Running a little late this morning, so thanks for bearing with me…
I want to start this post off with a few links to end of year book list.
First, the New York Times Sunday Book Review: 100 Notable Books of 2013 – NYTimes.com
The year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.
It is a staple read for me…and it goes without saying, that I must include the kids list of books too:
Then we have this interesting grouping from The New Statesman: Books of the Year 2013
Each year we ask regular contributors to the Critics pages of the New Statesman, together with other friends of the magazine, to write about their favourite books of year. There are no constraints on what kinds of books they are able to choose, so the results are often intriguing.
John Gray ❦ Ali Smith ❦ Ed Balls
Stephen King ❦ Rachel Reeves ❦ Sarah Sands
William Boyd ❦ Alan Rusbridger ❦ Lucy Hughes-Hallett
Simon Heffer ❦ Andrew Adonis ❦ Craig Raine
Felix Martin ❦ Frances Wilson ❦ John Burnside
Jesse Norman ❦ Alexander McCall Smith ❦ Richard Overy
Jason Cowley ❦ Mark Damazer ❦ Lionel Shriver
Jemima Khan ❦ Geoff Dyer ❦ Laurie Penny
Vince Cable ❦ Alan Johnson ❦ Leo Robson
Jane Shilling ❦ John Bew ❦ Ed Smith ❦ Richard J Evans
David Baddiel ❦ Michael Rosen ❦ John Banville
David Shrigley ❦ Chris Hadfield ❦ Tim Farron
Toby Litt ❦ David Marquand ❦ Robert Harris
Michael Prodger ❦ Michael Symmons Roberts ❦ Sarah Churchwell
One book that was picked by a few of the folks up top:
The trials and tribulations of modern France yielded my two best books. Robert Harris’s An Officer and a Spy (Hutchinson, £18.99) breathes deep pathos into the Dreyfus affair, electrifying the bitter divisions of Third Republic France, which led ultimately to its disintegration in 1940.
I looked into it, and it is not being publish on Kindle or here in the US until January 2014. It sounds really good.
Anyway, check those list out and let us know what tickles you, or what books you would suggest.
One of the books in that New Statesman link connects to another article I have for you this morning. Look here:
My favourite art book of the year is Inside the Rainbow: Russian Children’sLiterature 1920-35 (Redstone Press, £35). It juxtaposes beautiful illustrations with texts from writers such as Daniil Kharms and missives from the Soviet state. The artworks are photographed: they retain the flat, matt, paper quality of the originals. It’s a lovely book and there’s nothing in it that is too familiar. I love the subheading, too: Beautiful Books, Terrible Times.
And since the Holidays are about the little ones…both young and old alike, here are some awesome kick ass playgrounds around the world: The Most Amazing Playgrounds in the World (PHOTOS) – weather.com
Playgrounds have certainly come a long way from the ubiquitous swing sets and monkey bars – just visit your neighborhood fast food joint. But lately, we’ve noticed some amazing play spaces popping up all over the world that ditch the plastic ball pit in favor of truly imaginative designs.
From the whimsical and fantastical to the just plain cool, these amazing constructions are setting a pretty high bar for your local schoolyard. Whether it’s integrating seamlessly with the natural landscape, creating living storybooks or recycling trash into treasure, these playgrounds make brilliant kid-friendly design look like child’s play.
Seriously, take a look at some of these fun grounds. The ones from Denmark, like that photo above, are really surreal. Then there is a playground in St. Louis that looks like the one from the movie The Wiz.
Okay, just one more “book” link for you. Fifty Years Later, Why Does ‘Eichmann in Jerusalem’ Remain Contentious?
Each week in Bookends, two writers take on pressing and provocative questions about the world of books. This week, Adam Kirsch and Rivka Galchen on why Hannah Arendt’s “Eichmann in Jerusalem” remains contentious fifty years after it was first published.
I don’t know why, even though that New York Times Review of Books article is new…there is something Déjà vu about it.
And sticking with history a bit longer: Slave artifacts found at Georgia highway project site
Photo by Rita Elliot, AP Photo/New South Associates Inc.
In a spring 2013 photo provided by New South Associates Inc., archaeologists Brad Botwick, left, Cory Green, and Nicole Isenbarger, right, excavate, sift soil, and map part of a former plantation site in Savannah, Ga. The site, which is being excavated prior to construction of a highway project, yielded thousands of artifacts that archaeologists believe belonged to slaves.
A Mexican coin punctured with a small hole, nails from long-decayed wooden dwellings, and broken bits of plates and bottles are among thousands of artifacts unearthed from what archaeologists suspect were once slave quarters at the site of a planned highway project in Savannah.
A team hired to survey the site by the Georgia Department of Transportation spent three months excavating 20 acres of undeveloped woods tucked between a convenience store and apartments off busy Abercorn Extension on Savannah’s suburban south side. Archaeologist Rita Elliott said the project yielded a staggering 33,858 artifacts believed to date from about 1750 until after the Civil War.
Historical records show that a wealthy Savannah attorney named William Miller owned a large plantation at the site and at one time had 87 slaves, Elliott said. Archaeologists didn’t find the main plantation house but believe many of the artifacts they found are consistent with slave dwellings.
“These people are pretty anonymous in the historical records,” Elliott said. “The archaeology may not tell us much about their names, but it will tell us about their lives.”
As for the sheer volume of items recovered at the site, Elliott said, “It’s not unheard of. But this is a lot of artifacts.”
Take a look at the rest of that piece…what a story.
Of course I will use that tale of slavery, forced labor and submission to segue into this next article: Forced into a C-section: The latest violation of pregnant women’s rights
In a surreal case that’s lawyers are calling “unprecedented,” an Italian woman who was visiting the U.K. last year for work while pregnant with her third child says she wound up undergoing a forced caesarean and had her baby taken away from her. She is currently waging a legal battle to have her returned.
The story, which broke Sunday in the Telegraph, is a harrowing one. The woman, whose family says she is bipolar and needs medication, had “something of a panic attack” in her hotel room, and called the police. After telling her they were taking her to the hospital to “make sure that the baby was OK,” she says she was shocked to find herself instead in a psychiatric facility, where she was restrained for several weeks. Eventually, after being told one morning she couldn’t have breakfast, she was forcibly sedated and woke up several hours to the news that her baby daughter had been removed by social services. Soon after, she was sent home without her child.
Back home and back on her medication, the woman embarked on a quest to have her baby daughter returned to her. But the Italian court said that “Since she had not protested at the time, she had accepted that the British courts had jurisdiction – even though she had not known what was to be done to her.” And a British judge declared that “He could not risk a failure to maintain her medication in the future.” The woman’s American ex-husband and father of her eldest daughter even tried to plead for the baby to be sent to his sister in Los Angeles, but because the baby isn’t a blood relation to her, the court struck that down too.
The woman’s lawyer, Brendan Fleming, told the Telegraph, “I have never heard of anything like this in all my 40 years in the job. I can understand if someone is very ill that they may not be able to consent to a medical procedure, but a forced caesarean is unprecedented.” And Liberal Democrat M.P. John Hemming, added, “I have seen a number of cases of abuses of people’s rights in the family courts, but this has to be one of the more extreme. It involves the Court of Protection authorizing a caesarean section without the person concerned being made aware of what was proposed.”
It seems crazy to me…but things are unreal in this world. (I will say for the record, women who refuse c-sections that eventually cause the death of their child…that is another matter. I do have problems with the women who do that. When cesareans become a necessary procedure, and the woman is determined to have a vaginal delivery at any cost, she is taking that “fucked up” ideology just as far as those fetus fanatics do…to the point beyond reason.)
Case in point: ACLU sues US bishops over Catholic hospital ethics
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a sweeping federal lawsuit against the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops over its ethical guidelines for Roman Catholic hospitals, arguing the directives were to blame for negligent care of a pregnant woman who went into early labor and whose baby died within hours.
The ACLU alleges the bishops were negligent because their religious directives prevented Tamesha Means from being told that continuing her pregnancy posed grave risks to her health and her child was not likely to survive. She was treated at Mercy Health Muskegon, a Catholic hospital in Michigan.
“It’s not just about one woman,” said Kary Moss, executive director of the Michigan ACLU. “It’s about a nationwide policy created by nonmedical professionals putting patients in harms’ way.”
The lawsuit comes amid a wave of mergers between Catholic and secular hospital systems throughout the United States, raising questions about how much religious identity the hospitals will retain and whether they will provide medical services that conflict with church teaching. Advocates for abortion rights and others fear the mergers will limit access to a full range of medical care for women. About 13 percent of U.S. hospitals are Catholic.
It is a familiar story, we all know too well from personal experience what this woman went through…
According to the lawsuit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Michigan, Means was 18 weeks pregnant in 2010 when her water broke and she went to the nearest hospital in Muskegon. The ACLU said that over several emergency visits, Means was never told that “the safest treatment option was to induce labor and terminate the pregnancy” because the hospital was following the conference’s ethical directives. She eventually delivered the baby, which died after less than three hours. The ACLU says the pathology report found that Means had infections that can result in infertility and other damage.
Under the conference’s “Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services,” abortion is barred, along with other procedures that go against Catholic doctrine, such as specific infertility treatments or sterilization. However, each bishop has the authority to interpret the directives within his diocese and it is common to find some variation in how the guidelines are applied among dioceses or according to individual cases.
For example, the directives allow for treatments to cure a grave illness in a pregnant woman even if they result in the death of the child. That issue drew national attention in 2010 with the case of a nun and administrator at a Phoenix hospital who, in her role on the hospital ethics committee, approved an abortion to save the life of a pregnant woman. Phoenix Bishop Thomas Olmsted said the decision meant automatic excommunication for the nun and the hospital could no longer identify itself as Catholic.
Robin Fretwell Wilson, a University of Illinois professor who specializes in family and health law, said a negligence claim would hinge in part on whether the ACLU can establish that the conference has some direct control in this case or in hospitals in general. The bishops have moral authority over local Catholic hospitals but are not involved in the day-to-day business of administration.
“It’s so many layers removed,” Fretwell Wilson said, that she has “a difficult time buying” that the bishops’ conference is legally responsible in this case.
Sigh, well…I guess we just have to wait and see.
All this talk about the Pope and his new focus on the poor is great, but I still can’t fully get on board with Francis and his shitty attitude towards women. Then there is this crap too: Vatican refuses to share sex abuse investigations with U.N. panel | Reuters
The Vatican refused to provide a United Nations rights panel with information on the Church’s internal investigations into the sexual abuse of children by clergy, saying on Tuesday that its policy was to keep such cases confidential.
In response to a series of tough questions posed by the U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), the Holy See said it would not release information on its internal investigations into abuse cases unless required to do so by a request from a state or government to cooperate in legal proceedings.
The response of the Holy See, which will be directly questioned by the panel in January 2014, will be closely watched as it tries to draw a line under financial scandals and abuse by priests that have damaged the standing of the Roman Catholic Church around the world.
Since becoming the first non-European pontiff in 1,300 years, Pope Francis has largely succeeded in changing the subject after the resignation of Benedict XVI in February.
You bet your ass he has changed the subject!
The questions from the panel aimed to assess the Church’s adherence to the 1990 U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty guaranteeing a full range of human rights for children which the Holy See has signed.
In its response the Vatican said internal disciplinary proceedings “are not open to the public” in order to protect “witnesses, the accused and the integrity of the Church process”, but said this should not discourage victims from reporting crimes to state authorities.
However, it said state laws, including the obligation to report crimes, must be respected.
The Holy See noted it was “deeply saddened by the scourge of sexual abuse” and emphasized that it had changed the requirements for admitting candidates for priesthood, updated canon law, and asked bishops’ conferences to draw up guidelines to combat abuse.
But it indicated the Vatican could not be held responsible for the behavior of institutions or individual Catholics around the world and said local bishops had the responsibility of ensuring children were protected.
“The Holy See does not exercise effective control over the local activities of Catholic institutions around the world,” the response read, indicating the Catholic Church’s central administration could only be held accountable for events within the Vatican City State.
That makes me think of one thing:
Honestly. Maybe all this brouhaha over the Popes comments is nothing but smoke and mirrors? Get everyone distracted and flustered about one thing over here and they forget about priest molesting little boys over there.
Another news item that could use that Naked Gun clip as an afterthought, Radioactive Japanese Wave Nears U.S. : Discovery News
In the wake of the deadly tsunami that hit Japan in 2011 and severely damaged a nuclear reactor, Japanese officials say the levels of radiation are safe for everyone outside the reactor area itself. But as radioactive water from the plant nears the West Coast of North America — the water is expected to hit in 2014 — can we be sure it’s safe?
The nuclear reactor continues to leak radioactive water due to poor management, while Japanese subcontractors at the plant have admitted they intentionally under-reported radiation and that dozens of farms around Fukushima that were initially deemed safe by the government actually had unsafe levels of radioactive cesium.
Fukushima locals also claim they’re seeing cancer at higher rates and the Japanese government is covering up the scale of the problem.
I really don’t think we are getting all the story from Japan either. The US EPA monitors Radiation levels around the US, you can see near real-time results here: RadNet | US EPA
The nationwide RadNet system monitors the nation’s air, drinking water, precipitation, and pasteurized milk to determine levels of radiation in the environment. RadNet sample analyses and monitoring results provide baseline data on background levels of radiation in the environment and can detect increased radiation from radiological incidents.
EPA’s nationwide radiation monitoring system, RadNet, consists of two components. First, stationary and deployable air monitors measure radiation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The map below provides monitoring results as graphs that are updated several times daily. You can also search the RadNet database in EPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX) to find monitoring data. Second, EPA samples precipitation, drinking water, and milk on a routine schedule and tests them for radiation in a laboratory. The latest RadNet sampling results are available in Envirofacts.
Give that some of your time today, it is interesting indeed.
Y’all probably saw this crap yesterday: Zucker plans massive change at CNN | Capital New York
After almost a year of tinkering, CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker has concluded that a news channel cannot subsist on news alone.
So he is planning much broader changes for the network—including a prime-time shakeup that’s likely to make CNN traditionalists cringe.
Once, CNN’s vanilla coverage was a point of pride. Now, the boss boasts about the ratings for his unscripted series, and documentaries like the Sea World-slamming film Blackfish. Zucker, in his first one-on-one interview since taking control of CNN last January, told Capital he wants news coverage “that is just not being so obvious.”
Instead, he wants more of “an attitude and a take”:
“We’re all regurgitating the same information. I want people to say, ‘You know what? That was interesting. I hadn’t thought of that,’” Zucker said. “The goal for the next six months, is that we need more shows and less newscasts.”
Can you see where this is going?
Zucker—“rhymes with hooker,” he likes to say—also expanded on comments he has made about breaking CNN out of a mindset created by historic rivalries with MSNBC and Fox. He wants the network to attract “viewers who are watching places like Discovery and History and Nat Geo and A&E.”
Hmmm, up next on CNN…
Moving on. Two quick links:
Asshole actually tries to pass this shit off, and even the idiots who follow him on facebook call him out on it.
And check out The Very Best of ‘Right-Wing Art’ | Mediaite
Oh, there are no words…
Did you see what happened in Iceland yesterday?
Icelandic police have shot dead a man who was firing a shotgun in his apartment in the early hours of Monday.
It is the first time someone has been killed in an armed police operation in Iceland, officials say.
Wow, the first time?
16 MAY 2013, MAGAZINE
07 JANUARY 2013, EUROPE
24 MAY 2013, EUROPE
I don’t know, but with all the shit going on around here, Iceland is looking pretty good.
That is all for me this morning, except for this last story…BBC News – Chess boxing catching on in India
There are 300-odd chess boxers in India
Chess boxing, a hybrid sport combining the mental workout of chess with the physical challenge of boxing, is catching on in India, reports Shamik Bag.
Wearing boxing wraps around their palms and seated on a bench inside a gym in the eastern Indian city of Calcutta, two players match moves while huddled over a chessboard.
Caught between the mind and muscle, the recently-introduced game of chess boxing is seeing an early surge of interest in India. The game involves alternate rounds of chess and boxing.
Now, that takes the whole hybrid sport thing to a new level doesn’t it? Forget kick-boxing, mixed-martial arts, wrestling stuff they do in world extreme cage fighting. This chess boxing takes brains! However, I don’t see it catching on here in the States. So don’t expect a reality show on chess boxing competitors to show up on CNN any time soon. I bet we could come up with a catchy title though…”Left Rook and Check Mat.” (Maybe not.)
Have a great day!
Yes, it seems that Halloween is coming early this year. All around us we see tricks being played out. Some are the sort of tricks played on people who must really be dumb as dirt to fall for them.
Progressives and libertarians came together in Washington on Saturday to protest widespread government surveillance, taking a tentative step towards creating a coalition that isn’t as awkward as the pairing might appear.
Organized by the coalition Stop Watching Us, which includes dozens of groups ranging from Internet freedom advocates to Tea Party organizations, the rally attracted hundreds of people to the Capitol Reflecting Pool to protest the electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency revealed by Edward Snowden this year. The crowd included Occupy protesters, Ron Paul libertarians, and even strict constitutionalist Oathkeepers. Yet despite some recent grumbling on the left about having to work with libertarians on the issue, attendees and speakers on both sides said they were happy to unite around a common enemy.
Seriously, who the hell would want to be associated with those crazy-ass Oathkeepers? (That link goes to a page over at Southern Poverty Law Center, Oathkeepers are a hate group you know…) Actually, these are not dumb people, that would be an insult to the stupid folks that do have low IQ as an excuse to become partnered with assholes like Ron Paul. So who spoke at this thing?
Onstage, speakers ranged from progressives like former congressman Dennis Kucinich to libertarians like Johnson and Rep. Justin Amash, as well as NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake and Jessalyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project, who visited Snowden in Russia two weeks ago and read a statement attributed to him for the crowd. Snowden was a central figure in absentia at the protest, with most people holding signs or wearing t-shirts emblazoned with his face.
The article says the rally was mostly “libertarian” in nature…but these are a few of the quotes you should not miss:
A recent article in Salon by progressive journalist Tom Watson had ruffled feathers by calling on liberals to boycott the really[sic] because of its libertarian elements. “I cannot support this coalition or the rally,” Watson wrote. “It is fatally compromised by the prominent leadership and participation of the Libertarian Party and other libertarian student groups; their hardcore ideology stands in direct opposition to almost everything I believe in as a social democrat.” Watson described the Stop Watching Us coalition as “fatally infected.”
Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin rejected this premise in an interview with BuzzFeed next to the main speaker’s stage .
“Left and right doesn’t mean anything anymore,” Benjamin said. Democrats and Republicans, she said, “both like the status quo. Libertarians or leftists are people who want to defend the values of this country and not have party politics and I think we’ve started coming around together on many of these issues.”
“I think that strange bedfellows around particular issues is the way that change has happened throughout history,” she said.
Uh…first off, that Medea Benjamin needs to STFU. Its sounds to me like she is fatally ridiculous. I got a question for her. If left and right doesn’t mean anything anymore…How does she feel about the way the “right” values her uterus? Hmmmm…..lets see her libertarian friends get out and defend that part of this country…the 50 percent vagina part!
But wait, and hear it from an actual idiot himself, here’s another quote:
By all appearances at the Stop Watching Us rally, they did — though a bit warily. John McGloin, an Occupy protester from New York who described himself as a “sometimes” progressive, said he could accept working with libertarians to try and curtail government surveillance as long as they weren’t “people who think we should all fend for ourselves — that’s where I draw the line.”“We definitely need all the help we can get,” McGloin said.
Alright, up next: A few items on Rural America.
From the “You might be a redneck” theme of news reports, really the headline should say it all: Georgia man runs into burning home to save beer | abc13.com
COLUMBUS, GA (KTRK) — “I went back into the house like a dummy.” That’s what one man in Georgia said after he risked his life to save beer from his fridge while his house was on fire.
The flames broke out while six adults and two young children were watching TV. Everyone quickly made it outside safely.
But then Walter Serpit, who walks with a cane, rushed back into the burning building to save something near and dear to him.
“I told them to get the kids out and everything, and me myself, being an alcoholic, I was trying to get my beer out,” he said. “You feel me?”
Now, remember what I said up top about the folks who have a real excuse for partnering with those libertarian assholes? You feel me?
Walter made it out with a couple of cold ones, and the fire department made a statement that you should never run back into a burning building…period.
That story is actually sad and pathetic.
More bad news on the Obamacare front, from the New York Times: Health Care Law Fails to Lower Prices for Rural Areas
As technical failures bedevil the rollout of President Obama’s health care law, evidence is emerging that one of the program’s loftiest goals — to encourage competition among insurers in an effort to keep costs low — is falling short for many rural Americans.
While competition is intense in many populous regions, rural areas and small towns have far fewer carriers offering plans in the law’s online exchanges. Those places, many of them poor, are being asked to choose from some of the highest-priced plans in the 34 states where the federal government is running the health insurance marketplaces, a review by The New York Times has found.
Of the roughly 2,500 counties served by the federal exchanges, more than half, or 58 percent, have plans offered by just one or two insurance carriers, according to an analysis by The Times of county-level data provided by the Department of Health and Human Services. In about 530 counties, only a single insurer is participating.
The analysis suggests that the ambitions of the Affordable Care Act to increase competition have unfolded unevenly, at least in the early going, and have not addressed many of the factors that contribute to high prices. Insurance companies are reluctant to enter challenging new markets, experts say, because medical costs are high, dominant insurers are difficult to unseat, and powerful hospital systems resist efforts to lower rates.
“There’s nothing in the structure of the Affordable Care Act which really deals with that problem,” said John Holahan, a fellow at the Urban Institute, who noted that many factors determine costs in a given market. “I think that all else being equal, premiums will clearly be higher when there’s not that competition.”
And that means that for those people who live out in areas like Banjoville, they are going to be hit with higher premiums because of lack of competition.
In rural Baker County, Ga., where there is only one insurer, a 50-year-old shopping for a silver plan would pay at least $644.05 before federal subsidies. (Plans range in price and levels of coverage from bronze to platinum, with silver a middle option.) A 50-year-old in Atlanta, where there are four carriers, could pay $320.06 for a comparable plan. Federal subsidies could significantly reduce monthly premiums for people with low incomes.
Counties with one carrier are mostly concentrated in the South. Nearly all of the counties in Mississippi and Alabama, for example, are served by just one insurer, according to The Times’s analysis. Other states with scarce competition include Maine, West Virginia, North Carolina and Alaska.
That is a long article, and there is an interactive map at the link too, so take a look at it.
Since we are on the subject of healthcare, what about an article on madness…with a witchy twist: 7 Countries That Still Kill Accused Witches
You know how the long-ago witch hunts were stupid and hateful? What a relief those days are over.
Except they’re not. In many countries, people are still killed on suspicion of witchcraft. United Nations experts cautioned in 2009 that murders of women and children accused of sorcery were on the rise. Following are just a few of many examples from around the world.
1. Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia’s religious police department has an official Anti-Witchcraft Unit that it dispatches to catch sorcerers and break their spells. In 2007, the Saudis executed an accused sorcerer. A woman awaiting the death penalty for alleged witchcraft died in prison.
Like the New England witch hunters of yore, those in Saudi Arabia use magic as a convenient excuse to silence inconvenient people. Accusations of sorcery have been leveled against foreign women working as domestics for Saudi families who charge their employers with sexual assault, according to Saudi Arabia expert Christoph Wilcke.
This east African country killed approximately 600 elderly women on charges of witchcraft just two years ago. The Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life found a strong and pervasive belief in magic among Tanzanians. It sometimes leads to reverence rather than murder. One woman who claims to be a witch charges between $20 and $120 for services including medical cures and exorcisms — in a country where the average income is under two dollars a day.
The other five countries are more disturbing in their descriptions, so you can read them at the link if you like.
Hey, since that last article was on the morbid side, let’s have another: What would you choose for your last meal? Final food choices of executed criminals revealed… and they throw up a few oddball selections
Florida has revealed the final food choices of executed criminals, throwing up a number of eccentric final meals in the process.
While many of those spending their last day alive decide to go for the final indulgence of a heaving plate of fatty, fried food and a giant bowl of ice cream, others opt for more Spartan fare – requesting homemade sandwiches or just a simple cup of coffee.
That is one you need to click and read. Wow….
I want to bring you updates on a few other stories that we have discussed on the blog the past couple of weeks, and this will be in a link dump:
New York civil rights leaders on Saturday decried the city’s brewing “shop-and-frisk” scandal, in which major retailers Barneys and Macy’s are accused of profiling black shoppers who say they were detained by police after buying luxury items.
A magistrate court judge in Tennessee who forced a couple to change the name of their child from Messiah to Martin has been cited for religious bias by a state ethics panel and will face a disciplinary hearing.
Lu Ann Ballew, a child support magistrate in Cocke County of eastern Tennessee, had been settling a dispute about child support and the last name of Messiah Deshawn MCCullough, the child of Jaleesa Martin, and Jawaan McCullough. Neither parent had expressed interest in changing the child’s first name.
Several weeks ago, on September 24th, Popular Scienceannounced that it would banish comments from its Web site. The editors argued that Internet comments, particularly anonymous ones, undermine the integrity of science and lead to a culture of aggression and mockery that hinders substantive discourse. “Even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader’s perception of a story,” wrote the online-content director Suzanne LaBarre, citing a recent study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as evidence. While it’s tempting to blame the Internet, incendiary rhetoric has long been a mainstay of public discourse. Cicero, for one, openly called Mark Antony a “public prostitute,” concluding, “but let us say no more of your profligacy and debauchery.” What, then, has changed with the advent of online comments?
Anonymity, for one thing. According to a September Pew poll, a quarter of Internet users have posted comments anonymously. As the age of a user decreases, his reluctance to link a real name with an online remark increases; forty per cent of people in the eighteen-to-twenty-nine-year-old demographic have posted anonymously. One of the most common critiques of online comments cites a disconnect between the commenter’s identity and what he is saying, a phenomenon that the psychologist John Suler memorably termed the “online disinhibition effect.” The theory is that the moment you shed your identity the usual constraints on your behavior go, too—or, to rearticulate the 1993 Peter Steiner cartoon, on the Internet, nobody knows you’re not a dog.
I’ve got a few on Fukushima alone:
Some of those are long articles, so they will take some time.
What did our ancestors sound like in the 50th century B.C.? University of Kentucky linguistics lecturer Andrew M. Byrd examines ancient Indo-European languages (such as Latin, Greek, Sanskrit and Old English) and the language from which they derive, Proto-Indo-European, or PIE.
PIE is the prehistoric ancestor of hundreds of languages, including English, Spanish, Greek, Farsi, Armenian, and more. The language is typically thought to have been in use around 7,000 years ago, though some suspect it was spoken at an even earlier time.
According to some archaeologists and the majority of linguists like Byrd, the people who spoke PIE were located just to the north of the Black Sea and were likely the first to tame horses, and perhaps even to invent the wheel.
The primary focus of Byrd’s work is to understand what this language would have sounded when it was spoken millennia ago. Byrd says this all begins by looking at similarities in other languages.
“We start by gathering words, such as ‘king,’ from languages that we think are related and then find the common threads among them,” he said. “When you bring these words together, you’ll see that all of the words meaning ‘king’ or ‘ruler’ begin with something like an ‘r’ followed by a long vowel. Through examining trends in each language, you can tell which parts of the word have changed over time, and working backward from that … you can peer into the past and get an idea of what PIE might have sounded like.”
I know that BB worked with language in children for her doctorate, so that article will be something cool for her to read about. This second one will be just a joke…because she is my number one when it comes to grammar…and boy do I need her help…
Are you forever trolling the internet, commenting on posts with incorrect grammar? Do your friends consider you a “Grammar Nazi?” Well, you better put your money where your mouth is, and test your grammar skills using Grammatically Speaking, a quick little grammar game we found online!
Grammatically Speaking tests all your grammar know-how, from proper punctuation, to the proper use of “that” or “which” in a sentence. Our favorite part of the test is that it shows you what percentage of users got each question wrong – for example, people are particularly terrible at “it’s” vs. “its” and when to use “me” vs. “I.”
It is fortunate that I have BB to come and fix my post when my grammar is way…way off the mark. I tend to write like I talk, and then I never could grasp all that proper English stuff anyway.
This is all I have for you this morning. Have a wonderful day, and please leave a comment or two below…so, what are you thinking and reading about today?
During my time off, while driving around Banjoville one day with my dad, he pointed out a road sign to me that he knew would get my goat.
He also knew it would be something I probably would talk about here on the blog, take pictures of in fact, and share it with you….of course he was right.
So here beneath the redneck woods, in the haze of blue mountains, amid the squeals of pigs, there is one shop that can meet your need of class III weaponry and fill that prescription of Abilify as well…
Check out this picture below, Sign reads:
McCaysville Drug & Gun
Guns. Ammo. Accessories
Class III Dealer. Prescriptions
Yeah. I know the picture is not the greatest, it is from my camera phone and it was taken on the move…but you can definitely get the full scope of the situation here. I don’t want to link to the website, and get hammered by gun nuts, trolls or whatnot, but you can find it if you wish by looking it up on your own: mccaysville drug center dot com. The irony of it all, the drug center health mart web page…with this sentence up front and center: YES! We have guns and drugs!
Hey, if it works for them…fine. But I just think there has to be something fucked up about selling big ass guns at a place that also carries prescription drugs. No, these aren’t the kind of guns they sell at wallyworld btw…these are, “kill every muthafukker in the room” guns:
Now…just how hard is it to get a Class 3 weapon? Will Hayden: How to Buy Class 3 Weapons
- Class 3 firearms include machine guns, short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, suppressors, destructive devices and Any Other Weapons (AOWs).
- The tax for privately manufacturing any class 3 firearms is $200. Transferring requires a $200 tax for all class 3s except AOW’s, for which the transfer tax is $5.
- To legally possess a class 3 weapon you must complete a transfer of registration within the NFA registry.
- There are two ways for you to legally buy a class 3 gun. The first is by transfer after approval by ATF of a registered weapon from its lawful owner residing in the same State as the transferee. The second is by obtaining prior approval from ATF to make NFA firearms.
As for getting that dealer license to sell those class III firearms, well…there is nothing at the ATF website that says you can’t also have prescription drugs sold on the premises, nor is there any info on this during the application process.
Alright, so there’s that.
Now for some newsy items. I knew the Fukushima radiation disaster wasn’t going to be a problem for the IOC: Tokyo selected to host 2020 Summer Olympics – The Hill’s Blog Briefing Room
In seven years, all eyes will be on Tokyo.
The International Olympic Committee voted to send the 2020 Summer Olympics to the Japanese capital on Saturday.
The city beat out Madrid and Istanbul to host the international sporting games.
Forget steroids and enhancement drugs…the athletes will have that special glow in the dark kind of doping they can only get with radiation as high as 2,200 millisieverts (mSv). You think there are British swimmers known for their large “shark fin” noses now? Just imagine what some Godzilla sized rays of nuclear contamination will do to that schnoz.
In other Olympic news: Olympic sports will learn their fate on Sunday | McClatchy
After months of campaigning, revamping and strategic positioning, international federations for wrestling, squash and baseball/softball will find out Sunday if their sports will have Olympic life.
All three will go through a second round of presentations, hoping to earn a place in the 2020 Summer Olympics.
The decision, which will be made in Buenos Aires, Argentina, by the International Olympic Committee’s General Assembly around 10 a.m. Colorado time, comes seven months after wrestling was removed from the IOC’s list of summer Games core sports.
The February ouster prompted wrestling’s international governing body FILA to make possibly the most aggressive changes to its sport among the three finalists that will present their cases before the IOC on Sunday morning.
“We found the strength to change,” said Nenad Lalovic, who took over as president of FILA in February.
The change proved effective as wrestling got new life May 29 when the IOC whittled a field of eight sports to three finalists. The sports that didn’t make the cut were karate, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu.
Remember, pole dancing is one of the new “sports” competing for a slot in the games.
I am now going to quickly give you some links on a few disturbing issues dealing with the collective war on women.
First two stories on rape, but both are bullshit…and really piss me off.
The pre-trial hearings in a military courtroom at the U.S. Naval Academy have exposed a Navy midshipman who has accused three academy football players of rape to pointed cross-examination of the kind a civilian accuser wouldn’t face, according to news reports covering the case.
Under defense questioning over the last four days, the accuser has been asked by defense attorneys how wide she opens her mouth during oral sex, how many times a day she lies, whether or not she was wearing underwear or a bra, and other questions that experts interviewed by the Washington Post say would never be allowed in a civilian courtroom.
Her attorney, Susan Burke, filed suit Thursday against the academy and Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Michael H. Miller on her client’s behalf, arguing that the timing and nature of the cross-examination were a form of retaliation directed by Miller. Burke is seeking a court order compelling Miller to refrain from further interference in the case.
The suit alleges that “the Superintendent wanted to sweep the matter under the rug to prevent any reputational harm to the Academy,” and assured her client that “the investigation likely would just ‘go away’ if she signed a declination and refused to cooperate.”
Under pressure from the school and one of the football players, the accuser did not cooperate with an initial investigation but was subsequently ostracized and retaliated against by the football players and the Naval Academy community, Burke said in earlier statements. The academy subsequently disciplined her client for drinking. The accuser sought legal help and the attention of the media in early 2013 and the Navy reopened the investigation, Burke said.
The case stems from charges leveled in June 2012 against three U.S. Naval Academy football players charged with raping a female midshipman and making false statements. The Article 32 proceeding determines if the charges will proceed to a general court-martial. The accuser, a 21-year-old midshipman at the academy who has not been named in major media reports, alleges that she was raped after getting drunk and passing out at an off-campus party in April 2012 in Annapolis, Maryland, site of the elite school.
Burke said in a statement earlier this year that her client “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.”
Oh, but this is not the only rape case in the news today dealing with college football players, check this out: Disturbing Allegations Emerge In Vanderbilt Rape Case
Further details have come out concerning the June 23 rape of a 21-year-old woman that led to the dismissal of four Vanderbilt football players, including junior college transfer, Brandon Vandenburg. According to a report from BuzzFeed, the incident was worse than previously reported and at least one source believes head coach James Franklin tried to cover it up.
In August, Vandenburg and three others—Brandon Banks, JaBorian McKenzie, and Cory Batey—were charged with five counts each of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery. The alleged rape occurred in Gillette House on the Vanderbilt campus, where a second-floor door was destroyed—seemingly kicked in—and security footage showed a stream of men entering and exiting a room. Then Vandenburg threw a towel over the camera.
It’s believed the woman was raped in the room and then moved while the camera was obscured. The woman was reportedly unconscious while Vandenburg had sex with her. After the other three players entered the room, she was penetrated with random objects. Vandenburg recorded and took pictures. The woman had no recollection of any of it until she began to hear about the pictures and video. An attorney who has seen the video told BuzzFeed that there is “a strong racial component” to the footage, without elaborating.
Here is the kicker:
A source close to one of the dismissed players thinks coach Franklin urged one of the players to delete a video after viewing it.
I’m 99.9 percent sure that Franklin saw the video,” the source said. “And I wouldn’t be surprised if the public finds this out soon.”
“Coach Franklin denies that emphatically,” said Hal Hardin, Franklin’s attorney. “People always speculate and gossip. There is no truth to that accusation whatsoever. It’s inflammatory.”
Three other men—including suspended wide receiver, Chris Boyd—were later indicted for allegedly urging Vandenburg to delete the video and deleting the video and photos from their own phones.
Franklin has turned the team into a “winning” team, from what I can see…he’s given the university its first successful season in a long time. According to USA Today, Franklin made over 1.8 million in 2011, and it is speculated that his contract over the next few years will be substantially higher. He isn’t going anywhere, and you can bet he will be protected by the administration. However, I am not sure what to make of this bit from the buzzfeed link:
Franklin’s self-described “extreme personality” is the marvel of players and fans alike. His voluble nature has also garnered unwanted headlines. During a radio interview last June, he said that he doesn’t hire an assistant coach until he sees his wife. “If she looks the part, and she’s a D-1 recruit, then you got a chance to get hired. That’s part of the deal.”
On Twitter, Franklin, who has more than 24,000 followers, backpedaled from the comment: “My foot does not taste good, I hope I did not offend any1, I love and respect ALL, have a great day, enjoy the fam & don’t forget to #AnchorDown,” citing the Commadores’ de facto slogan — which Franklin came up with and popularized.
Other woman’s issues links:
Residents in Waco, TX are angry over a company’s decision to advertise with a realistic depiction of an abducted and hog-tied woman in a truck bed. According to KTEM News, sign-making and marketing firm Hornet Signs designed the truck decal for an employee’s vehicle to advertise its car wrap services.
“I wasn’t expecting the reactions that we got,” said Hornet Signs owner Brad Kolb. “Nor was it anything we condone or anything else, but it was just something more or less that we just had to put out there and see who notices it.”
Some people noticed the vehicle in traffic and called police.
Kolb said that the woman on the decal is an employee who agreed to be photographed and that orders for car wraps and decals have gone up since the sign hit the streets.
Meanwhile, in my state of Georgia, this is happening: Ga. PSC may give $10K fine to anti-abortion group | AccessNorthGa
Two elected utility regulators in Georgia want to give a $10,000 fine from a telephone company to a religious anti-abortion charity with past financial ties to one of the officials, a proposal that the attorney general’s office is calling unconstitutional. But the state attorney general has thrown cold water on the idea.
Under a settlement, Peerless Network of Georgia LLC will pay a $10,000 penalty for failing to file required reports. Civil penalties usually go to Georgia’s state treasury.
Instead, Public Service Commissioner H. Doug Everett proposed this week that the telephone company pay the penalty as a contribution to the Atlanta branch of Care Net, where his wife works as unpaid volunteer. The organization is a Christian charity that discourages women from having abortions. It offers pregnancy tests, ultrasounds and baby supplies to expectant mothers, according to its website and tax filings.
Emails released under Georgia’s open records law show that the attorney general’s office has cautioned that state regulators do not have the authority to approve such a deal. In an Aug. 29 email, Senior Assistant Attorney General Daniel Walsh wrote that the Public Service Commission can allow violators to make alternate settlements rather than paying fines, such as by offering consumer refunds or funding training to prevent natural gas accidents.
“Here, I don’t see a plausible connection between a utility regulation and a pregnancy center,” Walsh wrote.
After utility regulators ignored that advice, Attorney General Sam Olens wrote them a letter Wednesday warning that the plan violated Georgia’s state constitution.
“Despite the obvious good intentions of those expressing an interest in a settlement agreement that would provide funds to various non-profit organizations, the law simply does not permit such a result,” Olens wrote.
Everett said there is a legitimate tie. Peerless admitted in filings that it failed to comply with several rules, including procedures to ensure the confidentiality of family violence shelters. Everett said Care Net assists pregnant women who are abused and need shelter, although it does not operate any shelter services itself. Peerless officials did not return a call seeking comment.
“I can’t understand why this one was singled out,” Everett said.
Allowing the company to make a donation to Care Net rather than paying a fine to the state could raise questions over the constitutional separation of church and state. Care Net says on its website that its mission includes, “Sharing the truth that Jesus Christ offers thereby making voluntary pregnancy termination unnecessary and undesirable.”
When I read this article, I felt physically ill. 10 fucking thousand dollars. Unbelievable! I want to scream into my pillow as I write this. Ugh.
Here is a good link for you though, something to work on and work toward: Where We Go From Here… #HB2 – Jessica W. Luther
People want to do stuff. People are itching to be active, to participate, to rally, to…DO.
Everyone is going to have their own opinion on what we should be DOING at this point. And I’m great with that. The fact is, we should all be doing whatever we are comfortable with, what we have the time to do, etc.
So, I’d like to just start a conversation about it. I AM NOT – by any means – some kind of expert on this. My only real organizing was at the Texas capitol this summer, a bathing in the fire.
If you have ideas that I should add to this list, please leave a comment or shoot me an email.
Take a look at Jessica’s list, it is detailed and a great place to start…oh, Ralph and Mona, be sure to pass it on your friends in Texas!
This post is long, and it is already after 2:30 in the morning and I want to go to bed, the rest of the morning’s reads will be in link dump fashion. We will go in chronological order, okay?
The Conventum inter Guillelmum Aquitanorum Comitem et Hugonem Chilarchum is a 340-line, highly descriptive document of claims, counter-claims, and often violent conflicts, all revolving around property, between Hugh of Lusignan and Count William of Aquitaine, written by an unidentified author and scribe. This eleventh-century document is written in a conversational mode, largely using direct speech, and from a secular perspective, since both parties are lay lords. It is the textualization, or the writing down, of a series of events and oral transactions of the demands of Hugh for the properties he claimed by right of inheritance, either directly or by proximity to his kin. The textualization allowed the author to control the information that was incorporated into the text, thereby to be passed into the future. While historians have called the document highly unusual, because of its length, because of its direct speech, because of its one-sided portrayal of events, and because there is no comparative document from the region, they nevertheless study the document for lord-vassal relationships of the eleventh century. However, the question of why the document was written has still not been adequately answered, although a few historians have put forward their assertions of the document as literature rather than history. These assertions seem largely based on the Conventum’s grammatical or narrative structure, which are only a part of its textualization.
…the importance of the document lies in this textualization of legal claims as understood in the moral standards and accepted norms of conduct in the eleventh century, all of which provide the events therein with legal validity and thus, by extension, to the agreement itself. This type of evaluation allows the text to take its place with other legal documents of the early-eleventh century. I further maintain that Hugh had the document written to formalize his claims, not only against Count William of Aquitaine but also against Count Fulk Nerra of Anjou, since most of the lands that Hugh claimed were under men commended to Anjou.
To do this I examine the importance of land, its role in the attainment of personal power, its role in the identity-formation of a family, the methods of its acquisition, the disputes around its inheritance and ownership, and the methods of dispute settlement, including the role of violence. In the upheavals of the early eleventh century, textualization of land holdings and their dispute settlements provided a permanent record for family identity and for the legal procedures that were employed. The thesis also examines the geo-political implication for the setting of the Conventum, the power struggle between the Counts William and Fulk, and the possession of allodial or free lands and their added influence on the bargaining power of the lords. Then, I trace the importance of textualization as a continuation of the documentation process already prevalent under the Carolingians. Subsequently, it is necessary to look at some of the words and portrayed events that indicate the use of customary procedures by Hugh in making his claims. The thesis also examines the oath of fidelity to see how the relationship of a lord and his man was defined, how the oath affected the conduct of each to the other, and its implications in the ongoing debate over the lord-vassal relationship and thus the feudalization of eleventh-century social structure.
Keep those themes of legal argument and documents and such…and the use of words and language in mind.
Richard III suffered from a roundworm infection, according to research carried out on his skeleton.
The remains of the king, who ruled England from 1483-85, were discovered last year under a council car park in Leicester.
Cambridge University researchers used a powerful microscope to examine soil samples from his pelvis and skull as well as soil surrounding the grave.
They found multiple roundworm eggs in the pelvis sample. But there was no sign of eggs in soil from the skull and few around the grave, suggesting a roundworm infection rather than contamination by later dumping of human waste in the area.
Damn, not only did he suffer Scoliosis, have a club foot and other maladies, but he had worms too!
From World Wide Words Newsletter: 7 Sep 2013 There are two cool entries for you:
The name of this delightful vegetable has swung from classical Latin to rustic reinvention and back during its history in English.
It first appears in English around 1000. Its name was taken from medieval Latin sparagus but by the sixteenth century it had come sperach or sperage. It might well have stayed like that had it not been for herbalists, who knew the classical Latin name was asparagus, itself borrowed from the Greek. Their influence meant that that name became quite widely known during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries alongside the older names. Nicholas Culpeper, for example, headed an entry in his herbal of 1653 as “Asparagus, Sparagus, or Sperage”, thus covering all bases.
Non-scholars had trouble with asparagus and did what the medieval Latin writers had done — leave off the unstressed initial vowel, so making it sparagus again. But they went one step further, converting it by folk etymology into forms that seemed to make more sense, either sparagrass or sparrowgrass. The latter form became common in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries:
So home, and having brought home with me from Fenchurch Street a hundred of sparrowgrass, cost 18d.
Diary, by Samuel Pepys, 20 April 1667.
In the eighteenth century sparrowgrass was so much the standard and polite term that John Walker commented in his Critical Pronouncing Dictionary in 1791: “‘Sparrow-grass’ is so general that ‘asparagus’ has an air of stiffness and pedantry”.
I guess you would say asparagus with the pinky finger raised?
Q From Patrick Martin: As I gave the cat its supper, I said to my wife that I was doing it to curry favour with the cat. Out of curiosity I looked curry up in the two-volume Oxford dictionary to see where this expression comes from. The explanation involved a chestnut horse. This seems a bit far-fetched. Is there a better explanation?
A Believe it or not, the explanation is correct. But then, it’s an odd phrase — why should curry have anything to do with winning the favour of somebody or ingratiating oneself with him?
Its origin lies in a French medieval allegorical poem called the Roman de Fauvel, written by Gervais de Bus and Chaillou de Pesstain in the early 1300s. Fauvel was a horse, a conniving stallion, and the poem is a satire on the corruption of social life. He decided he didn’t like his stable and moved into his master’s house, becoming the master and being visited by church leaders and politicians who sought his favour.
That is some horse!
There are several layers of meaning in his name: fauve is French for a colour variously translated as chestnut, reddish-yellow, tawny or fawn. A close English equivalent is the rather rare fallow, as in fallow deer, an animal with a brownish coat (it may be that uncultivated ground is also said to be fallow because it looks that colour). Fauve is also a collective name, originally les bêtes fauves, for a class of wild animals whose coats are tawny, such as lions and tigers, and hence ferocious wild animals (the fauverie in a French zoo houses the big cats). In the poem, the name Fauvel can moreover be glossed as fau-vel, a veiled lie, but it is actually a partial acronym of the initial letters of the French words for six sins: flatterie, avarice, vilenie, variété, envie, and lâcheté (flattery, avarice, depravity, fickleness, envy and cowardice). His colour also evokes the old medieval proverbial belief that a fallow horse was a symbol of dishonesty.
The poem was well known among educated people in Britain, who began to refer to Fauvel, variously spelled, as a symbol of cunning and depravity. That soon became curry Favel. This curry has nothing to do with Indian food (a word that came into English only at the end of the sixteenth century via Portuguese from Tamil kari, a sauce or relish) but is another ancient word from a French source, still common in English, which means to rub down or comb a horse. The idea behind currying Favel is that the horse was highly susceptible to flattery, figuratively a kind of stroking.
For people who didn’t know the poem — then, as now, that was almost everybody — Fauvel or Favel meant nothing. Favour seemed much more sensible a word and by the early part of the sixteenth century popular etymology had changed it and so it has remained ever since.
Alright, now a book review link: Brief Review of “The Great Dissent” by Thomas Healy (UPDATED) | The Volokh ConspiracyThe Volokh Conspiracy
…“The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed His Mind–and Changed the History of Free Speech in America” by law professor Thomas Healy.
…the book is a lively read, and provides a good amount of interesting information about Holmes in general, and how he came to be (rather suddenly, after having not been at all) a champion of judicial protection of freedom of speech.
Want to read David Bernstein’s complaints about Healy’s book…go check out the rest of the review at the link above.
Wanna know what it’s like to sit on the back of a rocket ship and watch as it breaks the sound barrier? Because for their recent test of SpaceShipTwo’s reentry systems, Virgin Galactic stuck a camera onto the tail of the rocket and recorded its ascent into orbit. This is one of those videos you need to watch in 1080p — trust us, it’s worth the load time.
Y’all have a wonderful Sunday, please stop and let us know what you are reading and thinking about today.
Hey, it’s been nice to have a week off…I haven’t read much news items lately, in fact I don’t really have any idea what’s going on in the world outside of Banjoville. (Just this last weekend we had a murder, involving an 80-year-old former cop from Florida who killed his daughter, shot his great-grandson in the leg, and kept two county swat teams busy in a stand-off for three hours before they threw a flash bomb and finally got him in custody…you should see the list of weapons he had in his house.)
Other news from Banjoville (good news), my son played his first varsity football game and kicked five for five, scoring four extra points and one field goal in the season’s game opener. My daughter also cheered in her first varsity game as well…it was quite a Friday Night!
This weekend I added a little furry bugger to the family too. He is a tiny little thing, at three months he weighs just over a pound.
So as you can see, it has been a busy week…but since I am clueless about the latest debates on Syria, in the dark on the fire in Yellowstone, unsure of new draconian laws against women’s rights that have passed in state houses over the past week…I will just stick with a few links that I have saved from some days back.
Here is one article that is recent however, Fukushima Disaster: Japan To Build Costly Subterranean Ice Wall To Stop Nuclear Reactor Leaks:
The Japanese government announced Tuesday that it will spend $470 million on a subterranean ice wall and other steps in a desperate bid to stop leaks of radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant after repeated failures by the plant’s operator.
The decision is widely seen as an attempt to show that the nuclear accident won’t be a safety concern just days before the International Olympic Committee chooses among Tokyo, Istanbul and Madrid as the host of the 2020 Olympics.
The Fukushima Dai-ichi plant has been leaking hundreds of tons of contaminated underground water into the sea since shortly after a massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami damaged the complex. Several leaks from tanks storing radioactive water in recent weeks have heightened the sense of crisis that the plant’s owner, Tokyo Electric Power Co., isn’t able to contain the problem.
“Instead of leaving this up to TEPCO, the government will step forward and take charge,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said after adopting the outline. “The world is watching if we can properly handle the contaminated water but also the entire decommissioning of the plant.”
I don’t know how negative an impact the radioactive disaster will have on the IOC’s decision on Tokyo hosting the 2020 Olympics, I mean… look at the nuclear bomb getting ready to explode in Sochi. I get the feeling the IOC would prefer a radioactive leak of Godzilla proportions than to stand up and do what’s right in Sochi.
Down in Florida they are digging up some graves of a terrible past. Human remains believed uncovered in search at Florida boys school
The first of many to die at a Florida reform school infamous for inflicting beatings and abuse is identified in official records only as “Unknown colored boy.”
Researchers say he died in 1911. But his name, final resting place, and the reason for his early death remain a mystery.
He’s not alone.
The whereabouts of nearly two dozen others who died at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys are also unknown, researchers said.
Those who once stayed at the reform school — and were subjected to regular lashings by school officials — say many more could be buried on the property of the now-shuttered state-run school, located in Marianna, a small town in Florida’s panhandle.
“I think there’s at least 100 more bodies,” Robert Straley, who was at the school for 10 months starting in 1963, said in a telephone interview.
“From 1900 to 1940 were the most brutal years in that place. Back then, a white boy’s life wasn’t worth much and a black boy’s life wasn’t worth anything.”
A clearer view of who died at the school, and why, may soon surface. On Saturday, a team of researchers began a year-long exhumation of burial sites on the school’s property.
But the abuse and suspicious deaths did not end in the 1960s,
Former residents at the school, including Straley, have led the push for setting the record straight about the school’s treatment of its young inmates, which came to light in a 2008 expose in the Miami Herald.
An investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement concluded in 2010 that, although it found dozens of graves, there was not enough evidence to pursue criminal charges related to allegations of physical and sexual abuse of boys at the school.
The state’s Department of Juvenile Justice closed the school in 2011 as the federal government was investigating allegations of maltreatment and abuse. The federal government ultimately faulted the state for poor oversight and violating the rights of the inmates.
Take a look at the link to that LA Times article to read more about the project being carried out by my alma mater, University of South Florida.
Now I will give you a few updates on some stories from earlier in the year.
Check it out…they are calling bullshit on the stories that there were bottles full of shit at the Texas Capitol during the Special Session back in July: Still No Evidence Abortion Rights Protesters Had Excrement In Texas Capitol Ahead Of Bill Debate
And in Utah, Welfare Drug Testing Catches Only 12 Users
From August 2012 through July 2013, the state prescreened 4,730 applicants to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program with a written test. The state followed up with an actual drug test for the 466 of those whose written answers suggested a likelihood of drug use.
The 466 tests turned out 12 positive results, as the Associated Press first reported. The results were similar when Florida launched welfare drug testing in 2011 and just 2.6 percent of applicants tested positive. National surveys usually find that about 8 percent of respondents used drugs in the previous month.
Utah’s drug screening cost the state about $31,000. But state Rep. Brad Wilson (R-Kaysville) told HuffPost he thinks the bill saved more than it cost. He said an additional 247 Utahns dropped out of the TANF application process after they were told to expect a drug test.
“We had 247 who once we told them, ‘our test shows that you are likely using controlled substances, we need you to take a drug test,’ they refused to move forward with the process,” said Wilson, who sponsored the new law. “The Department of Workforce Services here in Utah estimates the benefits of those folks would have received would have been approximately $369,000 of, basically, benefits we didn’t pay to people who were most likely using controlled substances. We spent $31,000 on this program over the last year but we think we’ve saved at least $370,000, if not more.”
Utah’s law differs from Florida’s in that it first subjects TANF applicants to a questionnaire and only tests those whose answers give the state a reasonable suspicion of drug use. The reasonable suspicion standard makes the law less vulnerable to a civil liberties lawsuit alleging the tests violate the Constitution’s protections against unreasonable search. Florida’s law called for blanket testing and was halted by federal courts after only a few months.
The Florida law also denied benefits to anyone who failed a test. Utah’s law asks applicants to enroll in drug treatment. Wilson said the 12 people who tested positive for drugs are still receiving benefits.
The article states that the twelve are currently in treatment.
One last update, this one is something that hits home for me, y’all know that my brother Denny has Down Syndrome…so please read this one in full…and then, take some time to read the comments. Opinion: Justice for Down syndrome man who died in movie theater – CNN.com
Robert Ethan Saylor died on January 12 after three sheriff’s deputies tried to forcibly remove him from a movie theater.
One day last January, Robert Ethan Saylor, a 26-year-old man with Down syndrome, went to see the movie “Zero Dark Thirty.” When it was over, Saylor briefly left the theater, then decided to return and see it again. The manager called security because Saylor didn’t pay, and three off-duty deputies, moonlighting at the mall, came in to confront him.
According to Frederick County, Maryland, police statements, he swore at them and refused to leave. The deputies tried to remove him, despite Saylor’s caretaker’s warnings and pleas for them to wait and let her take care of it. What happened next is a little unclear, but witnesses say the deputies put Saylor on the floor, held him down and handcuffed him. Saylor, called Ethan by his family, suffered a fracture in his throat cartilage. He died of asphyxiation.
The death was ruled a homicide, but a grand jury failed to indict the deputies and they returned to work without charges.
My son has Down syndrome, so I have been following this case closely. But for months, it seemed as if only people in the disability community cared about it.
Petitions for independent investigations sputtered out with just a few hundred votes. Local reporting on the case never made a splash in national media. Meanwhile, the Frederick County sheriff investigated his men’s conduct, ruled they had followed procedure correctly, and tried to move on.
Police violence against people with disabilities is not uncommon, but the cases don’t seem to get a lot of publicity. Most people see the disabled as, at best, passive victims, objects to care for, perhaps to love, but not people with whom we automatically identify.
This is a mistake. We are all only temporarily able-bodied. Accidents, illness, and age wait for us all. What happened to Ethan Saylor could happen to you.
In July, his death began to get more attention. Heather Mizeur, a member of the Maryland House of Representatives and candidate for governor, seized on Saylor’s story and called for new training for law enforcement. Debra Alfarone, an investigative journalist in Washington, began to broadcast and write about the case. A petition asking Gov. Martin O’Malley to investigate went viral in mid-August, garnering 300,000 signatures in just a week. This petition fueled a renewed, suddenly national, media narrative. Ethan Saylor and #JusticeForEthan are now an official cause.
It is heartbreaking to know that the cops who killed Ethan are walking about…back at work, without being charged. Where is the outrage? Perhaps Ethan should have worn a hoodie? Maybe this injustice would have gotten more attention.
It is sickening.
Like I said, read the whole piece, it moves on to focus on people with disabilities…and what rights they have…or in the case of Ethan, what rights he was denied that invariably caused his “homicide” and allowed the men who killed him to walk free.
Okay, one last nugget or link for you today. Over at TCM they are presenting a special series that will be on every Monday and Tuesday for the next 15 weeks! .: The Story of Film :.
TCM IS PROUD to present the U.S. television premiere of The Story of Film: An Odyssey (2011), a 15-episode documentary directed and narrated by Mark Cousins, adapted from his 2004 book The Story of Film. Beginning in September and continuing through early December, one new episode, or “chapter,” will be introduced each Monday on TCM, with a lineup of related films. Tuesday evenings the thematic programming continues, and includes a re-airing of the previous night’s episode. By December, the entire festival will include 119 feature films and dozens of short subjects from 29 countries.
Cousins, a film critic from Northern Ireland, will appear as co-host with Robert Osborne in introducing the documentary, which uses film clips, interviews with filmmakers and location footage around the world to take viewers through filmmaking history from the late 19th century to today.
The first episode was shown this week, and it was so damn interesting, be sure to catch the rest of the series if you can.
So…it is good to be back, guess I need to get caught up on current events. Seriously, I don’t know if I can do that just yet. Y’all have a good morning and I’ll see you around in the comments.