I’m still snowed in. I’ve been shoveling for two days, but 40+ inches of snow in a week was just too much for me to handle alone. My sister-in-law was going to come down from New Hampshire today to help me dig out, but it’s snowing again, so she may have to wait until tomorrow. My cold is still hanging on too, so this post may be a little disjointed. I’m going to focus on a “shocking” story about newscaster Brian Williams that broke over the past couple of days. The illustrations I’m are paintings of winter scenes by Edvard Munch.
Yesterday, NBC News anchor Brian Williams was caught telling a false story about being shot down in a helicopter in Iraq. From Politico:
On Friday night’s broadcast, Williams cited “a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG. Our traveling NBC News team was rescued, surrounded and kept alive by an armor mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry.”
One crew member responded to the story on Facebook the following day, writing to Williams, “Sorry dude, I don’t remember you being on my aircraft. I do remember you walking up about an hour after we had landed to ask me what had happened.”
This week, crew members of 159th Aviation Regiment’s Chinook helicopter also told Stars and Stripes that Williams had not been in the shot-down helicopter but had arrived an hour later.
On Wednesday, Williams conceded that he was not onboard the shot-down helicopter, but he told Stars and Stripes he did not intentionally make the mistake.
“I would not have chosen to make this mistake,” Williams said. “I don’t know what screwed up in my mind that caused me to conflate one aircraft with another.”
From Stars and Stripes’ exclusive: NBC’s Brian Williams recants Iraq story after soldiers protest.
Williams made the claim about the incident while presenting NBC coverage of the tribute to the retired command sergeant major at the Rangers game Friday. Fans gave the soldier a standing ovation.
“The story actually started with a terrible moment a dozen years back during the invasion of Iraq when the helicopter we were traveling in was forced down after being hit by an RPG,” Williams said on the broadcast. “Our traveling NBC News team was rescued, surrounded and kept alive by an armor mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army 3rd Infantry.”
Williams and his camera crew were actually aboard a Chinook in a formation that was about an hour behind the three helicopters that came under fire, according to crew member interviews.
That Chinook took no fire and landed later beside the damaged helicopter due to an impending sandstorm from the Iraqi desert, according to Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Miller, who was the flight engineer on the aircraft that carried the journalists.
The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove: Brian Williams’ War Story Is FUBAR.
Unfortunately for Williams, this is not the first time he has made “this mistake” on network television. On the March, 26, 2013 episode of CBS’s Late Show With David Letterman, he told the host (at the 3-minute, 50-second mark): “Two of our four helicopters were hit by ground fire, including the one I was in.”
“No kidding!” Letterman exclaimed.
“RPG and AK-47,” Williams elaborated.
“What altitude were you hit at?” Letterman asked.
“We were only at 100 feet doing 100 forward knots…”
“What happens the minute everybody realizes you’ve been hit?” Letterman asked.
“We figure out how to land safely—and we did,” Williams answered. “We landed very quickly and hard…”
Stars and Stripes left open the possibility that Williams also misreported the incident initially on March 26, 2003, but it turns out that back then, at least, he never claimed to have been aboard the attacked chopper—during two different broadcasts on that date. Television news analyst Andrew Tyndall dipped into his videotape library and screened the Nightly News segment in which Williams said “he was in a convoy of helicopters, one of which got hit,” Tyndall told The Daily Beast.
NBC News, meanwhile, unearthed a March 26, 2003 Dateline segment in which Williams reported: “On the ground, we learn that the Chinook ahead of us was almost blown of the sky.”
Grove compared Williams’ conflation of events with a story Hillary Clinton told in 2008.
2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s false assertion that, as first lady in March 1996, she came under sniper fire during a trip to Tuzla, Bosnia. “I remember landing under sniper fire,” Clinton said during a speech. “There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.” CBS News video of Clinton’s arrival showed no such thing; instead she alighted on the tarmac and greeted a welcoming child who offered her a poem.
I would compare Williams’ flub to tales that then presidential candidate Ronald Reagan told about events he recalled that never happened. A famous example from memory expert Daniel Schacter:
In the 1980 presidential campaign, Ronald Reagan repeatedly told a heartbreaking story of a World War II bomber pilot who ordered his crew to bail out after his plane had been seriously damaged by an enemy hit. His young belly gunner was wounded so seriously that he was unable to evacuate the bomber. Reagan could barely hold back his tears as he uttered the pilot’s heroic response: “Never mind. We’ll ride it down together.” …this story was an almost exact duplicate of a scene in the 1944 film “A Wing and a Prayer.” Reagan had apparently retained the facts but forgotten their source (Schacter 1996, 287).
An even more dramatic error by Reagan was his claim to have been present at the liberation of Auschwitz.
In November 1983, he told Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir during a White House visit that while serving in the U. S. Army film corps, his unit had shot footage of the Nazi concentration camps as they were liberated. He repeated the same tale to Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal and other witnesses. Reagan had indeed served in the Army and worked on morale-boosting movies for the War Department. But he had done so without ever leaving Hollywood for the entire duration of the war.
And then there was the story about 9/11 that George W. Bush was repeatedly criticized for–he claimed on that morning he had seen the first plane hit the World Trade Center twin towers before he went into a school for a photo op of him reading to children. But that was impossible, because film of the first tower being hit was not aired until
the next day later that day. Here’s Bush’s story quoted in a piece at e-Skeptic by memory expert Daniel Greenberg
I was in Florida. And my chief of staff, Andy Card — actually I was in a classroom talking about a reading program that works. And I was sitting outside the classroom waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower — the TV was obviously on, and I use[d] to fly myself, and I said, “There’s one terrible pilot.” And I said, “It must have been a horrible accident.” But I was whisked off there — I didn’t have much time to think about it, and I was sitting in the classroom, and Andy Card, my chief who was sitting over here walked in and said, “A second plane has hit the tower. America’s under attack.”
Two weeks later Bush’s story had evolved:
Bush remembers senior adviser Karl Rove bringing him the news, saying it appeared to be an accident involving a small, twin-engine plane. In fact it was American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767 out of Boston’s Logan International Airport. Based on what he was told, Bush assumed it was an accident. “This is pilot error,” the president recalled saying. “It’s unbelievable that somebody would do this.” Conferring with Andrew H. Card Jr., his White House chief of staff, Bush said, “The guy must have had a heart attack”… At 9:05 a.m., United Airlines Flight 175, also a Boeing 767, smashed into the South Tower of the trade center. Bush was seated on a stool in the classroom when Card whispered the news: “A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack.”
The fact is that memory errors like these are quite common. Human memory is not perfect–we tend to get basic facts right, but when we retell a memory again and again or even go over it in our minds, specific details can change. There are a number of ways this can happen. We can forget the source of a memory, as Ronald Reagan did with the movie scene he believed to be real. It’s also comment to retroactively alter a memory, as Bush did with his 9/11 flashbulb memory. That is caused by “interference.” I doubt that Williams deliberately lied about his flashbulb memory from Iraq. Why would he put his reputation at risk in that way? Most likely, he conflated his memories with other things he learned later about the event that made a strong impression on him at the time.
You can read more about false flashbulb memories in this scholarly article by Greenberg (pdf): President Bush’s False ‘Flashbulb’ Memory of 9/11/01. A flashbulb memory is a very vivid recall of a dramatic event in which we have a sense “remembering” exactly where we were and who we were with when we experience or heard about the event.
Back to the Williams story.
At Slate, Ben Matthis Lilly provides a detailed timeline of the various stories Brian Williams has told about his 2003 experience over the years. The initial story Williams told in 2003 was also inaccurate, according to soldier witnesses, but Williams still claims his original report was true.
In the initial account (given on both the Nightly News and a Dateline episode on March 26, 2003), Williams clearly states that he was part of a group of helicopters that was fired upon while performing a mission:
We are one of four Chinook helicopters flying north this morning, third in line. As we head toward the drop point the Iraqi landscape looks quiet. We can see a convoy of American troop carriers and supply vehicles heading north.
This 2003 account, like Williams’ apology, implies the helicopters landed together after ground fire:
All four choppers dropped their load and landed immediately.
However, Stars and Stripes‘ piece says unequivocally that Williams’ helicopter was not part of the group that was fired upon—not third in line, and not part of the line at all.
…Crew members on the 159th Aviation Regiment’s Chinook that was hit by two rockets and small arms fire told Stars and Stripes that the NBC anchor wasnowhere near that aircraft or two other Chinooks flying in the formation that took fire. Williams arrived in the area about an hour later on another helicopter after the other three had made an emergency landing, the crew members said.
The soldiers quoted by Stars and Stripes say that they recall being upset at the time by the inaccuracies in this 2003 version of events.
But do these soldiers really recall being upset in 2003? We can’t know for sure, because they didn’t tell their stories in public at the time.
I’m sure Brian Williams will continue to be attacked for his false memory. He might even lose his job over it, because lazy reporters would never consider consulting a psychologist who actually conducts research on human memory errors and their causes. Here’s Eric Wemple’s evaluation of Williams’ apology at the Washington Post:
That’s a very nice admission, though “conflating” the experience of taking incoming fire with the experience of not taking incoming fire seems verily impossible.
It might seem “verily impossible” to Wemple, but it isn’t impossible at all. It’s not even surprising to anyone who knows anything about how human memory works. I have no way of knowing for sure whether Williams lied or not; but if I had to guess, I think it’s more likely that he inadvertently created a false memory.
What stories are you following today? Please post your thoughts on the Brian Williams story and/or your recommended links in the comment thread.
I’ve had a bout of a really bad stomach flu and I’m just beginning to get some energy back, so I’m not going to post anything that takes any analysis. Hopefully, this will be a fun post after week after week of horrifying news. Oh, these tabloid covers don’t come from Fox News or any right wing blog, just so you know.
Jane Fonda has had a really interesting life. She recently gave an interview that opened up a lot of the more distressing things that she’s endured. You need to go to the link to watch/listen to the interview.
She talks about losing a parent to suicide (4:00), how being a tomboy with no period made her wonder if she was really a girl (4:30), how failed marriages forced her to look inward for strength (7:30), how she said goodbye to a slowly dying parent (13:30), how she manages being a caretaker for her partner with Parkinson’s (22:00), and what sex is like after celibacy (26:15). She’s not scared of anything anymore. You’ll love it.
She’s still working and has done these interviews as part of blitzing the airwaves for her new movie. Fonda’s life has been an open book but now so are many of her feelings about that life.
In a career spanning more than 50 years, the two time Oscar winning actress has always been hard to ignore. Before she was the video work-out queen of the 80’s, Fonda was a noted activist for Civil Rights and an outspoken opponent to the Vietnam War. She has repeatedly expressed regrets about the photographs taken of her posing with North Vietnam guns that shot down American planes.
“At your level of fame the easy thing to have done throughout your entire career was to seek privacy and instead you’ve spoken out about causes that you believe in. Why?” asked Bryan.
“I’m my father’s daughter, explained Fonda. “I grew up with Tom Joad. The Grapes of Wrath. 12 Angry Men. The Wrong Man. Ox-bow Incident.
“My dad never spoke much. He was very taciturn.But I knew that these movies had characters that he loved, and that’s what he felt the world should be like and he believed in sticking up for the underdog, for fairness and justice.”
“And so at a certain point in my life I found myself going in that direction and it’s made me a better person for sure. And I’ve learned a lot. I didn’t just sort of give money out like it’s a charity. I was down in the trenches and it really made me a better actor too, I must say.”
There’s something else Jane inherited from her famous father Henry. A tendency to get teary.
“My dad always said ‘Fondas cry at a good steak’, Fonda said.” It’s a sign of empathy I think. Because the crying doesn’t mean sad. It means your heart is open and your soul is open. And I found ( This Is Where I Leave You) full of those kind of moments that opened my heart and my empathy gene and I hope that it does for audiences. And I think it will.”
Yet another study has shown that the most conservative areas of the country are the most porn-addicted. Is it the misogyny, the down home religion, or the repression? This study argues that it’s correlated with defense mechanisms.
In October, two Toronto researchers, Cara MacInnis and Gordon Hodson, published a study that correlated the popularity of sex and adult material-related search terms across various regions or states with information from a Gallup pool asking about religious and political attitudes. Their study design involves a number of different comparisons and considered the effects of poverty, population, and other variables.
Unsurprisingly, higher levels of religiosity and conservatism correlated higher search rates sexual content – specifically, it meant more searches for phrases like “sex,” “gay sex,” or “sex images.”
While aggregate data can’t be used to draw conclusions about individual behavior and is open to alternative interpretations, it fits with information from other sources. For instance, Business professor Benjamin Edelman at Harvard found that states that place a higher esteem on traditional gender roles and sexuality have higher rates of paid subscriptions for adult materials – which seems to imply they have no idea how the Internet works in these states, as well.
It dovetails with claims made by strip club owners that they make up to three times as much during Republican conventions than Democratic conventions or even the Superbowl. MacInnis and Hodsen quote an exotic dancer named Layla Love who said in 2001 that the arrival of the RNC brought with it “15 to 17 hour shifts, every day” until the convention ended. She added that “So, for basically seven days straight, I will be in the club, every day, day shift and night shift.”
So we’ve stated the obvious; what’s this got to do with defense mechanisms?
There are several that are relevant to this discussion:
- Denial means simply refusing to acknowledge that some event or pattern is real.
- Repression involves pushing uncomfortable thoughts and feelings to the far recesses of the subconscious mind.
- Reaction formation is saying or doing the opposite of what you really want but won’t allow yourself to express.
- Projection means assuming that others share the impulses, feelings, and vices that you find unacceptable in yourself.
We’ve all encountered at least one of these before when dealing with a religious conservative: for instance, the Religious Right projects more than an IMAX theater. When factored into this discussion, however, it becomes easy to picture a group of so-called “Values Voters” at the convention after a night painting the town (Republican) Red:
Projection: Godless liberals are destroying this country-feminazi sluts demanding sex with no consequences and faggots pushing their gay agenda on our children.
Reaction formation: This town is full of trashy dancers who wag their big tits and tight asses at honest businessmen. We should lock them up and throw away the key.
Denial: Real Christians, through prayer, have the power to resist temptation. Only righteous men in public office can stop the moral decay of this sex-obsessed country.
Repression: Did you say something?
We all have our failings; nobody is perfect. But if you’re going to demand perfection from others and make no allowances for failure, you better damn well be perfect yourself. Not just “saved” – perfect.
Earlier this year, egyptologists from the American University in Cairo shed light on some of the bizarre burial rituals discovered in the tomb, including the fact the king’s penis was embalmed at a 90-degree angle – the only mummy to have ever been found with this feature.
On the outside of the tomb, decorations depicted Tutankhamun as underworld god Osiris, while wall paintings (pictured) showed the king being embraced by the underworld god. It is believed that if Tutankhamun was shown to be this powerful god it would quash a religious revolution taking place in the 1320s BC
Researchers from the American University in Cairo believe the king’s appendage was embalmed at a 90-degree angle to make the young pharaoh appear as Osiris, the god of the underworld.
The angling of the penis was a feature worn by ‘corn-mummies’, created in honour of Osiris.
The mummy was also covered in black liquid to resemble Osiris’ skin.
Elsewhere, Tutankhamun’s heart was missing when the tomb was discovered by Howard Carter in 1922.
Religious texts claimed Osiris’ heart was similarly removed by his brother Seth.On the outside of the tomb, decorations depicted Tutankhamun as Osiris.
They claimed that this may have been carried out on purpose to make the king appear like Osiris, the god of the underworld, in an attempt to frighten religious revolutionaries.
At the time of his death in 1323 BC, the father of the teenage Egyptian king was said to be leading a religious revolution in the country.
It is believed Akhenaten wanted to destroy the belief in the Egyptian gods and instead worship a sun disc called the Aten.
Tutanhkhamun was trying to tackle this revolution when he was believed to have broken his leg and died from an infection in the wound. DNA analysis in 2010 also found traces of malaria in his system.
During mummification a decision was made to not only embalm the erect penis, but also to cover the king’s body in black liquid – similar in colour to the skin of Osiris – and remove his heart.
These rituals, according to Professor Salima Ikram from the university, were done in order to make people think Tutankhamun was the underworld god.
Albert Zink, from the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman in Italy, deciphered the truth about the ruler’s parents by studying the royal family’s DNA.
He found that Tut was born after his father Akhenaten – dubbed the heretic king – had a relationship with his sister. Incest was not frowned upon by the ancient Egyptians and they did not know about the health implications for any offspring.
Hutan Ashrafian, a lecturer in surgery at Imperial College London, said that several members of the family appeared to have suffered from ailments which can be explained by hormonal imbalances. He said: ‘A lot of his family predecessors lived to a ripe old age. Only his immediate line were dying early, and they were dying earlier each generation.’
Egyptian radiologist Ashraf Selim: ‘The virtual autopsy shows the toes are divergent – in layman’s terms it’s club foot. He would have been heavily limping.
‘There is only one site where we can say a fracture happened before he died and that is the knee.’
Evidence of King Tut’s physical limitations were also backed up by 130 used walking canes found in his tomb.
Republican Candidates for all levels of office continue to say strange things too. This one is really weird. Is it just me or does it appear that many of them seem to have mental illnesses that should be treated? I mean isn’t religious delusion like an indicator of some really awful problems?
Rep. James Clyburn’s (D-S.C.) Republican challenger referred to same-sex couples as “gremlins” and “bullies” in a Facebook post urging supporters to oppose gay marriage at the polls this fall.
Anthony Culler, the GOP nominee for Clyburn’s seat, wrote a Facebook post on Oct. 14 decrying same-sex marriage as “a pestilence that has descended on our society, against our will, by those in the courts and government that do not value the traditional family.”
“Same sex couples that seek to destroy our way of life and the institution of marriage are NOT cute and cuddly but rather (for those of you that are old enough to remember the movie), Gremlins that will only destroy our way of life,” he wrote.
He adds: “These people are bullies and now that they are winning their true and hateful nature is much easier to see and hear.”
Culler goes on to charge that gays have “a strong tendency for substance abuse,” and urges readers to avoid the ” ‘over the top’ and ‘anything goes’ ceremonies or parties that these people revel in.”
“Stand against this and we will reverse it and drive it back into the darkness,” he writes.
One more before I go go too. This one is real but sounds like tabloid stuff. I kid you not. Although, really, what is Politico any way if not a beltway tabloid and only journalism in the minds of the originating stooges?
Federal law enforcement officials are taking an ISIL threat against Michele Bachmann so seriously that Capitol Police have given the Minnesota Republican her own security detail.
An online threat against Bachmann emerged recently, according to multiple law enforcement officials familiar with the situation. Last week, Bachmann was provided a security detail in response, according to the sources.
Members of the U.S. Capitol Police’s Dignitary Protection Division were briefed on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The police security will continue until Bachmann, who will retire at the end of this Congress, is no longer in office.
A police detail of this type typically means 24-hour protection when a member of Congress is on Capitol Hill or back in the home district.
Officials declined to outline the specific nature of the threat.
Bachmann’s office referred news media inquiries to Capitol Police. A Capitol Police spokeswoman declined to comment.
“The U.S. Capitol Police does not discuss law enforcement operations or security regarding Members of Congress,” spokeswoman Kimberly Schneider wrote in an email.
Bachmann has been publicly critical of not only ISIL, but also Islam, calling on President Barack Obama to declare war on the religion during a speech at the conservative Value Voters Summit at the end of September.
“And I believe if you have an evil of an order of this magnitude, you take it seriously,” Bachmann said. “You declare war on it, you don’t dance around it. Just like the Islamic State has declared war on the United States of America.”
Have a great day! What’s on your reading and blogging list today, because it’s a WIDE OPEN thread!
Wolf Blitzer must be celebrating this morning, because the mystery plane is back in the headlines.
SYDNEY, Australia — Investigators looking into the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines plane are confident it was on autopilot when it crashed in a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean, Australian officials said Thursday as they announced the latest shift in the search for the jet.
After analyzing data exchanged between the plane and a satellite, officials believe Flight 370 was on autopilot the entire time it was flying across a vast expanse of the southern Indian Ocean, based on the straight path it took, Australian Transport Safety Bureau chief commissioner Martin Dolan said.
“Certainly for its path across the Indian Ocean, we are confident that the aircraft was operating on autopilot until it ran out of fuel,” Dolan told reporters in Canberra, the nation’s capital.
Asked whether the autopilot would have to be manually switched on, or whether it could have been activated automatically under a default setting, Dolan replied, “The basic assumption would be that if the autopilot is operational it’s because it’s been switched on.”
But exactly why the autopilot would have been set on a flight path so far off course from the jet’s destination of Beijing, and exactly when it was switched on remains unknown.
A report issued by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, outlining how the new search zone had been chosen, said that the most likely scenario as the aircraft headed south across the Indian Ocean on March 8 was that the crew was suffering from hypoxia or was otherwise unresponsive.
Hypoxia occurs when a plane loses air pressure and the pilots, lacking adequate oxygen, become confused and incapable of performing even basic manual tasks.
Pilots are trained to put on oxygen masks immediately if an aircraft suffers depressurization; their masks have an hour’s air supply, compared with only a few minutes for the passengers. The plane, which left Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, bound for Beijing, with 239 people aboard, made its turn south toward the Indian Ocean about an hour after it stopped responding to air-traffic controllers….
Evidence for an unresponsive crew as the plane flew south includes the loss of radio communications, a long period with no maneuvering of the aircraft, a steadily maintained cruise altitude and eventual fuel exhaustion and descent, the report said.
“Given these observations, the final stages of the unresponsive crew/hypoxia event type appeared to best fit the available evidence for the final period of MH370’s flight when it was heading in a generally southerly direction,” the document said.
Based on the report, a new search zone has been designated, according to the LA Times:
Experts from Boeing and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board were among the specialists who helped define the zone, based on satellite data and analysis of previous similar incidents.
The new zone, about 1,100 miles west of Perth, Australia, is farther south than where previous intensive search efforts were carried out this spring after the plane vanished March 8 with 239 people aboard. The flight was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it went missing….
Australia Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said the search was continuing with a mapping of the ocean floor in the newly defined area, to be followed by a comprehensive seafloor search.
The seafloor search, he said, should start around August and be completed within one year. The area is 58 miles wide and 400 miles long, covering an area as big as Lake Huron, the second-largest of the U.S. Great Lakes. By comparison, the area searched with a robotic, sonar-equipped submarine in May was about 330 square miles.
There was exciting news yesterday in the struggle to legalize same-sex marriage state by state.
In Utah, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld a lower court ruling striking down the state’s gay-marriage ban. And in Indiana,U.S. District Judge Richard Young made a similar ruling.
“It is wholly illogical to believe that state recognition of love and commitment of same-sex couples will alter the most intimate and personal decisions of opposite-sex couples,” the three-judge panel in the Utah case said. The panel immediately put the ruling on hold pending its appeal, either to the entire 10th Circuit or directly to the U.S. Supreme Court, according to The Associated Press.
In Indiana, Young wrote: “Same-sex couples, who would otherwise qualify to marry in Indiana, have the right to marry in Indiana. … These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such.”
Both decisions are significant in that they may influence decisions in other states.
Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond, writes NPR in an email that the Utah decision “is very significant, as [it is] the first appellate court to address the marriage equality issue.
“The 4th Circuit [in Virginia] may well apply the reasoning of the 10th Circuit opinion, as will numerous district courts that have yet to rule,” he says.
“The Indiana ruling invalidating its ban today also used similar reasoning,” Tobias says. “All courts are finding that the bans violate the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th amendment.”
In another breakthrough, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine has announced that she supports same-sex marriage. From The Washington Post:
“A number of states, including my home state of Maine, have now legalized same-sex marriage, and I agree with that decision,” Collins said in a statement, adding later: “I have long opposed efforts to impose a federal ban on same-sex marriage. In both 2004 and 2006, I voted against amendments to the United States Constitution that would have banned same-sex marriages by preempting state laws.”
Collins joins three other Republican senators who publicly support gay marriage: Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rob Portman (Ohio) and Mark Kirk (Ill.).
Today at noon Eastern, the U.S. plays Germany in the World Cup.
CBS News reports, Team USA: “Everything’s on the line” for Germany match.
It’s been a roller coaster ride for the American team so far in the World Cup. The team that, on paper, many pundits didn’t expect to advance, now has a real shot at moving on to the second round. And as CBS News’ Elaine Quijano reports, that fate is hinged on beating or at least coming up even against one of the cup favorites, Germany.
Team USA was greeted with cheers from American fans Wednesday as they arrived in the Brazilian city of Recife.
“This is the biggest game of a lot of our lives, so any fatigue in our legs will be erased,” said American midfielder Kyle Beckerman. “We’ve got to give everything we’ve got and more.”
Team USA began their World Cup run in the so-called “group of death,” but their aggression, attacks and overall stamina on the pitch have defied pundits who originally dismissed their chances of advancing.
“I think some people might be a little bit surprised at our results so far,” coach Jurgen Klinsmann said Wednesday. “We are by no means any underdog here in this tournament, but we know it’s the biggest hurdle we have to take now with Germany.”
Klinsman suggested that U.S. fans should take a day off work to watch the game, and wrote a letter to bosses asking them to excuse their employee’s absences, reports Reuters.
In the style of a ‘doctor’s note’, Klinsmann addresses employers and asks them to forgive their staff for their absence.
The letter was distributed on social networks by the U.S. Soccer.
“I understand that this absence may reduce the productivity of your workplace, but I can assure you that it is for an important cause,” wrote Klinsmann.
“The #USMNT (U.S. Men’s National Team) has a critical World Cup game vs Germany and we will need the full support of the nation if we are to advance to the next round.
“By the way, you should act like a good leader and take the day off as well. Go USA! Signed Jurgen Klinsmann, Head Coach, U.S. National team”.
And from Jake Simpson at the Atlantic: The Surprisingly High Stakes of the U.S.-Germany World Cup Game.
In the wake of the U.S. team’s heartbreaking come-from-ahead draw against Portugal in the World Cup on Sunday, soccer analysts and Twitter users scrambled to figure out the many ways the U.S. can still get to the next round. With a three-point lead over Portugal and Ghana in Group G, the Americans can advance even if they lose their match against Germany at noon Eastern today, depending on the outcome of the Portugal-Ghana game played at the same time. Deadspin has one of the better graphical breakdowns of every potential scenario for the U.S., including the dreaded drawing of lots.
All the focus on permutations and goal-differential scenarios has undercut the importance of today’s game for American soccer. There’s not as much at stake, goes the implication, because we can move ahead even if we lose to Germany. But this is about more than getting to the next round. This is an opportunity for the U.S. to face one of soccer’s elite teams on the biggest stage and prove it can hang with—even beat—any country in this World Cup.
Before the tournament, most people thought it would be an unlikely success for the U.S. just to get out of the so-called Group of Death and to the Round of 16. Now, after beating Ghana and dominating much of the game against Portugal, the U.S. can dream bigger. Beat Germany, and America wins its group for the second straight World Cup, a result nearly unthinkable when the draw was announced in December. Beat Germany, and the U.S. secures a favorable Round of 16 match most likely against Algeria or Russia, rather than a trickier faceoff with sneaky-good Belgium.
Just as important, a win would mean that the Americans have defeated one of soccer’s oligarchs at a World Cup, with both sides trying their best for a victory. That by itself would be a precedent-setting result.
People in Oklahoma are beginning to ask questions
about why their state has been having so many earthquakes all of a sudden, according to the Globe-Gazzette.com.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma residents whose homes and nerves have been shaken by an upsurge in earthquakes want to know what’s causing the temblors — and what can be done to stop them.
Hundreds of people are expected to turn out in Edmond, Oklahoma, on Thursday night for a town hall meeting on the issue.
Earthquakes used to be almost unheard of on the vast stretches of prairie that unfold across Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma, but they’ve become common in recent years.
Oklahoma recorded nearly 150 between January and the start of May. Though most have been too weak to cause serious damage or endanger lives, they’ve raised suspicions that the shaking might be connected to the oil and gas drilling method known as hydraulic fracturing, especially the wells in which the industry disposes of its wastewater.
Now after years of being harangued by anxious residents, governments in all three states are confronting the issue, reviewing scientific data, holding public discussions and considering new regulations. Thursday’s meeting in Oklahoma will include the state agency that regulates oil and gas drilling and the Oklahoma Geological Survey.
Gee, do you suppose it could have anything to do with fracking? And what about all that wastewater that has to be disposed of in the fracking process? From Techsonia: Fracking Fluid Spills release Colloids that Pollute Groundwater.
According to a new research, wastewater contains substances that bind to pollutants and their release in soil leads to the ground water contamination as they get along with the water when it is soaked by earth.
In this study, flowback fluid from hydraulic fracturing was analyzed. Colloids are the charged particles and larger than molecules and have the potency to bind to sand grains. With the wastewater, colloids get released in to the ground water.
This study was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society and was conducted by the researchers at the Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
This study was done to determine the remaining colloids amounts in groundwater when the above soil got exposed to flowback fliud in a hydrofracking spills.
One last story . . .
Scientists have unearthed interesting facts about Oldest human faeces show Neanderthals ate vegetables.
Found at a dig in Spain, the ancient excrement showed chemical traces of both meat and plant digestion.
An earlier view of these early humans as purely meat-eating has already been partially discredited by plant remains found in their caves and teeth.
The new paper, in the journal PLOS One, claims to offer the best support to date for an omnivorous diet.
Poo is “the perfect evidence,” said Ms Ainara Sistiaga, a PhD student at the University of La Laguna on the Canary Islands, and the study’s first author, “because you’re sure it was consumed”.
Ms Sistiaga and her colleagues collected a number of samples from the remnants of a 50,000-year-old campfire in the El Salt dig site, a known Neanderthal habitation near Alicante on Spain’s Mediterranean coast.
So if you bought into the “cave man diet” AKA “Paleolithic diet” recommendations, you were scammed. These early Neanderthals even cooked vegetables and may have used plants for medicinal purposes. Read the whole article at the link. It’s fascinating.
Now . . . what stories are you following today? Are you going to watch the U.S.-Germany game? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread.
News broke late yesterday afternoon that New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson had suddenly been replaced by Managing Editor Dean Baquet. Here’s the New York Times’ own report: Times Ousts Its Executive Editor, Elevating Second in Command.
Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr., the publisher of the paper and the chairman of The New York Times Company, told a stunned newsroom that had been quickly assembled that he had made the decision because of “an issue with management in the newsroom.”
Ms. Abramson, 60, had been in the job only since September 2011. But people in the company briefed on the situation described serious tension in her relationship with Mr. Sulzberger, who was concerned about complaints from employees that she was polarizing and mercurial. She had also had clashes with Mr. Baquet.
In recent weeks, these people said, Mr. Baquet had become angered over a decision by Ms. Abramson to make a job offer to a senior editor from The Guardian, Janine Gibson, and install her alongside him in a co-managing editor position without consulting him. It escalated the conflict between them and rose to the attention of Mr. Sulzberger.
Ms. Abramson did not attend the afternoon meeting at which her dismissal was announced.
The Times won eight Pulitzer Prizes under Ms. Abramson, and she won praise for journalistic efforts both in print and on the web. She had previously served as the head of the Washington bureau, and before coming to The Times was an investigative reporter at The Wall Street Journal. She co-wrote, with Ms. [Jane ] Mayer [of the New Yorker], “Strange Justice,” a book about the confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas.
But as a leader of the newsroom, she was accused by some of divisiveness and criticized for several of her personnel choices, in particular the appointment of several major department heads who did not last long in their jobs.
With Mr. Sulzberger more closely monitoring her stewardship, tensions between Ms. Abramson and Mr. Baquet escalated. In one publicized incident, he angrily slammed his hand against a wall in the newsroom. He had been under consideration for the lead job when Ms. Abramson was selected and, according to people familiar with his thinking, he was growing frustrated working with her.
Let’s see . . . Abramson was “polarizing and mercurial,” “was accused by some of divisiveness,” and her male second in command didn’t like taking orders from her, have I got that right? Is it just me, or do those sound like code words?
Now let’s see what people who don’t work for Sulzberger are saying.
From Ken Auletta at The New Yorker: WHY JILL ABRAMSON WAS FIRED.
At the annual City University Journalism School dinner, on Monday, Dean Baquet, the managing editor of the New York Times, was seated with Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the paper’s publisher. At the time, I did not give a moment’s thought to why Jill Abramson, the paper’s executive editor, was not at their table. Then, at 2:36 P.M. on Wednesday, an announcement from the Times hit my e-mail, saying that Baquet would replace Abramson, less than three years after she was appointed the first woman in the top job. Baquet will be the first African-American to lead the Times.
Fellow-journalists and others scrambled to find out what had happened. Sulzberger had fired Abramson, and he did not try to hide that. In a speech to the newsroom on Wednesday afternoon, he said, “I chose to appoint a new leader of our newsroom because I believe that new leadership will improve some aspects …” Abramson chose not to attend the announcement, and not to pretend that she had volunteered to step down.
Apparently, the real problem Sultzberg had with Abramson was that she was an uppity woman.
As with any such upheaval, there’s a history behind it. Several weeks ago, I’m told, Abramson discovered that her pay and her pension benefits as both executive editor and, before that, as managing editor were considerably less than the pay and pension benefits of Bill Keller, the male editor whom she replaced in both jobs. “She confronted the top brass,” one close associate said, and this may have fed into the management’s narrative that she was “pushy,” a characterization that, for many, has an inescapably gendered aspect. Sulzberger is known to believe that the Times, as a financially beleaguered newspaper, needed to retreat on some of its generous pay and pension benefits; Abramson, who spent much of her career at the Wall Street Journal, had been at the Times for far fewer years than Keller, which accounted for some of the pension disparity. Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for the Times, said that Jill Abramson’s total compensation as executive editor “was directly comparable to Bill Keller’s”—though it was not actually the same. I was also told by another friend of Abramson’s that the pay gap with Keller was only closed after she complained. But, to women at an institution that was once sued by its female employees for discriminatory practices, the question brings up ugly memories. Whether Abramson was right or wrong, both sides were left unhappy. A third associate told me, “She found out that a former deputy managing editor”—a man—“made more money than she did” while she was managing editor. “She had a lawyer make polite inquiries about the pay and pension disparities, which set them off.”
The other issues Auletta mentions are similar to those described in the NYT article: she had problems with Baquet and those who worked under her sometimes complained she was “brusque” (as opposed to Mr. Personality, Bill Keller?). Again, it sounds to me as if Abraham’s biggest “problem” was her gender. Mr. Baquet sounds pretty “pushy” too, but for him that was acceptable, I guess. Josh Marshall at TPM points out that:
The Times article notes in passing that Abramson reached a settlement with the Times, which makes pretty clear that whatever might have happened with disparate pay or a connection between her pressing the matter and her firing there will not be a lawsuit.
Hmmm . . . Sounds like Sultzberger thought Abramson might have grounds to sue if he didn’t settle with her.
At Business Insider, Hunter Walker calls attention to the Times’ past problems with gender disparities in pay (also mentioned by Ken Auletta in The New Yorker piece linked above):
Auletta claimed other Times staffers were concerned about the pay disparity between Abramson and Keller. He said it brought up “ugly memories” of a 1974 lawsuit female employees made against the paper due to allegations of sex discrimination in hiring, pay, and promotion.
On Twitter, NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik subsequently confirmed Auletta’s report. Folkenflik also noted unspecified “figures at Times wonder what role gender ultimately played in (Abramson’s) ouster.”
Finally, Politico describes how the announcement impacted other New York Times employees: Invitation to a beheaading: How Times editors learned of Abramson’s ouster:
“Please come to a masthead/dept head meeting at 2:00 p.m. today in the page one conference room/3rd floor.”
That was the note top editors at The New York Times received this afternoon summoning them to an abrupt gathering in which publisher and Times Company chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. would inform them that executive editor Jill Abramson was being replaced in the No. 1 masthead spot by one of her deputies, managing editor Dean Baquet….
[T]he news…came as a shock to most of the assembled editors. There had been none of the drama or widespread discontent that led up to the famous firing of Howell Raines in 2003. In fact when they arrived in the room, their first inkling of what was about to transpire was the fact that Abramson was not present.
Sulzberger gave the same vague reasoning for the change that would be relayed in a company memo and at a full newsroom meeting shortly thereafter—that the decision had to do with Abramson’s newsroom management.
Not everyone was buying it. When Sulzberger said he was sure it doesn’t “come as a surprise to you,” video editor Bruce Headlam spoke up in Abramson’s defense, according to a person who was present. “It does come as a surprise to me,” the source recalls him saying.
Two other editors also voiced their concerns, sources with knowledge of the meeting told Capital. National editor Alison Mitchell suggested that Abramson’s firing wouldn’t sit well with a broad swath of female Timesjournalists who saw her as a role model. (Abramson became the Times‘ first female executive editor in 2011, after Bill Keller stepped down.) Assistant managing editor Susan Chira seconded that notion.
Read more at the link.
So . . . draw your own conclusions. My guess is we’ll be reading and hearing quite a bit more about the Times and its history of gender discrimination over the next few days.
In other news . . . links to some stories that interested me:
Yahoo News: Missouri lawmakers pass 3-day abortion wait period.
Politico: Snowden Is The Kind of Guy I Used to Recruit—in Russia (by former CIA director of operations Jack Devine).
What else is happening? Please post your links on any topic in the comment thread.
After suffering with a migraine the last four days, I really do not know what the hell has been going on in the world…that is, other than the few interesting stories Boston Boomer wrote about yesterday.
One thing I have been keeping an eye on for updates, was any news on the birth of Drew Barrymore’s second child. Well…yesterday it happened. Drew Barrymore Welcomes Daughter Frankie with Husband Will Kopelman
Drew Barrymore‘s own heart just got a little bigger: her baby girl is here!
The actress and star of the upcoming comedy, Blended, 39, and her husband, art advisor Will Kopelman, 36, welcomed their second child on Tuesday, April 22, her rep confirms to PEOPLE exclusively.
“Happy to announce that today we are the proud parents of our second daughter, Frankie Barrymore Kopelman,” the couple tell PEOPLE in a statement. “Olive has a new little sister, and everyone is healthy and happy!”
Yeah I know, for some I can hear the words…who gives a shit…but bully for her! Glad she has another healthy baby girl. I just thought the names made a great title for a post.
As for the cowboy and indians…from AJAM: Cowboys and Indians ride into U.S. capital to protest Keystone pipeline
For a few days, teepees erected by Native Americans and their cowboy allies will frame the view of the Washington Monument from the National Mall.
A group of roughly 60 ranchers, farmers, tribal leaders and members whose land falls near or on the proposed pathway of the contested Keystone XL pipeline, calling themselves the Cowboy-Indian Alliance, rode into the nation’s capital on horseback Tuesday to set up camp and begin four days of demonstration to register their protest of the project.
The yet-to-be-approved 1,179-mile pipeline, which would carry crude oil from the tar sands of Canada’s Alberta province to Gulf Coast refineries in Texas, has been mired in controversy, legal challenges and delays for five years.
Critics, many of them environmentalists, say that the Keystone XL will only deepen the United States’ dependence on fossil fuels, hasten the effects of climate change (although that contention is disputed) and violate landowners’ rights.
Proponents, on the other hand, say its construction will boost the economy, lead to the creation of American jobs, and move the country towards energy independence.
Many see the issue as the defining test of President Barack Obama’s commitment to the environment. As a candidate in 2007, he vowed to end “the tyranny of oil.”
The ranchers and Native Americans — about 40 of whom led a procession on horseback before coming to the National Mall to set up a camp of teepees — said they wanted to ensure lawmakers and the Obama administration were hearing them loud and clear about their qualms.
Matthew Black Eagle Man, a 45-year-old member of the Sioux Long Plain First Nation tribe in Manitoba, Canada, said the government attempting to build a pipeline on Native American lands continues a longstanding pattern of abuse inflicted on indigenous people.
“For 500 years, our people have been suffering,” he said. “The government gave us the most desolate places in the country for our reservations. Now they want to build a pipeline on our land.”
Black Eagle Man said too that Native Americans were committed to being good stewards of the earth’s resources.
“We’re here to help protect the water, our first medicine,” he said. “Our most abundant resource is being destroyed by man.”
As for the cowboys:
“I raise horses on a small ranch and they can’t drink oil. Sooner or later, that thing’s going to leak,” said Mike Blocker, 62, whose ranch is in Antelope County in Nebraska, directly in the path of the pipeline. “How can you sleep at night knowing that 830,000 pounds of this crap is flowing underground where you live?”
Donna Roller, 62, who owns a farm in York County, Neb., was appalled that more of the public was not up in arms that a foreign oil company — TransCanada, the owner of the pipeline — was marching into the United States and trampling on American land rights.
“What the hell? What is wrong with the American public that they are complacent in this?” she said. “This is a foreign corporation that’s going to make billions off our backs. We won’t allow them to go — we will lay our bodies on the line with the Native Americans.”
The Cowboy and Indian Alliance has four days of events planned, including documentary screenings, meetings with environmental groups and elected leaders, traditional Native American ceremonies and delivering a teepee painted by the activists to the Museum of the American Indian in honor of Obama, as a sign of respect. The week will culminate in a rally on Saturday that organizers are expecting to attract 5,000 protestors.
The protest is planned for a full week, let’s see what comes of it.
The pictures for today’s post were found on pinterest of course, you can see some of the images here:
For the pinups by George Petty:
And the one image that is my absolute favorite…which goes without saying….
Yes, he is what you think he is.
Alright then. On we go.
After the news yesterday from SCOTUS, that effectively puts those 50th Anniversary Civil Rights Act celebrations earlier in the month to shame. Court Backs Michigan on Affirmative Action
In a fractured decision that revealed deep divisions over what role the judiciary should play in protecting racial and ethnic minorities, the Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a Michigan constitutional amendment that bans affirmative action in admissions to the state’s public universities.
The 6-to-2 ruling effectively endorsed similar measures in seven other states. It may also encourage more states to enact measures banning the use of race in admissions or to consider race-neutral alternatives to ensure diversity.
States that forbid affirmative action in higher education, like Florida and California, as well as Michigan, have seen a significant drop in the enrollment of black and Hispanic students in their most selective colleges and universities.
In five separate opinions spanning more than 100 pages, the justices set out starkly conflicting views. The justices in the majority, with varying degrees of vehemence, said that policies affecting minorities that do not involve intentional discrimination should be decided at the ballot box rather than in the courtroom.
I know that Dakinikat quoted the Justices yesterday in the comments, but I wanted front page this real quick:
But Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in the longest, most passionate and most significant dissent of her career, said the Constitution required special vigilance in light of the history of slavery, Jim Crow and “recent examples of discriminatory changes to state voting laws.”
Her opinion, longer than the four other opinions combined, appeared to reflect her own experiences with affirmative action at Princeton and Yale Law School. “I had been admitted to the Ivy League through a special door,” she wrote in her best-selling memoir, “My Beloved World.” For years, she wrote, “I lived the day-to-day reality of affirmative action.”
Signaling deep displeasure, Justice Sotomayor summarized her dissent from the bench, an unusual move that happens perhaps three times a term. She said the initiative put minorities to a burden not faced by other college applicants. Athletes, children of alumni and students from underrepresented parts of the state, she said, remained free to try to persuade university officials to give their applications special weight. “The one and only policy a Michigan citizen may not seek through this long-established process,” she wrote, “is a race-sensitive admissions policy.” That difference, she said, violates the Constitution’s equal protection clause.
“The Constitution does not protect racial minorities from political defeat,” she wrote. “But neither does it give the majority free rein to erect selective barriers against racial minorities.” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined the dissent.
Justice Sotomayor seemed to mock one of Chief Justice Roberts’s most memorable lines. In a 2007 decision that limited the use of race to achieve integration in public school systems, he wrote, “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”
Justice Sotomayor recast the line. “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race,” she wrote, “is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race, and to apply the Constitution with eyes open to the unfortunate effects of centuries of racial discrimination.”
That is a great way to introduce this little tidbit of news from a disturbing Easter Egg incident in Virginia (with snark of course): Some White Supremacists Planted Easter Eggs with Racist Messages in Them | Mediaite
Parents in the West End of Virginia discovered, much to their horror, that amongst the Easter eggs planted for egg hunts, there were eggs that contained messages from a white supremacist group. One family discovered an egg with a little piece of paper “‘Diversity’ = White Genocide” at the top. Here’s what it read:
Yep, imagine your child getting an Easter egg with a recommendation to check out WhiteGenocideProject.com. Doesn’t that just fill you full of the holiday spirit?!
Parents are very disturbed that the eggs were placed on their property, with one saying, “You can hit the whole world with the Internet, stay out of my yard.”
I don’t know…the whole thing is fucked up. Like that shit with CNN even giving the opportunity to discuss the KKK rebranding itself.
Things are just bad. Real bad.
Just a few more articles:
Albuquerque police said an officer shot and killed an auto theft suspect early Monday, the third shooting by officers in the troubled department in just over a month and the first after a federal investigation faulted the department for excessive force and a culture of abuse and aggression.
Gordon Eden, police chief of the New Mexico city, said the shooting occurred Monday morning during a chase.
“An officer pursued on foot when the suspect stopped, turned and pointed a handgun at close range,” Eden said.
Court records show Mary Hawkes had two previous run-ins with the law as an adult, one for drinking in public and another for shoplifting, according to the Albuquerque Journal. As a juvenile, she was charged in 2011 with attempted criminal sexual contact of a child under 13. She was convicted of a lesser battery offense and sentenced to two years of probation.
No further details about the shooting were immediately available. Phone calls and e-mails to the Albuquerque Police Department were not returned.
The shooting comes just weeks after a series of sometimes violent protests against Albuquerque police, who have shot at 38 people since 2010, killing 24.
Citizens and civil rights group have repeatedly expressed concerns that the department is using excessive force, particularly with the city’s mentally ill and homeless populations.
More at the link.
Huffington Post had a link to an interactive article from the NY Times, from back in January. Mapping Poverty in America – The New York Times
Seems fitting to review it again.
And it goes hand in hand with this from the Daily Banter: Medicaid Expansion Will Cost States Even Less Than Expected | BobCesca.com
From the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
CBO now estimates that the federal government will, on average, pick up more than 95 percent of the total cost of the Medicaid expansion and other health reform-related costs in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) over the next ten years (2015-2024).
States will spend only 1.6 percent more on Medicaid and CHIP due to health reform than they would have spent without health reform. That’s about one-third less than CBO projected in February. And the 1.6 percent figure is before counting the state savings that the Medicaid expansion will produce in state expenditures for services such as mental health and substance abuse treatment provided to the uninsured.
The federal government will cover 100 percent of the cost of expanding Medicaid until 2017 and, while it was projected that the government would cover 90 percent of the cost beyond that time period, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) now projects that the federal government will cover more than 95 percent until at least 2024.
Expanding Medicaid was already a pretty good deal for states given that the federal government will cover the entire cost for several years and the overwhelming majority of costs thereafter, but the deal just got sweeter.
But that doesn’t mean shit to the assholes who run the states like mine.
Finally, not all things that quack like a duck…turn out to be a duck. For the last 50 years there has been these strange quacking sounds heard from the Southern Ocean that has kept people wondering…what the hell is it? Mystery of ‘ocean quack sound’ solved
The mystery of a bizarre quacking sound heard in the ocean has finally been solved, scientists report.
The noise – nicknamed “the bio-duck” – appears in the winter and spring in the Southern Ocean. However, its source has baffled researchers for decades.
Lead researcher Denise Risch, from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Massachusetts, said: “It was hard to find the source of the signal.
“Over the years there have been several suggestions… but no-one was able to really show this species was producing the sound until now.”
The rest of this story sounds like something out of The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964):
The strange sound was first detected by submarines about 50 years ago. Those who heard it were surprised by its quack-like qualities.
Since then, the repetitive, low frequency noise has been recorded many times in the waters around the Antarctic and western Australia. Suggestions for its source have ranged from fish to ships.
In 2013, acoustic recorders were attached to two of the marine mammals and recorded the whales making the strange noise.
Dr Risch said: “It was either the animal carrying the tag or a close-by animal of the same species producing the sound.”
They still need to do analysis on the tapes to see when or why the whales make the sounds, but at least the scientist are sure the minke are the ones making the noise.
This is not the only acoustic puzzle that scientists have recently shed light on
Another baffling low frequency noise – called The Bloop – turned out to be the sound of Antarctica’s ice cracking.
And there you are…
Well, have a good day and if you feel like seeing some Cowboys and Indians…TCM is having a John Wayne marathon this week, 58 movies: John Wayne – Star of the Month
I am no Duke fan, but I had to end this post the way it started…pilgrim.
Today is the 50th anniversary of the murder of Kitty Genovese in Queens, New York. This was a crime that shocked and outraged America and the world, and still horrifies and fascinates people to this day. At The New Yorker, Nicholas Lehmann describes some of the reasons this news story has become so iconic and reviews two new books on the case. Lehmann argues that New York Times editor Abe Rosenthal created a news environment in which this particular murder became the focus of so much attention. Lehmann deliberately shaped the coverage of the murder in a sensational and misleading manner. The story ended up as the focus of a classic psychological study.
a post about this in August 2009, and I thought I’d put that post up again today.
I wrote a piece about this in August 2009. I thought I’d repost it today. I’ve made a few minor edits to the original. At the end, I list some recent books and articles for further reading.
The Kitty Genovese Case: A Fascinating Intersection of True Crime, Psychology, and Media Misinformation
A Murder in Kew Gardens
On March 13, 1964, at around 3:30AM, there was a murder in the Kew Gardens section of Queens, New York. The murder probably wouldn’t have gotten much publicity at all if it hadn’t been for a sensational article that appeared on the front page of The New York Times, a couple of weeks later. The Times story led to groundbreaking research in social psychology and the discovery of new and counter-intuitive information about human behavior.
It was very late, very cold, and very dark when 28-year-old Catherine “Kitty” Genovese parked her car at the Kew Gardens train station after driving from Ev’s Eleventh Hour Bar in Hollis, where she worked nights as manager. When she got out of her car, she saw a stranger walking toward her. The man, Winston Mosley, 29, stabbed Genovese two times as she hurried past a bookstore on Austin Street, pehaps headed a local bar named Bailey’s to seek assistance. She called out, “Oh my God. He stabbed me. Please help me,” and fell to the ground. Winston was leaning over her to stab her again, when he heard a man’s voice calling from a window in an apartment building across the street, “Leave that girl alone!”
- Winston Mosley
Startled, Mosley ran down an alley, got into his car, and backed up, ready to drive off. Lights had gone on in the nearby apartment building, but they went off again. Mosley got out of the car and again followed Genovese, who had reached the doorway of her apartment building, which was in the back of the building at 82-62 Austin Street. As she fell forward through the doorway, crying out, “I’m dying, I’m dying,” Winston caught up with her, stabbed her again, and then raped her. A short time later, a neighbor, Greta Schwartz, who had called the police after receiving a phone call from another neighbor, ran down to the lobby and cradled Kitty in her lap until the paramedics arrived.
From interviews in the neighborhoods of the two stabbing incidents, police learned that as many as 37 people had seen or heard part of the stalking and murder of Kitty Genovese by Winston Mosley, but supposedly none of them had called the police except Greta Schwartz.
The New York Times Breaks the Story
On March 27, 1964, The New York Times published a front page story by Martin Gansberg (Warning, PDF) headlined “37 Who Saw Murder Didn’t Call Police.”
Apathy at Stabbing of Queens Woman Shocks Inspector
For more than half an hour 38 respectable, law-abiding citizens in Queens watched a killer stalk and stab a woman in three separate attacks in Kew Gardens.
Twice the sound of their voices and the sudden glow of their bedroom lights interrupted him and frightened him off. Each time he returned, sought her out and stabbed her again. Not one person telephoned the police during the assault; one witness called after the woman was dead.
That was two weeks ago today. But Assistant Chief Inspector Frederick M. Lussen, in charge of the borough’s detectives and a veteran of 25 years of homicide investigations, is still shocked.
He can give a matter-of-fact recitation of many murders. But the Kew Gardens slaying baffles him–not because it is a murder, but because the “good people” failed to call the police.
Just that brief excerpt contains a number of inaccuracies, which I’ll get to a little later. Nevertheless, it was from this newspaper article that Americans–and people around the world–formed their lasting impressions of the tragic death of Kitty Genovese. The story shocked the nation; everyone was talking about how terrible it was that in big cities like New York, people just didn’t seem to get to know their neighbors or care about them. Those of us who lived in small cities and towns were sure things would be different in our neighborhoods.
Psychological Study of the Bystander Effect
In 1968, J.M. Darley and B. Latane published a study (pdf) in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology that was inspired by the supposed behavior of the 37 “witnesses” to Kitty Genovese’s murder. They hypothesized that the reason bystanders did not take action was “diffusion of responsibility,” and that the more bystanders in an emergency situation, the more these bystanders believe that “someone else will help, so I don’t need to.”
Participants in the study were college students in an introductory psychology class at New York University.
Darley and Latane told participants that they wanted to study how students adjust to university life in a highly competitive, urban environment. They said they wanted participants to discuss their problems honestly with other students; and in order to avoid personal discomfort, participants would sit in separate rooms equipped with an intercom system.
There were three different groups. Students in group one were told they would be talking with one other person. In group two, students were told there would be two other people on the intercome with them. Group five was told there would be five other people listening in to the conversation. In reality, all of the students were alone and they the other voices they heard were on tape. The emergency was that one of the participants in the discussion has epileptic seizure (the sounds of the seizure were actually played on tape).
As the intercom discussions began, students heard the first student, a male, tell about his difficulties concentrating on his studies and problems adjusting to life in New York City. He then added, with some embarrassment, that he sometimes had severe seizures, especially when under a lot of stress. Then the conversation switched to the next student. In group 1, the actual student’s turn came next. In the other two groups, the real student heard one or more other students speak first. After the real student took a turn speaking, the first “student” again started to speak normally, then began having a seizure, and asked for help. Darley and Latane measured how long it took subjects to help the student in trouble (helping was defined as leaving the cubicle and notifying an experimenter of the problem).
Why? Not because they were apathetic. All subjects were anxious and showed physical signs of nervousness. Darley and Latane conclued that as the number of people involved in an emergency situation increase, it’s easier for bystanders to assume that someone else will handle it; and the potential guilt for not helping is divided up. Other possible reasons for failure to act are fear of embarrassment or ridicule, fear that they are misinterpreting the situation. The authors also pointed out that most people don’t have much experience with emergency situations and are likely to become confused or overwhelmed when they encounter one.
Joseph De May, Jr., and the Kew Gardens History Page
In 2000, Joseph De May, who had lived in Kew Gardens since 1974, decided to build a website that would contain a comprehensive pictorial history of the neighborhood. As part of his project, De May dug up as much information as he could about the Kitty Genovese murder and then critiqued the original New York Times article and debunked some myths that had grown up around the case. Here is the “short version” of his critique:
# There were only 2 attacks, not 3.
# The attacks were not continuous. There was about a 10 min. interval between them when the killer moved his car to a parking place farther away.
# There were not 38 eye witnesses to either of the attacks. Only 3 people are known to have seen one or the other of the stabbings.
# The first attack on Austin Street – the one that awakened the witnesses – was likely over before all but a few of the witnesses got to their windows.
# Probably many more than 38 were ear witnesses to Kitty’s screams. However, that first attack occurred a few yards away from a bar known for its late night rowdiness.
# After the first attack, Kitty left the scene under her own power without making any outcries for help.
# The second attack took place in a small vestibule in the rear of a building where only one witness was in a position to see it.
# Given the layout of the crime scene, it would have been impossible for anyone to have seen or heard everything.
# Assuming the police were not timely called – a big assumption in my opinion – there were reasons apart from apathy why they were not.
- Crime scene photo: back of apartment building where Kitty died
Furthermore, a 15-year-old boy named Michael Hoffman saw Winston Mosley run away after the first attack in front of the bookstore and saw Kitty Genovese get up and stagger in the other direction. He didn’t know there had been a stabbing, but he told his father what he had seen and the father called the police. The police later admitted they had received several other calls. One man did see the knife and understood that a woman was being stabbed. This man never called the police and couldn’t explain his inaction. At least five other people saw Mosley return to the original scene, but by that time Kitty Genovese was gone.
There were two attacks, not three as the New York Times reported. A man on the first floor of Kitty’s building open his door and saw the final attack. He wanted to call police, but said his wife didn’t want him to get involved. He went to Greta Schwartz’s apartment and asked her to call police, which she did. She then ran downstairs with a friend, found Kitty still alive and cradled her until an ambulance arrived. Also contrary to The New York Times story, the occupants of Kitty Genovese’s apartments building knew and were friendly with each other. Many knew and liked Kitty and her roomate Mary Ann Zielonko.
The Real Kitty Genovese
In 2004, on the fortieth anniversary of Kitty Genovese’s death, Mary Ann Zielonko came forward and talked about Kitty publicly for the first time. She was interviewed on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday. In the interview, Zielonko, who now lives in Vermont, revealed that she and Kitty Genovese were lovers. A lesbian blogger in Vermont wrote a piece about her own feelings after she learned about Kitty’s sexual orientation.
Hearing that Genovese was a lesbian has shaken up my psyche. Genovese’s name was always a cautionary tale – about being a woman alone in the city at night, about the need to care and take action in the face of assault. But now it’s also somehow more about me as a lesbian, about our denied and undiscovered herstory, about the dangers we faced then – and now.
In 1964, it was not okay to be queer. The only place to go to hold your lover’s hand in semi-public was a bar. Mary Ann remembers the Swing Rendezvous on MacDougal St. and the Seven Steps on Houston. Police raids and being beaten up for wearing butch or femme drag were common events.
Until now we’ve never had the opportunity to ask whether the neighbors’ indifference might have had an element of homophobia (not that the word existed then). Kitty and Mary Ann lived together in the apartment Kitty was so desperately trying to reach that March night. Mary Ann says some of the neighbors suspected they were lesbians, because they were always together. “But we didn’t look ‘gay,’ whatever that means.” Mary Ann got home from her own shift tending bar and went to sleep – until the police knocked at her door at 4 a.m. and drove her from the tree-lined streets of their Kew Gardens, Queens, neighborhood where Kitty died, to the hospital morgue to identify Kitty’s body.
Some of the neighbors may have suspected that Kitty and Mary Ann were gay, but several reported in interviews that she was a friendly, smiling young woman whom they liked. A few told police and reporters that they “didn’t want to get involved,” but most weren’t sure what they had seen or heard and couldn’t say why they didn’t call for help. It was after 3AM on a winter night, in a neighborhood where there were often loud voices and even fighting among people leaving local bars. As with the participants in Darley and Latane’s study, some of the witnesses may have feared giving a false report to police and looking foolish.
In addition, Joseph De May reports that in those days, NYC police demanded that callers identify themselves rather than just accepting reports of emergencies. That may have deterred some from calling police or holding on long enough to get someone to listen. Even if witnesses had called police to report screaming or fighting, they would likely have taken a long time to respond, because of the bars in the area.
In 2004, The New York Times interviewed De May about his research.
In the end, Mr. De May’s conclusion about the murder is that, while the behavior of the witnesses was hardly beyond reproach, the common conception of exactly what occurred that night is not in fact what occurred. What did occur, he argues, is far more complex and far less damning to the residents of Kew Gardens.
”Yeah, there was a murder,” Mr. De May said. ”Yeah, people heard something. You can question how a few people behaved. But this wasn’t 38 people watching a woman be slaughtered for 35 minutes and saying, ‘Oh, I don’t want to be involved.”’
Mr. De May began his research with the seminal Times article of March 27, 1964. ”I remember reading through it, then putting it down and thinking, ‘Well, this doesn’t hang together at all,”’ he said. ”And then I read it again carefully. I knew the area. I knew the crime scene because I go by there every day.”
Mr. De May soon found himself poring through legal documents related to the case, scouring books and articles, and interviewing neighbors. At one point, he even ran the route of Ms. Genovese’s flight up Austin Street, timing it with a watch. He became convinced that his first impression was correct. ”Here’s something that everyone thinks happened,” he said, ”that isn’t so.”
Kitty’s murderer had no idea that she was a lesbian. He had set out that night to kill a woman. He was certainly a sociopath and may have been a serial killer. He confessed to having killed at least one other woman after he was arrested for the Genovese murder. In 1968, Mosley managed to escape from police custody and raped a pregnant woman in her home. In April, 2008, the New York Daily News reported on Mosley’s latest parole hearing.
Forty-four years after stalking and stabbing Kitty Genovese, her killer still blames his wife-beating father for the vicious murder.
“My father was at the time stalking my mother and thinking about killing her,” Winston Moseley told the parole board last month when asked about the infamous 1964 slaying.
“But the problem was not just at that moment in time,” he said. “It existed for many years of sort of the emotional trauma that I was going through.”
Moseley, whose parole bid was rejected for a 13th time, has long displayed little remorse for the March 13, 1964, slaying – although he did offer an apology this time, a transcript of the hearing shows.
In 2008, Charles E. Stoller, the man who prosecuted Winston Mosley for the murder of Kitty Genovese and two other murders, published a book about the cases, Twisted Confessions: The True Story Behind the Kitty Genovese and Barbara Kralik Murder Trials.
Catherine Pelonero, Kitty Genovese: A True Account of a Public Murder and Its Private Consequences (2014)
Kevin Cook, Kitty Genovese: The Murder, the Bystanders, the Crime that Changed America (2014)
Boston Globe book review, ‘Kitty Genovese’ by Kevin Cook and ‘Kitty Genovese’ by Catherine Pelonero
Nicholas Lehmann, A CALL FOR HELP: What the Kitty Genovese story really means.
AP (via CBS Local NY), 50 Years Later, Kitty Genovese Murder Case Still Grips NYC, Nation.
Fabian Tepper (Christian Science Monitor), Kitty Genovese murder: would you have helped?
Nancy Dillon (NY Daily News), Brother of Kitty Genovese to release documentary about sister’s 1964 murder, which prompted ‘Genovese Syndrome’ research