My laptop is giving me awful warnings, something about a hard disk drive failure…run backup immediately…the shit is about to hit the fan. You know, the kind of thing you don’t really ever want to see pop up on your computer screen. So, since the laptop may crash while I am writing this post, I will keep this thread short and sweet.
The big news overnight was the shooting of two police officers in Brooklyn, NY:
Two police officers sitting in their patrol car in Brooklyn were shot at point-blank range and killed on Saturday afternoon by a man who, officials said, had traveled to the city from Baltimore vowing to kill officers. The suspect then committed suicide with the same gun, the authorities said.
The officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were in the car near Myrtle and Tompkins Avenues in Bedford-Stuyvesant in the shadow of a tall housing project when the gunman, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, walked up to the passenger-side window and assumed a firing stance, Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said. Mr. Brinsley shot several rounds into the heads and upper bodies of the officers, who never drew their weapons, the authorities said.
Mr. Brinsley, who had a long rap sheet of crimes that included robbery and carrying a concealed gun, is believed to have shot his former girlfriend near Baltimore before traveling to Brooklyn, the authorities said. He made statements on social media suggesting that he planned to kill police officers and was angered about the Eric Garner and Michael Brown cases.
New York City and the USA as a whole are mourning the deaths of police officers Wenjian Liu and Raphael Ramos, shot dead Saturday in their patrol car a Brooklyn neighborhood.
Liu was a two-year veteran of the force with a new wife. Ramos had just marked his 40th birthday with his wife and their teenage son earlier this month.
“They were, quite simply, assassinated, targeted for their uniform and the responsibility they embraced,” an obviously shaken New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said at an evening press conference. “Both were ambushed and murdered.”
After the murder of two NYPD officers on Saturday, the outspoken head of the city’s primary police union blamed protesters and Mayor Bill de Blasio for the deaths of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
“There’s blood on many hands tonight,” NYC Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association president Pat Lynch said Saturday night, ratcheting up already frigid tensions between City Hall and One Police Plaza.
Lynch blamed those who “incited violence on the street under the guise of protest,” — a reference to the swell of demonstrations in New York City and across the U.S. in the wake of a grand jury decision to not indict a New York police officer for killing an unarmed black man, Eric Garner, earlier this fall.
Lynch then went after Mayor de Blasio: “That blood on the hands starts on the steps of City Hall, in the office of the mayor.” He went on to praise the fallen officers, and said that those responsible for the killing will be held responsible.
Video at link.
They also have a suspect in the killing of all those children in Peshawar: Peshawar attack mastermind is Umar Mansoor, father of 3 – Hindustan Times
The most hated man in Pakistan is a 36-year-old father of three and volleyball enthusiast nicknamed “Slim”.
His real name is Umar Mansoor and the Pakistani Taliban say he masterminded this week’s massacre of 132 children and nine staff at a school in Peshawar – the deadliest militant attack in Pakistan’s history.
A video posted on Thursday on a website used by the Taliban shows a man with a luxuriant chest-length beard, holding an admonishing finger aloft as he seeks to justify the December 16 attack. The caption identified him as Umar Mansoor.
“If our women and children die as martyrs, your children will not escape,” he said. “We will fight against you in such a style that you attack us and we will take revenge on innocents.”
The Taliban say the attack, in which gunmen wearing suicide-bomb vests executed children, was retaliation for a military offensive carried out by the Pakistani army. They accuse the military of carrying out extrajudicial killings.
The accusation is not new. Many courts have heard cases where men disappeared from the custody of security services. Some bodies have been found later, hands bound behind the back and shot in the head, or dismembered and stuffed into sacks.
Some security officials say privately the courts are so corrupt and afraid, it is almost impossible to convict militants.
“You risk your life to catch terrorists and the courts always release them,” said one official. “If you kill them, then they don’t come back.”
The country is so inured to violence that the discovery of such bodies barely rates a paragraph in a local newspaper. Despite this, the school attack shocked a nation where traditionally, women and children are protected, even in war.
Six Pakistani Taliban interviewed by Reuters confirmed the mastermind was Mansoor. Four of them said he is close to Mullah Fazlullah, the embattled leader of the fractious group who ordered assassins to kill schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai.
“He strictly follows the principles of jihad,” one said. “He is strict in principles, but very kind to his juniors. He is popular among the juniors because of his bravery and boldness.”
Mansoor got a high school education in the capital, Islamabad, two Taliban members said, and later studied in a madrassa, a religious school.
“Umar Mansoor had a tough mind from a very young age, he was always in fights with other boys,” said one Taliban member.
More at the link.
As for the Sony mess:
allout from the crippling cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment has called into question exactly what the future holds for one of Hollywood’s biggest names.
A paralyzed computer system has hampered the studio’s ability to make deals, promote upcoming movie releases and conduct business. Some employees at the Culver City film and television studio still were having trouble accessing their email this weekend.
But, beyond the day-to-day running of a studio, there’s a sense in Hollywood that big changes are ahead.
“Major upheaval will occur at Sony,” said Jeffrey Cole, director of the Center for the Digital Future at USC’s Annenberg School. “This will reset the studio’s relationship with Japan.”
Emails released on the Internet by hackers show that Sony Corp. Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai had been concerned for months that “The Interview” could be trouble, given that the comedy depicted the fictional, gruesome assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Hirai ultimately agreed to the film’s release, but analysts say that may not be enough to save the jobs of Sony Pictures’ top two executives, Michael Lynton and Amy Pascal. They canceled the Christmas Day release of “The Interview” in the wake of terror threats on cinemas. Theater chains had worried about the safety of moviegoers and the impact on box office receipts over the crucial holiday season.
That decision, however, drew scorn from many — including President Obama — that the studio capitulated to a hollow threat from the North Korean hackers who federal officials say launched the cyberattack. This only added to the controversy surrounding the film.
“The current situation is likely to be a strain on relations with the Japan headquarters,” said Jochen Legewie, a crisis advisor and a managing director of the global consultancy CNC Japan.
But there is one thing about this hacking story…it’s got everything: Foreign intrigue, star wattage: Sony hacking has all elements of Hollywood thriller – Hindustan Times
The hackers who hit Sony Pictures Entertainment days before Thanksgiving crippled the network, stole gigabytes of data and spilled into public view unreleased films and reams of private and sometimes embarrassing executive emails.One month later, the Obama administration confirmed what many had suspected: The North Korean government was behind the punishing breach. US officials are promising a response, unspecified so far.
It was an extraordinarily public reaction from the highest levels of American government, considering that far more vital domestic interests have taken hits from foreign hackers in recent years – including the military, major banks and makers of nuclear and solar power whose trade secrets were siphoned off in a matter of mouse clicks.
Yet even in a digital era with an endless cycle of cyberattacks, none has drawn the public’s attention like the Sony breach and its convergence of sensational plotlines:
-an isolated dictator half a world away.
-damaging Hollywood gossip from the executive suite.
-threats of terrorism against Christmas Day moviegoers.
-the American president chastising a corporate decision to shelve a satirical film.
-normally reticent law enforcement agencies laying bare their case against the suspected culprits.
“I can’t remember the US talking about a proportional response to Chinese espionage or infiltration of critical infrastructure for that matter, as a policy issue in the same way that we’re talking about this today,” said Jacob Olcott, a cyberpolicy and legal issues expert at Good Harbor Security Risk Management and a former adviser to Congress.
Meanwhile, there was an interesting post at the Daily Mail: Maria Southard Ospina asks magazine editors worldwide to fix her using Photoshop
Plus-sized woman asks 21 magazine editors from around the world to ‘fix’ her using Photoshop. Guess which three countries made her thinner
Colombian-American Maria Southard Ospina told 21 editors to ‘fix’ a woman of her size while upholding the ideals of beauty in their country
Ukraine, Mexico, and Latvia were the only three countries to drastically alter her weight
Iceland refused to Photshop her image at all because they don’t believe in the practice saying, ‘I don’t believe in re-touching a person’s natural beauty’
Give that link a look over.
And can you believe it has been 10 years?
Cars. Fishing boats. Houses. Entire villages. The 2004 tsunami left Banda Aceh with mountains of debris up to 6 kilometers (4 miles) inland.
Driving in the remade communities today, it’s easy to wonder where it all went. Some of it is still there — recycled into road materials, buildings and furniture. Some of it was burned, creating new environmental hazards. And most of it was simply washed out to sea.
Ten years after that gigantic wave engulfed this city of 4 million on the day after Christmas, Banda Aceh has been almost totally restored. The tangled mountains of rubbish are gone, and it’s hard to imagine the destruction that once choked rivers, blocked streets and ripped up trees by the roots.
The endless heaps of twisted metal, splintered wood and broken concrete have all disappeared except for some scattered reminders for tourists and local residents. A drive along the coast highlights a stunning coastline with new houses perched near the beach. Lush mangroves have been planted to help withstand future tsunamis, fishermen are back at sea and farmers are again working their rice paddies.
Still, authorities are concerned about the health and environmental risks posed by debris contaminated by oil, asbestos and medical waste sitting on the seafloor off the coast and in 32 unregulated dump sites around the city.
I still can ‘t believe, ten years. Where have they gone.
Dec. 26, 2004 began much like any other Sunday. Dilla Damayanti was sitting in her parents’ living room having breakfast when the tremors hit: first an insistent shaking, then a pause, then a sudden violent seizure. The family quickly took refuge at a nearby mosque. “It was very quick,” she said. “Suddenly, water was coming, very fast.”
Dilla was just 5 years old when the Indian Ocean tsunami slammed into her small village near the coast of Indonesia’s Aceh province. She and her family survived the waves, but from her refuge on the mosque’s second floor she saw something she would never forget — her young school friend, a girl named Nadia, washed away in the deluge.
“She was shouting, help, help, but there was nothing we could do,” recalled Dilla, now a high school student. “That’s why I cannot forget. I thank God that I survived.”
Ten years ago this month, an earthquake 160 kilometers off the coast of Sumatra island triggered waves which killed an estimated 230,000 people, devastated coastal communities in 11 countries, and added a terrifying new term to local peoples’ vocabulary.
Among the worst-hit regions was Aceh, an Indonesian province on the northern tip of Sumatra. As massive waves — some as high as 30 meters — surged inland, around 130,000 people were killed and more than half a million displaced.
Read those stories and remember some of the pictures and video from the days and weeks after that event. Do you wonder how some of the children who lost everything, parents…siblings…..grandparents, do you ever wonder how they turned out?
That one article from Jakata states that they people got their freedom that day.
Amrullah of Plan International said that at the time the tsunami hit, people affected by the war were already suffering from a variety of mental health problems. While the roadblocks and checkpoints of the civil war years are now gone, he added, “psychologically [they’re] not”.
The people of Aceh “got trauma from the military, then they were hit with the tsunami. We cannot measure the magnitude.”
But for all the problems still facing the region, ten years of reconstruction have dulled the grief, repaired shattered infrastructure and at least given people a fresh start.
Before the tsunami, life in Lamboro Nijid, a village on the outskirts of Banda Aceh, was tough. Due to the war, movement was restricted. Curfews were common. Local people were frequently taken in for questioning about their supposed links to GAM rebels, and sometimes tortured for information.
“When there was conflict the worst affected were the ordinary people,” said Rahmadullah, a resident of the village. Then, one day came the roaring waters to wash it all away.
“After, we could speak freely,” he said of Dec. 26, 2004. “What happened that day? We got freedom.”
I guess my question would be at price?
This is an open thread.
TCM has released their Remembers video for 2014:
Take a look, the pictures go by quickly because there is just so many people who passed away this year.
Now for the cartoons. We’ll just get down to it, because there are a lot of them tonight.
This is an open thread.
I hate that the blog has been in bitchfest mode lately…mainly because it brings the juju down, but dammit…the news is bad and the people are just hateful! For example:
A Chinese couple who got into a furious row with cabin crew on a flight could find themselves separated for quite some time after the incident escalated when hot noodles were thrown into the face of a hostess.
The incident that happened on a Thai AirAsia plane was captured on cellphone footage taken by other passengers that show one of the hostesses touching her face after being scalded when she was hit with a hot dish.
She was reportedly given first aid on board by her colleagues to deal with the burns and was taken to a hospital after the flight turned around and landed back in the Thai capital Bangkok.
The trouble started when the couple boarded the plane and found themselves seated separately on the charter flight from Bangkok to the Chinese city of Nanjing. And even though the seating was rearranged to put the couple together, they were still angry and refused to calm down.
The video clip showing the man shouting at staff members who are trying to restrain him quickly went viral after it was uploaded on Chinese social media network Weibo. A spokesman for the budget airline said that the plane had been forced to turn round so that the angry couple could be arrested.
The spokesman said that the decision to turn around had been made after the man claimed to have a bomb and threatened to blow the plane up.
They got what they wanted, and still were belligerent assholes.
What the hell is wrong with people?
And let me take it a step further. These assholes, horrid waste of breathing flesh and bone…half of these people are the ones who go on abusing, committing the assault or killing the innocent; and you can bet your ass that, the other half are the people who are just outside during the said violence, killing or assaults…taking obnoxious grinning selfies while there…in the background…human beings are losing their lives.
Some kind of low point that may even sum up something about the direction of society. “I wonder what has happened to empathy?” asks one Mail Online commenter. And you do wonder. Because it takes a special kind of narcissist to take a selfie while, not 100 feet away, people are cooped up with a gunman with their life in – how do you call it? – oh yes, danger. Their lives are in danger. Not a popcorn moment. Not a movie. Not something that, even if all goes well and the hostages make it out safe, you ought to find pleasing-as-punch.
A hostage runs towards a police officer outside a cafe, where other hostages are being held in Sydney
Compare the rubbernecker expression – one guy even literally grinning like a Cheshire Cat – with the terror on the face of the café worker who sprints into the arms of a policeman. I guess the rule should be: don’t selfie when there are a bunch of other selfies nearby that will probably be – at the moment you snap – either crying or close to it.
Tourists have always taken selfies of themselves at Sydney’s most iconic landmarks, but on a day that has horrified the city many people are taking macabre snapshots for old times’ sake as well.
All day people were uploading selfies of themselves on Twitter from as close as possible to where the hostage siege was taking place.
Just to make the photos more authentic some even took them with television cameras in the background. Two onlookers even looked like they were taking a ‘celebration selfie’ than one at a hostage siege. Others smiled happily as if they were standing in front of Sydney Opera House instead of a chilling hostage crisis that could yet end in tragedy.
I really don’t think this generation should be called the Millennial Generation, it should be called the Selfie Generation because that is the perfect description of what they are, selfish.
A few weeks ago I had a bad day. This is not unusual; in fact, it would be worth pointing out if I had a good one, which I believe happened last during the Clinton administration. The day in question was specifically a bad day in the classroom, something that in all honesty does not happen terribly often. Having taught at the college level for the better part of a decade, my expectations are so low that it’s nearly impossible to end up disappointed. I have come to accept the fact that the students have no interest in the subject matter and no desire to interact with me or their classmates in any meaningful way. I expect that they will sit there and look bored for an hour-plus, and that’s usually exactly what I get. Expectations met.
On this particular day, my morning class was presented with a very basic exercise I do with material on public opinion. I put up three pictures: Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, QB/Pizza Salesperson Peyton Manning, and chart-topping knucklehead Lil’ Jon, whose megahit “Turn Down for What” has been inescapable for the past six months. I change the celebrities every year or two to ensure that it’s someone relevant – I used Simon Cowell when “American Idol” first became a big hit, and so on. The way this has always worked is that the students of course identify the athlete and celebrity but have no idea who the elected official is. I also ask them some other celebrity-related questions, like who is married to Kanye West and what the couple named their recent child. The point I make is that Americans are indeed capable of retaining information; we know gobs of facts about sports, celebrities, and so on. We know almost nothing about politics because we do not pay much attention to it and we don’t find it interesting. There is no good reason we can’t know who are representatives are the same way we know the starting lineup of our favorite teams or the cast members of Real Housewives of Shreveport. We know the latter because it interests us and ignore the former because it doesn’t.
I am going to quote the rest of the post because it is so good and so damn true:
Lately, say for the past few semesters, I’ve noticed something strange: the students don’t seem to know any of the celebrity BS anymore either. Back in the mid 2000s, I would ask who is married to Tom Cruise (everyone immediately knew) and what they named their child (in unision, “Suri!”). Now, even though I update the “material” to be contemporary, they don’t really know. They still don’t know who the political figures are, of course, and now they don’t know the trashy celebrity gossip either.
After having this experience in the morning, I went next to an Honors class in which I had reserved the day for discussion. They had assigned readings and some basic questions they were required to answer so that they might have something to talk about in class (as opposed to showing up having read nothing and having never thought about the issue). I don’t even recall the topic, but after about 15 minutes of trying to get blood from a turnip I got exasperated. “OK,” I said, “it is painfully clear that you are not interested in the slightest in this topic. So please tell me, what would you like to talk about? We can talk about anything. Just tell me what interests you. I am serious, I really want to know.”
I won’t recount the entire unfruitful discussion that follows, but I asked dozens of questions that require no knowledge whatsoever to answer. What do you like? What do you do in your free time? Do you watch (sports, movies, TV series, video games, etc)? When you sneak your phones out in class, what are you doing on them? After about an hour I came to the conclusion, based on what this group of about 18 college freshmen and sophomores told me, that their interests are 1) Tumblr, 2) Netflix, and 3) texting each other. As to what they look at on Tumblr, the answer appeared to be random nonsense – memes, cat pictures, collections of pictures of Bad _____, and the like, so it’s not even like they’re using Tumblr to become acquainted with any topic, even a frivolous one. As for what they text each other about given their apparent lack of definable interests, the answer was that they talk about themselves and one another.
Every generation complains about the ones that follow, and I don’t believe that these kids are any dumber than college kids were 20 or 50 years ago. I simply do not understand, however, their complete lack of interest in anything. I get that they are not interested in news and politics; hell, I rely on that fact to make some important points while teaching them about those topics. I am absolutely baffled, though, at the idea that they are not even interested in any of the kinds of fluff that Americans use as alternatives to learning substantive things about the world – sports, Hollywood celebrity crap, pop music, etc. It is alarming to me that in a moment of frustration and total honesty I asked them – begged them – to tell me what does interest them given that my chosen topics so clearly do not and that the answer seems to be…themselves.
I’m trying not to sound like an old, out-of-it man, but this is baffling to me. And I’d be lying if I claimed not to wonder about the future prospects of a cohort of people who may have no interests of any kind outside of their own lives.
He is right, and I think that those selfie pictures during the hostage situation pretty much illustrate that point…to the extreme perhaps but y’all get the point I am trying to make here.
Anyway, I was happy to find out what interest my daughter’s boyfriend, he is into Mongolian history. Which is fine with me, I am glad. However he doesn’t know what the “Battle of the Bulge” is…yeah, fancy that. I mentioned at dinner last night that Dec. 16th was the anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of the Bulge. I asked if he knew what that was…and his reply was, something with the civil war? Ugh.
But hey, he should have learned that in history last year. Do they not teach that anymore?
From mid-December 1944 through the end of January 1945, in the heavily forested Ardennes Mountains of Belgium, thousands of American, British, Canadian, Belgian and French forces struggled to turn back the final major German offensive of World War II. While Allied forces ultimately triumphed, it was an absolutely vicious six weeks of fighting, with tens of thousands dead on both sides. Today, the conflict is known as the Battle of the Bulge.
Here, 70 years after the start of the Ardennes Counteroffensive (as the battle is sometimes known), LIFE.com presents a series of photographs made by LIFE photographers throughout the fighting. Many of these pictures never ran in LIFE magazine.
For its final offensive to succeed, Germany needed four factors to work in its favor: catching the Allies off-guard; poor weather that would neutralize air support for Allied troops; the dealing of early, devastating, demoralizing blows against the Allies; and capturing Allied fuel supplies intact. (Indeed, Germany originally intended to attack on November 27, but had to delay its initial assault due to fuel shortages). On December 16, 1944, the German attack began: the Wehrmacht (the Third Reich’s unified armed forces) struck with 250,000 soldiers along an 85-mile stretch of Allied front, stretching from southern Belgium to Luxembourg.
The attack proved stunningly effective, at first, as troops advanced some 50 miles into Allied territory, creating the “bulge” in the American lines that gave the battle its memorable name.
American forces had been feeling triumphant — Paris had just been liberated in August — and there was a sense among some American and other Allied leaders that Germany was all but defeated. The attack in December 1944, officially labeled the “Ardennes-Alsace Campaign” by the U.S. Army, showed that any complacency the Allies might have embraced regarding the Wehrmacht was dangerously misplaced.
(At right: A Belgian woman surveys damage to her home caused by heavy fighting during the Battle of the Bulge.)
Nevertheless, as effective as the initial German efforts were, they failed to achieve the complete and early knockout of Allied forces that German military brass had hoped for, and counted on. (Wehrmacht Field Marshal Walter Model had given the attack only a 10 percent chance of success to begin with. The German name for the operation: Wacht am Rhein, or “Watch on the Rhine.”)
One of the most difficult aspects of the Bulge was the weather, as extreme — indeed, historic — cold wreaked havoc and turned relatively simple logistics of travel, shelter, and meals into a daily struggle. January 1945 was the coldest January on record for that part of Europe, and over the course of the battle more than 15,000 Allied troops alone were treated for frostbite and other cold-related injuries.
Many more pictures here: Pinterest- BATTLE OF THE BULGE
The rest of the links in dump format:
I don’t know if I would call it “heartwarming.”
Hurray for Benj!
I will end with Doug the Pug, cause all he wants for Christmas…is Food!
Hey, Dakinikat and Boston Boomer went local the last couple of days, so I am going to take this opportunity to do the same. Only this is not going to be a whole post on the crazy ass happenings of Banjoville. It will only be a few links about a story making world headlines from my hometown of Tampa, Florida. In fact…it is specifically about the parents of my childhood arch nemesis…a girl named “Jonele”…who I once told way back in fourth grade, at Tampa Bay Elementary School, in Mrs. de la Parte’s class…that she had a face like a baboon’s ass. (When you see the picture of her mother…whom she favored especially through the eyes and nose…you will see the resemblance is striking.)
Anyway, I remember when Jonele’s parents completely remodeled their house. It was redecorated in South American style…it looked like a big expensive Mexican style veranda, with the open area and orange-red tile floors. Something the mother had seen while on vacation…I remember it so well…her mother talking about it during Jonele’s birthday party, as she was showing people the little Mayan-like statues she got from her trip.
There is a reason for all this buildup.
I don’t know why Jonele was the bitch she was…or why she seem to pick on me. But she did, and I couldn’t stand it.
I had only spent 2nd and 3rd grade dealing with her shit on a daily basis, that face she would give me…the look. Damn. How she would make me cry. Sometimes I wouldn’t go to school, I would fake being sick, until I got the balls to finally tell her off that day…in the hallway, just outside the door as we were walking into Mrs. de la Parte’s fourth grade class. It was magnificent. And other kids heard me too…from that point on I stood up for myself, and I stood up for other people too…no matter what.
I guess Baboon Face gave me the ability to voice my convictions. I had always been loud and demanding as a kid, but when it came to bullies…that was another matter. Thankfully Jonele empowered me that day…we never became friends. In fact my senior yearbook still has the word bitch written across her face…but the point is that she did have some positive impact on my life, and for that I say…thank you…you bullying baboon faced shitass bitch.
And now the news story…by the way…it also hits a bitter note because of the BoA business too.
JAMES BORCHUCK | Times
Joyce and Nelson Coniglio sit with attorney David Mitchell, left, after they won a $1 million judgment against Bank of America.
For four years, Joyce and Nelson Coniglio were haunted by these words:
The calls started in 2009 when B of A took over the mortgage the Coniglios used to buy a second home in their Tampa Heights neighborhood. They quickly fell behind.
On their second home no less…
The bank called, the family said, while they tried to get the loan modified. B of A called even after the cease-and-desist letters. There were hundreds of robocalls, sometimes five a day.
In July, the Coniglios sued in federal court to stop the harassment. Three months later, they won — by default judgment. B of A missed the deadline to oppose the lawsuit.
Now the bank owes the Coniglios more than $1 million.
“Unlike Bank of America,” he said, “we’re only going to call them once.”
You know, why do some people always seem to “luck” out?
The Coniglios are both 69 and have been married for 45 years.
Joyce Coniglio spent 44 years teaching at Tampa Bay Boulevard Elementary School. Nelson Coniglio was a trucker. In 1999 he pleaded guilty to federal charges for piloting drugs and money for a Tampa ring operating in Colombia.
The couple live in Tampa Heights, on a block surrounded by relatives. In 2006, the Conigilios bought a second home in the neighborhood for $180,000, according to records.
They didn’t have a plan for the house. Maybe another relative could use it. Maybe they would downsize. All the Coniglios knew was, they could afford it.
Then the recession hit, and so did B of A .
I don’t know, seems like they are well connected to me…
You can read the rest of the story at the link. But the thing that gets me is Nelson plead guilty for trafficking drugs and money, and here he is…winner of a million dollar lawsuit from Bank of America. There is a quote from Nelson in the article that reads:
When the bank took over the mortgage, the family said it imposed a more expensive homeowner’s insurance policy on them, doubling their payments to $2,800 a month.
“Everything changed,” Nelson Coniglio said. “Our incomes go down, our bills go up. It’s the American way.”
Uh, well…you fly in drugs and money for the mob, you get charged with a federal crime, and then you wind up winning a million dollars. (If you are white.) Then yes…it is the American Way.
Yes, I am a bitter bitch about this story and these people who got to stick it to BoA. Of all the poor people who have been through the same thing as the Coniglios, and that includes me and my family, why couldn’t the big win go to a more deserving set of BoA customers.
On with the rest of today’s links, starting with the connection to the images you will see (Not baboons):
Bangladesh is often associated with cheap clothes produced for the mass market, but the delicate and much more expensive jamdani fabric is also made here. The people who weave the material are highly sought-after employees.
On the banks of the River Lakshya – just outside Dhaka, Bangladesh’s capital – the sun is heating the tiny corrugated iron factory I am standing in to oven-like temperatures.
Inside, under a string of bare light bulbs, six master weavers sit in pairs, barely breaking a sweat at their bamboo looms.
The men are shirtless. The women wear neon-coloured salwar kameez – a traditional South Asian garment. All of them rest their arms on cheap white cotton, protecting the delicate muslin they are working on.
This dirt-floor workshop might not hint at luxury, but the special jamdani fabric made here is highly coveted and incredibly expensive.
The factory owner, Anwar Hossain, walks me past the looms. Whiplash thin and just over 5ft (1.5m) tall, he doesn’t disturb the workers as he pauses to let me admire the work of one young woman who sits below us.
Her hands, spinning like furious atoms, interlace silky gold thread into a sheer muslin cloth the colour of oxblood.
“Jamdani is expensive since it requires dedicated work and special skills,” Hossain says, flicking a bejewelled hand over the peacock feather motif that the young woman works on. “My weavers don’t use patterns, they create only from memory.”
Back to the real world: Senate passes five-day budget extension, averting shutdown | Al Jazeera America
The Senate passed a five-day extension of federal funding on Saturday, staving off a government shutdown and buying lawmakers more time to resolve the fight over a $1.1 trillion spending bill led by Tea Party firebrand Ted Cruz.
It was the second time in a little over a year that Cruz, a Texas Republican freshman with presidential aspirations, has attempted to stop a key Obama administration initiative by denying government funds. In this case, Cruz was targeting Obama’s executive order that offered millions of undocumented immigrants relief from the threat of deportation.
Cruz was a central figure in a 16-day government shutdown in October 2013, when he persuaded Republicans to try to withhold funds from Obamacare, President Barack Obama’s landmark health care reform law.
In the end, Cruz got none of what he wanted and Republicans were left with little but voter anger.
What an ass, and a hypocrite. His father is a immigrant from Cuba via Canada, right?
Cruz and senators Mike Lee of Utah and Jeff Sessions of Alabama were demanding permission to offer an amendment that would deny the DHS any funds for carrying out Obama’s November immigration order. Critics of the order have called it an amnesty for lawbreakers.
Senators from both parties complained on Saturday that Cruz’s strategy was counterproductive and aimed at grabbing attention.
“This reminds me very much of the shutdown last year, where the strategy made absolutely no sense and was counterproductive,” Republican Senator Susan Collins said.
As reporters tried to interview Cruz as he entered the Senate chamber in the Capitol, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill shouted: “Quit giving him so much attention, that’s exactly what’s causing the problem!”
That is the first piece of sense I have heard from the Hill in ages.
In #BlackLivesMatter news:
The mothers of four slain black men and boys, three of whom were killed by police sat down with CNN’s Anderson Cooper for a heart-wrenching interview where they made one thing absolutely clear: their sons would be alive if they were white.
Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, Lesley McSpadden, mother of Mike Brown, Tamir Rice‘s mother Samaria Rice, and Eric Garner‘s mother Gwen Carr came together and spoke about their losses as well as the role of race.
All of these women have suffered immense pain, and it’s maddening that they have to justify their pain and the injustice they feel as mothers of unarmed black victims. When Cooper asked if they thought things would have turned out differently if their sons were white, he framed it as a “hard question to ask.” But for these four mothers, it was the easiest one to answer.
Amid national protests decrying police brutality, three effigies of black people were discovered hanging by a noose on the Berkeley campus at the University of California.
Police and students took the cardboard cutouts depicting lynching victims down Saturday afternoon from two locations on campus as demonstrations broke out to the theme of “#blacklivesmatter.”
“We’re uncertain of the intention of this. It could be related to the protests, but it could be racially motivated,” Claire Holmes told the Daily News. “We’d like to get to the bottom of it.”
The disturbing figures hanging from iconic landmarks on the Berkeley campus were reported to police just after 9 a.m., but a third effigy found through social media disappeared before police got to it.
The campus is investigating it as a hate crime.
And yet, just earlier in the week over at Berkley: CA Police Chief Joins ‘Black Lives Matter’ Protest, Scolded by Police Union | Mediaite
Richmond, California police chief made quite the statement this week by standing with protesters and holding a “Black Lives Matter” sign:
And you’ll notice, Chief Chris Magnus is very noticeably wearing his police uniform.
That in particular was the issue taken by the Richmond Police Officers Association, which released a statement criticizing Magnus by citing the state government code’s explicit ban on police officers participating in political activity while in uniform.
One union attorney said they’re “disappointed the chief felt free to flaunt those laws by wearing his uniform during the protest.”
Thousands of protesters hit the streets in New York City on Saturday to protest police violence after the grand jury decisions in Ferguson and Staten Island in what came to be known as the #MillionMarchNYC demonstration. Among them were several members of the cast of Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black.
Vicky Jeudy, who plays Janae Watson, posted this dramatic photo of the group holding “I Can’t Breathe” signs and doing the “Hands up, Don’t Shoot” gesture.
In Washington DC: ‘A Movement, Not Just a Moment:’ Thousands March in D.C. Protesting Police Violence – The Root -Read some interviews with people walking in the protest.
“In refusing to prosecute, Obama and Holder demonstrate their own profound disregard for the collective rights of Black Americans as a people.”
Black Americans know all about “law and order”: the term, itself, is code for the state-wielded hammer that is relentlessly deployed against us. No people on earth are more conditioned to concentrated bludgeoning under “color of law” than African Americans, who account for one out of out eight of the world’s prison inmates. Black males are 21 times more likely than their white peers to be killed by U.S. lawmen, and make up a clear majority of young police shooting victims under the most draconian law and order regime on the planet. Of all the world’s peoples, none have been so unremittingly inculcated with the lessons of crime and punishment – especially punishment, whether merited or not.
For a people so acculturated, justice demands retribution – even for Pharaoh and his army. Thus, the simple and near-universal Black American demand that President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder prosecute killer cops.
But, this they will not do.
The Obama administration has no intention of pursuing prosecution of Darren Wilson, or Trayvon Martin’s vigilante killer George Zimmerman, or the whole crew of New York City homicidal and/or depravedly indifferent first-responders in the Eric Garner case. Obama and Holder have nothing worthwhile to say to the nine grieving Black mothersnow visiting Washington demanding justice for their murdered loved ones, other than empty assurances that they feel the families’ pain.
The U.S. Justice Department, which marshals unlimited resources to pursue long and sometimes fruitless prosecutions of whistleblowers and other “national security” targets, claims it is helpless to confront police impunity in the murder of Black Americans. The law, Holder and his apologists claim, requires that federal criminal prosecutions under the civil rights statute must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the officers “acted willfully” for the specific purpose of violating the victim’s 4th Amendment constitutional right to life. Making that case, they say, is near-impossible, requiring that prosecutors “get inside the officer’s head” to divine his intentions at the moment the trigger was pulled. Therefore, despite Holder and Obama’s public statements of concern, no good faith attempt is made to mount prosecutions.
“Police immunity from prosecution begins with the prosecutors.”
You go and read the whole thing.
Especially when you consider: Addicting Info – White Protestors Threaten to Lynch President – No Cops, Arrests Or Tear Gas (VIDEO)
I thought this was an interesting article, it looks at words and their usage: How We Lost Our “Freedom” » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names
In the wave of protests sparked by Grand Jury acquittals of the policemen who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner, the word “freedom” is seldom heard.
It was different in the Civil Rights era. Then “freedom” was the watchword of the entire movement.
Meanwhile, in his campaign to retain his Senate seat in Kentucky – and ultimately to become Majority Leader of the Senate – Mitch McConnell’s handlers put out a bumper sticker that read: “Coal. Guns. Freedom. Team Mitch.”
Michael Tomasky, who wrote about this in the New York Review of Books, also pointed out that Team Mitch campaigned tooth and nail against the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare. The local version,“Kynect,” the state exchange established under the Affordable Care Act, has been unusually successful in signing up uninsured Kentuckians, and is widely popular.
Early in the campaign, it looked like McConnell would have a hard time defeating his Democratic rival, Alison Grimes. Grimes was careful to keep Obama at a distance, and she had nothing good to say about Obamacare. But she wasn’t careful enough; McConnell won handily.
In view of Kynect’s popularity, how could Team Mitch have gotten so much mileage out of running against it? The explanation speaks volumes about the Republican base. According to Tomasky, in an NBC News-Marist College poll conducted last spring, only 22% of white Kentuckians said that they opposed Kynect, while 60% said they opposed Obamacare. Shades of the Tea Party demand that the government keep its hands off Medicare!
In making Obamacare repeal their main war cry, was Team Mitch cynically exploiting the ignorance and befuddlement of Republican voters? “You betcha,” as Sarah Palin would say.
On that bumper sticker, where space was a priority, “freedom” functioned, at least in part, as a code word useful for conjuring up that ignorance and befuddlement. The thought, if it can be called that, is that because the Affordable Care Act exacts fines on people who do not purchase health insurance, it makes them less free. In other words, Obamacare commodifies health care, but it doesn’t commodify it quite enough.
So understood (or misunderstood), “freedom” fits nicely with “coal” and “guns,” when they too are used as code words — for the economic and cultural anxieties of the people whose votes McConnell sought.
Bravo for Team Mitch. They came up with a brilliant slogan; brilliantly slick. American political discourse has become so degraded in recent years that “freedom” is now fits in nicely with “coal” (or “drill, baby drill” in oil states) and “guns.” Team Mitch was on top of this development, and took full advantage of it.
It wasn’t always so; “freedom” used to belong to us. It was the watchword of the Civil Rights movement and of the black power (or black liberation) movement that followed. On the left, “freedom” – or “liberty,” the words are synonymous – was prominently and rightly paired alongside equality and fraternity (solidarity, community).
So much more to read at the link.
Another long read, that looks at film, silent film: moviemorlocks.com – Slapstick While Black
Apologies: this week’s post is about racially insensitive jokes in silent comedy (Yes, Ben Martin, this one’s for you), and so I’ve got some unpleasant screen grabs, illustrating some gags most of us probably wish hadn’t been filmed, and then to make matters worse I’m going to speak clumsily and awkwardly about these things while analyzing jokes. None of which is really all that great an idea.
As recent history has tragically shown, we’ve got a lot of work do to repair race relations in America. But that’s not to say it’s on no one’s short list of priorities to pick at the scabs of ninety-year-old silent comedies.
Why am I doing this, then? Well, despite these festering wounds I love silent comedy, and I fear it’s slipping into cultural irrelevancy. The only way to keep these films and these comedians even marginally, passingly, culturally relevant is to keep bringing new audiences to them—and these racist gags are a significant barrier to that.
Check it out.
But y’all know those red “skinned” people are getting screwed too: Congress Screws Native Americans With Fine Print – Truthdig
Somehow U.S. lawmakers have used a defense spending bill to sell Native American burial ground to mining giant Rio Tinto. Yay, capitalism!
But seriously, here’s what happened: The Senate on Fridaypassed a defense spending bill. Like a Christmas tree dressed with ornaments, lawmakers attached a host of riders and provisions to the bill, including number of land swaps. One such swap sees the transfer of Arizona forest land considered sacred by multiple native tribes, the Apache in particular, to Rio Tinto. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because the mining concern is very unpopular with environmentalists, labor organizers, human rights activists and the government of Norway.
I am just glad that this is not Kim Kardashian: Time Magazine Names Ebola Fighters as 2014 ‘Person of the Year’
That is all on the news links, here’s the rest of the information on the Jamdani weaving:
From the UNESCO Culture Sector – Intangible Heritage – 2003 Convention : Traditional art of Jamdani weaving
Jamdani is a vividly patterned, sheer cotton fabric, traditionally woven on a handloom by craftspeople and apprentices around Dhaka. Jamdani textiles combine intricacy of design with muted or vibrant colours, and the finished garments are highly breathable. Jamdani is a time-consuming and labour-intensive form of weaving because of the richness of its motifs, which are created directly on the loom using the discontinuous weft technique. Weaving is thriving today due to the fabric’s popularity for making saris, the principal dress of Bengali women at home and abroad. The Jamdani sari is a symbol of identity, dignity and self-recognition and provides wearers with a sense of cultural identity and social cohesion. The weavers develop an occupational identity and take great pride in their heritage; they enjoy social recognition and are highly respected for their skills. A few master weavers are recognized as bearers of the traditional Jamdani motifs and weaving techniques, and transmit the knowledge and skills to disciples. However, Jamdani weaving is principally transmitted by parents to children in home workshops. Weavers – together with spinners, dyers, loom-dressers and practitioners of a number of other supporting crafts – form a closely knit community with a strong sense of unity, identity and continuity.
You can see a slideshow here.
Or watch a video:
From Frontline: The glory of jamdani
KALNA, a subdivision in West Bengal’s Bardhaman district, is known for its temples and hand-woven saris, particularly the jamdani weave. However, over the years, the delicate art of making jamdani with homespun yarn has practically disappeared, with mill-made yarn replacing khadi. Handloom purists can easily discern the difference between a traditional handwoven fabric and a mill-made one by the texture of the fabric. Much as anyone would want to possess the whole six yards of khadi jamdani, producing an authentic jamdani with traditional motifs is time consuming.
The Crafts Council of West Bengal, a non-profit organisation affiliated to the Crafts Council of India, has stepped in to encourage this skill. Ruby Palchoudhuri, honorary general secretary and executive director of the council, has taken up the challenge of reviving the traditional form of jamdani weaving. Designs and motifs from old saris (some even three generations old) are replicated with some variations. One of the main factors behind the decline of this traditional art of making jamdani is the time required to weave it. Though weaving is usually done by men, practically everything else, from spinning the yarn to spooling, is carried out by women.
The softness of the cotton fabric and the exquisite designs lend an enchanting quality to the saris. This magic in weave is the result of tireless work which brings meagre financial returns. Unknown and unrecognised, a small group of weavers continue with this line of work, primarily because it is the only thing they have been taught to do.
This is something that is taught and passed down from generation to generation.
Hemanta Nandi and his family have been weavers for three generations. For a combined effort of 14 hours a day, he and his wife earn a measly Rs.5,000 a month. “We would be better off working in the paddy fields, where we would be earning Rs.140 for four hours of work. But we are not able to do that kind of work because this is all we have learnt to do. We somehow eke out a living because we live in the village and not in a town,” he toldFrontline.
The process of making khadi jamdani is broadly divided into two parts—the making of the yarn and the weaving at the loom. The crucial pre-loom stage is usually handled entirely by women, from the spinning of the yarn to the point when it is placed on the warping drum before it goes to the loom. According to master weaver Jyotish Debnath, in whose Kalna factory the jamdani revival project is struggling to take off, the process of producing the yarn involves very delicate work, which only a woman’s hands can accomplish.
There are three other full pages at the link. Along with lots of pictures too.
From a another person’s perspective: woven air | Bangladesh textile residency
We discovered the weaving! And not just any weaving, yesterday morning we went to visit the village Vargaon Dargabari, a region near Dhaka where they produce Jamdani fabrics, the most beautiful woven textiles found in Bangladesh.
The technique resembles a tapestry technique where individual threads are woven as supplementary wefts to form geometric and floral motifs. The ground is very fine unbleached cotton, set in open density to form a gauze textile background. Jamdani fabrics are woven on a pit loom by 2 weavers working together. It is a very laborious process and a sari length (6 yards of woven fabric) can take more than 2 months to complete. See the videos below to appreciate the speed at which the weavers are working and how slowly the fabric grows!
I love this part, what the needle is made out of…
We were greeted by Abdul Jabbar Khan, one of the head weavers of the village and we visited a number of weaving set ups. Soon we had a following of inquisitive villagers and children! I explained I am a weaver too and I was invited to sit at the loom and try my hand at this technique. MrKhan very patiently showed me how to loop the thread over the kandu, a bone tool used for the extra thread weaving(we were told it is elephant tooth?!) and soon I knew just how time consuming the weaving process is. The most beautiful jamdani cloths we saw were dyed with natural pigments (see the last pictures in the series below).
Go to that link to see all the images. They are amazing.
Finally, the technique and stylistic designs used in jamdani weaving: Sari-Tangil & Jamdani | Parul Bhatnagar – Academia.edu
The Jamdani is a type of woven figured muslin sari, and in this type of weave special skill of the craftsman can be seen, by using a bamboo splinter like a needle, he can combine weaving, embroidery and ornamentation, the motifs of flowers and buds being sewn down as the pattern is formed between the meeting places of the warp and the weft. The Jamdanis are therefore like fragile tapestry and were usually woven in soft shade of fine grey cotton, decorated either in bluish grey design or sometimes with creamy white with gold or silver threads producing fine sari’s with full embellishment on the entire material and its border and pallav (top end) patterns comprising flowers set all over in sprays butidar, or run diagonally tircha, or formed a sort of crisscross Jal or lay scattered at even distance on the surface toradar.
Jamdani or “figured muslin”, traditionally woven in Dacca, (now Dhaka inBangladesh), West Bengal and Tanda in Faizabad, Uttar Pradesh, refers to cotton fabric brocaded with cotton and sometimes with zari threads.
I think you all will find those reads fascinating. Have a wonderful day, and enjoy yourselves.
Friday Nite Lite: #CalhounYellowJackets Win Georgia High School Football State Championship; Let’s Not Forget The #RapeCulture That Is Associated With This TeamPosted: December 12, 2014
Just a reminder not to forget the victim in that rape from spring of this year.
And your cartoons for tonight…
This is an open thread.
I really don’t have anything to add to the picture on the left. That is pretty much how things seem to be going lately. Each day another bomb drops, and many of us sit here wondering will it stop? Will there be a moment when some decent shred of humanity will shine through the toxic stew of torture, police brutality, racism, sexism and all the rest of it…
Here are your links for this morning, many reactions to the CIA torture reports will come as no surprise.
I guess John McCain is the one GOP dude who we would expect had some words to say on the matter: McCain on Torture: A Stain on our National Honor, Produces Misleading Info | Informed Comment
“As the Senate Intelligence Committee’s CIA torture report roiled Capitol Hill Tuesday, Sen. John McCain framed the argument as one of moral clarity, all the while bumping up against his party leaders.
“I rise in support of the release, the long-delayed release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s summarized, unclassified review of the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques that were employed by the previous administration to extract information from captured terrorists,” the Arizona Republican said on the Senate floor. “I believe the American people have a right, indeed responsibility, to know what was done in their name, how these practices did or did not serve our interests, and how they comported with our most important values.”
McCain, who spent five-and-a-half years in a North Vietnamese prison during the Vietnam War and endured unspeakable torture, is virtually unassailable on the issue. His comments put him back in the maverick role, at least in relation to the chamber’s internal politics, that has long defined his congressional career.”
In another link from Juan Cole’s blog: Psychologists, who Took mn. to Advise, Practice Torture, betrayed the Profession | Informed Comment
During the War on Terror, the CIA’s operations subjected hundreds of suspected terrorists to harsh interrogation techniques, which were often criticised as constituting torture. Now, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the operation has made it clearer than ever that the CIA used many forms of “enhanced interrogation” to elicit information – very harsh methods indeed that simply did not yield the intended results.
As a leaked State Department memo put it, the report “tells a story of which no American is proud”.
This is a matter of outrage for everyone, but as psychologists, we have a particular obligation to speak out. Many of the approaches the CIA used were developed by our discipline, and by individuals who will have known about the codes of conduct by which US psychologists are bound – which include beneficence and non-maleficence, and respect for rights, dignity and integrity.
It is profoundly disturbing to see that the CIA’s techniques included deprivation of basic needs (warmth, food, water), humiliation, threats and the repeated use of waterboarding.
Ironically, many of the methods adopted were based on psychologists’ previous work directed at training members of the military, intended to assist them in avoiding talking to interrogators should they be captured and tortured. This work was apparently reverse-engineered for use on terrorist suspects.
Fox News…well, you know:
After reading reports about how the CIA inadvertently killed someone during an interrogation and subjected others to repeated waterboardings, “rectal feedings,” and threats to rape and kill their family members, did you get the feeling that sometimes the United States is less than awesome? That’s exactly what the Obama administration wanted! This afternoon in the alternate reality that is Fox News, the hosts of Outnumbered explained that the report was only released to distract Americans from real problems, like the IRS scandal and Benghazi.
“The Bush administration did what the American public wanted, and that was do whatever it takes to keep us safe,” declared the particularly incensed Andrea Tantaros. “The United States of America is awesome, we are awesome,” she continued. “We’ve closed the book on [torture], and we’ve stopped doing it. And the reason they want to have this discussion is not to show how awesome we are. This administration wants to have this discussion to show us how we’re not awesome” — mainly because they “don’t like this country” and “want us to look bad.”
Fox then returned to its regularly scheduled programming.
If you thought you heard it all from Bill O’Reilly, think again. Tonight he said that torture was a “morally acceptable” thing to do.
Meanwhile, across the pond: New Statesman | “Torture is always wrong”: David Cameron responds to the CIA report
David Cameron has responded to the alarming US report by Democrat senators on CIA interrogation activities in the wake of 9/11. Commenting on the shocking revelations about “brutal” techniques employed by the CIA on terrorism suspects, the Prime Minister said:
Let us be clear – torture is wrong, torture is always wrong.
For those of us who want to see a safer more secure world who want to see this extremism defeated, we won’t succeed if we lose our moral authority.
Now obviously after 9/11 there were things that happened that were wrong and we should be clear about the fact that they were wrong.
Clearly anticipating any questions emerging from this story that could drag Britain into the controversy, Cameron was keen to emphasise that he believes Britain has “dealt with” its position in relation torture policy. The United Kingdom appears on the list of countries that “facilitated CIA torture”.
Cameron referred to the Intelligence and Security Committee looking into questions raised by the Gibson Inquiry into the treatment of detainees post-9/11, and added that he has, “issued guidance to all of our agents and others working around the world about how they have to handle themselves”.
The report itself has stunned the world following its release yesterday. It suggests America’s spies repeatedly lied to Congress and its foreign allies in an effort to cover up the scale and brutal nature of a secret global programme of torture.
Of course the UN has it’s own response: CIA torture: Calls to prosecute US officials involved in ‘brutal’ interrogations of al-Qaeda suspects – The Independent
The UN has called for the prosecution of those behind a ‘criminal conspiracy’ at the CIA that led to the ‘brutal’ torture of detainees.
Ben Emmerson, United Nations’ special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, said those responsible for planning, sanctioning or carrying out crimes including waterboarding should not escape justice – even senior officials from George W Bush’s administration.
“It is now time to take action,” he said in a statement from Geneva. “The individuals responsible for the criminal conspiracy … must be brought to justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the gravity of their crimes.
“The fact that the policies revealed in this report were authorised at a high level within the US Government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed, it reinforces the need for criminal accountability.”
Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth also said that the CIA’s actions were criminal “and can never be justified”.
“The report shows the repeated claims that harsh measures were needed to protect Americans are utter fiction.
“Unless this important truth-telling process leads to prosecution of officials, torture will remain a ‘policy option’ for future presidents.”
Now, over at Al Jazeera, they have an article that interviews surviviors:
Survivors of alleged CIA torture and rendition programs praised the release of a damning, if heavily redacted Senate account of the agency’s “brutal” and “ineffective” practices but noted it was only a first step toward accountability — and it certainly wasn’t an apology.
“Publishing this shows the other side, that human rights apply to everyone,” said Abdelhakim Balhadj, a Libyan political dissident who the U.S. rendered back to Libya in 2004, where he was allegedly tortured over a six-year period without being charged with a crime. “The U.S. denied us our human rights. We wanted the American people to recognize this.”
After years of delay, the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday released a 499-page executive summary of a more than 6,000-word report, which remains classified. It detailed a litany of apparently illegal methods employed by CIA officers to extract information from detainees — death threats, beatings, sleep deprivation, forced rectal feeding and other psychological torment — much of which had long since been leaked.
Significantly, the summary noted that so-called “enhanced interrogation” techniques were “brutal and far worse than the CIA represented” and they were not nearly as useful in obtaining information vital to national security as the agency had previously said.
Though ex-detainees like Belhadj welcomed those findings, he was disappointed that his name had not been mentioned specifically. In a phone call from his home in Libya, Belhadj, now a prominent politician and military leader in Libya, told of how he and his pregnant wife Fatima were picked up by U.S. authorities as they were trying to leave China, where they had been living until 2004, to seek political asylum in the U.K.
As well as the ex-CIA dudes…who have there side of the story: Ex-CIA officials say torture report is one-sided, flawed | Reuters
A group of former top-ranking CIA officials disputed a U.S. Senate committee’s finding that the agency’s interrogation techniques produced no valuable intelligence, saying such work had saved thousands of lives.
Former CIA directors George Tenet, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden, along with three ex-deputy directors, wrote in an op-ed article published on Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal that the Senate Intelligence Committee report also was wrong in saying the agency had been deceptive about its work following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
The rest of the links for today’s post are in dump format, and they are not pleasant. In fact they are much of the same kind of news we have been seeing the past few weeks.
The usual story with the usual players. The men in this case were in a stolen car…that said…read the rest at the link.
As the American people continue to debate about — and organize over — the lack of consequences for the police who killed Eric Garner and Michael Brown, some commentators (like yours truly) have urged national Democrats to be more directly and unapologetically supportive of their African-American supporters and the #blacklivesmatter movement in general. But while it’s much too soon to tell whether Hillary Clinton or other similarly well-known Democrats will heed the call, it’s clear that one Democratic congressman, Minnesota’s Keith Ellison, is listening. “The fact is, people have to demand [a] sense of justice: people in the streets are going to make the system more responsive,” he said recently on MSNBC.
In a scathing editorial in the Hollywood Reporter, Chris Rock has confronted some issues that though obvious, are being blatantly ignored. He quite rightly points out that Hollywood is an exclusive, white industry that is terrible at giving opportunities to black and Latino people other than as the janitor. You only have to open your eyes to see this, but nobody, whether it be studio executives, producers, directors, other actors or critics, has been proactive in changing things. It’s OK to say it – Hollywood doesn’t care about black people.
Residents of Harrison try to fight off their reputation as the small town with the most hate groups in America
Thomas Robb lives 15 miles from downtown Harrison, Arkansas, past churches with signs speaking of God’s righteousness, a goat farm and a slew of rusted trailer homes. His home is a collection of nondescript white cottages that includes an office and a meeting place for the Christian Revival Center, where he serves as pastor. The buildings stretch across several acres — but don’t call the property a compound.
“It’s my home, not a compound,” Robb says, correcting a reporter with a smile. “The word ‘compound’ has such a negative connotation.”
Robb and his wife moved to the area 43 years ago from Tucson, Arizona: “You could see the handwriting on the wall of Arizona being a dumping ground for illegal aliens.” The stronger morals of people in Arkansas, he says, made the state a more attractive home for his Thomas Robb Ministries and the Christian Revival Center, which espouse a white-supremacist, “Christian-identity” theology. For the last 25 years, he’s also been the national director of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, the group founded by prominent Klan leader and former Louisiana politician David Duke. In that role, Robb has attempted to advance the white-nationalist movement by portraying the Klan, in the words of one journalist, as more “gentle, upbeat and friendly” — an approach that’s sometimes frowned upon by other Klan members for being too mainstream.
In Georgia, there was an execution last night: Injustice in Robert Wayne Holsey’s Case – NYTimes.com
Even by the abysmal standards of lawyering that defendants in capital trials regularly endure, Robert Wayne Holsey’s case stands out.
In 1997, Mr. Holsey was convicted and sentenced to death for killing a Georgia sheriff’s deputy named Will Robinson, who had pulled him over for robbing a convenience store. Despite evidence that Mr. Holsey was intellectually disabled — which should have barred him from execution under the United States Supreme Court’s earlier rulings — his lawyer neglected to make that argument at trial. Mr. Holsey was executed on Tuesday evening after the Supreme Court declined to stay his execution.
The evidence of Mr. Holsey’s mental deficits included an I.Q. test score of 70 when he was 15. In school, his intellectual functioning did not move past a fourth-grade level. But under Georgia law, a defendant is required to prove his intellectual disability beyond a reasonable doubt — the strictest standard in the country and one unmoored from scientific reality.
A Palestinian minister has died after clashes with Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank. The circumstances of Ziad Abu Ein’s death have yet to be officially confirmed, but sources told Al Jazeera that it occurred after he inhaled large amounts of tear gas and was struck by security forces.
Abu Ein, who was head of the Anti-Wall and Settlement Commission, died in Ramallah Hospital on Wednesday following a protest against the separation barrier near the village of Turmusayya, northeast of Ramallah.
The 55-year-old is thought to have been hit in the chest by Israeli soldiers at the demonstration, according to an Israeli journalist and a Reuters photographer who were at the scene. Other witnesses said he was headbutted and then collapsed.
Activists said they were planting olive trees by the illegal settlement of Adei Ad when the soldiers attacked them and fired large amounts of tear gas at the group.
Pictures of Abu Ein, a member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council, knocked out and on the ground quickly circulated on social media sites.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas quickly condemned the death of Abu Ein, calling it a “barbaric act that cannot be tolerated.” He also said “all necessary steps” will be taken after an investigation into Abu Ein’s death is carried out.
More on the olive trees, and the significance here:
Obama had a tough interview: Jorge Ramos Challenges President Obama On Immigration In Testy Interview – BuzzFeed News
Hey, this is a surprise: Police officer buys eggs for woman caught shoplifting to feed her family in Tarrant | AL.com
A woman caught shoplifting eggs in Tarrant Saturday didn’t leave with handcuffs and a court date. Thanks to a Tarrant police officer, she left with food for her family.
Officer William Stacy was called to the Dollar General on Pinson Valley Parkway when employees caught the woman trying to steal a dozen eggs, Tarrant Police Chief Dennis Reno said.
The woman had her young children in the car. She told Officer Stacy that she was only stealing because she was trying to feed her children.
Stacy talked with Dollar General, and they said they wouldn’t prosecute. So Stacy made an offer.
“He said, ‘If I give you these eggs, will you promise that you won’t shoplift anymore?'” Reno said. “He knew that she was telling the truth and that’s the reason he went in and bought the eggs.”
Stacy bought the eggs and gave them to her, Reno said. The woman then asked if she could give him a hug.
Sorry if I am cynical…but…
“Police officers do this all the time. Of course, these are the kind of stories that never get told,” Reno said. “Every police officer in Jefferson County has done this at one point in time.”
Reno said this is one way police deal with issues — not every incident ends with someone being hauled off to jail.
No, they don’t get hauled off to jail, they get hauled off to the morgue.
Video of hug at link. It just is…I don’t know. Maybe y’all have a better way of putting it into words than I do?
Sounds a little like staged bullshit to me.
But again, I am a cynical bitch.
I mean, when you have a Sgt with the Tarrant Police Department police stealing evidence and selling it to other cops:
According to Tarrant Police Chief Dennis Reno, former Tarrant Police Officer, Sgt. Charles Higgins, has turned himself in to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
The Tarrant Police Department is asking a suspected criminal to turn himself in. But this criminal isn’t like the others.
“He was an extraordinary officer,” Police Chief Dennis Reno said.
That’s because Charles Kevin Higgins used to be a Sgt. with the department.
“Myself and every officer here feels betrayed,” Reno said.
Reno says a while back his department noticed items missing out of the evidence room, which is what Sgt. Higgins was in charge of. Higgins was confronted and was told an investigation would be happening.
“Rather than face an investigation, Sgt. Higgins rendered his resignation at that time,” Reno said.
Further investigation would show much more missing from the evidence room than anticipated.
Nine handguns were missing. Reno says Higgins told people he needed money. He sold six of them to citizens. But four of them were sold to closer friends.
“He sold them to some of his fellow police officers here at the station,” Reno said.
The serial numbers on the guns sold to the officers matched the numbers of those missing from the evidence room. Reno believes Higgins made nearly $3,500 on the guns. Reno says the officers who bought the firearms thought they were part of Higgins’s personal collection, as Reno says Higgins is a gun collector.
Reno says he could not comment whether more items were taken from the evidence room.
Or the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office being investigated for racial discrimination: JeffCo Sheriff’s hiring, firing practices under scrutiny for racial discrimiation
A federal judge wants to know what Jefferson County Sheriff Mike Hale is doing to deal with racial discrimination.
During a status hearing over the county’s consent degree involving hiring and firing practices, U.S District Judge Lynwood Smith said he will now be focusing on the sheriff’s office.
The county’s hiring and firing is currently under the supervision of court appointed receiver Ronald Sims.
During Thursday’s court hearing, plaintiffs in the case said it came to their attention that Sheriff Hale does not have an affirmative action officer to oversee any racial complaints or violations of discrimination law.
Jefferson County has affirmative action officers in place but the question now is whether Sheriff Hale, who is already facing a tight budget, hire another person for the job or use the county’s personnel.
Jefferson County commissioner David Carrington says it’s a matter that has to be studied.
“It would be a little cumbersome for the county’s AA officer to get involved with the sheriff’s office. We have a lot of issues we need to deal with. If the judge says it’s our responsibility we will accept it and go forward,” Carrington said.
Judge Smith told Sheriff Hale’s attorney in court to get more engaged and to research what the sheriff has done to deal with racial discrimination going back to 1982, when the original consent decree was signed by Hale’s predecessor Mel Bailey.
A federal judge, who last year installed a manager to oversee all Jefferson County personnel decisions to prevent discrimination against blacks and women, has now turned his focus onto the county sheriff’s office.
At a hearing this morning U.S. District Court Judge Lynwood Smith asked an attorney for Sheriff Mike Hale to determine what that office has done – or hasn’t – to ensure that it doesn’t discriminate against blacks or women in hiring, firing and promotions since a consent decree was signed by county officials 32 years ago.
Smith said he believes “it is past time to focus on the sheriff… He (the sheriff) is under the same duties and obligations as the county commission.”
The 1982 consent decree was issued as part of lawsuits that contended the county and the City of Birmingham had discriminated against blacks and women. County officials, including former Sheriff Mel Bailey, signed the decree. Birmingham and the Jefferson County Personnel Board were ultimately released from their decrees.
About seven years ago plaintiffs in the lawsuits asked the judge to find the county in contempt for not abiding by the terms of its consent decree. After a lengthy process the judge last year found the county was in contempt and put in place a receiver, Ron Sims, over the county’s human resources department.
At today’s status conference Smith holds once a month to check on the county’s compliance, an attorney for the plaintiff’s, Rowan Wilson, told the judge about an issue that came up.
Wilson said that Sims two months ago had appointed an affirmative action officer to review personnel complaints. Recently sheriff’s employees had come to the new officer with issues, which brought up the question as to whether the sheriff had an affirmative action officer, he said.
As part of the consent decree the county was to have an affirmative action officer, but didn’t, Wilson said. The issue came up during testimony in the contempt hearings.
Take a look at the comments….interesting to say the least.
This sounds a lot like Banjoville.
But seriously…to go back to the quote from Reno, the chief at Tarrant PD:
“Police officers do this all the time. Of course, these are the kind of stories that never get told,” Reno said. “Every police officer in Jefferson County has done this at one point in time.”
Oh yeah, I bet they do that act of kindness all the time….
That is it for me, y’all have a good day. So? What are you reading about?
Wow, can’t start a post any better.
Sorry for the non-censored title, but it is a quote, and a damn good one!
Mindy Kaling said these words in a tweet June of this year….
“Why the fuck not me?” should be your motto
It is something that pretty much could be the motto for a lot of people as we come to the end of 2014.
This post will focus on one particular article from Mic.com, The 39 Most Iconic Feminist Moments of 2014.
What I will do, is take this piece and spread it out over the length of the thread.
In 1998, TIMEMagazine declared feminism dead. Nearly 15 years later, it wondered if instead, perhaps feminism should be banned. Constantly on attack from all sides, feminism has spent the past few decades proving its importance and relevance over and over and over again. If there’s one thing history has taught us, it’s that the backlash against feminism will always be a measure of our success. That’s the thing with progress — it is perceived as a threat by those too weak to embrace equality.
Indeed, it’s clear 2014 was a historic one for feminism. Women stood up for their rights, challenged stereotypes, fought for recognition and took control of the dialogue. The following is a non-exhaustive list of some of the most iconic feminist moments this year.
Of course number one on that list is…Malala.
Malala Yousafzai accepted the Nobel Peace Prize — and went straight back to chemistry class.
Mo’ne Davis made everyone want to “throw like a girl.”
And the third on the list:
Emma Watson stunned the U.N.
Now back to the top quote. “Why the fuck not me?” My guess is that Jackie is asking this repeatedly…as in, why the fuck not believe me?
Once again another rape victim is getting rack through the coals…and it is getting more disgusting as the story unfolds.
As BB pointed out earlier today, asshole Charles Johnson threatened and “outed” the victim in this case:
Johnson, the flamethrowing conservative blogger who’s spent the past six months crash landing into national news stories, published what he believes is the name of “Jackie,” the victim from the Rolling Stone UVA rape story. (Mediaite is not linking to his post.)
Jackie’s accounting of a gang rape by a UVA fraternity has come under increasing scrutiny, leading the magazine to retract it. On Sunday Johnson threatened to reveal more details about “Jackie” unless she admitted she fabricated the story:
Well, this is awful.
The Web blew up Friday afternoon with the news that Rolling Stone magazine no longer stands behind last month’s horrific, explosive story of a gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity. A report in The Washington Post cast central elements of her story into serious doubt. Her friends and supporters now say they’re dubious, too.
It’s disastrous for everybody involved. At this writing, the victim, Jackie, insists she was telling the truth about being raped by seven students. Whatever the truth, she must be in a world of pain right now, particularly if she tried to extricate herself from the magazine story before it was published, as she now maintains.
The destructive fallout goes beyond one woman’s suffering. The Rolling Stone story, which had helped make it all but impossible to ignore the scourge of campus sexual assault, is now going to do the opposite. Because now, emboldened by this one possibly fabricated story of rape, the chorus of people who believe women routinely make these things up will grow louder.
It already has. You could see them doing their happy dances in the comments below the Post story, which, a couple of hours after it went up, looked a lot like 1950. If it turns out to be entirely false, Jackie’s story will join other fake narratives — the Tawana Brawley debacle, the accusations against the Duke lacrosse players — as weapons for those moral cave-dwellers who would have you believe that women “cry rape” all the time for attention, or revenge.
And she continues….
“No matter what the reality is, there is going to be the perception out there now that women lie about rape,” says Djuna Perkins, a former Suffolk assistant district attorney who investigates student sexual misconduct cases. “Every time somebody makes up a terrible crime, it does harm to the rest who tell the truth and don’t get believed.”
That sucking sound? That’s us being dragged back into the last century.
Can we please not go there? Jackie’s story might not be real, but a bigger one is. One in five women say they have been raped. One in 20 say they have experienced other forms of sexual violence. About 19 percent of undergrads say they experienced rape or attempted rape. In a fall survey of MIT students, one in six of the women who responded said they’d been sexually assaulted, but only 5 percent had reported it. It is everywhere, including at august New England universities.
More at that link.
But as these links illustrate, the show is only going to get worse:
And while all this was going on, what was being said over the wires around UVa?
Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s Rolling Stone piece about an alleged gang rape at the University ofVirginia was immediately incendiary, and the magazine’s partial retraction feels much the same way. From a source in Charlottesville, here’s a sample of what students at UVA are currently saying on YikYak, the anonymous gossip app that collects posts within a 1.5 mile radius.
Reading these and the comments in the threads on the various links above it can make you wonder, especially the ones over at Mediaite. Damn nasty too.
Alright, I can’t do anymore on that. Next up, on the list numbers 4 through 6:
4. A survivor brought her mattress — and sparked a national movement. Frustrated by what she saw as an unacceptable response from school officials to her alleged sexual assault, Columbia University student Emma Sulkowicz took matters into her own hands. As part of her senior performance art project, Sulkowicz announced she would carry her mattress everywhere she went until her alleged rapist was expelled.
5. Jennifer Lawrence beat the Internet’s worst trolls at their own game.
6. Women stormed the halls of Congress. The 2014 midterm election may have been a “shellacking” for Democrats, but it also saw victories by a new wave of women, on both sides of the political aisle, ultimately increasing the ratio of female representatives greatly. A record 100 women will serve in the 114th Congress, and that’s something we should all celebrate.
Celebrate? Maybe? I don’t think so….those women that were elected don’t celebrate women in any shape or form.
Back to the question at hand. Why the fuck not me?
And another group of people who can and should be asking the same exact thing…
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department this week convinced the local prosecutor’s office to charge a prominent young Ferguson protester with misdemeanor assault because he allegedly made fleeting physical contact with a law enforcement official blocking access to St. Louis City Hall during a demonstration last month.
Rasheen Aldridge, a 20-year-old community activist, has been protesting in and around the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson on a regular basis ever since then-police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9. Last month, Gov. Jay Nixon (D) named him to the Ferguson Commission, a task force intended to address problems in the St. Louis region that were highlighted in the wake of Brown’s death. On Dec. 1, Aldridge was at the White House to meet with President Barack Obama to discuss the relationship between law enforcement and local communities. (He later said he left the meeting “disappointed” with Obama, whom he used to consider his “idol.”)
It’s no surprise, then, that the misdemeanor assault charge brought by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce against Aldridge grabbed local and even internationalheadlines and gained traction in conservative circles. After all, a story about a prominent Ferguson protester being charged with assault fits in perfectly with the broad generalizations that many have made about those demonstrators: namely, that they’re violent “thugs” with no respect for the law.
Aldridge — who is just 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 110 pounds, according to court documents — seems to be trying to open a City Hall door as a much larger city marshal stands guard. The marshal then appears to shove Aldridge, and the protester’s hand touches and perhaps pushes the official.
Soon after the incident, police in riot gear wielding pepper spray would break up the demonstration around City Hall, claiming that the entire daytime assembly was unlawful because a few demonstrators “made contact” with law enforcement.
Susan Ryan, a spokeswoman for the Office of the St. Louis Circuit Attorney, emphasized that the third-degree assault charge against Aldridge is the “lowest-level misdemeanor available under the law.” Aldridge has not been arrested, according to Ryan. Instead, she said, “He’ll get a note in the mail, just like a parking ticket.”
Ryan said that the prosecutor’s office had a duty to evaluate the case after it was referred to the office by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
And other links on the matter:
And when someone on the “inside” shows solidarity: Officially Sanctioned Hippie Punching – Lawyers, Guns & Money
Just because you are a police officer doesn’t automatically mean you support the racist killing of black people by your co-workers. There are some Bunny Colvin types out there. Including in St. Louis. But the official disapproval of standing with people fighting against racist law enforcement officials is really strong. In the protests over Eric Garner’s murder going unpunished, a single fire fighter in Providence appeared before the protests in a window and raised his fist in solidarity. This was filmed. He was punished while the firefighters openly mocking the protestors were not. Providence journalist Steve Ahlquist is responsible for the coverage. He’s sad and angry that it led to the punishment of the firefighter.
Sickening. More at the link.
There is this other kind of racism:
Or you know the Christian kind of love.
Thirty-three cities want to prohibit giving food to homeless people.
I didn’t realize that it was this late. Guess it is better since the title is so…earthy. Be sure to read the rest of the 39 moments…