Relations between the United States and Israel have been rocky during the Obama administration and people in the Jewish state are keeping close tabs on the 2016 presidential race. However, Israelis woke up on Friday morning to some surprising headlines, thanks to this year’s crop of unconventional candidates.
The Times of Israel led with Donald J. Trump’s referring to Jewish people as “good negotiators” and with his declining to commit to supporting Jerusalem as the undivided capital of the country. “Trump courts Republican Jews with offensive stereotypes,” the headline blared atop a story that described his remarks as “anti-Semitic.”
“February’s full Moon is traditionally called the Full Snow Moon because usually the heaviest snows fall in February.”
Under normal circumstances you would have to wait until February 22nd to see that Full Snow Moon in all of its bright brilliant glory.
Well…luckily for you, I have found a couple of fine examples above that is available now….for your viewing pleasure. No waiting.
Today’s theme therefore is full of moons, wisecracks and smartasses.
We will also touch on a few other nonsense news and features that you can take without reaching for the pills and cigarettes….or whatever it is that gets you through your day.
…On a serious note.
Updates on the earthquake that hit Taiwan yesterday.
Taipei, Feb. 8 (CNA) The number of people who died in a magnitude 6.4 earthquake that struck southern Taiwan early Saturday has risen to 34 as of 9:55 p.m. Sunday, according to official figures.
Rescue works has been continuing for the 121 who were believed to be trapped in a 16-story residential building in Tainan City’s Yongkang District.
A total of 310 have been rescued, with 100 of them rushed to hospitals for treatments.
In addition to this deadly quake, I’ve got a few other serious stories before we get to the fun. I’ll include some pictures of cracks in the earth…these are not from yesterday’s Taiwan earthquake. (Got it?)
Radioactive water overflowed into the groundwater at the upstate Indian Point nuclear power plant, officials said Saturday.
The Buchanan plant reported that the contamination did not migrate offsite and does not pose a threat to public health.
If you live up in that area of NY. Be warned.
Cuomo said he was informed of the tritium-contaminated water leak Friday and asked the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health to investigate the incident.
“Our first concern is for the health and safety of the residents close to the facility and ensuring the groundwater leak does not pose a threat,” Cuomo said.
The site, roughly 35 miles north of New York City, has been under increased scrutiny from Cuomo and other officials following several incidents. In December, Cuomo ordered an investigation into Indian Point after a series of unplanned shutdowns, citing potential risks to both the city and surrounding suburbs.
The leak occurred after a drain overflowed during a maintenance exercise while workers were transferring water, which has high levels of radioactive contamination, said Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Normally, a sump pump would take the water and filter it into another treatment system, but the pump apparently was out of service, Sheehan said. After the drain overflowed, the water seeped out of the building into the groundwater.
It was unclear how much water spilled, but samples showed the water had a radioactivity level of more than 8 million picocuries per liter, a 65,000 percent increase from the average at the plant, Cuomo said. The levels are the highest regulators have seen at Indian Point, and the normal number is about 12,300 picocuries per liter, Cuomo said.
Contaminated groundwater would likely slowly make its way to the Hudson River, Sheehan said, but research has shown that water usually ends up in the middle of the river and is so diluted that the levels of radioactivity are nearly undetectable.
“We don’t believe there’s any concern for members of the public,” Sheehan said. “First of all, this water’s not going anywhere immediately — and, again, because of the dilution factor, you wouldn’t even be able to detect it were you to take a direct sample.”
Read the rest of the snow job at the links.
BTW, update on Porter Ranch:
On with other serious stories, but I can safely make some sarcastic wisecrack smartass remarks about them…and just barely feel guilty about it.
Did ya hear the one about a Chicago cop who shoots and kills this black teenager and 55 year old woman…then turns around and sues the kids estate for 10 million dollars. (Yes, I said 10 miiilllion dollars.)
RACHAEL LEVY VIA VIMEO
Officer Robert Rialmo has filed a $10 million suit over a shooting that left a mentally ill teen and his unsuspecting neighbor dead.
A Chicago cop who fatally shot a mentally ill college student in December — as well as the teen’s unsuspecting neighbor — is now suing the dead teen’s family for $10 million, claiming the killings gave him “extreme emotional trauma.”
Officer Robert Rialmo filed the staggering suit Friday over his contested killing of 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier, a Northern Illinois University sophomore. The officer also accidentally killed Bettie Jones, 55, who was standing nearby, according to police.
The slain student’s family immediately slammed the suit, which comes amid the exploding scandal over deadly, racially motivated police tactics in Chicago.
“After this coward shot a teenager in the back … he has the temerity to sue him?” LeGrier’s family attorney, Basileios Foutris told the Chicago Tribune.
“That’s a new low for the Chicago Police Department.”
No. I think the Chicago PD can go lower…anyone want to place some bets?
Rialmo shot LeGrier six times on Dec. 26 after the teen made three calls to 911, making vague but distressed remarks about an “emergency” he said needed a police response. The gunfire erupted after LeGrier rushed at the officer while swinging a baseball bat, according to police, with one shot passing through the teen and striking his neighbor.
Rialmo’s suit says LeGrier “took a full swing” with the bat at Rialmo after the officer arrived at his home, just missing the cop’s head by a few inches. After Rialmo stepped back and LeGrier refused orders to drop the bat, the teen followed the officer outside and took another swing, forcing Rialmo to act in self-defense, the suit says.
The two deaths that resulted from the fatal encounter will “continue to cause…extreme emotional trauma” to the officer, according to the suit, which asks for a “sum in excess of $10,000,000” for damages.
Yeah, that full swing “missing the cop’s head by a few inches” justified the murder of two people….I can see why Rialmo would “continue to cause…extreme emotional trauma”. Best for him to go ahead and sue the family of the kid he shot in the back for the $10,0000,000. (That is a mutha load of fukken zeros.)
Rialmo’s suit contradicts the story given by LeGrier’s family in their wrongful death suit, which said the teen was inside his building and shot by the cop from the outside. The family’s suit also said LeGrier did nothing to threaten Rialmo or anyone else on the scene, and was not involved in any illegal activity at the time.
The suits come months into Chicago’s continuing crisis of police killing black men who are either unarmed or not presenting an immediate threat to officers. In many of the cases, including this one, the officer responsible for the death was white.
Protests over police tactics and alleged coverups led to the ousting of the Chicago’s top cop last year, and calls for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to step down. The most infamous case — the death of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager who was shot by a white officer 16 times — led to the city settling with the teen’s family for $5 million.
Rialmo’s attorney accused LeGrier’s family of trying to ride the wave of city actions against cops.
“Ever since the McDonald payoff, people are treating officer-involved confrontations like a lottery ticket and they’re waiting to cash it in,” Brodsky told the Tribune.
Wait a minute….who is treating this officer-involved confrontation as a lottery ticket? The murdering cop Rialmo? Or LeGrier’s family? I think that Brodsky dude has to get to Ted Cruz campaign on the double…and go to work as the campaign’s lead counsel.
This next link should make all the PLUBs happy!
Y’all know what PLUB stands for….Pro-Life-Until-Birth.
Innit a wonderful headline. More former fetuses for Republican pricks to fuck off.
…state of Texas’ sustained campaign against Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics affiliated with abortion providers appears to have led to an increase in births among low-income women who lost access to affordable and effective birth control, a new study says.
The analysis, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, documents a significant increase in births among women who had previously received birth control at clinics that no longer get state funding.
The researchers, from the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin, say their findings offer a sneak peek of what may happen in other states that have cut funding to Planned Parenthood.
It is just what is coming to a state near you!
Lawmakers in Arkansas, Alabama, New Hampshire, Louisiana, North Carolina and Utah have enacted policies to keep public funds out of Planned Parenthood clinics. Ohio is expected to be the next state to follow suit.
These laws “definitely” had a real impact on women, said study leader Joseph Potter, a sociologist at the university. “It’s not like there is a large, over-capacity of highly qualified providers of effective contraception out there just waiting for people to show up,” he said.
More Medicaid Births Follow Planned Parenthood Ouster via Texas Observer
Comparing quarterly medical and pharmaceutical claims from 2011 to 2014, researchers with theTexas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) found that 35 percent fewer patients received highly effective intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants — known as long-acting, reversible contraception (LARC) — over the four-year period. Claims for the injectable Depo shot, which requires follow up every three months, decreased by 31 percent. Researchers found that the rate of Medicaid-covered deliveries among women in the Depo group then increased by 27 percent.
The reduction in claims, said lead author Amanda Stevenson, highlights the fact that despite recent state efforts to recruit more providers, and claims of success without Planned Parenthood, patients have lost services.
“The reproductive health safety net cannot just absorb all of the demand for highly effective contraception when you remove Planned Parenthood from the network,” Stevenson told the Observer. TxPEP’s findings, she said, “directly contradict” claims “that Planned Parenthood can be removed from federally-funded healthcare programs and other providers will just step up to pick up the slack.”
In 2011, Texas lawmakers voted to kick Planned Parenthood out of the Medicaid Women’s Health Program, which the federal government deemed a violation of federal law. Rather than support a program that denied patients the provider of their choosing, the feds yanked a $9-to-$1 match in funds at the end of 2012, and Texas dropped the women’s Medicaid program entirely. In 2013, Texas insteadlaunched the state-funded TWHP replacement program — without Planned Parenthood. Since then, state health officials and lawmakers have boasted that the new program has more than 4,000 providers, and claimed that others could easily fill the void.
The new TxPEP data suggests otherwise.
<—–That is one crazy ass if you ask me.
So the college hasn’t “fired” her…she is leaving on her own accord.
Wheaton College political science professor Larycia Hawkins has decided to part ways with the college just five days before a faculty hearing was scheduled to help decide her fate at the school, according to an email from president Philip Ryken to the campus on Saturday.
In a separate email to the faculty, Wheaton provost Stan Jones said in an email Saturday that he has withdrawn charges for firing Hawkins and asked Hawkins for forgiveness.
“I asked Dr. Hawkins for her forgiveness for the ways I contributed to the fracture of our relationship, and to the fracture of Dr. Hawkins’ relationship with the College,” he wrote.
Hawkins was placed on administrative leave on Dec. 15 after she published a Facebook post suggesting that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. The statement set off a wave of controversy across the country amid larger debates about the role of Muslims in America.
Hey, what is a moon post without some space news.
Starting with an obit:
Edgar Mitchell, the first astronaut to have both a doctorate degree (an Sc.D. from MIT) and a track record as a successful test pilot, was the sixth human ever to walk on the moon.
NASA announced Friday that astronaut Edgar Mitchell passed away on Thursday, just one day before the 45th anniversary of his moon landing.
Dr. Mitchell was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 14, which launched in Jan. 31, 1971. He traveled to space alongside Alan Shephard and Stuart A. Roosa.
“As a member of the Apollo 14 crew, Edgar is one of only 12 men to walk on the moon,” said NASA administrator Charles Bolden in a statement, “and he helped to change how we view our place in the universe.”
In a 1997 interview for NASA’s oral history program, Mitchell said he was committed to becoming an astronaut as soon as he heard about Sputnick.
“I set my cap toward amassing qualifications that I thought would be attractive to NASA in 1957. It took nine years, but I got a doctorate, got additional flight experience, additional jet hours, was assigned to the Manned Orbiting Laboratory Program for a while, so, getting space management experience. All of that went on for nine years till I was selected in 1966….
Born in Texas during the Great Depression, he became an astronaut in 1966, after receiving an Sc.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT in 1964.
Prior to his own trip to space, Mitchell worked on several Apollo projects. He was a member of the team that worked to bring Apollo 13 home after an oxygen tank explosion damaged the space craft.
There is more to read about the man at the link but I thought this was interesting:
As a researcher, Mitchell was fascinated by the idea of consciousness. During the Apollo 14 mission, Mitchell conducted his own experiments on extrasensory perception, also known as thought transference.
While the other astronauts, Shephard and Command Module pilot Stuart Roosa, were sleeping, Mitchell experimented with mind reading. He concentrated on prearranged symbols while four contacts at home attempted to guess what he was thinking about. Approximately a quarter of the guesses were correct.
The experiments changed his life. In an interview with People magazine three years later, Mitchell said, “It was euphoric, one of those rare moments in life when you seemed to be able to reach out and touch the universe, when you had an intuitive flash about the real meaning of truth.”
He also felt that Nasa was covering proof that aliens had visited earth.
More at the link.
NASA has built a moving computer model of the sun’s magnetic fields, aiming to help educate people on how magnetic fields work and show how those fields could result in a disaster.
Germans call it Backpfeifengesicht. It’s a colloquialism which translated means “a face that needs to be hit.” However, you don’t need to be German to want to punch Ted Cruz in the face. While there hasn’t been any formal polling on the question, I personally would feel safe wagering money on it being over 50 percent of America. But what does this all mean? Are we a nation of unreasonable bullies for wanting this?
Doctor Richard Cytowic has taken some time to explain to America why they are not a nation of bad people for their burning desire to smash a knuckle sandwich into Ted Cruz’s jaw. It turns out this is all a very natural and very scientific thing we are experiencing.
While I would never actually suggest someone would do something like punch Ted Cruz in the face (I’m not suggesting they don’t either), the feeling that you want to means you are operating at a normal mental state – so just enjoy the feeling and embrace it within reason.
Dr. Cytowic explained that humans learn to read facial expressions from the day they are born. It’s one of our most rudimentary and instinctual means of communication. Our brains have had a million years of practice at reading facial expressions, generating an instant like or dislike of the person that they are attached to. To put it more simply, it’s an evolutionary survival trait to determine friend from foe, and our brains are extremely good at it by now.
With this in mind, it explains a lot about why practically everyone hates Ted Cruz. It isn’t just his policy. There are oodles of idiot Republicans we could hate for that same reason. Ted brings out a more visceral and emotional reaction, unlike most others. Even among his fellow Republicans nobody likes him, and that says a lot.
Dr. Cytowic goes on to describe how Cruz’s facial expressions do not shift the way normal Human expression does. He has rarely observed a normal smile from Ted Cruz. In a normal smile the corners of the mouth go up, and the muscles circling the eyes contract making them narrow and forming crow’s feet at the outside corners. When it comes to Ted, his mouth just tightens into a straight line, and on the rare occasion that it deviates from this, the corners bend downward. The outside of his eyes bend downward as well, which is completely opposite of what is normal, as the eyebrows typically bend upwards.
To put it simply, Ted Cruz has a look of disgust on his face that only gets worse when he tries to look happy and smile. It’s like he is some kind of anti-politician, because you would think that someone who has his kind of fan base would naturally be able to express themselves more pleasantly. So remember, when you see Ted on TV and you want to throw something at the screen, it means you’re ok because it’s only natural.
Next up…from Cracked Magazine:
Remembering silent film star Ramon Novarro on his birthday (6 February 1899 – 30 October 1968)
He was a leading romantic and action star in the late 1920’s with hits such asBen-Hur,Across to Singapore (with Joan Crawford) and The Student Prince in Old Heidelburg (with Norma Shearer). I find him very effective in a speaking part as a love struck soldier in Mata Hari with Greta Garbo.
He struggled throughout his life as a gay man who was also a fervent Catholic. He refused MGM’s arrangement of a “lavender” marriage, preferring to live somewhat openly with journalist Herbert Howe. He was murdered in 1968 by two young hustlers who thought he had a lot of money. They beat him to death, and got away with just $20.
Have a great afternoon…this is an open thread.
And enjoy this slideshow of paper moons…..some images were not used in the post above.
This is going to be quick and to the point. I am in a bad mood and probably should not be making any statements on these matters, because I’m not gonna be logical or even coherent…I’m just gonna be someone who is tired of all the shit.
I’m gonna pretty much tell Sanders and his league of misogynistic twats to fuck off.
(That includes Bernie’s women supporters too…cause if they still are gun ho…yeah, I said gun…after all the shit he has said the past 48 hours, they are in a true sense. The Ladies Auxiliary of Cunts in Sander’s League of Misogynistic Twats.)
Wait, I have to put this quote up…my very favorite of course:
So by know you probably know what I am talking about.
Asked by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow on Tuesday evening about the fact that Planned Parenthood, NARAL and the Human Rights Campaign endorsed Clinton, Sanders replied, “We’re taking on not only Wall Street and the economic establishment, we’re taking on the political establishment. So I have friends and supporters in the Human Rights Fund [sic], in Planned Parenthood. But you know what, Hillary Clinton has been around there for a very, very long time and some of these groups are part of the establishment.”
Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards,tweeted, “disappointing to hear this.” The Planned Parenthood Action Fund tweeted, “We respect @SenSanders. Disappointed to be called “establishment” as we fight like hell to protect women’s health.” HRC echoed the remarks:
Jessica Morales Rocketto, the Clinton campaign’s digital organizing director, elaborated on her own Twitter account why the campaign took offense.
NARAL’s president, Ilyse Hogue, also weighed in on a call with reporters. She praised Clinton for “not just committing to expanding funding for Planned Parenthood, but also to take on the Hyde amendment, which is nothing more than discrimination against low income women trying to access vital health care and their constitutional rights …. Unfortunately, directly in opposition to Bernie’s unfortunate comments last night on Rachel Maddow, the anti-choice minority has become the establishment at state legislatures and is becoming the establishment at our federal level.”
In an interview with NBC News, Sen. Claire McCaskill, another Clinton surrogate, said, “I think that for Planned Parenthood, or NARAL, or the Human Rights Campaign to be considered the establishment, someone’s not paying close attention to the way American politics works.”
As far as the Sander’s campaign…this is what Bernie’s campaign had to say:
Earlier on Tuesday, Sanders campaign Michael Briggs responded to the Human Rights Campaign’s Clinton endorsement by saying, “It’s understandable and consistent with the establishment organizations voting for the establishment candidate, but it’s an endorsement that cannot possibly be based on the facts and the record.”
Asked by MSNBC if the Sanders campaign wanted to clarify his remarks on “The Rachel Maddow Show,” Briggs said, “He said it better than I could.”
Peter Daou had more to say:
Bernie Sanders attacks Planned Parenthood and Human Rights Campaign after they endorse Hillary —www.dailynewsbin.com/opinion/bernie-sanders-attacks-planned-parenthood-and-human-rights-campaign-after-they-fail-to-endorse-him/23614/
Now that they’ve both endorsed his opponent, Bernie Sanders is openly attacking two of the most widely respected groups fighting for the liberal causes he claims to believe in. Earlier this month leading women’s health group Planned Parenthood endorsed Hillary Clinton for President, and this week leading LGBT rights group the Human Rights Campaign did the same. In response, Sanders went on national television and accused both groups of being part of the “establishment” that his campaign is fighting against.
It’s an almost inexplicable turn of events for candidate who insisted all along that he didn’t engage in “personal attacks” and was only interested in focusing on the issues. But in the past week Bernie Sanders has referred to Bill Clinton as “deplorable” while comparing Hillary Clinton to Dick Cheney, thus abandoning the high road in favor of the lowest personal attacks he can think of. And now, he’s not merely attacking his opponent or his opponent’s spouse. He appears to have concluded that anyone who doesn’t endorse his campaign it the enemy and must be destroyed, issues be damned. What on earth happened?
I copied this from Dakinikat’s Facebook page. I thought it was excellent response:
I really believe that the true Bernie Sanders is showing himself. I’ve felt all along the dude was off when it came to women’s issues. There was something about him, can’t specifically say what, but it rubbed me the wrong way.
He never has stood up to his asshole sexist supporters who lob those awful remarks Hillary’s way.
That is nothing…y’all have seen worse shit out there.
Oh, there are other examples that we have discussed here many times. Like I’ve said. I am in a bad mood and too pissy to go into details.
To me that is the typical Bernie supporter. And I would bet money that is also how Sanders feels himself…to some extent.
Just a couple thoughts there….
As for the idiot with the squirrel’s ass on top of his head:
That says it all!
And I did cry…
I found out about David Bowie’s death around 4;00 am Monday Morning, it was so sad. Bowie was born in 1947…the same year as my dad, maybe that was why it touched a nerve? I don’t know. But as the days have past since the news of his death, I’ve been able to look back on his music and massive product of work. I see now just exactly amount of thread this artist has woven through my memories. For all my life.
Simon Pegg sent out this tribute tweet:
I was born in April 1970. Space Oddity was 1st released in July of 1969. For me that tweet is especially true.
The post today will feature artwork by David Bowie and include a few links to photo galleries…as well as a few other articles about Bowie the man, flaws included.
Just a couple of thoughts before we start.
My mom took me to see Cat People and The Hunger back when I was a kid…
I can still feel that powerful voice of Bowie’s pounding in the theater as the credits rolled when he sang Putting Out The Fire.
And I always thought, for some strange reason…that he would live forever somewhere…never imagining that he would die a few days after turning 69.
Now for the links.
And if you didn’t catch the speech…check this out:
“What if the State of the Union was like a Wes Anderson movie?”, asked no one ever. Well, CNN is here to answer your question, nobody!
And, well, it’s not so much a movie as it is a primer on the history of the State of the Union address and all the things that go into making it happen.
(P.S. If CNN is taking requests, next year do it Tarantino-style. God knows these speeches could use some tense moments and balls-to-the-wall profanity.)
Now, moving on.
Interesting video here: Arctic seed vault ‘key to future global crops’ – BBC News
And then you have this newsy bit here: Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall Are Engaged | Vanity Fair
Ugh, more gag.
Meanwhile on the Ted Cruz “birther” irony front:
There’s more than meets the eye in the ongoing dustup over whether Ted Cruz is eligible to serve as president, which under the Constitution comes down to whether he’s a “natural born citizen” despite his 1970 Canadian birth. Senator Cruz contends his eligibility is “settled” by naturalization laws Congress enacted long ago. But those laws didn’t address, much less resolve, the matter of presidential eligibility, and no Supreme Court decision in the past two centuries has ever done so. In truth, the constitutional definition of a “natural born citizen” is completely unsettled, as the most careful scholarship on the question has concluded. Needless to say, Cruz would never take Donald Trump’s advice to ask a court whether the Cruz definition is correct, because that would in effect confess doubt where Cruz claims there is certainty.
People are entitled to their own opinions about what the definition ought to be. But the kind of judge Cruz says he admires and would appoint to the Supreme Court is an “originalist,” one who claims to be bound by the narrowly historical meaning of the Constitution’s terms at the time of their adoption. To his kind of judge, Cruz ironically wouldn’t be eligible, because the legal principles that prevailed in the 1780s and ’90s required that someone actually be born on US soil to be a “natural born” citizen. Even having two US parents wouldn’t suffice. And having just an American mother, as Cruz did, would have been insufficient at a time that made patrilineal descent decisive.
This narrow definition reflected 18th-century fears of a tyrannical takeover of our nation by someone loyal to a foreign power — fears that no longer make sense. But the same could be said of fears that a tyrannical federal army might overrun our state militias. Yet that doesn’t lead Cruz — or, more importantly, the conservative jurists he admires — to discard the Second Amendment’s “right to bear arms” as a historical relic, or to limit that right to arms-bearing by members of today’s “state militias,” the national guard.
On the other hand, the kind of judge I admire and Cruz abhors is a “living constitutionalist,” one who believes that the Constitution’s meaning evolves with the perceived needs of the time and longstanding practice. To that kind of judge, Cruz would be eligible to serve because it no longer makes sense to be bound by the narrow historical definition that would disqualify him.
When Cruz was my constitutional law student at Harvard, he aced the course after making a big point of opposing my views in class — arguing stridently for sticking with the “original meaning” against the idea of a more elastic “living Constitution” whenever such ideas came up. I enjoyed jousting with him, but Ted never convinced me — nor did I convince him.
At least he was consistent in those days. Now, he seems to be a fair weather originalist, abandoning that method’s narrow constraints when it suits his ambition.
Donald Trump is actually right about something: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is not a natural-born citizen and therefore is not eligible to be president or vice president of the United States.
The Constitution provides that “No person except a natural born Citizen . . . shall be eligible to the Office of President.” The concept of “natural born” comes from common law, and it is that law the Supreme Court has said we must turn to for the concept’s definition. On this subject, common law is clear and unambiguous. The 18th-century English jurist William Blackstone, the preeminent authority on it, declared natural-born citizens are “such as are born within the dominions of the crown of England,” while aliens are “such as are born out of it.” The key to this division is the assumption of allegiance to one’s country of birth. The Americans who drafted the Constitution adopted this principle for the United States. James Madison, known as the “father of the Constitution,” stated, “It is an established maxim that birth is a criterion of allegiance. . . . [And] place is the most certain criterion; it is what applies in the United States.”
Cruz is, of course, a U.S. citizen. As he was born in Canada, he is not natural-born. His mother, however, is an American, and Congress has provided by statute for the naturalization of children born abroad to citizens. Because of the senator’s parentage, he did not have to follow the lengthy naturalization process that aliens without American parents must undergo. Instead, Cruz was naturalized at birth. This provision has not always been available. For example, there were several decades in the 19th century when children of Americans born abroad were not given automatic naturalization.
Article I of the Constitution grants Congress the power to naturalize an alien — that is, Congress may remove an alien’s legal disabilities, such as not being allowed to vote. But Article II of the Constitution expressly adopts the legal status of the natural-born citizen and requires that a president possess that status. However we feel about allowing naturalized immigrants to reach for the stars, the Constitution must be amended before one of them can attain the office of president. Congress simply does not have the power to convert someone born outside the United States into a natural-born citizen.
Let me be clear: I am not a so-called birther. I am a legal historian. President Obama is without question eligible for the office he serves. The distinction between the president and Cruz is simple: The president was born within the United States, and the senator was born outside of it. That is a distinction with a difference.
Thanks to Boston Boomer for the H/T on both of those links.
Back to some bad journalism… now that it has been a few days since that riveting piece of “journalism” from Sean Penn in the latest Rolling Stone? (Flash Frame: That was a piece of shit.)
If you’re an editor about to send a famous and sympathetic writer to interview one of the world’s most notorious villains, here’s how you might prep him:
First, drill him on his assumptions and make sure there is an intellectual argument elsewhere to back him up.
Then, you’d likely remind him that his loyalty should be with his readers, not his subject. And you’d reinforce that by helping him anticipate the natural questions those readers might bring to such a controversial interview.
You’d want to see his interview questions ahead of time to ensure they are asked in neutral language that will hold your notorious source accountable.
Of course you’d advise him that it’s unacceptable to cut a deal that provides the source with prior review.
And finally, you’d remind him that the story must be well-reported and intellectually honest, so that it could stand on its own without a byline. That’s how you know it’s worth the paper it’s printed on.
It’s common for a writer’s ambitions to outpace his talents. (Sean Penn, you are no Hunter S. Thompson). That’s what editors are for. The best editors lift writers above the level they might reach on their own. They bring discipline to wandering pieces. They force writers to nail down assumptions and abandon unnecessary prose.
The editor’s role on the front end is the easy work. All he had to do was prepare Penn to set aside his own ego and go into the interview with his loyalties firmly on the side of Rolling Stone’s audience. But that front end work often makes the heavy lifting on the back side a bit lighter. During the actual writing, an editor should have been working with Penn to identify a structure, build a coherent argument and then challenge readers to see a complicated character operating in a complicated system.
How do you do that? You have to bring in other voices. Here’s what’s missing from Penn’s El Chapo piece…
Take a look at that link to see what is missing. I would guess that Penn did not do this work with Rolling Stone backing his moves. I suggest it is a Penn deal alone…and possibly a movie in the works all along. The “article” was probably shopped to the highest bidder and under no circumstance could it be “edited” because it is Penn’s pitch in glorified shit filled black and white print. *Note: I may be wrong here, in which case I really don’t give a damn…but that is my own opinion on the matter.
But what does give me a problem about this commentary on what Penn’s article is missing…is that there is a big stink about the single Penn’s crappy piece, but what about the fucking trash put out by journalist on a daily basis? Ana Kasparian is asking that question in this article:
No one expected Sean Penn to interview the world’s most wanted drug kingpin after he escaped prison for the second time. But three months before El Chapo was recaptured by Mexican Marines, he was hanging out with the actor in a jungle for a lengthy Rolling Stone interview. In an interesting turn of events, Penn’s discussion with El Chapo has been criticized as “unethical” by politicians and journalists who couldn’t score or stomach the interview.
At the heart of the issue is how Penn allowed the violent head of the Sinaloa drug cartel to sign off on the final Rolling Stone piece, which certainly does breach journalistic ethics. One rule of journalism is to ensure that the subject being reported on doesn’t have any sway or influence on the final product, and letting El Chapo decide what can and can’t be published defeats the true purpose of doing the interview in the first place.
“Allowing any source control over a story’s content is inexcusable,” Andrew Seaman, chair of the Society of Professional Journalist’s ethics committee wrote in a blog post. “The practice of pre-approval discredits the entire story. The writer, who in this case is an actor and activist, may write the story in a more favorable light and omit unflattering facts in an attempt to not be rejected.”
Seaman does make a good point. But with the daily ethics violations committed by people who were actually trained to be journalists, it does seem strange that all of a sudden members of the media want to hash out what’s acceptable in reporting the news or conducting interviews.
You’re goddamn right!
It is a shame that her article is only a couple of more paragraphs long, using an example regarding a situation with PBS and funding to illustrate her point (go and read the rest at the link) but it should open the can of worms, don’t ya think?
Mona had a question up on her Facebook feed…about this topic…I think this article is a good way to open it up for discussion:
More Bowie, this time pictures:
On with a few more news links.
In human rights news:
Let’s not end on that note.
In Wordplay: Matthias Buchinger’s Drawings from the Collection of Ricky Jay, opening today at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, there’s a 1724 engraved self-portrait that the “Little Man of Nuremberg” would have used to promote his act. As the portrait shows, the German-born artist, who stood 29 inches tall, was born without hands or feet.
Using an implement he wielded with his stumps, Buchinger excelled in calligraphy, ornamentation, and micrography, the practice of making patterns with tiny letters. In this self-portrait, in the curls of his wig, he has written seven full psalms and the Lord’s Prayer.
Art was just one of Buchinger’s talents. He was a master magician, superb marksman, and a virtuoso musical-instrument player, to name a few of the skills he was paid to perform in fairgrounds and noble houses across Europe. He could also throw dice, and could put wooden objects in tiny bottles.
To contemporary sensibilities, the idea of an 18th-century dwarf magician getting a Met show of his text art might come off as an arch conceptual hoax. But Buchinger was real, and very much a part of his time.
Oh, how I wish I could see this exhibit.
January 8–April 11, 2016
Exhibition Location: The Robert Wood Johnson, Jr. Gallery, 2nd floor,Gallery 690
Approximately 15 drawings by the 18th-century German artist Matthias Buchinger (1674–1739), who was born without hands or feet, will be presented in Wordplay: Matthias Buchinger’s Drawings from the Collection of Ricky Jay, opening at the Metropolitan Museum on January 8, 2016. Despite his physical limitations, Buchinger was celebrated in his own time as a draftsman and calligrapher as well as a magician and musician, and poetic broadsides were written in Europe and Britain about his many talents and achievements. Known as “the Little Man of Nuremberg” because he was only 29 inches tall, Buchinger lived a nomadic existence and boasted a clientele that included noblemen, kings, and emperors, along with members of the public who visited him at inns and fairs, from Leipzig to Paris and London to Belfast.
And in another Met website link:
It is a long read but fascinating.
Did You Know The Temple Wasn’t Always Beige?
Temples in Egypt, and in much of the ancient world, were not only carved with detailed reliefs, but also painted with vivid colors, like the example from the Karnak Temple Complex shown above. The small square shows a cleaned surface in an otherwise soot- and grime-covered relief scene. This small section at Karnak allows visitors to see the temple in new ways, and we set out to do this digitally with The Temple of Dendur.
The Temple of Dendur was originally located on an ancient site south of Aswan in the West Bank of the Nile, near the border between Egypt and the Sudan. Because the Nile flooded every year, the Egyptian government attempted to control the water through a series of dams. However, by the late 1920s, Dendur and the surrounding area was flooded for nine months out of the year. In the 1960s, the Egyptian government planned to construct a new dam that would have made this flooding permanent year-round.
Well, that is all for today…
Have a safe Wednesday. This is an open thread.
I was at my daughter’s Christmas choral concert last night, so I missed the…cough, cough…debate.
There is also a nasty cold going around my house, and I am trying to fight it off. Over sleeping and such, so today’s post is just a link dump…and nothing more.
The jury could not reach a decision in the first trial of a Baltimore police officer charged in connection with the death of Freddie Gray.
The jury deliberated over three days, and there was signs that the jury may not reach a unanimous decision.
Jurors told the court Tuesday they were deadlocked after less than a full day of deliberations but the judge sent them back, asking them to continue to work toward a unanimous verdict in the charges against police officer William Porter.
Back to the news links.
In no particular order, as you can see I’m really in the funk.
On the heels of the news that a Tennessee woman was so desperate enough to use a clothes hanger on herself to self abort: This Disturbing New Ohio Abortion Bill Is More Than Just Ridiculous…It’s Grisly «
The latest brainchild of the Ohio Republican party is a new bill that will require women to authorize and ultimately be financially responsible for the burial or cremation of their “child.” The proposed legislation takes religious zealotry to the state level, where Buckeyes are known for doing incredibly stupid things.
The bill would require women to sign a form, meaning there has to be some kind of record-keeping, but the creepy weirdos who introduced this idiocy promise that doesn’t constitute a “registry.” Unfortunately for them, yeah…it kinda does.
Attorney General Mike DeWine, after investigating Planned Parenthood for months at the taxpayers’ expense and coming up empty-handed, got all misty-eyed when he “found” that Planned Parenthood had been “simply tossing them in landfills” — invoking the idea of huge piles of household garbage and a woman in a lab coat tossing fully formed little children on top without emotion. Basically, DeWine couldn’t find anything, so he invented something.
The Christian right got a hold of that information and immediately began weeping for humanity. If only those fetuses who are far more often than not nothing but zygotes could be replaced with those evil abortion doctors. That would help protect the sanctity of life. They took the ball and ran with it, choosing one of their chief loons, State Rep Barbara Shears, to explain to the people that the bill isn’t politically motivated:
“The idea of respectfully treating the remains of an infant who has been aborted, I think is critical. And I think that you can see how we treat our own childhood pets when we are disposing of them in a respectful way, you know I think that people are shocked. And I don’t think that it matters whether you are Republican or Democrat or Independent or oblivious to politics all together.”
Of course it has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with the place you go on Sunday that you want to impose on the rest of America because you and the Duggars are better than we are. Childhood pets? Wait…here’s a great paragraph from WVXU in Cincinnati:
Representative Robert McColley says there are still details to work out…such as whether there would be specific cemeteries for the bodies or places where cremains could be spread. Right now, in Ohio, he says the state does not record the names of women who get abortions and he says while the state would require all women to sign this form, the goal would not be to start a statewide registry of sorts.
Bodies. Cremains. Cemeteries. How long before they require little funerals? These a**holes don’t understand that when a woman loses or is forced to terminate a pregnancy at a stage where what is lost looks like “Walter” from the Planned Parenthood videos, it is most often not welcome and extremely traumatic. It also accounts for a very small percentage of abortions. The entire issue is misleading and unfair, which is about par for the Christian right’s course.
Gabriel Mann of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio said:
“This law that Ohio Planned Parenthood affiliates have been following has been in effect for 40 years, 3 months and 14 days and nobody had any problems with them following the law until Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine had to announce that Planned Parenthood was following the law. And he got very frustrated by the fact that he had to tell the truth and now they need a new law.”
40 years plus and now all of a sudden this.
On to the next, ‘Fox & Friends’ Jizz Their Stockings In Yuletide Rage | Wonkette
The two hear Ferrer out and pay an assload of lip service to the idea of diversity being amazing, and then Doocy sets PTA mama up to deliver Fox News’s trademarked ass-chapping grievance of the holiday season:
DOOCY: You’re wearing a Santa Mickey shirt. You can wear that into the school, BUT?
FERRER: We’re not allowed to say the “Merry Christmas.” :(
FOX NEWS SADFACE JIZZ EXTRAVAGANZA, DING DING DING!
But you see, this is not typical Fox News War On Christmas fare. This isn’t Gretchen Carlson bellyaching about how the Festivus Feats Of Strength are prohibiting her from suckling the baby Jesus to her Miss America teats. This is not Fox’s Todd Starnes, Alleged Pee Enthusiast, pushing a fake story about a Georgia school confiscating Christmas cards. And it’s definitely not Starbucks doing abortions to Jesus in His manger, by making a red cup.
Read the whole thing from Wonkette, I just love the sentence about Carlson.
British man who told police he ‘may have penetrated teenager after falling on top of her’ cleared of rape
Ehsan Abdulaziz was accused of forcing himself on the 18-year-old as she slept on the sofa in his London apartment, after a night drinking at an exclusive nightclub.
When he was questioned, the 46-year-old businessman said he had slipped and fallen on top of the girl, which may have caused his penis to penetrate her.
“I’m fragile, I fell down but nothing ever happened. Between me and this girl, nothing ever happened,” said Abdulaziz, reported Mirror Online.
The real estate mogul’s semen & DNA were found in the girl. He was allowed to present the judge evidence in private
The young girl said she woke up in the early hours of the morning and real estate mogul Ehsan Abdulaziz, 46, was raping her.
Abdulaziz had previously slept with the teenager’s 24-year-old friend in his bedroom. He claimed that he had walked over to the young girl to offer to give her a t-shirt, when he tripped and fell on her, with his penis still sticking out of his underwear from the previous sexual encounter.
An investigation found that Abdulaziz’ semen and DNA were inside the teenage girl, but he claimed this was leftover from having sex with the teen’s friend.
The millionaire property developer also blamed the alleged rape survivor for pulling him on top of her. “I’m fragile, I fell down but nothing ever happened, between me and this girl nothing ever happened,” Abdulaziz said, according to British media reports.
Abdulaziz had met the young women in a high-end London club. He invited them to his private $1,500-per-night table and bought them both drinks.
Later that night, the millionaire offered to drive them home in his lavish Aston Martin car.
Abdulaziz is married and lives with his wife and child. At the time of the incident, the two were spending the summer in the Czech Republic.
The jury, in London’s Southwark Crown Court, acquitted the millionaire after roughly 30 minutes of deliberation.
British publication the Daily Mail reported that, “During the trial, Judge Martin Griffiths permitted the rare step of allowing 20 minutes of Mr Abdulaziz’s evidence to be heard in private.”
Let’s end it on a positive note, of sorts: Got Calcium? Wild Parrots Use Tools During Snack Time
The black-feathered greater vasa parrot has a new skill to add to its resume — the use of tools to grind shells to create calcium powder, which it then proceeds to lick up with its pink tongue, a new study finds.
The vasa parrot is now the only known species besides humans to use tools for grinding, the researchers said.
The finding was an “entirely fortuitous discovery,” said study lead author Megan Lambert, a doctoral student of psychology at the University of York. She and her colleagues were observing 10 captive greater vasa parrots (Coracopsis vasa) in aviaries that had floors covered with cockleshells, soil, wood chips and pebbles, she said. [Pretty Bird: Images of a Clever Parrot]
“[We] noticed they were interacting quite a bit with objects from the floor of their aviary,” Lambert told Live Science. “So we took a closer look and that’s when we found they were actually using tools.”
The parrots were picking up pebbles or date pits with their beaks and grinding the tools against the cockleshells to create a fine calcium powder. (Seashells are mostly made of calcium carbonate.) The birds then licked the powder off the tools, which gave them a nutritious calcium snack, Lambert said.
Sometimes the parrots used the pebbles or pits as a wedge to help them break the seashells into small pieces that were easier to eat and digest, she added.
“What’s also particularly interesting is that we observed a lot of tool transfer, where one bird would actually approach group members and steal the tool directly from their beak, and then go on to use it on a shell,” she said.
This is an open thread.
Okay, it is going to be another post brought to you by a heavy dose of vintage advertisements.
While searching for sexist and just flat out, crazy ass ads for Wednesdays post…I came across some old clinical advertisements that were aimed at doctors, specifically psychologist/psychiatric doctors.
I guess these were the prescription medications that drug companies would have advertised in medical journals? Whatever, some go back to the early 50’s. A few are earlier than that…most are from the late sixties, and seventies. I added a couple that are just “over the counter” (that is tongue in cheek because it is more like snake oil stuff if you ask me) you will get which ones I am talking about. These are the adverts that were just too good to pass up, I had to share them with you.
I will say this, Thorazine…wtf? They have ads for that shit…from psoriasis to bursitis, nausea to old fart’s anger issues, to anxiety and pain, the ads tell doctors to prescribe it before…during and after surgery, hell…it even cures hiccups!
This drug does everything!
Wow…That is some magical medication there….
I know that I took a shitload of space, but can you blame me?
It looks like they still prescribe this drug, for all I know I am on the thing now…I just don’t realize it. These drug names can get so confusing.
Anyway, on with the actual post…let us see what is going on in the world this Sunday morning/afternoon…
It has been a violent weekend, just read these headlines:
A Burundian army official said 87 people were killed in violence after three military installations were attacked by armed men, while the discovery Saturday of dozens of bodies which appeared to have been victims of possible retaliatory, close-range executions added further to the severity of the crisis facing the war-torn African country.
Army spokesman Col. Gaspard Baratuza said Saturday eight security officers were among those killed and 21 others wounded in the fighting. Baratuza said government forces arrested 45 members of the unidentified group that attacked the military installations.
On Saturday, Burundi’s political violence escalated further with dozens of people found shot dead in the capital, Bujumbura. Residents said that security forces searched houses, dragged out some people and shot them, some with their hands tied behind their backs.
“The bodies of dozens of civilians were on the street — most of them young men — many appear to have been shot at close range,” reported Al Jazeera’s Malcolm Webb, who spoke to eyewitnesses in Bujumbura. “Residents believe these killings were a response to Friday’s attacks on the military.”
Police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said there were “no collateral victims” during Friday’s clashes. “All the deaths were attackers killed in the joint sweep operation of the army and police,” Nkurikiye said. “The enemy was neutralized.”
The US is urging its citizens to leave the country…Bodies on the streets as violence rocks Burundi – Al Jazeera English
The US government has asked its citizens to leave Burundi as soon as possible after 87 people were found dead in the capital Bujumbura on Saturday, in an escalation of violence linked to President Pierre Nkurunziza’s disputed third term.
The State Department said on Sunday that it has ordered the departure of non-emergency U. government personnel and dependents of US government employees from Burundi due to continuing violence.
The State Department’s travel warning also said that the US Embassy can only offer limited emergency services to US citizens in Burundi.
And while I was grabbing the quote for this link above…at the Al Jazzera English website, I saw this news alert flash by:
Russian warship fires warning shots at a Turkish vessel…
Unresponsive ship came within 600 metres of Russian destroyer before it opened fire with small arms: defence ministry.
Russia’s defence ministry says one of its warships fired warning shots at a Turkish vessel in Aegean Sea on Sunday to avoid a collision.
A ministry statement says the destroyer Smetlivy was unable to establish radio contact with the approaching Turkish ship, which also failed to respond to visual signals and flares.
When the vessel was 600 metres away, the destroyer fired with small arms and the Turkish vessel quickly changed course.
Tensions between Moscow and Ankara have been heightened since a Turkish jet downed a Russian bomber along the Syrian border last month, killing the pilot.
I will have more on this news as it happens….
Continuing with the morning post:
Francis cited no specific violent event in his homily in a Rome basilica, St. John in Lateran. But he said: “We can’t let ourselves be overcome by weariness. No form of sadness is allowed, even if we would have reason to, because of the many worries and multiple forms of violence which wound our humanity.”
Some promising news, if only just a start….First women elected to Saudi local councils | Reuters
Saudi Arabia said on Sunday that at least two women were elected to public office in the conservative Islamic kingdom after winning seats on municipal councils in Mecca and al-Jawf in Saturday’s election.
The election was the first in which women could vote and run as candidates, a landmark step in a country where women are barred from driving and are legally dependent on a male relative to approve almost all their major life decisions.
However, the election was for only two thirds of seats in municipal councils that have no lawmaking or national powers, and follows men-only polls in 2005 and 2011.
Police officials have confirmed the incident took place shortly before midday on Saturday in the Lynwood suburb of the Californian city.
A brief statement from Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said the man, who has been named in local media reports as 28-year-old father-of-three Nicholas Robertson, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police spokesman Lieutenant Eddie Hernandez told KTLA-5deputies responded to a number of calls reporting a person, described as a black man wearing a checkered shirt, carrying a gun.
Take it from there…
In Tennessee, a woman who was so desperate…Woman Charged With Attempted Murder in Failed Abortion – ABC News
A Tennessee woman is charged with attempted first-degree murder for what investigators say was a failed abortion attempt.
According to a Murfreesboro Police Department report, in September Yocca, 31, filled a bathtub with water and attempted to self-abort with a coat hanger. She began bleeding and became worried about her safety.
Her boyfriend took her to the hospital where doctors delivered a 24-week-old baby weighing just 1.5 pounds. Doctors told investigators the child will need medical support for the rest of his life because of the injuries he sustained.
Yocca is due in court Dec. 21. Jail officials did not know whether she has an attorney.
I don’t know, and I am sure we will hear more about this as the case proceeds. Can you imagine the mental state of this woman? Self abort with a coat hanger in a bathtub?
More Hate, yes with a capital H:
A 23-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of a hate crime and arson related to a fire Friday afternoon at a Coachella Valley mosque.
Carl Dial was arrested about 9 p.m. Friday and booked on five felony charges, including commission of a hate crime, arson, maliciously setting a fire and second-degree burglary, according to law enforcement sources and Riverside County Sheriff’s Department booking records.
The fire at the Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley mosque is one of several incidents over the past week that officials are investigating as possible backlashes from the San Bernardino terrorist shootings. Authorities believe the shooters were self-radicalized Islamic extremists.
And just where does this man come from?
Check out the dudes parents:
They look like a poster promo for a Fox News special report, “War on Christmas” as a featured special guest…”Next up, we interviewed Mr and Mrs Dial, both loyal Fox News Viewers, for their opinion on the left’s abomination…taking Christ out of Christmas.”
I am giving you a link to Joe Cannon: Cannonfire– Why did Uncle spy on Johnetta instead of Tashfeen?
He is asking some legitimate questions, even if he puts it in a patronizing way…(regarding the “lady terrorist” comments.) But I may be a bit oversensitive…I don’t know. All other points are well made.
Sticking with the ISIL or terrorism issues for a little longer:
Hullabaloo-Emptywheel on cancer and malaise
Marcy Wheeler, usually known for her dissection of dense bureaucratic documents and finding the real meaning behind them wrote a polemic today. And it’s really good
Here is the post Digby is talking about:
The right wingers who insist on calling any attack by a Muslim “terrorism” — who insist on tying the San Bernardino attack to ISIS, even in the absence of evidence — do it to prioritize the fight against Islamic terrorists over all the other ills facing America: over other gun violence, over climate change, over the persistent economic struggles of most Americans. Theirs is a profoundly unpatriotic effort to put war over every other policy priority, even far more pressing ones. That stance has led to a disinvestment in America, with real consequences for everyone not getting rich off of arms sales.
Last week, President Obama capitulated to these forces, giving a speechdesigned to give the attack in San Bernardino precedence over all the other mass killings of late, to give its 14 dead victims more importance over all the other dead victims. Most strikingly, Obama called attacks that aren’t, legally, terrorism, something his critics have long been demanding.
Take those two links for what it is worth. I thought it was a good speech. I thought what Obama said about some things,
Here’s what else we cannot do. We cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between America and Islam. That, too, is what groups like ISIL want. ISIL does not speak for Islam. They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death, and they account for a tiny fraction of more than a billion Muslims around the world — including millions of patriotic Muslim Americans who reject their hateful ideology. Moreover, the vast majority of terrorist victims around the world are Muslim. If we’re to succeed in defeating terrorism we must enlist Muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away through suspicion and hate.
That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. This is a real problem that Muslims must confront, without excuse. Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and al Qaeda promote; to speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.
But just as it is the responsibility of Muslims around the world to root out misguided ideas that lead to radicalization, it is the responsibility of all Americans — of every faith — to reject discrimination. It is our responsibility to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country. It’s our responsibility to reject proposals that Muslim Americans should somehow be treated differently. Because when we travel down that road, we lose. That kind of divisiveness, that betrayal of our values plays into the hands of groups like ISIL. Muslim Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes — and, yes, they are our men and women in uniform who are willing to die in defense of our country. We have to remember that.
(Quoted from President Obama’s speech after the San Bernadino Mass Shooting.)
Another terrorist link for you…in more ways than you think: Gun Linked to Paris Attacks Traced Back to Florida Arms Dealer Implicated in Iran-Contra Scandal | Alternet
Century Arms buys and sells military-grade surplus guns and is one of the largest arms dealers in the U.S.
A gun linked to last month’s Paris mass shootings has been traced back to a Florida arms dealer.
The serial number for a M92 semi-automatic pistol linked to the deadly Nov. 13 terrorist attacks matched one for a weapon delivered by the Zastava arms factory in May 2013 to Century International Arms in Delray Beach, reported the Palm Beach Post.
Michael Sucher, the owner of Century Arms, did not answer calls seeking comment Thursday and the doors to his shop were closed as TV news crews gathered outside.
Employees leaving the arms dealer’s building did not comment on the case, and a woman who works next door said she had no idea the business dealt guns.
The company also holds a federal firearms license in Georgia, Vermont, to import and build guns and to import destructive devices such as large-caliber guns and armor-piercing ammunition.
Documents shared by WikiLeaks in 2011 showed Century Arms had illegally traded firearms with the help of “unauthorized brokers.”
The Center for Public Integrity reported that same year that WASR-10 rifles manufactured for Century Arms in Romania had become a favorite of Mexican drug cartels.
John Rugg, a former police officer and longtime Century Arms employee, testified before a U.S. Senate committee in 1987 that the company had supplied rockets, grenades and other weapons to Nicaraguan rebels as part of the Iran-Contra scandal.
The export of firearms is heavily regulated, and weapons experts suggested the weapon may have been illegally transferred.
Century Arms sells to individuals or other businesses with a federal firearms license, and its website directs most retail traffic to a network of dealers.
But there are no restrictions on who can obtain those licenses.
Read the rest at the link and remember, every Republican in the Senate, save for one…voted against regulating guns from people on the No-Fly list…Republicans Reject Proposals To Bar People On No-Fly List From Buying Guns : NPR
Enough, now on to other news, election news.
Barbara Schierenbeck, a 59-year-old nurse in Brooklyn, is swept up in the excitement of potentially electing Hillary Clinton the first female president. She cannot understand why her 19-year-old daughter, Anna, does not feel the same way.
“Fifteen or 20 years ago, no one would even think about a woman being president,” Mrs. Schierenbeck said. “Certainly, when I was 20 years old in the 1970s, I don’t think I would even have thought about it.”
But for her daughter, electing a woman, while a nice idea, is not a motivating factor. “I want to see someone who, like, has the fervor to fight for me,” Anna Schierenbeck said. A woman will be elected president “pretty soon” anyway, she said, regardless of what happens in 2016. Why does that woman have to be Mrs. Clinton?
The mother-daughter debate unfolding in the Schierenbeck household reflects a debate taking place across the country, as women of varying ages and backgrounds confront the potential milestone implicit in Mrs. Clinton’s bid very differently. As her chances of becoming the first woman to be nominated by a major political party improve, many women are considering how much gender should play into their decisions to embrace Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy — or not.
Fucking New York Times.
Gawd, that is horrifying enough…fucking hell!
Balkinization: Ted Cruz’s Supreme Court Memos
I told y’all about the connection with Trump, Facebook Friends, and my suspected Banjoville KKK enthusiast? Take a look at this: Georgia poll finds wide GOP support for Donald Trump and his Muslim ban | Political Insider blog
Meanwhile, as I write this, the breaking news on CNN:
Trump Defends Muslim Ban Proposal State of the Union with Jake Tapper
What a difference between that news coverage and the Al Jazeera English? Innit?
We will end the Cruz and Trump shit with a tweet from Cher:
Looks like the asshole Cruz people aka Cruz supporters have done there job to threaten Cher, yup…death threats. Fuck them all…damn I hate these dickwads.
America’s 20 wealthiest people — a group that could fit comfortably in one single Gulfstream G650 luxury jet – now own more wealth than the bottom half of the American population combined, a total of 152 million people in 57 million households.
The Forbes 400 now own about as much wealth as the nation’s entire African-American population – plus more than a third of the Latino population – combined.
The wealthiest 100 households now own about as much wealth as the entire African American population in the United States. Among the Forbes 400, just 2 individuals are African American – Oprah Winfrey and Robert Smith.
The wealthiest 186 members of the Forbes 400 own as much wealth as the entire Latino population. Just five members of the Forbes 400 are Latino including Jorge Perez, Arturo Moreno, and three members of the Santo Domingo family.
With a combined worth of $2.34 trillion, the Forbes 400 own more wealth than the bottom 61 percent of the country combined, a staggering 194 million people.
The median American family has a net worth of $81,000. The Forbes 400 own more wealth than 36 million of these typical American families. That’s as many households in the United States that own cats.
In other Environmental news:
Oklahoma State University prof. says regulatory choices made decades ago set state up to experience daily earthquakes
U.S. sales of medically important antibiotics approved for use in livestock rose by 23 percent between 2009 and 2014, federal regulators said on Thursday, fueling concerns about risks to humans from antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Public health advocates, along with some lawmakers and scientists, have criticized the long-standing practice of using antibiotics in livestock, arguing that it is fueling the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Agribusinesses defend the practice as necessary to help keep cattle, pigs and chickens healthy and to increase production of meat for U.S. consumers.
“Dangerous overuse of antibiotics by the agricultural industry has been on the rise at an alarming rate in recent years, putting the effectiveness of our life-saving drugs in jeopardy for people when they get sick,” said Avinash Kar, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council.
And before we get to the last few links, a bit of crazy…the crazy ass bat shit kind of crazy…
Remember Topeka Councilman Jonathan Schumm, and his sad wife, Allison, and how they were IN JAIL for felony child abuse of at least one of their 16 children? Thanks to excellent reporting by Buzzfeed, we have two new gross pieces of information: what exactly they did to one of their kids (ALLEGEDLY), and how they stole a baby from a lesbian couple, because Kansas.
the annals of freeloading deadbeats.
In June, ranchers in Battle Mountain, Nevada, drove their cattle onto public lands in defiance of orders by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to stay off areas affected by the ongoing drought. The ranchers claimed there was no drought and so their animals should be allowed to graze on the land. But at least two ranching families involved in the protest received $2.2 million from a federal drought disaster relief program, according to Reveal. The leader of the protest, Dan Filippini, got $338,000 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Livestock Forage Disaster Program (pdf) last year. His family received another $750,000 via a trust and corporation. Filippini took the payments despite his lawyer claiming in 2014 that “no drought exists” on the Battle Mountain range.
There are some good words there from Charlie about the whole Scalia thing from earlier in the week too…check it out.<
Go watch that video, it is rather cute!
And lastly…another video, a big Happy Birthday to Blue Eyes:
Before Frank Sinatra became a global household name, he was a local boy from a small town across the river from Manhattan. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth, his native Hoboken, New Jersey, has him on proud display. VOA’s Ramon Taylor reports.
May you all live to be 100 years old and may the last voice you hear be mine!
Enjoy…That’s life. BTW, think of this as an open thread.
I may have used Divine as a theme in my previous blog post pictures, but I thought we all needed some “Divine Inspiration” lately so…what the hell.
I don’t know about you, but I have felt that it is been impossible for me to look and read the news. I find that staying in bed with the covers over my head suits me just fine. Even now the thought of looking up links for you is just too much for me this morning.
So, being as it is no longer, the morning…I am just going to give you a bunch of various stories and other crap to look at the rest of your day whenever you have a chance.
Yes, it is going to be a link dump with the keyword being dump, as fitting as that would be considering Divine is our focus on the images for today’s post.
And away we go……
Michele Fiore / Facebook
A Republican assemblywoman in Nevada this week shared her 2015 Christmas card on Facebook — which shows family members outfitted with a gun, including her young grandson.
The bizarre turn of events raises a number of legal and ethical issues for the media and the landlord.
If, as the sheriff’s department says, the apartment is still an active crime scene, the reporters rummaging through apartment could be tampering or compromising evidence. Although the main suspects have died, evidence in the apartment could potentially implicate others.
There is also the ethical question of showing the personal effects of a child and personally identifying information like passports, drivers licenses, and social security cards. Particularly amid a recent surge in harassment, threats, and violence against Muslim Americans, some media outlets have been criticized for broadcasting what is apparently the driver’s license of the suspected shooter’s mother.
There is also the question of whether the landlord had the authority to let reporters into the apartment. California law only allows the landlord to enter the apartment under very limited circumstances. The tenants in this case are deceased, so it’s unclear if those limitations apply. According to CNN, the landlord was escorted from the scene by law enforcement…
An NBC reporter claimed Inside Edition paid the landlord $1,000 to get access to the apartment first.
And to counter that….
Cats, Christmas trees, Chicago Bears jerseys: just a few of the items in Muslims Americans’ apartments.
Within hours of the live broadcast that showed dozens of reporters from MSNBC, CNN and other outlets rifling through belongings in the apartment where San Bernardino shooting suspects Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik lived, zeroing in on so-called Muslim items in the home, Muslim Americans took to Twitter in response Friday.
In an attempt to call out the media’s Islamaphobia—with a heavy dose of sarcasm— people tweeted photos of their #MuslimApartments, which included items such as “sinister books,” “seasonings of mass destruction,” and “Disney-inspired infidel characters.”
Just a few of those…now on to other crap things of interest.
relationship with Italian takes place in exile, in a state of separation.
Every language belongs to a specific place. It can migrate, it can spread. But usually it’s tied to a geographical territory, a country. Italian belongs mainly to Italy, and I live on another continent, where one does not readily encounter it.
I think of Ovid, exiled from Rome to a remote place. To a linguistic outpost, surrounded by alien sounds.
I think of my mother, who writes poems in Bengali, in America. Almost fifty years after moving there, she can’t find a book written in her language.
In a sense I’m used to a kind of linguistic exile. My mother tongue, Bengali, is foreign in America. When you live in a country where your own language is considered foreign, you can feel a continuous sense of estrangement. You speak a secret, unknown language, lacking any correspondence to the environment. An absence that creates a distance within you.
In my case there is another distance, another schism. I don’t know Bengali perfectly. I don’t know how to write it, or even read it. I have an accent, I speak without authority, and so I’ve always perceived a disjunction between it and me. As a result I consider my mother tongue, paradoxically, a foreign language.
As for Italian, the exile has a different aspect. Almost as soon as we met, Italian and I were separated. My yearning seems foolish. And yet I feel it.
A bit out of the park for you there…
Before we get back to the serious stuff:
Another Syrian refugee family has arrived in the Atlanta area, becoming the first to relocate to Georgia from their war-torn nationsince Gov. Nathan Deal joined more than two dozen of his counterparts in vowing to halt their resettlement.
Mohammad, Ebtesam and their four-year-old son’s arrival in Georgia highlights how, despite the political rhetoric, states are powerless to stop that resettlement process, which is overseen by the federal government. And Deal — who has cited security concerns in the wake of last month’s Paris attacks — indicated he wasn’t even aware the family had arrived in Georgia.
Their arrival also raises the possibility of a legal showdown. The Deal administration has ordered state employees not to process applications for benefits — including food stamps — for new Syrian refugees coming to Georgia. That has triggered a sharp warning from the Obama administration, which told Georgia it must rescind its order to comply with federal law.
Mohammad and Ebtesam, who asked that their full names not be published to protect relatives still living in Syria, applied to the state Thursday for food stamps and Medicaid. As of late Thursday afternoon, there was no word whether the state would process their applications.
In other related Georgia news: Elderly couple recovering after squirrel attack | www.wsbtv.com
In June, Slate columnist Emily Yoffe published a bombshell: an article titled “How The Hunting Ground Blurs the Truth,” in which she claimed that the campus rape documentary, which premiered earlier this year, had presented a misleading picture of one of its central stories. Yoffe wrote that the case perfectly illustrated the biases at work in the film; as she put it, “how deeply the filmmakers’ politics colored their presentation of the facts—and how deeply flawed their influential film is as a result.”
The story is that of a former law student named Kamilah Willingham, who alleges that she and a friend, who Yoffe calls KF, were sexually assaulted while they were incapacitated one night in January 2011. The alleged assailant was a fellow law student named Brandon Winston, formerly a close friend of Willingham’s.
Willingham’s credibility, Yoffe wrote, is called “seriously into question” by the facts of the case. She called the alleged assault a typically “spontaneous, drunken encounter,” as well as “ambiguous sexual encounter among young adults that almost destroyed the life of the accused, a young black man with no previous record of criminal behavior.” (Willingham and Winston are both black. KF is white.)
In a criminal trial earlier this year, a grand jury declined to indict Winston on any charges against Willingham. The trial jury convicted him of a lesser included offense, a non-sexual misdemeanor assault against KF, for which he was sentenced only to a brief probation period.
Winston has since returned to Harvard Law after a four-year absence; in the meantime, Willingham graduated. On November 11, a group of 19 Harvard Law professors issued an open letter in support of Winston, saying he’d been vindicated by both Harvard and the criminal justice system, but was being unfairly attacked by TheHunting Ground, which they called “a purported documentary” that paints “a seriously false picture both of the general sexual assault phenomenon at universities” and of Winston himself, who is not referred to by name in the film. (Yoffe, who recently announced she will leave Slate for the Atlantic, was the first person to identify him in connection with the film.)
“We believe that Brandon Winston was subjected to a long, harmful ordeal for no good reason,” the professors wrote. They cite Yoffe’s work as an “investigative journalist’s in-depth story demonstrating the biased, one-sided nature of the film.”
Whoa….we need a break after all that shit.
Yadid Levy / Alamy
he Ruirikid Dynasty ruled Rus lands during the eleventh century. This marks the early part of a Golden Age for the ruling cities Kyiv/ Kiev and Novgorod. These princes replaced many diverse local customs and created a Rus State that stretched from the Black Sea north of Moscow and St Petersburg, which, if they existed at all then, were tiny hamlets. The ruling Ruirikid princes over the period of two centuries established a series of law codes known collectively as The Russkaia Pravda. These laws united various clans under the cultural and religious umbrella of the Byzantine influenced Russian Orthodox Church and established a common written language, Old Church Slavonic.
A doctor has become something of a hero online for coming very close to deliberately mispronouncing health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s name on BBC1’s Question Time.
The unnamed man had the final word on last night’s show in Birmingham, when he questioned the health secretary’s repeated claim that higher death rates at hospitals during weekends was due to poor levels of staffing.
The doctor said his own experience was patients not wanting to have lifesaving operations at weekends as a result:
I work in liver transplant. My patients do not want to come in on weekends for an emergency transplant because they believe Jeremy, I’m not going to pronounce his surname because I might mispronounce it deliberately, because they think that by having a lifesaving transplant operation they will die and that liver goes to someone else.
You have to give it up to the Brits…go to the link to see the tweets the doctor got for his non “cunt” reference.
This One Poster Gathers the World’s 140 Metro Maps – CityLab – Can you guess what the cities are?
Go to link and find out.
Imagine coming home to that!
Bless this man from Sydney, Australia, Eric Holland, who first spotted this five-foot goanna on the ground in his backyard while working in his shed earlier this week. Holland seemed to still be in shock, rightfully, recalling the incident on Friday in an interview with Sydney radio station 2UE.
Back to the Link Dump Divine Extraordinaire:
SCHAUMBURG, IL—In a turn of events that has stunned the worldwide medical community, local infant Nathan Jameson, born just six days ago, has become the youngest person ever to permanently and irrevocably lose all faith in humanity.
“This shatters all previous records,” University of Chicago psychologist Douglas McAllister said Monday. “In all of documented medical history, there is no case of a newborn taking less than four months to develop the mental faculties required to grasp the full extent of this existential nightmare we call life on earth.”
“Considering he already comprehends harsh realities that many people spend their entire fleeting, shallow existences attempting to deny, Baby Nathan is quite the little miracle!” he added.
Though he has not yet developed the capacity for speech, extensive cognitive testing has definitively shown that the shockingly perceptive 6-day-old fully understands and accepts that human beings cannot be trusted, that they remain far too ignorant for their opinions to be reliable, that a lack of self-awareness about their own destructive tendencies pervades the species as a whole, and that most are too ineffectual to successfully pursue even the shallow self-interested agendas that rule their lives.
Sources said the early-blooming newborn was putting two and two together about the real nature of humanity even before leaving the hospital, where his first sensory experiences included the shouts of sick people arguing to get treatment they urgently needed, visitors staring vacantly at smartphones as they sat next to bedridden loved ones, televisions blaring the empty rhetoric and emotionally manipulative appeals of political advertisements, and dozens upon dozens of pained, desperate cries, including his own.
Local reports confirmed the baby’s disillusionment was only compounded by the fact that he spent his first days in the bleak and soulless suburban conformity of Schaumburg, IL, its empty consumerist non-culture allowing him to realize in record time that all human pursuits are cold, joyless, and devoid of any substantive purpose or integrity.
“For a baby, he sure is an insightful little guy,” Nathan’s mother, Melanie Jameson, told reporters. “My husband and I are a loveless, narcissistic couple whose weird, freaked-out neediness and anxieties—which we sublimate under a mask of facile self-regard—would normally be introjected into our child’s forming psyche over the course of years. But this talented fella just took it all in at once!”
According to household sources, Baby Nathan has already noticed that his father, Michael Jameson, resents the infant’s 3 a.m. crying, feels more trapped than ever in his sham-marriage now that he’s a father, and is inwardly building an ever-growing wall against the reality of his own life one mid-afternoon cocktail at a time.
“The kid’s not even a week old, and he has the thousand-yard stare of a middle-aged man,” said psychologist Helen James, one of the cognitive scientists who verified that by his third day of life, Nathan had already begun to sense the overwhelming air of desperation surrounding other people. “That look that says, ‘I’ve finally given up on the reassuring fictions that prop up humanity’s delusional self-image as dignified, intelligent, or decent in any way.’ He knows the truth.”
“At this point, he shouldn’t even be able to distinguish between himself and the rest of humanity, let alone have the capacity to lose faith in it,” James continued. “Evidently, the human condition has gotten even more depressing than it already was, and we’re going to need to reformulate our entire theory of childhood development.”
I walked into my local Planned Parenthood, received the most amazing and professional care by some of the most supportive, understanding and genuinely warm women I’ve ever met. I was asked repeatedly if I was there of my own volition. I was given a hand to hold throughout the procedure, a nurse giving me permission to squeeze when the cramping became uncomfortable. I was given information and the contacts of numerous support groups and as much time as I needed to recover before leaving. In other words, I was given a safe and comfortable environment to do what I knew was best for myself, best for then-boyfriend, and best for our impending — and soon-to-be separate — futures.
And then I walked outside.
In the bubble of a calm and understanding environment, in which the decisions I make with my body were respected and facilitated, I felt at ease with a choice I knew was right. But once I left that bubble, a society that forces women to feel shame and humiliation about an otherwise common procedure took its toll.
Friends would share memes and photos and hate-filled posts online, oblivious to my personal situation, claiming women who had abortions were everything I knew I wasn’t. Debates would rage on Facebook between acquaintances who felt powerful and courageous behind the protection of a computer screen, unaware of the particulars of their friends’ lives. While all of these debates were regurgitated, manufactured propaganda used to push a specific agenda, they still had a powerful effect on me. I started to believe what unknowing friends and family were saying or sharing.
I was a whore.
I was a selfish, sex-crazed monster who didn’t deserve to continue living.
I was in need of constant repentance if I was to be worthy of worthwhile life.
And in almost no time at all, I was lost.
I had broken under the immense pressure. I had seen enough pro-life friends call women who had abortions murderers, oblivious to the fact that I had just had one. I had read enough stories of regret and guilt that I started to feel defective for not feeling the same. Enough of my friends who were privy to my medical information told me they’d pray for me and admitted that they had cried for me, solidifying my feeling of brokenness and darkness because now, I was someone who needed to be prayed and cried for.
I had a friend share her mother’s decision to keep her unwanted and unplanned pregnancy, and the result was a thriving and successful individual. I remember her tipping her head slightly to the side, raising her eyebrows and telling me that she knew I could have done it if I had only had the courage. With each word she spoke, each expression of disappointment, my peace of mind crumbled. I started to demean myself in the same way others were demeaning me, comparing my decision to the decisions made by others, completely circumventing my very real and very valid circumstances.
Read the rest at the link.
Ending this post with a few off the wall links…well not really off the wall, but not disturbing as hell. (Maybe.)
Independent scholar Courtney Hess-Dragovich captivated the KZOO crowd with a fascinating paper, entitled: Deodorants, Hair Dyes and Diet Drinks: Renaissance Remedies from a 16th c. Venetian Beauty Manual where she talked about her attempts at using these recipes and what her findings were on Medieval and Renaissance beauty methods. So what was the Italian Medieval and Renaissance beauty ideal? It appears late Medieval and Renaissance Venetians prized a pale complexion, no hair except on the head, blondes, a tiny nose, grey or blue eyes, straight white teeth, and a small bust. How did they try to achieve this? Much like today’sCosmo’s, and Maire Claire’s, there were beauty manuals for keeping up with the latest trends. Beauty manuals were not uncommon during this time. Famed Persian Philosopher, Avicenna (980-1037) wrote about beauty. The 12th century Trotula, a set of medical treatises for women, was also extremely popular. So how did Hess-Dragovich go about getting her findings? As she so aptly put it: she has some VERYgood, very patient friends, who were excellent guinea pigs for her various concoctions.
Deodorants: Yes, they existed!
There is an entire section containing 4 recipes for deodorising. Hess-Dragovich stated that idea that everyone smelled in the Middle Ages and Renaissance was a myth. She decided to replicate these deodorant recipes and try them on her friends. The solid deodorant was made with white lead but since lead is quite dangerous, she replaced it with Borax. Why did the Venetians use white lead? They used it because it was anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Borax does the same job but is much safer, and in keeping with using medieval ingredients. In the Middle Ages, Borax was scraped off the river beds in the Middle East. So how do you make medieval deodorant? In one recipe, you mix camphor, rose water and Borax and dry it on a leaf. She also made Trotula deodorant recipe #205: wine, used with a towel boiled in berries.
Did the recipes work? The end result: She tried them on approximately 100 people and half of the recipes were as accurate as modern day drugstore deodorants! The favourites from her test group were from the Trotula and the white lead recipe. The ever popular, White Wine and Nutmeg deodorant was nicknamed “Medieval Axe”, and it apparently really worked!
The town of Epecuen in Argentina was once a busy lakeside tourist resort.
Video report at that link.
And since this entire post had a touch of “Divine Wisdom” from The Paris Review, January of 2014….Controversy at the Hagia Sophia
On May 28, 1453, the Byzantine emperor Constantine XI entered Hagia Sophia, “the church of the divine wisdom,” to pray. Constantinople was under siege, and the fate of the great basilica was unclear. The emperor prayed there before returning to the city walls, where he coordinated the defense effort against the army of Mehmed II, who would be christened conqueror by day’s end.
As the two armies struggled to outmaneuver each other, those caught inside Hagia Sophia waited anxiously, fearful of what might happen if the capital of Greek Orthodoxy fell into Muslim hands. Emperor Justinian had commissioned the church in 532 A.D.; planned by the mathematician Anthemius of Tralles and the physicist Isidore of Miletus, and built by more than ten thousand laborers, it was intended to symbolize the magnificence of Christianity and become the seat of the Orthodox patriarch. Twenty years after its completion, two major earthquakes shook Hagia Sophia and destroyed its eastern arch. After extensive renovation, it reopened in 562 A.D. to the delight of Justinian, who, three years before his death, saw his great church survive one of nature’s worst calamities.
On May 29, 1453, Mehmed II and his army entered the city, immediately marching on Hagia Sophia. In their book Strolling Through Istanbul, John Freely and Hilary Sumner-Boyd describe how Mehmed “dismounted at the door of the church and bent down to take a handful of earth, which he then sprinkled over his turban as an act of humility before God.”
In the five centuries following that symbolic act, the greatest religious building of the Ottoman Empire continued to shine—but this time, the glory belonged to Islam. Hagia Sophia became an imperial mosque; it came to boast four minarets (these also serve an architectural purpose, protecting the building against collapsing onto itself) and additional türbes (Islamic mausoleums).
Enjoy the rest of your Sunday…
The problem with constant access to media is that you get constant access to unpleasant things and people. Also, the folks that wish harm on others get a constant bombardment of stimulus, propaganda and instructions. That sets off a lot of copy cat nastiness.
The United States experiences rampage killers like no other. We also have politicians that we might as well characterize as mass killers. Their policies kill our fellow citizens and enable others to do so. Our system preys on the weak and turns the crazy loose on us. What ever happened to solving problems through policy instead of creating them through political maneuvering and manipulating constitutional rights?
The power of the NRA is a case study in what can happen in democracies when a powerful, plutocratic entity only acts in its best interest and funds and threatens policymakers. If only members of government were as concerned with the other Constitutional Amendments as they are with shielding the beefed up version of the second amendment that we now have thanks to the NRA and the Republican appointees to the Supreme Court. Our right to privacy and our right to be free of a state-forced and sanctioned, majority-pushed religion is under attack.
We hear demands and see policy prescriptions that enshrine bigotry and unequal treatment under the law hiding under calls to protect religious liberty. When real religious liberty is threatened, these same folks seem dumbstruck. Their shallow and contradictory arguments scream “Allow me to do what ever I want in the name of religious freedom including restricting the civil rights of others but please put those practicing other religions on a register and monitor them constantly and make them follow my tenets and fetishes. Restrict their free exercise and allow our society to inflict mine on others.”
What we’ve really seen the past few weeks is religious fanaticism hyped up with access to weapons and enablers. The problem is that our treatment of these actions and speech is systemically different even though our Constitution and judicial history indicate what they want isn’t in keeping with US ‘values’. Religious fanaticism is condemned in one form of practice. It’s being tackled with suggestions that would restrict other’s Constitutional Rights. Religious fanaticism is being enabled on the other hand. It’s equally being tackled with suggestions that would restrict other’s Constitutional Rights. This makes my head spin and my heart hurt.
So, it seems that the San Bernadino shooters were “radicalized” in to some form of wahhabism. The woman was sympathetic to ISIS. The man may have been set off by being harassed by a “messianic Jewish” co-worker who was one of the victims of the rampage shooting when it came to a head at a holiday party. Oh, and the same day we had all this going on another shooting occurred at a Women’s Health Clinic. We also found out the that Colorado Planned Parenthood rampage shooter had targeted women’s clinics before. Some one or thing “radicalized” him too. Yet, we have no media coverage or political obsession on that.
Is it because he only killed three and he’s not the latest thing in rampage killing? Or, is it because what radicalized him is one of the political parties and a part of their base? (This is a base that includes Opus Dei members of SCOTUS and a ton of “The Family” members in the House.
We cannot deny that our supposed pluralistic, tolerant, and religious neutral society has been accessed by the worst of our fringes. No wonder the FBI is having difficulty characterizing our recent set of domestic/international terrorist activities. Our radical christianists have gone international in creating an international terror network against GLBT persons and fund groups that force conversion on Muslims and others. If ISIS is radicalizing folks in California, what do we call “Christian” Pastors that radicalize folks in Uganda?
Just to add some icing to this cake, we’ve had the most violent and death-filled Black Friday Shopping day also. Oh, and this last Black Friday saw gun sales soar. Ho, ho ho …. Prince of Peace …. Holiday Spirit … wtf is wrong with this country? We now have holiday shopping as a violent, rampage event.
I suppose I should mention that there was a mass shooting just blocks from me at a park filled with children and old people recently. It was across the St. Claude Avenue line of demarcation but I heard the rounds of both the semi-automatic and the hand guns from about six blocks. Silly me. I was thinking it was likely early Thanksgiving fireworks. I live in a city with constant gun violence.
Interestingly enough, our DA has asked the NRA to try to craft some “reasonable” limits to gun access. No one–not even the US Senate–can accomplish this.
Less than two weeks removed from a mass shooting in Bunny Friend Park that left 17 injured and in the recent shadow from a mass shooting in California that left 14 dead, Orleans Parish District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro invited the National Rifle Association to find solutions to the gun violence that plagues New Orleans and the nation.
“Both locally and nationally we are seeing an increase in gun-related violence,” Cannizzaro said. “In New Orleans, the street trade of firearms has become too prolific.
The Senate just voted to on a bill to stop people on the Terrorist list from getting access to guns. It was mostly symbolic since anything related to gun regulations gets defeated immediately these days. I only wish that Serial Clinic Harassers could be put on that list too since any sensible gun bill that hits the Capitol floor is symbolic these days and we could use that symbolism.
We can sure stack up the number of gun violence victims but heaven forbid they get healthcare. Sick and poor people are the victims of bad policy. The umpty umpth repeal of the Affordable Health Care Act was also up for a vote. One Republican voted for the Feinstein Bill. Several Democrats voted against it.
Senate Republicans on Thursday rejected an amendment to the ObamaCare repeal bill that would have tied it to a separate fight on blocking suspected or known terrorists from being able to buy guns.Senators voted 45-54 on procedural hurdle for the measure from Sen. Dianne Feinstein.The California Democrat’s proposal, which she has also introduced as a separate piece of legislation, would allow the attorney general to block the sale or transfer of a gun or explosive to a suspected or known terrorist if the individual is believed to use the weapons in an act of terrorism.Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) broke rank and voted against moving forward with Feinstein’s amendment, while Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) voted with Democrats.Speaking to reporters earlier Thursday, Feinstein called her amendment “the definition of a no-brainer.”She underscored the bipartisan support behind the proposal, pointing out that a House Republican has introduced a similar bill and the idea was initially backed by the Bush administration’s Department of Justice in 2007.Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), however, suggested that Feinstein’s amendment would strip Americans of due process.“This is not the way we’re supposed to do things in this country,” he said ahead of the vote.Senators rejected an amendment from Cornyn by a 55-44 vote. The Texan’s proposal would have allowed the attorney general to delay suspected terrorists from getting a gun for up to 72 hours as they try to get a court to approve blocking the sale of the firearm.The transfer of the gun would be blocked if a court determines that the person wanting to buy the gun has committed or will commit an act of terrorism.“If you believe the federal government is omniscient and all competent vote for the Feinstein amendment,” Cornyn added ahead of the votes, noting that the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) was on a terror watch list.Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly (Ind.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) voted to move forward with Cornyn’s proposal. Kirk voted against the amendment on the procedural hurdle.
We are a divided country. I’m sure Heitkamp’s North Dakota voters have no idea what it’s like to live in an urban area with constant gun violence. Just as it seems that many Republican Presidential candidates–and one in particular--don’t seem to know much about the lives and beliefs of any one outside their particular demographic ( wealthy WASP/C men). Politicians seem more subservient to a pet demographic and lobby more than ever. This used to be more common in the House but rare in the Senate. This is no longer the case in the years of stopping Obama at any cost.
I’m going to back step a little to show you that “discussion” between rampage shooter and victim in San Bernadino. Keep in mind that a “Messianic Jew” is basically one that has converted to Christianity while maintaining a Jewish identity.
Thalasinos’ friend, Kuuleme Stephens, told The Associated Press that she happened to call him while he was working with Farook, and that he brought her into their debate, loudly declaring that Farook “doesn’t agree that Islam is not a peaceful religion.” She heard Farook counter that Americans don’t understand Islam, and Thalasinos responded by saying “I don’t know how to talk with him,” she said.
Stephens said she didn’t sense any pending violence at the time, and it is not clear if their debates factored in the attack. Stephens said Thalasinos did not believe his co-worker would ever turn violent.
However, Stephens said his grieving wife told her later Thursday to tell the media that she now “believes her husband was martyred for his faith and beliefs.” It wasn’t immediately clear why Jennifer Thalasinos came to that conclusion.
You kind’ve have to wonder what it might be like if your co-worker is constantly trying to characterize your beliefs as something he desperately wants them to be and you can’t seem to convince him otherwise. We’ve all been victims of obnoxious proselytizers, I’m sure, and yet all of us, don’t go full throttle radical jihadi on them. All serial Clinic Harassers don’t all use semi-automatics to inflict damage either. The problem is that the entire systems creates, sets up, and enables the rampage shooters and our leaders seem more complicit than ever.
The problem is a basic lack in the ability to empathize and sympathize with other human beings. How many people do you know that just have to insist they’re right? I’ve seen it come to angry words and even school yard brawls. But why, in our country, does that anger jump to the idea that you have to insist you’re right with a damned semi-automatic weapon that takes out first graders, play ground revelers, women seeking health care and public health inspectors?
The bigger question is, however, if we look to our leaders to seek out the middle ground and to protect our rights to be us in a society where there are many folks that don’t live like us, look like us, and share religious beliefs like us, and then can’t seem to think outside their own little box, how do we survive as a country?
Each Republican Presidential candidate has characterized a blatantly false propaganda film as showing something horrible about a place that simply helps poor people get access to health care and a constitutional right. Every time we get a rampage shooter, sensible majority supported laws controlling access to certain weapons and weapon stockpiling becomes an affront to duck hunters. Gay people are taking away religious freedom for wanting equal access to Civil Marriage but monitoring all members of a specific religion is just common sense disaster prevention. Depriving US citizens of everything because their parents brought them here while undocumented is just protecting our borders.
We’ve so twisted our characterizations of others that we can no longer find any kind of commonality and middle ground. It’s time to get back to Politics as usual and to find ways of protecting Americans instead of creating environments where we demonize each other then grieve when some one acts on those demons with an arsenal. I believe the tangled web does come from the deception of others as Walter Scott so famously suggested. Unfortunately, the others appear to be a huge number of elected officials. We’re not going to see anything change until we stop the ones that continually lie, deceive, and mischaracterize our fellow human beings and citizens.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?