Ted Cruz is anxious to move on to New Hampshire.
Although I doubt Teddy Boy would be so “eager” to follow.
As for what is going to happen to Hillary and Bernie?
This is an open thread.
They’re out to fuck with your lives too.
Yes, the dinosaurs are out in droves…particularly in the last 48 hours you will find them hunting the bare stark cornfields of Iowa.
Right before heading to church, Donald Trump ripped Ted Cruz’s campaign on Sunday morning for sending mailers to Iowa voters designed to look like official documents that accuse them of a “VOTING VIOLATION” for failure to turn out in past elections.
“The Cruz campaign issued a dishonest and deceptive get out the vote ad calling voters ‘in violation,'” Trump tweeted. “They are now under investigation. Bad!”
Story Continued Below
Trump’s comments come after Iowa’s top elections official condemned the mailers on Saturday, though he did not announce any investigation.
Republican Secretary of State Paul Pate said in a statement that Cruz’s mailers, which has the words “official public record” printed in red at the top, “misrepresents the role of my office, and worse, misrepresents Iowa election law.”
“There is no such thing as an election violation related to frequency of voting,” said Paul, who was elected statewide as a Republican in 2014. “Any insinuation or statement to the contrary is wrong and I believe it is not in keeping in the spirit of the Iowa Caucuses.”
The controversial Cruz mailers show the name of the person receiving the mail at the top and then give them a grade on an A to F scale. Below, it shows their neighbors and their voting scores. It then urges them to caucus next week and warns, “A follow-up notice may be issued following Monday’s caucuses.”
Ted Cruz on Saturday evening defended a mailer sent out by his campaign that has been criticized by Iowa’s secretary of state as “misleading” and a violation of “the spirit of the Iowa caucuses.”
“I will apologize to no one for using every tool we can to encourage Iowa voters to come out and vote,” Cruz said, speaking to reporters before a rally in Sioux City, Iowa.
Earlier Saturday, the Cruz campaign came under fire for sending out a mailer, with the look of an official state document, that warns of a “voting violation.” It informs voters they are receiving the notice “because of low expected voter turnout in your area” and says a “follow-up notice” may arrive after the Iowa caucuses.
The mailer looks like it is building on social science research showing that guilt is a powerful way to mobilize voters to turnout.
Cruz claimed that there was nothing wrong with the mailer—and that in fact mailers like this are routine. “Matt Schultz, who is a former secretary of state, is the chairman of our campaign, put out a public statement saying these mailers are routine,” he said. “The Iowa Republican Party has done so in the past—in past elections.”
Yes, deception is used frequently by Republicans in Iowa.
And you know, there is another link if you care:
There is one dinosaur who is really out on the kill. He is not one of those who viciously attacks his prey, his death dance is one of lethal environmental racism and contamination…while email messages clearly show he protected those of his fellow Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species .
Throughout most of 2015, the administration of Gov. Rick Snyder told the residents of Flint, Mich., that their tap water was safe to drink. But emails released on Thursday suggest the state was concerned about its own employees’ exposure to the city’s water as early as January of last year, even arranging for purified water to be provided at a state office building there.
The emails depict an exchange that month between employees of two state departments that expresses concern about the water’s safety within the Michigan government long before Mr. Snyder acknowledged to residents in the fall that there was a problem.
The correspondence — between employees of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget — was obtained by a liberal advocacy group, Progress Michigan. The news was reported on Thursday by The Detroit Free Press.
Lonnie Scott, the executive director of Progress Michigan, accused the state government of valuing the well-being of its employees more than that of Flint’s residents.
…attorneys have subpoenaed all emails and communications between Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) over the ongoing Flint water crisis, a few details have been released showing what can only be described as depraved indifference on the part of state workers to the plight of Flint citizens.
The Republican governor released some staff emails on Jan. 20, showing that he was well aware that Flint citizens were slowly being poisoned following a decision by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to force them to live with lead-tainted water.
Out of over 270 pages of communications released, one comment was stunning in its admission of how shabbily complaints over the water were treated by state workers.
According to the NY Times, Snyder was informed in one email that a state nurse told one young mother to not worry about the damage being done to her child when her son’s blood showed an elevated lead level.
“It is just a few IQ points. … It is not the end of the world,” the nurse reportedly told the worried mom.
According to whistle-blower Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, “If you were going to put something in a population to keep them down for generations to come — it would be lead.”
The state of Michigan and Flint have already come under attack for using a poster – created by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services — informing parents that it was safe to bathe their children in the contaminated water.
While the poster was pulled, an advisory remained on the state website informing residents that the water is “safe to use for washing because ‘lead in bath water will not soak into your skin fast or at high levels.’ ”
Gov. Snyder’s administration has until Feb. 9 to turn over all communications regarding Flint, dating back to 2011.
Other area’s in the country feel a similar death dance, from different dinosaurs…
South Dakota has 272 Abandoned Uranium Mines (AUMs) which are contaminating waterways such as the Cheyenne River, and desecrating sacred and ceremonial sites. An estimated 169 AUMs are located within 50 miles of Mt. Rushmore where millions of tourists risk exposure to radioactive pollution each year.The delegation is warning of the toxic legacy caused by more than 15,000 AUMs nationwide, extreme water contamination, surface strip coal mining and power plants burning coal-laced with radioactive particles, radioactive waste from oil well drilling in the Bakken Oil Range, mill tailings, waste storage, and renewed mining threats to sacred places such as Mt. Taylor in New Mexico and Red Butte in Arizona.Indigenous communities have been disproportionately impacted as approximately 75 percent of AUMs are located on federal and Tribal lands.“In 2015 the Gold King Mine spill was a wake-up call to address dangers of abandoned mines, but there are currently more than 15,000 toxic uranium mines that remain abandoned throughout the US”, said Ms. White Face. “For more than 50 years, many of these hazardous sites have been contaminating the land, air, water, and national monuments such as Mt. Rushmore and the Grand Canyon. Each one of these thousands of abandoned uranium mines is a potential Gold King mine disaster with the greater added threat of radioactive pollution. For the sake of our health, air, land, and water, we can’t let that happen.”[…]UPDATE: The Navajo Nation’s non-Indian water rights attorney is once again giving away Navajo water rights. Navajos are urging the Navajo President to veto a water rights settlement for Utah Navajo water rights, ramrodded through the Navajo Nation Council on Tuesday.Read more:The water contamination on the Navajo Nation is more horrific than in Flint, Michigan. However, the contamination continues because of the racism in the United States which disregards the contamination in Indian country. The collapsed media in Indian country, and the biased mainstream media, fail to expose it.Today, an Indigenous delegation begins a series of protests and events in Washington D.C. to expose the radioactive pollution in Indian country.The Navajo Nation’s water has been poisoned since the 1950s by uranium mining, then by coal mining, and dirty coal-fired power plants.Navajo water has long been contaminated by Peabody Coal mining on Black Mesa, uranium spills, strewn radioactive tailing from the Cold War uranium mining, and recently the EPA’s poisoning of the Animas and San Juan Rivers.Further, the US government knew when it relocated Navajos to the Sanders, Arizona, area that radiation from the Church Rock, N.M., uranium spill would poison their water by way of the Rio Puerco wash. In the Four Corners region, three coal fired power plants poison the water in runoffs.Dine’ (Navajo) Louise Benally, resisting relocation at Big Mountain for 40 years, said, “Our water has been impacted since the 1950’s on to today.” Read more at:Meanwhile, in south central Arizona, Apaches continue their fight against the copper mine which Arizona Sen. John McCain sneaked into the defense bill. McCain’s land giveaway to Resolution Copper would desecrate the Apache ceremonial grounds at Oak Flat. The copper mine would result in an environmental disaster, which includes poisoning the water. McCain has long been a member of the US Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, which reveals the true nature of this committee and its role in the theft of Indian lands, and the poisoning of Indian country by corporate polluters. Apaches welcome all to their march at the end of February.
With the Iowa caucuses only days away, Senator Ted Cruz has announced the formation of a “Pro-Lifers for Cruz” coalition that aims to “champion every child, born and unborn.”
Among the national co-chairs of that coalition is Troy Newman, one of the more malevolent figures in the anti-choice movement. He is the president of the radical anti-abortion group Operation Rescue, and a board member at the Center for Medical Progress, which just saw two employees indicted in Houston for deceptions conducted while creating the now-infamous “baby parts” videos that targeted Planned Parenthood.
Newman has often suggested that the murder of abortion doctors is legally permissible, and his group has been connected to several notorious anti-choice acts of violence over the past 20 years.
It would be virtually impossible not to be aware of this fact—it defines Newman’s career—yet Cruz said in a statement Wednesday that “Every single national co-chair in this coalition has led the charge for the pro-life cause and is a true inspiration.” Newman formally endorsed Cruz back in November, which created a small stir-up in the press, and Cruz is now doubling down on his connection with Newman.
Cruz unveiled his new “pro-life coalition” at a Wednesday night rally in Des Moines where he argued that he is the candidate with the most credible opposition to abortion. “The question we ought to ask is, don’t tell me that you’re pro-life. Show me. When have you stood up and fought to defend the right to life?” he said.
Some articles that will give you a breather in all this massive pile of dinosaur shit…
That one above is by Mary Steenburgen.
At the end of tonight’s Trump-less GOP debate, the candidates played the customary “wander around the stage and pretend you actually like each other” game. But apparently, even when they’re just pretending, the candidates stillcan’t bring themselves to stomach Ted Cruz.
Video of the full “ignore the asshole Ted” at the link.
And now a look at how the Dinosaurs look from outside the USA:
In connection with this…
On this Holocaust Remembrance Day, I am very concerned when I see presidential candidates fanning the flames of animosity. In the ’30s in Germany, Jews were the target, but the dangerous rhetoric of today is focused on Muslims and particularly Syrian refugees. Like the anti-Semitic tirades of decades ago, many of the same ingredients are present in the speeches of candidates who hold surprisingly high levels of support from the American people.
It is an all too familiar recipe: Strip away individuality and wrap everyone in the group into an amorphous and frightening entity. Speak about what they will take from us and add in a strong nationalist sentiment that allows people to justify their hatred as patriotic allegiance. It was this lethal combination that sent my family to Auschwitz, my father to the gas chamber, and me, a boy of 16, to a slave labor camp where I was forced to build railroads on starvation rations. The SS guards were able to do this to us because they lost sight of our humanity and of our individuality.
Unfortunately, there will always be leaders who will attempt to garner power through the vilification of others. McCarthy in the ’50s, and George Wallace a little later, come easily to mind. History is never on the side of these leaders. Instead, it reveres the people who opposed them. And so it will be with our fear mongering candidates and the citizens who refuse to support them.
Leaders can be persuasive, and rhetoric can be powerful, but we always have the option to think more deeply than these politicians and to resist being swayed by words meant to denigrate others. We have some powerful tools in the arsenal of our own minds. Scientists have found that we can resist prejudice by focusing on the commonalities between others and ourselves, by recognizing the joys and pains experienced by the individual and how these are so very similar to our own experiences.
When I see Syrian refugees on television struggling to make their way to safety, I see the similarity between their plight and my own struggles to come to America after I was liberated from the camps. I can remember what it was like to flee danger in search of a safe place to begin my life anew, the fear as we bribed Soviet border guards to let us pass, the arduous journey, day and night, carrying all of our belongings on our backs, the grief and worry for family who had stayed behind.
And a last round up of various links:
State Rep. Tommy Benton is an unapologetic supporter of Georgia’s Confederate heritage.
He flatly asserts the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery, compares Confederate leaders to the Founding Fathers and is profoundly irritated with what he deems a “cultural cleansing” of Southern history. He also said the Ku Klux Klan, while he didn’t agree with all of their methods, “made a lot of people straighten up.” (Read the AJC’s latest coverage here.)
The Ku Klux Klan has gotten a bad rap, according to one Georgia lawmaker. He says the terror group “was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order” that “made a lot of people straighten up.”
That leader is now hellbent on stopping the “cultural cleansing” of the South’s heritage. So far this year, State Rep. Tommy Benton (R) has co-sponsored two bills to preserve the Confederate’s legacy.
Following the massacre at the historic Emanuel AME Church last year, activists and lawmakershave pushed to removeConfederatesymbols in the South. According to Benton, those efforts constitute “cultural terrorism,” akin to what ISIS is doing.
“That’s no better than what ISIS is doing, destroying museums and monuments,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC). “I feel very strongly about this. I think it has gone far enough. There is some idea out there that certain parts of history out there don’t matter anymore and that’s a bunch of bunk.”
So on Wednesday, Benton introduced House Resolution 1179, which would amend the state constitution to prevent the tarnishing of monuments at Stone Mountain. Referencing Robert E. Lee and Confederate President Jefferson Davis, the bill says “heroes of the Confederate States of America … shall never been altered, removed, concealed or obscured in any fashion and shall be preserved and protected for all time as a tribute to the bravery and heroism of the citizens of this state who suffered and died in their cause.”
Benton also introduced House Bill 855 to make Confederate Memorial Day and Lee’s birthday “public and legal holidays.” During his interview with AJC, Benton echoed the longstanding argument that the Civil War was not about slavery.
The KKK, for example, is currently devising new ways to recruit new members and “save [their] race.” The hate group has ramped up its inflammatory rhetoric, calling for the murder ofimmigrants and gay people. It’s creating neighborhood watch groups to snuff out criminal activity. And now it’s organizing around Donald Trump’s Islamophobia.
And finally, the end all of all dinosaurs coming to get you….if you live in Kentucky…you can rely on two things. Death and your Taxes going towards the Jesus rides a Dinosaur Museum.
Kentucky taxpayers may end up subsidizing this embarrassing project after all.
This is an open thread….
Good Evening Sky Dancers!
I’m going to keep this short and sweet. From 9-11PM tonight the Democratic candidates for the presidential nomination will have the opportunity to make their cases to a prime time audience before next Monday’s Iowa Caucus. CNN tells us what we “need to know.”
The Democratic presidential hopefuls will make closing arguments to Iowa voters Monday night during a CNN town hall in Des Moines — one week before the first-in-the-nation votes are cast at the Iowa caucuses.
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont will appear first, followed by ex-Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and then former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton….Each will have 30 minutes onstage at Drake University’s Sheslow Auditorium and will face questions from audience members as well as CNN Anchor Chris Cuomo.
The Iowa Democratic Party and Drake University invited the audience, which will also include some CNN guests.
The town hall will be live streamed on CNN Go. If you don’t have access to that, it looks like you will have to watch it on TV.
Also from CNN: 5 things to watch in the Democratic town hall.
I’m disappointed that the candidates won’t appear together, but this isn’t a debate after all. There still could be some fireworks. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have been trading jabs all week, and today President Obama essential gave the nod to Hillary. Sanders must be furious.
Martin O’Malley is apparently ready to attack Hillary too. He told The New Republic in an interview published today that “Hillary Clinton Will Let the Planet “Literally Burn Up.” Is he desperate for attention or what?
I look forward to reading your reactions in the comment thread below.
Just posting this open thread, because I am running late today due to a leftover migraine.
Also, I have new articles to research on Sanders…that fucker.
And…I need to cook for everyone…they are starving, so it will take a bit longer…just to state all of the above. My Wednesday reads will be coming up shortly. (Well, not so shortly.)
The picture above it Bebe’s puppy Hugo, out in his first snow.
WordPress is forcing me to use a new format for writing posts, and I’m pretty clueless about how to use it. For one thing, I don’t know how to insert captions under pictures. I also can’t figure out how to change the size of the images or put them on the right or left side of the post. The images in this post are winter paintings by Claude Monet. The one above is called The Magpie.
Before I get started on today’s news, I want to call attention to the Democratic debate that will be held tomorrow night at 9PM on NBC. Some information from USA Today:
Hillary Clinton,Bernie SandersandMartin O’Malleywill meet for the fourth time — and it’s their final face-off before theIowa caucusesandNew Hampshire primary. For O’Malley, a spot on the stage was no sure thing thanks to lagging poll numbers, butNBC announced Thursday that he made the cut….
The debate starts at 9 p.m. ET. It’ll air on NBC and will be live-streamed on the network’s digital platforms as well as on the NBC News YouTube channel. (If you’ve got exciting Sunday night plans, you can catch a re-airing of the debate on MSNBC at 11 p.m. ET.) ….
The debate, hosted by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, will be held at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, S.C….
Moderators are NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt and the network’s chief foreign affairs correspondent, Andrea Mitchell.
Is it just me, or does Hillary Clinton get far less media coverage than any of the other candidates in either party? It seems to me that Bernie Sanders gets much more press than Hillary and when the corporate media does cover about Hillary, the stories are mostly negative. I hope that’s just because I’m so sensitive to the way the media portrays her.
On Google news today, Bernie Sanders is number three under “Top Stories.”under Hillary Clinton is not listed. When I search for Hillary Clinton, I get this. Let me know if you find any positive stories there. Mostly what I see is articles about how Bernie is beating Hillary in Iowa and New Hampshire and other negative headlines.
Hillary has to fight against the media as well as the Republican candidates, Bernie Sanders, and Republican super pacs. I’m beginning to wonder if she can overcome this much negativity.
The New York Times has published two lengthy and positive articles on Bernie Sanders’ campaign organization and ground game recently:
The only article I can find about Hillary’s ground game is an article at the Wall Street Journal on Jan. 5 with a negative spin in the headline: Hillary Clinton Counts On Ground Game in Iowa. Democratic presidential front-runner tries mightily to avoid an early loss in caucuses this time around. The story itself focuses on what happened in 2008 and on Bernie Sanders’ ground operation!
Did you know that Hillary appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe yesterday? There was little media coverage of her appearance, but a few people took something Hillary said and twisted it into an “attack” on Bernie Sanders’ grandchildren!
Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton’s biggest challenger in the Democratic presidential primary, has one son. His name is Levi, and he hasthree adopted grandchildren from China. When Sanders married his second wife, Jane, she had three children of their own, and those children now have four children of their own. Sanders considers all seven his grandchildren, as anyone would, even though he’s not related to them by blood.
Clinton, conversely, has one daughter, Chelsea, and Chelsea has a baby daughter named Charlotte.
…Hillary Clinton appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to discuss her differences with “other candidates” in the field. Until very recently, she took pains not to mention Bernie Sanders’ name in her campaign, and to avoid directly engaging him in debates, and in this video she doesn’t mention anybody by name. However, when Mika Brzezinski asks her about her core message, there’s no mistaking the shade she throws:
For me this really is pretty straightforward. I don’t promise easy answers. I don’t promise things that I’m not…knowing can be delivered.”One of Clinton’s chief tactics in combatting Sanders has been the assertion that some of his proposals are pie-in-the-sky, and despite the idealism he may be inspiring, especially in young people, she’s the pragmatic candidate who can actually get things done.
The issue comes in the next part of her statement, mere seconds later (1:45 mark above):
And I guess at the end of the day, for me—you know, people talk about their extraordinary grandchildren, but I actually have one—and we’re going to do everything we can to give her opportunities…Whoa! My first reaction, hearing that, was “this can’t be what she meant…nobody can be that clueless.”
There was also a recommended (!) diary on this at DailyKos, which has descended into a hotbed of Hillary hate and Bernie worship that threatens to outdo what happened there in 2008. I can’t find the link to it right now, but here is a response:
There is a silly diary on the rec list right now calling out Hillary Clinton for… well… saying that her granddaughter is extraordinary. (Apparently Sanders has trademarked that word. Who knew?)
The diary uses an edited clip from the Morning Joe interview to capture Clinton saying:
I guess at the end of the day, for me… you know, people talk about their extraordinary grandchildren, but I actually have one. And we’re going to do everything we can to give her opportunities. But it’s not enough…
She actually has one. She doesn’t mention Bernie Sanders. But what is she getting at here? Why did she bring up her grandkid at all in response to the question “What is the message of your campaign?” That doesn’t seem like much of a message.
But wait, there was more (a lot more) to her statement. And here’s what Clinton said after the ellipses (in the part edited out by whoever made the video).
And I think too many people are forgetting what are some of the biggest determinants as to what happens to your children and grandchildren. The first being what kind of country we are and whether we’re still providing the opportunities to realize your promise and potential and what kind of world’s going to be out there waiting.
And I feel passionately that just because we had it in the past, doesn’t mean we’re going to keep it in the future. You shouldn’t have to be the granddaughter of a former president to have your American Dream realized. I think every kid should have a chance to live up to her god-given potential.
She says this stuff all the time. The idea that somehow now she’s taking a shot at Sanders grandchildren because she used the word “extraordinary” to describe her grandchild… smh.
Sigh . . .
On to other news.
I wonder how the Republicans will put a negative spin on this story.
VIENNA, Austria — Four American citizens, including a Washington Post reporter, who have been imprisoned in Iran are set to board a Swiss aircraft Saturday from Tehran to an undetermined location, where they will be freed as part of a prisoner release deal between the U.S. and Iran. The agreement is the result of long-running, high-stakes secret negotiations between the two traditional adversaries.
“Our citizens have not yet been flown out of Iran, so we don’t want to do anything that could complicate it,” a senior administration official said Saturday. “But we are told the deal is done, that they will be let out.”
As part of the exchange, the U.S. will release seven Iranians who were being held in the country on sanctions violations. All were born in Iran, but six are dual Iranian-American citizens. The seven men all have the option to remain in the U.S.
The deal will bring home four Americans who have been imprisoned in Iran for years on trumped up charges, or in some cases no charges at all: Washington Post Tehran correspondent Jason Rezaian, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, and Nosratollah Khosrawi-Roodsari. The imprisonment of Khosrawi-Roodsari has never been previously reported.
Read more at the link.
We haven’t talked much about the “militia” nuts in Oregon lately. Here are some recent updates.
Thousands of archaeological artifacts — and maps detailing where more can be found — are kept inside the national wildlife refuge buildings currently being held by an armed group of protestors angry over federal land policy.
Ryan Bundy, one of the leaders of the group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon, says they have no real interest in the antiquities. Still, their access to the artifacts and maps has some worried that looters could take advantage of the situation.
“There’s a huge market for artifacts, especially artifacts that have provenance, where you can identify where they came from,” said Carla Burnside, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s refuge archeologist.
More than 300 recorded prehistoric sites are scattered across the refuge, including burial grounds, ancient villages and petroglyphs. Some of the artifacts — including spears, stone tools, woven baskets and beads — date back 9,800 years.
About 7,000 artifacts and samples from the refuge are kept at a museum in Eugene, Oregon. But 4,000 more are kept at the refuge for research.
Only Burnside has a key to the room containing the artifacts and the maps. She’s since seen pictures of the occupiers in her office, adjacent to the room where the artifacts are stored. The group has been looking through government files at the site, but it is unclear if they’ve gone through the room with the artifacts.
Authorities have finally arrested one of the idiots. The Guardian reports: Oregon militia standoff: man arrested driving stolen government vehicle
The standoff with armed militia in Oregon escalated on Friday after police swooped in on one of the protesters to make the first arrest in connection with the two-week occupation of a federal wildlife refuge.
Kenneth Medenbach, who was arrested for unauthorized use of a government vehicle, is a chainsaw sculptor and longtime nemesis of the government with a history of previous entanglements with the courts over the occupation of federal lands.
He is the first militiaman connected to the armed occupation to be arrested since the bird sanctuary in rural Oregon was unexpectedly taken over on 2 January.
Medenbach, 62, was detained outside a Safeway supermarket in Burns, Oregon, some 30 miles from the Malheur national wildlife refuge, according to a statement from the Harney County sheriff’s office.
What stories are you following today?
A plague wind…no I am not speaking of the hot air from Donald Trump’s mouth. Even though that is descriptive of the hate filled rhetoric that spews from the hole in the middle of Trump’s face.
I have three links for you today, this migraine has me for good. And to top it off, a bad cold.
Here they are:
The first time John Ruskin noticed the gray clouds of the “plague-wind” was in 1871, decades into the industrial era. Walking home from work at the University of Oxford one spring day, the renowned English art critic looked skyward, to the “dry black veil which no ray of sunshine” could penetrate, and then back to earth, where the leaves of trees shook “not violently, but enough to show the passing to and fro of a strange, bitter, blighting wind.” Only the wind proved not to be so strange. In the months that followed, he repeatedly witnessed the same weather pattern.
That July, the 52-year-old Ruskin committed his observations to writing. Never in a lifetime of monitoring nature’s movements had he seen such springs and summers. The origins of this mysterious meteorological change demanded scientific investigation, he argued. Where did the plague-wind come from? Was it caused by the smoky belch of heavy industry, or another source? With rigorous scientific experimentation, could the wind be made to consist of something else?
The scientific men are busy as ants, examining the sun and the moon, and the seven stars, and can tell me all about them, I believe, by this time; and how they move, and what they are made of.
And I do not care, for my part, two copper spangles how they move, nor what they are made of. I can’t move them any other way than they go, nor make them of anything else, better than they are made. But I would care much and give much, if I could be told where this bitter wind comes from, and what it is made of.
For, perhaps, with forethought, and fine laboratory science, one might make it of something else.
It looks partly as if it were made of poisonous smoke; very possibly it may be: there are at least two hundred furnace chimneys in a square of two miles on every side of me. But mere smoke would not blow to and fro in that wild way. It looks more to me as if it were made of dead men’s souls — such of them as are not gone yet where they have to go, and may be flitting hither and thither, doubting, themselves, of the fittest place for them.
Ruskin cited these musings in an 1884 lecture in London on “the plague-wind of the eighth decade of years in the 19th century; a period which will assuredly be recognized in future meteorological history as one of phenomena hitherto unrecorded in the courses of nature.” The lecture is often read as one of the earliest expressions of modern environmentalism.
Read the rest…it is fascinating.
Coal once fueled the British Empire, employed armies of men and shook the power of governments.
On Friday, workers at Britain’s last operating deep coal mine finished their final shift, emerging — soot-blackened and live on television news channels — to cheers, applause and tears.
Some of the men carried lumps of coal as mementoes from the Kellingley Colliery, 200 miles north of London. The last haul of coal from the pit is destined for a mining museum as a once-mighty industry fades into history.
“There’s a few lads shedding tears, just getting all emotional,” said miner Neil Townend, 51.
Defiant to the end, the Kellingley miners sang a hit by Tom Jones — the son of a Welsh coal miner — as they headed underground for the last time.
“This is what makes us very special, the mining community,” said Nigel Kemp, who worked at the mine for more than 30 years. “The men have gone down today singing ‘My, my, my, Delilah.’ Every single man on the cage, you could hear them 400 feet down singing.”
The image of the Black Country as a smoke-filled engineering heartland may be due to the inexorable progress of the industrial revolution and the steady growth of early twentieth century British manufacturing, but the paintings of local artist Edwin Butler Bayliss (1874 – 1950) also play a major part in the gritty image of the West Midlands.
Bayliss, the son of an iron manufacturer, lived through the apex of Britain’s industrial period and, as the region’s factories and mines expanded around him, his highly prolific brush captured both the drama and the harshness of the industrial Midlands.
Slag heaps, blood red smelting plants, bellowing factory chimneys and the weary trudge of the anonymous coal pickers and workers who lived amidst the Black Country’s belching furnaces were his stock in trade.
In his favoured stamping grounds around the areas of Bilston and Tipton close to the Hickman furnaces he captured the bleak landscape with an almost Dickensian eye for narrative detail – and pathos.
Looking at these searing paintings today there is evidence of the impressionistic palette of his contemporaries, few of whom chose the industrial heartlands as their subject matter. And in a handful of them the stark beauty of later artists such as Graham Sutherland and evenGeorge Shaw come to mind.
This is an open thread….
There is nothing I can say tonight.
This is an open thread.