Wednesday Reads: Breaking News #MuslimLivesMatter

The morning news is so unspeakably sad, I will just let the links do the talking for now since the story is “breaking” but….this…

….is

….and

….remember

Deah-Barakat-Facebook-feeding-poor-300x300

 

See more:

https://twitter.com/hashtag/MuslimLivesMatter

 

 

 

Reports: 3 young Muslims slain in Chapel Hill shooting. N.C. man charged. – The Washington Post

 

A North Carolina man has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the shooting of a young Muslim couple and their sister Tuesday in Chapel Hill, police say. One of the slain was a student at North Carolina State University. Another was at the University of North Carolina and the third was planning to enroll at UNC dental school this year.

According to local CBS affiliate WRAL, the alleged shooter, Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, turned himself in to the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office in nearby Pittsboro after the shooting.

Authorities did not specify a motive in the slayings.

The victims, identified in an alert from UNC Chapel Hill as husband and wife Deah Barakat, 23, and Yusor Mohammad, 21, and Mohammad’s sister Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, 19, were shot in the head. All three were pronounced dead at the scene when police arrived shortly after 5 p.m. Eastern Time.

It wasn’t until this morning that the media started to pick up the twitter trend…that this is a hate crime, there was mass media silence…and it was deafening.

Three college students killed in Chapel Hill shooting; 46-year-old man charged :: WRAL.com

Posted 6:13 p.m. yesterday
Updated 28 minutes ago

Barakat, a second-year dental student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, married Yusor Mohammad in late December, according to school officials.

According to a page on YouCaring.com, a free online fundraising website, Barakat was one of the organizers of an effort to raise money to provide free dental care to students of the Salaam School in Turkey. Barakat and others were scheduled to travel to Turkey in the summer of 2015 to treat children who have become refugees due to the ongoing Syrian civil war.

Mohammad is listed on her Facebook page as a student at North Carolina State University, and officials at UNC said she was planning to begin dental studies in Chapel Hill this fall.

Abu-Salha, Mohammad’s younger sister, is listed as a sophomore at NC State and a graduate of Athens Drive High School in Raleigh.

The three victims were Muslim, and Hicks is not, according to posts about atheism on his Facebook page. In thousands of posts on social media, many have now questioned whether the victims’ Islamic faith was a factor in the shooting.

Investigators have not said what led to the shootings. Hicks was being held without bond early Wednesday in the Durham County jail. He is scheduled to make a first court appearance Wednesday morning.

 

The three victims were very active in their community and in charitable organizations. The loss is powerful:

3 Muslim students shot to death in apartment near UNC Chapel Hill – CNN.com

 

FoxNews leads with this of course:

North Carolina man charged in shooting death of 3 Muslim students | Fox News

A man who portrayed himself as an avowed atheist on social media was in custody early Wednesday after allegedly gunning down three Muslim students in a condominium complex near the University of North Carolina hour earlier.

Craig Stephen Hicks, 46, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder after turning himself in to police in Chapel Hill overnight. Police have not branded the triple homicide as a hate crime, although a Facebook page in Hicks’ name described him as a supporter of “Atheists for Equality” and in a recent post he asked “why radical Christians and radical Muslims are so opposed to each others’ influence when they agree about so many ideological issues.”

 

There are also other takes on this, from different political and ideological sides and international news outlets:

Muslims Mourn Chapel Hill Victims – Americas – News – OnIslam.net

The Jewish Press » » Atheist Charged with Murdering Three Muslims on Chapel Hill Campus

Killer of 3 UNC-Chapel Hill Muslim Students Was Hardcore Anti-Religion Atheist Progressive | PJ Tatler-

pjmedia  com/tatler/2015/02/11/killer-of-3-unc-chapel-hill-muslim-students-was-hardcore-anti-religion-progressive/

Three Muslim Arab students massacred at Chapel Hill-Arab Daily News

Chapel Hill Shooter Craig Hicks an ‘Anti-Theist’ who Opposed All Religions-IBT

Chapel Hill shooting: How news of the deaths of three young US Muslims spread around the world – Americas – World – The Independent

North Carolina shooting leaves three dead | US news | The Guardian

Chapel Hill Muslim Student Shootings Spark ‘Islamophobic’ Outcry Over Lack Of Media Coverage- Huffpo UK

‘Anti-theist’ who used Facebook to condemn all religions is arrested over fatal ‘execution-style’ shooting of three young Muslims – Independent.ie

#MuslimLivesMatter trending after UNC shootings | HLNtv.com

 

 

Some of those links above…that PJ Tattler for instance which I deactivated the link btw…you can copy and paste if you want to go and read it, I am putting them up so you can see the differences in reporting. Take it from there.

Other links on this:

Three Muslim family members killed near UNC-Chapel Hill – NY Daily News

Chapel Hill police arrest man in triple homicide | CharlotteObserver.com

Man arrested after shooting three dead in North Carolina | Reuters

 

The Independent story has a lot of info on the victims:

Chapel Hill shooting: How news of the deaths of three young US Muslims spread around the world – Americas – World – The Independent

I will post more updates as they come available.

This is an open thread.

 

 

 


Tuesday Reads: The Big Dig, Snowpocalypse, Snowmageddon 2015

Scene along the Charles River in Cambridge

Scene along the Charles River in Cambridge

Good Morning!!

This morning I have reached the point where I can’t think of anything else but dealing with snow. I hope you’ll forgive me for being too self-involved to focus on much more than surviving the terrible onslaught we’re going through here in Greater Boston. I’m going to share some photos and news about the mess we’re in here before I get to anything else.

The photo above was taken by my sister-in-law. Here are a couple more of her lovely photos of Cambridge.

Another view of the Charles River

Another view of the Charles River

One of Cambridge's narrow streets

One of Cambridge’s narrow streets

Some Snowy News:

The Christian Science Monitor, The Big Dig: New England struggles with record snow – and more coming.

Snow-choked New England braced for more winter grief later in the week as people dug out from another 2 feet of snow Tuesday. Thousands of angry Boston commuters stranded by a transit shutdown scrambled to find other ways to get to work.

As people struggled to find places to put the latest snow, and officials considered dumping it by the truckload into the ocean, forecasters warned that yet more snow was possible Thursday and again over the weekend.

That’s right, folks. Even after we’ve set multiple records for snowfall over the past couple of weeks, we are expecting more storms. Some of the effects on the region so far:

Boston-area subways, trolleys and commuter rail trains ground to a halt at 7 p.m. Monday and remained idle Tuesday, with only limited bus service continuing. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said it needed the break to clear snow and ice from tracks and to assess equipment damaged by the spate of storms….

Boston hospitals set up sleeping areas for workers and police were offering rides to work for doctors and nurses.

Hundreds of flights were canceled at New England airports. Officials at Boston’s Logan International Airport said they hoped normal passenger service would resume by midday Tuesday.

Massachusetts environmental officials gave cities and towns with no place else to put accumulating snow the green light to dump some into the ocean or other bodies of water if necessary.

The Department of Environmental Protection on Monday cited the challenges involved in getting rid of the historic snowfalls. Local communities may seek permission to take emergency steps that allow disposal of snow into open water, which is normally prohibited. Officials also were using giant melters to liquefy snow.

Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, Feb. 9, 2015

Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, Feb. 9, 2015

Here’s why the T had to shut down. From The Boston Globe: Passengers stuck on Red Line train for more than two hours.

More than 40 passengers were safely evacuated from a southbound Red Line train that became stranded for more than two hours between stations in Quincy due to a power failure, MBTA officials said.

Spokesman Joe Pesaturo said the train lost power around 7 a.m. Monday, and the final passengers were escorted out of the cars around 9 a.m….

“The tracks are completely exposed to the storm conditions,” said Pesaturo. “The third rail was completely covered by heavy snow. The train could not move because of a lack of power.”

Pesaturo said the 48 passengers were safely taken off the train and transferred to a bus.

The next storm is due soon. From The Globe: Up to 6 more inches of snow on the way.

The National Weather Service is predicting the snowfall for a 24-hour period from 7 a.m. Thursday to 7 a.m. Friday.

A map generated by the National Weather Service at 4:46 a.m. Tuesday shows higher accumulation in Eastern Mass., and predicts 2 to 3 inches for most of the area outside of I-495.

Kenmore Square and the famous CITGO sign.

Kenmore Square and the famous CITGO sign.

For some strange reason, there is a small area of Greater Boston that is taking the brunt of these storms. That’s the area I live in.

Thursday’s expected snowfall comes amid a record period for the Boston area, in which about 6 feet has fallen over a 30-day period, beating the previous record of 58.5 inches, which was set in 1978.

The National Weather Service said 76.5 inches have fallen in Boston this winter season through 7 p.m. Monday.

But that won’t be the end of it, according to The Weather Channel. There’s another storm expected on Valentine’s Day weekend. 

It is still too soon (4+ days out) to determine whether the offshore low will track close enough to bring heavy snow to parts of New England and the Northeast. If a closer low track (heavier snow) would take place, peak impacts would occur Saturday night into Sunday with the heaviest snow in coastal New England.

Regardless where the low tracks, behind the arctic front and intensifying offshore low — you guessed it — bitterly cold air will settle in, driven by strong winds, leading to dangerous wind chills and areas of blowing/drifting snow. Temperatures may remain stuck in the single digits or, at best, teens much of Sunday in New England, with morning lows in the single digits above or below zero.

Boston's Financial district

Boston’s Financial district

Honestly, I was doing pretty well until yesterday, when I discovered that I couldn’t open my front door. It was frozen shut. I went out through the garage and, with the help of a neighbor, got the door to open. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t close all the way and I couldn’t lock it anymore. Stupidly, I locked the storm door.

This morning, the front door is again frozen shut and I won’t be able to open it from the outside because of my stupid decision to lock the storm door. I’ll have to try to get the door open with a hairdryer or go in and out through the garage. Don’t even ask about the back door. That would require digging a long pathway through at least four feet of snow.

I guess I need to call a waaaambulance. If I sound discouraged, I’m not alone. From the Globe: Unrelenting snowfall darkening our moods.

From commuting odysseys to back-wrenching shoveling and days without a drop of sunshine, this winter’s unrelenting snow is wrecking the region’s collective psyche.

Precious free time for trips to the gym, often a psychological balm, has largely vanished. Ditto for meeting friends or gathering with family.

For many, a single-minded focus on navigating the avalanche of storms can weigh heavily, therapists said Monday.

“It is assaulting people,” said Barbara Green, a psychologist at the Center for Integrative Counseling and Wellness in Hingham. “Even strong, resilient, upbeat people are starting to feel a bit frayed emotionally.”

Green said she is hearing from patients that normal daily stresses — commuting, working, taking care of a family — seem magnified many times over, especially for people with low-paying jobs who do not have the luxury of missing a day at work.

“People’s normal coping skills and strategies erode,” Green said. “Instead of eating a healthy diet, they eat cookies, maybe even drinking more.”

Well, I don’t have those problems anyway, because I don’t drink and I don’t have any cookies or other sweets lying around. I’m also luckier than most people, because I don’t have to get out to work. I’m just having to give myself pep talks and call friends and family for support and to feel less isolated.

Boston Common, Feb. 9, 2015

Boston Common, Feb. 9, 2015

 

Other News

CBS 6 Charlottesville, VA, Sources: Jesse Matthew charged with first-degree murder of Hannah Graham

An 11 a.m. press conference in Charlottesville on Tuesday will reveal that Jesse Matthew Jr. has been charged with first-degree murder in the death ofHannah Graham according to CBS 6 sources….

Matthew, 32, is currently charged with the abduction with intent to defile, in Graham’s disappearance. She was in her second-year at the University of Virginia.

Graham was last seen leaving a Charlottesville bar with Matthew, on Sept. 13. Her remains were found on an abandoned property in Albemarle County on Oct. 18.

Graham’s body was discovered roughly five miles from where Morgan Harrington’s body was found in Albemarle County in January 2010. In November 2014, police forensically linked Harrington to Matthew when his DNA was found on the black “Pantera” shirt she wore the night of her disappearance.

The 20-year-old Harrington, who was a Virginia Tech student, disappeared outside of the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville while attending a Metallica concert on Oct. 17, 2009.

Matthew is currently incarcerated in Fairfax County, where he is facing attempted capital murder, rape, and sexual assault charges relating to the attack and rape of a Fairfax woman in 2005. DNA has also linked him to this case.  He will remain behind bars in Fairfax until his trial on March 9.

City worker tries to clear a sidewalk in downtown Boston

City worker tries to clear a sidewalk in downtown Boston

Remember Dominique Strauss Kahn?

USA Today, Strauss-Kahn: I didn’t know those women were prostitutes.

Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn denied allegations Tuesday that he knowingly helped organize orgies with sex workers.

Strauss-Kahn, 65, was testifying at a court in northern France for his alleged connection with a prostitution ring at a hotel in Lille.

“I committed no crime,” Strauss-Kahn, once thought to be a contender for the French presidency, said in a letter read to the court as he took the stand.

Strauss-Kahn said he was not aware the women in question, whom he admits participated in orgies at luxury hotels in Paris and Washington, were prostitutes. He said he ignored their “prostitutional character” and that he himself had only taken part occasionally and that there had been no “wild activity.”

Strauss-Kahn and 13 others are accused of aggravated pimping based on hundreds of pages of testimony provided to investigators by prostitutes describing the orgies.

Man shoveling in Dorchester neighborhood, Feb. 9, 2015

Man shoveling in Dorchester neighborhood, Feb. 9, 2015

The Guardian, US prosecutors weigh criminal charges against HSBC as Warren turns up the heat.

The US Department of Justice is considering bringing criminal charges against HSBC and its executives as part of its investigation into whether the bank’s Swiss subsidiary helped US clients evade taxes.

Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren called on prosecutors to “come down hard” on HSBC if the bank is found to have colluded with tax evaders on Tuesday.

Her intervention came as US government officials with knowledge of the DoJ’s investigation provided the Guardian with new details about the inquiry.

Renewed focus has been placed on the long-running investigation into HSBC Switzerland by the department, after a huge leak of secret bank data – passed to the DOJ’s tax division almost five years ago – was obtained by the Guardian and other media.

It shows that HSBC Switzerland helped some clients conceal millions of undeclared assets, and has immediately raised questions on Capitol Hill about the response from prosecutors and tax authorities.

BOSTON - FEBRUARY 8: Crews use an Aero Snow Melter to dispatch mounds of snow at the Marine Industrial Park snow farm on February 8, 2015. (Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

BOSTON – FEBRUARY 8: Crews use an Aero Snow Melter to dispatch mounds of snow at the Marine Industrial Park snow farm on February 8, 2015. (Photo by Pat Greenhouse/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

More Headlines

CNN, American ISIS hostage Kayla Mueller dead, family says.

ABC News, A Look Back at UVA Student Hannah Graham’s Disappearance.

WaPo, Was Brian Williams terrorized by gangs at the Ritz-Carlton during Katrina?

The Independent UK, Charles Manson wedding off after it emerges that fiancee Afton Elaine Burton ‘just wanted his corpse for display’.

NY Daily News, Drew Peterson charged with trying to kill Illinois lead prosecutor while behind bars.

NY Daily News, Baby born carrying twin fetuses (Please don’t tell the anti-abortion crowd about this one, or that poor little baby could be in big trouble).

HuffPo, New Jeb Bush Hire Called Women ‘Sluts’ On Twitter.

Reuters, Mumps outbreak linked to Idaho university spreads to Washington state.

ABC News, Stay Away From ‘Measles Parties’ Docs Warn Parents.

The stories I found are somewhat lurid today. I don’t know if that’s because of my mood or a real reflection of what’s happening. Please post your recommended reads in the comment thread, and have a terrific Tuesday!

 


Wednesday Reads: Why?

018e5305891f3ae65235bfa7bbcde3c1Good Morning

The latest unbelievable tripe coming from the nuts on both the far right and far left have got me saying only one thing…Why?

Anti-anti-Vaxxers here…anti-vaxxers there,  no “Employees must wash shitty hands” signs, and breastfeeding isn’t sexist because men can lactate, too. (Yeah, can you believe this shit?)

That is just a few choice bits.

Is this a joke? Or is this just a way for the gods to torture some of us…who don’t feel obliged to follow “partisan allegiance.” Whatever the fuck that is…seriously this is a term used on a Hot Air site which I cannot link to, you know, for the sake of trolls and suck. (Oops, I mean such.)

8b8b422bc1dbd84411258b83bf4384aeIf you want to look for the link, it is on Hot Air Quotes of the Day, 2.3.15:

 

What’s even more dangerous is politicizing the debate over vaccines. Comments by Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey calling for “balance” in the vaccine debate after President Obama said Americans should “get your kids vaccinated” could have a similarly perverse effect, turning a public health issue into a matter of partisan allegiance…

WTF is that? Since when does ones party allegiance take precedent over the lives of those kids who are unable to get vaccinated for legitimate medical reasons, i.e. they have other illnesses like say…leukemia. This is what I do not understand, and where the question…Why?

f3998443ec206f6baef64a50fd7c3aabJessica Valenti talks about her daughter in her article, Your feelings about vaccines don’t trump another child’s medical reality | Jessica Valenti | Comment is free | The Guardian

Risking other children’s lives, and other parents’ pain, is exactly what you’re doing when you don’t vaccinate your child: you’re not just making decisions about your children’s health, but the health and safety of the children around them. Children like mine.

ab782e8b24791fe000186a4ffb5db5bbLayla was born extremely premature, and because of her low birth weight and underdeveloped lungs, her immune system was not up to par for years. She got sick more easily and more drastically than other children. The first two years of her life were filled with too many emergency room visits, doctors, shots, antibiotics and other medical interventions.

She ee9437db5a201e7b8fcf9b653738dfe5was at such risk, in fact, that our pediatrician recommend that we keep her out of daycare and away from groups of children for as long as possible, so we cared for her at home for two years – a luxury we could afford but many other families cannot. But every time she played with a child at the park or a doctor’s waiting room, I was terrified.

So when I read quotes from parents denying any social responsibility to vaccinatesaying things like, “My child is pure … It’s not my responsibility to be protecting their child,” it makes me livid. Where once we said “it takes a village”, these days some people don’t care if the village burns to the ground so long as their precious snowflake is left standing.

 

5a33ae3d63996288a169aa0cfba490d8Emphasis mine, btw.

What kind of mentality must you have to think like this?

It is the same kind of mindset that brings on these gems of wisdom and knowledge from the mouths of idiots:

Beck: Anti-Vaxxers Are Being Persecuted, Just Like Galileo | Right Wing Watch

Rand Paul’s Comment About Parents ‘Owning’ Children Was Not Random – Little Green Footballs

930cdfc90c28f9005babb241188be393he said the state doesn’t own the children, the parents own the children. Just in case you were wondering, this wasn’t some out-of-the-blue thing. The idea behind Paul’s utterance goes all the way back to the King of Asshole Libertarians himself, Murray Rothbard.

Please go and read LGF for the money quote.

Republican Party Comes Out Against Basic Hygiene, For Freedom | Wonkette

North Carolina’s newbie Sen. Thom Tillis is a damned fine Republican. You can tell because of how much he hates government regulation of any kind, because that is just the government murdering freedom.

F2.largeForcing companies to follow Basic Rules of Hygiene, for example, like making employees wash their hands before serving food? He told a delightful story about explaining to some poor constituent who no doubt took a bleach bath after their encounter about how that’s one of those unnecessary regulations that really should be left up to the Great And All-Knowing Free Market:

I don’t have any problem with Starbucks if they choose to opt out of this policy as long as they post a sign that says “We don’t require our employees to wash their hands after leaving the restroom.”

6072593620_1506dbb9a3_bCool story, bro. But it really helps to illustrate where today’s Republican Party is, which is in the toilet, not washing its hands because freedom.

Israel’s ambassador jokes on Twitter about undermining Obama – Vox

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer are currently embroiled in a controversy that has them under such intense fire in both countries that even Fox News is siding with Obama against them.

311FF7CC49E48F1CB9991F01D512148C_B800_2400_800_525Dermer had arranged, with House Speaker John Boehner, for Netanyahu to visit the US in March, without the knowledge or approval of the White House, and give a speech to Congress that is widely expected to bash President Obama’s Iran talks and to endorse negotiations-killing sanctions. It is a major break with diplomatic protocol, and gives the strong impression that Netanyahu is picking sides in domestic American politics — against Obama.

So Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, having damaged the US-Israel alliance that is his job to safeguard and that is crucial to his nation’s security, and drawn heavy criticism in both the US and Israel, decided that Super Bowl Sunday would be a great opportunity to make a joke about it:

Israel s ambassador jokes on Twitter about undermining Obama   Vox

Hilarious!

Macca & fan #2Just to be clear about this, Dermer is jokingly calling attention to the fact that he appears to be working to undermine the sitting president of Israel’s most important ally. He’s making a funny about how his plot to gin up a little short-term political support for Netanyahu has blown up in his face, harming not just his boss’s political chances but the very alliance that is his primary responsibility. It’s funny stuff.

Hey, it is about to get better…

Marianne smilesTexas Bill Will Allow Teachers to Kill Students to Protect School ‘Property’ | Alternet

Students better think twice before drawing mustaches in history books.

Supreme Court lets stand ruling that firing woman for breastfeeding not sexist since men can lactate

6072594676_8836f96fa2_bThe Supreme Court has declined to overturn a lower court’s ruling that an insurance company was within bounds when it fired a breastfeeding mother. The woman’s suit was dismissed by the Eighth Circuit Court on the grounds that firing a woman for breastfeeding isn’t sexist because men can lactate, too.

The ACLU’s Galen Sherwin wrote Monday that former Nationwide Insurance Company employee Angela Ames sued her employer when she returned from maternity leave to find that no allowances had been made to enable her to pump breast milk for her baby during the day.

6072052157_e449822b37_bWhen Ames asked her supervisor for accommodations that would enable her to express milk and store it for her child, the supervisor reportedly responded that Ames should “go home and be with your babies” instead. That supervisor went on to dictate a letter of resignation to Ames that day, effectively forcing her to resign.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court sided with Nationwide and the Eighth Circuit Court, denying Ames’ petition for a review of her case’s dismissal. The trial court’s decision — which the Circuit Court upheld — said that for Nationwide’s firing of Ames for taking time to express milk at work could not have been sexist because under certain circumstances, some men can lactate, too.

Say what???????????

6072594186_2ab6ccb872_bThe court’s reasoning in this case echoes old Supreme Court pronouncements that discriminating against pregnant women at work isn’t sex discrimination because both men and women can be non-pregnant,” Sherwin wrote. “Congress long ago rejected this ridiculous reasoning when it passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. It’s disheartening to see it resurface again.”

6072052613_ebecf9b676_bAgain I ask, Why?

Now, as I write this post, my brother is being taken away in an ambulance to the Emergency Room. Damn. I feel like we need to set up camp in the ER lately. The rest of the post will be in dump format. (Key word being dump…ha.) (Sorry, I can’t help it…)

Hillary eyes Brooklyn for campaign HQ | TheHill

Pilot’s selfies “likely” caused fatal crash, flight investigators say | Ars Technica

6072594408_b36b941e31_bStudy: Insurers may be using drug costs to discriminate | AccessNorthGa

What a beheading feels like: The science, the gruesome spectacle — and why we can’t look away – Salon.com

These never-before-seen portraits of former enslaved blacks will move you | theGrio

January 31st marked the 150th anniversary of the signing of the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery.

To commemorate the occasion, new photos have been released showing some of the men and women who lived through that era — and were finally granted their freedom.

The portraits focused on a group of 500 people and were taken in the late 1930s, as part of the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP), 70 years after abolition.

Harper Lee’s lawsuit against literary agent Samuel Pinkus – Business Insider

6072051073_ef817a6d4b_bFifty-five years after its publication, the world is finally getting a sequel to the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

While its author, Harper Lee, is notoriously reclusive, the 88-year-old waged a public court battle in recent years claiming her agent essentially stole the copyright for her Pulitzer Prize-winning book about racial injustice in the South.

Her 2013 lawsuit against her former agent, Samuel Pinkus, has since been settled, but the complaint seems relevant today. If the allegations are true, it’s a cautionary tale for aging artists whose agents might take advantage of them even though they’re supposed to be acting on their behalf.

6072050591_29e8c13ff2_bDraft of Arrest Request for Argentine President Found at Dead Prosecutor’s Home – NYTimes.com

Budgeting Away Women’s Reproductive Rights | American Civil Liberties Union

We Must Not Keep Telling the Same Stories About Why Young People Deserve Reproductive Agency

Jet Clips Bridge, Crashes into River in Taiwan — NYMag

 

Austerity to blame for 35% suicide surge in Greece – research — RT News

6072050267_0900643deb_bShit this is a depressing post.

The pictures are from the photographer: John Hopkins: Charismatic photographer, activist and leading figure in London’s counterculture of the Sixties – News – People – The Independent

John “Hoppy” Hopkins was one of the most charismatic and influential figures in the London counterculture he helped establish during the 1960s. Through his early association with Pink Floyd and his work as a photojournalist and political activist, he became known as the “King of the Underground”.

6072591748_8ec286ef7d_bHe helped establish the International Times, or IT, which became the voice of the hippie movement. He set up the London Free School, established the UFO psychedelic club and promoted the legendary 14 Hour Technicolor Dream, a climactic event of the 1967 Summer of Love. But his clashes with the Establishment made him a target for the authorities. Although he espoused the drug culture, he recognised its dangers and was more interested in encouraging others to “turn on” by fulfilling their artistic potential. It was in the latter role that he would be described as “inspirational”.

More images here:

everyday_i_show: photos by John ‘Hoppy’ Hopkins

Hopefully I will get to stop by tomorrow. If not, have a grand day…and keep nice and healthy too!


Lazy Saturday Reads: Tales of Chris Kyle, AKA “The Devil of Ramadi” AKA “The American Sniper”

Lazy Saturday1

Good Afternoon!!

I could easily stay under the covers today and just ignore the outside world. Yesterday I thought I was getting over my cold, but today the sinus congestion has kicked back in and I’m coughing and I can tell there is stuff in my lungs. To top it all off, there’s a snowstorm outside that is expected to leave a big sloppy mess in its wake; and more snow is predicted for Tuesday. To be honest, I’m having difficulty working up much enthusiasm for the news today, so once again I’m going to focus on a story that has aroused my curiosity recently.

One thing I’ve been thinking about for the past couple of days is the success of the movie American Sniper. I suppose I should see it before dismissing it, but I really don’t want to sit through a movie about a guy who shot hundreds of people at a distance in a pointless war.

The first time I heard anything about Chris Kyle was when he was shot and killed along with a friend, Chad Littlefield on a Texas shooting range. The New York Times reported that Kyle worked with veterans suffering from PTSD by taking them to the gun range and letting them work out their issues there. That just seemed bizarre to me, but I’ve never been in a war or even held a gun in my hand, so there’s no way I could relate to this. Maybe there was something to it.

The alleged killer was a young veteran named Eddie Ray Routh, whom Kyle was supposedly trying to help. According to the Washington Post, the specific details surrounding Kyle’s death aren’t dealt with in the movie about him.

Chris Kyle (left) with Chad Littlefield

Chris Kyle (left) with Chad Littlefield

Kyle had returned from Iraq in 2009 and was

well acquainted with the difficulties soldiers face returning to civilian life, and had devoted much of his time since retiring in 2009 to helping fellow soldiers overcome the traumas of war….

In 2011, Mr. Kyle created the Fitco Cares Foundation to provide veterans with exercise equipment and counseling. He believed that exercise and the camaraderie of fellow veterans could help former soldiers ease into civilian life.

Mr. Kyle, who lived outside of Dallas with his wife and their two children, had his own difficulties adjusting after retiring from the Navy SEALs. He was deployed in Iraq during the worst years of the insurgency, perched in or on top of bombed-out apartment buildings with his .300 Winchester Magnum. His job was to provide “overwatch,” preventing enemy fighters from ambushing Marine units.

sniper4n-2-web

Kyle also wrote a book, “American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History,” in which he wrote that

[h]e did not think the job would be difficult….But two weeks into his time in Iraq, he found himself staring through his scope into the face of an unconventional enemy. A woman with a child standing close by had pulled a grenade from beneath her clothes as several Marines approached. He hesitated, he wrote, then shot.

“It was my duty to shoot, and I don’t regret it,” he wrote. “My shots saved several Americans, whose lives were clearly worth more than that woman’s twisted soul.”

Over time, his hesitation diminished and he became proficient at his job, credited with more than 150 kills.

I just can’t relate to any of that, and I really don’t want to see a movie that glorifies that kind of killing. Why do so many people want to see it, and why do they see this man as a hero? I don’t get it. I spent some time yesterday reading about Kyle’s life and the movie from different points of view, and I’m even more mystified now than I was when I began reading.

One thing I learned is that Kyle was a serial liar or fabulist of some sort. He once claimed he had beaten up former Navy Seal, professional wrestler, and Governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura in a bar fight. Ventura sued Kyle for defamation of character and won a $1.8 million settlement from Kyle’s estate.

US-POLITICS-VENTURA-ESPIONAGE

A St. Paul, Minn., jury awarded former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura $1.8 million Tuesday in his lawsuit against the estate of “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle.

On the sixth day of deliberations, the federal jury decided that the 2012 best-selling book defamed Ventura in its description of a bar fight in California in 2006. Kyle wrote that he decked a man whom he later identified as Ventura after the man allegedly said the Navy SEALs “deserve to lose a few.”

Ventura testified that Kyle fabricated the passage about punching him. Kyle said in testimony videotaped before his death last year that his story was accurate.

Legal experts had said Ventura had to clear a high legal bar to win, since as a public figure he had to prove “actual malice.” According to the jury instructions, Ventura had to prove with “clear and convincing evidence” that Kyle either knew or believed what he wrote was untrue, or that he harbored serious doubts about its truth.

The jury’s verdict was later upheld on appeal.

According to a long and fascinating piece by Michael McCaffrey, another wild story that Kyle liked to tell was how he was carjacked by some bad guys and ended up killing them and being thanked for it by the police.

Chris told many people, and some reporters, that just after his return from Iraq in 2009, he was carjacked by two men at a gas station on a remote Texas highway. Chris asked the men if he could reach into his truck to get his keys, and as he did he pulled a pistol from his waistband and shot both men in the chest from under his armpit. The two men were killed instantly. Chris called the police and waited for them while leaning against his truck. The police came, Chris handed them a phone number to call at the Pentagon. The cops called the number, and the people at the Pentagon told the cops that Chris Kyle was a war hero and a Navy SEAL. The police also went inside and watched the gas station surveillance video of the incident. The cops then let Chris go on his way. Chris claimed he got emails from cops all across the country after the incident thanking him for “keeping the streets clean”. Great story. Except none of it is true.  Not a word. There were no carjackers, no dead bodies, no cops, none of it. He made the whole thing up. His big mistake was then telling the story to his SEAL friend, Marcus Lutrell, author of Lone Survivor, and Marcus put the story in his second book, Service: A Navy SEAL at Work. Now it wasn’t just a tall-tale, it was in the public record, and it is demonstrably a lie. The New Yorker magazine and other journalists have investigated the story. They all come to the same conclusion. There were no carjackers. There were no dead bodies. There were no cops. None of it happened. No police departments know anything about it, no coroner ever saw the bodies, no gas station had any surveillance video or ever heard of such a thing and no cops ever responded to the scene and called the Pentagon.

Chris Kyle and his gun

Chris Kyle and his gun

And then there was the tale about how Kyle and another guy had gone to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and picked off looters from the roof of the Superdome. McCaffrey writes:

The second story that was told by Chris Kyle was that he and another SEAL were sent by the government to New Orleans in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Once they got to New Orleans, Chris and another sniper went to the roof of the Superdome, and started shooting looters in the city. Chris Kyle said this to many people, he also said this on tape. Chris claims to have killed thirty looters all on his own. Helluva story. Only problem is…there’s not a speck of truth in it. Once again this is a total fabrication, or to put it less delicately, a complete, bold faced lie. Chris Kyle never went to New Orleans after Katrina. He never shot ‘looters’. Just like with the carjackers, there are no bodies and no documentary or corroborating evidence it occurred. None. Chris Kyle lied. Again.

Don’t take my word for it…Here are two links to in-depth articles about these two stories. (New Yorker-  LINK     Washington Post –   LINK)

Why would this man, who already had plenty of dramatic true stories to tell, make up these tall tales out of whole cloth? If you’re interested in the psychology of people like this, you’ll probably find McCaffrey’s suggested explanations as interesting as I did.

Eddie Ray Routh

Eddie Ray Routh

Here are a few more articles to check out if you find the hero-worship of Kyle and his own behavior as interesting and confounding as I do.

The New Yorker: In the Crosshairs — Chris Kyle, a decorated sniper, tried to help a troubled veteran. The result was tragic.

The Guardian: Chris Kyle and the Iraq war are more complex than American Sniper – or criticism of it, by Colby Buzzell.

Slate: How Accurate Is American Sniper? by Courtney Duckworth.

Alternet, via Raw Story: 7 big lies ‘American Sniper’ is telling America about Iraq and Chris Kyle, by Zaid Jelani.

Telesur: American Sniper? by Ross Caputi.

The Boston Globe: Many miss the point of Eastwood’s ‘American Sniper,’ by Ty Burr.

Rolling Stone: ‘American Sniper’ Is Almost Too Dumb to Criticize, by Matt Taibbi.

The Washington Post: Trial of Eddie Routh, killer of Chris Kyle, will be darkest chapter of ‘American Sniper,’ by Abby Philip.

What stories are you following these days? This is an open thread.


Friday Nite Lite: Banjoville No-Go Zone

2c3e47220eb5cccd01d245ddb55db014Evening

Before I get to the cartoons, a little side note.  The letter to the editor is from The North Georgia News, our local Banjoville newspaper…the “Legal Organ” of Union County.

I use it as an example of what Chez Pazienza at The Daily Banter discusses here, about the stupidity of people, racism and the panic of fear it can bring about.

A couple of days ago we mentioned here how the mayor of Paris was planning to sue Fox News because the network incorrectly, ludicrously claimed that parts of Paris and the U.K. had become something it called Muslim “no-go zones,” where non-Muslims weren’t allowed to enter and where Sharia law superseded federal and local law. One expert on Fox News even made the shocking pronouncement that the entire city of Birmingham, England was one of these “no-go zones.” Just to make sure it’s understood what we’re talking about here, Fox News told its audience of epistemically sealed-off reactionary yokels that reactionary Muslims had taken over and sealed-off segments of free countries and cities and that those countries and cities had allowed this to happen. Try unpacking that inside your head for a moment and see if smoke doesn’t begin coming out of your ears.

3a6c9e2ef9eb64f86da78aa6f03cf44dWell, I realize it’ll be hard to believe, but everything Fox blithered into the ether on this was a giant steaming pile of horseshit. No, there are no Muslim no-go zones in France or England and, by extension, there aren’t going to be any Muslim no-go zones popping up in the United States anytime soon. Yes, there are pockets of the Muslim community scattered throughout the free world the same way there are pockets of every other ethnic, racial and religious background in exactly the same position; cultures tend to stick together in areas outside of their comfort zones. There are also almost certainly cases of these communities attempting to address civil concerns within their community internally in the same way, ironically, that orthodox Jewish neighborhoods sometimes do. There are even, to be sure, bad actors amongst these communities who take their desire for insulation too far. But to claim that Muslim enclaves, specifically, represent a threat in that they’ve been able to culturally terraform the land upon which they’ve set up, making it somehow toxic to outsiders, including law enforcement, is absurd. And for Fox News to say so is irresponsible and inflammatory (which is par for the course for Fox).

In response to being called out by both the French and British Prime Minister David Cameron, Fox News backed off the report, issuing a rare retraction and apology. CNN’s Anderson Cooper also apologized for furthering the rumor by biting down hard on Fox News’s bait and reporting its own story of supposed no-go zones. But the problem is that once the poison has been injected into the cultural and media c8bcc2febf1c76867f520d365b06d290bloodstream it’s impossible to eradicate. The misinformation becomes part of the conversation, because people — particularly those who are already inclined to believe it because it confirms their biases — disregard the retraction and remember only the initial story, even if it’s crap. We live in an age in which deliberate distortion and conspiracist nonsense spread like Ebola and can wreak almost as much havoc.

There never were any government “death panels” accompanying the Affordable Care Act, and yet the second that phrase was uttered it created a snowball that ultimately became an unstoppable avalanche of bullshit. No amount of shoveling would make it go away. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and yet there are still people out there who believe Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. People believe what they want to believe, regardless of the facts. Go on television and tell them something that feeds the foundations of their ideological bent and even if you tell them two seconds later you were wrong, they’ll find the retraction more dubious than the initial faulty report. This is what makes misinformation and outright disinformation so dangerous.

So with that as a set up, I bring you a taste of my little redneck mountain town:

 

What do you seek?

Dear Editor,
For all practical purposes, Christianity
has been, or soon will be, extinguished in the
Middle East, in most of the continent of Africa,
China, Indonesia and the surrounding nations in
favor of Islam.
Britain is rapidly being culturally redefined

as Muslim. A Prelate of the Anglican
Church recently commented that Sharia should
become part of the Anglican liturgy. Debate is
always afoot in the Parliament to increasingly
honor Muslim sensitivities.
In Paris, the Right Bank has long been un-
der the aegis of Muslims. The old haunts of the

Impressionists are no longer
safe for white Christians.
The day might come
when Sacre’ Coeur  might
hear the Islamic Call to Prayer
resonating from its towers and
domes. That’s what happened
to Hagia Sophia.
The yelping of the “politically-correct,”

“tolerant,” Humanist, anti-Christian, “diversity”-

hungry curs grows

louder with every passing
week to reduce, limit, curtail
and, perhaps, to eventually
eliminate Christianity from the
United States.
Perhaps such as they favor

Sharia Law and all that it
implies, entails and involves
— from massacres to beheadings
to the beating and stoning of nonconformist

women and children to the censoring of

anti-Islam publications, shows,
plays and broadcasts.
I have to wonder: Is
the Progressive strangling of
the Judeo-Christian Ethic in
America what you Progressives
/Liberals/Democrats at the AJC seek?
George Mitchell

(You can see the image of this letter further down below btw…)

And if that wasn’t enough…the talk on the local Banjoville Topix Forum is even more disgusting.

Thankfully the thread has been taken down, but I have screenshots of the “discussion” that you can look at here and here. I don’t know if it would be beneficial to our talk here, and there is horrible stuff on those threads….so you have been warned.  But Back to Chez’s article, where he is bringing up Dak’s favorite Gov.

Louisiana governor and world’s most embarrassing Rhodes Scholar Bobby Jindal is doubling down on his assertion that Europe is full of Muslim “no-go zones” and stoking the fears of his idiot constituency by saying that if we’re not careful we might soon see them in America. Jindal had already claimed that no-go zones were a real thing over the weekend during a speech in London, but despite the Fox News retraction, there he was on Fox News saying that there are areas in Western cities where the police won’t go and which are essentially off-limits to non-Muslims entirely. “If people don’t want to come here to integrate and assimilate, what they’re really trying to do is set up their own culture, their own communities,” Jindal said. “What they’re really trying to do is overturn our culture. We need to recognize that threat… We’re gonna see our own no-go zones if we’re not serious about insisting on assimilation and integration.”

And he’s not the only one picking up that ball and running with it. Family Research Council president and giant-penis-in-a-necktie Tony Perkins is now stating unequivocally that Muslim no-go zones aren’t on their way to America because they’re already here. “Dearborn, Michigan is one of the places. There are some places in Minneapolis,” he says. “I don’t think it’s as clear-cut as what we’ve seen in Europe.” Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, who’s Muslim, has already written an official open letter to Perkins calling him a fucking lunatic, or at the very least offering to show him around Minneapolis where he can see for himself whether these Muslim no-go zones he’s so terrified of actually exist. Maybe not such a good idea considering that we’re talking about a guy who’s an evangelical preacher. Perkins obviously doesn’t need to see proof of something to believe it’s real.

This is only the beginning, I promise. When you combine our susceptibility to fear-based disinformation with our tendency to fixate on subjects that are easily memed and hashtagged, “no-go zones” is tailor-made to become the next big conservative night terror. Screw reality — everybody panic.

What’s interesting about this, certainly about Jindal’s fear of foreign cultures setting up camps in the United States and refusing to assimilate — spreading their culture with little concern for what existed before it — is that it’s already happened on a grand scale. And I’m not even talking about the original immigrants who arrived here in the late 1400s and basically took right over.

And in a response to this right-wing horror of a city being taken over by a “foreign” culture or entity…Chez gives us one place as an example. Miami.

…an entire U.S. city which often feels like foreign soil. This is by no means an insult to the Cuban and Cuban-American population that arrived and assumed every position of political and cultural authority imaginable, merely an acknowledgment that Miami is unlike any other city in America because of the awesome power a “foreign” presence has been able to wield. In Miami, 70% of the population is Hispanic, with many speaking Spanish as their primary language or interchangeably with English. The leadership of the city’s body politic often feels like it has corruption running through its veins the way real bodies have blood. The city has in the past exercised its own foreign policy, strong-arming the federal government via a robust and fearsome voting bloc and even refusing to cooperate with that government’s law enforcement when it disagreed with the laws it was obligated to respect and uphold. It was once a literal war zone for foreign drug gangs, rivaling a current Mexican border town. It’s been called a flat-out banana republic, even by the people who live there.

ngn1-21-15OpEd1_001None of this makes Miami a bad place — quite the contrary, actually. It’s my hometown and it’s a fucking nuthouse; what’s not to love? But other than maybe Tom Tancredo, who was pretty much laughed out of the party, I’ll be damned if I’ve ever heard one frightened peep out of the Republicans regarding the foreign takeover of an entire American city. (Not surprisingly, you’ll hear lawmakers complain about the invasion of Haitians, but I’ll leave you to reach your own conclusions about that.) Hell, some of those hiding in plain sight in Miami were even terrorists, and yet — nothing.

It might have something to do with the fact that Cuban-Americans have traditionally been rabid, rock-solid backers of conservative politics, honest-to-God fish in a barrel to be shot by eager electoral panderers. But Muslims, they’re so dangerous for so many reasons — some of which are political — ngn1-21-15OpEd2-1_001that even a small community of them is enough to send the right into a frenzy, convinced that their specific brand of foreign religious law is already being imposed and the police are now forced to simply look the other way. (Nothing at all like when cops allowed for animal sacrifices in Santeria rituals in Miami because it was considered part of the accepted religious culture.)

Miami’s a whole city. Muslims congregate in a neighborhood and conservatives suddenly declare it a demilitarized zone.

I wish I could tell you that the attitude of the anti-anyone but white Christian here in Banjoville is only slightly peppered throughout the area, but it is not. You can see from the other letters to the editor, the Christian Right even more pronounced than some may think…seeing the hate and hypocrisy written by the Local Banjoville citizen assholes in these letters to the editor on a weekly basis just makes it more difficult to enjoy the beauty of the landscape this town has to offer. Ugh.

Okay, now for the cartoons.

Cagle cartoons, so click to see the image:

American Snipper by Political Cartoonist Pat Bagley

Deflated Balls by Political Cartoonist Cameron Cardow

Fantasy Football by Political Cartoonist Rick McKee

Jeb and Romney Clash by Political Cartoonist Pat Bagley

Catholics and rabbits by Political Cartoonist Joe Heller

State of the Union by Political Cartoonist David Fitzsimmons

 

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Tom Stiglich, MEDIA NEWS GROUP – 01/22/2015

Cartoon by Tom Stiglich -

Easier To Grip – Political Cartoon by Tim Campbell, Current Publishing – 01/23/2015

Cartoon by Tim Campbell - Easier To Grip

On Cuba:

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Gustavo Rodriguez, El Nuevo Herald – 01/23/2015

Cartoon by Gustavo Rodriguez -

 

AAEC – Political Cartoon by John R. Rose, Byrd Newspapers of Virginia – 01/23/2015

Cartoon by John R. Rose -

TURN OVER – Political Cartoon by Deb Milbrath, Cartoon Movement – 01/23/2015

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - TURN OVER

JONI ERNST SHOES – Political Cartoon by Deb Milbrath, Cartoon Movement – 01/22/2015

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - JONI ERNST SHOES

STATE OF THE UNION – Political Cartoon by Deb Milbrath, Cartoon Movement – 01/21/2015

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - STATE OF THE UNION

 

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Charlie Daniel, Knoxville News Sentinel – 01/23/2015

Cartoon by Charlie Daniel -

1/25 Luckovich cartoon: Trading places | Mike Luckovich

012515-toon-luckovich-ed

This is an open thread….

 


Wednesday Reads: #SOTU Aftermath

d977f3793197d3f408b824d6167c4bb8Good Morning

Oh boy, is it.

I guess we will just dive into the obvious this morning, by looking at the reactions and responses to Obama’s sixth SOTU speech from last night.

And away we go….

I thought this was a biggie score from last night, Transgender Individuals Recognized For First Time Ever In A State Of The Union Speech

President Barack Obama pushed for protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals Tuesday evening, making it the first time lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have ever been recognized directly in a State of the Union address.

“As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when we’re threatened, which is why I’ve prohibited torture, and worked to make sure our use of new technology like drones is properly constrained,” said Obama, adding, “That’s why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. We do these things not only because they’re right, but because they make us safer.”

The other big thing of the night, at least to my eyes, was the visual “optics” of Republicans Refuse To Stand Up And Support Fair Pay. Literally.

I hope that Dem campaigns make the most of that during 2016. Women make up half the voting population dammit!

When President Barack Obama called on Congress to raise the minimum wage and strengthen federal equal-pay laws for women, congressional Republicans refused to stand up and support it. Literally.

“Of course, nothing helps families make ends meet like higher wages. That’s why this Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work. Really. It’s 2015. It’s time,” Obama said Tuesday during his annual State of the Union address.

“And to everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this: If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, go try it. If not, vote to give millions of the hardest-working people in America a raise.”

The remarks drew a standing ovation from many in the chamber, but not from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and some Republicans, who remained seated.

Assholes.

But hey, the Latins got the “Royal Republican” treatment too. I am talking about the GOP responses to Obama’s Immigration policy. GOP Speech Pushes Immigration Reform—in Spanish Version Only | Mother Jones

On Tuesday night, freshman Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida delivered the Republicans’ Spanish-language response to President Obama’s State of the Union address. His remarks initially were billed as a translation of Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst‘s official GOP response. That put the GOP in an awkward spot, as Mother Jones first reported on Tuesday: Ernst has long been a proponent of making English the official language of US government communications.

In the end, Curbelo’s speech wasn’t an exact replication of Ernst’s. Whereas the senator relied upon numerous anecdotes of life in small town Iowa, Curbelo stuck to more general platitudes to open and close his speech. But when it came to policy, each largely followed the same script—Curbelo’s essentially used the same structure and rephrased the same talking points, albeit in a different language.

But there was also a conspicuous divergence: While Ernst’s speech included comments about abortion politics, Curbelo instead touted the need for immigration reform. “We should work through the appropriate channels to create permanent solutions to our immigration system, modernize legal immigration, and strengthen our economy,” he said, according to a translation by the Democratic opposition research firm American Bridge. From there, Curbelo went directly back into language also found in Ernst’s speech, saying: “In the past, the President has expressed support for ideas like these; now we ask him to collaborate with us to get it done.”

Similarly, Curbelo briefly touched on education reform and Cuba—two topics Ernst didn’t broach.

GOP Mentions Immigration In State of The Union Rebuttal…But Only In Spanish

Curbelo is far more liberal on immigration than many of his colleagues. He voted against an amendment last week to end Obama’s executive actions on immigration, and opposed the final Department of Homeland Security funding bill when such measures were included. He also supports immigration reform and the Dream Act, which would allow young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to stay.

For all the talk from Republicans who oppose executive action on immigration about the urgent need to end it, the issue didn’t make the cut for Ernst’s speech. She said Republicans want to “correct executive overreach,” but didn’t refer to immigration specifically.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who delivered his own State of the Union rebuttal, did not mention immigration, either.

Uh, the hog castrator is totally against immigration reform btw…

But the Official GOP response, given by a woman wearing a pair of camo heels (no shit, for serious) wasn’t really a response at all, but more like another example of the GOP attempt to pander to the women…I mean court the women voters. (Like that shit with the Spanish only response.) More on Joni in a bit.

If you are counting, there was five GOP responses last night. That does not count the ones from Rand and Cruz.

Instead of 1 Awkward SOTU Response, GOP Offers 5 — NYMag

In SOTU rebuttal, Rand Paul outlines 2016 vision – The Washington Post

Joni Ernest GOP SOTU Response 2015 FULL TRANSCRIPT VIDEO | Mediaite

Cruz vine here:

 

The best commentary on Joni Ernst rebuttal is from Karoli: Joni Ernst Tells Tale Of Time Trickle-Down Economics Spilled All Over Her Shoes | Crooks and Liars

Joni Ernst told a touching tale of how she only owned one pair of shoes as a child, and how she had to wear bread bags on her feet to keep her shoes dry when it rained.

When was that? During the Great Depression? Not so much, since Ernst was born in 1970. No, her time in bread bags was during the Reagan era — 1980 to 1988. Even allowing for the possibility that there was some flow-through from Carter into the Reagan years, Ernst’s tale of “we didn’t have much but we didn’t need much” falls squarely into Reagan’s trickle-down years.

Senator Ernst’s follow-up statement: “These days though, many families feel like they’re working harder and harder, with less and less to show for it.” That just further indicts Republicans and the whole trickle-down theory, given that it’s been the operative economic theory for the past 30 years.

Other than that little wrinkle in time, Ernst’s rebuttal was safe and quite white bread-ish. No terrible gaffes, but no details either. Not a one. Just some warm fuzzies about how Republicans understand that mean Uncle Washington isn’t working, and how they’ll kick his butt. It was like she was reading all the kids a chapter out of the conservative coloring book.

The only takeaway anyone should remember is Ernst’s affirmation that what Reagan and his league of conservatives left her with is bread bags on her feet.

And about that poor bread bag childhood: Late Night GOP Bad Ideas & Lies Open Thread » Balloon Juice

From the District Sentinel post:

Amid a fledgling primary campaign, rural Iowa state lawmaker Joni Ernst crafted a quirky hardscrabble persona that propelled her to both the forefront of the race and, eventually, the United States Senate. In a 30-second spot that gained attention for its employment of hog castration imagery, Sen. Ernst (R-Iowa) claimed that her farmer parents “taught us to live within our means” and said that “it’s time to force Washington to do the same.” …

The truth about her family’s farm roots and living within one’s means, however, is more complex. Relatives of Ernst (née: Culver), based in Red Oak, Iowa (population: 5,568) have received over $460,000 in farm subsidies between 1995 and 2009. Ernst’s father, Richard Culver, was given $14,705 in conservation payments and $23,690 in commodity subsidies by the federal government–with all but twelve dollars allocated for corn support. Richard’s brother, Dallas Culver, benefited from $367,141 in federal agricultural aid, with over $250,000 geared toward corn subsidies. And the brothers’ late grandfather Harold Culver received $57,479 from Washington—again, mostly corn subsidies—between 1995 and 2001…

Sen. Ernst’s family’s financial interest notably came up once during her campaign. In October, Salon reported that Richard’s construction company was awarded $215,665 in contracts from the Montgomery County government in 2009 and 2010, while Ernst was the body’s auditor. The bids won by Culver included Federal Emergency Management Agency projects worth $204,794…

 

But here in link dump format are some pundit’s and other politician’s takes on the busy night on the Hill.

State of the Union: ‘I still believe’ – Obama’s address vows equality over hostility | US news | The Guardian

Video: Georgia freshmen discuss their first State of the Union | Political Insider blog

Rand Paul’s SOTU Response: Lies, Doom And Empty Promises | Crooks and Liars

Rep. Steve King Wins! Worst #SOTU Tweet Ever | Crooks and Liars

Fox Misleadingly Suggests Obama’s Tax Plan Will Be “Raising Your Taxes” | Research | Media Matters for America

Obama trolls the GOP: How a not-so-lame-duck president left them bumbling – Salon.com

Republicans Irked By Obama Zinger In State Of The Union Address

Confident Obama throws punches | TheHill

Addicting Info – Obama’s Brilliant Comeback To Republicans’ Attempted Diss At State Of The Union Is Legendary (VIDEO)

Joni Ernst Responds to SOTU By Not Discussing It At All

In State of the Union Speech, Obama Defiantly Sets an Ambitious Agenda – NYTimes.com

Obama Greets Civil Rights Icon Before State of the Union

Body language and ad-libs show Obama won’t back down against GOP majority

Most Important Sentence in Obama’s Speech | RealClearPolitics

Wolf Blitzer: I Can’t Remember Another SOTU with So Many Veto Threats | Mediaite

Face of the Union: An illustrated guide to Obama’s State of the Union speech – The Washington Post

Obama’s Penultimate State Of The Union: Swagger, Successes And Not Screwing It All Up | BobCesca.com | News and Politics Blog and Podcast | We Cover the World

More to come in the comments below.

Otherwise just think of this as an open thread…


Sunday Reads: Smoked Whale Testicles in Dog We Trust

916695624a1cb99255e106a29dbff5c7Good Afternoon

Before I go any further, it is probably best if I explain the Smoked Whale Testicles portion in the title of this Sunday’s Reads.

Now, I saved this damn link when it first was published almost a week ago…so yeah it is old news, but damn, I don’t care what kind of beer aficionado you are…the first description of the contents of this brew is beyond anything that my imagination could dream up.

 

Iceland brewery makes beer using smoked whale testicles | Environment | The Guardian

Uh, you read that right.

Icelandic brewery Stedji, which is producing the beer in time for the country’s mid-winter festival, Thorri, said the Hvalur 2 beer was made with the testicles of fin whales – which are classified as endangered on the conservation Red List – smoked in a “traditional way” with dried sheep dung.

GoldenBook-TheHappyLittleWhale2The move, which comes a year after the brewery launched a beer for Thorri containing whale meat, has angered conservationists who claimed the “dying” whaling industry in Iceland was trying to create markets for its products.

Vanessa Williams-Grey, anti-whaling campaigner at Whale and Dolphin Conservation, said: “This is a calculated move, not only to dishonour a beautiful and endangered creature by using its most intimate of body parts as a marketing tool, but also sends a clear ‘two fingers’ to the conservation community and those who love and respect whales.

GoldenBook-TheHappyLittleWhale3Two fingers, in other words…our middle finger salute if you will.

“Right-minded people would no sooner drink beer brewed with whale testicles than they would order similar drinks made with tiger, elephant or rhino testicles and our hope, of course, is that visitors to Iceland will treat this latest offering with the disdain it deserves.”

GoldenBook-TheHappyLittleWhale4Dagbjartur Ariliusson, from the brewery, said: “We live in a country that allows whaling and the whaling is very well controlled by the Icelandic authorities, but fisheries here are self sustainable and very responsible.

“According to our research the fin whale in North Atlantic is not at risk of extinction.”

c5ac52ece76f45307abe40034fe72064He added that in the past, Icelandic people made food out of all possible ingredients, and during Thorri eat food ranging from rams’ testicles to rotten sharks.

“We consider this ingredient to be in the style of Thorri,” he said.

Well then, perhaps a beer made with smoked rotten ram’s balls would be more appropriate?

I don’t know, I can only think of a child’s illustrated Golden Book, telling a tale of this “Happy Little Whale” who gave up his cahones (and life), all for the glory of the cause…of beer.

And speaking of the Glory of the Cause. This next bit of explanation comes via Wonkette. Oh Lawd, what will the folks in Pinellas County Florida do now…for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office no longer is putting their trust in the All Mighty…no. They got their trust in Dog!

How Dumb Is My State? (Very Dumb): Your Florida Roundup | Wonkette

Screen-Shot-2015-01-16-at-9.09.42-PM

Best. Typo. Ever:

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office recently spent $81 million on a sparkling new palace of law enforcement on Florida’s Gulf Coast. il_340x270.413857555_tlb0There’s a state-of-the-art 911 center, top-of-the-line hurricane protection built to withstand Category 5 devastation, and a high-tech data center.
There are also some spiffy accoutrements, such as a bright-green rug with the sheriff’s official seal, which includes an outline of Florida and the motto: “IN DOG WE TRUST.”

Nobody noticed for several months. That’s some nice police work, boys.

Holy Shit! That must be one all powerful and glorified Dog, Faith…Belief…Trust. Fido Christ! I must truly make some time from my troubled day to get to know Him better. Whoofamen!

(I am going to hell for sure.)

Alright, now for the rest of the reads in dump fashion, because I am such a lazy ass heathen and couldn’t get my shit together and write this post up last night.

Guns:

Reuters News – Arrest of U.S. FAA inspector prompts new security guidelines, education

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration on Saturday suspended a system that permits its inspectors to skip safety checkpoints on the job soon after a single of them was arrested with a firearm in his carry-on bag, according to officials and media reports.

The arrest at New York’s LaGuardia Airport on Tuesday also prompted FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta to ramp up safety education of its inspectors through the short-term suspension of the program, according to the agency’s statement on Saturday.

The system allowed the inspectors to bypass the checkpoints and access safe places of the airports although performing their standard duties.

The FAA said it would also need inspectors to sign an agreement stating that weapons-connected infractions will result in their permanently losing the potential to bypass the checkpoints. Such offenders might also face other disciplinary action.

The inspector was arrested just after a firearm was allegedly identified in his bag at a Transportation Safety Administration checkpoint at La Guardia, according to a report Saturday by ABC News.

The Atlanta-based inspector had apparently utilised a Security Identification Show Area badge to bypass security at Hartsfield-Atlanta International Airport earlier in his trip, ABC reported.

But at La Guardia, the firearm was discovered at a normal security checkpoint, the report mentioned.

But let us also remember that he could bring that damn gun into the airport in Atlanta, no problem, thanks to the shitheads at the Legislature.

Researchers puzzled by discovery of 1882 Winchester rifle | Tampa Bay Times

This one is interesting…check it out.

Researchers are trying to crack the mystery surrounding the discovery of a weathered, rusted Winchester rifle in the mountains of remote eastern Nevada.

The gun manufactured in 1882 was leaning against a juniper tree on a rocky outcrop in Great Basin National Park during an archaeological survey in November.

Nichole Andler, the park’s chief of interpretation, said officials may never know when the .44-40 rifle was placed there, but it’s possible it could have been left undisturbed since the 1800s.

The area along the Utah border has a history of mining, ranching and hunting, she said, and park researchers are scouring historical documents to learn who might have owned the rifle.

“I would say the possibilities are wide open as to who owned the rifle and why it was left there,” Andler said. “It leaves a lot to the imagination and it may be a mystery that’s never solved.”

It had been sitting there all this time.

After viewing photographs of the rifle, Houze said, he knows why it went undetected for so long: It blended in so well with its surroundings.

“People probably have walked right by it,” he said. “It was a one in a million chance they looked at it the right way and found it.”

The unloaded rifle’s wooden stock was cracked but still intact, while its barrel was rusted. Its serial number was still visible, which allowed experts to determine it was made in 1882.

A Winchester Model 1873 made in 1882 was found propped against a juniper tree in Nevada’s Great Basin National Park in November during an archaeological survey. Park spokeswoman Nichole Andler says officials may never know how long the rifle had been there, but it’s possible it had been left there in the 1880s.

The Oscars:

Oscars 2015: All about Eve? In today’s films, it’s more like All about Adam | Rachel Cooke | Comment is free | The Guardian -Women are shamefully under-represented in the list of Oscar nominations. ’Twas not always thus…

This video from The Young Turks, gives some good thoughts on the Oscar controversy:

And then: This chart shows how rarely female directors win awards | Inside Movies | EW.com

CONTINUING WITH WOMEN ISSUES:

Republican Split on Next Week’s Antiabortion Bill Vote – NationalJournal.com

Republican lawmakers are raising concerns that the party will alienate young voters and women by voting for an antiabortion bill coming to the House floor next week, on the 42nd anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.

In a closed-door open-mic session of House Republicans, Rep. Renee Ellmers spoke out against bringing up the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortion after 20 weeks, telling the conference that she believes the bill will cost the party support among millennials, according to several sources in the room.

“I have urged leadership to reconsider bringing it up next week.… We got into trouble last year, and I think we need to be careful again; we need to be smart about how we’re moving forward,” Ellmers said in an interview. “The first vote we take, or the second vote, or the fifth vote, shouldn’t be on an issue where we know that millennials—social issues just aren’t as important [to them].”

‘Daily Show’ mocks ‘crazy-a*s’ Alabama law allowing fetuses to have lawyers

A new Alabama law will protect those who can’t protect themselves, Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams reported on Thursday — until the day they’re born.

“You have a crazy-a*s job, sir. I don’t know what’s in the realm of possibility, and what’s in the realm of not possible,” Williams told attorney Julian McPhillips, who is allowed to represent unborn fetuses under a provision in House Bill 494.

The law, which was passed last July, allows judges to appoint lawyers to challenge teen mothers seeking a court waiver in order to have an abortion.

Alabama ACLU director Susan Watson told Williams that the guardian ad litem, as the attorneys are called, can call witnesses ranging from the unborn fetus’ father to employers in order to testify against the girls seeking the petition.

“In the end, if the teen is allowed to access an abortion, the fetus lawyer can appeal and run out the clock,” Watson explained. “And if they do that, we’ve got a parent.”

“Oh, sh*t,” Williams gasped. “That’s how babies are made in Alabama.”

Zandar Versus The Stupid: Last Call For Madam President

The latest Pew Research poll on women in politics and business has more than a few interesting findings, but this one shouldn’t surprise anyone:

 

Yep, only 16% of Republican men would hope to see a female president in the US in their lifetime, and only 20% of Republican women do. You betcha. Also, too.

Seriously, Republican women?  You don’t want to see a woman in the White House?  Is it because of Hillary specifically, or is it because there’s no way your party full of misogynist jackasses would ever nominate a woman for the Oval Office, and you’re all resigned to the fact that any woman in the White House would have to be a Democrat?

Well, I think they just don’t think a woman’s place is in the Oval office. Period. And I think there is a special place in reserved hell for them too.

4 Places Conservatives Believe Women Don’t Belong | Care2 Causes

Well, they can all kiss this woman’s ass as she runs by them: thoughtsofablackgirl: Girls&WomenToKnow:  Alia… | Super Opinionated

Girls&WomenToKnow:  Alia Atkinson

Congratulations to Jamaican Alia Atkinson who (December 6) became the first black woman to win a world swimming title. She now wants to encourage greater involvement of different communities in swimming. She said “Hopefully my face will come out, there will be more popularity especially in Jamaica and the Caribbean and we’ll see more of a rise and hopefully in the future we will see a push (for more competitive swimmers).”

Atkinson completed the short course race in 1 minute and 2.36 seconds, tying the world record, which according to FINA standards counts as its own record. Via Telegraph.

omg her face in that gif!

(via drst)

RAPE AND STUFF:

(It is some difficult stuff coming up.)

Addicting Info – Detroit’s Untested Rape Kits Finally Tested, 100 Serial Rapists Identified (VIDEO) -Fucking eh?

“You should have been crying while she was alive”: Another sentence handed down in Rehtaeh Parsons case – Salon.com – A man who texted a photo that showed him penetrating Parsons during an alleged gang rape was sentenced to probation

Dixie Hollins High School copes with aftermath of campus rape allegation | Tampa Bay Times

Dixie Hollins High School students arrived for classes Thursday under the glare of TV news cameras, one day after a freshman and a senior were charged with sexually assaulting a girl on campus.

“We’re a great school that had a bad incident,” principal Dan Evans said.

A “bad incident,” oh…for fucks sake!

Evans said a 15-year-old girl reported to one of the school’s two resource officers on Monday that she had been assaulted in a room on campus. The principal said he could not release further details about the alleged incident, citing the open investigation, but said that it did happen this week.

“I was personally concerned and personally hurt because I don’t want to see anyone on campus hurt,” said Evans, who added that he is an alumnus of the school.

A Pinellas County sheriff’s spokeswoman said the girl did not know her alleged attackers, and that the assault took place during the day. The spokeswoman did not know late Wednesday whether it had taken place during school hours.

About 1,900 students attend Dixie Hollins, 300 more than when Evans took the helm of the turnaround school in 2010. Since then, he said, the school has vastly improved. Instances of crime are down while academic performance is up.

“The Sheriff’s Office investigation is extremely concerning to the Dixie Hollins High School community,” said Melanie Marquez Parra, a spokeswoman for Pinellas County Schools. “Dixie Hollins High School has made tremendous strides in improving academics, the campus environment and school safety. The school will assist law enforcement in any way possible as the investigation moves forward.

King and Cook were football players, but Evans declined to say much else about them. Records show Cook has prior arrests for trespassing and stealing cars, but the disposition of those cases was not apparent from court records.

“I think they’re kids,” Evans said. “In the world I live in, we’re all teachers, so we view all kids as young adults, and sometimes they make awful mistakes.”

An automated call about the allegations was to be sent to parents Thursday. Evans said he sent an email to the school’s 85 teachers before classes began, telling them to talk to students about the incident.

“We recognize we live in a society where bad things happen, even on school campuses sometimes,” he said.

In 2009, a Dixie Hollins student was convicted of sexually assaulting a girl on a school bus while two other students acted as lookouts.

Evans said Thursday that that incident was in the past and the allegation this week is an isolated one.

On the morning announcements, he said, he reinforced his support for the school, telling students, “I know you believe in Dixie, and I believe in Dixie.”

From January 8th: Why don’t we believe rape victims? Because of people like Phylicia Rashad. – Vox

Phylicia Rashad doesn’t believe Bill Cosby raped all those women.

Here’s part of what Rashad, the actress who played Clair Huxtable to Cosby’s Cliff on TheCosby Show, told Showbiz 411’s Roger Friedman about the growing list of sexual assault allegations against the 77-year-old comedian, all of which he and his attorneys have denied: “What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it’s orchestrated. I don’t know why or who’s doing it, but it’s the legacy. And it’s a legacy that is so important to the culture.”

In a way, sexual assault victims owe Rashad a strange kind of thanks.

Her dismissive stance illustrates, in a way no public service announcement or myth-busting list could match, why so many women who are raped don’t report their assaults. It’s a perfect encapsulation of the exact reaction that many victims — especially those raped by powerful men — fear.

Imagine you’ve been raped and are deciding whether to report the assault to the authorities. Just thinking about the possibility that someone — a police officer, friends or a family member, the public, or a court — would brush off your story the way Rashad brushed off of the stories of Cosby’s accusers could be enough to make you stay quiet.

But it gets worse.

But go and read the rest of this one…

On to Gay’s and God:

This Week in God, 1.17.15 | MSNBC

First up from the God Machine this week is a report out of Mississippi, where some lawmakers have decided it’s time to make the Christian Bible the official state book (thanks to my colleague Laura Conaway for the heads-up).,

Rep. Tom Miles of Forest says he and fellow Democratic Rep. Michael Evans of Preston are filing a bill, and they already have received bipartisan promises of support from more than 20 of their colleagues.

Miles says Mississippi has a state bird, a state flower and even a state toy, so it should have a state book.

According to the local report in the Clarion-Ledger, the lead sponsor of the proposal said this week “that he’s not trying to force religion – or even reading – on anyone.”
If this sounds at all familiar, Louisiana very nearly made the Christian Bible its official state book last year, but backed off once the bill’s sponsor acknowledged some “constitutional problems.”
In case it’s not obvious, similar “problems” would plague the Mississippi effort, if it proceeds. In our system of government, government is expected to remain neutral on matters of religion, and for state policymakers to specifically endorse one religion’s holy text would almost certainly run afoul of the First Amendment.

In other words, Mississippi would be inviting a costly lawsuit that it would inevitably lose.

Roger Ailes: I Smell A Class Action Lawsuit

I Smell A Class Action Lawsuit

It only could have been more hilarious if the kid’s name was Horst Schitt.

P.S.  No one could ever have seen this coming.

Supreme Court agrees to rule on gay marriage | MSNBC

>El Colacho, the baby jumping festival in Spain

>

Most Catholics are baptized into their religion as infants by being gently dunked under cleansing waters, absolving them of their original sin. In the Spanish village of Castrillo de Murcia, however, fresh babes are laid in the street so men dressed in traditional devil costumes can run around jumping over them.

The yearly festival, known locally as El Colacho, takes place 60 days after Easter during the village’s religious feast of Corpus Christi. No concrete origin for the bizarre ritual exists, but it dates back to at least the early 17th century. During the holiday, parents with children born during the previous year bring the little tykes out and place them in neat rows of pillows spaced out down a public street. Then, while the excited parents look on, men dressed in bright yellow costumes and grotesque masks begin filing through the crowd, whipping bystanders with switches and generally terrorizing everyone.

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This is all fun and games, as the main event is when these “devils” run down the street jumping over the rows of babies like Olympic hurdlers. Once the little sinners have been jumped over, they are considered absolved of man’s original transgression, and are sprinkled with rose petals before being taken away by their (likely very relieved) parents.

While there are no reports of injuries or babalities caused by the flying devils, the strange practice has been frowned upon by some of the higher-ups at the Catholic Church: in 2012, Metro UK reported that Pope Benedict went so far as to ask Spanish clergy to distance themselves from the ritual. However, El Colacho continues to take place each year. No one can tell this village that they can’t send it devil-men careening over helpless infants.

 

Irish priest announced he is gay — and his congregation gave him a standing ovation – Europe – World – The Independent

Science:

Mosquito-borne diseases stymied Ming Dynasty attempts to invade southern neighbor

Historic plutonium sample traced to Seaborg, Manhattan Project

16th-Century ‘Lenox Globe’ Gets Digital Makeover : Discovery News

Kids, the Holocaust, and “inappropriate” play _ BB this one is for you.

23andMe To Sell Customers’ Genetic Data To Biotech Company | Popular Science

And lastly:

Hillary Clinton Designated Boko Haram | Still4Hill

That is all for today, Ciao!