourists.

A survey for the Exceltur tourist group revealed that there are now twice as many beds available in tourist apartments – some 138,000 – as there are in hotels.

Tourist flats offer a more attractive and economic deal to visitors, and their owners can expect rents at least 125% higher than they would receive from long-term tenants. While many are let through large online organisations, such as Airbnb, others are offered by homeowners trying to make ends meet during Spain’s prolonged recession.

Venice is evidently no exception either.

All over the world our global heritage is under assault by disrespectful tourist hordes.  From Vietnam to Venice the goose that lays the golden egg of profit for the travel mYY7PORkqysbZxM-kBcxkhgindustry is slowly being bled to death.

But in Venice the fight back has begun. The citizens of La Serenissima, possibly the world’s most iconic tourism destination, are finally revolting against tourists.

In August the city of Venice, says the Venice Times, “will receive a real mass tourism ‘assault’. Visitors will sit on the steps of the century-old buildings and bridges, eating, trashing and not showing the respect these buildings deserve.”

“Walking on the small narrow streets without left and right side order, like in other cities, making the traffic impossible to stand, offering a truly claustrophobic experience.”

There are those who are not afraid to say that something MUST be done. Ilaria Borletti Buitoni former president of the Fai, an Italian Environment Fund believes that there must be some type of tourist access control in Venice. “I know that I will draw negative comments by saying this, but Venice is an open-air museum and the city is dying. The mass of tourists in the city is expected to increase to unbearable amounts in the coming years. The idea of establishing an admission ticket to the city for its maintenance should be considered. It will protect the city and improve the quality of tourism.”

According to a recent survey by the local newspaper La Nuova, 66% of its readers agree that there must be some type of restriction to Venice and only 12% believe that there should be no restriction since the city belongs to the World.

If you’re interested in the state of marriage in the US, look no further than our nation’s capitol where cheating our your spouse appears to be a national past time.  New Orleans made the top 10 cities for cheaters too!

The District once again lives up to its TV drama-concocted reputation.

The city topped a list ranking the country’s most adulterous cities for the third year in a row. The dubious title comes courtesy of Ashleymadison.com, a dating Web site for married people looking for extramarital affairs, which culled through its membership data to determine which cities have the most members per capita.

Ashley Madison claims to have more than 59,000 people registered on the site with a D.C. Zip code. (Note: This does include people who register for the site while visiting D.C. using a city Zip code.)

And the neighborhood with the most cheaters? Capitol Hill, the land of politicians, staffers and lobbyists.

The dating Web site says 10.4 percent of Capitol Hill residents are registered on the Web site. Tenleytown and Takoma Park finished second and third, respectively. With the exception of Capitol Hill, all of the top 10 D.C. neighborhoods are in the Northwest portion of the city, with the majority of the neighborhoods in affluent upper Northwest.

5169752406_4e4f31ca2eMore statues of Confederate Generals are coming down in parks around the American South.  The notorious Nathan Bedford Forrest’s statue and the memorial housing his remains is on its way to the auction block if the city of Memphis has its way. Forrest is best known for being the founder of the KKK.  He was a slave trader prior to secession.

What people see when they look up at the towering statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest in a park near downtown Memphis usually depends on their deepest beliefs, their memories, their loyalties and maybe even their DNA.

Many see a Memphis slave trader, the original grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and a war criminal who led a gruesome Confederate massacre of surrendered black and white Union troops at nearby Fort Pillow in 1864.

Others see a gallant but misunderstood Civil War general, a military genius and a hero who made a speech calling for racial reconciliation in 1875. And some passers-by have little or no idea who the guy on the horse is, and do not much care.

But this month, the Memphis City Council voted unanimously to begin an intricate process of removing the brass statue from the park — along with the remains of Forrest and his wife, encased since 1905 in its marble base. This effort joins a national wave of casting off Confederate icons since the massacre last month at a church in Charleston, S.C.

Efforts to take down public flags or monuments associated with the Confederacy are being renewed in communities like New Orleans; Tampa, Fla.; Austin, Tex.; and Stone Mountain, Ga. Yale and the University of California, Berkeley, are among educational institutions being pushed to rename campus buildings honoring people connected to slavery and the Confederacy.

But because of Forrest’s notoriety, Memphis’s harsh racial history and the fact that advocates want to disinter bodies, not just take down a flag or monument, the issue has particular resonance.

I continue to watch friends, neighbors and relatives go back and forth on this subject.  I seem to be someplace in the middle.  I don’t see any reason why lone statues can’t come down and be placed in museum. 548d170824ce87a1be1d13c205d6ce62However, I’m a preservationist and having seen some sites of some of the worst our history has to offer, I mostly look at the National Historic Landmark criteria for insight on if the site should be disturbed or not.  The site of the Battle of Little Big Horn has a monument to Custer that was installed there when he was considered a hero.  It still serves as a memorial to the 7th Calvary along with the Native Sioux and Cheyenne who fought there. When I visited the site some time in the late 60s or early 70s the statue still stands but the story and the role of Custer in history is quite different.   The Trail of Tears Historic Trail tells the story of the genocide and displacement of indigenous peoples in the American South.  Andrew Jackson does not come off as the hero of The Battle of New Orleans there. 

Same with our travels during the same period to Spanish Missions in California.  The Franciscan priests basically ran concentration camps for indigenous peoples where most died in some form of slavery.  I dare any of you not to want to burn the entire sites to the ground after reading what sort’ve heinous acts went on there.  But, these sites exist to remind us what happened and to hopefully ensure we don’t rewrite history.

BTW, one of the Fathers who set up the California Missions is about to be Canonized by this current Pope.

Anthony Morales, Chief Redblood of the Gabrielino Tongva Band of Mission Indians, said he was “stunned” and “angry” by the move, and is hoping the pontiff will reverse his decision.

“On all the 21 missions along the coast here our people were enslaved, they were beaten, they were tortured, our women were raped. It was forced labor and a forced religion,” Morales said. “There’s nothing saintly about the… atrocities on our culture, on our people.”

Father Serra himself justified the beating of Native Americans, writing in 1780: “That spiritual fathers should punish their sons, the Indians, with blows appears to be as old as the conquest of the Americas; so general in fact that the saints do not seem to be any exception to the rule.”

be62cc488a16276dccf1d658dc5b1821Here’ a pretty apt description of the atrocities committed by the Franciscans under the California Mission System. 

The formation of the Mission Indians began with the Spanish policy of congregación: the forced resettlement of Indian populations in nucleated settlements. The formation of large communities facilitated the conversion to Catholicism of the Indians. Many priests felt that it was a burden to have to visit the many small dispersed Indian communities. It was also easier for royal officials to collect tribute and organize labor drafts in the new larger communities.

The missionaries, with the help of well-armed soldiers, congregated Indians into fairly large communities which were organized along the lines of those in the core areas of Spanish America. Here Indian converts were to be indoctrinated in Catholicism and taught European-style agriculture, leatherworking, textile production, and other skills deemed useful by the Spaniards. By using Indian labor to produce surplus grain supplies for the Spanish military garrisons, the Franciscan missionaries were able to view Indians as both potential converts and labor.

The Franciscan missions were basically slave plantations which required the Indian people to work for the Spanish under cruel conditions. Indians did not come freely to the missions and once there, they were held against their will. Many attempted to escape, and the soldiers stationed at the mission would attempt to recapture them. Escape attempts are severely punished by the Franciscans.

The Franciscans, backed by a small number of soldiers stationed at the missions, imposed a rigid system of coerced and disciplined labor, enforced by the use of corporal punishment and other forms of control. This punishment including public flogging, and the use of the stocks and shackles. While the public use of corporal punishment humiliated and physically injured the individuals being punished, and it did not necessarily alter or control the behavior that the Franciscans found objectionable.

One early visitor to the missions remarked about the Indians that “I have never seen one laugh.” Most of the Indians died in the new mission environment.

The Spanish sought to Christianize the Indians by enslaving them. The Spanish intent was to expropriate not only Indian lands and resources, but Indian labor as well. Part of their goal was to obliterate all features of Native American culture and society and to create a replica of Spain in California in which land-owning Spanish would be served by an Indian peasant class.

From the viewpoint of the Spanish, Indians were a form of labor which could be exploited. The success of the Spanish colonies in the Americas were based on this exploitation. In order to maximize the profits of their colonial enterprise, the Spaniards created institutions that siphoned off surplus agriculture products and provided labor for major building projects. One of these Spanish institutions was repartimiento.

Repartimiento was the Spanish policy which gave the Spanish colonists the right to use native labor for religious education. Repartimiento functioned as a part of the Spanish mission system in all parts of the Americas, including California. Under this system, labor quotas and the conscription of people to serve on labor gangs were organized through the villages served by the missions (or, from an Indian viewpoint, the villages which served the missions).

51FSUacpEOL._SY300_Does this Pope really think this work is the act of Saints?  Anyway, our history is full of the actions of a lot of bad men.  I think it doesn’t take much imagination to see most of them were of European descent and Christian and men.

One last link before I go. If any one you know tries to say the Civil War was about “state’s rights” please send them directly to this site.   It’s the Civil War Trust and that link goes to the Writs of Secession where you get to read exactly what the war was about.  This is from the introductory paragraph of the secession declaration of the state of Georgia. Read the ones from Mississippi and Texas if you think it’s an oddity.

The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property, and by the use of their power in the Federal Government have striven to deprive us of an equal enjoyment of the common Territories of the Republic. This hostile policy of our confederates has been pursued with every circumstance of aggravation which could arouse the passions and excite the hatred of our people, and has placed the two sections of the Union for many years past in the condition of virtual civil war.

So, while we’re tearing down the statues of Confederate Generals who fought for slavery, we need to seriously look at folks like Andrew Jackson who fought for the US policy of genocide against Native Americans.  Then, the Pope needs to hear the real story of the Spanish Missions.

So, I bet you never thought you’d see a post like this!!  But, here’s some travel advice from my neighbor Dr. Bob! 

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?be-nice-or-leave