I have to take my daughter to her dentist appointment in Atlanta this afternoon, so I am writing this post early…way early! If any of these links I have to share with you are repeats, sorry about that.
By now everyone has heard the shocking news out of Vatican City: Pope Benedict surprises world, steps down citing frailty
Pope Benedict surprised the world on Monday by saying he no longer had the mental and physical strength to cope with the demands of his ministry, becoming the first pontiff to step down since the Middle Ages and leaving his aides “incredulous”.
The 85-year-old German-born Pope, hailed as a hero by conservative Catholics and viewed with suspicion by liberals, said he had noticed that his strength had deteriorated over recent months.
A Vatican spokesman said the Pope had not resigned because of “difficulties in the papacy” and the decision had been a surprise, indicating that even his closest aides were unaware that he was about to quit. The Pope does not fear schism in the Church after his resignation, the spokesman said.
After examining his conscience “before God,” he said in a statement that reverberated around the world on the Internet and social media sites, “I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise” of his position as head of the world’s one billion Roman Catholics.
A profoundly conservative figure whose papacy was overshadowed by clerical abuse scandals, Benedict, 85, was elected by fellow cardinals in 2005 after the death of John Paul II.
Fox News had this picture up with its article reporting Benedict’s resignation: Pope Benedict to become first pontiff in 600 years to resign
Innit cute? Almost like he is taking his hat off in a goodbye salute…its a much better image for this story than the picture that Fox News had up earlier this week on a story about traditional gender roles.
This afternoon, author Jessica Valenti hilariously pointed out that a Fox News column about traditional gender roles in marriage is accidentally accompanied by a photograph of two lesbian newly-weds exchanging a kiss.
The FoxNews.com column in question was written by Suzanne Venker, the niece of social conservative hero Phyllis Schlafly, and previous author of the roundly-panned column on how it’s all women’s fault that there is a “battle of the sexes.”
Venker’s latest column, titled “To be happy, we must admit women and men aren’t ‘equal’” laments that in modern marriage, “men and women have no idea who’s supposed to do what,” all because of “feminists” who preach a “new way” of thinking about gender. Men and women now believe they can do the same things “without ramifications,” she wrote:
“Being equal in worth, or value, is not the same as being identical, interchangeable beings. Men and women may be capable of doing many of the same things, but that doesn’t mean they want to. That we don’t have more female CEOs or stay-at-home dads proves this in spades.”
Knowing the author and subject of the column, it’s pretty much a given that the featured image is an unintentional (but, indeed, hilarious) inclusion:
Turns out, that’s a stock image of Alaskan same-sex couple Stephanie Figarelle and Lela McArthur, who were wed atop the Empire State Building early last year…
Fox eventually took the picture down and replaced it with the generic stick figure image you usually see on restroom doors:
Oh well, it was funny while it lasted.
Now a couple of weather stories…
You need to click the links to these next articles because they are a bit too involved to quote from.
It happened again.
A major storm hit the northeast U.S. and the U.S. global model lagged badly behind the predictions of the European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) . Just as with Sandy.
For a century, schoolchildren have been taught that the massive ocean current known as the Gulf Stream carries warm water from the tropical Atlantic Ocean to northwestern Europe. As it arrives, the water heats the air above it. That air moves inland, making winter days in Europe milder than they are in the northeastern U.S.
It might be time to retire that tidy story.
This next article makes me think of the scene from Monty Python’s Holy Grail…the one where the old lady is beating the cat against the wall…Do Not Try to Recreate This 16th-Century German Cat Bomb at Home
Illustration, cat and bird with rocket packs (University of Pennsylvania).Think you’re the first person to consider the offensive capabilities of cats and birds in a hypothetical war against zombies space invaders enemies of the Holy Roman Empire? Think again!
The Germans beat you to it by about 425 years, as proven by this painting, which BibliOdyssey found and The Appendix Journal posted to its Tumblr. The manuscript from which it was drawn was called “Feuer Buech,” which I’m guessing translates from the old German to English as “Fire Book.” It’s a “treatise on munitions and explosive devices, with many illustrations of the various devices and their uses.”
Well, I am not sure how they could get the cat to walk into the fortification on its own…it probably would need to get a little help from its friends:
Since we had a cat story, how about a dog story? According to the BBC: Dogs understand human perspective, say researchers
Dogs are more capable of understanding situations from a human’s point of view than has previously been recognised, according to researchers.
They found dogs were four times more likely to steal food they had been forbidden, when lights were turned off so humans in the room could not see.
This suggested the dogs were able to alter their behaviour when they knew their owners’ perspective had changed.
I wonder if a dog would alter their behavior because a human put a rocket backpack on it?*
The experiments had been trying to find whether dogs could adapt their behaviour in response to the changed circumstances of their human owners.
It wanted to see if dogs had a “flexible understanding” that could show they understood the viewpoint of a human.
*Note, my comment was snarky and not in the best of taste, but I needed to put some perspective on these stories. Animals have been used during wartime throughout history.
Check this out: 6 Insane Uses of Animals in Wartime (That Actually Worked) **
(**Uh, just a post script to my note….that link goes to a 2011 Cracked Magazine post, but they cite real articles and state true facts, go figure!)
Last story for you this afternoon, and it deals with a monster from the reptile world…no it is not another story about the Church, World’s largest crocodile dies in Philippines
February 11, 2013 Lolong, world’s largest saltwater crocodile in captivity, pictured in Bunawan, the Philippines, on September 21, 2011 Enlarge Lolong, a one-tonne, 6.17 metres crocodile believed to be the biggest to have ever been caught, is seen in a caged pen in the southern Philippine town of Bunawan, on September 21, 2011. Lolong has died, 17 months after the suspected man-eater was hunted down and put on display for tourists, according to his caretakers.
You may remember this beast from a story I shared with you a couple of years ago: Monster crocodile gets own park in Philippines
Philippine villagers examine the giant crocodile after its capture on September 4. A monster crocodile which is reputedly the world’s largest is the star attraction at its own nature park which opened in the Philippines this weekend, weeks after the beast’s capture.
That is one picture I haven’t forgotten, I am pretty sure you probably haven’t forgotten it either. Oooof!
This is an open thread…
My eyes popped open at 5:30 this morning, and I could not go back to sleep. So while checking my RSS feeds I found a few articles from Alternet that you should take a look at. I will just post the link and a small part of the article to tease you…
First this look at a British documentary that spanned decades, The Brutal Truth About How Childhood Determines Your Economic Destiny
“Give me the child until he is seven,” the old Jesuit teachers say, “and I will give you the man.”
Back in 1964, filmmaker Paul Almond set out to test that theory by documenting the lives of a group of seven-year-old British children. Some were born to the manor; others grew up in charity homes. There were tykes from both the countryside and the city. Almond wanted to know if the destiny of the children had already been scripted by the circumstances of their birth — particularly those of class. His film Seven Up! has grown into a series spanning over five decades. Every seven years, like the cycle in some mythological saga, Michael Apted, the assistant on the original project, has returned to these children as they have morphed before our eyes into awkward adolescents, tentative adults, and now, the paunchy survivors of late middle-age.
As bright-eyed children, participants like Jackie Bassett, the product of a working-class neighborhood, or Andrew Brackfield, who attends a posh prep school, are already miles apart in attitude and habits. Tellingly, the children speak very differently about what they see in their future. Those from the higher ranks already know which universities they’ll attend, while Paul Kligarman, who lives at the charity home, asks plaintively, “What’s a university?”
This article is written by Lynn Parramore, and although I have disagreed with her position before…she does an excellent job on laying out the resulting class structures that conservative policies and austerity bring about…you know, the death of upward mobility.
On to another interesting long reads, this time written by Jennifer Holladay: Why Are 8 Year-Olds Reading Stories That Glorify Rape?
Last spring, my 2nd-grade daughter came home with an extra assignment—a worksheet she hadn’t completed in class for a story called “The Selkie Girl.” She brought the book home, too, and it was one I’d never seen before, a Junior Great Books anthology (Series 3, Book 1), published by the nonprofit Great Books Foundation.
As we settled in, I asked my daughter to tell me about “The Selkie Girl.” Her rendition gave me pause, so I asked her to do her other homework first. She turned to a worksheet, and I cracked the book open.
“The Selkie Girl” is essentially about a magical seal-woman who is kidnapped and raped repeatedly during her long captivity. The man who holds her hostage proclaims early on that “I am in love” and “I want her to be my wife.” When he kidnapped her, “She was crying bitterly, but she followed him.” Later, the narrative tells us, “Because he was gentle and loving, she no longer wept. When their first child was born, he saw her smile.” When her means of escape is discovered, however, she explains quite bluntly to the children she bore: “For I was brought here against my will, 20 years past.”
It’s like the modern-day reality of Jaycee Dugard (who was kidnapped at age 11 in California and held captive with her two children for 18 years), told in folklore for the consumption of young children.
It is disturbing, but as you will read in the article, it goes back to conservative policies…this time the target is in education. I guess you can imagine where the discovery of this story “The Selkie Girl” will lead Holladay as she researches the publisher of the textbook, it is no surprise. Just read it.
On to another alternet post, this time a review of sorts of the latest crap written by Ben Shapiro. Conservatives Are Always Triumphant and Also an Oppressed Minority, According to Notably Stupid New Book
Ben Shapiro makes his living harrumphing over the sins of liberalism, and his new book doesn’t disappoint.
Being a doctrinaire conservative in this day and age requires you to do a lot of cognitive gymnastics. Luckily, the captain of the right’s gymnastic team is Ben Shapiro, who has been an exceptional contortionist since his YAF days, when he simultaneously boasted of his unfashionable virginity and scolded everyone else about their allegedly unconventional sex lives. Ben is married now, and presumably has engaged in heterosexual intercourse, but it hasn’t made him any happier or more relaxed, as he makes his living harrumphing over the sins of liberalism. Hey, just because it’s easy doesn’t mean someone should do it.
Though not himself large, Ben has wrangled, by virtue of being a nuance-impervious loudmouth, the position of editor-at-large at Breitbart.com. (You may recall that this position was once held by Andrew Breitbart himself, until his heart self-detonated rather than listen to him bellow for one more second.) This job entails being a sort of all-purpose complainer, a queen bee fat on the jelly of foundation grants, forever sending out drones to gather the sweet nectar of gripe. Just like that one guy on your Facebook who can’t relate to anything unless it has a Star Wars reference in it, Ben has cranked out book after book of impotent whining about how liberals are ruining everything with their education and their pornography and their crazy rock and roll and their hair. A 79-year-old man in the body of a failed attorney, his books (which I only hesitate to call unreadable because even I have better things to do than read them) attract praise from the kind of people who write books exactly like them — that is to say, endless litanies of alleged liberal treachery and evildoing.
And I will end with this post: Is The American Hemp Renaissance About to Begin?
Kentucky was America’s leading hemp producer in the early 19th century. Now, two hundreds year later, after a historic election for drug policy has led to a shift for marijuana policy reform in America, Kentucky lawmakers are taking steps to revive the crop. While advocates for hemplegalization say the plant could bring a wealth of green jobs to Kentucky, deep-rooted drug stigma and conflict with federal law have made t he legislation’s passing unlikely. Nonetheless, two state bills are in the works, while a federal proposal aims to clear the way for state legalization. Lawmakers suggest the bills could at least open up the conversation about hemp, and clear misconceptions about its use.
Because hemp is increasingly imported from Canada, growing and making it in the US could save the US money and create green jobs at home. Aside from soy, no other plant has shown the potential to create so many different products — from hemp soap to paper and oil. Moreover, hemp rarely requires pesticides, can be grown in the same fields over several consecutive years, and produces biodegradable plastics and biofuels. Lightweight and dense, hemp-limeis a building material that known to be an efficient insulator leaving behind a minimal carbon footprint.
Which, in light of the current Midwestern drought that is bringing about comparisons to the great Dust Bowl, this long read about a historic plant like hemp was actually hopeful. However, like most of the articles I’ve shared today…seeing the problem and actually fixing it are two different things. I don’t know, maybe the real issue is staring us right in the face? Conservative policies don’t work, and it is painfully obvious to me that until we move away from these right-wing ideals…none of the solutions to many of our problems will ever get put into action.
Damn…now that is depressing.
Catch y’all later in the comment section, for now my eyelids are getting heavy and maybe I can get a few more hours sleep in before the kids way up.
<——– Looks like Karl Rove…yes?
Hey y’all, tonight’s cartoons really can not be labeled as disgusted and angry, that is just my mood the last 28 hours. I guess since I have nothing nice to say I should just get on with it.
Let us start first with this news out of Ohio…Montpelier school board approves carrying of handguns by custodial staff .
I will just post the money quotes for you:
The Montpelier Exempted Village Schools Board of Education has approved the carrying of handguns by its custodial staff.
“Sitting back and doing nothing and hoping it doesn’t happen to you is just not good policy anymore. There is a need for schools to beef up their security measures,” Supertendent [sic] Jamie Grime told The Blade today. “Having guns in the hands of the right people are not a hindrance. They are a means to protect.”
Mr. Grime said their legal counsel advised that Ohio’s gun law allows for school boards to authorize employees to possess weapons on school grounds if they pass the requirements of the concealed-carry law.
The school district will pay for the employees to undergo a two-day training class in mid March, when instructors with the Tactical Defense Institute of West Union, Ohio, will give them a defense class on handgun use in Montpelier.
My son made the observation…that school custodians hate their jobs and can’t stand the kids. Yup, that sure is a smart idea to arm these low wage janitors with handguns…but I guess with such involved and time-consuming training…what could go wrong.
One more link before we get to the cartoons. There is an article up at Cagle which I think you all may appreciate, since the cartoon posts are kind of a favorite around here. Cagle Post – Political Cartoons & Commentary – » How to Draw a Political Cartoon by Daryl and Steve
And with that little tutorial, we will start with some early political/editorial cartoons…that being Satirical Maps of long ago. Check out the link for more by the way… Via BibliOdyssey:
‘The French Invasion, or John Bull, bombarding the Bum-boats’
Etching by James Gillray; published in London by Hannah Humphrey in 1793
Image source: British Museum
“A comic map, inscribed ‘A new Map of England & France’, actually showing England and Wales, the SW. corner of Scotland, the north of France, just including ‘Paris’, and the Belgian coast as far as Ostend. England is represented by the body of George III (John Bull), his head in profile to the right, wearing a fool’s cap composed of ‘Northumberland’. His left leg is drawn up, Norfolk forms the knee, the mouth of the ‘River Thames’ the ankle, Kent the foot. His outstretched right leg terminates as Cornwall.
From the coast, at the junction of ‘Hampshire’ and ‘Sussex’, issues a blast of excrement inscribed ‘British Declaration’, which smites a swarm of ‘Bum-Boats’ extending from Ushant to the mouth of the Seine. The map is divided (inaccurately, and with omissions, but with a rough correctness) into counties, Wales representing the flying coat-tails of the King, who strides across the ocean with great vigour.”
Hey, doesn’t that give the classic scene from Monty Python’s Holy Grail a whole new meaning.
That fetus needs to be wearing a janitor uniform…don’t ya think? A mop in one
fin hand and a AK-47 in the other.
This is what our janitors look like in Banjoville on their days off!
(Actually, it is what most of the population here looks like. And considering that our local sheriff office has worked through an avalanche of concealed weapon permits…over 500 applications since Dec. 14th, you can bet there will be some pistol packing grandmas, Southern belles and banjo playing country folk carrying heat in the mountains of Georgia.)
Speaking of Southern Belles:
I love that one!
Y’all have a great evening…this is an open thread.
My daughter has the flu, so I spent the day in the waiting room of the doctor…I don’t even know what happened today at the NRA press conference. From the headline of Boston Boomer’s post, Unhinged Wayne LaPierre Advocates Putting Guns in Schools as Gunman Kills 4, Wounds 3 in Altoona, PA , it looks like it was full of tragic irony.
This is an open thread.
Good Late Night!
I don’t know about y’all, but Wednesday just can’t come fast enough. I am so sick of this election and hope that once it is all over, I will never have to see Mitt’s face (and that smirk) ever again.
Anyway, its cartoon time!
This is an open thread of course, what y’all doing tonight?