Posted: March 24, 2013 Filed under: Foreign Affairs, Middle East, morning reads, Saudi Arabia | Tags: Alwaleed's dwarfs, Budd Schulberg, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, Holocaust survivors, Kingdom Tower, Ovitz family, Prince Alwaleed, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal
Vintage Advertisement for “Midget City” an entire city populated by midgets…
A big hat tip to Boston Boomer, who sent me these stories about a rich crazy man, and his entourage of dwarfs. (Or is it dwarves?) Seriously, it fed my “midget” fascination, which had been neglected lately.
From a 2012 article in the Business Insider… THE DWARF-THROWING BILLIONAIRE WHO’S BUYING UP AMERICA: Tales Of The Mysterious Saudi Prince Alwaleed
This is one hell of a link, I highly suggest you read the entire article…because giving you a couple of paragraphs as a teaser is not enough.
“It’s his kingdom. He can do what he likes.”
Given how rich Alwaleed is, it’s not surprising to hear that his life is insulated from the morality and sensibilities of the outside world — especially the world outside Saudi Arabia.
All you need to hear to understand that are stories about Alwaleed’s dwarfs.
Almost every source we spoke to, including Alwaleed’s official spokesperson, confirmed that, like a medieval monarch, Alwaleed keeps in his entourage a group of dancing, laughing, joking dwarfs. One source called them “jesters.”
All joking aside, it seems life as an Alwaleed jester is not all fun and games…
“They were entertainers. They did do some crazy things — they’d dance, they’d chase each other around.”
Sometimes, the play turned darker.
One source, who left Alwaleed’s employ with a letter of recommendation from the Prince, says that at least once, Alwaleed set up a “midget-tossing” contest, promising money to whomever could throw the little people the farthest. There were pillows.
Another time, says this source, at one of the parties Alwaleed would throw in the desert, he tossed $100 bills into a bonfire, encouraging the dwarfs to run into the “raging fire” and pull the money out, “scorching themselves” in the process.
You can take it from there…Vanity Fair also had an article on the Prince, this one is an interview from February of this year:
The Creation Myth of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Saudi Arabia’s Billionaire Investor
Prince Alwaleed at New York’s Plaza hotel, of which he is part owner.
Worth an estimated $27 billion, the enigmatic Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has very public holdings: he is the second-largest voting shareholder in News Corp., he owns Paris’s George V hotel and part of New York City’s Plaza hotel, he is a stockholder in Apple, and he will soon own the world’s tallest building. But the private origins—and exact size—of his massive fortune are the subject of continued debate between bin Talal and prominent media outlets. So what’s the truth? And does one of the richest men on Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index—a calorie-counting cell-phone addict who loves texting James Murdoch—really spend his free time throwing dwarves?
This VF interview is also a must read, it does mention some items from the Business Investor piece, but you get a feel for the madness because of the outrageous way Prince Alwaleed talks about his life and his investments.
While reading these two articles I kept on thinking about the similarity between Alwaleed and the “Sammy Glick” movie producer stereotype.
For those unfamiliar with Sammy Glick, he was the main antagonist in Budd Schulberg’s novel called What Makes Sammy Run?
Told in first person narrative by Al Manheim, drama critic of The New York Record, this is the tale of Sammy Glick, a young uneducated boy who rises from copyboy to the top of the screenwriting profession in 1930s Hollywood by backstabbing others.
I found an archived essay about Budd Schulberg that I think you will all enjoy. VQR » Budd Schulberg: An Appreciation Here is a small sample of Schulberg’s work,
Consider bits of the jazz-like opening of The Disenchanted, Chapter 10:
The white tile of the Holland Tunnel rolled past them as the airline’s black limousine raced through the enormous artery feeding the heart of the city.
Finally they burst out into the open, into the swarming labyrinth of downtown Manhattan. There were the trucks, the cops, the bars, the stores, the cabs, the reckless pedestrians picking holes through traffic like shabby Albie Booths. There were fruit, all colors, vegetables, hock shops, Italians, Jews and the global hustle of the water front. . . . It was all here now, the money and the power and the brains they employ and their great army of camp followers catching the crumbs . . . punch-in punch-out, spiced-ham sandwich and a cupa coffee.
The man could write one hell of a paragraph.
Hell yeah, Budd Schulberg certainly was a fantastic writer…
Actually, Alwaleed sounds more like a cross between Sammy Glick and the psychotic killer character of Tommy in the film Goodfellas.
It must be so stressful working in an environment where you are constantly walking on eggshells.
Okay, I’ve got one more story that is somewhat connected to Alwaleed…check out this picture by Photographer Joe McNally Takes Photo From Top Of Burj Khalifa, World’s Tallest Skyscraper, In Dubai
McNally, who told The Huffington Post he was standing on the railing of a support structure for the building’s airplane warning lights, said the photo wasn’t a work assignment — it just “seemed like fun.”
“My old battered shoes climbed the worlds tallest building today,” McNally wrote on Instagram. “What an amazing structure! Tweeting from 820 meters straight up!”
My hands get clammy just looking at that picture. For an idea of how high the Burj Khalifa is, here is a graphic from the building’s Wiki site:
What is the connection between the Burj Khalifa tower and Prince Alwaleed? Alwaleed is building an even bigger tower…Kingdom Tower project to beat Burj Khalifa as world’s tallest to start
Dubai’s Burj Khalifa has only five years left as the world’s tallest building if Kingdom Tower, a kilometre-tall skyscraper in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, goes ahead as planned.
Yesterday the developers planning to build the world’s latest tallest building appointed The Shard builder Mace and EC Harris, the project manager behind Abu Dhabi’s largest hotel complex, to manage construction of the US$1.2 billion (Dh4.4bn) Kingdom Project to the north of Saudi Arabia’s second-largest city.
Jeddah Economic Company (JEC) also appointed the EC Harris and Mace joint venture to provide commercial and design management for the development, which when completed will be higher than Dubai’s Burj Khalifa and four times the size of The Shard in London.
The 500,000 square metre tower will include a Four Seasons hotel, serviced apartments, offices, flats and the world’s highest observatory.
Construction work is due to start on site on April 1 and is expected to be completed 63 months later in 2018.
JEC comprises Prince Al Waleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Company, which owns a 33.35 per cent stake, Saudi Binladin Group, the largest construction firm in the world, which owns a 16.63 per cent stake, Abraar International Holding Company, represented by Samaual Bakhsh, with a stake of 33.35 per cent, and the prominent Jeddah businessman Abdulrahman Hassan Sharbatly with a stake of 16.67 per cent.
“The vision of constructing the tallest tower in the world in Jeddah belongs to HRH Prince Al Waleed bin Talal,” said Waleed Abdul Jaleel Batterjee, the chief executive of JEC.
“His vision is also that the project itself will set the world’s sights on our beloved Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and particularly on Jeddah. Furthermore, the project will help create hundreds of jobs for our Saudi countrymen.”
The Ovitzs (from left): Elizabeth, Perla, Rozika, Frieda, Franziska and Avram
‘I was saved by the grace of the devil,” Holocaust survivor Perla Ovitz told us. Again and again, she recounted in detail how she and her family were taken to the gas chamber and ordered to strip naked. A heavy door opened and they were pushed inside. “It was almost dark and we stood in what looked like a large washing room, waiting for something to happen. We looked up to the ceiling to see why the water was not coming. Suddenly we smelled gas. We gasped heavily, some of us fainting on the floor. With our last breath we cried out. Minutes passed, or maybe just seconds, then we heard an angry voice from outside – ‘Where is my dwarf family?’ The door opened, and we saw Dr Mengele standing there. He ordered us to be carried out and had cold water poured on us to revive us.”
The Ovitz family, from the village of Rozavlea in Transylvania, was the largest recorded family of dwarves: a dwarf father who sired 10 children, seven of them dwarves. Perla, born in 1921, was the youngest. In that remote part of Romania in the early 20th century, it was difficult for anyone to eke a living from the land and livestock, and impossible for someone standing less than 3ft tall.
Google’s decision to shut down Google Reader has upset a number of people I know, and provoked a lot of discussion about the future of web-based services. The most interesting discussion, I think, comes from Ryan Avent, who argues that Google has been providing crucial public infrastructure — but doesn’t seem to have an interest in maintaining that infrastructure.
Credit: VA Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)
There’s nothing like the thought of a delicious piece of meat with human teeth wrapped in prison stripes to put you to a gentle, dreamless sleep.
And with that horrifying picture, I end this morning’s post. What are you reading and blogging about today?
Posted: October 28, 2012 Filed under: 2012 presidential campaign, Environment, Foreign Affairs, George W. Bush, Great Britain, History, Iran, Middle East, misogyny, Mitt Romney, morning reads, nature, U.S. Economy, U.S. Military, U.S. Politics | Tags: Bretton Woods Meeting, Elizabeth Taylor, Hurricane Sandy, manipulation, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, political ads, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), Richard Burton Diary
For those of you in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, Hurricane Sandy is getting closer. The latest updates from NOAA here and for a few links on the preparations, check these out:
Take Hurricane Sandy seriously, East Coast residents warned
East Coast residents prepared Saturday for the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy, which forecasters expect to make landfall as soon as Monday night and then merge with a sprawling winter storm to create weather havoc for tens of millions of people across one-third of the nation.
From Maine to the Carolinas, federal and state officials urged residents and businesses to prepare for the worst — drenching rain, flooding, high winds, highs seas, snow and widespread power outages. Federal officials said the impact would extend into the Ohio Valley.
Even though Sandy was still at least two days away, residents along the northeastern Atlantic Coast, mindful of possible transit shutdowns and bombarded by storm warnings, kicked into preparation mode.
Hurricane Sandy to reach Massachusetts late Sunday night
As Hurricane Sandy loomed closer to the northeast coast Saturday afternoon, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency in preparation for power outages, coastal flooding, and beach erosion that could rock the New England region.
The Bay State will begin feeling the hurricane’s effects Sunday evening, said National Weather Service meteorologist Kim Buttrick, but not its full force until Monday.
Winds will start blowing 35 to 45 miles per hour Monday in Massachusetts, with gusts up to 55 mph in the morning that will accelerate in the afternoon reaching a peak of 65 miles per hour. Higher-than-average winds and precipitation will continue until Tuesday morning, Buttrick said.
Threat of Hurricane Sandy grows as it targets East Coast
Rain accumulations of up to 12 inches and heavy snowfall inland are considered likely in some areas. As it merges with an Arctic jet stream, forecasters said Sandy has all the ingredients to transform into a “super storm” unlike anything seen over the eastern United States in decades.
On its current projected track, Sandy could make U.S. landfall on Monday night or Tuesday morning anywhere between Maryland and southern New England, forecasters said. Some computer models showed a likely landfall between Delaware and the New York/New Jersey area.
For a bit of humor on this Frankenstorm, The 12 Worst Ways New Yorkers Prepared For The Last Hurricane. (Some may find it offensive, but I always thought the novel Frankenstein was really horrifying.)
Okay, I’ve got a few more links for you this morning. There was so much going on this past week, with the whole “god’s gift” crap coming out of the mouths of the GOP, you may have missed these stories.
This first link is something I hope Dakinikat can comment on:
Transcript of ’44 Bretton Woods Meeting Found at Treasury
A Treasury economist rummaging in the department’s library has stumbled on a historical treasure hiding in plain sight: a transcript of the Bretton Woods conference in 1944 that cast the foundations of the modern international monetary system.
The Center for Financial Stability has included links to the transcripts on its web site.
International Monetary Fund, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
John Maynard Keynes addressed the Bretton Woods conference, where the International Monetary Fund was created.
Historians had never known that a transcript existed for the event held in the heat of World War II, when delegates from 44 allied nations fighting Hitler gathered in the mountains of New Hampshire to create the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. But there were three copies in archives and libraries around Washington that had never been made public, until now.
“It’s as if someone handed us Madison’s notes on the debate over the Constitution,” said Eric Rauchway, a historian the University of California, Davis.
Wow, that is huge…
This past week, we also saw Iran being hyped up again by the GOP: GOP Rep Says Strike On Iran’s Nuclear Facilities Would Not Be An Act Of War
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said on CNN last night that neither he, nor the Iranians, would consider an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities an act of war.
Rogers said that he believed there are options “short of war” that could prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon and, strangely, CNN host Erin Burnett wondered if bombing suspected nuclear weapons facilities would be an option that is “short of war.” While Rogers at first appeared taken aback by Burnett’s odd question, he then went a bit further, saying definitively that such an attack would indeed be “short of war” and the Iranians would see it that way too:
ROGERS: Well, in very targeted strikes, we use very targeted strikes against al Qaeda. And so if it is a very targeted strike, many would argue that that’s short of war. And if it only seeks to go after their nuclear program, that is — we’re not talking about invasions or naval engagements or troops on the ground, none of that. And this has been used by other — President Clinton used this tactic.
But there’s also other things under that. I’m not saying that’s — that is the right answer. That is an option that I believe is short of war if it is very selective, very targeted, only to the nuclear program. And we do know, those — that the Iranians believe that there is a whole panoply of options — war and then these targeted strikes they don’t see as — wouldn’t see as an act of war.
Rogers made these statements and then I noticed this article a day later…from The Guardian: Britain rejects US request to use UK bases in nuclear standoff with Iran
US diplomats are said to have also lobbied for permission to use US bases on British territory such as Diego Garcia. Photograph: AFP
Britain has rebuffed US pleas to use military bases in the UK to support the build-up of forces in the Gulf, citing secret legal advice which states that any pre-emptive strike on Iran could be in breach of international law.
The Guardian has been told that US diplomats have also lobbied for the use of British bases in Cyprus, and for permission to fly from US bases on Ascension Island in the Atlantic and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, both of which are British territories.
The US approaches are part of contingency planning over the nuclear standoff with Tehran, but British ministers have so far reacted coolly. They have pointed US officials to legal advice drafted by the attorney general’s office which has been circulated to Downing Street, the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence.
This makes clear that Iran, which has consistently denied it has plans to develop a nuclear weapon, does not currently represent “a clear and present threat”. Providing assistance to forces that could be involved in a pre-emptive strike would be a clear breach of international law, it states.
“The UK would be in breach of international law if it facilitated what amounted to a pre-emptive strike on Iran,” said a senior Whitehall source. “It is explicit. The government has been using this to push back against the Americans.”
The US has not officially asked for assistance from Britain, but feelers are being put out there. Which is scary enough…
Report: British attorney general thinks strike on Iran could be illegal
…the apparently staunch U.K. opposition to working with the U.S. on this is striking, particularly after British Prime Minister Tony Blair so closely joined U.S. President George W. Bush in planning and executing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The 2003 Iraq invasion became a source of considerable political backlash in the U.K., including a two-year official investigation that culminated in Blair being summoned to a bruising public inquiry.
Based on this story, it appears that the U.K. wants little or nothing to do with even U.S. planning for a potential strike on Iran, much less the attack itself. “I think the U.S. has been surprised that ministers have been reluctant to provide assurances about this kind of upfront assistance,” an anonymous British source told the Guardian, speculating that this meant Washington might not even inform London of an attack until after it had happened. “In some respects, the U.K. government would prefer it that way.”
I realize one probably does not have anything to do with the other, but it seemed like a strange coincidence. And since I am currently reading 500 Days, these stories made me think of the way the world was manipulated by Bush and Cheney. (Especially Cheney.)
This article from Alternet also talks about manipulation, as far as political ads are concerned. How Corporations Know Who You Will Likely Vote For
Chinese officials have launched a probe after microbloggers said they had uncovered another allegedly corrupt leader who owns millions of dollars worth of property, state press said on Thursday.
If you’re a registered voter and surf the web, one of the sites you visit has almost certainly placed a tiny piece of data on your computer flagging your political preferences. That piece of data, called a cookie, marks you as a Democrat or Republican, when you last voted, and what contributions you’ve made. It also can include factors like your estimated income, what you do for a living, and what you’ve bought at the local mall.
Across the country, companies are using cookies to tailor the political ads you see online. One of the firms is CampaignGrid, which boasted in a recent slideshow, “Internet Users are No Longer Anonymous.” The slideshow includes an image of the famous New Yorker cartoon from 1993: “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” Next to it, CampaignGrid lists what it can now know about an Internet user: “Lives in Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District, 19002 zip code, Registered primary voting Republican, High net worth household, Age 50-54, Teenagers in the home, Technology professional, Interested in politics, Shopping for a car, Planning a vacation in Puerto Rico.”
Freaky stuff…Oh and by the way, Romney lands key endorsement in crucial swing state – Iowa . Yup, after all that fuss over Obama’s interview being “off the record” and they endorse Romney.
Okay, enough with that…check out these two articles about those golden years of Hollywood. Iconic Scarlett O’Hara dresses restored, displayed
It turns out there will be another day for Scarlett O’Hara’s green curtain dress. Many of them.
The iconic dress and Scarlett’s burgundy ball gown from the 1939 film “Gone With the Wind” have been saved from deterioration by a $30,000 conservation effort by the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas.
The dresses worn by actress Vivien Leigh are now on display for the first time in nearly 30 years at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum as part of a Hollywood costume exhibit.
Ransom Center officials announced the project in 2010, noting the dresses were in danger of falling apart from age.
And this one, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor’s Romance As Revealed In His Diaries, which has an excerpt of the newly published diary.
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor married twice. Their first marriage lasted for ten years (1964-74), and their second marriage happened very suddenly, 16 months after their divorce, during a visit to Botswana in 1975. This excerpt from The Richard Burton Diaries (Yale University Press, $35) reveals what occurred.
From the little they have in the excerpt, Burton’s alcohol use was problematic…to say the least.
Almost done, just a couple more articles…this time on Hermit Crabs. My kids have kept these little crabs before and I have seen them fight to get into another crabs shell. Hermit crabs socialize to evict their neighbors
Social animals usually congregate for protection or mating or to capture bigger prey, but a University of California, Berkeley, biologist has found that the terrestrial hermit crab has a more self-serving social agenda: to kick another crab out of its shell and move into a larger home.
The terrestrial hermit crab Coenobita compressus lives inside a discarded snail shell and forages for plants and carrion along the Pacific coast from Mexico to Peru. Photos by Mark Laidre, UC Berkeley.
All hermit crabs appropriate abandoned snail shells for their homes, but the dozen or so species of land-based hermit crabs – popular terrarium pets – are the only ones that hollow out and remodel their shells, sometimes doubling the internal volume. This provides more room to grow, more room for eggs – sometimes a thousand more eggs – and a lighter home to lug around as they forage.
But empty snail shells are rare on land, so the best hope of moving to a new home is to kick others out of their remodeled shells, said Mark Laidre, a UC Berkeley Miller Post-Doctoral Fellow who reported this unusual behavior in this month’s issue of the journal Current Biology.
So the crabs dance in a conga line….
“The one that gets yanked out of its shell is often left with the smallest shell, which it can’t really protect itself with,” said Laidre, who is in the Department of Integrative Biology. “Then it’s liable to be eaten by anything. For hermit crabs, it’s really their sociality that drives predation.”
A free-for-all takes place whenever three or more hermit crabs congregate, with all crabs intent on displacing someone else to get a larger shell.
Laidre says the crabs’ unusual behavior is a rare example of how evolving to take advantage of a specialized niche – in this case, land versus ocean – led to an unexpected byproduct: socialization in a typically solitary animal.
You can find a video of crabs fighting here, it is not in the conga line formation…but it is funny to see the crab being pulled out of the shell by another crab. It looks animated.
Let’s end this with a funny video, from the early 90′s, featuring a conga line:
“Heh!” What are you all up to this Sunday, share some links and thoughts below…and those of you in Sandy’s way, take care of yourselves.
Posted: October 3, 2012 Filed under: 2012 elections, 2012 presidential campaign, abortion rights, Affordable Care Act (ACA), Africa, Austerity, Barack Obama, corruption, Crime, Diplomacy Nightmares, Foreign Affairs, Georgia, Hillary Clinton, Human Rights, Libya, Mental Health, Middle East, Mitt Romney, morning reads, PLUB Pro-Life-Until-Birth, Political Affective Disorder, Politics as Usual, Psychopaths in charge, religious extremists, Republican politics, Russia, Spain, Tunisia, U.S. Politics, War on Women, We are so F'd, Women's Healthcare | Tags: Forget Wake the Fuck Up, How about Romney Ryan Akin Issa Shut the Fuck up!
Just a warning before you read any further, this post is going to start of with a smidgen of whine and a half-hearted rant about…stuff.
It has been such a struggle lately….have you been feeling it? Maybe it is just something I am going through alone these days.
It has become a struggle to run my eyes over the headlines on Memeorandum.com or read the items in my RSS feed reader. Maybe it is feeling so much frustration…seeing Romney’s name plastered all over the place? Maybe it is the touch of coolness in the air…the leaves turning from green to gold, signaling a new season. My favorite season. Fall.
Last night before I started to write this morning’s post, I found myself finding little superficies to waste time. Yeah, just doing stupid things that would give me a reason to procrastinate a bit longer. Just the thought of clicking the laptop on, and scouring the news sites made me want to forget about the blog…and avoid writing this post.
I was thrilled to see Boston Boomer posting a thread late yesterday, it meant I could even avoid doing a quick evening reads. And believe me, I have saved up some good cartoons to share with you all…but my enthusiasm was lacking for even that kind of post.
We all experience that feeling of being fed up, yes? Different things affect us, and make us scream inside ourselves…and bring about a desire to run into the hills pulling our hair out. Cleaning the bathroom sink becomes more appealing than listening to one more politician drone on about shit we know is ridiculous and flat-out wrong.
Anyway, that is it…there was my whine and feeble complaint about the Political Affective Disorder that has hit me…big time.
So, it should come to no surprise that the news links for this morning reads will be in Link Dump fashion.
The top news story, I guess the one getting most of the trending traffic this morning on Google News, was this: Top Republicans demand answers from over Benghazi attack
Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton watch as Chris Stevens’ remains are returned to the US at a military base in Maryland. Photograph: Molly Riley/Getty Images
Senior Republicans in Congress have written to Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, claiming to have evidence of a previously undisclosed attack on the US consulate in Benghazi and threats to American ambassador in Libya in the months before he was killed.
Darrell Issa, chairman of the House oversight and government reform committee, and Jason Chaffetz, chairman of a subcommittee on national security, are demanding Clinton hand over information about previous attacks and threats as Republicans step up pressure on the White House with accusations of incompetence and a cover-up over the assault that killed the US ambassador, Chris Stevens, and three other American officials last month.
The letter says that US diplomats in Libya made repeated requests for increased security at the Benghazi consulate but were rejected by officials in Washington. The congressmen have called a hearing for October 10 and want Clinton to reveal what the state department knew about earlier incidents and how it responded to the growing security threat.
I do like that photo from this Guardian story. It shows compassion and genuine feeling of sympathy. Geez, what are we going to do without Hillary? I mean, it doesn’t matter who wins…Romney or Obama, she is gone next year. Sigh..
Another story making the popularity list is this bit of news from Penn State. Mike McQueary files defamation suit against Penn State
he former Penn State graduate assistant who complained he saw former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky showering with a young boy on campus and testified at his sex abuse trial sued the university on Tuesday for what he calls defamation and misrepresentation.
Mike McQueary’s whistle-blower lawsuit claims his treatment by the university since Sandusky was arrested in November has caused him distress, anxiety, humiliation and embarrassment. The complaint, filed in county court near State College, where the university is based, seeks millions of dollars in damages.
Hey, McQueary got that promotion to assistant coach when he neglected to go to the “real” police after it was obvious that telling Paterno about the sexual assault he witnessed in the shower…did absolutely nothing…as far as Sandusky is concerned.
Yesterday there was a shooting on the border. Here is the latest: Border Patrol shooting: No suspects yet I don’t know, the timing of this thing is a bit too convenient for me. With the election a month away, I guess perhaps my spider senses are somewhat over sensitive.
And over in Georgia..the results are in. Georgia election: US and Russia hail parliamentary vote President Mikheil Saakashvili is out and the Dream Party is slated to take over. Let’s see what comes of this change…I guess it would give Romney a reason to start talking about how the Soviet Union will respond to new President, Bidzina Ivanishvili.
On to a few Human Rights stories. Rights group: Mentally ill patients in Ghana chained up for months at a time at prayer camps
Mentally ill patients suffer from severe abuse at psychiatric hospitals and so-called healing centers in Ghana, with many chained to trees and even denied water, a human rights group said Tuesday.
Some 1,000 residents live in squalid, overcrowded quarters in Ghana’s three psychiatric hospitals, according to Human Rights Watch. Patients face physical and verbal abuse, and some are given electroshock therapy without their consent, said the group’s report.
The abuse is even worse in healing centers known as “prayer camps,” which lack government oversight, it said.
Thousands of mentally disabled people in the West African nation are sent to the camps, usually by their family members to be “cured” by self-proclaimed prophets through miracles, prayer and fasting. In most prayer camps, residents are only allowed to leave when the prophet deems them healed.
Fucking “organized” religion…used as an outlet for cruelty. Like we haven’t seen this shit before.
This next link is just too upsetting for words. Rights group: Police rape woman in Tunisia, then charge her with indecency
Tunisian women protest Tuesday, October 2, in front of a courthouse in Tunis where a young woman faces charges of indecency by two police officers accused of raping her.
While on the subject of rape.
Todd Akin In 2008: Doctors Give Abortions To Women Who Aren’t Pregnant
Todd Akin videos: CSPAN clips reveal the Missouri candiate’s paranoia about abortion and stem cell research.
Gawd, I really hate that man.
I posted a cartoon the other day about the State Supreme Court mess down in Florida: Republican Party Aims to Remake Florida Supreme Court
You may remember it? The one with the Justices up in a tree, and an elephant revving up a chain saw?
The campaign against the justices by Republican state party officials, a conservative group founded by the Koch brothers and a grass-roots group is similar to the successful push by conservative activists in Iowa during the 2010 election. Voters there defeated three Iowa Supreme Court justices over a ruling that allowed same-sex marriage in the state. A fourth Iowa justice who also ruled in the case is being targeted for ouster this year.
In Florida, the issue is not same-sex marriage but another politically divisive matter: President Obama’s health care law. In a 2010 ruling, the Florida Supreme Court removed from the ballot a nonbinding amendment allowing Floridians to refuse to buy mandatory health insurance. The justices ruled that the required ballot summary contained “misleading and ambiguous language” and asked the Legislature to fix it. Lawmakers did, and it is back on the ballot this year.
For an update on Spain: Spanish Regions Agree to Central Government Deficit Plan
Spain’s 17 regional governments agreed on Tuesday to stick to budget deficit targets set by the central government, giving Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy some breathing space as he faces pressure from investors and his European partners to clean up Spain’s banks and public finances.
After a meeting in Madrid with leaders of the regional governments, Mr. Rajoy said, “Spain was giving a good message.” He added that he was “very grateful to everybody” for backing his government’s budget plans and avoiding a full-blown confrontation between the central and regional governments.
And these last two links are for all of us who are dealing with a cold from hell…it seems to be traveling through many of the front pagers on Sky Dancing, as well as some of our readers. (Beata, PD and HT…hope y’all are feeling better.)
Extra vitamin D may not help ward off colds
Vitamin C may shorten cold, not stop it
Have a good day, and we will see you later on tonight, as Romney and Obama meet for their first debate. I can hardly wait./Snark or should I say, /Sarcasm.