Is it a Sunday Morning? Open Thread

70098bab7b5e88f59a91d87e908095faGood Morning

I think its Sunday, the first Sunday of Fall in fact.

The days have melted into a blur for me, they all seem to run together in a Lortab haze of Betadine orange stained gauze and purple cast bandages, the smell of jasmine tea and rubber arm pads of the crutches…the clanking sounds those same crutches make across the oak floor…or the calling “Mama” from my daughter’s room late at night early, early in the morning. (The Lortab haze being my daughter’s not mine! My haze is due to lack of sleep, LOL.)

Honestly, I don’t know what the hell is going on outside the confines of my house, so the links for this morning are a some I found about Facebook when I had a few minutes to get online.

I don’t know but this first bit of news is crazy: Virginia State Law Prohibited Navy Yard Shooter Aaron Alexis From Buying Ninja Stars How the hell is that even possible?

That link is from Mediate, Tommy Christopher wrote the article and it goes on about whether or not Alexis tried to purchase an AR-15 or not before the mass shooting…but the point I want to highlight is this:

In any case, Mr. Alexis did pass a federal background check, and given the proper ID and lead-time, could have purchased all of the AR-15s and handguns and extended magazines he wanted. However you feel about that, whether it’s a frightening fact of American life, or a shining example of liberty, how does it make sense that Virginia doesn’t ban those weapons, but it does ban the sale and possession of Ninja throwing stars?

If any person sells or barters, or exhibits for sale or for barter, or gives or furnishes, or causes to be sold, bartered, given or furnished, or has in his possession, or under his control, with the intent of selling, bartering, giving or furnishing, any blackjack, brass or metal knucks, any disc of whatever configuration having at least two points or pointed blades which is designed to be thrown or propelled and which may be known as a throwing star or oriental dart, switchblade knife, ballistic knife as defined in § 18.2-307.1, or like weapons, such person is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. The having in one’s possession of any such weapon shall be prima facie evidence, except in the case of a conservator of the peace, of his intent to sell, barter, give or furnish the same.

As far as I can tell, no one has ever been killed by a Ninja star, a task for which they are apparently ill-suited. They did take a brief toll on late Apple CEO Steve Jobsrelationship with Japan’s tourism industry, but that’s about it. How is it that we are able to ban a weapon that kills no one, but we are completely unable to regulate weapons that kill tens of thousands each year?

According to the FBI, knives and stabbing weapons are used to kill about five times fewer people each year than guns, none of which appear to be Ninja stars. Why does the Second Amendment not cover Ninja stars? Why are Second Amendment advocates not up in arms about this?

On the bright side, the ban appears to be working. There have been a total of zero mass Ninja-starrings this year.

That is fucked up.

Okay, another link from Mediate. (I’m telling you, these are links I found real quick like!)  Matthews Gets in Shoutfest with GOP Rep. Over Birtherism Now, the only reason I am putting this link here is for the picture of the GOP Rep in the “shoutfest,” this is a dude who looks like he should be the punchline to one of those redneck jokes. Seriously. Check this out:

Chris Matthews tried to engage Texas Republican congressman Blake Farenthold in a debate over defunding Obamacare, but as soon as Farenthold noted Ted Cruz‘s presidential aspirations, Matthews dragged the interview off-course to ask if Cruz is qualified, which led to Matthews yelling at Farenthold to just say for the record that President Obama is the legitimately elected leader of the United States.

Matthews said as far as he’s concerned, having an American mother qualifies a person for the presidency, but when Farenthold didn’t reply with a yes or no answer, he asked, “Is this too complicated?” Farenthold answered, “He’s as eligible as Obama is.”

[...]

…when Matthews asked about whether Obama’s eligibility, Farenthold refused to give a direct answer. Matthews shouted, “Can’t you project an inch mentally? Just an inch?!” Farenthold refused to say the words “Obama is the legitimately elected president,” saying he wasn’t in Congress to make that determination and that Matthews is just “nit-picking.”

Okay, it is 2013 dude…you must have some money right? I mean ya got free health care, I am sure that includes dental. WTF, get a damn cap for that missing tooth. Or do you find that if you look like your constituents, as well as exude the dumb as dirt mentality, it helps with the polls? If you want to see the video, go ahead.

Sticking with the color Red: University of Alabama confronts racial divide: ‘It’s time to evolve past this’

At the University of Alabama, a turbulent week of allegations of racial discrimination, campus protests and promises of change culminated with at least six minority women accepting bids into traditionally white sororities. Campus groups, however, expressed doubts that changing the sororities would result in progress tackling long-standing racial biases on the southern campus.

School president Judy L Bonner announced the sorority bids in a video posted online on Friday.

“I am confident that we will achieve our objective of a greek system that is inclusive, accessible and welcoming to students of all races and ethnicities,” Bonner said. “We will not tolerate anything less.”

Bonner’s announcement came nearly two weeks after the Crimson White, UA’s student newspaper, reported that at least two black women were barred from sorority recruitment because of their race. With 28% of students involved in greek life – and deep alumni roots infiltrating the exclusive social clubs – sororities and fraternities have a powerful role in day-to-day campus life.

After national news organizations picked up the story, students, faculty and administrators began moving to enact change. Hundreds of students marched on campus this week to protest the segregated sororities.

The Crimson White? The name alone is enough to make you wonder.

Got another article from the Guardian: George Clooney’s satellite spies reveal secrets of Sudan’s bloody army

George Clooney in Darfur
George Clooney on a visit to the Zamzam refugee camp in north Darfur in 2008. Photograph: Sherren Zorba/AP

Nathaniel Raymond is the first to admit that he has an unusual job description. “I count tanks from space for George Clooney,” said the tall, easygoing Massachusetts native as he sat in a conference room in front of a map of the Sudanese region of South Kordofan.

Close by, pins and ink scrawlings on the map detail the positions of Sudanese army forces and refugee populations in the troubled oil-producing province, where the Sudanese army is carrying out a brutal crackdown.

The wall next to Raymond has a series of satellite images projected on it. At the flick of a mouse, tiny images of tanks and military vehicles hove into view, caught by a satellite hundreds of miles above.

Raymond is director of the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP), which aims to use advanced satellite imagery to monitor potential human rights abuses in Sudan. And it was all Clooney’s idea, turning him from just another Hollywood liberal with a pet cause to a genuine expert and campaigner on Sudan. Together with John Prendergast, another campaigner, Clooney has sneaked repeatedly into the country to document the random bombing of civilians and other atrocities.

After a trip last month to the Nuba mountains, Clooney dodged rockets to return with grisly footage of corpses, children with missing hands and entire villages forced to live in caves. He showed the film to the Senate foreign relations committee in Washington DC – to great praise from the assembled politicians – then got arrested at a protest outside the Sudanese embassy.

Images of Clooney being taken away in handcuffs appeared in newspapers and on blogs around the world. But it is in the day-to-day work of the Satellite Sentinel Project that Clooney’s impact is really being felt. He came up with the idea, and spoke to Google and the satellite company DigitalGlobe to help set it up, and he donates hefty speaking fees to keep it funded. It has been up and running now for 15 months.

Read the rest of that article, please….

The next two links are from the New York Daily News:

Florida ‘Hiccup Girl’ found guilty of first-degree murder, will serve life in prison Remember this girl? Well, she did not even pull the trigger….and this from the same state that gave acquittals to Zimmerman and Anthony.

The verdict and five-day trial was a sad end to a chapter in Mee’s short and sad life. Her attorneys said she suffered from schizophrenia and Tourette’s Syndrome, and a court psychiatrist said Mee’s intelligence was “low normal.”
[...]
Mee’s co-defendant, LaRon Raiford, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in August. Lamont Newton, the other co-defendant who was also Mee’s boyfriend at the time of the crime, has not yet gone to trial.

Trevena said his client did not orchestrate the robbery and that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict her. But prosecutors said Mee did set everything up, and used police interviews and a taped jailhouse phone call between Mee and her mother as evidence.

During the call, she told her mother that she did not pull the trigger of the gun that killed Griffin, but that she was charged with murder.

“Because I set everything up,” Mee explained during the call that was played for the jury. “It all went wrong, Mom. It just went downhill.”

I don’t know. It all seems sad, like twisted and manipulated and unjust.

Here is the real reason I went to the Daily News, this story on the moon: NASA’s rotating Moon video reveals never-seen views of celestial body

The dark side of the moon never shined so bright!

NASA pieced together the first-ever video of the moon rotating with mapping data compiled over four years.

“It shows every surface of the moon being full,” NASA lunar geologist Noah Petro told the Daily News. “It’s a physically impossible view of the moon but it’s wonderful.”

It is very cool…and beautiful.

Now just two quick links:

The 7 Types Of Republicans And How To Debate Them – by Matthew Desmond at Addicting Info

If you’ve ever spent time trying to discuss politics with a Republican you’ve probably noticed that there are several different types of Republicans, all with their own unique debating style. In this article I’m going to attempt to break down the seven types of Republicans, what’s wrong with their views, and how you should debate them. I’ll start with the most intelligent, and work my way down.

Uh….after Intelligent Republicans, Desmond tackles: Fox News and Conservative Talk Radio Republicans, Christian Republicans, Tea Party Republicans, Birther Republicans, Racist Republicans, Extremely Uneducated Republicans.

This last link is something fun. MAPS: What Your State Is Good At, And What It’s Lame At Click the image to see the maps larger!

https://upworthy-production.s3.amazonaws.com/nugget/4f75604b5678e4000300000c/attachments/Enviro_Good_Map.jpg

I think the funniest state on this list is Tennessee…Most Caves….in the excel category and Most Sewer Overflows in the not excel category…yup…they got politicians with some of the biggest mouths and they are full of shit!

Well, that’s it…think of this as an open thread.

One last thing, for Ralph…hope you are doing fine and recovering from your surgery…here is a funny movie you will enjoy while you try to relax.

Noises Off!

I love the line…I don’t know what you’re waiting for, her 18th birthday?


Wednesday Reads: Stand Your Ground and Race to Weed

ctF4Good Morning

The National Weather Service has upgraded the tornado that hit El Reno OK, killing three storm chasers last week, from an EF-3 to an EF-5, but that is not all…they now are reporting this Deadly Oklahoma tornado was widest on record.

The deadly tornado that struck near Oklahoma City late last week had a record-breaking width of 2.6 miles and was the second top-of-the-scale EF5 twister to hit the area in less than two weeks, the National Weather Service reported Tuesday.

[...]

The weather service determined that the storm packed winds reaching 295 mph.

It was fortunate that this tornado struck a relatively unpopulated area of El Reno.

When the winds were at their most powerful, no structures were nearby, said Rick Smith, chief warning coordination meteorologist for the weather service’s office in Norman.

“Any house would have been completely swept clean on the foundation. That’s just my speculation,” Smith said. “We’re looking at extremes … in the rare EF5 category. This in the super rare category because we don’t deal with things like this often.”

El Reno Mayor Matt White said that while his city of 18,000 residents suffered significant damage — including its vocational-technical center and a cattle stockyard that was reduced to a pile of twisted metal — he said it could have been much worse had the violent twister tracked to the north.

“If it was two more miles this way, it would have wiped out all of downtown, almost every one of our subdivisions and almost all of our businesses,” White said. “It would have taken out everything.

“It’s very scary … I don’t think a normal person can fathom just how scary. I don’t think they realize how lucky El Reno was.”

Just look at this image below from the NWS:

This graphic by the National Weather Service shows the path of an EF5 tornado that swept through the El Reno area in Oklahoma.This graphic by the National Weather Service shows the path of an EF5 tornado that swept through the El Reno area in Oklahoma.

/ National Weather Service

While Oklahoma has been dealing with storms from Mother Nature, Florida is getting ready to deal with another kind of storm…being the media frenzy lightning bolts and ominous clouds of racial tension that come with the Zimmerman trial. Earlier this month another “Stand your ground” case in Florida went to the jury, and the verdict came in. Bet you can guess what it was… Citing Stand Your Ground, Jury Acquits Man Who Killed Wife’s Lover | ThinkProgress

Ralph Wald, a 70-year-old Vietnam veteran, walked into his home around midnight, and less than ten seconds later, fired three shots at Walter Conley, according to ABC News. He told the jury he thought Conley was raping his wife when he saw them having intercourse in his home. But during a 911 call, when the dispatcher asked Wald if the man was dead, Wald responded, “I hope so!” and refused to help the man. He asked for medical help for his wife, Johnna Flores, since he thought he accidentally shot her also. He said he didn’t recognize Conley even though he had been roommates with his wife prior to her relationship with Wald, lived next door to Wald, had tattoos of Flores on his neck and back, and worked for Flores at her fencing company.

Prosecutors argued that Wald, who suffered from erectile dysfunction, killed Conley in a jealous rage, pointing out that Wald used the word “fornicate” in reports to police, and never the word “rape.”

To acquit Wald under the state’s Stand Your Ground law, Wald had to prove only that he believed his wife was being raped. It doesn’t matter that he shot immediately without taking time to assess the situation, nor that he could have likely taken other measures short of firing three shots into Conley’s head and back. Stand Your Ground laws authorize the unfettered use of deadly force where someone fears assault, without even a duty to first attempt to retreat.

Hmmmm, I’m just going to move on to my next link.

George Zimmerman Lawyer Mark O’Mara Fabricated Evidence, Martin Family Lawyer Claims (UPDATE)

With less than a week left before the Trayvon Martin trial begins, an attorney for Martin’s family now claims that George Zimmerman’s lawyer Mark O’Mara fabricated evidence in an attempt to sway both the public and the jury.

Since Zimmerman’s fatal confrontation with the 17-year-old Martin more than a year ago, both the judge and the public have been presented with an overwhelming amount of evidence during numerous court appearances and hearings. During a hearing last Tuesday, Zimmerman’s defense team claimed that they had obtained video footage of “two buddies of [Martin] beating up a homeless guy.” In a statement on Zimmerman’s website, O’Mara later apologized for mischaracterizing evidence that in fact showed two homeless men fighting over a bike.

So they post the apology on Zimmerman’s Website? Nothing in the newspapers that published all that shit about Martin video taping a homeless man being assaulted by two of his thug friends? You can read the reaction from Martin’s Family attorney at that Huffpo link, but check out the updated response from the O’Mara team:

UPDATE: Tuesday, June 4 — Mark O’Mara told HuffPost, “It was a mistake, I’ve acknowledged it, it happened and I’m sorry. I only wish that those who are so willing to condemn would be without fault first.”

“I said something wrong, and I apologize,” O’Mara added. “What they’re doing is trying to make more out of it because they have, for the past year, put Trayvon Martin up on a pedestal where he shouldn’t have been, because he’s a regular 17-year-old kid and they knew all this information about him.”

“Quite honestly, I’m not sure there’s any impact at all because no one has seen the video,” O’Mara noted. “They’re entitled to their opinions. I would only hope that they apologize for their mistakes as quickly as I have.”

Geez, this guy is an asshole.

Anyway, did you see this latest report from the ACLU?

The War on Marijuana in Black and White: Report | American Civil Liberties Union

OVER-POLICING
Between 2001 and 2010, there were over 8 million pot arrests in the U.S. That’s one bust every 37 seconds and hundreds of thousands ensnared in the criminal justice system.

WASTED TIME AND MONEY
Enforcing marijuana laws costs us about $3.6 billion a year, yet the War on Marijuana has failed to diminish the use or availability of marijuana.

STAGGERING RACIAL BIAS
Marijuana use is roughly equal among Blacks and whites, yet Blacks are 3.73 times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession.

If you don’t have time to read the entire report you can get a summary of it from HuffPo here: Racial Disparity In Marijuana Arrests: Black Americans Are Nearly 4 Times More Likely Than Whites To Be Arrested For Possession Of Pot (VIDEO)

The U.S. War on Marijuana is not just costly, time-consuming and unnecessary — it’s also racially biased, according to a new report.

In recent years, several states have passed laws that decriminalized marijuana, and a majority of Americans now support legalizing the drug. Yet between 2001 and 2010, there were over 8 million pot arrests in the U.S. What’s worse, the authorities making the arrests were targeting black Americans far more than whites.

According to a new study from the American Civil Liberties Union, which tracked marijuana arrests by race and county in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, black and white Americans use marijuana at about the same rate. However, blacks were nearly four times as likely than whites to be arrested on charges of marijuana possession in 2010.

In Washington D.C., Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois, blacks were 7.5 to 8.5 times more likely than whites to be arrested for possessing pot.

Most of the people being arrested weren’t drug kingpins. Fifty-two percent of all drug arrests in 2010 were for marijuana, and according to the ACLU’s analysis, most of the arrestees were in possession of small amounts of the drug.

And finally, I am going to stick with the African-American theme for this last link.  ‘Black Bodies In Propaganda: The Art Of The War Poster’, TV host’s black war posters focus of US exhibit | theGrio

In this Thursday, May 30, 2013 photo, University of Pennsylvania professor and PBS History Detectives host Tukufu Zuberi speaks about an Italian 1942 broadside matted on canvas by Gino Boccasile during an interview with The Associated Press at the Black Bodies in Propaganda: The Art of the War Poster exhibit at the Penn Museum, in Philadelphia. The new museum exhibition presents 33 posters owned by Zuberi that were designed to mobilize Africans and African-Americans in war efforts, even as they faced oppression and injustice in their homelands. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

In this Thursday, May 30, 2013 photo, University of Pennsylvania professor and PBS History Detectives host Tukufu Zuberi speaks about an Italian 1942 broadside matted on canvas by Gino Boccasile during an interview with The Associated Press at the Black Bodies in Propaganda: The Art of the War Poster exhibit at the Penn Museum, in Philadelphia. The new museum exhibition presents 33 posters owned by Zuberi that were designed to mobilize Africans and African-Americans in war efforts, even as they faced oppression and injustice in their homelands. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

A new exhibit created by a University of Pennsylvania professor and host of a popular public television show examines how wartime propaganda has been used to motivate oppressed populations to risk their lives for homelands that considered them second-class citizens.

“Black Bodies in Propaganda: The Art of the War Poster,” opens Sunday and continues until March 2 at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Lectures, film screenings and other programming will be rolled out over the course of the exhibit’s run.

The exhibit’s 33 posters, dating from the American Civil War to both World Wars and the African independence movements, are part of the personal collection of Tukufu Zuberi, Penn professor of sociology and African studies and a host of the Public Broadcasting Service series “History Detectives.”

Zuberi began his collection in 2005 and owns 48 posters in all.

[...]

The collection includes posters with affirming messages and images of courageous black soldiers to stir in its intended audience a sense of national belonging and patriotic pride. Also implied was a promise that blacks who served their country in war would return home to America or Europe with the rights and freedoms that their white counterparts enjoyed.

That promise, as history shows, was not kept.

“They go and they fight and they’re victorious, and when all is said and done, they return home,” Zuberi said. “And it’s ‘Go back to your second-class citizen status, democracy is not here for you, you are not civilized and you are not ready for it.”

I wish I lived in Philadelphia so I could see these posters! This sounds fascinating.

Conversely, the collection also includes negative posters that used hateful stereotypes to portray Africans and African-Americans as threats to white society. Zuberi’s favorite piece, perhaps surprisingly, is one of the most offensive in his collection.

Made in 1942 by Italian illustrator Gino Boccasile, “The Two-Dollar Venus” features a caricature of a black U.S. soldier as a brutish character with a buffoonish grin, his arm around the statue of Venus de Milo with “$2″ scrawled across the torso.

“It’s beautiful in itself. It has a very ugly, derogatory tone, but it’s done very well,” Zuberi said. “This is saying to the Italian people: ‘If the U.S. comes here, they’re going to bring these people; they’re going to take a priceless cultural icon and put a price on it.’”

Those of you in the Philly area, if you have the time be sure and check this exhibit out. And if you do, please share your experience with us.

That is all for this morning, what going on in your part of the world?


Happy Mother’s Day: Fun Day Reads

$(KGrHqZHJDgFCIGCUjt9BQqPnRYU)!~~60_3Good Afternoon

and

Happy Mother’s Day!

For this second half of our Sunday Reads, let’s take a look a variety of topics sandwiched between a couple of items about “Mutha’s Day.”

Anna Jarvis, The Founder of Mother’s Day Later Fought to Have It Abolished

Years after she founded Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis was dining at the Tea Room at Wanamaker’s department store in Philadelphia. She saw they were offering a “Mother’s Day Salad.” She ordered the salad and when it was served, she stood up, dumped it on the floor, left the money to pay for it, and walked out in a huff. Jarvis had lost control of the holiday she helped create, and she was crushed by her belief that commercialism was destroying Mother’s Day.

Here is a little history of Anna Jarvis and Mother’s Day, in cartoon format, by Steve Brodner. Click on the cartoon to view larger image.

Anna Jarvis, the Radical Behind Mother’s Day | Mother Jones

Makes that “Mother’s Day Salad” protest in the Tea Room at Wanamaker’s department store in Philadelphia all the more symbolic doesn’t it?

In a story that you may have missed last week: University of Montana agrees to reform handling of rape cases | Reuters

The University of Montana has agreed to reform how it responds to rape accusations following a year-long investigation by two U.S. government agencies into complaints such cases were mishandled, federal authorities and the school said on Thursday.

The U.S. departments of justice and education had probed allegations the university failed to aggressively pursue sexual assault and harassment reports, several of which involved football players.

The inquiries stemmed from reports that women on campus had been subjected to unfair treatment that infringed on their civil rights and violated constitutional bans on gender-based discrimination.

“What is noteworthy about this announcement today is not the problems our investigation found at the university, but a shared commitment to the equality of women students and their safety,” Roy Austin, deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s civil rights division, said in a statement.

Jocelyn Samuels, the division’s principal deputy assistant attorney general, told a news conference that the set of agreements would provide a blueprint for reform for other campuses across the country as they address the “all too common problem of sexual assault and harassment of students.”

Blueprint? I should hope so. But after all this is 2013 and we are talking blueprints when it comes to the “all too common problem of sexual assault and harassment of students.” Seriously? It seems like bullshit to me when the day before this story was published on Reuters, the State Department was dealing with the actual “Blueprints” to make 3-D printed guns.

State Department takes down blueprints for 3D-printable handgun | The Raw Story

The State Department on Thursday ordered the nonprofit Defense Distributed to remove blueprints for the world’s first 3D-printed gun from its website.

“All such data should be removed from public access, the letter says. That might be an impossible standard. But we’ll do our part to remove it from our servers,” Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson told Forbes.

The department’s Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance warned Wilson that posting the materials online could be a violation of export controls. The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) prohibits weapons manufactures from exporting technical data to foreign persons without authorization from the State Department.

“This means that all such data should be removed from public access immediately,” the Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance said.

[...]

The warning from the State Department came just days after Defense Distributed unveiled the blueprints for its plastic single-shot handgun, called the “Liberator.” The firearm can be created by anyone with the blueprints and access to a 3D printer. Defense Distributed also released nine other 3D-printable firearms components.

Well….I think I made my point.

Moving on now to this, Can You Generate Electricity From Plants? Science Says Yes | Geekosystem

Plants use energy from the Sun through photosynthesis, and humans use energy from the Sun through things like solar panels. A new technique created by researchers at the University of Georgia allows humans to get electricity from plants by hijacking the photosynthesis process. This research could someday lead to some very literal power plants.

Cool innit? Go to the link to check it out.

A few weeks ago, we lost a comic genius…Jonathan Winters. I have two articles written by Dick Cavett in the New York Times. Take a few minutes to read them when you can.

With Winters Gone, Can We Be Far Behind? – NYTimes.com

No more Jonathan Winters.

What did we do to deserve this?

I’m just antique enough to remember when Jonathan first hit. Or at least for me. It was the Jack Paar “Tonight Show” and no one had ever seen anything remotely like it.

A slightly chubby, amiable, Midwesternly looking man who could have been an accountant or a bus driver, nicely dressed in dark suit and tie, stepped out, a bit timorously, from behind the curtain and, on the spot and before our eyes, created a whole mad little world.

Missing: Jonathan Winters. Badly. – NYTimes.com

I remember once mentioning the name Jonathan Winters to Groucho Marx.

The reply: “There’s a giant talent.”

Now for some history links, this first one is more about something that is history in the making actually.  First black woman named to Ga. Civil War Commission

The first black woman has been appointed to serve on Georgia’s Civil War Commission.

House Speaker David Ralston on Friday selected Inger Eberhart for the post.

The Acworth resident currently serves on the staff of Cobb County Commissioner JoAnn Birrell. She is on the board of advisers of the Dustin Inman Society, which advocates for stricter enforcement of state and federal laws related to immigration.

Oh…that explains it.

Anyway, more history goodies, in link dump fashion:

Family album of Tsar Nicholas II resurfaces in museum exhibition

Held a virtual prisoner by the Bolsheviks months before his execution, Russia’s last Tsar Nicholas II pasted informal snapshots of his family into an album which has now come to light in a Russian provincial museum.

The photographs, most of which have never been seen before, show the last of the Romanov rulers of Russia without pomp and in unguarded moments. Many were taken by Nicholas II himself.

There are many informal photos…with penciled names and dates written on the backs.

History lessons the West refuses to learn

World View: After the Great War, Britain and France carved up the Middle East between them. Now, plans for Syria have the same potential for disaster.

A Political History of the Cicadas

The “Great East Coast Cicada Sex Invasion of 2013” is upon us.

After 17 years of feeding and living under the earth’s surface, billions of “Brood II” cicadas will emerge this summer between Connecticut and Georgia, swarming in thick, forbidding billows of shed exoskeletons and raucous insect lovemaking. (To get an idea of what the cicada mating call sounds like, click here for audio.)

For all their physical creepiness and loud public sex orgies, the (actually completely harmless) bugs have a rich cultural history in the United States. Bob Dylan wrote a song about the cicadas, for instance. But cicadas also have a rich political history in this country. Here are their greatest hits…

The Volokh Conspiracy » Irish Law at Kalamazoo

The 48th International Congress on Medieval Studies begins this Thursday on the campus of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. I’m moderating a legal history panel on Thursday at 1:30, in Bernhard 106, called Law as Culture: Secular Punishment and Divine Retribution in Medieval Ireland (Panel 90). Here are the paper titles:

  • Beheading, Hanging, and Being Drawn Asunder: Execution in Medieval Ireland
  • Property Incursions and Punitive Irish Saints
  • Divine Diversion: Divine Retribution as Dispute Resolution and the Norman Invasion of Ireland

H/T to Delphyne for this one: The Medieval and Early Modern Meme Menagerie, or, Grumpy Cat is a Time Lord

I think we’ve finally found a proper Late Medieval or Early Modern Grumpy Cat.

GrumpyCats-SideBySide

…And, yes, Grumpy Cat is a Time Lord.

I actually love the expression on this little guy….

2. Maxwell, Disapproving Rabbit:

MemeMenagerie-DisapprovingRabbit

Even before someone discovered the “disapproval face,” Disapproving Rabbit was already fed up with your shit.

Oh, that is sooooooo true!

On to Movie news…

This next link is here because of two things… first, the movie that is mentioned is about Shanghai Kate, the woman who did two of my tattoos back in 1999 and 2000 in NYC. And second, it makes me think of when movies started to use video tape, we had VCRs and Blockbusters. Then it went to DVDs and we had NetFlix and RedBox.  Now it is Digital, we still have NetFlix but more and more companies are getting into the groove. Eventually we won’t have anything real to touch or feel…it will all be digital. And that kind of sucks.  Los Angeles startup Yekra nets $3M for its digital movie distribution platform

Disney is doing it again: Merida From ‘Brave’ Gets An Unnecessary Makeover, Sparks Change.org Petition (PHOTO)

Merida, “Brave’s” red-headed heroine will be crowned Disney’s 11th princess on May 11. And just in time for her royal induction, the animated character has received a head-to-toe makeover — she’s thinner, her eyes are wider and … Is that miracle anti-frizz solution she’s using? What is going on!?

merida makeover

New Merida, left. Original Merida, right.

Last night, my kids went to see The Great Gatsby with a bunch of their friends. When they came back home after the show, I asked my daughter what she thought of the movie…this was her response.

It was okay, but there was like…no story to it?

Well, that about says it all, doesn’t it.

She laughed and said that when they first walked into the theater there was nothing but “old people” there, and she and her friends were worried that they may have made a mistake by going to see the movie in the first place.

‘Unfilmable’ novels? No such thing, says Hollywood

“As I watched the trailer, I thought, ‘This is for 16-year-olds,’ ” she says. “All of this is about gearing this toward high school and college students who may not have any notion of who Fitzgerald was or what the book actually was.

“They’re not going to care too much about whether this is a well-done adaptation,” she adds. “They’re going to care about whether it’s a Hollywood blockbuster.”

Read the article I linked to, that quote is the last two sentences of the piece, but it fit so well with what my daughter said that I had to put it in here.  She also said the music sucked, and my son said the entire thing was crap…well, except for the film quality. He said it was a very “crisp” film.

I really do think there are some books that should not be made into film. My favorite, John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces, is a perfect example. There is just some things that are too detailed and involved to be parsed down into a 2 hour flick.

Well, I have one more Gatsby link for you, a solemn one. The Great Gatsby: F Scott Fitzgerald’s novels are read by millions, but he was buried in near anonymity

The bard of the Jazz Age shouldn’t be buried here. On a hillside in Hollywood perhaps, where he spent his last, unhappy years, or in glamorous downtown Manhattan – or even in Père Lachaise in Paris, the last resting place of Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison, among other foreigners who sought inspiration or refuge in the City of Light. But not in the commercial suburbs of Washington DC, among office blocks and strip malls, in a cemetery wedged between a six-lane highway and a railway line.

F Scott Fitzgerald

That, though, is where you find the grave of F Scott Fitzgerald, at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Rockville, Maryland, an Exxon station visible from the spot where he lies. In the pre-car age Rockville must have been a small village in the countryside; the church itself dates from 1817, when America was barely 40 years old. Today, however, it is Anywhere, USA.

Boston Boomer linked to Ginsburg’s comments on Roe v Wade yesterday, oh-oh is right….I thought it should be put on the front page: Justice Ginsburg: Roe v. Wade not ‘woman-centered’ – chicagotribune.com

And finally….5 Ways Motherhood Has Changed Over Time : Discovery News

It’s easy to take the job description of motherhood for granted: Take care of your kids, in whatever way you can. The specifics, though, are a little trickier.

In fact, the meaning and duties of being a mom have undergone great upheaval just in the last century. Should moms work outside the home or stay with the kids full time? Does letting a baby cry scar it or strengthen it? Should moms be praised just for being moms?

The answers to these questions depend on the era in which they’re asked. Throughout U.S. history, moms have been exalted, demonized and exalted again. Their instincts have been questioned and ruled sacrosanct. And they’ve taken the most guilt upon themselves during periods where they spend the most time with their children.

Read on for five ways motherhood has changed in the United States.

So Happy Mother’s Day to you, and for everyone else…enjoy the rest of your Sunday!


Sunday Reads First Part: News updates

2318187780_9ed7e996d2Good Morning

Well, today is Mother’s Day and before I get to the fun stuff we have some big things going on.  In fact, in this first post I will focus on some major breaking news and other updates that happened overnight.

There is quite a turn of events out in California…Brother arrested in fatal stabbing of Valley Springs girl

Leila Fowler found stabbed to death April 27

The 12-year-old brother of a Valley Springs girl found stabbed to death in her home last month was arrested Saturday.

Calaveras County Sheriff Gary Kuntz said at a news conference that Leila Fowler’s brother was taken into custody just after 5 p.m. Saturday. He will be charged with homicide, Kuntz said.http://www.kcra.com/image/view/-/19950502/medRes/1/-/maxh/460/maxw/620/-/81114sz/-/Leila-Fowler-jpg.jpg

Several classmates of the 12-year-old boy, and parents of those classmates, told KCRA 3 that the boy’s name is Isaiah Fowler. The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department would not confirm the boy’s identity.

The classmates said Isaiah Fowler was at his sister’s vigil that took place just days after the girl’s death.

Valley Springs residents who knew the family said Saturday after the arrest was announced that they are shocked by the news and that Leila Fowler and her brother were close.

This was a horrifying crime, with a very intense search for the murderer.

Investigators did a door-to-door sweep of homes, storage sheds and horse stables scattered across the oak-studded hills foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Divers also searched two nearby reservoirs in search of clues.

As part of the investigation, authorities seized several knives from the home Leila shared with her father, stepmother and siblings to determine if one could have inflicted the fatal wounds. A neighbor who told detectives she saw a man flee the Fowler home later recanted the story and was discredited by police.

Leila’s brother was taken into custody at 5:10 p.m. Saturday and police hastily called a news conference to announce the arrest.

“Citizens of Calaveras County, you can sleep a little better tonight,” Kuntz said.

Authorities spent over 2,000 hours on the investigation “to provide Leila Fowler’s family answers to her death,” the sheriff said.

The brother said he found his sister dead and reported it to the police saying he saw a tall man with long gray hair leaving his house.

This is one story I am sure we will learn more of as the day progresses. Can you imagine, what a hellish Mother’s day for this woman. One daughter murdered at the hands of her son.

Well we had another one, this time in Texas 5-Year-Old Shot In Head By Another Child

A five-year-old boy in Denton, Texas was left in critical condition after he was shot in the head by his eight-year-old friend Saturday morning. According to the Denton Record-Chronicle, the police said the two boys were alone in the bedroom when the older child found a .22 caliber rifle, pointed it at the other boy, and shot him.

Police said they are investigating the incident as an accident. The family of the victim said two adults, one teenager, and two other children were in the home with the two boys when the incident occurred at about 11:30 AM.

Fortunately, this time the little boy is in critical condition…hopefully he will pull through.

**Update: Police say New Jersey hostage standoff resolved; 3 children safely removed from Trenton home – The Washington Post

Updated: Sunday, May 12, 6:49 AM

A standoff with an armed man who took multiple hostages inside a Trenton home has ended, and three children are safe, police said early Sunday.

Word of the confrontation’s conclusion came a short while after the standoff, which had had prompted the evacuation of nearby homes, entered its third day.

“The Trenton hostage situation is resolved, the three children are safe, and the area is secure,” state police Sgt. Adam Grossman told The Associated Press, delivering a joint statement also from Trenton police and county prosecutors.

Grossman said the standoff ended at 3:45 a.m. Sunday but refused to reveal any more details, including how it ended, what became of the gunman, any information about the children, and if there were any other hostages.

Grossman said more details will be released at a news conference later Sunday morning.

As of the writing of this post, 1am EST, Standoff with armed gunman holding hostages enters 3rd day; authorities seeking ‘peaceful end’

Updated: Sunday, May 12, 12:30 AM
TRENTON, N.J. — A standoff with an armed man who police said took multiple hostages extended to a third day early Sunday as authorities worked to negotiate his surrender and his captives’ release.The man, whose identity has not been released, remained holed-up in a two-story red brick house in South Trenton, authorities said. The standoff began Friday afternoon.

[...]

But family members of a woman they said was among the hostages grew angry as the standoff continued. Late Saturday afternoon, some of them went under police tape and briefly confronted officers about the situation.“Do something! Do something!” screamed a man who said he was the woman’s nephew. “Make something happen!”

The gunman has already killed a woman and one child. Some news reports say it is his girlfriend, some say it is his wife, and then…some reports say the woman is still alive.

In world news, Sharif stages comeback in landmark Pakistan election:

Toppled in a 1999 coup, jailed and exiled, Nawaz Sharif has made a triumphant election comeback and on Sunday was heading for a third term as Pakistan’s prime minister.The polls were a landmark, marking the first time one elected government was to replace another in a country vulnerable to military takeovers.But Saturday’s vote failed to realize the hopes of many that dynastic politics would end after years of misrule and corruption in the strategic U.S. ally.Sharif, 63, a wealthy steel magnate from the pivotal Punjab province, held off a challenge from former cricket star Imran Khan who had hoped to break decades of dominance by Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), led by the Bhutto family.

Khan’s Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) put up a strong fight and he is likely to remain a force in politics.

“Nawaz’s victory says two things about Pakistan: one, the people of Pakistan prefer the comfort of status quo over the uncertainty of revolutions; and two, all roads to the center go through Punjab, and in Punjab, people are right-leaning and conservative,” said senior journalist Nusrat Javeed.

“Still, for a party that only really arrived on the political scene in a serious way two years ago, PTI’s performance was remarkable, to say the least.”

And in Egypt, according to Reuters: Egypt says thwarts suicide attack on foreign embassy

Egyptian security forces have thwarted a plan by an al Qaeda-linked cell to carry out a suicide attack on a foreign embassy, capturing three militants, the interior minister said on Saturday.

Mohamed Ibrahim said the men, who he accused of having links to militants in the Middle East and Pakistan, were found in possession of 10 kg (22 lb) of aluminum nitrate, which is used to make bombs.

He declined to say which embassy had been targeted.

“The Interior Ministry was able to direct a qualitative blow to a terrorist cell that was planning suicide operations against vital, important and foreign facilities in the country,” he said in a televised news conference.

That will take care of the first part of today’s reads, the second part…the fun part will come up in a few hours. See y’all soon.


Moments of Lucidity, Working the SEO and a Weekend Filled with “Fear and Darkness” …Oh Yeah, this is an open thread too.

c1407bb0d326d9cc7b36793cbec25dabGood Evening!

Hey, how is everyone doing?

Hope you will bear with me a few paragraphs while I ramble on a little, with a quick observation and story before I get to the few links I have for you tonight.

Y’all know that I was recently put on Topamax for my epilepsy…and as a bonus, it would help my debilitating migraines. I’ve mentioned the dopamax effect it has had on me, and you have probably noticed the other side effect, shall we say dopamax induced blogging Tourette syndrome.

My mom was the one who pointed it out to me last week. While reading one of my posts she said out loud, “JJ, what a foul mouth you have.” Of course, her bit of criticism surprised me, considering that the woman knows every other word out of my mouth is damn, shit, asshole….well, you get the picture. But, what my mom was commenting on was that my posts of late have become more “colorful,” in that I was dropping shit bombs left and right. (Not only shit bombs, but several ass holes and even a few fuck wads.)

I think this is a side effect of the topamax. What I usually could control in my writing is now finding it’s way in uncontrollable outbursts…dopamax induced blog…shit…swear word…damn…Tourette syndrome….ass…ass…asshole fuck fest.

Wow, don’t know where that came from. (My apologies to anyone who may be offended by my comments…this is meant as a joke, to be taken in a humorous way and not intended to degrade or demean anyone who suffers from dopamax induced uncontrollable curse word blogging or Tourette Syndrome.)

Which leads me to this little story…here in the land of Banjoville, we have a bit of an ongoing scandal, what I call Cheergate.  It seems that a lot of the parents are pissed off that their girls did not make the competition cheerleading team. So, it was decided that a new open tryout will be held.  Obviously, this is not fair, and reeks of sour grapes and bullshit…so being the woman I am, I took it upon myself to call the powers that be and voice my opinion.

Now, since the dopamax makes me completely loopy, imagine my surprise when I had a few moments of lucidity and spoke in a coherent manner….even talking in words more than three syllables long. According to my mom, who was listening to most of my side of the conversation, I was impressive…sounding like a real professional, mentioning Georgia High School Sports Associations, Rules and Regulations and I have to say, whatever was said, it sure did shut the principal up…they had no response.  Of course, moments after I hung up the phone I couldn’t even remember what the hell I said. It was so bad that when I tried to explain to my daughter what happened, all I could get out was…”It had to do with lying and making something up, it begins with an f or an s and it has more than 2 syllables.”  Who the hell knows what word I was trying to tell her.

Well, now and then we all have our moments of clarity…even if they are just fleeting at that.

One more thing, a mention about the blog. Wow, we have had so many hits the past couple of weeks. It is quite something to see the numbers of people visiting our little blog that come from all over the world…Google is a strange and wondrous thing.  Kind of like the catch 22 you have with the SAG card in acting. You can’t get an acting gig without a SAG card and you can’t get a SAG card without the acting gig. We got big notice with the Google gods a couple of weeks ago with Boston Boomer’s Too Good Looking post, and with that surge in hits and outside links…it makes getting those higher ranking search results a lot more frequent.

So, the reason I mention this is just to say hello to any new readers out there who do come back and give Sky Dancing another look, we are glad you are here! (And to our regular readers, y’all know that obviously goes without saying…)

Now…for the links.

Y’all may have missed this, it is magnificent!

Jon Stewart Tears Apart NRA’s False Choice Between Freedom And ‘Obama-Sponsored Government Mom Rape’ | Mediaite

Jon Stewart opened Monday night’s edition of The Daily Show by looking back at the weekend’s NRA convention and its not-so-singular focus on guns. With Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and others in attendance, Stewart realized, “this is the same lineup, with the same laundry list of conservative grievances, that we saw at CPAC a month and a half ago.”

Eventually the speakers did get to the primary issue of guns, with Glenn Beck going after President Obama for his “tactics of fear and darkness.” Stewart congratulated Beck for acknowledging that “fear mongering is wrong” before playing another clip of him saying, “the only difference between your mom and sister getting raped and then walking home unmolested is a gun.”

“At the heart of the NRA’s message,” Stewart said, is “don’t let liberals say it’s a dangerous world and scare you into gun control. Let us say it’s a dangerous world and scare you into gun-a-pa-looza!” But, of course, the NRA’s real mantra comes from executive Wayne LaPierre: “Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.”

Based on Beck’s warnings against tyranny, the “government is the bad guy.” But based on LaPierre’s praise of the Boston police, “government is the good guy.” By the end of the segment, Stewart said he believes we all want the same thing: for “bad guys not to have guns.” While he and other Democrats want background checks, it appears some on the right want to “wait for a bad guy to draw and then draw faster.”

But if that’s the case, he said, “stop pretending that background checks are the last barrier standing between a free America and Obama-sponsored government mom rape.”

You have to go and see the clip…I know that I quoted most of the Mediate post, but seriously, Stewart just nails it…and that summary is just right.

There was also this from Ian Reifowitz: Gun Owners of America Is ‘Primarying’ the NRA From the Right

The NRA is even more extreme than it was just a few years ago. And that’s saying something. We’ve seen the shift in their rhetoric and in their policy positions. They just elected a new president, James Porter, who called the Civil War “The War of Northern Aggression,” who referred to Barack Obama as a “fake president,” and who believes that one of our highest priorities should be to train and arm all our citizens so that, when the time comes, they can “fight tyranny.”

Wow. Take a deep breath. Yes, the new NRA president is a far right-wing extremist whose rhetoric makes his predecessor, David Keene, look like a Rockefeller Republican.

That is no news to us of course,

There’s no one simple reason why the NRA has moved even further to the right in recent years. Certainly, the right wing overall has become more extreme and paranoid since the election (and reelection) of President Obama. The Southern Poverty Law Center has plenty of material on the most extreme among them.

But within the gun movement, we are seeing something very specific, something that has a parallel within Republican electoral politics as a whole. In the last few years, conservative — not moderate but conservative — Republican senators like Richard Lugar of Indiana and Robert Bennett of Utah were defeated in reelection bids by insurgents who have come at them from the right. This is exactly what is happening to the NRA.

I didn’t see much room to the right of the NRA. At least I figured that any group to their right would have to be so extreme as to be unable to achieve any kind of influence. Wow, was I wrong. Gun Owners of America, led by its executive director, Larry Pratt, has done exactly that. The New York Times gave them a large degree of “credit” for mobilizing conservative opposition to the recent gun control package on Capitol Hill.

And I don’t think the word “extremist” truly captures where Pratt stands. Pratt’s been fomenting hatred and paranoia about President Obama’s desire to create a private army, and claimed that the president was “definitely capable” of using that army to start a race war.

The things Pratt has said should have made him 100 percent persona non grata to any senator or congressman. That he and his organization were able to spearhead a lobbying campaign in the halls of Congress tells you everything you need to know about the Republican Party’s tolerance of hateful, bigoted extremism.

Again nothing new there….

But this kind of extremism represents a real challenge to the NRA. If they don’t step up, they could lose credibility and eventually even leadership of the gun movement to a group like Gun Owners of America. GOA’s website prominently features a statement from former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), the gold standard for extremism among national politicians, praising it as “the only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington.”

Notice who that praise is aimed at. The implication is that the NRA is a bunch of weak-kneed compromisers, squishy moderates. You want a real gun rights organization, then come over to the GOA.

There’s no formal primary, no election day where the NRA and the GOA are on competing ballot lines. But make no mistake that there is a competition. The NRA has a huge head start, and should have no trouble winning. But they aren’t taking any chances. The NRA won’t be out-crazied by anyone.

Uh…Okay then.

Hmmmm.

Personally, I think they are all batshit crazy fuck-faced asshole bastards with tiny dicks and even smaller brains! (Same goes for the women gun-nuts too…sans penises.)

Anyway, I will end this post with this cartoon…

NRA Takes a Turn to the Right – Political Cartoon by Monte Wolverton, Cagle Cartoons, Inc. – 05/07/2013

Cartoon by Monte Wolverton - NRA Takes a Turn to the Right

Y’all have a great evening, my daughter has a chorus concert tonight so I won’t be around until late.

This is an open thread.