Wednesday Reads: History according to Lego and other things

5116b9018bff112970689c3d9157ac0b (1)Good Morning

If you want to kill some time today, check out these images of Lego greatness:

Over a thousand pictures here: Lego Art on Pinterest 

There is even a Klimt in this one:  Lego mania on Pinterest

e7a647c998afa3841b4466b2288f71a8And more artsy fartsy stuff here: Lego Creations on Pinterest

Why do I bring all this up? Because today’s post is going to center around popular culture and nothing represents that more than Legos…used as an artistic representation in historic museums.

As a history major, and a geeky one at that…you know being a wonky sort of history geek, specifically Medieval, I don’t know how to feel about this.

cf9c84490868a589aa2b87e5ad38672dI am so enthralled with these works of Lego art, the detail, the delight it brings…but there is also a part of me that thinks…Lego? Used in a legitimate archaeological/historical sense?  Then I slap myself and say, don’t be such a pompous ass JJ…get over your fucking self. These things are not your typical play toy Lego “houses” just look at the scale models the artist create.

The latest made its debut in Sydney this past month. LEGO Pompeii Excites New Audiences – Archaeology Magazine

 

Professional LEGO builder Ryan “The Brickman” McNaught has crafted a model of Pompeii at the University of Sydney’s Nicholson Museum, according to The Conversation. The project, which took more than 500 hours to complete and used more than 190,000 blocks, is one of the largest LEGO historical models ever built. The display shows three phases of the ancient city: as it looked in A.D. 79 when Mount Vesuvius erupted; as it appeared when it was rediscovered in the eighteenth century; and as the ruins stand today. Over the past two years, McNaught created a scale model of the Colosseum out of the colorful bricks, and the LEGO Acropolis, now on display at the Acropolis Museum in Athens.

This thing is amazing!

From the link to the University of Sydney’s Nicholson Museum above: Lego Pompeii creates less pomp and more yay in the museum

Lego Pompeii was painstakingly recreated from more than 190,000 individual blocks across 470 hours for Sydney University’s Nicholson Museum – it’s the largest model of the ancient city ever constructed out of Lego blocks. There is a mix of ancient and modern elements within the model’s narrative; displaying Pompeii as it was at the moment of destruction by the volcano Vesuvius in 79AD, as it was when rediscovered in the 1700s, and as it is today.c4583b144ba8bcad2c555720b7cfc100

The historical model is the exhibition centrepiece in an archaeological museum where, until recently, displays of Lego would have been unthinkable.

The Nicholson Museum, with collections of artefacts from the Mediterranean region, Egypt and the Middle East, is a place where visitors can expect to see Greek vases, Egyptian sculpture and ceramic sherds from Jericho.

Yet since 2012, the museum has commissioned professional Lego builder Ryan “The Brickman” McNaught to recreate three ancient sites made from Lego. Together these models represent an interesting experiment; attracting a new audience to the museum space and demonstrating the importance of fun in a museum context.

This is not the first rodeo for The Brickman…

The first Nicholson Lego scale model was a replica of the Colosseum in Rome.

The joy of the model was its ability to contrast the old with the new. Half the model featured the amphitheatre in antiquity; the other half featured the building in ruins with Lego modern tourists.

The model proved such a success it subsequently toured several regional NSW galleries and museums. It is currently displayed at the Albury Regional Art Gallery along with Roman artefacts from the Nicholson Museum’s collection.

The second model, opened in 2013, was the Lego Acropolis, which featured buildings of ancient Athens peopled with historical Greek figures. It is now displayed at the Acropolis Museum in Athens.

Go to the Nicholson Museum link to read the rest of the story, and how The Brickman studied and designed his Lego city of Pompeii.

 

Brickman is one of Lego’s Certified Professionals, these people have amazing jobs…check out some of the artist work at that link. (Mini Bios at that link too.) It seems that most of these LCP’s are men…but I have not researched enough of the culture to be sure of this…that is just my observation as I look through the websites and images. And, the one woman that is a Certified Professional is associated with education, autism, special needs and using Lego as a teaching tool. But I will just say this is only my thoughts on the matter. Let’s just go on with the post.

b9cbb10ad2d15a817e44c0d13bac09d1Alright then, how about that Blizzard? Here’s some pictures for you:

16 Images to Illustrate the Blizzard of 2015 – Scientific American

City dwellers in New York hoping to wake up to mountains of snow will have to content themselves with trawling Instagram pictures from New England. The blizzard of 2015—or really the #blizzardof2015 if we’re doing this right—brought less snow than expected to New York Cityb1e0bc0dc37ce8abac82abbe0b4ab9d5 and a number of points south. But to the east on Long Island and north throughout New England, the storm has lived up to, and in some ways exceeded, expectations with heavy snow and coastal flooding.

Snow totals are still being updated but as of Tuesday morning, a National Weather Service weather spotter has reported the highest total from the storm so far, with 30 inches in Framingham, Mass. Other central Massachusetts and South Shore locations have also piled up more than 2 feet of snow.

The second-highest snow total comes 28.5 inches measured in Orient, N.Y., on the far eastern tip of Long Island. In both places, wind gusts are piling up drifts and sending snow cresting over the eaves of houses.

 

Holy shit! I hope Boston Boomer and Pat, along with X and the rest of our Sky Dancing New England regulars…Sophie and…oh…I know I am missing some others too, are all doing okay this morning!a61ff5a45e146bf46ac0a26874a97a67

But there has been some complaining. For a look at the technical side of forecast, Cliff Mass Weather Blog: Forecast Lessons from the Northeast Snowstorm

The complaints swelled quickly this morning, both in the social media and the press:

8f4ee0d3ea03c4dd2131112f6d965d17National Weather Service forecasters had predicted two to three feet over New York City and adjacent suburbs for Tuesday and only about 8-10 inches showed up.

The city had been shut down overnight–travel banned on major roadways, mass transportation systems (e.g., subways) closed, schools and businesses closed–and all for a minor snow event!  A few samples from the press illustrates some of the commentary:

 

And then a National Weather Service forecaster even apologized for a  “blown forecast”, something that doesn’t happen very often.

And you had to expect that some global warming critic would use the forecast troublex to cast doubt on global warming predictions.

9a403543373ad0213d1e87763d4866e9So what is the truth about this forecast event?   As I will describe below, although the forecast “bust” was not as bad as it might appear, it did reveal some significant weaknesses in how my profession makes and communicates forecasts, weaknesses that National Weather Service director Louis Uccellini says he recognizes and will attempt to fix.

The general forecast situation was well understood and skillfully forecast starting on Saturday.   A low center (a midlatitude cyclone) would develop off the SE U.S. and then move northward up the East Coast–a storm commonly called a Nor’easter.  Here is a surface weather map at 4 AM PST this morning, when the storm was near its height.  e96907b49653ca28d24ede22ef46fb92In such a location, the storm can pull cold air off the continent while swirling in moisture from off the ocean.  The result is moderate to heavy snow to the west and north of the low center, as well as strong winds over the same areas.  Thirty years ago we could not forecast these storms with any skill. That has changed.

Go and read how it has changed at the link.

In other science-ish news, y’all know that big ass rock that flew by us Monday?

Best images! Asteroid 2004 BL86, as it swept near Earth | Today’s Image | EarthSky

A video still of asteroid 2004 BL86 and its newly discovered moon from Goldstone Solar System Radar.  The image is from last night (January 25).  Image via Slooh.com.

A video still of asteroid 2004 BL86 and its newly discovered moon from Goldstone Solar System Radar. Image via Slooh.com.

46a3a41c379e657d458b0dd6c3bcbbd1Well…turns out the thing has it’s own moon!

Check this shit out:

Asteroid that flew past Earth on Monday has a moon! | Science Wire | EarthSky

Radar images of asteroid 2004 BL86 confirm the primary asteroid is 1,100 feet (325 meters) across with a small moon 230 feet (70 meters) across.

Wow! Scientists working with NASA’s Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California have released the first radar images of asteroid 2004 BL86, which flew closer to Earth on Monday than any asteroid this large will again until the year 2027. Closest approach was 1619 UTC (11:19 a.m. EST) on January 26, 2015. Nearest distance was about 745,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers, or 3.1 times the distance from Earth to the moon). The radar images confirm what other astronomers first discovered this past weekend, that asteroid 2004 BL86 has its own small moon!

cde3bc59f08305a4960d464aff53632aVideo and more info at the links.

Let us move from science to environment, but still on a pop culture connection…cause what else would you expect from something like this? Chinese Methanol Plant in Louisiana ‘Cancer Alley’ | Al Jazeera America

Uh, okay… I will just give you a quick overview of the area and the situation. This plant is poisoning people. These people are poor. They are people of color. Nuff Said!

This article is the second installment of a three-part series on China’s role in redeveloping southern Louisiana called China’s Louisiana Purchase. The first part investigated links between Chinese government officials, Chinese gas giant Shandong Yuhuang and Gov. Bobby Jindal.

ada6a7b045883973320c2fabe045b969Chinese company behind methanol plant in mostly black Louisiana town has come under fire for shirking health laws

ST. JAMES PARISH, La. — No one asked Lawrence “Palo” Ambrose if he wanted a Chinese company with a controversial environmental record to build a methanol plant in his neighborhood. But if they had, the 74-year-old Vietnam War vet would have said no.

A town hall meeting about it in July at St. James High School, which is close to the site of the plant, in a sparsely populated area with mobile homes and a few farms, took place only after the St. James Parish Council approved the project.

“We never had a town hall meeting pretending to get our opinion prior to them doing it,” said Ambrose, a coordinator at St. James Catholic Church. “They didn’t make us part of the discussion.”

The St. James Parish Council did not respond to interview requests at time of publication.

Edwin Octave, 92, who lives with his family in the area, agreed with Ambrose. “I don’t think the way they went about getting the plant was right. They bought the property before they tell people it’s going to happen.”

The area has gotten the nickname Cancer Alley. I don’t know the state of Louisiana is becoming more and more like the poster child for all that is bad and could be bad when fuckwads get elected and have shit everything up. “Literally.”

There is a term being used, it is called Environmental Racism.

‘Environmental racism’

St. James Parish gas station owner Kenny Winchester said he hopes U.S. environmental standards will be enough to prevent any abuses too detrimental to the health of his community. “There shouldn’t be a problem if they follow the rules,” he said. “If they take shortcuts, we’ll have a problem.”

But Malek-Wiley said that hope isn’t realistic. “It’s not feasible to just hope they will abide by regulations. Most of the industry environmental reporting requirements are done by companies without a secondary check with the Department of Environmental Quality or EPA,” he said. “In effect, if a company was doing wrong, it would have to write itself a ticket. I know every time I’m going down the interstate too fast and there’s no cop, I pull over and write myself a ticket … No, it doesn’t happen that way.”

297757e9be0827b6e7a5f1944c11c44eThe only way to tell if a company breaches regulations, he said, is “after the plant’s built, unfortunately.” An environmentalist nonprofit focused on opposing petrochemical pollution in the region, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, could “teach folks how to take air samples in their community,” he said, and that tactic has led to “a number of companies to be fined for air pollution, but that’s after the fact.”

After successfully organizing legal bids around black communities not consulted on energy projects, Malek-Wiley believes that “with St. James Parish, they could have brought up concerns about environmental racism.”

f23e3a57ddb5ed39a0039b5531581e92Take this from Charles Blow, it dealing with yet another polluted area of Louisiana, a Superfund site… Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant near where Blow’s relatives call home:

Inequality in the Air We Breathe? – NYTimes.com

How could this plant have been allowed to contaminate the groundwater for 40 years? How could the explosives have been left at the site in the first place? How is it that there doesn’t seem to be the money or the will to more safely remove them? Can we imagine anyone, with a straight face, proposing to openly burn millions of pounds of explosives near Manhattan or Seattle?

3885f12203ffd8ab775e508c93499c3bThis is the kind of scenario that some might place under the umbrella of “environmental racism,” in which disproportionately low-income and minority communities are either targeted or disproportionately exposed to toxic and hazardous materials and waste facilities.

There is a long history in this country of exposing vulnerable populations to toxicity.

Fifteen years ago, Robert D. Bullard published Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class and Environmental Quality. In it, he pointed out that nearly 60 percent of the nation’s hazardous-waste landfill capacity was in “five Southern states (i.e., Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas),” and that “four landfills in minority ZIP codes areas represented 63 percent of the South’s total hazardous-waste capacity” although “blacks make up only about 20 percent of the South’s total population.”

More recently, in 2012, a study by researchers at Yale found that “The greater the concentration of Hispanics, Asians, African-Americans or poor residents in an area, the more likely that potentially dangerous compounds such as vanadium, nitrates and zinc are in the mix of fine particles they breathe.”

Among the injustices perpetrated on poor and minority populations, this may in fact be the most pernicious and least humane: the threat of poisoning the very air that you breathe.

I have skin in this game. My family would fall in the shadow of the plume. But everyone should be outraged about this practice. Of all the measures of equality we deserve, the right to feel assured and safe when you draw a breath should be paramount.

BTW, Bullard’s website with lots of links can be found here: Environmental Justice / Environmental Racism

I just get so damn sick about all this.

But if you want some more sick shit to read, the Koch Brothers.

Koch Bros To Spend Nearly A Billion Buying The 2016 Elections | Informed Comment

And again…going back to the pop culture of the day…that link will take you to an article and then a video with a discussion from Cenk Unger and Ben Mankiewicz .

In other news, something that is really becoming too frequent a headline. Yet another college athlete is accused of raping a woman…this time it is a swimmer. Fancy that? Former Stanford swimmer accused of raping unconscious woman on campus – LA Times

…former Stanford University swimmer will face several felony charges after prosecutors say he raped a  woman as she lay unconscious on campus grounds.

Brock Allen Turner, 19, is expected to be formally charged Wednesday with five felony counts, including rape of an unconscious woman, rape of an intoxicated woman and two counts of sexual assault with a foreign object, the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office told The Times.

Early on the morning on Jan. 18, prosecutors say, two men riding bikes on campus spotted a man later identified as Turner on top of an unconscious woman. Turner ran away, but the pair tackled him. A third person called police.

Turner was arrested, booked into the Santa Clara County Jail and released after posting $150,000 bail, prosecutors said. He’s scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 2.

It is a good thing those two bike dudes went after the asshole.

Just a few more pops on the pop links: Gabrielle Union Says Smart Things About Ferguson, the NFL, Hollywood

On the events in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York, Yahoo points out that she generally tries to stay positive in her public comments and Union acknowledges that she makes an effort to be responsible about what she says publicly:

There’s a bit of a gap between what I really want to say and what I know is responsible to say. The general lack of compassion for your fellow man is really frustrating. I think what the protesters are saying, or at least some of them, is it’s not just about police brutality. It’s about a widespread systematic crippling of some people in this country by birthright, and no one’s acknowledging it. There may be a power shakeup if you’re really going to do something about it. A lot of people aren’t interested in that. They say, “It’s not that bad. We have Barack Obama. We’re good.” Or, “You’re not getting lynched.” They’re not acknowledging the institutional racism that impacts daily lives.

You should read the other things Unions says, it is nice to see a smart woman being quoted…too bad it probably won’t get much attention outside of Yahoo Entertainment and Jezebel.

 

Also, in History News, Seventy Years After Auschwitz, One Survivor Has Her Revenge – Truthdig

Eva Slonim was a child when she was taken to Auschwitz, where she was tortured and experimented on by Dr. Josef Mengele.

The camps that made up the Auschwitz complex were liberated 70 years ago by Soviet troops. But not before the Nazis killed 1.1 million prisoners there.

Slonim was held with her twin sister in a special section of the camp, which had to do with Mengele’s fascination with twins.

She tells the Australian Broadcasting Corp. she is still haunted by the trauma: “I have this madness about locking the bedroom door every night, and I have a light under the door so I can see if there are any boots there.”

But, Eva Slonim says, she got her revenge in the end, by producing a large family to take the place of the one she lost. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, and has 27 grandchildren.

 

Have you seen this?

Domino’s Unleashes the Most Terrifying Print Ad in History

 

Domino's Unleashes the Most Terrifying Print Ad in History

 

WTF?

 

Finally, let’s get a little Medieval on ya: Erik Kwakkel • A horse on wheels, what’s not to love? Great…

 

A horse on wheels, what’s not to love? Great post.

tumblr_nht2apEAmj1u7apwpo2_r1_500

manuscriptbook:

Medieval Connections to ‘Classical Roots’

This manuscript (British Library, Royal MS 20 D I) of the Histoire ancienne jusqu’à César (‘Ancient history up to Caesar’) is the earliest surviving manuscript of the second redaction of this work. This redaction, like this manuscript, was produced in Naples around 1330-1340. It focuses on the story of 904fe6f6198d33fe46a60189b543f8b4Troy, which is no longer taken from Dares, a supposed eyewitness of the fall of Troy, but from the prose version of Benoît de Sainte-Maure’s Roman de Troie. As a result, it is much more extensive.

The goal of these types of histories was to join the classical past and the medieval present. The author, therefore, did not always keep historical accuracy in mind if it did not fit his purpose. This allowed nobles to bind themselves and their families to classical founders.

I love that the horse is supposed to represent the wooden horse, and the scribe/artist drew the thing with wood-like knots and tree rings as the pattern of the horse itself.

But I wonder if a large wooden badger would not have been more appropriate?

 

Have a wonderful day and for Gawds sake…watch out for the Knights who say Ni!

 

The-Knights-Who-Say-Ni-monty-python-and-the-holy-grail-591173_1008_566


Sunday Reads: Glad-hand, Glad-hands, Glad-handing, Glad-handed

109c537979d7b4f0d8d4aafcea5e3d0fGood Whatever it is…

Morning, Afternoon, Evening…ugh.

(That this post is getting published, finally, is something in itself. I don’t know why, lack of motivation or enthusiasm…)

The images for today are hands used in political posters. I’ve gotten them from  board on Pinterest:  Affiche/Main – Poster/Hand on Pinterest | 1352 Pins

For a discussion on the use and symbolism of the fist in propaganda, take a look at this article from Lincoln Cushing:

A brief history of the “clenched fist” image

91c28e614a91264f169a1af85c22b9b5A persistent symbol of resistance and unity, the clenched fist (or raised fist) is part of the broader genre of “hand” symbols that include the peace “V,” the forward-thrust-fist, and the clasped hands. The clenched fist usually appears in full frontal display showing all fingers and is occasionally integrated with other images such as a peace symbol or tool.

52e84740d35979ea0cc3ba968fd9393eThe human hand has been used in art from the very beginnings, starting with stunning examples in Neolithic cave paintings. Early examples of the fist in graphic art can be found at least as far back as 1917 [1], with another example from Mexico in 1948 [2]. Fist images, in some form, were used in numerous political graphic genres, including the French and Soviet revolutions, the United States Communist Party, and the Black Panther Party for Self-defense. However, these all followed an iconographic convention. The fist was always part of something – holding a tool or other symbol, part of an arm or human figure, or shown in action (smashing, etc.).

Then there are a few other articles to look at here:

AIGA | Not Your Grandparent’s Clenched Fist

fe3cd0687f66bd2eed6cbab59b98f7edThe fist of protest has its roots in the deep traditions of revolutionary imagery of 1848 and French Romantic painting. It became a staple of banners and logos of unions and political parties. Raised out of the crowd, the fist clenched in strength, anger and determination could serve groups of almost any ideological stripe.

If some of you have access to JSTOR: JSTOR: Journal of Design History, Vol. 13, No. 4 (2000), pp. 319-339

This article focuses on the use of graphic signs in the political struggle between the National Socialist German Workers’ Party and the German Communist Party during the 1920s. It first examines the Nazi swastika’s relationships to a new ‘abstract and primitive’ style of trademark design that emerged in Germany during the First World War and to a discussion during 1919-20 about the Weimar Republic’s new emblem.

a86b51eaef29aee46058766ba0e550b3As the NSDAP’s sign grew more prominent in public discourse, John Heartfield, who was trained as a graphic designer, sought to counter it through satire and emblems that he designed for the KPD. The most powerful of the latter were a series of images in 1928 based on photographs of workers’ hands, which drew both on past emblems of worker solidarity and recent Surrealist photography. The clenched fist soon stood opposite the swastika as signs of the violent political struggle between left and right that marked the last years of the Weimar Republic. The article explores how practices of commercial graphic design became instruments of mass politics during the 1920s.

To see more posters:

Propoganda Posters

A History of Graphic Design: Chapter 36 – Art of Posters for Films – the Cuban School

Political Posters | OMCA COLLECTIONS

1c5e5c711aca0415d076f89bbb68964cAnd for some articles on the actual use of hand gestures in political protest and such:

Choreography and Gesture Play an Important Role in Protests – NYTimes.com

“Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!”: Gesture, Choreography, and Protest in Ferguson – The Feminist Wire | The Feminist Wire

Thai protesters and The Hunger Games: what’s in a three-fingered salute? – Al Arabiya News

Opinion: Political Gestures « ASHARQ AL-AWSAT

 

I’ll connect the hand gestures to a situation that is getting heated in Egypt today.

What This Hand Gesture Means for Egypt’s Future – The Atlantic

Astute observers of recent pro-Morsi protests in Egypt will note a new symbol cropping up in photos of the protesting crowds: Demonstrators are now holding four fingers in the air. Many carry yellow posters emblazoned with the same gesture.

73d2c6da44e3092996deaafd43322ef5This new hand sign refers to the Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque, the site of a violent confrontation between Morsi’s followers and the Egyptian army. Reported deaths from the clash range from hundreds to thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters. In Arabic, “Rabba” means “four” or “the fourth;” hence the new Rabaa symbol.

The new hand sign is important because it signals both a conscious shift in the Muslim Brotherhood’s focus from a global audience to an Arabic one and a rejection of the ideals of the Arab Spring.

The Rabaa replaced a more recognizable sign in the Arab world: the two-fingered “V for Victory” salute, a gesture that transcends language and nationality. Many Americans know of the V as the peace sign after its widespread use by the anti-war and counterculture movements of the late 1960s and 1970s. Invented by the BBC in World War II as a pan-Allied propaganda campaign — think a cigar-smoking, pinstripe-wearing Winston Churchill flashing the V and a grin — the sign came to the Arab world when Yasser Arafat popularized it in 1969. To this day, Palestinians have exhibited a two-fingered V upon their release from Israeli jails, and the sign is well represented at rallies in Gaza.

 

cb6265adcef53757c1d8e03e4117dd48Alrighty then…

Now to the links for this Sunday:

A mess in Egypt as the anniversary of the revolution comes around:

Addicting Info – Egyptian Police Guns Down Female Journalist Carrying Flowers (IMAGES)

On the eve of the 4th anniversary of the Egypt’s 2011 uprising, which was part of the Arab Spring, and which ultimately forced the overthrow of long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak, a female protester and reported journalist was shot by police near Tahir Square in Cairo.

d157e8b3abc8003fb47da8d1928df104Shaima Sabbagh was shot with birdshot as she was marching in remembrance of the Arab Spring and of the people killed during the revolution. She was shot at close range. Several people caught images of al-Sabbagh both before and after the shooting. Beware, they’re heartbreaking.  After Shaima was shot – her husband was arrested and their four-year-old son is without parents.

The AP is reporting 15 killed:

Egypt: 15 killed in clashes between Islamists, police – Houston Chronicle

However that number has risen according to Al-Jam:

Anniversary of Egypt’s revolution turns violent | Al Jazeera America

67c00cf24ef9941b3cba2301662d7bb0Thousands of Egyptian protesters chanted “down with the military and the regime” and “Interior Ministry are thugs” at a funeral on Sunday for a young mother and activist who was shot dead by security forces during a peaceful protest marking the fourth anniversary of Egypt’s Arab Spring revolution, according to local media reports.

Shaimaa al-Sabbagh, 32, was one of at least 20 people killed during protests over the weekend across Egypt, mainly in Cairo and Alexandria, commemorating the Jan. 25, 2011 ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak from office, according to the Ministry of Health.

The funeral took place in Alexandria, Sabbagh’s hometown, where activists remembered the slain protester as an advocate for labor rights and children, independent daily Al-Shorouk reported.

14a37e1b583dc3da96cabbd04de1fff6Sabbagh was among dozens of protesters marching on Saturday to Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the symbolic heart of the revolution, to place wreaths of flowers there to commemorate more than 800 people killed during the 18 days of turmoil that sought to usher in a new era of democracy in Egypt.

Some disturbing images at those links.

This next link about the reaction to Boehner’s outright “fuck you” to the President and protocol: Addicting Info – Fox News Actually Expresses Shock And Outrage Over Boehner And Netanyahu Undermining President Obama (VIDEO)

On Friday, the world watched in disbelief as Fox News actually defended the honor and office of President Obama in the wake of Speaker Boehner violating US protocol by inviting Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to speak to Congress. In other news, pigs are flying.

0af590969a8654b197947327cb7a8b51During a segment on Fox, host Shepard Smith discussed the scandal with fellow host Chris Wallace, and both men were absolutely shocked and outraged by the actions of the top Republican in the House of Representatives.

On Wednesday, Boehner announced that he invited Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress. The problem is that Boehner did this without clearing the invitation with the White House, which is protocol.

“The protocol would suggest that the leader of one country would contact the leader of another country when he’s traveling there. This particular event seems to be a departure from that protocol,” said press secretary Josh Earnest.

760c844314c8385c125a4f9d51851022Furthermore, Netanyahu is specifically going to speak to Congress in an effort to trash Obama’s foreign policy in a deliberate attempt to wreck US nuclear negotiations with Iran, negotiations which a majority of Americans support.

You see, President Obama wants to use diplomacy to ease tensions between Iran, Israel, and the United States. That means securing an agreement that prevents Iran from developing a nuclear weapon while allowing them to use nuclear power as another source of energy in the Middle Eastern nation. But Republicans are literally trying to sabotage these efforts by seeking more harsh sanctions against Iran, which would be seen an act of American aggression at a time when the State Department and White House are seeking mutual peace.

97209ff809bcf7377f8fa4c9f1393590Since the announcement, Beohner and Republicans have felt a major backlash. But the last place they thought they’d receive outrage from, if at all, is Fox News. Well, that shipped sailed on Friday.

Well, I would not go so far as to call this completely shocking, as it was Shep who called Boehner out. Y’all know he is the Black Sheep of the network.

For more on Israel, not just the Boehner invite.

Netanyahu defends planned Congress speech as anti-Iran strategy | Reuters

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended on Sunday a planned speech to the U.S. Congress about Iran, saying he had a moral obligation to speak out on an issue that poses a mortal threat to Israel.

61d1ba5498797554a1ef60ef050b354cHis visit to Washington in March has opened up a rift with the White House and has drawn accusations in Israel that Netanyahu is undermining the country’s core foreign alliance in an effort to win an election due two weeks after the trip.

Briefing his cabinet on the March 3 speech to a joint meeting of Congress, Netanyahu said his priority was to urge the United States and other powers not to negotiate an Iranian nuclear deal that might endanger Israel.

Suzie Madrak makes a huge point here:

» Blog Archive » ‘We’ll pay non-Jews to leave Israel’

Gee, when people offered to send slaves back to Africa, we called that racist.

98ec75fc6b4a08e7c95b31a67c4a4df9Addicting Info – Israeli Soldier Posed With Palestinian Woman For PR Photo, Then Shot Her In The Head (IMAGES)

And flowing into this news:

Jewish outrage as ship named after SS war criminal arrives in Europe | World news | The Guardian

Leaders of Jewish communities and Holocaust memorial groups in Britain and the Netherlands have reacted with rage and despair at the arrival in Rotterdam of the world’s biggest ship, the Pieter Schelte, named after a Dutch officer in the Waffen-SS.

6032f4f401f6f4568273c0a951ecb88dThe vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Arkush, said: “Naming such a ship after an SS officer who was convicted of war crimes is an insult to the millions who suffered and died at the hands of the Nazis. We urge the ship’s owners to reconsider and rename the ship after someone more appropriate.”

Esther Voet, director of the Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (Cidi), based in The Hague, said that the timing of the ship’s arrival, shortly before Jews were targeted and killed in Paris and the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, was “a coincidence, I’m sure, but a sign of the times. We lost our battle to have the ship’s name changed, and we are left eating dust.”

0dc5ee5688693816623e388bddf4daa2Survivors of the Holocaust in Britain also spoke out. Ruth Barnett, a tireless campaigner who arrived from Nazi Germany as part of the Kindertransport, said: “I am outraged by the intensity and extent of denial and indifference that fails to challenge things like this ship, and allows the impunity for perpetrators to think they can get away with it.”

The London-based Lloyd’s Register dug in to defend its role in the ship’s building and development, while the shipbuilder said it had been named in honour of the owner’s father for his “great achievements in the offshore oil and gas industry”.

Read the rest of that story at the link, especially the bullet points… it is obvious that the ship’s name is something that could be seen as a slight. (To say the least.)

d5066f243d4a1f56fe2aa2f0f6e4a859There is an op/ed over at the New York Times that should give you all pause…When Calculus of Loss Doesn’t Add Up – NYTimes.com

Joseph Kahn, The Times’s top-ranking editor for international news, told me that the Paris and Nigeria stories aren’t comparable. “These were totally different challenges,” he said, with the former happening in a major Western capital where The Times has a substantial staff.

He, and others, spoke of the difficulty of covering the Boko Haram story because of its remote location, the problems of verification, and the questions hanging over early reports. While Amnesty International was reporting as many as 2,000 dead, he told me, some trusted experts were cautioning against using the number. The Times needed to verify what had happened, something best done on the ground. But getting there is both difficult and time-consuming.

2b7a2cbd8422e20c48d518a6928ca805In retrospect, Mr. Kahn said, a story about the controversy over the numbers would have been one way to provide early and meaningful coverage — informing readers without falling prey to overstating what had happened. Such a story, especially if it had been prominently displayed and published quickly, would have been a valuable way to be transparent with readers about what The Times knew and what it didn’t know.

Mr. Kahn also said that while the Paris attack had an intense and short news arc, the Boko Haram story would continue and that The Times would keep covering it with commitment. The editor on the International Desk who handles Africa coverage, Greg Winter, told me last week that Mr. Nossiter (who has also been a leading reporter on the Ebola story) was in Nigeria again working on a major Boko Haram piece.

da8f847c13be0774621ab3c8167c30f8“I understand readers’ concerns about covering Nigeria, and I share them, which is why our correspondent has risked his life for years to cover the country and the turmoil in the north,” Mr. Winter said.

I asked Mr. Kahn how, in general, the numbers of violent deaths figure into editorial decisions. “We don’t cover everything equally,” he said. “It goes to gut news judgment, as we ask: ‘Is this a big deal? Are we going to deploy someone?’ ” Among the factors: “The circumstances, how unusual it is, the location, the relevance to American interests.”

And, he said, The Times has to be careful not to overreport violent death.

“Not every incident of carnage is a major story for The New York Times. You have to put it in context, and not fill the news report with unlimited doses of terrible violent news from around the world.”

ec4b59a449f88217fcaea31ca8aee875But, speaking of the recent Boko Haram attack, he said: “It could have had more attention and emphasis.”

I agree. I have no objection to the extent of the Paris coverage. But whatever the calculus of news judgments, these lost Nigerian lives surely were worthy of The Times’s immediate, as well as its continuing, attention.

Overreport violent death?

Cough…cough.

And on that note:

3e779e43d98a2ea62e793821d825ab35Nigerian city under attack from suspected Boko Haram militants | World news | The Guardian

9e34bef467ed52247964129d427e4e51Escaping Boko Haram on the Road From Bama | Al Jazeera America

Notice, not from the NYT…

About Yemen: Yemen Civil War? Masses Rally in Capital & South Secedes | Informed Comment

And now back to the US:

The following links are dealing with the GOP…and the usual shit.

House GOP Aborts Dumb Anti-Choice Bill Because Ladies Vote Too, Huh | Wonkette

The GOP White Guy Club Vs. Gynecology | The Mahablog

580f0bfee276b2bd99ba6151a293defbFree To Be Dumb: The Republican Iowa Freedom Summit Lives Up To Its Billing | News Corpse

“20-Week Bans Are Devastating for Women Like Me” | Mother Jones

Jorge Ramos, Voice of Latino Voters on Univision, Sends Shiver Through G.O.P. – NYTimes.com

Weeping Christian men apologize for letting you have an abortion

Funny or Die Apologizes for That Christian Bro Abortion Apology Video

And while on the subject of coochies:

34b722ecabd64f5932b4dcaf67d948d5Teen poses as doctor for month before caught in Florida | WGN-TV

Police in Florida and officials at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach have agreed not to charge a teenager they caught posing as a doctor.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports police were called Tuesday after a patient alerted staff at the medical center’s OB/GYN office that a juvenile dressed in a lab coat was inside an exam room. The patient said the lab coat had St. Mary’s logo and “anesthesiology” stitched on the front.

A security guard told police he’d seen the teen around the hospital for a month. Another said the teen entered secured areas of the hospital this week.

44bd08b08177533170f76e14a910df51The teen told police he’s been a doctor for years.

The teen’s mother told police he’s under the care of a doctor and is not taking his medicine.

WTF?

On to the Arts…Movies…etc.

Selma: Black History According to Oprah | Black Agenda Report

Julie Walters: lack of working-class actors is sad | Culture | The Guardian

Samuel L Jackson: ‘I create characters – it keeps me from being me all day’ | Film | The Guardian

b2d93a9da3408389ecbdb5792e4b28bfMission To Mars begins with some of the worst expository dialogue ever · Scenic Routes · The A.V. Club

Richard McWhorter, Legendary Assistant Director, Dies at 100 – The Hollywood Reporter

German scientists invent working teleporter, of sorts | Technology | The Guardian

Warner Bros’ bold stance on Wonder Woman opens the door for Hollywood evolution – Comment – Voices – The Independent

And something that will probably make a film one of these days, have you seen this story out of Argentina:

f8b86c3ae813f71b442aa1986c0b3411Spies, lies and death: plot thickens in Argentine scandal | Reuters

Prosecutor in Argentina presidential case was shot point-blank in forehead: authorities

Journalist who broke news of prosecutor’s death flees Argentina | Reuters

Gosh, what a lot of links for you today, and I’ve got a couple more:

Experts examine bones as Spain hunts for Cervantes’ remains (Update)

c4ab5a85544371f40b1db4db4dceccadWho was Chaucer? | Books | The Guardian

And end with two stories on women, journalism and internet threats.

Jezebel staffers express concern after Gawker Media seating chart is published | Capital New York

Wikipedia tacitly endorses GamerGate by blocking its opponents from editing gender-related articles | PandoDaily

That’s all folks….

BTW, here is a gallery of images, some of which were not put up in the post here.


Friday Nite Lite: Banjoville No-Go Zone

2c3e47220eb5cccd01d245ddb55db014Evening

Before I get to the cartoons, a little side note.  The letter to the editor is from The North Georgia News, our local Banjoville newspaper…the “Legal Organ” of Union County.

I use it as an example of what Chez Pazienza at The Daily Banter discusses here, about the stupidity of people, racism and the panic of fear it can bring about.

A couple of days ago we mentioned here how the mayor of Paris was planning to sue Fox News because the network incorrectly, ludicrously claimed that parts of Paris and the U.K. had become something it called Muslim “no-go zones,” where non-Muslims weren’t allowed to enter and where Sharia law superseded federal and local law. One expert on Fox News even made the shocking pronouncement that the entire city of Birmingham, England was one of these “no-go zones.” Just to make sure it’s understood what we’re talking about here, Fox News told its audience of epistemically sealed-off reactionary yokels that reactionary Muslims had taken over and sealed-off segments of free countries and cities and that those countries and cities had allowed this to happen. Try unpacking that inside your head for a moment and see if smoke doesn’t begin coming out of your ears.

3a6c9e2ef9eb64f86da78aa6f03cf44dWell, I realize it’ll be hard to believe, but everything Fox blithered into the ether on this was a giant steaming pile of horseshit. No, there are no Muslim no-go zones in France or England and, by extension, there aren’t going to be any Muslim no-go zones popping up in the United States anytime soon. Yes, there are pockets of the Muslim community scattered throughout the free world the same way there are pockets of every other ethnic, racial and religious background in exactly the same position; cultures tend to stick together in areas outside of their comfort zones. There are also almost certainly cases of these communities attempting to address civil concerns within their community internally in the same way, ironically, that orthodox Jewish neighborhoods sometimes do. There are even, to be sure, bad actors amongst these communities who take their desire for insulation too far. But to claim that Muslim enclaves, specifically, represent a threat in that they’ve been able to culturally terraform the land upon which they’ve set up, making it somehow toxic to outsiders, including law enforcement, is absurd. And for Fox News to say so is irresponsible and inflammatory (which is par for the course for Fox).

In response to being called out by both the French and British Prime Minister David Cameron, Fox News backed off the report, issuing a rare retraction and apology. CNN’s Anderson Cooper also apologized for furthering the rumor by biting down hard on Fox News’s bait and reporting its own story of supposed no-go zones. But the problem is that once the poison has been injected into the cultural and media c8bcc2febf1c76867f520d365b06d290bloodstream it’s impossible to eradicate. The misinformation becomes part of the conversation, because people — particularly those who are already inclined to believe it because it confirms their biases — disregard the retraction and remember only the initial story, even if it’s crap. We live in an age in which deliberate distortion and conspiracist nonsense spread like Ebola and can wreak almost as much havoc.

There never were any government “death panels” accompanying the Affordable Care Act, and yet the second that phrase was uttered it created a snowball that ultimately became an unstoppable avalanche of bullshit. No amount of shoveling would make it go away. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and yet there are still people out there who believe Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. People believe what they want to believe, regardless of the facts. Go on television and tell them something that feeds the foundations of their ideological bent and even if you tell them two seconds later you were wrong, they’ll find the retraction more dubious than the initial faulty report. This is what makes misinformation and outright disinformation so dangerous.

So with that as a set up, I bring you a taste of my little redneck mountain town:

 

What do you seek?

Dear Editor,
For all practical purposes, Christianity
has been, or soon will be, extinguished in the
Middle East, in most of the continent of Africa,
China, Indonesia and the surrounding nations in
favor of Islam.
Britain is rapidly being culturally redefined

as Muslim. A Prelate of the Anglican
Church recently commented that Sharia should
become part of the Anglican liturgy. Debate is
always afoot in the Parliament to increasingly
honor Muslim sensitivities.
In Paris, the Right Bank has long been un-
der the aegis of Muslims. The old haunts of the

Impressionists are no longer
safe for white Christians.
The day might come
when Sacre’ Coeur  might
hear the Islamic Call to Prayer
resonating from its towers and
domes. That’s what happened
to Hagia Sophia.
The yelping of the “politically-correct,”

“tolerant,” Humanist, anti-Christian, “diversity”-

hungry curs grows

louder with every passing
week to reduce, limit, curtail
and, perhaps, to eventually
eliminate Christianity from the
United States.
Perhaps such as they favor

Sharia Law and all that it
implies, entails and involves
— from massacres to beheadings
to the beating and stoning of nonconformist

women and children to the censoring of

anti-Islam publications, shows,
plays and broadcasts.
I have to wonder: Is
the Progressive strangling of
the Judeo-Christian Ethic in
America what you Progressives
/Liberals/Democrats at the AJC seek?
George Mitchell

(You can see the image of this letter further down below btw…)

And if that wasn’t enough…the talk on the local Banjoville Topix Forum is even more disgusting.

Thankfully the thread has been taken down, but I have screenshots of the “discussion” that you can look at here and here. I don’t know if it would be beneficial to our talk here, and there is horrible stuff on those threads….so you have been warned.  But Back to Chez’s article, where he is bringing up Dak’s favorite Gov.

Louisiana governor and world’s most embarrassing Rhodes Scholar Bobby Jindal is doubling down on his assertion that Europe is full of Muslim “no-go zones” and stoking the fears of his idiot constituency by saying that if we’re not careful we might soon see them in America. Jindal had already claimed that no-go zones were a real thing over the weekend during a speech in London, but despite the Fox News retraction, there he was on Fox News saying that there are areas in Western cities where the police won’t go and which are essentially off-limits to non-Muslims entirely. “If people don’t want to come here to integrate and assimilate, what they’re really trying to do is set up their own culture, their own communities,” Jindal said. “What they’re really trying to do is overturn our culture. We need to recognize that threat… We’re gonna see our own no-go zones if we’re not serious about insisting on assimilation and integration.”

And he’s not the only one picking up that ball and running with it. Family Research Council president and giant-penis-in-a-necktie Tony Perkins is now stating unequivocally that Muslim no-go zones aren’t on their way to America because they’re already here. “Dearborn, Michigan is one of the places. There are some places in Minneapolis,” he says. “I don’t think it’s as clear-cut as what we’ve seen in Europe.” Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, who’s Muslim, has already written an official open letter to Perkins calling him a fucking lunatic, or at the very least offering to show him around Minneapolis where he can see for himself whether these Muslim no-go zones he’s so terrified of actually exist. Maybe not such a good idea considering that we’re talking about a guy who’s an evangelical preacher. Perkins obviously doesn’t need to see proof of something to believe it’s real.

This is only the beginning, I promise. When you combine our susceptibility to fear-based disinformation with our tendency to fixate on subjects that are easily memed and hashtagged, “no-go zones” is tailor-made to become the next big conservative night terror. Screw reality — everybody panic.

What’s interesting about this, certainly about Jindal’s fear of foreign cultures setting up camps in the United States and refusing to assimilate — spreading their culture with little concern for what existed before it — is that it’s already happened on a grand scale. And I’m not even talking about the original immigrants who arrived here in the late 1400s and basically took right over.

And in a response to this right-wing horror of a city being taken over by a “foreign” culture or entity…Chez gives us one place as an example. Miami.

…an entire U.S. city which often feels like foreign soil. This is by no means an insult to the Cuban and Cuban-American population that arrived and assumed every position of political and cultural authority imaginable, merely an acknowledgment that Miami is unlike any other city in America because of the awesome power a “foreign” presence has been able to wield. In Miami, 70% of the population is Hispanic, with many speaking Spanish as their primary language or interchangeably with English. The leadership of the city’s body politic often feels like it has corruption running through its veins the way real bodies have blood. The city has in the past exercised its own foreign policy, strong-arming the federal government via a robust and fearsome voting bloc and even refusing to cooperate with that government’s law enforcement when it disagreed with the laws it was obligated to respect and uphold. It was once a literal war zone for foreign drug gangs, rivaling a current Mexican border town. It’s been called a flat-out banana republic, even by the people who live there.

ngn1-21-15OpEd1_001None of this makes Miami a bad place — quite the contrary, actually. It’s my hometown and it’s a fucking nuthouse; what’s not to love? But other than maybe Tom Tancredo, who was pretty much laughed out of the party, I’ll be damned if I’ve ever heard one frightened peep out of the Republicans regarding the foreign takeover of an entire American city. (Not surprisingly, you’ll hear lawmakers complain about the invasion of Haitians, but I’ll leave you to reach your own conclusions about that.) Hell, some of those hiding in plain sight in Miami were even terrorists, and yet — nothing.

It might have something to do with the fact that Cuban-Americans have traditionally been rabid, rock-solid backers of conservative politics, honest-to-God fish in a barrel to be shot by eager electoral panderers. But Muslims, they’re so dangerous for so many reasons — some of which are political — ngn1-21-15OpEd2-1_001that even a small community of them is enough to send the right into a frenzy, convinced that their specific brand of foreign religious law is already being imposed and the police are now forced to simply look the other way. (Nothing at all like when cops allowed for animal sacrifices in Santeria rituals in Miami because it was considered part of the accepted religious culture.)

Miami’s a whole city. Muslims congregate in a neighborhood and conservatives suddenly declare it a demilitarized zone.

I wish I could tell you that the attitude of the anti-anyone but white Christian here in Banjoville is only slightly peppered throughout the area, but it is not. You can see from the other letters to the editor, the Christian Right even more pronounced than some may think…seeing the hate and hypocrisy written by the Local Banjoville citizen assholes in these letters to the editor on a weekly basis just makes it more difficult to enjoy the beauty of the landscape this town has to offer. Ugh.

Okay, now for the cartoons.

Cagle cartoons, so click to see the image:

American Snipper by Political Cartoonist Pat Bagley

Deflated Balls by Political Cartoonist Cameron Cardow

Fantasy Football by Political Cartoonist Rick McKee

Jeb and Romney Clash by Political Cartoonist Pat Bagley

Catholics and rabbits by Political Cartoonist Joe Heller

State of the Union by Political Cartoonist David Fitzsimmons

 

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Tom Stiglich, MEDIA NEWS GROUP – 01/22/2015

Cartoon by Tom Stiglich -

Easier To Grip – Political Cartoon by Tim Campbell, Current Publishing – 01/23/2015

Cartoon by Tim Campbell - Easier To Grip

On Cuba:

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Gustavo Rodriguez, El Nuevo Herald – 01/23/2015

Cartoon by Gustavo Rodriguez -

 

AAEC – Political Cartoon by John R. Rose, Byrd Newspapers of Virginia – 01/23/2015

Cartoon by John R. Rose -

TURN OVER – Political Cartoon by Deb Milbrath, Cartoon Movement – 01/23/2015

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - TURN OVER

JONI ERNST SHOES – Political Cartoon by Deb Milbrath, Cartoon Movement – 01/22/2015

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - JONI ERNST SHOES

STATE OF THE UNION – Political Cartoon by Deb Milbrath, Cartoon Movement – 01/21/2015

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - STATE OF THE UNION

 

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Charlie Daniel, Knoxville News Sentinel – 01/23/2015

Cartoon by Charlie Daniel -

1/25 Luckovich cartoon: Trading places | Mike Luckovich

012515-toon-luckovich-ed

This is an open thread….

 


Wednesday Reads: #SOTU Aftermath

d977f3793197d3f408b824d6167c4bb8Good Morning

Oh boy, is it.

I guess we will just dive into the obvious this morning, by looking at the reactions and responses to Obama’s sixth SOTU speech from last night.

And away we go….

I thought this was a biggie score from last night, Transgender Individuals Recognized For First Time Ever In A State Of The Union Speech

President Barack Obama pushed for protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals Tuesday evening, making it the first time lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have ever been recognized directly in a State of the Union address.

“As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when we’re threatened, which is why I’ve prohibited torture, and worked to make sure our use of new technology like drones is properly constrained,” said Obama, adding, “That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. We do these things not only because they’re right, but because they make us safer.”

The other big thing of the night, at least to my eyes, was the visual “optics” of Republicans Refuse To Stand Up And Support Fair Pay. Literally.

I hope that Dem campaigns make the most of that during 2016. Women make up half the voting population dammit!

When President Barack Obama called on Congress to raise the minimum wage and strengthen federal equal-pay laws for women, congressional Republicans refused to stand up and support it. Literally.

“Of course, nothing helps families make ends meet like higher wages. That’s why this Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work. Really. It’s 2015. It’s time,” Obama said Tuesday during his annual State of the Union address.

“And to everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this: If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, go try it. If not, vote to give millions of the hardest-working people in America a raise.”

The remarks drew a standing ovation from many in the chamber, but not from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and some Republicans, who remained seated.

Assholes.

But hey, the Latins got the “Royal Republican” treatment too. I am talking about the GOP responses to Obama’s Immigration policy. GOP Speech Pushes Immigration Reform—in Spanish Version Only | Mother Jones

On Tuesday night, freshman Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida delivered the Republicans’ Spanish-language response to President Obama’s State of the Union address. His remarks initially were billed as a translation of Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst‘s official GOP response. That put the GOP in an awkward spot, as Mother Jones first reported on Tuesday: Ernst has long been a proponent of making English the official language of US government communications.

In the end, Curbelo’s speech wasn’t an exact replication of Ernst’s. Whereas the senator relied upon numerous anecdotes of life in small town Iowa, Curbelo stuck to more general platitudes to open and close his speech. But when it came to policy, each largely followed the same script—Curbelo’s essentially used the same structure and rephrased the same talking points, albeit in a different language.

But there was also a conspicuous divergence: While Ernst’s speech included comments about abortion politics, Curbelo instead touted the need for immigration reform. “We should work through the appropriate channels to create permanent solutions to our immigration system, modernize legal immigration, and strengthen our economy,” he said, according to a translation by the Democratic opposition research firm American Bridge. From there, Curbelo went directly back into language also found in Ernst’s speech, saying: “In the past, the President has expressed support for ideas like these; now we ask him to collaborate with us to get it done.”

Similarly, Curbelo briefly touched on education reform and Cuba—two topics Ernst didn’t broach.

GOP Mentions Immigration In State of The Union Rebuttal…But Only In Spanish

Curbelo is far more liberal on immigration than many of his colleagues. He voted against an amendment last week to end Obama’s executive actions on immigration, and opposed the final Department of Homeland Security funding bill when such measures were included. He also supports immigration reform and the Dream Act, which would allow young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to stay.

For all the talk from Republicans who oppose executive action on immigration about the urgent need to end it, the issue didn’t make the cut for Ernst’s speech. She said Republicans want to “correct executive overreach,” but didn’t refer to immigration specifically.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who delivered his own State of the Union rebuttal, did not mention immigration, either.

Uh, the hog castrator is totally against immigration reform btw…

But the Official GOP response, given by a woman wearing a pair of camo heels (no shit, for serious) wasn’t really a response at all, but more like another example of the GOP attempt to pander to the women…I mean court the women voters. (Like that shit with the Spanish only response.) More on Joni in a bit.

If you are counting, there was five GOP responses last night. That does not count the ones from Rand and Cruz.

Instead of 1 Awkward SOTU Response, GOP Offers 5 — NYMag

In SOTU rebuttal, Rand Paul outlines 2016 vision – The Washington Post

Joni Ernest GOP SOTU Response 2015 FULL TRANSCRIPT VIDEO | Mediaite

Cruz vine here:

 

The best commentary on Joni Ernst rebuttal is from Karoli: Joni Ernst Tells Tale Of Time Trickle-Down Economics Spilled All Over Her Shoes | Crooks and Liars

Joni Ernst told a touching tale of how she only owned one pair of shoes as a child, and how she had to wear bread bags on her feet to keep her shoes dry when it rained.

When was that? During the Great Depression? Not so much, since Ernst was born in 1970. No, her time in bread bags was during the Reagan era — 1980 to 1988. Even allowing for the possibility that there was some flow-through from Carter into the Reagan years, Ernst’s tale of “we didn’t have much but we didn’t need much” falls squarely into Reagan’s trickle-down years.

Senator Ernst’s follow-up statement: “These days though, many families feel like they’re working harder and harder, with less and less to show for it.” That just further indicts Republicans and the whole trickle-down theory, given that it’s been the operative economic theory for the past 30 years.

Other than that little wrinkle in time, Ernst’s rebuttal was safe and quite white bread-ish. No terrible gaffes, but no details either. Not a one. Just some warm fuzzies about how Republicans understand that mean Uncle Washington isn’t working, and how they’ll kick his butt. It was like she was reading all the kids a chapter out of the conservative coloring book.

The only takeaway anyone should remember is Ernst’s affirmation that what Reagan and his league of conservatives left her with is bread bags on her feet.

And about that poor bread bag childhood: Late Night GOP Bad Ideas & Lies Open Thread » Balloon Juice

From the District Sentinel post:

Amid a fledgling primary campaign, rural Iowa state lawmaker Joni Ernst crafted a quirky hardscrabble persona that propelled her to both the forefront of the race and, eventually, the United States Senate. In a 30-second spot that gained attention for its employment of hog castration imagery, Sen. Ernst (R-Iowa) claimed that her farmer parents “taught us to live within our means” and said that “it’s time to force Washington to do the same.” …

The truth about her family’s farm roots and living within one’s means, however, is more complex. Relatives of Ernst (née: Culver), based in Red Oak, Iowa (population: 5,568) have received over $460,000 in farm subsidies between 1995 and 2009. Ernst’s father, Richard Culver, was given $14,705 in conservation payments and $23,690 in commodity subsidies by the federal government–with all but twelve dollars allocated for corn support. Richard’s brother, Dallas Culver, benefited from $367,141 in federal agricultural aid, with over $250,000 geared toward corn subsidies. And the brothers’ late grandfather Harold Culver received $57,479 from Washington—again, mostly corn subsidies—between 1995 and 2001…

Sen. Ernst’s family’s financial interest notably came up once during her campaign. In October, Salon reported that Richard’s construction company was awarded $215,665 in contracts from the Montgomery County government in 2009 and 2010, while Ernst was the body’s auditor. The bids won by Culver included Federal Emergency Management Agency projects worth $204,794…

 

But here in link dump format are some pundit’s and other politician’s takes on the busy night on the Hill.

State of the Union: ‘I still believe’ – Obama’s address vows equality over hostility | US news | The Guardian

Video: Georgia freshmen discuss their first State of the Union | Political Insider blog

Rand Paul’s SOTU Response: Lies, Doom And Empty Promises | Crooks and Liars

Rep. Steve King Wins! Worst #SOTU Tweet Ever | Crooks and Liars

Fox Misleadingly Suggests Obama’s Tax Plan Will Be “Raising Your Taxes” | Research | Media Matters for America

Obama trolls the GOP: How a not-so-lame-duck president left them bumbling – Salon.com

Republicans Irked By Obama Zinger In State Of The Union Address

Confident Obama throws punches | TheHill

Addicting Info – Obama’s Brilliant Comeback To Republicans’ Attempted Diss At State Of The Union Is Legendary (VIDEO)

Joni Ernst Responds to SOTU By Not Discussing It At All

In State of the Union Speech, Obama Defiantly Sets an Ambitious Agenda – NYTimes.com

Obama Greets Civil Rights Icon Before State of the Union

Body language and ad-libs show Obama won’t back down against GOP majority

Most Important Sentence in Obama’s Speech | RealClearPolitics

Wolf Blitzer: I Can’t Remember Another SOTU with So Many Veto Threats | Mediaite

Face of the Union: An illustrated guide to Obama’s State of the Union speech – The Washington Post

Obama’s Penultimate State Of The Union: Swagger, Successes And Not Screwing It All Up | BobCesca.com | News and Politics Blog and Podcast | We Cover the World

More to come in the comments below.

Otherwise just think of this as an open thread…


Sunday Reads: Smoked Whale Testicles in Dog We Trust

916695624a1cb99255e106a29dbff5c7Good Afternoon

Before I go any further, it is probably best if I explain the Smoked Whale Testicles portion in the title of this Sunday’s Reads.

Now, I saved this damn link when it first was published almost a week ago…so yeah it is old news, but damn, I don’t care what kind of beer aficionado you are…the first description of the contents of this brew is beyond anything that my imagination could dream up.

 

Iceland brewery makes beer using smoked whale testicles | Environment | The Guardian

Uh, you read that right.

Icelandic brewery Stedji, which is producing the beer in time for the country’s mid-winter festival, Thorri, said the Hvalur 2 beer was made with the testicles of fin whales – which are classified as endangered on the conservation Red List – smoked in a “traditional way” with dried sheep dung.

GoldenBook-TheHappyLittleWhale2The move, which comes a year after the brewery launched a beer for Thorri containing whale meat, has angered conservationists who claimed the “dying” whaling industry in Iceland was trying to create markets for its products.

Vanessa Williams-Grey, anti-whaling campaigner at Whale and Dolphin Conservation, said: “This is a calculated move, not only to dishonour a beautiful and endangered creature by using its most intimate of body parts as a marketing tool, but also sends a clear ‘two fingers’ to the conservation community and those who love and respect whales.

GoldenBook-TheHappyLittleWhale3Two fingers, in other words…our middle finger salute if you will.

“Right-minded people would no sooner drink beer brewed with whale testicles than they would order similar drinks made with tiger, elephant or rhino testicles and our hope, of course, is that visitors to Iceland will treat this latest offering with the disdain it deserves.”

GoldenBook-TheHappyLittleWhale4Dagbjartur Ariliusson, from the brewery, said: “We live in a country that allows whaling and the whaling is very well controlled by the Icelandic authorities, but fisheries here are self sustainable and very responsible.

“According to our research the fin whale in North Atlantic is not at risk of extinction.”

c5ac52ece76f45307abe40034fe72064He added that in the past, Icelandic people made food out of all possible ingredients, and during Thorri eat food ranging from rams’ testicles to rotten sharks.

“We consider this ingredient to be in the style of Thorri,” he said.

Well then, perhaps a beer made with smoked rotten ram’s balls would be more appropriate?

I don’t know, I can only think of a child’s illustrated Golden Book, telling a tale of this “Happy Little Whale” who gave up his cahones (and life), all for the glory of the cause…of beer.

And speaking of the Glory of the Cause. This next bit of explanation comes via Wonkette. Oh Lawd, what will the folks in Pinellas County Florida do now…for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office no longer is putting their trust in the All Mighty…no. They got their trust in Dog!

How Dumb Is My State? (Very Dumb): Your Florida Roundup | Wonkette

Screen-Shot-2015-01-16-at-9.09.42-PM

Best. Typo. Ever:

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office recently spent $81 million on a sparkling new palace of law enforcement on Florida’s Gulf Coast. il_340x270.413857555_tlb0There’s a state-of-the-art 911 center, top-of-the-line hurricane protection built to withstand Category 5 devastation, and a high-tech data center.
There are also some spiffy accoutrements, such as a bright-green rug with the sheriff’s official seal, which includes an outline of Florida and the motto: “IN DOG WE TRUST.”

Nobody noticed for several months. That’s some nice police work, boys.

Holy Shit! That must be one all powerful and glorified Dog, Faith…Belief…Trust. Fido Christ! I must truly make some time from my troubled day to get to know Him better. Whoofamen!

(I am going to hell for sure.)

Alright, now for the rest of the reads in dump fashion, because I am such a lazy ass heathen and couldn’t get my shit together and write this post up last night.

Guns:

Reuters News – Arrest of U.S. FAA inspector prompts new security guidelines, education

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Saturday suspended a system that permits its inspectors to skip safety checkpoints on the job soon after a single of them was arrested with a firearm in his carry-on bag, according to officials and media reports.

The arrest at New York’s LaGuardia Airport on Tuesday also prompted FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta to ramp up safety education of its inspectors through the short-term suspension of the program, according to the agency’s statement on Saturday.

The system allowed the inspectors to bypass the checkpoints and access safe places of the airports although performing their standard duties.

The FAA said it would also need inspectors to sign an agreement stating that weapons-connected infractions will result in their permanently losing the potential to bypass the checkpoints. Such offenders might also face other disciplinary action.

The inspector was arrested just after a firearm was allegedly identified in his bag at a Transportation Safety Administration checkpoint at La Guardia, according to a report Saturday by ABC News.

The Atlanta-based inspector had apparently utilised a Security Identification Show Area badge to bypass security at Hartsfield-Atlanta International Airport earlier in his trip, ABC reported.

But at La Guardia, the firearm was discovered at a normal security checkpoint, the report mentioned.

But let us also remember that he could bring that damn gun into the airport in Atlanta, no problem, thanks to the shitheads at the Legislature.

Researchers puzzled by discovery of 1882 Winchester rifle | Tampa Bay Times

This one is interesting…check it out.

Researchers are trying to crack the mystery surrounding the discovery of a weathered, rusted Winchester rifle in the mountains of remote eastern Nevada.

The gun manufactured in 1882 was leaning against a juniper tree on a rocky outcrop in Great Basin National Park during an archaeological survey in November.

Nichole Andler, the park’s chief of interpretation, said officials may never know when the .44-40 rifle was placed there, but it’s possible it could have been left undisturbed since the 1800s.

The area along the Utah border has a history of mining, ranching and hunting, she said, and park researchers are scouring historical documents to learn who might have owned the rifle.

“I would say the possibilities are wide open as to who owned the rifle and why it was left there,” Andler said. “It leaves a lot to the imagination and it may be a mystery that’s never solved.”

It had been sitting there all this time.

After viewing photographs of the rifle, Houze said, he knows why it went undetected for so long: It blended in so well with its surroundings.

“People probably have walked right by it,” he said. “It was a one in a million chance they looked at it the right way and found it.”

The unloaded rifle’s wooden stock was cracked but still intact, while its barrel was rusted. Its serial number was still visible, which allowed experts to determine it was made in 1882.

A Winchester Model 1873 made in 1882 was found propped against a juniper tree in Nevada’s Great Basin National Park in November during an archaeological survey. Park spokeswoman Nichole Andler says officials may never know how long the rifle had been there, but it’s possible it had been left there in the 1880s.

The Oscars:

Oscars 2015: All about Eve? In today’s films, it’s more like All about Adam | Rachel Cooke | Comment is free | The Guardian -Women are shamefully under-represented in the list of Oscar nominations. ’Twas not always thus…

This video from The Young Turks, gives some good thoughts on the Oscar controversy:

And then: This chart shows how rarely female directors win awards | Inside Movies | EW.com

CONTINUING WITH WOMEN ISSUES:

Republican Split on Next Week’s Antiabortion Bill Vote – NationalJournal.com

Republican lawmakers are raising concerns that the party will alienate young voters and women by voting for an antiabortion bill coming to the House floor next week, on the 42nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.

In a closed-door open-mic session of House Republicans, Rep. Renee Ellmers spoke out against bringing up the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortion after 20 weeks, telling the conference that she believes the bill will cost the party support among millennials, according to several sources in the room.

“I have urged leadership to reconsider bringing it up next week.… We got into trouble last year, and I think we need to be careful again; we need to be smart about how we’re moving forward,” Ellmers said in an interview. “The first vote we take, or the second vote, or the fifth vote, shouldn’t be on an issue where we know that millennials—social issues just aren’t as important [to them].”

‘Daily Show’ mocks ‘crazy-a*s’ Alabama law allowing fetuses to have lawyers

A new Alabama law will protect those who can’t protect themselves, Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams reported on Thursday — until the day they’re born.

“You have a crazy-a*s job, sir. I don’t know what’s in the realm of possibility, and what’s in the realm of not possible,” Williams told attorney Julian McPhillips, who is allowed to represent unborn fetuses under a provision in House Bill 494.

The law, which was passed last July, allows judges to appoint lawyers to challenge teen mothers seeking a court waiver in order to have an abortion.

Alabama ACLU director Susan Watson told Williams that the guardian ad litem, as the attorneys are called, can call witnesses ranging from the unborn fetus’ father to employers in order to testify against the girls seeking the petition.

“In the end, if the teen is allowed to access an abortion, the fetus lawyer can appeal and run out the clock,” Watson explained. “And if they do that, we’ve got a parent.”

“Oh, sh*t,” Williams gasped. “That’s how babies are made in Alabama.”

Zandar Versus The Stupid: Last Call For Madam President

The latest Pew Research poll on women in politics and business has more than a few interesting findings, but this one shouldn’t surprise anyone:

 

Yep, only 16% of Republican men would hope to see a female president in the US in their lifetime, and only 20% of Republican women do. You betcha. Also, too.

Seriously, Republican women?  You don’t want to see a woman in the White House?  Is it because of Hillary specifically, or is it because there’s no way your party full of misogynist jackasses would ever nominate a woman for the Oval Office, and you’re all resigned to the fact that any woman in the White House would have to be a Democrat?

Well, I think they just don’t think a woman’s place is in the Oval office. Period. And I think there is a special place in reserved hell for them too.

4 Places Conservatives Believe Women Don’t Belong | Care2 Causes

Well, they can all kiss this woman’s ass as she runs by them: thoughtsofablackgirl: Girls&WomenToKnow:  Alia… | Super Opinionated

Girls&WomenToKnow:  Alia Atkinson

Congratulations to Jamaican Alia Atkinson who (December 6) became the first black woman to win a world swimming title. She now wants to encourage greater involvement of different communities in swimming. She said “Hopefully my face will come out, there will be more popularity especially in Jamaica and the Caribbean and we’ll see more of a rise and hopefully in the future we will see a push (for more competitive swimmers).”

Atkinson completed the short course race in 1 minute and 2.36 seconds, tying the world record, which according to FINA standards counts as its own record. Via Telegraph.

omg her face in that gif!

(via drst)

RAPE AND STUFF:

(It is some difficult stuff coming up.)

Addicting Info – Detroit’s Untested Rape Kits Finally Tested, 100 Serial Rapists Identified (VIDEO) -Fucking eh?

“You should have been crying while she was alive”: Another sentence handed down in Rehtaeh Parsons case – Salon.com – A man who texted a photo that showed him penetrating Parsons during an alleged gang rape was sentenced to probation

Dixie Hollins High School copes with aftermath of campus rape allegation | Tampa Bay Times

Dixie Hollins High School students arrived for classes Thursday under the glare of TV news cameras, one day after a freshman and a senior were charged with sexually assaulting a girl on campus.

“We’re a great school that had a bad incident,” principal Dan Evans said.

A “bad incident,” oh…for fucks sake!

Evans said a 15-year-old girl reported to one of the school’s two resource officers on Monday that she had been assaulted in a room on campus. The principal said he could not release further details about the alleged incident, citing the open investigation, but said that it did happen this week.

“I was personally concerned and personally hurt because I don’t want to see anyone on campus hurt,” said Evans, who added that he is an alumnus of the school.

A Pinellas County sheriff’s spokeswoman said the girl did not know her alleged attackers, and that the assault took place during the day. The spokeswoman did not know late Wednesday whether it had taken place during school hours.

About 1,900 students attend Dixie Hollins, 300 more than when Evans took the helm of the turnaround school in 2010. Since then, he said, the school has vastly improved. Instances of crime are down while academic performance is up.

“The Sheriff’s Office investigation is extremely concerning to the Dixie Hollins High School community,” said Melanie Marquez Parra, a spokeswoman for Pinellas County Schools. “Dixie Hollins High School has made tremendous strides in improving academics, the campus environment and school safety. The school will assist law enforcement in any way possible as the investigation moves forward.

King and Cook were football players, but Evans declined to say much else about them. Records show Cook has prior arrests for trespassing and stealing cars, but the disposition of those cases was not apparent from court records.

“I think they’re kids,” Evans said. “In the world I live in, we’re all teachers, so we view all kids as young adults, and sometimes they make awful mistakes.”

An automated call about the allegations was to be sent to parents Thursday. Evans said he sent an email to the school’s 85 teachers before classes began, telling them to talk to students about the incident.

“We recognize we live in a society where bad things happen, even on school campuses sometimes,” he said.

In 2009, a Dixie Hollins student was convicted of sexually assaulting a girl on a school bus while two other students acted as lookouts.

Evans said Thursday that that incident was in the past and the allegation this week is an isolated one.

On the morning announcements, he said, he reinforced his support for the school, telling students, “I know you believe in Dixie, and I believe in Dixie.”

From January 8th: Why don’t we believe rape victims? Because of people like Phylicia Rashad. – Vox

Phylicia Rashad doesn’t believe Bill Cosby raped all those women.

Here’s part of what Rashad, the actress who played Clair Huxtable to Cosby’s Cliff on TheCosby Show, told Showbiz 411’s Roger Friedman about the growing list of sexual assault allegations against the 77-year-old comedian, all of which he and his attorneys have denied: “What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it’s orchestrated. I don’t know why or who’s doing it, but it’s the legacy. And it’s a legacy that is so important to the culture.”

In a way, sexual assault victims owe Rashad a strange kind of thanks.

Her dismissive stance illustrates, in a way no public service announcement or myth-busting list could match, why so many women who are raped don’t report their assaults. It’s a perfect encapsulation of the exact reaction that many victims — especially those raped by powerful men — fear.

Imagine you’ve been raped and are deciding whether to report the assault to the authorities. Just thinking about the possibility that someone — a police officer, friends or a family member, the public, or a court — would brush off your story the way Rashad brushed off of the stories of Cosby’s accusers could be enough to make you stay quiet.

But it gets worse.

But go and read the rest of this one…

On to Gay’s and God:

This Week in God, 1.17.15 | MSNBC

First up from the God Machine this week is a report out of Mississippi, where some lawmakers have decided it’s time to make the Christian Bible the official state book (thanks to my colleague Laura Conaway for the heads-up).,

Rep. Tom Miles of Forest says he and fellow Democratic Rep. Michael Evans of Preston are filing a bill, and they already have received bipartisan promises of support from more than 20 of their colleagues.

Miles says Mississippi has a state bird, a state flower and even a state toy, so it should have a state book.

According to the local report in the Clarion-Ledger, the lead sponsor of the proposal said this week “that he’s not trying to force religion – or even reading – on anyone.”
If this sounds at all familiar, Louisiana very nearly made the Christian Bible its official state book last year, but backed off once the bill’s sponsor acknowledged some “constitutional problems.”
In case it’s not obvious, similar “problems” would plague the Mississippi effort, if it proceeds. In our system of government, government is expected to remain neutral on matters of religion, and for state policymakers to specifically endorse one religion’s holy text would almost certainly run afoul of the First Amendment.

In other words, Mississippi would be inviting a costly lawsuit that it would inevitably lose.

Roger Ailes: I Smell A Class Action Lawsuit

I Smell A Class Action Lawsuit

It only could have been more hilarious if the kid’s name was Horst Schitt.

P.S.  No one could ever have seen this coming.

Supreme Court agrees to rule on gay marriage | MSNBC

>El Colacho, the baby jumping festival in Spain

>

Most Catholics are baptized into their religion as infants by being gently dunked under cleansing waters, absolving them of their original sin. In the Spanish village of Castrillo de Murcia, however, fresh babes are laid in the street so men dressed in traditional devil costumes can run around jumping over them.

The yearly festival, known locally as El Colacho, takes place 60 days after Easter during the village’s religious feast of Corpus Christi. No concrete origin for the bizarre ritual exists, but it dates back to at least the early 17th century. During the holiday, parents with children born during the previous year bring the little tykes out and place them in neat rows of pillows spaced out down a public street. Then, while the excited parents look on, men dressed in bright yellow costumes and grotesque masks begin filing through the crowd, whipping bystanders with switches and generally terrorizing everyone.

117374793-man-representing-the-devil-leaps-over-babies-during-the

This is all fun and games, as the main event is when these “devils” run down the street jumping over the rows of babies like Olympic hurdlers. Once the little sinners have been jumped over, they are considered absolved of man’s original transgression, and are sprinkled with rose petals before being taken away by their (likely very relieved) parents.

While there are no reports of injuries or babalities caused by the flying devils, the strange practice has been frowned upon by some of the higher-ups at the Catholic Church: in 2012, Metro UK reported that Pope Benedict went so far as to ask Spanish clergy to distance themselves from the ritual. However, El Colacho continues to take place each year. No one can tell this village that they can’t send it devil-men careening over helpless infants.

 

Irish priest announced he is gay — and his congregation gave him a standing ovation – Europe – World – The Independent

Science:

Mosquito-borne diseases stymied Ming Dynasty attempts to invade southern neighbor

Historic plutonium sample traced to Seaborg, Manhattan Project

16th-Century ‘Lenox Globe’ Gets Digital Makeover : Discovery News

Kids, the Holocaust, and “inappropriate” play _ BB this one is for you.

23andMe To Sell Customers’ Genetic Data To Biotech Company | Popular Science

And lastly:

Hillary Clinton Designated Boko Haram | Still4Hill

That is all for today, Ciao!


Friday Nite Lite: Three, Third, No!

Good Evening!

So many cartoons for you tonight, let’s just get down to it…I am going to start with the one that really hits it big time, in my opinion. This one made me think, oh yes…editorial cartoon? Exactly.

 

AAEC – Political Cartoon by David Horsey, Los Angeles Times – 01/15/2015

 

Cartoon by David Horsey -

Now the rest of the funnies in no particular order:

Signe Wilkinson: Boko Haram Hackings – Signe Wilkinson – Truthdig

Nick Anderson: Manned Spaceflight – Nick Anderson – Truthdig

Nick Anderson: Meanwhile in Nigeria – Nick Anderson – Truthdig

Cartoonist Gary Varvel: Boko Haram’s Nigerian atrocities – Political Cartoon by Gary Varvel, Indianapolis Star – 01/16/2015

Cartoon by Gary Varvel - Cartoonist Gary Varvel: Boko Haram's Nigerian atrocities

Cartoonist Gary Varvel: Mitt Romney’s presidential runs – Political Cartoon by Gary Varvel, Indianapolis Star – 01/14/2015

Cartoon by Gary Varvel - Cartoonist Gary Varvel: Mitt Romney's presidential runs

These next cartoons you will need to go directly to the link to see the image, via Cagle Cartoons:

 

Pope Francis Visits The Philippines by Political Cartoonist Deng Coy Miel

 

Romney Runs by Political Cartoonist Randall Enos

 

James Taylor Diplomacy by Political Cartoonist Rick McKee

 

The Fear of Islamists by Political Cartoonist Marian Kamensky

 

American Response to the Charlie Hebdo Tragedy by Political Cartoonist Daryl Cagle

 

Romney Redux Again by Political Cartoonist Pat Bagley

 

US Senate Under New Management by Political Cartoonist R.J. Matson

 

Hustler by Political Cartoonist Eric Allie

 

GOP Going Green by Political Cartoonist Adam Zyglis

 

Three by Political Cartoonist Joe Heller

 

Keystone XL pie in the sky by Political Cartoonist John Cole

 

State of the Union and Congress by Political Cartoonist Dave Granlund

 

Autopsy of an Islamic Extremist by Political Cartoonist J.D. Crowe

 

Chebdo by Political Cartoonist Jen Sorensen

 

Not Free Radicals by Political Cartoonist John Darkow

 

Next 2 years by Political Cartoonist David Fitzsimmons

 

Fear from Humour by Political Cartoonist Martin Sutovec

 

Prophet Mohammad by Political Cartoonist Mike Luckovich

 

the republican 11th commandment by Political Cartoonist Bill Schorr

 

Boko Haram by Political Cartoonist Jeff Koterba

 

Mitt Again by Political Cartoonist Bruce Plante

 

Darn Wall by Political Cartoonist Mark Streeter

 

Me Luv Tom by Political Cartoonist Tim Campbell

 

Missing Its Target by Political Cartoonist Ingrid Rice

 

Human Rights by Political Cartoonist Pavel Constantin

 

HELL FOR TERRORISTS by Political Cartoonist Brian Adcock

 

Picture of Muhammad by Political Cartoonist Martyn Turner

 

Je suis un civilian by Political Cartoonist Curious Moments

 

CUBAN RELATIONS – Political Cartoon by Deb Milbrath, Cartoon Movement – 01/16/2015

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - CUBAN RELATIONS

 

Boko Haram – Political Cartoon by Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – 01/16/2015

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Boko Haram

 

Religious Crusades – Political Cartoon by Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – 01/13/2015

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Religious Crusades

New Boss – Political Cartoon by Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – 01/11/2015

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - New Boss

This next one is a Georgia specific one:

1/11 Luckovich cartoon: Easily distracted | Mike Luckovich

011115-toon-luckovich-ed

1/18 Luckovich cartoon: Good night, sleep tight | Mike Luckovich

011815-toon-luckovich-ed

 

The next couple of cartoons deal with this: Martin Luther King Jr.’s children return to court over his Bible and Nobel Prize – CNN.com

1/9 Luckovich cartoon: Sounds of silence | Mike Luckovich

010915-toon-luckovich-ed

1/15 Luckovich cartoon: Cake sale | Mike Luckovich

lk011515_color

 

 

1/13 Luckovich cartoon: Shared guilt | Mike Luckovich

011315-toon-luckovich-ed

 

 

This is an open thread.


Wednesday Reads: Getting your goat.

742f69a6dcfa1177bd1de4b33dd6e8c7Good Morning

Ugh…I just knew that this year was going to be even shittier than last year.  Wouldn’t you know that here we are not even into the 3rd week of the new year and so many horrible things are taking place all over the globe.

So, since so much of the shit is going on in Europe at the moment, particularly in France, I am going to focus on the crap going on in Germany. Because let me tell ya…this is some heavy fucking stuff, and it looks like it is going to get nasty. On a disturbingly historic kind of scale.

I’ll just give you plenty of links because so much has been written overnight. I noticed this story over a week ago when I saw mention of this PEGIDA rally in Dresden. From Jan 6th:

German anti-Islam rally hits record numbers – Europe – Al Jazeera English

At least 18,000 people in the eastern German city of Dresden have taken part in rallies opposing Islamic influence in Western nations, prompting massive counter-protests in several cities.

The record number of people that took to streets in support of the right-wing populist movement known as the “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisisation of the Occident” (PEGIDA) on Monday came despite a call by Chancellor Angela Merkel to snub such demonstrations deemed racist by many.

Organisers of the opposing demonstrations in Berlin, Stuttgart, Cologne and Dresden said they were rallying against discrimination and xenophobia to instead promote a message of tolerance.

b11275ff4cfe8ad3295da1e1485f857dBusinesses, churches, Cologne city’s power company and others were planning to keep their buildings and other facilities dark in solidarity with the demonstrations against the ongoing protests by PEGIDA.

Over the last three months, the crowds at PEGIDA’s demonstrations in the eastern city of Dresden, a region that has few immigrants or Muslims, have swelled from a few hundred to 17,500 just before Christmas.

Police said a similar number were expected again later on Monday night.

The Dresden demonstrations have spawned smaller PEGIDA rallies elsewhere, including gatherings planned in Berlin and Cologne on Monday night where several hundred were expected to be on hand.

By contrast, about 10,000 counter-demonstrators were expected in Berlin, 2,000 in Cologne and another 5,000 in Stuttgart where there was no PEGIDA protest planned.

I saved this article…because I planned to use it. But things sort of happened as you know. Fast forward to the latest PEGIDA rally this week, where the Dresden rally saw the largest number of people…25,000: Paul Hockenos | The Charlie Hebdo Attack Improved Pegida’s Fortunes | Foreign Affairs

The recent carnage in Paris could hardly be better fodder for Germany’s newest populist phenomenon. The movement is known as Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, or Pegida, and this week it drew more backers than ever—an estimated 25,000—onto the streets of Dresden. The Islamophobic group pounced on the opportunity to depict Islam as an inherently violent faith that threatens Germany and is transforming the West. And, against the backdrop of heightened security concerns and the largest refugee influx since the early 1990s, it is well placed to exploit the fears that many Germans appear to harbor.

8e7dfaf113a9177446df46ce53c6b513Before the Paris bloodshed, Pegida and its variants across the country, which oppose the “Islamization of Christian Europe” and Germany’s “foreign infiltration,” were faltering after a meteoric start that began this autumn. The group’s street protests—the biggest anti-Islam rallies in Europe—were tailing off, and counter demonstrations across the country had begun to dwarf Pegida events. Only in the eastern city of Dresden, the movement’s crucible, did the cause appear to have a tenacious core of more than a thousand. Meanwhile, internal divisions in the diffuse and nebulous organization—as well as cracks in Germany’s far-right party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD)—suggested that the group could crash and burn, joining other splintered and largely irrelevant nationalists in the no-man’s-land of Germany’s extra-parliamentary far right.

Indeed, the movement was so thoroughly riddled with logical discrepancies that most observers figured that it couldn’t last much longer. The grab bag of protesters claim that Germany is being overrun with Muslims and other foreign nationals who are at the root of the country’s social ills, high tax rates, crime, and security concerns. They say that there are so many Muslims and other nationalities in Germany that ordinary Germans don’t feel at home in their own country. If the trend continues, they argue, Muslims will outnumber Germans by 2035. Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has spoken plainly in favor of welcoming refugees and against (unnamed) groups that preach hatred and prejudice has “betrayed them,” claims Lutz Bachmann, one of the group’s founders, who sees Berlin’s political parties and media as being in cahoots.

More at that link, including statistics and such… but I think these other two articles give some other insight as well.

Germany’s PEGIDA isn’t a Vladimir Putin plot. The truth is scarier. By Lucian Kim via Reuters.

c44890734fd30be32930f405d5036333Last week, when I attended my first rally in Dresden organized by PEGIDA, Germany’s mysterious “anti-Islamization” movement, I was reminded of the aggressive pro-Russian protests that tore apart eastern Ukraine a year ago. Thousands of demonstrators, who mostly refused to talk to the “lying press,” listened to fiery speeches railing against the country’s political class. Among the German flags present, I also spotted a few Russian ones, including a banner that was split diagonally, one half Russia’s tricolor, the other half Germany’s. A reporter and cameraman from the Gazprom-owned NTV channel were greeted with welcoming calls of “Vladimir! Vladimir!”

Based on a few shreds of evidence, it would have been easy enough to weave together a conspiracy theory that the Kremlin is behind the demonstrations that were initiated by a secretive organizing committee in October and swelled to a record 25,000 participants on Monday. After all, President Vladimir Putin served as a KGB agent in what was then an East German city in the 1980s (suspicious!) and one of PEGIDA’s key demands is an end to Germany’s “war-mongering” against Russia (bingo!). But accepting this kind of explanation would buy into the Kremlin’s own paranoia that mass protests can be bought with money — and isn’t supported by the facts.

Next, I briefly entertained the possibility that PEGIDA’s success was accidental, a joke by a group of friends in reaction to the turmoil in the world. For one, the name PEGIDA, which stands for Patriotische Europäer Gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes, or “Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the Occident,” sounds like a parody of itself. Also, its main organizers — a former petty criminal, a provincial business consultant, and the head of a janitorial firm — hardly seem serious enough to dignify a condemnation from Chancellor Angela Merkel, who did exactly that in her New Year’s address.

Now, having interviewed PEGIDA leaders and supporters, I understand that the movement is not as sinister as a Russian plot but not quite as innocent as a prank gone viral. The organizers have been called “Pied Pipers,” and German journalists have chased down leads connecting individual PEGIDA activists with far-right groups. The problem, however, is that PEGIDA’s leaders don’t fit the caricature of neo-Nazi Neanderthals. What’s most striking about the movement is not the radicalism, but the ordinariness, of the people it attracts.

The Jan. 12 PEGIDA rally in Dresden was the biggest to date, coming less than a week after the Paris terrorist attack and a string of headlines about Islamist violence in the Middle East and Africa. At the same time, anti-PEGIDA demonstrations in other German cities brought out as many as 100,000 people, 20,000 in Munich alone. Two rival visions of modern Germany clashed: the liberal vision, embraced by the country’s elite, of a globalized, open society, and a conservative one, more assertive about national interests and German identity in a chaotic and dangerous world.

This is some of the ways PEGIDA has affected the area: Dresden xenophobia, right-wing extremism takes roof over refugees′ heads | News | DW.DE | 14.01.2015

17599463c4ea1ca7cd644634b5cc223aDue to increasing pressure from right-wing fundamentalists, the owner of a hotel in eastern Germany has closed his doors to refugees. Hotel Prinz Eugen had been set to receive nearly 100 asylum seekers.

Due to increasing “massive pressure from residents,” the owner of a hotel in the eastern German city of Dresden closed its doors to asylum seekers, German media reported on Wednesday.

Hotel Prinz Eugen was supposed to accept up to 94 asylum seekers to help the city accommodate its 2,093 refugees. The owner of the hotel, however, changed his mind, citing threats from right-wing extremists he received on social media platforms and anti-refugee graffiti sprayed on the outside of his hotel.

His about-face is expected to pose a problem for the city, which is expected to receive nearly 2,000 more refugees this year. Martin Seidel, the city’s mayor for social affairs, told the German magazine Spiegel Online: “This retreat will create a difficult situation for us. There are no short-term solutions that could be implemented.”

According to Spiegel, there was a petition to stop the allocation of space in the hotel for refugees and it had 5,700 signatories. It listed six “formal concerns” along with four “political and geopolitical concerns” and seven “contextual concerns.” One of these concerns was that the location of the hotel in Leuben/Laubegast was a “political risk area,” with the city’s second largest number of far-right NPD voters. The petition said it was thus “predestined for conflict.”

 

Charlie Hebdo fallout: Specter of fascist past haunts European nationalism By Jacob Heilbrunn via Reuters.

When up to a dozen world leaders and roughly 1.5 million people gathered in Paris on Sunday to mourn the murder of 10 editors and cartoonists of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and seven other people by three French-born Islamic radicals, they wanted to demonstrate that Europe will always embrace liberal and tolerant values.

500e3092c0ed83f2d79b076b1b35b655But the more telling event may turn out to be a counter-rally that took place at a 17th-century town hall in Beaucaire, France, that was led by Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front. In Beaucaire, the crowd ended Le Pen’s rally by singing the French national anthem and chanting, “This is our home.”

Le Pen is at the forefront of a European-wide nationalist resurgence — one that wants to evict from their homelands people they view as Muslim subversives. She and other far-right nationalists are seizing on some legitimate worries about Islamic militancy — 10,000 soldiers are now deployed in France as a safety measure — in order to label all Muslims as hostile to traditional European cultural and religious values. Le Pen herself has likened their presence to the Nazi occupation of France.

Now here is where these people really start to sound like our own Republican party, especially the Tea Party nuts.

Le Pen herself espouses an authoritarian program that calls for a moratorium on immigration, a restoration of the death penalty and a “French first” policy on welfare benefits and employment.

cd47aac8835a52373e7c190b7e4593c9Long after World War Two, fascism is a specter that still haunts the continent. But whether Le Pen’s stances — and those of other nationalist leaders in Europe — qualify as fascist is questionable. The borderline between the kind of populism they espouse and the outright fascism of the 1920s and 1930s, when Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini espoused doctrines of racial superiority, is a slippery one. Scholars continue to debate whether Mussolini was even fascist — or simply an opportunistic nationalist.

The real aim of today’s would-be authoritarians — politicians who appeal to the public’s desire for an iron hand — is to present themselves as legitimate leaders who are saying what the public really thinks but is afraid to say. And these far-right leaders are indeed increasingly popular.

The card they are playing is populism presented as an aggrieved nationalism. They depict Europeans as victims of rapacious Muslim immigrants. Le Pen, Britain’s Nigel Farage of the U.K. Independence Party and others aim to come across as reasonable and socially acceptable, while sounding dog whistles to their followers about immigrant social parasites who are either stealing jobs from “real” Europeans or living off welfare.

I have more links to share but I want to show you a picture from Sunday:

francois-hollandeangela-merkel

Say what you will about the staged pictures, I think that expression on Merkel’s face is real…and genuine.

I feel that there is an intolerance building throughout the world, it is getting more bold and in your face too. It is not just against Muslims. But it is against all immigrants, refugees. Mentally ill and homeless, Hindu and Jews, Palestinians or Gays…Roma or Mexicans, Blacks with their hands up or down…Women of any race as well. Agnostic, Atheist, Wicca, secular, you name it. It frightens me.

More on the Germany issues:

German Muslims rally to show solidarity with Paris-

Thousands of German Muslims held a vigil Tuesday night to show solidarity for the victims of the Paris terrorist attacks last week and to speak against the country’s growing anti-Islam movement.

“Violence like that in Paris can’t be brought to Germany,” said Busra Kelicarslan, 19, at the rally at Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate.

“The prophet says that Muslims are supposed to stand with each other, for each other, especially on days like today — when we have to show our true face,” she said. “We don’t want to be misrepresented in the media, but more importantly also in people’s minds. Hate and fear need to stop.”

bd387b1c26b502eac67bbb3a6b1d5c8dGerman Muslims speak in face of anti-immigrant movement | Al Jazeera America

DRESDEN, Germany — With no signs or religious symbols on its façade, the four-story building on the outskirts of Dresden appears to be just another residential apartment. But it’s not. A short walk through a narrow alley leads to the building’s backyard, where a door is revealed and a sign reads, in German and Arabic, “Islamic Center Dresden.”

“We know that for some people this sign is provocative, and we don’t want to provoke them. This is why we put it in the back,” said Ahmed Aslaoui, the deputy chairman of Islamic Center Dresden, a nonprofit organization whose facility serves as a mosque and meeting place for the city’s Muslim community.

“If the sign would be out front, I think some bad feelings might come up. We don’t want the situation to get worse,” he said.

The situation to which he referred is the growing popularity of a Dresden-based grass-roots movement, Patriotische Europäer Gegen eine Islamisierung des Abendlandes (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamicization of the West), or PEGIDA.

In the past few weeks, PEGIDA’s Monday evening demonstrations have drawn thousands of Germans, some of whom arrived in Dresden from across the country to protest against the dangers of Islamic ideology and for “the right to preserve and protect our Christian-Jewish dominated West culture,” among other goals, according to the group. While its mission statement opposes preaching hate and radicalism, no matter the religion, the name the movement chose and the slogans that have appeared in its protests target one religion only.

 

Germany urges tolerance in face of divisive rallies – The Globe and Mail

Merkel: Germany Will Use ‘All Means’ to Fight Intolerance

Thousands rally in Berlin for Paris terror victims – CNN.com

0fd2f80ab0473c0d5cfb48c3c21e5daaOn to another area but on the same topic, Fundamentalism for Dummies: The Paris Terrorists’ Ignorance and Poverty | Informed Comment

Now this article uses a term I had never heard of before…Boston Boomer, your assistance is required: cultural schizophrenia?

Ugh…say what?

one of the stubborn enduring myths surrounding jihadist terrorism has been the preeminence of religion over other motivations, and it is easy to understand why this might be the case. Many of these individuals themselves employ starkly religious language, and invoke religious texts that promise “other-worldly” rewards as compensation for “this-worldly” sacrifice, including the guarantee of eternal Paradise, and most famously, the lascivious offering of seventy-two heavenly virgins.

But, crucially, in many of these instances, we have to be aware of the post-hoc attribution of religious meaning and validation to their acts. To put it differently, religion does not provide the initial motive, but it does provide the motif or stamp of approval. Take the example of a young man who wants to go to Syria to fight for any reason that is not explicitly religious. It is not enough to just fight and even die like a jihadi, but to be accepted by that community (and indeed not to end up beheaded as a member of a rival group), you need to walk, talk and behave like one of them, too. The highly stylized “martyrdom testaments” suicide bombers record prior to their deaths are a very good example of this sort of conformity—it is no accident they all look and sound pretty much the same.

One recent telling example of this sort of religiosity tacked on at the end is the case of Mohammed Ahmed and Yusuf Sarwar, two young British men from Birmingham who were jailed for travelling to Syria to join and fight alongside a jihadist group in 2013, in response to what they saw as their religious duty. But it was the reading material they purchased to accompany them on their trip, the books, Islam for Dummies and The Koran for Dummies, which are most revealing about their lack of religious literacy and motivation.

7ec9f92ab4e7819c76011e432e760eceAnd this characterization appears to hold equally true for the violent men who attacked the Charlie Hebdo offices. The Kouachi brothers, as orphaned children of Algerian immigrants, were raised in foster care, and certainly not as pious Muslims. Rather, as the French newspaper Libération reported back in 2005, Cherif led a decidedly nondevout and hedonistic lifestyle—smoking marijuana, drinking alcohol, listening to gangster rap and having numerous girlfriends. Indeed, during his trial in 2008 for helping to transport jihadist fighters from France to Iraq, Cherif’s lawyer described his client as an “occasional Muslim.”

Now, this is not to exonerate religion in any sense. Religion has historically been responsible for a great deal of violence, and religious texts and doctrines often appear to condone death and destruction. However, unlike believers, academics tend to understand religion as a product of social, economic, political and other factors that offer solutions to something.

So what does religion offer a solution to, in the case of Europe’s jihadists?

Cherif Kouachi’s lawyer described his client in 2005 as “a confused chameleon.” This is an apt description of the identity crisis commonly experienced by many jihadists, and can be explained through a process I call dual cultural alterity—essentially a double alienation from both minority (ethnic or parental) culture, and majority (mainstream or host society) culture, as a result of being unable or unwilling to fulfill either group’s normative expectations. This can lead to the cultural schizophrenia that Cherif’s lawyer describes, and is likely to inspire feelings of uprootedness and a lack of belonging.

That article is written by Akil N. Awan | (The National Interest).

I suggest you go and read the entire thing so you fully understand what is being said. I don’t know…maybe someone can explain it to me?

6cd201c1766255856453e0a562027293Whatever, you explain this shit to me, why they are using children:

Mom to ISIS: ‘Leave our children alone’ | MSNBC

Rachel Maddow reports on the use of children by Muslim extremist groups ISIS and Boko Haram and the upset they’re causing the Muslim community with their aggressive recruitment of young people to join their campaign of terror.

Shocking IS Video Appears To Show Child Militant Killing ‘Russian FSB Spies’

A shocking new video by the Islamic State (IS) group that emerged on social media on January 13 appears to show a child militant shooting dead two men identified as “Russian agents.”

The child militant appears to be an ethnic Kazakh and is very possibly the same child who appeared in a recent Islamic State video featuring Kazakh child fighters undergoing training.

But they are not the only terrorist here using young people: Mexican mayor faces charges in kidnapping of 43 students | Reuters

The former mayor of the southwestern city of Iguala has been charged with last year’s kidnapping of 43 students who are feared to have been killed, a top security official said on Tuesday.

Tomas Zeron, director of criminal investigations at the federal Attorney General’s office, said that prosecutors had obtained an arrest warrant for former mayor Jose Luis Abarca and 44 others on charges of kidnapping the 43 students.

President Enrique Pena Nieto is facing his deepest crisis over the government’s handling of the investigation. Anger over the case spurred sometimes violent demonstrations around the country late last year.

afb91c32ca2fa7a3563093319d880567Zeron did not specify when the warrant was obtained, but it appeared to be the first charges filed against Abarca that are directly related to the students’ disappearance even though authorities have said the mayor and his wife were the masterminds of the kidnappings since October.

Just a few more…

I love this, Fox News is getting the works over at the Guardian: News from Fox, and the no-go zone of the brain | Tim Dowling | Comment is free | The Guardian

Birmingham is ‘totally Muslim’ city, claims Fox News pundit | Media | The Guardian

Fox News man is ‘idiot’ for Birmingham Muslim comments – David Cameron | Media | The Guardian

How did Fox News’ Birmingham blunder make it to air? Because everything does | Joe Muto | Comment is free | The Guardian

More at this link: Fox News | Media | The Guardian

b0f05696db5c9712db8f5b94eb0385a6And finally, this last comment from a Mayor of Rotterdam, sounds like a movie title doesn’t it?

Rotterdam’s Muslim mayor to violent radical Islamists in West: ‘Pack your bags and f*ck off’

The Moroccan-born mayor of the Dutch port city of Rotterdam said in a television appearance on Tuesday that Muslims like himself who choose to live in the West should adopt a more tolerant worldview or “pack your bags and fuck off.”

The Daily Mail reported that Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb was appearing live on Dutch TV when he made the remarks.

Aboutaleb moved with his family to the Netherlands when he was a teen. During the television program Nieuwsuur (News Hour), he spoke to Islamists living in the West, saying, “It is incomprehensible that you can turn against freedom.”

“But if you don’t like freedom,” he continued, “for heaven’s sake pack your bags and leave.”

“If you do not like it here because some humorists you don’t like are making a newspaper, may I then say you can f*ck off,” Aboutaleb said.

What to see the video…

Don’t know why but you gotta love a mayor who tells potential terrorist to fuck off on live TV.

And on that note…What are you all up to this Wednesday fucking morning?