Guess you can tell from the title of this post, animals will play a feature role in today’s reads. Right now here in Banjoville the skies are opening up and raining down cats and dogs. Loud thunder is shaking the house, and that means lightning…real bad lightning…so I best make this post short and sweet. So here are your morning reads in link dump fashion.
Well, down in Miami the police roughed up a kid who was holding a puppy because he looked at them funny. I should say not funny as in funny amusing, but as they put it….”dehumanizing.”
Miami-Dade Police allegedly handcuffed and choked a 14 year old boy while he was carrying a newborn puppy for giving them a “dehumanizing” stare. A court case over the incident will begin on July 16th.
Tremaine McMillian was, by his account, playing on a beach with a friend and his puppy on the Miami boardwalk when police came over to tell them to stop “roughousing.” Though the police later admitted the boys’ activity was neither criminal nor violent, they asked the boys where their parents were. McMillian directed the officers to his nearby mother, and that’s where the family and the police’s story diverge.
McMillian and his mother, Maurissa Holmes, say the police chased down McMillian on ATVs and attacked him essentially without provocation. “The police officers were on their ATVs, and my son was walking,” Holmes said. “They jumped off their ATVs, grabbed him and slammed him to the ground.”
You can read the police’s version at the link, you can also see video of the arrest as well…there are some discrepancies however…pointed out by Tommy Christopher…check this out.
…there’s another painfully adorable detail that was left out of that report. Here’s what Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaletatold CBS 4:
Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta told D’Oench it was just after 11:00 am on Memorial Day on Haulover Beach when officers saw McMillian slamming another teenager on to the sand.
“They told him that behavior was unacceptable,” said Zabaleta. “He walked away and officers followed him. They asked where his parents were. He said he was not going to take them to them. When he started to leave the beach area, officers had to get off their ATVs to detain him. He had closed arms, clenched fists and pulled his arm away.”
“Once he was approaching the road, the officers restrained him. Again his body language was that he was stiffening up and pulling away,” said Zabaleta. “Now you’re resisting officers at that point and when the hands are swinging and you are resisting officers, at that point you have to be taken into custody.”
“Of course we have to neutralize the threat,” said Zabaleta. “When you have somebody resistant to them and pulling away and somebody clenching their fists and flailing their arms, that’s a threat.”
He said the police report did not indicate that a puppy was involved.
“At that point we are not concerned with a puppy,” said Zabaleta. “We are concerned with the threat to the officer.”
So, the police don’t seem to be disputing that the puppy was there, just that he didn’t merit inclusion in the report. But if the puppy was there, then how do police explain this?
“How could I be clenching my fists when I was taking care of my puppy and giving him some milk with a bottle?” asked McMillian.
I mean the kid was giving the newborn puppy a bottle of milk…WTF?
Shit…with the way law enforcement authorities are reporting things lately, that bottle of milk could have been a rocket launcher and the puppy? Well that was no puppy, that was a dwarf Muslim terrorist, hey….don’t mistake that fur for the towel on his head. /snark
I want to bring this story to your attention, it is about pigs but not the real animals. U.S. Naval Academy football players investigated for sexual assault | Reuters
Three members of the U.S. Naval Academy football team are being investigated for the alleged sexual assault of a female student, the Pentagon said on Friday, the latest in a string of scandals that have thrown a spotlight on sex crimes in the military.
The alleged incident took place in April 2012, when the student attended a party at the off-campus “football house” in Annapolis, Maryland and became intoxicated, her attorney, Susan Burke, said in a statement.
“She woke up at the football house the next morning with little recall of what had occurred. She learned from friends and social media that three football players were claiming to have had sexual intercourse with her while she was incapacitated,” Burke said, without identifying her client by name.
No charges have been brought forth yet, this is still being investigated.
Burke said that one of the football players pressured the woman not to cooperate with an initial investigation into the case. She initially followed that advice, but was still “ostracized and retaliated against by the football players and the Naval Academy community.” She was also disciplined for drinking, Burke said in a statement.
In early 2013, the female student decided to seek legal help and the Navy re-opened the investigation, Burke said.
“Over time, the midshipman began to recover from the trauma, and became angered at the lack of justice and retaliation in her case,” she said.
I am sure that this investigation will eventually end up like these cases usually do. But with the congressional hearings coming up…maybe there will be a fire under the ass of these military brass and justice will finally take a front seat and not get molested like so many of these women service members.
Here is yet another article about shitty pay and what it does to the economy. One Walmart’s Low Wages Could Cost Taxpayers $900,000 Per Year, House Dems Find
Then you have the other side of the coin, y’all heard that Tumblr was sold to Yahoo for 1.1 billion dollars…check this out: Tumblr’s Creative Director Quits
On to something more interesting, these next two links are about different things…but deal with the same subject.
First, this article from the New York Times: Justice Dept. Reports Rise in Prosecutions on Indian Lands
The Justice Department said this week that it had increased its rate of criminal prosecutions in Indian country by more than 50 percent in the past four years, a period in which violent crime on the nation’s Indian reservations has soared and tribes have complained of lawlessness.
The data, part of a Justice Department report released Thursday, found that United States attorneys had prosecuted about 69 percent of the 3,145 criminal cases referred to their offices from Indian country last year — an improvement over 2011, when the federal government tried 63 percent of 2,840 criminal cases in Indian country.
The report comes amid a wave of violent crime on Indian lands and criticism of the Justice Department by tribal officials who say United States attorneys pursue far too few violent criminal cases on reservations.
Prosecutors say they must decline many Indian country cases — about 60 percent of the total — because of a lack of evidence.
The feds usually prosecute murder, rape and white-collar crimes, but these numbers are a bit confusing because there is a new law that went into effect which includes various other violent crimes.
Previous government data have cited violent crimes, which presented a more pessimistic picture: that the Justice Department files charges in only about half of Indian country murder investigations and one-third of sexual assault cases. The data also showed the number of prosecutions by United States attorneys of violent crimes fell by 3 percent from 2000 to 2010, even as crime on some reservations increased by 50 percent or more.
But the report released this week does not separate the number of federal prosecutions for violent crimes. Instead, the report groups them with drug cases and white-collar crime.
On Friday, Wyn Hornbuckle, a Justice Department spokesman, said the analysis did not specify figures for violent crime because the department was not required to do so by the Tribal Law and Order Act, a 2010 law that mandates that the department release prosecution rates in Indian country. (This week’s report is the agency’s first since the law went into effect.)
I guess these reports are just like any other reports out there, what the hell do they really tell us? And do they exist so people can twist these department figures to their advantage, and by doing that manipulate the dialogue to justify their own agenda. (I know the answer to that…)
The other link is this: Do Mascots Need Modernizing? « The Dish
Earlier this week, ten members of Congress sent a letter to the front office of the Washington Redskins, pushing them to select a new mascot:
In this day and age, it is imperative that you uphold your moral responsibility to disavow the usage of racial slurs. The usage of the “R-word” is especially harmful to Native American youth, tending to lower their sense of dignity and self-esteem. It also diminishes feelings of community worth among the Native American tribes and dampens the aspirations of their people. We look forward to working with you to find a solution to this important matter.
This is something that I am hesitant to get involved in. I am no fan of the Atlanta Braves, but they also have an Indian mascot. There is talk of getting the government involved, like previous strategy used by the JFK admin when the Redskins owners would not integrate the team. See the JFKs guys would not allow the Redskins on the stadium property because it was federal land…however,
Doug Mataconis disagrees with the liberal lawmakers’ strategy:
I have to wonder why this is something that Members of Congress need to be getting involved in, or why legislation is necessary to address something that is, in the end, a private business matter.
The people who don’t like the name are free to protest it. Dan Snyder and the rest of Redskins ownership are free to reject their pleas. If there ever comes a time when the public sympathizes with the protesters, then perhaps the team will feel the kind of economic pressure most likely to cause them to change positions, then we’ll likely see a name change of some kind.
Personally, I think the odds of that happening are pretty remote. The Redskins name has been in existence now since 1933 when the football version of the Boston Braves changed its name to Boston Redskins before moving to Washington, D.C. several years later. We’re not that far away from the 100th anniversary of that name. It’s going to be around for a long time to come, and I’m just fine with that.
Well, the Redskins play on the FedEx field in Maryland now…and it isn’t on Federal land. Like I said, I don’t know how I feel about this…guess we will talk about it in the comments below.
Ralph posted a link to an article about the DOJ Press Leaks by Walter Pincus last week in the comments and I thought everyone would appreciate this response from the ACLU. (I remembered the name Pincus because of Seinfeld…and Kramer, “Poor little Pincus.”) Anyway: Responding to The Washington Post’s Walter Pincus on Leaks and Shield Laws | American Civil Liberties Union
A bit of Manhattan History for those of you who are the nostalgic types: 1930s New York subway train makes rare trip from Queens to Manhattan
May 30, 2013: In this photo provided by the New York Mass Transit Administration, an unidentified MTA employee checks the platform from between the cars of a 1930’s era subway train in the Queens borough of New York. (AP/Mass Transit Administration)
Lucky straphangers who happened to be in the right place at the right time on Thursday got to ride in eight subway cars purchased between 1930 and 1939.
The Metropolitan Transit Authority says some of the cars were taken out of the New York Transit Museum to commemorate the opening of a stretch of subway tracks badly damaged during Superstorm Sandy.
After the ceremony, the cars were put into regular passenger service for one quick trip from Queens to upper Manhattan.
Riders on board the train took pictures and gawked at its old-school style. Ads for Clark bars, fireworks shows on Coney Island and Levy’s Rye Bread adorned the walls.
More history for you, this is Breaking Bad meets Inglorious Basturds: Crystal Meth Origins Link Back to Nazi Germany and World War II – SPIEGEL ONLINE
Crystal meth is notorious for being highly addictive and ravaging countless communities. But few know that the drug can be traced back to Nazi Germany, where it first became popular as a way to keep pilots and soldiers alert in battle during World War II.
“Alertness aid” read the packaging, to be taken “to maintain wakefulness.” But “only from time to time,” it warned, followed by a large exclamation point.
The young soldier, though, needed more of the drug, much more. He was exhausted by the war, becoming “cold and apathetic, completely without interests,” as he himself observed. In letters sent home by the army postal service, he asked his family to send more. On May 20, 1940, for example, he wrote: “Perhaps you could obtain some more Pervitin for my supplies?” He found just one pill was as effective for staying alert as liters of strong coffee. And — even better — when he took the drug, all his worries seemed to disappear. For a couple of hours, he felt happy.
This 22-year-old, who wrote numerous letters home begging for more Pervitin, was not just any soldier — he was Heinrich Böll, who would go on to become one of Germany’s leading postwar writers and win a Nobel Prize for literature in 1972. And the drug he asked for is now illegal, notoriously so. We now know it as crystal meth.
Man, that is some fucked up shit.
Alright, since we touched on chemistry…here is a link that ties in perfectly. Molecule Chemical Bond Images From UC Berkeley | Geekosystem
Have you ever looked at a textbook diagram of the chemical bonds that make up molecules and thought to yourself, “This is just a dumb drawing — how do they know what it even looks like in real life?” Well stop it. Stop it right now. Felix Fischer of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is going to show you what it looks like with these gorgeous high-resolution images of individual carbon atoms linking together. And guess what? They look just like they do in the textbooks. Happy now?
I swear I had no idea these things really looked like this! Did you? Go to the link to read the rest. Amazing.
Back now to my own comfort zone: ‘Amazingly rare’ letter written by Robert the Bruce to Edward II found (But I gotta say, I hated the movie Braveheart!)
An unknown and “amazingly rare” letter written by Robert the Bruce at a pivotal point of the Wars of Scottish Independence has been uncovered by a Scottish academic.
In the letter, the fearsome Scottish warrior appeals to the English King Edward II for an end to “persecution and disturbance”. It was sent in 1310, less than four years before Bannockburn, the victory that paved the way for Scottish independence.
Dauvit Broun, professor of Scottish History at the University of Glasgow, found the letter in The British Library while studying a manuscript written by the monks of Kirkstall Abbey about 500 years ago. The correspondence happened to be copied by the monks into their manuscript, the original has not survived.
Professor Broun said: “It’s amazingly rare, a freak survival. There’s nothing like this that survives from around that time.”
Listen to the tone of Robert the Bruce…
Bruce wrote to “beseech” the king that “you would take pains to cease from our persecution and the disturbance of the people of our kingdom in order that devastation and the spilling of a neighbour’s blood may henceforth stop.”
Take a look at the rest of the article at the link. I wish they had printed the full letter. I would have loved to read the whole thing myself.
Real quick archeology links:
Earlier this week I linked to the female mammoth with flowing blood that was found in Siberia…well, this was another cool “ice age” related article that I was planning on sharing with you: Centuries-old frozen plants revived
Plants that were frozen during the “Little Ice Age” centuries ago have been observed sprouting new growth, scientists say.
Samples of 400-year-old plants known as bryophytes have flourished under laboratory conditions.
Researchers say this back-from-the-dead trick has implications for how ecosystems recover from the planet’s cyclic long periods of ice coverage. The findings appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The receding glaciers are exposing land that has not seen daylight since the mini ice age.
Bryophytes are different from the land plants that we know best, in that they do not have vascular tissue that helps pump fluids around different parts of the organism.
They can survive being completely desiccated in long Arctic winters, returning to growth in warmer times, but Dr La Farge was surprised by an emergence of bryophytes that had been buried under ice for so long.
“When we looked at them in detail and brought them to the lab, I could see some of the stems actually had new growth of green lateral branches, and that said to me that these guys are regenerating in the field, and that blew my mind,” she told BBC News.
“If you think of ice sheets covering the landscape, we’ve always thought that plants have to come in from refugia around the margins of an ice system, never considering land plants as coming out from underneath a glacier.”
But the retreating ice at Sverdrup Pass, where the Teardrop Glacier is located, is uncovering an array of life, including cyanobacteria and green terrestrial algae. Many of the species spotted there are entirely new to science.
And from that story of new life from ancient plants to a post in The Atlantic, I will just put it here because…well, you all will see why: Why the Boomers Are the Most Hated Generation – Edward Tenner – The Atlantic (Look at the comments, some of them are funny and vicious indeed.)
While you “feast” on that, take a look at this op/ed from the LA Times…Jefferson Davis’ ‘presidential’ library - It offers a rallying point for the myth of a gentle and just South dragged into the War of Northern Aggression.
And then…think about that little island in the Mediterranean for all us Sky Dancers to escape to: The island of long life – On the Greek island of Ikaria, life is sweet… and very, very long. So what is the locals’ secret?
BTW, did you see my man Samuel L Jackson and his latest video? Samuel L. Jackson Quitting Acting To Pursue A ‘Life Of Vigilantism’? | Mediaite
Samuel L. Jacksonsubmitted a challenge to the Reddit community this week. “It’s simple,” he wrote, “write 300 words and the most upvoted post I’ll read out loud in monologue form.” Today, Jackson posted the winning monologue video and it was just as “bad-ass” as promised.
“Hi, I’m Samuel L. Jackson,” he began, “I’m sorry to disappoint you, Reddit, but I’ve decided to break the rules of my own competition.” From there, the actor said he wanted to “speak to you all from my own heart, in my own words” before announcing that he was “quitting acting and pursuing a life of vigilantism.” Fortunately for fans of one of America’s most prolific actors, this was all part of the winning submission from Reddit user adiddy.
I love this mutha…
Jackson set up the unconventional contest to help raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association, and revealed on Reddit that the campaign had raised over $130,000. Everyone who donated was entered to win lunch with Jackson and a trip to his UK celebrity golf tournament.
The whole thing almost got “derailed by the internet forum 4Chan”but here it is…
Whoa….ooooeeee, that dude is awesome.
Now for the animals.
Farmers shear an alpaca at a zoo in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, May 30, 2013…
Scrawny under all that fleece aren’t they. I just got one thing to say, that alpaca is not getting sheared by someone looking to spin the fiber into yarn. What a waste! Butcher of a job…
What a difference….those of you inclined to fiber fun, check out the video and watch these guys get sheared.
And see how the fiber is prepared:
Alright then, moving on to the penguins.
To greet African leaders arriving for conference in Japan, event organizers force group of Penguins to dress up in ‘African’ costumes …
And finally, meet Chris P. Bacon: The wheelchair pig
A Florida veterinarian who fashioned a wheelchair for his pet pig has just signed a three-book publishing deal on the life and adventures of his little friend he named Chris P. Bacon.
That’ll do pig. Oh he is so damn cute.
Geez, 3360 words later, short and sweet my ass!
That should keep everyone busy, now some of you will have storms to look out for today, so stay alert: Severe Weather Warnings Page
And if you are around, stop and leave a comment or two….have a wonderful day!
<———— Look at that face?
Doesn’t this frog have a skeptical look about him…or maybe it is more of a look that says…don’t mess with me man! Don’t you bullshit me man.
When I look at this present day photograph of the little green dude below…I see that same look I admired so much from the Dutch illustration drawn 241 years ago.
Don’t you see the similarities echoing back to you through the eyes?
From Andrew Sullivan’s Face Of The Day « The Dish
This little guy has reason to keep his head down:
Amsterdam-based photographer Peter Lipton’s recent project is based around a research and conservation program at the Catholic University of Quito that was created in 2005 to address the growing number of endangered amphibians due to the country’s increases in logging, oil exploration, agriculture and climate change. Named ‘Balsa de los sapos’—Spanish for ‘Life raft of the frogs’—the program aims to collect, reproduce, and return endangered amphibians to their natural habitat. Lipton creates an exquisite showcase of these unique creatures, many of which are sadly the last known specimens.
I guess you could say I am starting this post off on a reflective note? These little amphibians are not the only species that have come to the few remaining of their kind. From the BBC News – Zoo seeks mate for last surviving ‘gorgeously ugly’ fish
Male mangarahara cichlids are distinguished from the females by their size and flowing fins
I don’t know, he ain’t so bad looking.
London Zoo is appealing to fish keepers to try to find a mate for a critically endangered, tropical species.
The Mangarahara cichlid is extinct in the wild but the three in captivity are all male.
The Zoo, which describes the fish as “gorgeously ugly”, is hoping to start a conservation programme if a fit female can be found for the captive males.
And with two of the males now 12 years old, the quest is said to be extremely urgent.
“I think there’s probably a very slim to no chance of this fish surviving” – Brian Zimmerman, London Zoo
These cichlids were named after the Mangarahara river in Madagascar where they were first found.
The construction of dams on the river caused the streams they lived in to dry up and the fish is now believed to be extinct in its natural habitat.
There are two males in captivity at London Zoo and another in Berlin. There had been a female in captivity at the German zoo but attempts to breed ended in disaster when the male killed her.
Which Zimmerman says is a common thing with cichlids…..well, that is one hell of a shame. This guy is going out with a dramatic twist, the only female of your species left in the world…and you kill her.
I’ve got one more fish tale to tell you, this is real fascinating: Navy dolphins discover rare old torpedo off Calif. coast near Coronado | McClatchy
In the ocean off Coronado, a Navy team has discovered a relic worthy of display in a military museum: a torpedo of the kind deployed in the late 19th century, considered a technological marvel in its day.
But don’t look for the primary discoverers to get a promotion or an invitation to meet the admirals at the Pentagon – although they might get an extra fish for dinner or maybe a pat on the snout.
The so-called Howell torpedo was discovered by bottlenose dolphins being trained by the Navy to find undersea objects, including mines, that not even billion-dollar technology can detect.
“Dolphins naturally possess the most sophisticated sonar known to man,” Braden Duryee, an official at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific said after the surprising discovery.
While not as well known as the Gatling gun and the Sherman tank, the Howell torpedo was hailed as a breakthrough when the U.S. was in heavy competition for dominance on the high seas. It was the first torpedo that could truly follow a track without leaving a wake and then smash a target, according to Navy officials.
Only 50 were made between 1870 and 1889 by a Rhode Island company before a rival copied and surpassed the Howell’s capability.
Anyway, be sure to read more about the Howell torpedo at the McClatchy link above. For other Civil War weapons that did not perform as well as the Howell torpedo, check this blog post out that list: 10 Strange Civil War Weapons (My favorite is the Harmonica Pistol)
An attempt to create a multi-shot pistol by adding a horizontal magazine—some variations held up to 10 percussion cap or pinfire cartridges—the harmonica gun was probably invented and certainly patented by a Frenchman, J. Jarre of Paris, between 1859-1862. No musical instruments were involved. The name came from the shape of the magazine, and the weapon was also called the “slide gun.” An early manufacturer in the US was Jonathan Browning, father of firearms designer John Moses Browning. While looking like the sort of weapon a steampunk James Bond might carry, the harmonica gun proved too impractical for wide adoption. The user had to manually adjust the sliding magazine to center each cartridge under the hammer for every shot. Like VHS vs. Betamax, the much easier and faster shooting revolver finally won the day. The mechanism wasn’t limited to pistols—famed Texas Senator Sam Houston owned a percussion rifle (by Henry Gross) using a harmonica slide which is on display at the National Museum of American History.
Here is another list of things for you, take a look at this infographic: The 13 Worst Jobs of the Last 2,000 Years
Click on the image to see the larger graphic.
Now that will bring me to some articles dealing with history, these are fabulous! And since we have some nasty weather here in Banjoville, I am going to give them to you in link dump fashion…just in case the storms wreak havoc with my DSL service.
Eerie new images have emerged of a French apartment abandoned at the outbreak of World War II and left untouched in the seven decades since.
Other than a thick layer of dust covering the furniture, the room looks exactly as it would have done 70 years ago when its occupants fled Paris for the south of France as the Second World War erupted in Europe.
With Germany devising the Fall Gelb – a military sub-campaign later known as the Manstein Plan, with an objective conquering Northern France – the owner of the chic apartment decided that leaving the capital was the only way she could guarantee her safety.
The flat’s titleholder, a woman known only as Mrs De Florian, never returned to the apartment and never rented it out. Its existence only came to light in 2010, when Mrs De Florian died without issue at the age of 91 and experts were brought in to value the property.
The flat, which is close to the Pigalle red-light district in Paris’ 9th Arrondissement, was said to be like a “stumbling in to the castle of Sleeping Beauty” by one expert, as a room full of artworks and beautiful furniture was discovered behind its long-locked font door.
Plague is a fatal disease so infamous that it has become synonymous with any dangerous, widespread contagion. It was linked to one of the first known examples of biological warfare, when Mongols catapulted plague victims into cities.
The bacterium that causes plague, Yersinia pestis, has been linked with at least two of the most devastating pandemics in recorded history. One, the Great Plague, which lasted from the 14th to 17th centuries, included the infamous epidemic known as the Black Death, which may have killed nearly two-thirds of Europe in the mid-1300s. Another, the Modern Plague, struck around the world in the 19th and 20th centuries, beginning in China in the mid-1800s and spreading to Africa, the Americas, Australia, Europe and other parts of Asia.
Although past studies confirmed this germ was linked with both of these catastrophes, much controversy existed as to whether it also caused the Justinianic Plague of the sixth to eighth centuries. This pandemic, named after the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, killed more than 100 million people. Some historians have suggested it contributed to the decline of the Roman Empire.
To help solve this mystery, scientists investigated ancient DNA from the teeth of 19 different sixth-century skeletons from a medieval graveyard in Bavaria, Germany, of people who apparently succumbed to the Justinianic Plague.
They unambiguously found the plague bacterium Y. pestis there.
More at the link, go read it!
In other DNA news affecting history: Minoans Came From Europe, Not North Africa, Ancient DNA Suggests
When the British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans discovered the 4,000-year-old Palace of Minos on Crete in 1900, he saw the vestiges of a long-lost civilization whose artefacts set it apart from later Bronze-Age Greeks. The Minoans, as Evans named them, were refugees from Northern Egypt who had been expelled by invaders from the South about 5,000 years ago, he claimed.
Modern archaeologists have questioned that version of events, and now ancient DNA recovered from Cretan caves suggests that the Minoan civilization emerged from the early farmers who settled the island thousands of years earlier.
As with the Justinianic Plague article, this one is detailed…so go take a look at the article.
Here is another thing you can spend some time on: 38,000 historical maps at DPLA | History News Network
More than three decades ago, David Rumsey began building a map collection. By the mid-90s he had thousands and thousands of maps to call his own — and his alone. He wanted to share them with the public.
He could have donated them to the Library of Congress, but Rumsey had even bigger ideas: the Internet. “With (some) institutions, the access you can get is not nearly as much as the Internet might provide,” Rumsey told Wired more than a decade ago. “I realized I could reach a much larger audience with the Internet.”
Bit by bit, Rumsey digitized his collection — up to 38,000 maps and other items — along the way developing software that made it easier for people to explore the maps and 3D objects such as globes online. Today, the Digital Public Library of America announced that Rumsey’s collection would now be available through the DPLA portal placing the maps into the deeper and broader context of the DPLA’s other holdings…
Enjoy that site…David Rumsey Historical Map Collection | Collection History
These next few links are not about history…specifically.
Looking at old, abandoned belongings can be quite a moving experience, and if there’s a sad history attached to the objects, we might well feel a measure of melancholy. Still, at the same time, we’re all fascinated by the lives of others – especially if their stories and experiences are very different to our own. That’s why these suitcases, which once belonged to patients at the Willard Psychiatric Center, New York, make such captivating photographs.
What is science revealing about the nature of the criminal mind? Adrian Raine, a professor at the university of Pennsylvania, is an expert in the expanding field of “neurocriminology.” He has written The Anatomy of Violence, a sweeping account of crime’s biological roots, including genetics, neuro-anatomy and environmental toxins like lead. He spoke with Mind Matters editor Gareth Cook.
Scientists working 2.4 kilometres below Earth’s surface in a Canadian mine have tapped a source of water that has remained isolated for at least a billion years. The researchers say they do not yet know whether anything has been living in it all this time, but the water contains high levels of methane and hydrogen — the right stuff to support life.
The 1950s were apparently a terrifying time to be a child. If a train wasn’t coming out of nowhere to decapitate you, a seemingly harmless and endlessly fun game of “hide in a pile of leaves!”* ended when you were run over by city workers.
Buzzfeed’s Copyranter got a hold of this amazing manual, and you have to see the whole thing. Titled “It’s Great to Be Alive!”, it was written by someone who knew how truly careless children can be. I’d encourage you to print it out and pass it around at your local elementary school but STRANGER DANGER. (Actually, that one is just good advice.)
And if we are talking about scaring the bejeebeez outta kids, check this out: 11 Terrifying Images of Old Soviet Playgrounds | Mental Floss
Actually, they’re playgrounds from the former Soviet Union, where people were good at making a lot of things — tanks, rifles, factories to make tanks and rifles — but cheerful playground statuary clearly wasn’t one of them.
Go to the link to see the freaky pictures.
From childhood to growing old: 100 Years is Enough For Me, Pal by Tom Purcell
Here’s one potential advance in science that has me worried: human beings may eventually live a really long time.
According to the World Future Society, we are in the early phases of a superlongevity revolution. Thanks to advances nanotechnology and cell and gene manipulation, scientists may eventually learn how to keep humans alive from 120 to 500 years.
Which prompts an important question: Do we really want to live that long?
We move on to the writing/words part of the post…that is links to do with language written and spoken.
When I needed an article from the February 1963 issue of the defunct travel magazine Holiday, I never questioned where to search for it. I picked up the phone and dialed. “Cameron’s,” said the voice on the other end.
Always afraid of saying something stupid and offending the store’s gruff owner, Jeff Frase, I described the item I needed in as few words as possible. In his dry, distant growl, Frase said, “One minute. Let me check.” He sounded annoyed. He put down the phone. When he returned moments later, he said, “Yeah, we have it.” How much? “Five dollars.”
Back in its heyday, big names wrote for Holiday: Steinbeck, Kerouac, Hemingway, Michener. Holiday was the magazine that commissioned E. B. White’s famous 7,500-word essay, “Here Is New York,” in 1948, an essay later published as a best-selling book. It still stands as some of the best prose on one of the world’s most written-about cities.
Five dollars was a bargain. I asked if I could pick up the magazine on Saturday since I worked all week. Frase said, “It’ll be under the counter in the hold box, under your name.”
Go read about a place that will one day become as extinct as that ugly fish you read about at the beginning of this post…
Founded by a stamp collector named Robert Cameron in 1938, Cameron’s Books and Magazines is Portland, Oregon’s oldest used bookstore, and it’s one of the largest vintage magazine dealers in America. Cameron’s might be the largest. When asked for the store’s size, Frase said, “Oh, I don’t know. We could eyeball it, but—” He squinted and leaned forward against the counter. “Maybe forty to eighty foot wide at least, about twice that deep. That’s just the front room. There’s the upstairs.” He waved a finger overhead, tracing the seam where the ceiling meets the south wall. A long passage runs there, its dusty wooden boards lined with mid-century crime, sci-fi, and romance mass markets. He pointed to the room behind him. “And then there’s the magazines.”
This next link is about an author: Her editor published her work for several years before realizing she wasn’t a man | Appalachian History
Tennessee author Mary Noailles Murfree (1850-1922), better known as Charles Egbert Craddock, was born in Murfreesboro, TN. For fifteen years she spent her summers in the Tennessee mountains among the people of whom she writes.
About that typing keyboard: The Lies You’ve Been Told About the Origin of the QWERTY Keyboard -The QWERTY configuration for typewriters can be traced, actually, to the telegraph.
With all the fuss lately over the IRS and AP scandals, it seems this next bit of information will come in handy: History and origin of the phrase: Spill the beans World Wide Words Newsletter: 18 May 2013
Q From Martin Schell: An Indonesian friend fluent in English asked me what spill the beans means and how it originated. It’s easy to understand spill as revealing a secret, but why beans?
A The key word is indeed spill, which has always had a negative aura about it. In Old English it meant to kill and in the twelfth century to shed blood (which is why we still have the fixed phrase to spill blood). By the fourteenth century it had softened to mean causing damage or waste, from which evolved the specific idea of letting a liquid accidentally escape from a container. Much later it took on a figurative sense of being thrown out of a moving vehicle.
Spill the beans starts to appear in the US early in the twentieth century. In its first decade it varied in its meaning and settled on our current one only in the 1920s.
Early examples are in reports of horse racing. This is the first example that I’ve so far come across:
KINGSTELLE SPILLED THE BEANS
Everyone fancied that the fifth race was a two-horse one between Nearest and Audiphone, who were held at 4 to 5 and 8 to 5 respectively. Kingstelle, a 10-to-1 shot, broke it up. She laid away from the pace and came along in the stretch, and won, handily, a real nice race.
St Louis Republic (St Louis, Missouri), 6 May 1903.
Since the horse did better than expected, this might seem to challenge the idea of a spill being a bad thing, but the headline writer is saying that expectations have been upset, a figurative extension of spill. In the following years the idiom spread beyond racetracks, by 1908 being used of boxing and by 1910 of baseball. In that game it came to mean a blunder that leads to defeat:
In the eighth it looked like Vernon surely would overcome the Seals’ lead and win the game, but some boneheaded base running and poor judgment on the coaching lines spilled the beans.
Los Angeles Herald, 3 Jun. 1910.
An article in the Tacoma Times in March 1913 defines it like this: “If we descend to the vulgar language of the street … ‘Spilling the beans’ has much the same meaning as ‘upsetting the apple cart.’” Being considered slang may explain why it took some time to become mainstream. Most appearances were confined to the sports pages, which had a licence to adopt language that was considered unsuitable for other parts of the paper.
So the sports section could get away with a little more vulgarity, hmmmm... you remember that FCC chairman Julius Genachowski backed David Ortiz when Ortiz told the Red Sox crowd: “This is our fucking city and no body is going to dictate our freedom.” Anyway, sports wasn’t the only area that had a use for the phrase “spilling the beans.”
Politics being a rough old game, it’s in news reports of events in that domain that we start to see a broader public use of the idiom. It was widely publicised in a comment from a witness during a famous court case of January 1914 about corruption and this seems to have broken the implicit ban on its use outside sport.
To answer the original question — if you can still remember what it was — there doesn’t seem to be anything special about beans and no good reason why it should have been adopted. That is, apart from the obvious consideration that spilling useful beans is a bad move. The idiom has appeared in various other forms since, including spill the dirt, spill the dice, spill the dope and spill the works. There’s also spill it by itself, with the sense “tell me your sensational gossip immediately”. These confirm that the key word is spill and that the other noun is a mere embellishment. We may guess that some bean-spilling accident led to stable boys using it, but, as with most idioms, history is silent on what that might have been.
Spill the beans may not be the same as the f-bomb, but this will be interesting to you: The modern history of swearing: Where all the dirtiest words come from – Salon.com
As society evolves, so do our curse words. Here’s how some of the most famous ones developed — and a few new ones.Excerpted from “Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing”
The 18th and 19th centuries’ embrace of linguistic delicacy and extreme avoidance of taboo bestowed great power on those words that broached taboo topics directly, freely revealing what middle-class society was trying so desperately to conceal. Under these conditions of repression, obscene words finally came fully into their own. They began to be used in nonliteral ways, and so became not just words that shocked and offended but words with which people could swear.
Okay, if that little taste of swear words wasn’t enough for you language nerds: Exhaustive computer research project shows shift in English language
University of Illinois English professor Ted Underwood recently wrapped up a research project involving more than 4,200 books. Since that work revealed dramatic shifts in the English language between the 18th and 19th centuries, he’s now expanding his research to include more than 470,000 books – almost every English language book written during that era and preserved in a university library.
How did he find time to read 4,000 books, let alone 400,000? He didn’t, of course. Underwood, who teaches 18th- and 19th-century literature, worked with the U. of I.’s Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts and Social Science (I-CHASS) and the HathiTrust Research Center (a collaboration of the U. of I. and Indiana University) to develop computer programs to crawl through digitized copies of the books, counting words and sorting genres.
Graphs and other goodies at that link, check it out.
Well…getting towards the end of this thread. I’ve got some film links for you to look over.
One morning in 1972, Nixon chief of staff H.R. “Bob” Haldeman gave press secretary Ron Ziegler some big news: Nixon had just gone to meet with Mao Zedong, head of China’s Communist Party, marking the first thaw in a quarter century of US-China relations. In his shock, Ziegler bit into an unpeeled clementine without realizing it. This obscure clip is one of many you’ll experience in Our Nixon, a curated collage of 500 Super 8 film reels shot by Haldeman and Nixon aides Dwight Chapin and John Ehrlichman—ambitious men who obsessively documented their lives in the West Wing. The footage, seized by the FBI after Watergate, offers an intimate glimpse into a notoriously secretive administration. “It was a very unnatural kind of life,” Ehrlichman reveals. “You had the feeling you were in the middle of a great big, brilliantly lighted, badly run television show.”
For those who love a good laugh, by David Kalat via: MovieMorlocks.com – Mission critical Harold Lloyd
This week TCM debuts some super-rare Harold Lloyd shorts from the early years of his career. I cannot overstate the significance of this find.
I was asked by TCM to write some material for the web site to introduce Harold Lloyd in general and some of these shorts in particular, but the specific remit of that assignment was kind of limiting, so I have a lot else to say about these films that didn’t fit into the website content. But hey—I have a blog!
So—the first order of business is to ‘splain just why these shorts are so all-fired important.
You see, most histories of silent comedy tend to focus on two major turning points in the lives of each of the major slapstick comedians: a) the moment when they transitioned out of two-reel shorts and into features, and b) the moment they transitioned out of silent films and into talkies. Our understanding of Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, and their various contemporaries has largely drawn from how they navigated these crucial turning points.
That is a long post, so go take a look at the link.
Finally, I have mentioned the film The Dam Busters many times before…
The Dam Busters (1955) is a British Second World Warwar film starring Michael Redgrave and Richard Todd and directed by Michael Anderson. The film recreates the true story of Operation Chastise when in 1943 the RAF’s617 Squadron attacked the Möhne, Eder and Sorpe dams in Germany with Barnes Wallis‘s “bouncing bomb“.
The film was based on the books The Dam Busters (1951) by Paul Brickhill and Enemy Coast Ahead (1946) by Guy Gibson. The film’s reflective last minutes convey the poignant mix of emotions felt by the characters – triumph over striking a successful blow against the enemy’s industrial base is greatly tempered by the sobering knowledge that many died in the process of delivering it.
Well, can you believe it is the 70th Anniversary of the Dam Busters mission! Look at this image from the Guardian:
A Lancaster bomber flies over Ladybower reservoir in the Derbyshire Peak District to mark the 70th anniversary of the world war two Dambusters mission in Derwent, England. Ladybower and Derwent reservoirs were used by the RAF’s 617 Squadron in 1943 to test Sir Barnes Wallis’ bouncing bomb before their mission to destroy dams in Germany’s Ruhr Valley.
Wow. Look at that huge plane flying low over the dam, I just think that is cool as hell, and tell me, isn’t it a kick ass way to end a massive Sunday afternoon reads…
We start with one image of a frog that was drawn years and years ago, and compare it to an image of an amphibian of today, both of the little boogers featuring the same expression…and end with the image of a movie poster based on a real life WWII bombing mission and a photograph of a 70th Anniversary fly over celebrating that same event depicted in the movie.
Y’all have a great Sunday evening…
We’re baaaaaack! Or should I say, we are back on board?
So, did you miss us? If you did, I certainly hope you sent a message to your congresscritters about stopping SOPA/PIPA.
Since we have been post free and comment free this Wednesday, today’s evening reads is going to be a big fat juicy one! Lots of links for you today, so grab your afternoon drink of choice and let’s get down to business.
I’ll go ahead and break the links down into sections.
First lets dive into the ripple effect today’s blackout is having on the proposed SOPA/PIPA bills. Hmmm…what shall we call this section? How about “Catching up on the Blackout Revolution!”
It looks like the blackout may be working, for now…but concerns about the bills being slipped through within a larger piece of legislation are still in the backs of people’s minds.
First a few video links:
You may have already seen this video via vimeo…
Here is a clip from RT News, discussing the blackout from a foreign press point of view…
From the Video Cafe at Crooks and Liars…MSNBC Brings on MPAA Lobbyist Chris Dodd for ‘Fair and Balanced’ Discussion on SOPA Protest | Video Cafe
MSNBC decided to bring on recently retired Senator and now lobbyist for the motion picture industry, Chris Dodd, for a nice “fair and balanced” discussion on the blackout. Dodd more or less accused the web sites participating in the blackout of acting like a bunch of spoiled children and offered little in the way of details to address the concerns of those who are against the legislation.
And here are a couple basic links discussing the blackout:
For a geeky way to understand and follow the events of today, this flowchart is fantastic, take a look at it: Choose Your Own PIPA-SOPA Protest Adventure [Flowchart] | Geekosystem
Let’s focus on the effects of the blackout, from the users point of view. From gamers to right wing megalomaniacs to students, this blackout has given many time to think and ponder just how important freedom of speech on the web is…
First let me say that I would never do a report that relied on Wikipedia…that said, here are a few tweets from the crowd who depends on their Wiki resources.
Just like Jon Hendren’s Christmas brat list, fellow Internet superstar Katie Notopoulos’ tweet curation is a brilliant way to peek into a world of obliviousness. Apparently some people just have a hard time accepting an important symbolic gesture when that big book report is on the line.
Here’s a sample:
Don’t these people know who to actually look something up other than on the Wikipedia site? Sorry, but this is a bit ridiculous. Hopefully, these people will stop a minute and realize just what the blackout was about…and that their complaints are proving the point!
From the Gaming perspective: EA Speaks Out on SOPA | Piki Geek
SOPA is a hot topic among gamers, and understandably so. The effect the bill would have on the gamer community would be huge, as much of our culture revolves around the internet with things ranging from streams, to Let’s Play videos on YouTube, to sites like this one. So, it’s reasonable to want to know what our favorite game companies feel about the bill, especially since the ESA has put their support behind it.
Responding to a user on reddit, EA’s head of corporate communication, Jeff Brown detailed their lack of a stance on the legislation.
“EA has not expressed a position on SOPA,” Brown said, “We never supported so, naturally, never withdrew. We tried to correct the record but there is still plenty of confusion.”
Brown went on to point out that while the ESA supports SOPA, not all of publishers and developers that are members individually support it.
From some of the Wikipedia’s volunteer editor’s standpoint: Today’s e-Reads: Some Wikipedia Editors Question Blackout; E.U. to Decide Soon on Google Probe – Juliana Gruenwald and Josh Smith – NationalJournal.com
Some of Wikipedia’s volunteer editors are criticizing the site’s decision to protest controversial antipiracy legislation by blacking out the site, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile, a Wall Street Journal editorial also assailed the blackout protest by many websites.
Murdoch has been in a furry today, thank you Boston Boomer for these next three links on Murdoch’s reaction to the blackout…it was a big help as I was putting this long post together.
From a legal perspective, the First Amendment and connecting it to the “corporations are people” decision, this is a good one: The Volokh Conspiracy » The Google Anti-Stop-Online-Piracy-Act Statement, Corporate Speech, and the First Amendment
Following Citizens United, I heard many people argue that the Court was wrong because corporations should not be seen as having First Amendment rights — not just that they do have First Amendment rights but that there’s some special compelling interest that justifies restricting corporate speech about candidates, but that corporations aren’t people and therefore can’t have First Amendment rights at all. (UPDATE: I don’t agree with this, for reasons that include those briefly sketched here, but I set those arguments aside for now.) Let me then ask this question of our readers who take this view:
Today, Google’s U.S. query page features an anti-Stop-Online-Piracy-Act statement from Google. Say that Congress concludes that it’s unfair for Google to be able to speak so broadly, in a way that ordinary Americans (including ordinary Congressmen) generally can’t. Congress therefore enacts a statute banning all corporations from spending their money — and therefore banning them from speaking — in support of or opposition to any statute. What would you say about such a statute?
Here is the “Abuse of power” angle: SOPA Blackouts: Free Speech or ‘Abuse of Power’? – Josh Smith – NationalJournal.com
Among the thousands of lesser-known websites that blocked access to their content or posted statements against the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act and its Senate counterpart, the Protect IP Act, were big names such as Wikipedia, Craigslist, and the online news aggregator Reddit.
But the names not on the list highlight a fine line for companies that depend on neutrality to maintain their credibility.
While they oppose the legislation, Yahoo, Facebook and Twitter, whose CEO called the blackouts “foolish,” decided to sit the protest out.
Google, which is so sensitive to its neutral reputation that it recently punished itself after inappropriately promoting its own web browser, was among those taking a middle road. The search giant remained up and operating but blacked-out its logo and linked to a petition against the bills.
And now for the important reactions to the blackout, meaning the change in various congresscritter support for the bills…Support for Internet Bill Wanes as Protests Spread – NYTimes.com
A freshman senator, Marco Rubio of Florida, a rising Republican star, was first out of the starting gate Wednesday morning with his announcement that he would no longer back antipiracy legislation he had co-sponsored. Senator John Cornyn, the Texas Republican who heads the campaign operation for his party, quickly followed suit and urged Congress take more time to study the measure, which had been set for a test vote next week.
By Wednesday afternoon, Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah and one of the Senate bill’s original co-sponsors, called it “simply not ready for prime time” and withdrew his support.
Protests organized in the real world drew far less attention. A rally convened in Midtown Manhattan outside the offices of Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand, who co-sponsored some of the proposed legislation, drew a few hundred protesters.
Members of Congress, many of whom are grappling with the issues posed by the explosion in new media and social Web sites, appeared caught off guard by the enmity toward what had been a relatively obscure piece of legislation to many of them. The Internet sensibility of the Senate was represented a few years ago in remarks by the late Senator Ted Stevens, Republican of Alaska, who called the Internet “not a big truck” but a “series of tubes” — an observation enshrined in the Net Hall of Shame.
In reaction to the pending legislation, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia went dark. Google’s home page had a black banner across its home page that led to pointed information blasting the bills.
Such new-media lobbying was having an impact.
Give that New York Times a read through, it has more info on the support flip-flops the blackout seems to have influenced today.
More on the “…new-media lobbying” i.e. blackout that is having an impact. Oh yes it is…Terry to remove name from bill – Omaha.com
Rep. Lee Terry said Tuesday that he will pull his name as a co-sponsor of a heavily debated bill that has taken aim at online piracy and intellectual property protection.
The Nebraska Republican co-sponsored the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, because of the economic impact that online piracy has on the U.S. economy, said Charles Isom, a Terry spokesman.
But after waves of negative sentiment toward the bill from free speech and civil rights groups, technology companies and others, Isom said, Terry has concluded that SOPA, as currently drafted, isn’t the solution.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — who was a co-sponsor of the PROTECT IP Act — became the latest lawmaker Wednesday to pull his support. In the House, Rep. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.), originally a co-sponsor of the Stop Online Piracy Act, pulled his name from the list of sponsors on Tuesday. A spokesman for Rep. Lee Terry (R-Neb.), meanwhile, told the Omaha World-Herald on Wednesday that the congressman is also unable to support SOPA as written.
And this from The Maddow Blog – Senator Blunt withdraws sponsorship of PIPA, blames Senator Reid I especially love the picture associated with this post at Maddow!
Photo: Andrew Dallos
Protesting today in New York, where Democratic Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand are both listed as supporters of PIPA. Click for whip list.
Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) has pulled his sponsorship of the Protect IP Act, or PIPA. He writes:
“American innovation is a cornerstone to our nation’s economic growth, and job creators have lost $135 billion in revenue annually as a result of rogue internet sites.
“While I believed the bill still needed much work, I cosponsored the Senate version of the Protect IP Act because I support the original intent of this bill – to protect against the piracy of lawful content.
“Upon passage of this bill through committee, Senate Judiciary Republicans strongly stated that there were substantive issues in this legislation that had to be addressed before it moved forward. I agree with that sentiment. But unfortunately, Senate Leader Harry Reid is pushing forward with legislation that is deeply flawed and still needs much work.
“That is why I’m withdrawing my co-sponsorship for the Protect IP Act.
“The right to free speech is one of the most basic foundations that makes our nation great, and I strongly oppose sanctioning Americans’ right to free speech in any medium – including over the internet.
“I continue to believe that we can come to a solution that will cut off the revenue sources for foreign websites dedicated to counterfeiting and piracy that steal American jobs, hurt the economy, and harm consumers. But the Protect IP Act is flawed as it stands today, and I cannot support it moving forward.”
We trust that Senator Blunt’s decision had nothing to do with Vice magazine exposing him earlier today as a violator of copyright laws himself. In the last 24 hours, Senators Scott Brown, Marco Rubio, and Jeff Merkley have come out against PIPA. Senator Ben Cardin, a cosponsor of PIPA, said earlier this week that he won’t vote for it.
UPDATE: Senator Tim Holden, another cosponsor, withdraws his support. And Senator John Cornyn.
Look for more links in the comment section.
Moving on, we come to the Global “Extra Extra” portion of the post…after the jump…as I said this is a looooong ass post!
Minx here with you today and tomorrow. We are two weeks into the new year, seems like it’s been two months. The first day felt like a week, the second day seemed like five days, the third day seemed like a week again, the fourth day felt like three days, but the seventh and eighth days…seemed like an eternity!
Must be all the GOP Primary news that is getting to me! Political Affective Disorder…yes.
Alright…enough of the complaining, let’s get on with it.
There has been a lot of news happening in places other than the US…So I am going to start with global news first.
Iran, whoa…I don’t know what the final outcome will be, but I do know one thing…gas prices are going to skyrocket.
I hope to get around to saying more about the latest assassinated Iranian scientist, but in the meantime, I wanted to point out a coincidence of timing.
Jim Lobe argues convincingly that the assassination of Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan was likely designed to scuttle any efforts to dial down the rhetoric between Iran and the US.
My sense of the last week or so was that the mostly verbal confrontation between Iran and the U.S., particularly regarding the Strait of Hormuz, was spinning out of control much more rapidly than anyone had expected and that the possibility of a conflict had suddenly become very real in ways the Obama administration certainly never intended. (See Anne-Marie Slaughter’s CNN column, “Saving Face and Peace in the Gulf,” as an example of “this is getting really dangerous all of a sudden”. Until last fall, of course, she was Clinton’s director of policy planning and a very influential figure in the administration.) So there seemed to be a real effort to dial things back, expressed not only in repeated statements by senior administration officials, including Clinton, emphasizing Washington’s readiness to negotiate, but also, if the always well-informed Laura Rozen is to be believed, a lot of diplomatic — some of it, I’m sure, behind the scenes — manoeuvring to get the P5+1 process back into gear, with Turkey serving as the convenor/mediator.
Under these circumstances, the timing of today’s assassination was particularly remarkable. Among other things, it makes me believe that the U.S., which condemned the attack and categorically denied any role in it (See Clinton’s statement in her press conference with the Qatari Prime Minister here), was not in fact involved.* That leaves two obvious suspects: 1) Israel and 2) a faction within the Iranian regime. If there was indeed an Israeli hand behind it, the assassination was not just an effort to set back the Iran’s nuclear program and induce fear among other scientists working on it. I think it was also a provocation designed to 1) blow up prospects for progress in any p5+1 negotiations that might convene over the next month or so; 2) strengthen hard-line factions in Tehran that oppose negotiations; and 3) possibly provoke retaliation that will further escalate tensions, if not armed conflict. Of course, all three of these overlap and reinforce each other. If it was an internal Iranian faction, which, frankly, I find more difficult to believe, both 1) and 2) above also apply.
It makes sense. Everyone with a brain believes this was an Israeli op, and it’s safe to conclude that Israel wants to press us towards actual conflict.
I look forward to reading her take on the Iran assassination, you can go to the link to read a quick thought on the Afghanistan but this next quote has links to other post you may have missed about the piss tape.
It sure looks like someone is trying to make sure peace doesn’t break out in Afghanistan as well.
I’ll just float that question for now–I expect Jim or I will return to in it the coming days. For the moment, though, I just wanted to note that someone is pissing on the peace process in at least two different fronts.
Yeah… “piss on your peace!”
But wait a minute, I thought “peace is our profession?”
As far as Israel is concerned, the US is sending out warning signals: U.S. Warns Israel Against Iran Strike – WSJ.com
U.S. defense leaders are increasingly concerned that Israel is preparing to take military action against Iran, over U.S. objections, and have stepped up contingency planning to safeguard U.S. facilities in the region in case of a conflict.
President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other top officials have delivered a string of private messages to Israeli leaders warning about the dire consequences of a strike. The U.S. wants Israel to give more time for the effects of sanctions and other measures intended to force Iran to abandon its perceived efforts to build nuclear weapons.
Stepping up the pressure, Mr. Obama spoke by telephone on Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and U.S. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will meet with Israeli military officials in Tel Aviv next week.
The high-stakes planning and diplomacy comes as U.S. officials warn Tehran, including through what administration officials described Friday as direct messages to Iran’s leaders, against provocative actions.
Tehran has warned that it could retaliate to tightened sanctions by blocking oil trade through the Strait of Hormuz. On Thursday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed to punish the perpetrators of the assassination—blamed by Iran on the U.S. and Israel—of an Iranian scientist involved in the nuclear program.
The U.S. denied the charge and condemned the attack. Israel hasn’t commented.
Sticking with Israel a bit more: Advance of the Zealots: The Growing Influence of the Ultra-Orthodox in Israel – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International
Veiled women, radical rabbis and gender segregation: Israel is facing a rise in the influence of ultra-Orthodox Jews. Their efforts to impose a strictly conservative worldview have led to growing tensions with the country’s secular society. A resolution to the conflict is vital for Israel’s future.
Outside is the Judean Wilderness, the Dead Sea shimmers in the distance. Naomi Machfud is sitting inside the self-built house, dreaming about making the world disappear. She wants to cover up her face with a veil, she says, her mouth, her nose and her eyes. A black veil, without even a vision slit, one that swallows every glance and submerges the world in darkness. The veil is the pinnacle of zniut, or modesty, the closest a person can get to God. But, she says with a sigh, “unfortunately I’m not that far yet.”
But Machfud, a 30-year-old woman with six children, has already created an insulating layer of material between herself and the outside world. She is wearing a wool robe, an apron, a blouse, three floor-length corduroy skirts, a black skirt and trousers. She has a piece of black wool material wrapped loosely around her head. Underneath it is a tight, black veil, and underneath that is a pale pink veil. Not a single hair is visible. She is wearing a pair of earrings, but she takes them off when she leaves the house.
Machfud is a Jewish woman married to a Jewish man. They live in a settlement in the West Bank, but she dresses as if she lived in Afghanistan.
You can click the link to read the rest of that article…it is a long one in two parts.
Have you all heard of the scandal called “Memogate?” It regards Pakistani and US relations: ‘Memogate’ scandal deepens as American accuser threatens to tell all | World news | guardian.co.uk
The controversial American businessman at the centre of the “Memogate” scandal threatening to bring down the government of Pakistan has told the Guardian he plans to fly into the country to tell what he describes as the “unaltered truth” before the courts.
The allegations made by Mansoor Ijaz reach all the way up to President Asif Zardari, and could end up with treason charges against the country’s former US ambassador, Husain Haqqani, or even the president himself. But critics say that the charges are a fantastical and thinly-veiled attempt by the military to hound the government from power, aided by the hostile courts that have taken up the case with alacrity.
This Guardian article gives you the lowdown on this memo…give it a read. It may be big talk, it may not…but it highlights the stressful relations of the two countries.
I am sure you heard about the European Countries Downgrade of Debt Ratings Underscores Europe’s Woes – NYTimes.com
Standard & Poor’s downgraded the credit ratings of France, Italy and seven other European countries on Friday, a move that may have more symbolic than fundamental financial impact but served as a reminder that Europe’s economic woes were far from over.
After Friday, the only euro zone nations retaining their top AAA ratings are Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and Luxembourg.
I have just a couple more global links for you…U.S. to Renew Myanmar Ties in Light of Reforms – NYTimes.com
The United States moved to restore full diplomatic relations with Myanmar on Friday, rewarding the sweeping political and economic changes that the country’s new civilian government has made, including a cease-fire with ethnic rebels and, only hours before, the release of hundreds of political prisoners.
There also is news about a grounded cruise ship: Italians launch rescue bid after cruise liner runs aground | World news | The Guardian
About 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew were being evacuated by lifeboat from a cruise ship off Italy on Friday after it ran aground and started taking in water.
The Costa Concordia got into difficulties and began listing near the island of Giglio, off Tuscany, after leaving Civitavecchia near Rome.
UPDATE, 11:55: Eight people are dead after the Costa Concordia cruise ship ran aground off the Italian coast in an accident which forced the coast guard to evacuate over 4,000 people, AFP reports.
More than 30 people were also injured in the accident, several seriously, and several people were still missing after jumping overboard in panic as the ship began to tilt, the Messaggero newspaper said. One of the victims was a man in his 70s who died of a heart attack caused by the shock to his system when he jumped into the icy waters, reports said.
More in US news after the jump…