Sunday Reads: Wishing Ain’t Getting

 

Morning All…

ca935b51679ec513314e4a5496a5c4b6Yesterday Boston Boomer made a “wish” in the comment section,

I wish something good would happen in the news.

Oh yes….me too!

I think there are many of us out there who do agree with her. Things have gotten way outta control, and for someone in my situation…honestly, I have checked out.

Even BB’s awesome post last week about TimeWarner being sold to Murdock, the only thing running through my brain was, “Oh no…what will happen to Turner Classic Movies!!!!” For that is the only thing saving my sanity these days.

I can’t deal with war and torture and abandoned children, its too much. My usual outlet, sarcastic humor is gone, nothing can bring about a smartass remark or cheeky comment these days…I’m done.

So again I will just tread water today and give you a quick dump of links.

Starting with a couple of assholes: Awful: Couple Ditches Baby with Down Syndrome with Thai Surrogate

An anonymous Australian couple has ignited a huge controversy after abandoning a baby they had using a surrogate because he had Down syndrome and taking his healthy twin sister back to Australia with them. Because humanity just wasn’t insufferable enough.1bf221f66e87e9d5bdea7ee799dec374

Because commercial surrogacy is outlawed in Australia (though they may use an altruistic surrogate who does not receive any payment outside medical expenses), many couples seek options overseas to make things easier. Fertility clinics in places like Thailand and India have become hotspots as they are a much easier options for overseas parents-to-be and poorer Indian women can make a considerable amount of money from surrogacy.

Pattaramon Chanbua of Thailand agreed to be a surrogate for the unnamed Australian couple in question. According to Sydney Morning Herald, Pattaramon discovered she was having twins three months after being injected with the Australian woman’s fertilized eggs and was promised an additional sum of money. The next month they discovered one of the babies had Down syndrome. When the agency informed the Australian couple, they said they were not going to take the boy and allegedly asked her to have an abortion—which she refused.

When she gave birth to the twins in December of last year, the agent took the healthy baby girl, and left her with the baby boy. Pattaramon claims that she has yet to be fully compensated by the agency. She has never met the Australian parents.

b05df84e42002e8c47d7bb4c4d8d278cPattaramon, 21, is already the mother of two children, and was expecting to use the surrogacy money to provide for her family, educating her children and repaying debts. Now, she has been left with a much more considerable burden, as there is no way she can afford the medical bills necessary to treat the baby, named Gammy. She stated, via the Guardian:

“Why does he have to be abandoned while the other baby has it easy? I feel sorry for him. I don’t know what to do. I chose to have him, not to hurt him. I love him. He was in my tummy for nine months, it’s like my child. I treat him like my other children, never think you are not my child and I don’t care for you, never.”

As you can see below, the BBC is taking the Australian side of the story:

BBC News – Calls for clearer surrogacy rules after Thai Down’s case

Surrogacy campaigners have called for clearer regulation after a Thai woman was left with a Down’s syndrome baby when his parents refused to take him.

The boy, whose twin sister was taken to Australia by the unidentified couple, needs urgent medical care.

6c873f3ee9d0dcdf8abd986690485316The surrogate mother in Thailand says she will raise the boy as her own and an online campaign has raised $185,000 (£110,000) for his treatment.

The case has raised fears Australia could ban international surrogacy.

The baby boy, named Gammy, has a congenital heart condition and a lung infection as well as Down’s syndrome. He is currently receiving urgent treatment in a Thai hospital.

[...]

The surrogate mother tells ABC News: “I love him, he’s like my child now”

Rachel Kunde, the group’s executive director, said she hoped the case would lead to better regulation by the Australian authorities of international surrogacy, rather than an outright ban.

“Our greatest fear is that Australia is going to ban international surrogacy altogether,” she said. “We are hoping that the government will make accessing surrogates in Australia easier.”

Nicola Scott, a British lawyer specialising in fertility issues, says a lack of regulation leaves the child vulnerable because issues such as termination are not discussed in advance.

247215bc651c7c4de89bed649d24d923She says the answer to the problem is an international treaty similar to the Hague Adoption Convention so that parents know what the situation is from the outset.

“Then each country would have its own rules and regulations and the parents, surrogates and children would be protected,” she added.

Then you have the Independent: Thai surrogate mother of ‘abandoned’ Down’s twin Gammy will keep him and says she doesn’t blame Australian couple

Displaying a generosity of spirit in rank contrast to the apparent callousness of the Australian couple who abandoned a Down’s syndrome baby born to a Thai surrogate mother, the young woman has declined offers to adopt him, announcing that she intends to bring him up herself.

The offers – along with donations of, as of last night, more than A$164,000 (£90,780) – were made by well-wishers following publicity about the plight of six-month-old Gammy, who was spurned by his biological parents after Pattharamon Janbua, 21, gave birth to twins. The couple, who have not been named, took Gammy’s healthy twin sister back to Australia.

[...]

Ms Janbua said that, after her experience, she would advise no Thai woman to “get into this business”.

f56e4feed59fce28f7f9b43796f942f3Wow. The Jezebel article mentions the amount of disabled babies that are left abandoned by biological parents who use these surrogates…it is disgusting to think they would leave their children to rot in third world conditions…a hell, and many times leave the mothers who acted as surrogates holding the bag, er baby, if you will.

There has been a lot of noise about this:

Eschaton: Wanker of the Day

Barack Obama

That link will take you to this: It’s Not Easy to Hold the CIA Accountable by Martin Longman | Political Animal | The Washington Monthly

Then look here:

Hullabaloobf78a6469ad6ae635f084bbd28441f4c

He called the torturers patriots…

by digby

… and then lectured the American people that we are not to be “sanctimonious” about it because they had a tough job.

…We tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.

I understand why it happened. I think it’s important when we look back to recall how afraid people were after the Twin Towers fell and the Pentagon had been hit and the plane in Pennsylvania had fallen, and people did not know whether more attacks were imminent, and there was enormous pressure on our law enforcement and our national security teams to try to deal with this. And it’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had. And a lot of those folks were working hard under enormous pressure and are real patriots.

These “folks” are big on sending messages. What “message” do you suppose that sent? When a patriot has a tough job we can’t expect him to adhere to the law? Or norms? Or even basic morality? Looks like it. Good to know.

I remember reading somewhere during the whole torture debate that the right thing to do was to keep torture officially “illegal” for deniability but do it anyway and then throw yourself on the mercy of the people afterwards telling them that it was necessary to protect them. That way you could keep up the pretense that we were a civilized nation while being allowed  to “take the gloves off.”  For our own good, mind you. Looks like that’s the new SOP.

SOP?

d7845ab5240cabd1c617a8bd6ad72bf4Like I said, I have not fully read those links there. I cannot process it. So I just post these and take it from there.

Another Digby: Hullabaloo

The keepers of the secrets

by digby

Conor Friedersdorf speculates about the power someone like John Brennan must have over a president who has ordered killings overseas:

I am not suggesting that Brennan is blackmailing Obama, or even that he would necessarily retaliate if fired. Still, if Obama is like most people in positions of power, he fires no subordinate without first asking himself, “Could this person damage me?” If Obama is a normal person, rather than an unusually principled person, the answer factors into his decision.

Holy Shit! Obama must have done something huge!

Obama steps up to call Bush-era CIA Torture “Torture,” Despite Legal Implications | Informed Commenta89f66ccf13df22062fe7b35fc6e2679

CNN points out that President Obama’s forthright condemnation of Bush administration-era CIA torture could cause legal problems for Agency employees, and that the Congressional report he was talking about avoided that diction. Obama doesn’t very often any more speak his mind, but in this case he clearly felt strongly enough about the betrayal of constitutional values to do so.

Okay, let’s move on.

Crazy ass right wing shitkickers!  5 Most Demented Right-Wing Moments This Week | Alternet

I can’t believe this nightmare is ongoing: Domestic Abuse Victim Marissa Alexander Faces 60 Years in Prison for Self Defense | Care2 Causes

Ever wonder what it is like at Ground Zero Ebola: Eyewitness: A day at an Ebola treatment unit – Comment – Voices – The Independent

I enter… it could be a scene from a horror film

I wake with a sore throat. It’s almost certainly due to inhaling chlorine fumes from our disinfectant, but since two people working for another NGO tested positive, paranoia has set in, so I take my temperature for the 10th time that morning.
It’s my last day of work, so I’m going to the Ebola treatment unit to say goodbye to the staff and to lend a hand; in the past week, 384843bcfabdc13720f5af37ef0c0291some local staff have resigned or just not turned up. I can’t blame them – they’re scared.

Arrive at the treatment centre. Hear the predictable news of many deaths inside. Get dressed up in protective clothing, with Sara, an MSF doctor. Three hygienists are joining us to move the bodies. We label the body bags before entering. I like to double-bag bodies but now there aren’t enough bags to go round.

After checking that not a millimetre of skin is showing, enter the zone for suspected cases. Empty the buckets of faeces and vomit and say cheerful good mornings to the patients. I spray chlorine solution as I go – we touch nothing without spraying, even though we wear three pairs of gloves.

Enter the zone for confirmed cases. This should house 10 patients, but in fact has 14.

It’s very humid and my tiredness has made the time I can stay in the protective gear shorter. Sweat is dripping into my eyes. I cross the outdoor area, where body bags are lying on the ground. The morgue is full so now we are leaving the dead outside. The burial teams can’t keep up. I turn the corner and find a dead man in the doorway. Looks like he crawled there.

I enter… it could be a scene from a horror film.

Read the rest at the link.

b39d8e023165788e5af0e4f1f63339cdWords….words…..words….World Wide Words Newsletter: 2 Aug 2014

Epilimnion
Have you ever swum in the warm water of a lake in summer and found when treading water that your feet suddenly became uncomfortably cold? If so, you experienced something that limnologists, experts on lakes, describe by the rather splendid and poetic-sounding pair epilimnion and hypolimnion.

When the sun heats a smallish body of water, the topmost layer of water warms up, but because warm water is less dense than cold, it stays on top. That top area is the epilimnion. The cold water below it, which may not warm up much during the summer if the lake is at all deep, is the hypolimnion.

The root of both epilimnion and hypolimnion is the classical Greek limnion, the diminutive of limne, a lake. Limnologist and the subject of study, limnology, are very closely related — they derive from limne. Epi- is Greek for upon or above, while hypo- is from Greek hupo, under.

The epilimnion and hypolimnion are separated by a thinnish layer where the temperature drops quickly. You might guess this is sometimes called the metalimnion (Greek meta-, with or across), though it’s commonly referred to as the thermocline.

Most examples of epilimnion are in scientific contexts, though it also crops up very occasionally in SF:

The brown sphere was spotted after some days by a prowling ameba, quiescent in the eternal winter of the bottom. Down there the temperature was always an even 4°, no matter what the season, but it was unheard of that a spore should be found there while the high epilimnion was still warm and rich in oxygen.

Surface Tension, by James Blish, 1952.

fcd9cbe5021aeec7f29ea1190786d938Now re-read that with your pinky up to your mouth.

Book review: MIND Reviews: I Can Hear You Whisper: An Intimate Journey Through the Science of Sound and Language – Scientific American

Science Link: Society bloomed with gentler personalities, more feminine faces: Technology boom 50,000 years ago correlated with less testosterone — ScienceDaily

Medieval Link: Is there a Sixth Sense in the Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries?

Pretty pictures of fruit link: BibliOdyssey: Swiss Fruit

Old Hollywood: Saturday Morning Cartoons: Dizzy Dishes (1930) | The Black Maria

Classic Hollywood Style: Edith Head, the best sort of designing woman – LA Times

Various links about the 100th Anniversary of World War I:

The Lamps are going out all over Europe | Stephen Liddell0b5d1ac951ceeea283a83ce1ee2be90e

Inside the brothels that served the Western Front: How one First World War soldier found love in the arms of a French sweetheart – World History – World – The Independent

A foreign secretary’s pyrotechnic display of mixed signals that sentenced 800,000 British soldiers and sailors to death – Comment – Voices – The Independent

And the last dumbass, end of post, have a nice day….set of links:

​Chinese Businessman Sells Peaches in Panties Because Butts

​Chinese Businessman Sells Peaches in Panties Because Butts

 

Drunk People Are Causing Quite the Ruckus at the London Zoo

An investigation into parties held at the London Zoo has been launched because apparently it takes an investigation to see that 37e848ee7eb5b5b991c550f74721296aputting people drunk off their ass in the same vicinity as wild animals is a terrible fucking idea.

The Westminster Council is compiling a report on Zoo Lates, a weekly program for adults at the London Zoo that sounds like a hoot and a holler:

Every Friday night in June and July, London Zoo is opening after hours and inviting visitors to explore the wilds of the ultimate urban jungle.

Monkeys go ape and birds of paradise strut their stuff with animal talks, improvised comedy, twisted cabaret, roving performances, pop up bars, street food festival, carousel rides, and approximately 17500 creatures great and small.

Fun, right? And alcohol is served at these events, so what could possibly go wrong? Well, a lot. Sources at the London Zoo have voiced some plenty of concerns after multiple incidents in which some of the more shithoused Lates-goers were a bit too enthusiastic about their love/indifference for animals. These incidents include “a beer being thrown over a tiger, a drunken woman reportedly trying to enter a lion enclosure and a man stripping off and attempting to enter the penguin pool.”

And lastly…

​This Chorus of Baby Goats Would Like a Word With You

I think I will go ahead and tag this post…A My Pet Goat Moment…so, what’s up with you?

3fd429e38f78f3ca5c0332e7b91273c7


Sunday Reads: Anti-Vaccine Hysteria brought to you by Jenny McCarthy, Pretty Illustrations by Hedvig Collin, and Medieval Dwarf Characterizations by Your Preconceived Ideas

BIBIGood Morning

Oh, I cannot wait to get to the link on Medieval Dwarfs…but until that time comes, here are some stories for you on this fucking* cold ass Sunday Morning!

(*Just FYI, we passed freaking cold ass on Friday night.)

Today’s post will feature artwork by illustrator Hedvig Collin. When I look at her work, I think of Jessie Wilcox…and other women artist/illustrators at the time.

Hedvig Collin was educated at the Drawing and Industrial Art School for Women in preparation for the Royal Academy School for Women , where she studied in 1903 – 1907 . She continued her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts decoration school in 1 909 – 1910 and at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris . In 1915 she studied freskoteknik on Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin . She had from 1904 repeated studies in France , she performed in the 1920s and 1930s, traveling to Italy , Greece , Poland , Germany , Czechoslovakia and England . In the period 1922 – 1925 and again during the second World War she was in the United States .

2377102Hedvig Collin painted most portraits and landscapes , but was also an illustrator of children’s books; 1 916 – 1922 she published several illustrated children’s song books, for example. Our Children’s Songs (1916), and the Children’s Picture Book (1922).

While looking for information about Collins, I could not find anything on an “English” website, so the only sources are in Dutch or German. This one here has lots of postcard images, which many of the images in the post are from: Google Translate-Hedvig Collin 1880-1964 by Per Sorensen

Parents: Photographer Alfred Collin and Ottilia f Bloch.

Hedvig Collin was unmarried.

She was a painter, illustrator, journalist and author.

Hedvig Collin was educated at drawing and industrial arts school for women and later graduated from the Academy of Arts, where she studied from 1903 to 1909. Later she took extra education in Paris.

Hedvig Collin traveled extensively throughout Europe and the U.S., and she drew a large number of illustrations – both Danish and foreign publications. However, it was illustrations for children’s books, which became her biggest mark – no one has she been able to put themselves in the children’s place and make illustrations for children. From 1916-1922, she published each year, along with colleagues, the very well known, illustrated children’s song books. She has also made ​​many children portraits.

Her postcard production also bear the imprint of children and fairy tales, and you can clearly see the French inspiration in her work. See for example the “Lady with the Little Dog,” which is very similar to Gerda Wegner line.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures…let’s get this show started!

Jeg_en_gaard_mig_bygge_vilSeems like Fukushima is well on its way to becoming another something more than a metaphor for the phrase “Fucked up.” When things are Fukushima’d up…it is beyond anything FUBAR could ever comprehend.  ‘Duct tape, wire nets’ were used to mend Fukushima water tanks – worker — RT News

The 48 year old Japanese man said that workers were sent to various places in Fukushima, including an area called H3 with high radiation levels.

In one of those cases in October 2012, Uechi was given a task to cover five or six storage tanks without lids in the “E” area close to H3 as it was raining, the Japanese paper reported. When he climbed to the top of the 10-meter-high tank Uechi found white adhesive tape covering an opening of about 30 centimeters. After using a blade to remove the tape he applied a sealing agent on the opening and fit a steel lid fastening it with bolts. According to instructions he was to use four bolts, though the lid had eight bolt holes.

According to the employee, his colleagues later told him that the use of adhesive tape was a usual practice to deal with the problem of sealing in radioactive water.

91jlFH8MfhL“I couldn’t believe that such slipshod work was being done, even if it was part of stopgap measures,” Uechi told The Asahi Shimbun.

Among other makeshift cost-cutting measures was the use of second-hand materials. Uechi also said that wire nets were used instead of reinforcing bars during the placement of concrete for storage tank foundations. In addition, waterproof sheets were applied along the joints inside flange-type cylindrical tanks to save on the sealing agent used to join metal sheets of the storage tanks. Rain and snow had washed away the anti-corrosive agent applied around clamping bolts, reducing the sealing effect, Uechi added. According to the Fukushima worker, many of the tanks were later found to be leaking contaminated water.

Now, granted…that is from RT.com, and it goes without saying that there could be some bias on the reporting of a Russian nuclear disaster compared to a foreign one…but read the rest of the “stopgap” measures at the link.

Hedvig_Collin17Meanwhile: Dennis Rodman Names Team For North Korea Exhibition That Includes Former NBA All-Stars

NBA All-Stars Kenny Anderson, Cliff Robinson, and Vin Baker. Craig Hodges, Doug Christie and Charles D. Smith are on the team, as well. They will play against a top North Korean Senior National team on Jan. 8, marking Kim Jong Un’s birthday.

I have no idea who these NBA stars are, but this is really a stupid move on their part.

And if we are talking stupid, I put a link to this yesterday in the comments, but it deserves front page status: New Report Says: Jenny McCarthy’s Son May Not Have Had Autism After All – Hollywood Life

After years of speaking out about her son’s autism — and against childhood immunizations — Jenny McCarthy is reversing her position.

After years of speaking publicly about her belief that MMR shots (immunization for measles, mumps, and rubella) caused her son to suffer from autism, Jenny McCarthy now faces the reality that her 7-year-old son Evan — who no longer shows any signs of autism — may likely have lived with completely different illness.

A new article in Time magazine — which Jenny was interviewed for — suggests Evan suffers from Landau-Kleffner syndrome, “a rare childhood neurological disorder that can also result in speech impairment and possible long-term neurological damage.”

Hedvig_Collin36All that shit spewed from Jenny’s lips…because of misdiagnosis? How many idiots have listened to that anti-immunization “Tits McCarthy” idiot and how many kids have paid the price?

Ugh!

I know I am jumping around today, but…check this out: Woman Attorney Launches Saudi Arabia’s First All-Lady Law Firm

Just a few months after Saudi Arabia allowed women to serve in court, the first licensed woman attorney Bayan Mahmoud Al-Zahran has just opened the first female law firm, dedicated to representing women and bringing women’s rights issues into the courts. YES.

Women have continually been neglected by the court system for a number of reasons, including simply not being taken seriously by male lawyers. Women’s issues concerning conflicts like inheritance, domestic violence, marriage, and you know, that whole driving thing are often simply dismissed. Also, while more women are joining the workforce, the country has yet to catch up in terms of legal support for working women.

Clearly Al-Zahran has her work cut out for her four-woman team, but as reported at Arab News, she’s ready for the challenge:

“I believe women lawyers can contribute a lot to the legal system. This law firm will make a difference in the history of court cases and female disputes in the Kingdom. I am very hopeful and thank everyone who supported me in taking this historical step.”

Hedvig_Collin27Just in time, because watch out, we know that some men in the U.S. are trying to take women backwards to a time a place very much like the one these Saudi women are working to pull themselves out of…

Did you see the latest on the men’s rights front? Men’s rights activists call for rape ‘accuse-a-thon’ to smear sex assault victims advocate | The Raw Story

A men’s rights group is encouraging its followers to falsely accuse a sexual assault victims advocate of rape in a stunt intended to undermine the veracity of all rape accusations.

Paul Elam, founder of the website A Voice For Men, hosted an online discussion Wednesday with his site’s editor-in-chief, John Hembling, and feminist critic Karen Straughn to discuss their plan to harass executive director of the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton.

“I have looked at a number of cases where people have reported alien abductions were they were prodded and poked and had different orifices in their bodies explored by aliens in spaceships, and a common theme among these is that it turns out, in most of these cases, it was Karen Smith,” Elam said. “It wasn’t aliens.”

The men’s rights movement has been angry at Smith since at least this summer, when she helped promote the “Don’t Be That Guy” rape prevention campaign that inspired imitators in other cities and a counter campaign blaming women for their own sexual assaults.

Men’s rights activists also conspired to shut down a website that allowed the anonymous reporting of sexual assaults by flooding the system with false complaints.

Innit wonderful?

Assholes.

Hedvig_Collin4How about this, all this news about Colorado, and the amount of money the state will get from Marijuana sales tax…What about Vegas, ‘marriage capital of the world,’ left at the altar on gay weddings | Al Jazeera America

Because of a state constitutional ban, Nevada’s wedding industry loses untold millions while other states make it legal.

Here is two stories on commercial flying…

Customs officials explain why they destroyed musician’s prized flutes | The Raw Story

Yeah, they mention a plant pathogen. I don’t know…

Hedvig_Collin22CEO predictions for the next 100 years of flying – Yahoo Finance

Did you know that commercial flights began in my hometown of Tampa Florida?

Millions of people step aboard airplanes each day, complaining about the lack of legroom and overhead space but almost taking for granted that they can travel thousands of miles in just a few hours.

Wednesday marks the 100th anniversary of the first commercial flight: a 23-minute hop across Florida’s Tampa Bay. The St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line was subsidized by St. Petersburg officials who wanted more winter tourists in their city. The alternative: an 11-hour train ride from Tampa.

Pilot Tony Jannus had room for just one passenger, who sat next to him in the open cockpit. Three months later — when tourism season ended — so did the subsidy. The airline had carried 1,204 passengers but would never fly again.

Remember that Nazi salute I mentioned last week? Here is an update:  Concern Over an Increasingly Seen Gesture Grows in France – NYTimes.com

The rest of today’s links are fun stuff…or “special interest.”

There is a special coming up on PBS: ‘The Poisoner’s Handbook’ details birth of forensic science in US | Culture | McClatchy DC

Hedvig_Collin31I love the title of this Medieval guidebook: Advice Concerning Pregnancy and Health in Late Medieval Europe: Peasant Women’s Wisdom in The Distaff Gospels

This paper explores an area which has proven difficult for scholars to penetrate: women’s popular wisdom concerning medical matters in the later medieval period. Contextualized within an examination of medieval medical texts both by and about women, our discussion focuses on a later 15th-century French work, The Distaff Gospels. This text, published recently in English for the first time since 1510, consists of more than 200 pieces of advice or “gospels,” ostensibly conveyed to one another by a group of women who met together during the long winter evenings to spin. A significant portion of the advice might be considered “medical” in nature; it is grouped into two broad categories: pregnancy and health. We conclude that although our text is male mediated, it provides a reliable and valuable guide to peasant women’s medical lore during this period.

Another medieval paper for you: Anorexia and the Holiness of Saint Catherine of Siena

In the medieval period, the control, renunciation, and torture of the body were understood not so much as a rejection of the physical, but as a way of achieving the divine. Gradually, the manifestations of this renunciation of the body came to apply peculiarly to women, for whom this state may be defined as “holy anorexia,” identified by the following features.

0100151The Female Body as an Expression of Sexuality. The body of the woman was seen as an expression of sexuality, curvaceous with prominent breasts, and was thought to be the product of the woman herself, whereas the male body was formed by God. This supposition was confirmed by the extremely changeable nature of the female body, particularly in terms of control. Thus, the female easily slipped into a trance, into levitation, into catatonic states, leading rapidly to asceticism or anorexia. She displayed spontaneous lactation and bleeding, manifestations that sometimes were accompanied by stigmata. Indeed, at least fifteen medieval saints bled at the moment they received the Eucharist. In contrast, of saints in other periods of history, only Padre Pio and San Francesco displayed stigmata that were preserved on their bodies after death. If we are to consider specifically anorexia as a characteristic of sanctity, we must examine the periods of 1200 and the end of 1500 when Theresa of Avila (a Spanish saint who joined with a mystic force and spirit to reform Catholicism, resulting in the reinvigoration of all religious orders) began frequently to use twigs of olives to induce vomiting and completely empty her stomach. In this way she was able to truly take into herself the Host, which became her unique source of sustenance. From an investigation of the conduct of 170 Italian medieval saints by Rudolph Bell, fully one half of them exhibited symptoms of anorexia.

More at the link…lots more.

The next medieval link has a special place in my heart…The Hole: Problems in Medieval Dwarfology

Hedvig_Collin21When trying to understand Old Norse dwarfs, one problem is knowing too much. Almost everyone comes to the old texts with some preconceived idea of dwarfs, if not from The Lord of the Rings, then from romances, folktales and modern novels, all presenting their own consistent image of dwarfs. However, although later representations of dwarfs may have some relevance to medieval dwarfs, in this study I will try to limit myself to what can be discerned from medieval sources. That is not really possible: I, like everyone else, have known since childhood what a dwarf is. And yet I think the attempt may have some merit, in spite of being bound to fail in the most rigorous sense.

What I will attempt here is to pay close attention to the nature of the sources and what they reveal, or, as if often the case, do not reveal. Mythological scholarship is characterized by inclusiveness, a tendency to collect information en masse, sometimes with little discussion of the nature of the sources. When it comes to Old Norse dwarfs, it might be helpful to distinguish between three types of sources, in which their nature and function may take various forms. While there is perhaps not a case to be made for dramatically contrasting views in the Middle Ages, it is unwise to assume that all medieval sources agree on the nature, character and function of dwarfs.

You have to sign up on the site to download that article, or look for it here:  HoleArvMedDwa.

Hedvig_Collin39This one is for Dak: Skeletons ‘Embracing’ In Death May Represent Gruesome Ancient Siberian Custom (PHOTO)

Bill Nye is going to kick some Creationist ass: Bill Nye to visit Creation Museum for evolution debate | AccessNorthGa

A new exhibit in Brookyn: Susan Sontag was right: War photography can anesthetize – Salon.com

And lastly, one hot mama: The Tina Turner Blog On Twitter Is Pretty Much Everything

There are few things we love as much as Tina Turner, so you can imagine how ecstatic we were when we came across the Tina Turner Blog on Twitter. The account tweets up-to-the-minute news, videos and most importantly, awesome throwback photos of the singer. And we have to say, this lady has serious style.

https://twitter.com/tinaturnerblog/status/419477868675358720

Well, if that doesn’t get you…what about these legs?

Fabulous!

Hedvig_Collin28Have a wonderful day and stay warm!


Friday Reads: Make Love not War

martin-richardGood Morning!

We certainly have created a lot of ways to destroy each other haven’t we?  We also seem to breed a lot of individuals that are capable of doing great harm without reservation.  This week has brought the carnage once again into our back yard. It is important to remember that we have brought and are bringing worse carnage and that we are not alone in our experience.

We have sophisticated drones that appear to take out as many innocents as they do bad guys.  Just yesterday in Baghdad, a suicide bomber killed 26 in a crowded cafe. Less than a month ago, 2 blasts occurred in a busy shopping district of Hyderabad, India. These twin blasts killed 14 people and injured 119.  Seventeen were injured today in Bangalore in a car bomb blast. Neither India or Boston are war zones.  Baghdad was not a war zone until we invaded it.  We left it to whatever it is today.

Then, there is the daily amount of gun violence in the country.  Let me return to Boston for this perspective.

Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis said today that he hopes to cut gun crimes in half this summer during Boston’s most violent months: July and August, when the city typically sees between 37 and 48 shootings each month.

The department’s ranks were boosted as 28 members of the force were promoted and one new officer was named during a ceremony this morning.

Davis said those promotions represent the department’s efforts to fill vacancies in preparation for the summertime.

“We’re going to have a full court press on those months this year,” said Davis. “We’re gonna do a lot of preventive work leading up to those months. There’s gonna be a significant amount of attention paid to the impact players in the city. We want them to put their weapons down.”

Nationally, we experience 88 gun deaths a day.  There have been about 3,524 gun deaths in this country since the Sandy Hook Slaughter. As you carefully read that sign made by the youngest victim of the Boston Bombs above, consider this:

… a child in the U.S is about 13 times more likely to be a victim of a firearm-related homicide than children in most other industrialized nations.

Firearms were the third leading cause of injury-related deaths nationwide in 2010, following poisoning and motor vehicle accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For the sake of comparison, in 2010 there were more than twice as many firearms deaths in the U.S. than terrorism-related deaths worldwide.

Then consider how completely ignorant most people are of our violent legacies to other countries. Think of mass murderers of the 20th century, and then read this.

Mr. Kissinger’s most significant historical act was executing Richard Nixon’s orders to conduct the most massive bombing campaign, largely of civilian targets, in world history. He dropped 3.7 million tons of bombs** between January 1969 and January 1973 – nearly twice the two million dropped on all of Europe and the Pacific in World War II. He secretly and illegally devastated villages throughout areas of Cambodia inhabited by a U.S. Embassy-estimated two million people; quadrupled the bombing of Laos and laid waste to the 700-year old civilization on the Plain of Jars; and struck civilian targets throughout North Vietnam – Haiphong harbor, dikes, cities, Bach Mai Hospital – which even Lyndon Johnson had avoided. His aerial slaughter helped kill, wound or make homeless an officially-estimated six million human beings**, mostly civilians who posed no threat whatsoever to U.S. national security and had committed no offense against it.

Let’s grasp Lady Lindsey’s flip comments here about drone deaths.  This is our current undertaking for “Peace in Our Time”.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a staunch supporter of the U.S. drone wars, Wednesday become the first government official to put a number on the estimated drone strike death toll.

“We’ve killed 4,700,” Graham said during a speech at a South Carolina rotary club, reported on by the local Easley Patch and flagged by Al Jazeera.

“This is the first time a US official has put a total number on it,” said Micah Zenko, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations told Al Jazeera, but Graham’s office stated that the senator was only repeating “the figure that has been publicly reported and disseminated on cable news.” Graham’s figure aligns with estimates from groups included the U.K.-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ), which has calculate that between 3,072 and 4,756 people have been killed by U.S. drones in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Graham’s figure did not distinguish between “combatant” and “civilian” casualties — a distinction which has, in the War on Terror, prompted debate. But the senator did reportedly say, “Sometimes you hit innocent people, and I hate that, but we’re at war, and we’ve taken out some very senior members of al-Qaida.”

I’d like to know why some acts of violence attract so much attention and outrage?  Tons of folks have been out in their virtual scooby vans   warping into the witch hunt version of Encyclopedia Brown trying to finger the ‘dark skinned’ individuals that could’ve set the bombs on the Boston Marathon route.  Have any of these idiots ever looked at the gun death rate in their own town or state?  Have they ever concerned the morality of bombing wedding celebrations?  Are they still taking Henry Kissinger or Donald Rumsfeld seriously?  Have they possibly cracked a paper to find out exactly how many bombings happen on this planet and how many of them we commit? For that matter, why aren’t they looking for guys that look like Timothy McVeigh or Eric Rudolph?  Ever been to London and tried to find a trash can?  

In London, public trash cans are hard to come by, as they’re an easy receptacle for bombs. Which makes it hard to throw things away properly! Now, the city is going to bring trash cans back, but they’re going to be big, hulking masses, totally bomb-proof and equipped with LCD screens to tell you the days news as you throw away your coffee cup.

Traveling to Europe–especially London–in the 1970s and 1980s included an introduction to basic instructions on what to do if a bomb went off and what to do to avoid being in an area that was likely subject to bombing.  There are still Basque separatists bombing Spain. We’re coming up on the anniversary of Bloody Sunday.  I was in Europe a lot in 1972 and it was like the year of the bomb over there.  But, again, there was Kissinger too.  It was the year I learned not to look or sound overly American.

Hundreds of thousands of innocent human beings in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam were forced to live in holes and caves, like animals. Many tens of thousands were burned alive by the bombs, slowly dying in agony. Others were buried alive, as they gradually suffocated to death when a 500 pound bomb exploded nearby. Most were victims of antipersonnel bombs designed primarily to maim not kill, many of the survivors carrying the metal, jagged or plastic pellets in their bodies for the rest of their lives.

Then, riddle me this.  What is the difference between setting bombs on the street filled with crowds, or a bomb in a cafe, or a drone that hits a wedding or having one Texas “Job Creator” callously killing an entire city and a lot of its inhabitants because he just doesn’t want to be bothered with work place safety regulations or say, proper placement of a dangerous plant to start out with?  I mean what exactly do you call a guy that runs a business that blows up an entire town and kills–at this point in time–35 people including 10 first responders? (That’s a link to CNN and USA Today so consider it with care.)

It really bothers me that we–as a nation–appear to have selective attention on what kind of violence gets our shock and attention and what kinds of violence we choose to ignore every day, every year, or in the case of the atrocities of Kissinger, every decade or four. We have had some horrific carnage recently. We’ve had children slaughtered in their classroom.  We’ve had folks standing on the street celebrating a holiday ending up in hospital with wounds severe enough to warrant the kinds of amputees soldiers need in Afghanistan.  This is horrific, but it does not operate in a vacuum or a world where we have done no wrong or where these kinds of events are rare.

gaza_bombing_victim

Child victim in Gaza

So, call me Debbie Downer and tell me to get my unpatriotic ass out of the country or call me insensitive. I want to see a consistent and strong level of outrage, shock, and trauma displayed for all innocent victims of unspeakable violence.  The hometowns of all of these victims should be our hometowns.

Child victim in Syria

Child victim in Syria

Here is a great question from a great writer, Juan Cole. Can the Boston Bombings increase our Sympathy for Iraq and Syria, for all such Victims?

The idea of three dead, several more critically wounded, and over a 100 injured, merely for running in a marathon (often running for charities or victims of other tragedies) is terrible to contemplate. Our hearts are broken for the victims and their family and friends, for the runners who will not run again.

There is negative energy implicit in such a violent event, and there is potential positive energy to be had from the way that we respond to it. To fight our contemporary pathologies, the tragedy has to be turned to empathy and universal compassion rather than to anger and racial profiling. Whatever sick mind dreamed up this act did not manifest the essence of any large group of people. Terrorists and supremacists represent only themselves, and always harm their own ethnic or religious group along with everyone else.

The negative energies were palpable. Fox News contributor Erik Rush tweeted, “Everybody do the National Security Ankle Grab! Let’s bring more Saudis in without screening them! C’mon!” When asked if he was already scapegoating Muslims, he replied, ““Yes, they’re evil. Let’s kill them all.” Challenged on that, he replied, “Sarcasm, idiot!” What would happen, I wonder, if someone sarcastically asked on Twitter why, whenever there is a bombing in the US, one of the suspects everyone has to consider is white people? I did, mischievously and with Mr. Rush in mind, and was told repeatedly that it wasn’t right to tar all members of a group with the brush of a few. They were so unselfconscious that they didn’t seem to realize that this was what was being done to Muslims!

Indeed, sympathy for Boston’s victims has come from around the world from places like Iraq that we’ve plastered with bombs not that long ago. Condemnation for this act came from elected officials in Egypt from the Muslim Brotherhood which has been absolutely slathered with the mark of satan by the likes of our elected officials like whacko Michelle Bachmann.  This part of Cole’s essay really got to me and I was already teary eyed hearing about Jane and Martin Richard from their school’s headmaster on Last Word.

Some Syrians and Iraqis pointed out that many more people died from bombings and other violence in their countries on Monday than did Americans, and that they felt slighted because the major news networks in the West (which are actually global media) more or less ignored their carnage but gave wall to wall coverage of Boston.

Aljazeera English reported on the Iraq bombings, which killed some 46 in several cities, and were likely intended to disrupt next week’s provincial election.

Over the weekend, Syrian regime fighter jets bombed Syrian cities, killing two dozen people, including non-combatants:

What happened in Boston is undeniably important and newsworthy. But so is what happened in Iraq and Syria. It is not the American people’s fault that they have a capitalist news model, where news is often carried on television to sell advertising. The corporations have decided that for the most part, Iraq and Syria aren’t what will attract Nielsen viewers and therefore advertising dollars. Given the global dominance by US news corporations, this decision has an impact on coverage in much of the world.

Here is a video by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) on the dilemma of the over one million displaced Syrians, half of them children:

So I’d like to turn the complaint on its head. Having experienced the shock and grief of the Boston bombings, cannot we in the US empathize more with Iraqi victims and Syrian victims? Compassion for all is the only way to turn such tragedies toward positive energy.

Perhaps some Americans, in this moment of distress, will be willing to be also distressed over the dreadful conditions in which Syrian refugees are living, and will be willing to go to the aid of Oxfam’s Syria appeal. Some of those Syrians living in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey were also hit by shrapnel or lost limbs. Perhaps some of us will donate to them in the name of our own Boston Marathon victims of senseless violence.

Terrorism has no nation or religion. But likewise its victims are human beings, precious human beings, who must be the objects of compassion for us all.

It is absolutely true that the shortcomings of our press this week were on parade this week.  They basically spent hour-after-hour in what seemed like a glorified witch hunt.  But there is a bigger injustice and short coming.  Other people around the world–suffering and dying–deserve to have their stories told also.  Every innocent victim of violence deserves justice and recognition.   This is true of those 88 who die every day in this country from guns.  It is true of all those killed by state violence be it ours or Bashar al-Assad or the crazy jerks that set of bombs on streets all over the world or fire military style weapons in our schools and movie theaters.  All of this should cause the press to do its job and it should cause our hearts to grieve equally. Why obsess minute by minute on one act when there is a world full of them to choose from? Why not give all of the victims of violence their due?

So, what is on your reading and blogging list today?


The Audacity of Unrepentant War Criminals

Rumsfeld tweetThe Elephants of the Republican Party don’t seem to have very good memories. Diaper Dave Vitter, Ralph Reed, and even Mark Sanford seem to have continuing careers despite basic transgressions of civility and law. Words fail me on the convenient memories of the perpetrators of one of America’s greatest sins on its 10th anniversary.

The media and the Bush administration led a whole lot of people–never me–down a garden path filled with imaginary WMDs, mushroom clouds, and Al Quaida Terrorists to support its NeoCon Agenda which has cost this country precious lives and treasure. You’d have to ask the Iraqis if they feel ‘liberated’.  Too bad we can’t poll all the dead innocents because I’m sure they’d have something to say about Rumsfeld and Cheney’s War of Ideological Convenience too. It’s hard to believe they even have the audacity to pop their heads up like some Neo Con Ground Hog Day Rodents let lone make statements like the one above.  None of them can take vacations in Europe any more because most countries realize they belong in the justice system with the other War Criminals. There is nothing like the hubris of absolute gall.

There are so many things that are wrong with the lead-up and the shock-and-awe of the Iraq War that we should make yesterday a national holiday to remember the criminal enterprise that brought us the likes of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and all the other murderous chicken hawks of the Republican Party.  Voters should be made to remember that Jeb Bush was also a signatory to neocon documents that became policies of the of group of folks that were disgruntled that Poppy Bush didn’t take the initiative to get us into Iraq after the Kuwait Invasion.  That’s another resurrection that shouldn’t happen. PNAC and all its signatories and enablers should go down in history as a list of War Criminals. Judith Miller and various other ‘journalists’ should be added to the list of enablers of war crimes too.

But, back to the absolute mistake and horror that became the Iraq invasion and occupation via Beltway Bob who mentions he got all caught up in the propaganda and complicity of the press at the time too. Even then he was showing signs of the gullibility trait that we like to kid him for around here.   Hence, his nickname. He spoke to Ken Pollack who is one of those people that should shrink into permanent obscurity.

I supported Ken Pollack’s war, which led me to support George W. Bush’s war. Both were wrong. The assumptions required to make them right — Hussein had WMDs, Hussein was truly crazy, Hussein couldn’t be contained, American military planners and soldiers could competently destroy and then rebuild a complex, fractured society they didn’t understand — were implausible.

But saying, in retrospect, that I shouldn’t have supported the Iraq War is easy. The harder question is how to avoid a similarly catastrophic misjudgment in the future.

So here are some of my lessons. First, listen to the arguments of the people who will actually carry out a project, not the arguments of the people who just want to see the project carried out. Who manages a project can be as important as what the project is.

Second, don’t trust what “everybody knows.” There is, perhaps, nothing more dangerous than a fact that everyone thinks they know, because it shuts down critical thinking. In a retrospective for Foreign Policy, Stephen Hadley, Bush’s national security adviser, said, “It never occurred to me or anyone else I was working with, and no one from the intelligence community or anyplace else ever came in and said, ‘What if Saddam is doing all this deception because he actually got rid of the WMD and he doesn’t want the Iranians to know?’ Now, somebody should have asked that question. I should have asked that question. Nobody did. It turns out that was the most important question in terms of the intelligence failure that never got asked.”

People that were that gullible and wrong do not need to be interviewed.  We need a day each year to point and laugh at them and spread national loathing in their general direction. However, I frankly believe that Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld knew there were no WMDS.  They need a completely different sort’ve of treatment. The kind of treatment the court at The Hague dishes and serves cold.  I’m not sure if the President knew because frankly, at that time, he appeared at his most clueless on a scale of almost infinite cluelessness.  But, if you read the current writings of some of the men that should be standing in front of judges at The Hague, you would think that  the now well-known absence of WMDS isn’t even historically relevant. By the way, many Republicans still believe the Iraqis had them so when I say “well-known’ I leave out the cult of cluelessness that is the core Republican base.  Try this rationalization and excuse for size from HuffPo.  Richard Perle says  ‘Not A Reasonable Question’ To Ask Whether Iraq War Was Worth It.

NPR “Morning Edition” host Renee Montagne asked, “Ten years later, nearly 5,000 American troops dead, thousands more with wounds, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead or wounded. When you think about this, was it worth it?”

“I’ve got to say, I think that is not a reasonable question. What we did at the time was done in the belief that it was necessary to protect this nation. You can’t, a decade later, go back and say, ‘Well, we shouldn’t have done that,’” Perle responded.

Perle’s refusal to evaluate the question seems to underscore just how little those who made decisions in the lead-up to the invasion want to go back and re-evaluate a choice that most Americans think was a mistake.

The war hawk made some spectacularly wrong predictions and proclamations prior to the Iraq war. Mother Jones reported that Perle claimed Saddam Hussein had ties to Bin Laden days after 9/11, suggested that war with Iraq would be easy (requiring only about 40,000 troops), and claimed that Hussein was “working feverishly” to acquire nuclear weapons. Perle also said that Iraqis could finance their own reconstruction.

Elsewhere in Wednesday’s interview, Monagne asked Perle if it ever crossed anyone’s minds that Iraq’s deception about its chemical weapons could have been directed towards, say, Iran — with which the country fought an eight-year war — rather than the United States.

“I’m sorry to say that I didn’t achieve that insight,” Perle replied.

Perle also cast the toppling of Hussein’s reign of nearly 24 years without any centralized authority as an opportunity. “You can say we left it broken. I think we left it open for opportunity. And then we closed our own opening by moving into an occupation,” he said.

If you really want to be appalled, go read John Yoo who justifies the war by saying “We shared the benefits with the Iraqis“. Why is UC Berkely paying this man to pollute young minds?

And isn’t that what we did in Iraq? We spent billions of dollars in Iraq as damages. We did so not because the war was wrong, but because it was right — and we shared the benefits of the war with the Iraqi people by transferring some of it in the form of reconstruction funds.

It’s at these times when I understand the appeal of an almighty deity that will firmly send such folks to eternal suffering for all their hubris, ignorance, and murderous acts. However, I’d just like to see a little justice done to them here on Earth while we can.  It could start with never, ever letting them show up as experts on anything and absolute excoriation when they try to redefine their mistakes.  I know it’s too much to think the Justice Department would deliver their arrogant asses to a court.  But, I would like to think the court of opinion and the press could treat them with the contempt they deserve.  It galls me to think that they’re moving around press circles trying to spread more lies and resurrect themselves.  What they should be doing is Public Service for the rest of their lives to make living tolerable for Iraqi veterans, their families, and for Iraqis.  None of them should live any kind of life of ease nor should any of us ever let them try to forget that they are Unrepentant War Criminals.


Friday Nite Lite: Wake the F#@k Up!

Good Evening!

Time for another cartoon post, damn…it seems like the week flew by doesn’t it? Before we get to the funnies, here are a couple of news links I think you may find interesting.

Over at National Journal, they have a page that maps out Muslim Protests Around the World. They are supposed to be updating it as more hot spots come into play…gives me the creeps just seeing all those dots of violence across the globe.

In New Hampshire, they are suppressing the vote before the new voter id law comes into effect. Assholes.

And, this little news blip from NYP that I am really looking forward to: Samuel L. Jackson to support Obama in a provocative new ad calling on voters to “Wake the F–k Up”

They picked the perfect actor for a political ad loaded with f-bombs.

Samuel L. Jackson will film a provocative spot supporting President Obama’s re-election bid as early as tomorrow — telling voters to “Wake the f–k up, Vote for Obama.”

The ad is a riff on Jackson’s viral video “Go the F–k to Sleep,” where he narrates a children’s book written by Adam Mansbach.

It’s paid for by the Jewish Council for Education and Research Super PAC — which earlier this summer aired an ad of comedian Sarah Silverman offering “free lesbian sex” to billionaire Sheldon Adelson if he stopped supporting GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

It is coming out on Youtube Sept. 24th and I can’t wait. And if you want to laugh at something, I say check this out:

Samuel L. Jackson Beer

Drink Samuel L. Jackson’s beer — before he gets medieval on yo’ ass. (1:15)

Alright, let’s get on with the funnies…The cartoon pages were filled with things about Romney and his appalling performance the other day. Actually, it really wasn’t a performance act per say,  it was his real personality showing through.

Cagle Post » Political Posturing

Political Posturing © Steve Sack,The Minneapolis Star Tribune,romney,posturing,consulate,us,terror,embassy,death

Cagle Post » Romney Campaign Flies Flag at Full Staff

Romney Campaign Flies Flag at Full Staff © RJ Matson,The New York Observer,Romney Campaign Flies Flag at Full Staff,Libya,Ambassador Stevens,US Flag,Half Staff,Foreign Policy,2012 Election,2012 Presdential Election,Mitt Romney,Romney-libya

Cagle Post » Libya Tragedy

Libya Tragedy © Mike Keefe,Cagle Cartoons,libya; ambassador; stevens; riot; romney; political; election; campaign

Now a few comments on the Mideast situation in general:

Cagle Post » Suspenders

Suspenders © Joe Heller,Green Bay Press-Gazette,Suspenders, foreign policy, Embassy Killings, libya, embassador, Chris Stevens,Sam Bacile, Innocence of Muslims, terrorists, movie, islam, hate

I thought that one was clever…

Cagle Post » War and Oil

War and Oil © Bill Day,Cagle Cartoons,Romney, Big Oil, money, war

And that one has me singing this song:

Cagle Post » Plan to Attack Iran

Plan to Attack Iran © Pat Bagley,Salt Lake Tribune,Iran, Israel, Uncle Sam, United States, Strike, Nuclear, Atomic, Weapons, WMD, Netanyahu, Bibi, Ahmadinejad, Khameini, Attack

Now for a ride on the Romney/Ryan Express:

Romney Ryan Crossing © Adam Zyglis,The Buffalo News,romney, ryan, president, white house, election, race, gop, tax, policies, middle class, poor, railroaded, republican, plan, medicare, medicaid, mortgage, deduction

I think the better train to be getting on board is the love train:

Okay, now that you got your funk on…just a couple of more funnies to go!

Cagle Post » Twitter Trolls

Twitter Trolls © Paul Zanetti,Australia,twitter,trolls,phone,internet

And this from my favorite cartoonist, Mike Luckovich:

9/14 Mike Luckovich cartoon: Super-sized soft drinks | Mike Luckovich

mike091412

Sad but true, innit!

Have a wonderful evening, I will be enjoying a Friday Night Lights tradition, aka high school football game, with this little nip in the air its sure to be a good one.

So…in my best Mr. Samuel L. Jackson impersonation…this is a muthafukking open thread!


Romney “longed” to serve in Vietnam, but took four draft deferments

Mitt Romney, age 19, demonstrates in favor of the draft at Stanford U., 1966

In his 2012 campaign for the presidency, Mitt Romney has been a strident supporter of every possible use of U.S. military power abroad.

He has said he wouldn’t hesitate to attack Iran in order to prevent them from getting nukes. He even wrote an op-ed about it for the Washington Post.

He has argued for U.S. military intervention in Syria, and has been loudly critical of President Obama’s approach to the Syrian uprisings. He has also criticized Obama’s decision to pull out of Iraq and his strategy in Afghanistan.

Finally, Romney has argued for dramatic increases in defense spending, while at the same time claiming he will cut the federal deficit if elected.

Based on his hawkish policy positions, it seems relevant to ask what Romney did when he was eligible for military service; and the AP recently took a look at Romney’s military service–actually his lack of military service. Not to put too fine a point on it, Romney is a chicken hawk. His (non)military history also shows that his etch-a-sketch behavior began quite early in life.

As you can see in the photo above, Mitt actually participated in a demonstration in favor of the Vietnam-era draft while a student at Stanford. From The Daily Mail, January 6, 2012:

Taken at the height of the swinging Sixties, Mr Romney holds a sign declaring ‘Speak Out, Don’t Sit In’ as, alongside like-minded individuals, he proclaims his support for Lyndon Johnson’s ever-expanding draft….

A newspaper clipping headlined ‘Governor’s son pickets the pickets’ states: ‘Mitt Romney, son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, was one of the pickets who supported the Stanford University administration in opposition to sit-in demonstrators.’

The photograph was taken on May 20, 1966, shortly after a group of students had taken over the office of Stanford University President Wallace Sterling.

They were protesting at the introduction of a test designed to help the authorities decide who was eligible for the draft.

Of course Romney himself could have been drafted in 1966, but he applied for and received a student deferment in the same year he participated in the pro-war demonstration. After one year at Stanford, young Mitt left school to serve as a mormon missionary in France. From MSNBC.com:

Though an early supporter of the Vietnam War, Romney avoided military service at the height of the fighting after high school by seeking and receiving four draft deferments, according to Selective Service records. They included college deferments and a 31-month stretch as a “minister of religion” in France, a classification for Mormon missionaries that the church at the time feared was being overused. The country was cutting troop levels by the time he became eligible for the draft, and his lottery number was not called.

Romney received three more deferments during his missionary service, even though the Mormon church was strongly supportive of the Vietnam war and was limiting the number of deferments it signed off on. Romney got three of them though. Gee, I wonder why?

After his first year at Stanford, Romney qualified for 4-D deferment status as “a minister of religion or divinity student.” It was a status he would hold from July 1966 until February 1969, a period he largely spent in France working as a Mormon missionary.

He was granted the deferment even as some young Mormon men elsewhere were denied that same status, which became increasingly controversial in the late 1960s. The Mormon church, a strong supporter of American involvement in Vietnam, ultimately limited the number of church missionaries allowed to defer their military service using the religious exemption.

Later, a 23-year old Romney had turned against the war he avoided.

“If it wasn’t a political blunder to move into Vietnam, I don’t know what is,” a 23-year-old Romney would tell The Boston Globe in 1970 during the fifth year of his deferment.

His 31-month religious deferment expired in early 1969. And Romney received an academic studies deferment for much of the next two years. He became available for military service at the end of 1970 when his deferments ran out and he could have been drafted. But by that time, America was beginning to slice its troop levels, and Romney’s relatively high lottery number — 300 out of 365 — was not called.

Later, when he ran for the Senate against Ted Kennedy in 1994, Romney was quoted in the Boston Herald as saying:

“I was not planning on signing up for the military”…”It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam, but nor did I take any actions to remove myself from the pool of young men who were eligible for the draft,”

But he in fact had applied for and been granted four deferments–nearly as many as Dick Cheney got.

Mitt’s views on Vietnam continued to “evolve.” During his last run for president in 2007, he the Globe again quoted Romney on Vietnam:

“I was supportive of my country,” Romney said. “I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there, and in some ways it was frustrating not to feel like I was there as part of the troops that were fighting in Vietnam.”

Romney’s views on Vietnam had gone full circle–from enthusiastic pro-war demonstrator, to draft dodger, to vocal critic of U.S. policy, to claiming he never wanted to go to war, but never tried to get out of it, to nostalgia for how much he “longed” to be in Vietnam while he served out his extra-long 4-D deferment.

What a guy!


Evening News Reads: Manic Monday Edition

It’s Monday Evening…

and I certainly hope

you are having

a good one!

I’ve spent the day downloading songs on my phone so that I can have something to listen to while at the hospital. Of course, they were 80′s songs. So it made me think about those years in high school, when we would smoke clove cigarettes in the back of our creative writing class…playing poker and goofing off for fifty glorious minutes.

It was sort of like our daily version of The Breakfast Club, only there were no jocks in our group of misfits. Just a bunch of under achieving kids in the gifted class, who were already burned out from doing college level work in 6th and 7th grade. So tonight I am going to post the news reads with a little twist, we will call it the SDB Evening News Soundtrack.  Hit it Steve… (Damn I hope this works.)

Here is the latest on the Trayvon Martin situation. Zimmerman is beginning to talk and some of the story does not connect to what we have heard.

Let’s listen to this wonderful song from Bobby Womack…Across 110th St.  It is not an 80′s tune, but it sure fits the bill for the next few links.

Trayvon Martin: George Zimmerman’s account to police of the Trayvon Martin shooting. – Orlando Sentinel

With a single punch, Trayvon Martin decked the Neighborhood Watch volunteer who eventually shot and killed the unarmed 17-year-old, then Trayvon climbed on top of George Zimmerman and slammed his head into the sidewalk, leaving him bloody and battered, law-enforcement authorities told the Orlando Sentinel.

That is the account Zimmerman gave police, and much of it has been corroborated by witnesses, authorities say. There have been no reports that a witness saw the initial punch Zimmerman told police about.

Zimmerman has not spoken publicly about what happened Feb. 26. But that night, and in later meetings, he described and re-enacted for police what he says took place.

In his version of events, Zimmerman had turned around and was walking back to his SUV when Trayvon approached him from behind, the two exchanged words and then Trayvon punched him in the nose, sending him to the ground, and began beating him.

Zimmerman told police he shot the teenager in self-defense.

Little Green Footballs – Miami Herald Headline: ‘Trayvon Suspended Over Marijuana; Thousands Expected at Rally’

I’m trying to understand how this kind of headline is considered ethical journalism: Trayvon Suspended Over Marijuana; Thousands Expected at Rally.

And it gets worse; the article says George Zimmerman “thought” Trayvon Martin “looked drugged out.” This is not a quote from Zimmerman or anyone else. “Drugged out” are the words of the reporter, Frances Robles.

You can read the quote from Miami Herald at the LGF link, I will add this from Johnson’s post:

Trayvon Martin’s mother said today, “They killed my son, now they’re trying to kill his reputation.” I don’t have anything to add to that.

This just came through from ThinkProgress: What You Need To Know About The Smear Campaign Against Trayvon Martin (1995-2012)

Over the last 48 hours, there has been a sustained effort to smear Trayvon Martin, the 17-year old African-American who was shot dead by George Zimmerman a month ago. Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, said, “They killed my son, now they’re trying to kill his reputation.”

Thus far these attacks have fallen into two categories: false and irrelevant. Much of this leaked information seems intended to play into stereotypes about young African-American males. Here’s what everyone should know:

1. Prominent conservative websites published fake photos of Martin. Twitchy, a new website run by prominent conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, promoted a photo — purportedly from Martin’s Facebook page — that shows Martin in saggy pants and flipping the bird. The photo, which spread quickly on conservative websites and Twitter, is intended to paint Martin as a thug. As Twitchy later acknowledged, it is not a photo of Trayvon Martin. [Examiner]

2. The Sanford Police selectively leaked irrelevant, negative information about Martin. The authorities told the Orlando Sentinel this morning that Trayvon was suspended from school for ten days “after being found with an empty marijuana baggie.” There is no evidence that Martin was under the influence of drugs at the time of his death, nor would prior possession of marijuana be a reason for killing him. It’s unclear what the relevance of the leak was, other than to smear Martin. [Orlando Sentinel]

3. On Fox News, Geraldo said that Martin was dressed “like a wannabe gangster.” Bill O’Reilly agreed with him. The sole evidence is that Martin was wearing a hoodie. Geraldo added that “everyone that ever stuck up a convenience store” was wearing a hoodie. [ThinkProgress; The Blaze]

4. Without any evidence, prominent right-wing bloggers suggested that Martin was a drug dealer. Right-wing blogger Dan Riehl advances the theory, also advanced in a widely linked peice on a site called Wagist. There does not appear to be any evidence to support this claim whatsoever. [Riehl World View]

5. Without any evidence, a right-wing columnist alleged that Martin assaulted a bus driver. Unlike Zimmerman, Trayvon has no documented history of violence. This allegation continues to be advanced by a blogger on the Examiner even after the real reason was leaked to the police and confirmed by the family. [Miami Herald; Examiner]

6. Zimmerman’s friend says Martin was to blame because he was disrespectful to Zimmerman. Zimmerman’s friend Joe Oliver said that Martin would not have been shot to death if Trayvon had just said “I’m staying with my parents.” Of course, Zimmerman was not a police officer, and Trayvon had no duty to tell him who he was or where he was going. [NBC News]

The final part of the effort to smear Trayvon Martin is to link him and his supporters to irresponsible fringe groups like the New Black Panthers and marignal provocateurs like Louis Farrakhan. Threats by these groups are serious and should be investigated, but they have nothing to do with Martin or his supporters. The leader of the effort to associate Martin with these groups is Matt Drudge. You can see how he is framing the story today here.

I have watched Drudge spin this since the very beginning…

Ultimately, whether Martin was a perfect person is irrelevant to whether Zimmerman’s conduct that night was justified.

Damn Straight!

Moving on to our next series of news links, and our next song to play in our SDB Evening News Soundtrack, from Pink Floyd…Dogs of War…

President Obama Asks Medvedev for ‘Space’ on Missile Defense — ‘After My Election I Have More Flexibility’ – ABC News

At the tail end of his 90 minute meeting with Russian President Dmitri Medvedev Monday, President Obama said that he would have “more flexibility” to deal with controversial issues such as missile defense, but incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin needs to give him “space.”

The exchange was picked up by microphones as reporters were let into the room for remarks by the two leaders.

The exchange:

President Obama: On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space.

President Medvedev: Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you…

President Obama: This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.

President Medvedev: I understand. I will transmit this information to Vladimir.

Sticking with the tune you are listening to…

Support for Afghan War Falls in U.S., Poll Finds – NYTimes.com

 After a series of violent episodes and setbacks, support for the war in Afghanistan has dropped sharply among both Republicans and Democrats, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

The survey found that more than two-thirds of those polled — 69 percent —thought that the United States should not be at war in Afghanistan. Just four months ago, 53 percent said that Americans should no longer be fighting in the conflict, more than a decade old.

The increased disillusionment was even more pronounced when respondents were asked their impressions of how the war was going. The poll found that 68 percent thought the fighting was going “somewhat badly” or “very badly,” compared with 42 percent who had those impressions in November 2011.

No kidding, but now that steps are starting to move forward to withdrawing from Afghanistan, the new US military front is in Asia. U.S., Australia announce deeper military ties amid Pentagon pivot to SE Asia – The Washington Post

The United States and Australia are planning a major expansion of military ties, including possible drone flights from a coral atoll in the Indian Ocean and increased U.S. naval access to Australian ports, as the Pentagon looks to shift its forces closer to Southeast Asia, officials from both countries said.

The moves, which are under discussion but have drawn strong interest from both sides, would come on top of an agreement announced by President Obama and Prime Minister Julia Gillard in November to deploy up to 2,500 U.S. Marines to Darwin, on Australia’s northern coast.

The talks are the latest indicator of how the Obama administration is rapidly turning its strategic attention to Asia as it winds down a costly decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. The U.S. government is finalizing a deal to station four warships in Singapore and has opened negotiations with the Philippines about boosting its military presence there. To a lesser degree, the Pentagon is also seeking to upgrade military relations with Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.

Our next tune my be a song you are unfamiliar with, from the Thompson Twins…No peace for the wicked…

Since Dakinikat had a post earlier today about the SCOTUS hearing, I will just update you with a few new stories.

Health Law Hearings Open in Supreme Court – NYTimes.com

Justices preview bigger issues of health care case – Boston.com

Tax Or Penalty? SCOTUS Unlikely To Let Arcane Jurisdictional Issue Stand In The Way Of Deciding Constitutionality Of Obamacare – Forbes

Let’s get to something more tasty…and for that I will give you some Squeeze, Tempted…(Yes, I am associating cheating on your lover with food.)

BBC News – Chocolate ‘may help keep people slim’

People who eat chocolate regularly tend to be thinner, new research suggests.

The findings come from a study of nearly 1,000 US people that looked at diet, calorie intake and body mass index (BMI) – a measure of obesity.

It found those who ate chocolate a few times a week were, on average, slimmer than those who ate it occasionally.

Popcorn Packed With Antioxidants

Popcorn, already known to be a good source of fiber, has higher levels of healthy antioxidants than some fruits and vegetables, according to new research.

“Based on fiber, whole grains, and antioxidant levels, popcorn is the king of snack foods,” says Joe Vinson, PhD, professor of chemistry at the University of Scranton.

Chocolate and popcorn, my two favorites. I bet there are a few of you who love them too!

And for our last series of links…a bit of oceanic science, James Cameron and biodiversity, environmental protection and climate change…and for this section of the news reads, let’s go to The Fixx…One thing leads to another…

James Cameron, the man who brought you Terminator, Titanic and Avatar, has returned from his dive into the deepest crack in the earth.  There is something quite funny about him going solo in a Deep torpedo submarine. Makes me think of all those frothy Santorum jokes. Anyway, here is a few links from his deep ass dive.

James Cameron on Earth’s Deepest Spot: Desolate, Lunar-Like –  This is from Nat Geo…

James Cameron emerges from ‘alien world’ at ocean’s depths –  This CNN link has a video of his return.

There is a new species of shark that is causing some concern, check it out: New shark species raises threat specter – UPI.com

A young Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, Credit: NOAA

Did you hear about the space junk near miss?

For this news bit, lets use REM…Man on the Moon…

Space junk forces astronauts into escape capsules on International Space Station – CNN.com

A piece of a debris from a Russian Cosmos satellite passed close enough to the International Space Station on Saturday that its crew was ordered into escape capsules as a precaution, NASA said.

The six crew members were told to take shelter late Friday in their Soyuz capsules after it was determined there was a small possibility the debris could hit the station, the U.S. space agency said in a statement.

NASA said it began tracking the debris early Friday morning but only decided to take the precautionary steps after an analysis showed a slight possibility of hitting the space station.

The debris was predicted to pass about 23 kilometers (14.2 miles) from the space station, NASA said.

Space Station’s Near Miss Underlines the Dangers of Debris in Space – The Daily Beast

On a Saturday when most Americans were enjoying an early spring weekend, the six astronauts aboard the international space station had a very close encounter. A discarded fragment of a Russian-made rocket-booster nearly collided with the space station. The March 24 incident was serious enough, according to NASA, for the six astronauts (3 Russians, 2 Americans and a Dutchman) to take safety precautions and move to the escape capsules.

“It basically forced the astronauts on the space station to take cover because of the potential fear that it could hit the space station,” Frank Rose, the State Department’s most senior diplomat working on space policy, told The Daily Beast in an interview.  Noting that the rocket booster was hurtling through space at 17,500 miles per hour, Rose said, “Had that hit the space station, it would have done catastrophic damage.”

Rose, whose formal title is Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Space and Defense policy, is trying to forge an understanding between the space-faring nations to agree not to intentionally create space junk, or the debris created when satellites, rockets, and other man-made objects in orbit collide.

Rose has some reason to be concerned. In 2007, the Chinese military tested an anti-satellite missile successfully, shattering one of China’s old satellites into thousands of shards of debris. Two years later a communications satellite owned by the company Iridium crashed into a Russian satellite. Rose said those two events are responsible for more than a third of the space junk that threatens U.S. satellites today. “Quite frankly these two events account for 36 percent of the total amount of catalogued space debris to be traversing in low earth orbit,” he said.

Wow, I wonder if maybe the moon is safer than orbiting around the earth.

And for the last two links in tonight’s evening reads…The Police…Walking in your footsteps…

Venice Sinking More Than Previously Thought : Discovery News

Venice has begun sinking again and is even tilting slightly eastward, new satellite measurements have revealed.

Despite previous studies suggesting the subsidence had levelled off, new research indicates that the lagoon city continues to sink an average of one to two millimeters (0.04 to 0.08 inches) a year.  That’s more than researchers previously thought.

“It’s a small effect, but it’s important,” Yehuda Bock, a research geodesist with Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, in La Jolla, Calif., said.

With the Adriatic rising in the Venetian lagoon at the same rate, the combined effect is a 4mm (0.16 inches) a year increase in sea level. This means that Venice could sink up to 80 mm (3.2 inches) by 2032.

The study, which will be published March 28 in Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, also found that the City of Water in north-east Italy is listing one millimeter or two (0.04 to 0.08 inches) eastward per year, meaning that the western part is higher than the rest.is listing one millimeter or two (0.04 to 0.08 inches) eastward per year, meaning that the western part is higher than the rest.

Link builds between weather extremes and warming | Reuters

Extreme weather events over the past decade have increased and were “very likely” caused by manmade global warming, a study in the journal Nature Climate Change said on Sunday.

Scientists at Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Research used physics, statistical analysis and computer simulations to link extreme rainfall and heat waves to global warming. The link between warming and storms was less clear.

“It is very likely that several of the unprecedented extremes of the past decade would not have occurred without anthropogenic global warming,” said the study.

The past decade was probably the warmest globally for at least a millennium. Last year was the eleventh hottest on record, the World Meteorological Organization said on Friday.

Extreme weather events were devastating in their impacts and affected nearly all regions of the globe.

They included severe floods and record hot summers in Europe; a record number of tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic in 2005; the hottest Russian summer since 1500 in 2010 and the worst flooding in Pakistan’s history.

Last year alone, the United States suffered 14 weather events which caused losses of over $1 billion each.

NOT NORMAL

The high amount of extremes is not normal, the study said.

Not normal is right…so give all those links a read…or just listen to the music and enjoy the rest of your night.