Lazy Saturday Reads: Is The New York Times Morphing Into A Scandal Sheet?

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Good Morning!!

Early Friday morning, The New York Times published a story about Hillary Clinton on the front page below the fold. In it reporters Michael Schmitt and Matt Apuzo stated that–according to unnamed government sources–a criminal investigation into emails from Hillary Clinton’s server was in the offing.

The story’s lead soon had to be altered, and in the course of the yesterday, the story fell apart. Dylan Byers reported the changes at Politico at 4:58AM Friday.

New York Times alters Clinton email story.

The New York Times made small but significant changes to an exclusive reportabout a potential criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s State Department email account late Thursday night, but provided no notification of or explanation for of the changes.

The paper initially reported that two inspectors general have asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation “into whether Hillary Rodham Clinton mishandled sensitive government information on a private email account she used as secretary of state.”

That clause, which cast Clinton as the target of the potential criminal probe, was later changed: the inspectors general now were asking for an inquiry “into whether sensitive government information was mishandled in connection with the personal email account Hillary Rodham Clinton used as secretary of state.”

The Times also changed the headline of the story, from “Criminal Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email” to “Criminal Inquiry Is Sought in Clinton Email Account,” reflecting a similar recasting of Clinton’s possible role. The article’s URL was also changed to reflect the new headline.

As of early Friday morning, the Times article contained no update, notification, clarification or correction regarding the changes made to the article.

Whoever it is at the NYT who is making decisions based on Clinton hatred is making a laughing stock of what was once considered “the newspaper of record.”

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Salon: Another shoddy Clinton smear: Anatomy of the New York Times’ epic email screw-up (emphasis added).

Late last night, The New York Times published an anonymously sourced reported, titled ”Criminal Inquiry Sought in Hillary Clinton’s Use of Email,” that claimed two inspectors general asked the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation into whether the Democratic presidential frontrunner “mishandled” sensitive government information by using a personal email account and server while she was secretary of state. That story quickly fizzled by early Friday morning, with the Justice Department quashing talk of a criminal probe, although a new report claims Clinton sent at least four emails that contained classified intelligence community information from her private server while at the State Department.

 A spokesperson for the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that a review of 40 of the 30,000 emails Clinton has released from her time in office found that four “were classified when they were sent and are classified now.” Clinton had previously claimed she never sent classified emails using her personal server, although the State Department has later acknowledged that some information in the messages should be retroactively classified.

But even that was incorrect, as reported Michael Schmidt had to admit on Hardball With Chris Matthews last night (thanks for Dakinikat for telling me about the MSNBC report. If you watch it, you’ll learn that there never was any criminal investigation and that the emails in question were not even sent by Hillary. They were messages that may have been sent to her that contained information that probably should have been marked classified, but were not so marked.

The best part of the Matthews segment was his interview with Representative Elijah Cummings, who explained why the story is just plain B.S. and not worth the paper it was printed on. Here’s the segment as posted on YouTube.

Back to the Salon story:

The Clinton campaign came out forcefully against the news, much swifter than they had with the initial round of New York Times reporting on the use of Clinton’s email account, with a campaign spokesman railing against “reckless, inaccurate leaks from partisan sources.”  After allegedly receiving complaints on the report’s accuracy from the Clinton campaign, The Times changed the article’s title to ”Criminal Inquiry Is Sought in Clinton Email Account,”and most crucially, walked back the claim that Clinton herself was the target of the probe. A spokesman for the campaign released a statement on Twitter early this morning blasting the report:

Contrary to the initial story, which has already been significantly revised, she followed appropriate practices in dealing with classified materials. As has been reported on multiple occasions, any released emails deemed classified by the administration have been done so after the fact, and not at the time they were transmitted.”

Citizen Kane

Kurt Eichenwald at Newsweek: How The New York Times Bungled the Hillary Clinton Emails Story.

What the hell is happening at The New York Times?

In March, the newspaper published a highly touted article about Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email account that, as I wrote in an earlier column, was wrong in its major points. The Times’s public editor defended that piece, linking to a lengthy series of regulations that, in fact, proved the allegations contained in the article were false. While there has since been a lot of partisan hullaballoo about “email-bogus-gate”—something to be expected when the story involves a political party’s presidential front-runner—the reality remained that, when it came to this story, there was no there there.

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Then, on Thursday night, the Times dropped a bombshell: Two government inspectors general had made a criminal referral to the Justice Department about Clinton and her handling of the emails. The story was largely impenetrable, because at no point did it offer even a suggestion of what might constitute a crime. By Friday morning, the Times did what is known in the media trade as a “skin back”—the article now said the criminal referral wasn’t about Clinton but about the department’s handling of emails. Still, it conveyed no indication of what possible crime might be involved.

The story seemed to further fall apart on Friday morning when Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) issued a statement saying that he had spoken to the inspector general of the State Department and that there had been no criminal referral regarding Clinton’s email usage. Rather, Cummings said, the inspectors general for State and the intelligence community had simply notified the Justice Department—which issues the regulations on Freedom of Information Act requests—that some emails subject to FOIA review had been identified as classified when they had not previously been designated that way.

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But Eichenwald says the problems with he story “may” be even worse.

But based on a review of documents from the inspectors general, the problems with the story may be worse than that—much, much worse. The reason my last sentence says may is this: There is a possibility—however unlikely—that theTimes cited documents in its article that have the same dates and the same quotes but are different from the records I have reviewed. I emailed Dean Baquet, the Times’s executive editor, to ask if there are some other records the paper has and a series of other questions, but received no response. (Full disclosure: I’m a former senior writer for the Times and have worked with Baquet in the past.)

So, in an excess of caution, I’m leaving open the possibility that there are other documents with the same quotes on the same dates simply because the other conclusion—that The New York Times is writing about records its reporters haven’t read or almost willfully didn’t understand—is, for a journalist, simply too horrible to contemplate.

Indeed, if the Times article is based on the same documents I read, then the piece is wrong in all of its implications and in almost every particular related to the inspector generals’ conclusions. These are errors that go far beyond whether there was a criminal referral of Clinton’s emails or a criminal referral at all. Sources can mislead; documents do not.

Please go read the whole thing at the link.

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Media Matters’ take on the story: The Unanswered Questions From The NY Times‘ Debunked Clinton Emails Report.

The New York Times‘ dramatic changes to their initial, anonymously-sourced claim that federal investigators were seeking a criminal probe into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email raises significant questions about the paper’s reporting of the story.

Read the whole thing at the link, but here are the questions:

“Who were the Times’ sources?”

It’s still unclear, but whoever they were they apparently burned the Times and they should be outed, according to a Media Matter source.

“Did the Times seek documentary evidence of the referrals for a criminal probe?” 

The answer seems to be no.

Front page scene

“Did The Times Reach Out To Democrats On The Benghazi Committee Before Publication?”

Again the answer seems to be no. The story only quoted Republicans.

“Did The Times Reach Out To The Inspectors General Before Publication?”

Apparently not.

Quoting Kurt Eichenwald, “What the hell is happening at The New York Times?” Are they trying to become The New York Post? The powers that be at the Times need to start providing some answers.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread and have a terrific weekend!


Friday Reads: Here We Go Again …

stop-gun-violenceA movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana became the latest mass shooting site last night.  The shooter was a 58 year old man whose identity is known but has not been released. He plus two of his victims are dead.  There are more folks in surgery and in critical condition that will hopefully survive.  The police were on the scene rather quickly because one of the victims–a teacher–pulled the fire alarm.  The state is in shock and the Governor lost no time making political hay on site.

Three people, including the shooter, are now dead after a shooting at the Grand Theater on Johnston Street.

Brooks David of Louisiana State Police says the shooter was a 58-year-old male white male.

Lafayette Police Chief Robert Craft tells KLFY that the shooter died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The shooting happened during a showing of the movie ‘Trainwreck”

Photo Gallery:  Grand Theater Shooting Scene

Photo Gallery: Grand Theater Shooting Scene

Nine people were injured in the shooting. Three of the victims are being at treated at Lafayette General Hospital, three are being treated at Lourdes Hospital, and two are being treated at Acadiana General Hospital.

Investigators say the shooting appears to be random. The shooting happened around 7:30 p.m. at the Grand Theater on Johnston Street.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal is currently visiting victims and families at Lafayette General.

Here are some of the details. 

» Gov. Bobby Jindal visited with a pair of teachers who were in the theater when the shooting started. One teacher was shot as she threw herself upon the other. She then pulled the fire alarm.

The injured teachers have been identified as Jena Meaux and Ali Martin from Iberia Parish, via a Go Fund Me page set up by educators’ groups.

» Col. Mike Edmonson, Louisiana State Police, said late Thursday that investigators would work in the theater throughout the night collecting evidence.

He said some bodies remained inside the theater, as did items of interest that police dogs had “hit on.” They included a backpack.

He said although the suspected shooter was dead, investigators still needed to process the scene to determine what happened.

The investigation would include a review of the shooter’s background and his family history, he said.

» Former Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Brown told The Daily Advertiser The Grand Theatre is part of Southern Theatres. The company is headed by his brother-in-law, George Solomon of New Orleans, who was on his way to the scene Thursday night.
Brown, who was on the scene of the theater, said it would be closed for the indefinite future.
“He’s devastated, obviously,” Brown said.

» At 10:33, KATC reported that police were investigating a bomb threat at Greenbriar Condos on Doucet Road, across the street from the theater. The threat caused media to be pushed back from the area. Haz-Mat crews were responding.

» Unconfirmed reports indicated that Aries Marine CEO Bo Ramsay and his wife Gerri were among the wounded. Bo Ramsay was reportedly shot in the leg, and his wife grazed by a bullet. Neither injury was considered life-threatening.

This comes as the same day President Obama admitted in a BBC interview that American Gun Laws were his biggest frustration.  The President will once more be in the position of calming the families of victims of a mass shooting.

President Barack Obama has admitted that his failure to pass “common sense gun safety laws” in the US is the greatest frustration of his presidency.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Obama said it was “distressing” not to have made progress on the issue “even in the face of repeated mass killings”.

He vowed to keep trying, but the BBC’s North America editor Jon Sopel said the president did not sound very confident.

However, Mr Obama said race relations had improved during his presidency.

Hours after the interview, a gunman opened fire at a cinema in the US state of Louisiana, killing two people and injuring several others before shooting himself.

In a wide-ranging interview, President Obama also said:

  • The UK must stay in the EU to have influence on the world stage
  • He is confident the Iran nuclear deal will be passed by Congress
  • Syria needs a political solution in order to defeat the Islamic State group
  • He would speak “bluntly” against corruption and human rights violations in Kenya
  • He would defend his advocacy of gay rights following protests in Kenya
  • Despite racial tensions, the US is becoming more diverse and more tolerant

Mr Obama lands in Kenya later on Friday for his first visit since becoming president.

But with just 18 months left in power, he said gun control was the area where he has been “most frustrated and most stymied” since coming to power in 2009.

“If you look at the number of Americans killed since 9/11 by terrorism, it’s less than 100. If you look at the number that have been killed by gun violence, it’s in the tens of thousands,” Mr Obama said.

You can read the full transcript of the President’s Interview here.   The President expressed frustration at race relations and guns in our country.bbc Obama

OBAMA: There will be. Look there was never a promise that race relations in America would be entirely resolved during my presidency or anybody’s presidency. I mean, this has been a running thread – and – and fault line in American life and American politics since its founding.

And so some of the most recent concerns around policing and mass incarcerations are legitimate and deserve intense attention. And I feel that we are moving the ball forward on those issues. What I will say is that – eight years – well, after eight years of my presidency, that children growing up during these eight years will have a different view of race relations in this country and what’s possible.

Black children, white children, Latino children. America is becoming more diverse, it’s becoming more tolerant as a consequence there’s more interactions between groups. There are going be tensions that arise. But if you look at my daughters’ generation, they have an attitude about race that’s entirely different than even my generation.

And that’s all for the good. You mentioned the issue of guns, that is an area where if you ask me where has been the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied it is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on earth in which we do not have sufficient common-sense, gun-safety laws. Even in the face of repeated mass killings.

And you know, if you look at the number of Americans killed since 9/11 by terrorism, it’s less than 100. If you look at the number that have been killed by gun violence, it’s in the tens of thousands. And for us not to be able to resolve that issue has been something that is distressing. But it is not something that I intend to stop working on in the remaining 18 months.

Anyone reading headlines these days know these are major problems.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

UPDATE:  Here’s a profile of the shooter who pretty much fits the perfect description of a home grown terrorist but of course, we’re getting the mental health issues angle.

Houser is also known as Rusty Houser, and apparently has a presence on social media as an outspoken conservative.

The last thing someone posting as Rusty Houser posted on Facebook was in 2013, when he linked to an article called “A woman’s place in the church and the weak church elder.”

He wrote, “The bible doesn’t ask me to like what it says, only to obey it. Death comes soon to the financially failing filth farm called the US.”

He only had two things liked on Facebook, among them “I hate liberals!”

Police called Houser a drifter and said he had only been in Lafayette since early July.

A man identified as John Russell Houser on Twitter tweeted only twice. He wrote, “If you don’t think the internet is censored, try reading a newspaper from a country that hates liberals the way I do,” in June 2013.

A little earlier, he wrote, “The Westboro Baptist Church may be the last real church in America members not brainwashed.”

A man identified as Rusty Houser also posted on the website http://www.politicalforum.com.  His last post, dated March 27, 2013, refers to the state of the American and world economies and says, “It is true that the US is about to fall. I will be in fear at that time as will everyone else, but not in a fear which resembles that of the leaders of foolishness and the brainwashed that follow.Truth carries with it an understanding of death. Rather than live without it,I will take death.” [sic]

According to his LinkedIn profile, Houser claimed that he was an entrepreneur.  The profile claims he owned and operated two bars and was a real estate developer.  However, his last listed job is in 2006.

In addition, a John Russell Houser from Phenix City, Alabama, is listed as a member of a group called the Tea Party Nation.  However, KATC could not confirm if this John Russell Houser is one in the same with the shooter.


Thursday Reads

Lane change

Good Afternoon!!

I’m getting a very slow start today–sorry about that! This is going to be pretty much a link dump.

I just can’t stop thinking about Sandra Bland and Kindra Chapman–who still isn’t getting much attention from the national media. There is a nice article about Kindra in The Independent UK today.

Kindra Darnell Chapman was booked at the Homewood County Jail on a first-degree robbery charge after allegedly stealing another person’s cellphone, AL.com reported.

Family members and activists have compared the teen’s death to the case of Sandra Bland, a 28-year-old woman found hanged in a Texas jail cell just a day prior. Kathy Brady, the teen’s mother told AL.com that she believes police officers have killed her daughter….

A family member, who requested to not be identified, told My Fox Alabama that Chapman was a “wonderful person who did not deserve this.”

“She was a great person. She loved her sisters, her brother, she loved everybody. She had her whole life ahead of her.”

Kindra Chapman

Kindra Chapman

Police claim Kindra committed suicide. Two so-called suicides of black women in two days? Their families are demanding answers and Americans need to make sure they get truthful ones.

Police claim they last saw her alive at 6:30pm and at 7:50pm, they found her hanged by a bedsheets in her cell. The teen was rushed to Brookwood Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.

A Change.org petition titled “We want immediate full disclosure on the alleged suicide of Kindra Darnell Chapman” demands transparency in the ongoing investigation. Nearly 2,700 signatures supported the petition as of Thursday morning.

A spokesperson from the Jefferson County DA’s office told The Independent that the autopsy may take up to four weeks and toxicology report may take six to eight, a usual time frame for the reports in Alabama.

The Sandra Bland case is getting massive coverage. Yesterday it was revealed that the video of Bland’s arrest had serious anomalies. The first to call attention to this was journalist Ben Norton. From his website: Dashcam Video of Violent Arrest of Sandra Bland Was Edited. If you go to that link, there are a number of updates. From the original piece:

The Texas Department of Public Safety uploaded dashcam police video of the arrest to YouTube on 21 July. Parts of the approximately 52 minutes of footage it uploaded appear to have been doctored.

A man leaves the truck in the center of the frame at 25:05. For the next 15 seconds, he walks toward the right of the frame and leaves. At 25:19, he suddenly appears again, promptly disappears, then returns at 25:22. The same footage of him walking is subsequently repeated….

At 32:37, a white car drives into the left side of the frame, then promptly disappears in the middle of the road. Seconds later, the same car drives back into the frame and subsequently turns left. This footage is later looped several times.

A different white car also drives into the left side of the frame and turns left from 32:49 to 32:59. The previous white car again briefly enters the frame at 33:04, and once more at 33:06, yet it suddenly disappears both times. When these cuts are made in the footage, the lights on top of the truck in the center of the frame also abruptly cut out.

At 33:08, the exact same footage from 32:37 is repeated, followed by the same second white car at 33:17….

It appears that someone cut footage out and looped part of the video in order to correspond with the recorded audio of Texas state trooper Brian Encinia speaking. Who exactly edited the footage is unknown, but the video was recorded by police and released by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Sandra Bland

Sandra Bland

Please go to the link to read the rest along with multiple updates. Here’s just one:

They told the Texas Tribune that the video has not been edited. This seems unlikely. It is possible parts of the repeated footage are encoding errors, but it is unlikely that the 15-second repeated clip of a man leaving the truck is an encoding error.

Others have also noted that police dashcam videos usually have timecode on the footage. In this video, the timecode do not appear. Why this is is unclear. There is no answer at this point and an investigation needs to be conducted. A possibility some have suggested, however, is that, if the footage was indeed edited, as it likely was, whoever edited it zoomed in on the video or cropped the timecode.

The LA Times has also examined the police videos closely. Today they have a side-by-side comparison of the video with the anomalies vs. the “cleaned-up” video.

As you can see from the photo at the top of this post, Waller County officials are getting plenty of pushback. From KHOU:

Police agencies and city halls throughout Waller County continue to receive angry and sometimes threatening phone calls and emails from across the country after the tragic jail death of Sandra Bland.

And along with the Bland’s death, city leaders and residents say they also mourn the negative national spotlight the incident has brought to this corner of Southeast Texas.

“We are in some way being judged and victimized by people that don’t know us and are making assumptions about us,” said Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis, who has held face-to-face meetings with the Bland family.

Oh, boo hoo. Too f**king bad. Stop victimizing black people who drive cars through your county then.

The corporate media has mostly been focusing on trying to make Bland look like a crazy, depressed drug user. It also turns out she had epilepsy; and when she told the arresting officer that, he said “Good!” as he continued to manhandle her. The simple truth is that she never should have been stopped in the first place; and once she was stopped, the officer escalated the confrontation in unconstitutional ways. Regardless of how she died, Sandra Bland should be alive today and working in her new job.

Selected headlines on the Sandra Bland case:

Huffington Post: 6 Things You Should Know About The County Where Sandra Bland Died. This part of Texas has a long, complicated relationship with race.

Think Progress: What The Supreme Court Has To Say About Sandra Bland’s Arrest.

The New Republic: Sandra Bland Never Should Have Been Arrested.

CNN: Twitter responds to jail deaths with ‘if I die in police custody.’

CBS Chicago: Apparent Voice Mail From Sandra Bland Released; Tests Revealed Marijuana, Cutting Scars.

CTV News: Sandra Bland was incredulous, aggravated in calls from jail: report.

ABC News: Sandra Bland Had ‘Lows and Highs,’ Her Sister Says. (Who the hell doesn’t? I hate to think what they’d write about me from my past history!)

More News Headlines

NY Times: Kenya Trip Takes Obama Back to a Complex Part of Himself.

Dallas Morning News: Kenya eagerly awaits Obama visit.

CNN: Obama’s trip raises security concerns.

LA Times: The Reading Life: Happy birthday to me — and Raymond Chandler. (Today would have been Raymond Chandler’s 127th birthday.)

NY Times:E. L. Doctorow Dies at 84; Literary Time Traveler Stirred Past Into Fiction.

NBC News: Donald Trump’s Border Wall Would Cost Billions, Experts Say.

NY Times: Donald Trump Threatens Third Party Candidacy.

NPR: Texas Fights Suit After Denying Birth Certificates To Children Of Illegal Immigrants.

Raw Story: Lesbian couple breaks silence: We filed complaint against Oregon bakery to ‘stop being bullied.’

Brian Murphy at TPM Cafe: How Walker Turned ‘Job Creation’ Into a Goodie Bag for Campaign Donors.

Dallas Morning News: Ted B. Lyon Jr.: Let’s get real about Rick Perry’s Texas record

 


Wednesday’s Red Menace: Open Thread

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Trump’s hair making a statement about foreigners…particularly his version i.e. the Mexican rapist variety…as in to say, “stay the fuck out of Merica.”

 

There is a new study out, that states people who have been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes early on, have a higher chance of dementia when they reach middle age. Personally I think they should also do a study on the parents of said children who have been diagnosed. (Especially if those children are teen children.)

I think I am going berserk, so excuse the link/open thread today. Just like Jerry in the clip below, the red menace is burning my brain. I’m on no sleep and buddy I am stressed out.

 

 

My red menace is a kid named Jake, who drives a red Kia.

The other red menace of late is Trump…although, I think he is playing the part of detractor extraordinaire perfectly.

So the pictures you see today are various images of Trump’s magnificent and “lively” coiffure.

‘Our First Openly Asshole President': Stewart Returns from Break to Shred Trump | Mediaite

Trump's hair giving examples of how grand his living room is.

Trump’s hair giving examples of how grand his living room is.

‘Advice for Future President Trump?’ Stewart Talks with Obama for One Last Time | Mediaite

 

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Trump’s hair showing by raised hands, who is the biggest nut case….oh, I mean….who has the biggest nut sack in the press room during his “fuck John McCain” interview.

 

The latest news on Sandra Bland:

Sandra Bland Death: Texas to Look Into Alleged Edits of Dashcam Video – NBC News

If you missed the other big news from yesterday on this issue…

New Video Shows Aggressive Arrest of Sandra Bland Prior to Her Death in a Texas Jail | Mother Jones

Fox is reporting: Navy officer, Marine reportedly returned fire at Chattanooga gunman | Fox News

And, this is going on: Lawsuit says Lauderdale sheriff denied inmate access to abortion | WHNT.com

LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton is facing a federal lawsuit accusing him of denying a woman’s civil rights, specifically, her right to an abortion.

The suit names Singleton as the defendant in his official capacity as Sheriff of Lauderdale County. The lawsuit was filed in district court Monday by attorneys for a woman who is an inmate in the Lauderdale County Jail.

Her attorneys claims the sheriff is violating her civil rights and is asking a court to step in so she can get an abortion.

Attorneys for the woman, identified only as “Jane Doe,” filed the complaint claiming Sheriff Singleton is violating her rights to get an abortion and allowing cruel and unusual punishment.

Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton

The lawsuit states Jane Doe knew she was pregnant before she was incarcerated and she tried to get an abortion before she was locked up. She’s reportedly in her first trimester.

The suit also claims the sheriff has denied her request for a medical furlough or supervised release to abort the fetus. Instead, he directed her to seek a court order since her situation is not a medical emergency.

Take a look at that dud, oops….dude. (Sheriff.)

 

The suit goes on to claim that by preventing Jane Doe from getting medical services to terminate her pregnancy, her constitutional rights are being denied.

Trump hair when he goes to a AARP event, and he has to work the crowd.

Trump hair when he goes to a AARP event, and he has to work the crowd.

Attorneys are asking for an emergency injunction asking that the sheriff be ordered to immediately grant the woman’s request for counseling and the abortion.

Jane Doe is being represented by a Florence attorney and two lawyers with the ACLU foundation, one in Montgomery, the other in New York.

We’ll stay on top of the story and let you know what the court decides.

Even though time could be an important factor in this case, there’s no word on how long it could take for a judge to rule.

Sad situation, but then there are a lot of things being chipped away from Women’s rights the last few days/weeks.

Silhouette of Trump's hair in the glow of NYC lights....as he plans his next ambush.

Silhouette of Trump’s hair in the glow of NYC lights….as he plans his next ambush.

But y’all realize, with the narrative being hijacked by a man walking around with a red squirrel on top of head…people are not seeing what is really going on.

This is an open thread.

Trump Hair Gallery below:

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Some of those pictures have captions written on them. Not all of them because I am just too damn tired and stressed out to do an more…

Good night all. By good, night I mean, good morning.


Tuesday Reads: #BlackLivesMatter

BlackWomenMatterTwitterphoto

Good Morning!!

Before I get going with my post, I want to note that Hillary will be hosting a Facebook chat this afternoon. You can post questions and read about it here.

Now to today’s reads. While the Sandra Bland case is still being investigated in Texas, another young black woman has died in police custody and once again authorities are claiming it was a suicide.

NewsOne: Another Black Woman Dies In Jail Cell, Alabama Police Claim It Was Suicide.

Authorities in Alabama claim a teen committed suicide in a jail cell an hour after being arrested, another suspicious case of a Black woman dying in police custody in the past week.

Kindra Darnell Chapman, 18, was jailed last Tuesday for allegedly stealing someone’s phone on the street, according to the Huffington Post. Chapman was charged with first-degree robbery and was last seen alive at 6:30 p.m. When officers went to check on Chapman an hour later, she was found unresponsive.

Chapman was pronounced dead at Brookwood Medical Center from apparent asphyxiation.

Kindra Chapman

Kindra Chapman

At the New York Times, Charles Blow writes, Sandra and Kindra: Suicides or Something Sinister?

Although the mantra “Black Lives Matter” was developed by black women, I often worry that in the collective consciousness it carries with it an implicit masculine association, one that renders subordinate or even invisible the very real and concurrent subjugation and suffering of black women, one that assigns to these women a role of supporter and soother and without enough space or liberty to express and advocate for their own.

Last week, the prism shifted a bit, as America and the social justice movement focused on the mysterious cases of two black women who died in police custody.

The first and most prominent was Sandra Bland, a black woman from suburban Chicago who had moved to Texas to take a job at her alma mater, Prairie View A & M University, a historically black school about 50 miles northwest of Houston.

Is it just a coincidence that a young black woman died similarly in an Alabama jail cell?

Then, there was the case of 18-year-old Kindra Chapman, arrested on Tuesday in Alabama for allegedly stealing a cellphone. According to AL.com: “Jailers last saw her alive at 6:30 p.m. She was found unresponsive at 7:50 p.m. Authorities said she used a bed sheet to hang herself.” According to the paper, she had been booked in the Homewood City Jail at 6:22 p.m.

The deaths seem odd: young women killing themselves after only being jailed only a few days or a less than a couple hours, before a trial or conviction, for relatively minor crimes.

And the official explanations that they were suicides run counter to prevailing patterns of behavior as documented by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, which has found that, on the whole, men are more likely to commit suicide in local jails than women, young people are less likely to do so than older people, and black people are the least likely to do so than any other racial or ethnic group.

sandra-bland-360x240

I think these two similar deaths of black women need to be closely examined by independent investigators from the Department of Justice.

As Blow noted, the tragic deaths of Sandra and Kindra call attention to the fact that the lives of black women as well as black men are in danger when they come in contact with police. Even if these women did commit suicide, most likely neither would have been in jail if they were white. Would a policeman have stopped a white woman for not signaling a late change and then slammed her head on the pavement as a Texas officer did to Sandra Bland? I don’t think so.

Over the weekend, I read a long article at the Huffington Post about what happens to young people who end up in the adult prison system. It’s a shocking and heartbreaking story, and it’s extremely important. I hope you’ll read it, because I can’t possibly do it justice with excerpts.

Cruel And All-Too-Usual: A Terrifying Glimpse Into Life In Prison–As a Kid,  Story by Dana Liebelson, Art by Luke Tedaldi. The story is also accompanied by graphic videos. Here’s the introductory section of the story:

When the video above was filmed, the girl on the bed was 17 years old. For the purposes of this story, I’ll call her Jamie. There was a time when she liked acting in goofy comedy skits at her Detroit church or crawling into bed with her grandmother to watch TV. She loved to sing—her favorite artist was Chris Brown—but she was too shy to perform in front of other people.

Jamie, whose mother was addicted to crack cocaine, was adopted when she was 3. At high school, she fell in with a wayward crowd and started drinking and smoking weed. Since she didn’t always get along with her adoptive mom, she lived with a close family friend from her church whom she referred to as her sister. One fall day in 2011, they got into a bad fight over their living arrangements. The friend told police that Jamie threw a brick at her, hitting her in the chest, and then banged the brick so hard on the front door that she broke the glass mail chute. Jamie denies the assault—and the police report notes that the brick may not have hit her friend—but she admitted to officers that she was “mad” and “trying to get back in the house.” The Wayne County court gave her two concurrent six-month sentences, for assault and destruction of a building.

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In a wealthier Michigan county, kids convicted of minor offenses are almost always sentenced to community service, like helping out at the local science center. Doug Mullkoff, a criminal defense attorney in Ann Arbor, told me that prison in such circumstances is “virtually unheard of.” But Jamie is from Detroit, and in January 2012, she was sent to the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility, a prison that holds inmates convicted of crimes like first-degree homicide. From this point onward, her world was largely governed by codes and practices and assumptions designed for adult criminals.

Jamie is 20 now, but her soft brown eyes make her seem younger. When she first came to prison, women old enough to be her mother told her she was cute and promised to take care of her. “They rub on you and stuff, I can’t stand it,” she said. In the seven months before her 18th birthday, prison records show that Jamie was housed with at least three adult cellmates, including one in her 50s who had a history of cocaine possession. Jamie said she was also around adults in the showers and the yard. She had a bunkmate who did drugs she had never been around before, “something you snort.”

In this environment, Jamie found it hard to stay out of trouble. And when trouble came, she didn’t know how to explain herself to the guards. According to Chris Gautz, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC), Jamie “failed in every instance” to meet good-behavior standards that under Michigan law allow certain inmates to have their records scrubbed clean after they serve their sentences. In June 2012, Jamie’s special status was revoked and she was resentenced to up to five years in prison for her original crime.

When this news sank in, Jamie snapped.

Remember this?

Remember this?

That led to the scene in the video, in which Jamie was essentially tortured by prison employees during their efforts to control her. This scene is just one example of the horrible treatment that minors receive in the U.S. prison system, as more and more juveniles are tried and sentenced as adults. Liebelson writes:

In the course of reporting on a lawsuit against the Michigan prison system, I obtained a series of videos depicting the treatment of underage inmates in adult facilities, as well as hundreds of prison documents through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and other sources. (Jamie is a plaintiff in the lawsuit.) These materials show under-18-year-olds being restrained, held in solitary confinement, forcibly extracted from their cells, tasered, and allegedly sexually assaulted. Some of these incidents would not violate any official rulebook, but are simply accepted practices inside adult correctional institutions.

In 1822, when prison reformers in New York proposed the nation’s first juvenile institution, they saw the need to keep children separate from adults as “too obvious to require any argument.” The juvenile justice system was founded on the idea that young people are capable of change, and so society has a responsibility to help them overcome early mistakes in life. More recent science has only confirmed this principle. Because adolescents’ brains are still developing, their patterns of behavior not yet fixed, they have a far better chance of being rehabilitated than adults. And yet this potential is lost in prisons and jails, which barely recognize any distinction between adults and minors. Amy Fettig, senior counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project, said, “The adult system is not designed in any way, shape or form to treat children, to rehabilitate children, or to recognize that children are different than adults.”

That is no longer the case in our country.  Children are thrown into prisons with adults who take advantage of them and prison authorities who have no training in dealing with teenage offenders. As always in our system, the situation is likely to be worse for African American than white young people. I hope you will take the time to read this important story.

Kelvin Sewell, author, homicide cop, and recently fired police chief.

Kelvin Sewell, author, homicide cop, and recently fired police chief.

A few days ago, The Washington Post published a story that demonstrates that law enforcement personnel who are black can also face greater challenges than white officers and administrators.

Racial turmoil in Md.’s ‘Friendliest Town’ after black police chief is fired.

— The crowd gathered outside City Hall last week, demanding that their community’s first black police chief — fired amid allegations leveled against white officers of departmental racism — be given his job back.

In a place that bills itself as the “Friendliest Town on the Eastern Shore,” angry residents marched with posters that read “We Support Chief Kelvin Sewell” and jammed inside the quaint red-brick building to voice their outrage to the Pocomoke City Council.

Pocomoke City has been on edge since Sewell was fired by the council June 29. According to the former chief and his supporters, he was sacked for refusing to dismiss two black officers who described working in a hostile environment.

The chief was fired because he supported the two officers in an EEOC complaint!

The officers alleged in complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that they faced racism that was overt and rampant — allegations the city denies. Among the incidents alleged: a food stamp superimposed with President Obama’s face that was left on a black detective’s desk and a text message that read, “What is ya body count nigga?”

“This is one of the most egregious cases of primary racial discrimination and retaliation for assertion of rights before the EEOC that I’ve seen,” said Andrew G. McBride, co-counsel for the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, which is representing Sewell. “Chief Sewell has a fantastic record as a police officer. He was terminated because he stood up for two African American officers who filed an EEOC complaint.”

It’s unbelievable! We’ve gone through nearly 8 years with our first African American President, and concurrently we’ve seen shocking levels of overt racism come to the fore in this country. We’ve seen one political party basically surrender to the racism of its political base. Where do we go from here? Where do we start to change this?

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread and have a good day.


Monday Reads: Vacation All You Ever Wanted … (Just don’t come here!!!)

Boomieworks.com-freevintageposters.com-05Good Day!

I’m still drinking my coffee and looking towards another few days of horrible heat.  Audubon Park tied a 100 year old record yesterday of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. We keep getting a few more days each year of more temps above 90.   Today, it’s also pouring so there was a distinct steamy jungle feel to the outdoors.   I’m just glad my electricity and A/C are holding up at the moment.

I’ve been finding some really interesting reads this week about the number of “tourist” cities that are fed up with tourists.  I wanted to mention the horrid heat to you because some crazy young man staying at the illegal air BnB next door has been trolling about with a black and white “Where’s Waldo” thick knit cap.  He and a bunch of other tourists now roam my streets at night like it was Bourbon.  Needless to say, it’s odd to see so many folks acting like that in what used to be like any other neighborhood full of small, working class homes. It is rapidly turning into tourist trap.

The Danes have a good idea.They’ve designated “quiet” zones. I get tour buses and bike tours and segway tours roaring by the house all the time. I know it seems odd that a bike tour would be loud, but then you’ve never heard a guide trying to shout stuff at people.

Barcelona, a city of 1.6 million that receives over seven million people a year, represents the turn toward regulation. Taxis and tour buses have taken over entire neighborhoods, while souvenir shops and bars have displaced pharmacies and greengrocers.

The city’s mayor, Ada Colau, 41, who was elected in May, announced a one-year ban on new tourist accommodation citing the swarms of students who have all but taken over the Ciutat Vella, or Old City, of Barcelona. Last August, hundreds of residents erupted in spontaneous protest after images of three Italian tourists wandering naked in the neighborhood of La Barceloneta were circulated online. Her greatest worry, Ms. Colau says, is Barcelona’s turning into Venice.

In Asia, alarm has centered on Chinese tourists; there are more of them than from any other nation. China began loosening severe travel restrictions only about 25 years ago, and the rapid rise of the middle class has sent curious — but often naïve, rude or even destructive — visitors throughout Southeast Asia.

In Thailand a Chinese tourist was recently caught on video ringing and kicking sacred bells at a Buddhist temple as if he was in a game arcade.

There have been reports of Chinese tourists littering beaches and even defecating in public. One tourist even opened the door of an airplane, as it prepared for takeoff, reportedly to get fresh air. The Chinese government responded by promising to set up a tourist black list to ban notorious known offenders from traveling overseas for up to two years.

We even get a mention in this NYT article.  I feel like my neighborhood has turned into a whore pimped by money hungry state and city officials.see-america-wpa-travel-poster

Battles like these have even reached the tourism-friendly United States.

A decade after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, city officials have eyed tourism as the best path for a revival. But homeowners in the French Quarter complain that the city fails to properly enforce zoning and noise regulations, inviting the party crowd into their streets. Last year, residents of Charleston unsuccessfully sued to block the South Carolina ports authority from opening up the port to more and larger cruise ships.

Tensions are bound to get worse. Notwithstanding worry about carbon emissions, more of the world’s peoples are crossing borders for leisure than ever before. Now tourism accounts for one in 11 jobs worldwide.

In 2012 the global tourism industry counted a record one billion trips abroad, and many more tourists travel within their home countries. Travel contributes $7.6 trillion to the global economy, nearly half the entire economic output of the United States.

One reason tourism is hard to regulate is its positive associations, not only with pastime and leisure but also with cultural prestige. People are proud of the vistas, landmarks and monuments that their homelands are best known for. So efforts to regulate tourism aren’t always popular.

I lived in the Quarter for five years across the street from Gallier House–a historic home–on Royal Street.  The block is full of homes with iron-laced balconies and features prominently in postcard and ads for the beauty of French Quarter Architecture.  My front door alcove was also frequently used as a urinal by young white college male students who should freaking know better during sporting events weekends and Mardi Gras.  For some reason, many people who visit here act as though we have no rules.  They mark up our grave yards, leave litter every where, and basically act boorish. I’m fine dealing with them when I’m down town which is a Tourist Mecca.  But, I’ve had it with them overrunning my neighborhood like ants at a picnic.  You can get away from them in the Quarter by retreating to your courtyard.  I’ve got them walking around all sides of my house at all hours of the night and day.  Many times they’re dragging bicycles and most times they talk very loudly.  I’m just glad I no longer have small children in the house.

vintage-travel-poster-london-englandBarcelona is evidently one city that’s really fed up.  I feel their pain.

First there were mutterings, then there were street protests, but now Barcelona is showing signs of “tourist phobia”, the city’s guides are warning.

As many as nine million visitors are expected in Barcelona this year, crammed into a few small areas of a city of 1.6 million inhabitants, more than five times the number who visited 20 years ago. With the weak euro attracting ever more tourists, and as many as 2.5 million visitors disembarking from cruise ships a year, residents are feeling besieged.

“People push us, give us dirty looks and make nasty remarks when we’re showing tourists around,” said Mari Pau Alonso, president of Barcelona’s Association of Professional Tourist Guides.

Even Jordi Clos, head of the city’s hoteliers’ association, which wants to see visitor numbers rise to 10 million, says there is an “urgent need” to make citizens more sympathetic to tourists, given the “sense of being overwhelmed” that people have experienced in recent years.

“If we don’t want to end up like Venice, we will have to put some kind of limit in Barcelona,” said Ada Colau, the city’s new mayor, shortly after she was elected in May. She is proposing a moratorium on new hotels and licences for apartments rented to tourists.

A survey for the Exceltur tourist group revealed that there are now twice as many beds available in tourist apartments – some 138,000 – as there are in hotels.

Tourist flats offer a more attractive and economic deal to visitors, and their owners can expect rents at least 125% higher than they would receive from long-term tenants. While many are let through large online organisations, such as Airbnb, others are offered by homeowners trying to make ends meet during Spain’s prolonged recession.

Venice is evidently no exception either.

All over the world our global heritage is under assault by disrespectful tourist hordes.  From Vietnam to Venice the goose that lays the golden egg of profit for the travel mYY7PORkqysbZxM-kBcxkhgindustry is slowly being bled to death.

But in Venice the fight back has begun. The citizens of La Serenissima, possibly the world’s most iconic tourism destination, are finally revolting against tourists.

In August the city of Venice, says the Venice Times, “will receive a real mass tourism ‘assault’. Visitors will sit on the steps of the century-old buildings and bridges, eating, trashing and not showing the respect these buildings deserve.”

“Walking on the small narrow streets without left and right side order, like in other cities, making the traffic impossible to stand, offering a truly claustrophobic experience.”

There are those who are not afraid to say that something MUST be done. Ilaria Borletti Buitoni former president of the Fai, an Italian Environment Fund believes that there must be some type of tourist access control in Venice. “I know that I will draw negative comments by saying this, but Venice is an open-air museum and the city is dying. The mass of tourists in the city is expected to increase to unbearable amounts in the coming years. The idea of establishing an admission ticket to the city for its maintenance should be considered. It will protect the city and improve the quality of tourism.”

According to a recent survey by the local newspaper La Nuova, 66% of its readers agree that there must be some type of restriction to Venice and only 12% believe that there should be no restriction since the city belongs to the World.

If you’re interested in the state of marriage in the US, look no further than our nation’s capitol where cheating our your spouse appears to be a national past time.  New Orleans made the top 10 cities for cheaters too!

The District once again lives up to its TV drama-concocted reputation.

The city topped a list ranking the country’s most adulterous cities for the third year in a row. The dubious title comes courtesy of Ashleymadison.com, a dating Web site for married people looking for extramarital affairs, which culled through its membership data to determine which cities have the most members per capita.

Ashley Madison claims to have more than 59,000 people registered on the site with a D.C. Zip code. (Note: This does include people who register for the site while visiting D.C. using a city Zip code.)

And the neighborhood with the most cheaters? Capitol Hill, the land of politicians, staffers and lobbyists.

The dating Web site says 10.4 percent of Capitol Hill residents are registered on the Web site. Tenleytown and Takoma Park finished second and third, respectively. With the exception of Capitol Hill, all of the top 10 D.C. neighborhoods are in the Northwest portion of the city, with the majority of the neighborhoods in affluent upper Northwest.

5169752406_4e4f31ca2eMore statues of Confederate Generals are coming down in parks around the American South.  The notorious Nathan Bedford Forrest’s statue and the memorial housing his remains is on its way to the auction block if the city of Memphis has its way. Forrest is best known for being the founder of the KKK.  He was a slave trader prior to secession.

What people see when they look up at the towering statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest in a park near downtown Memphis usually depends on their deepest beliefs, their memories, their loyalties and maybe even their DNA.

Many see a Memphis slave trader, the original grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and a war criminal who led a gruesome Confederate massacre of surrendered black and white Union troops at nearby Fort Pillow in 1864.

Others see a gallant but misunderstood Civil War general, a military genius and a hero who made a speech calling for racial reconciliation in 1875. And some passers-by have little or no idea who the guy on the horse is, and do not much care.

But this month, the Memphis City Council voted unanimously to begin an intricate process of removing the brass statue from the park — along with the remains of Forrest and his wife, encased since 1905 in its marble base. This effort joins a national wave of casting off Confederate icons since the massacre last month at a church in Charleston, S.C.

Efforts to take down public flags or monuments associated with the Confederacy are being renewed in communities like New Orleans; Tampa, Fla.; Austin, Tex.; and Stone Mountain, Ga. Yale and the University of California, Berkeley, are among educational institutions being pushed to rename campus buildings honoring people connected to slavery and the Confederacy.

But because of Forrest’s notoriety, Memphis’s harsh racial history and the fact that advocates want to disinter bodies, not just take down a flag or monument, the issue has particular resonance.

I continue to watch friends, neighbors and relatives go back and forth on this subject.  I seem to be someplace in the middle.  I don’t see any reason why lone statues can’t come down and be placed in museum. 548d170824ce87a1be1d13c205d6ce62However, I’m a preservationist and having seen some sites of some of the worst our history has to offer, I mostly look at the National Historic Landmark criteria for insight on if the site should be disturbed or not.  The site of the Battle of Little Big Horn has a monument to Custer that was installed there when he was considered a hero.  It still serves as a memorial to the 7th Calvary along with the Native Sioux and Cheyenne who fought there. When I visited the site some time in the late 60s or early 70s the statue still stands but the story and the role of Custer in history is quite different.   The Trail of Tears Historic Trail tells the story of the genocide and displacement of indigenous peoples in the American South.  Andrew Jackson does not come off as the hero of The Battle of New Orleans there. 

Same with our travels during the same period to Spanish Missions in California.  The Franciscan priests basically ran concentration camps for indigenous peoples where most died in some form of slavery.  I dare any of you not to want to burn the entire sites to the ground after reading what sort’ve heinous acts went on there.  But, these sites exist to remind us what happened and to hopefully ensure we don’t rewrite history.

BTW, one of the Fathers who set up the California Missions is about to be Canonized by this current Pope.

Anthony Morales, Chief Redblood of the Gabrielino Tongva Band of Mission Indians, said he was “stunned” and “angry” by the move, and is hoping the pontiff will reverse his decision.

“On all the 21 missions along the coast here our people were enslaved, they were beaten, they were tortured, our women were raped. It was forced labor and a forced religion,” Morales said. “There’s nothing saintly about the… atrocities on our culture, on our people.”

Father Serra himself justified the beating of Native Americans, writing in 1780: “That spiritual fathers should punish their sons, the Indians, with blows appears to be as old as the conquest of the Americas; so general in fact that the saints do not seem to be any exception to the rule.”

be62cc488a16276dccf1d658dc5b1821Here’ a pretty apt description of the atrocities committed by the Franciscans under the California Mission System. 

The formation of the Mission Indians began with the Spanish policy of congregación: the forced resettlement of Indian populations in nucleated settlements. The formation of large communities facilitated the conversion to Catholicism of the Indians. Many priests felt that it was a burden to have to visit the many small dispersed Indian communities. It was also easier for royal officials to collect tribute and organize labor drafts in the new larger communities.

The missionaries, with the help of well-armed soldiers, congregated Indians into fairly large communities which were organized along the lines of those in the core areas of Spanish America. Here Indian converts were to be indoctrinated in Catholicism and taught European-style agriculture, leatherworking, textile production, and other skills deemed useful by the Spaniards. By using Indian labor to produce surplus grain supplies for the Spanish military garrisons, the Franciscan missionaries were able to view Indians as both potential converts and labor.

The Franciscan missions were basically slave plantations which required the Indian people to work for the Spanish under cruel conditions. Indians did not come freely to the missions and once there, they were held against their will. Many attempted to escape, and the soldiers stationed at the mission would attempt to recapture them. Escape attempts are severely punished by the Franciscans.

The Franciscans, backed by a small number of soldiers stationed at the missions, imposed a rigid system of coerced and disciplined labor, enforced by the use of corporal punishment and other forms of control. This punishment including public flogging, and the use of the stocks and shackles. While the public use of corporal punishment humiliated and physically injured the individuals being punished, and it did not necessarily alter or control the behavior that the Franciscans found objectionable.

One early visitor to the missions remarked about the Indians that “I have never seen one laugh.” Most of the Indians died in the new mission environment.

The Spanish sought to Christianize the Indians by enslaving them. The Spanish intent was to expropriate not only Indian lands and resources, but Indian labor as well. Part of their goal was to obliterate all features of Native American culture and society and to create a replica of Spain in California in which land-owning Spanish would be served by an Indian peasant class.

From the viewpoint of the Spanish, Indians were a form of labor which could be exploited. The success of the Spanish colonies in the Americas were based on this exploitation. In order to maximize the profits of their colonial enterprise, the Spaniards created institutions that siphoned off surplus agriculture products and provided labor for major building projects. One of these Spanish institutions was repartimiento.

Repartimiento was the Spanish policy which gave the Spanish colonists the right to use native labor for religious education. Repartimiento functioned as a part of the Spanish mission system in all parts of the Americas, including California. Under this system, labor quotas and the conscription of people to serve on labor gangs were organized through the villages served by the missions (or, from an Indian viewpoint, the villages which served the missions).

51FSUacpEOL._SY300_Does this Pope really think this work is the act of Saints?  Anyway, our history is full of the actions of a lot of bad men.  I think it doesn’t take much imagination to see most of them were of European descent and Christian and men.

One last link before I go. If any one you know tries to say the Civil War was about “state’s rights” please send them directly to this site.   It’s the Civil War Trust and that link goes to the Writs of Secession where you get to read exactly what the war was about.  This is from the introductory paragraph of the secession declaration of the state of Georgia. Read the ones from Mississippi and Texas if you think it’s an oddity.

The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the United States of America, present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African slavery. They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to that property, and by the use of their power in the Federal Government have striven to deprive us of an equal enjoyment of the common Territories of the Republic. This hostile policy of our confederates has been pursued with every circumstance of aggravation which could arouse the passions and excite the hatred of our people, and has placed the two sections of the Union for many years past in the condition of virtual civil war.

So, while we’re tearing down the statues of Confederate Generals who fought for slavery, we need to seriously look at folks like Andrew Jackson who fought for the US policy of genocide against Native Americans.  Then, the Pope needs to hear the real story of the Spanish Missions.

So, I bet you never thought you’d see a post like this!!  But, here’s some travel advice from my neighbor Dr. Bob! 

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?be-nice-or-leave


Sunday Reads : Trump too far….

Good Afternoon

Yeah well, a good thing can only go so far…am I right? /snark

Donald Trump says John McCain ‘not a war hero'; Republican rivals denounce him – LA Times

Donald Trump, whose bombastic statements have shot him to the top of Republican presidential primary polls, mocked Sen. John McCain’s war record as a POW in Vietnam on Saturday, crossing a line that triggered condemnations from previously quiet GOP leaders and rivals.

They used their strongest terms to date — calling Trump’s comments “slanderous,” declaring him unfit for office, and asserting that the Republican Party has no tolerance for disparaging statements about combat veterans.

The question now is whether Trump, who saw his campaign take off after broadly denouncing Mexicans who cross the border illegally as rapists and drug dealers, will remain popular with segments of the GOP base who revere military service, prisoners of war and the 2008 presidential nominee’s connection to both.

I think the answer to that question can be found in the comment section of the next link…Donald Trump Says He Does Not Owe John McCain Apology – ABC News

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he does not owe John McCain an apology for saying the Arizona senator is only a war hero “because he was captured.”

Trump told Martha Raddatz on ABC’s “This Week” that he won’t be pulling out of the presidential race over his comments, which he made Saturday during a campaign event in Iowa. Trump said he left to a “standing ovation” after speaking at the Family Leadership Council summit.

“When I left the room, it was a total standing ovation,” said Trump. “It was wonderful to see. Nobody was insulted.”

Damn, Jon Stewart has a gold mine here for his final week.

When speaking about McCain on Saturday, Trump said he likes “people who weren’t captured.” He didn’t back down when asked about the comment.

“People that fought hard and weren’t captured and went through a lot, they get no credit,” he said. “Nobody even talks about them. They’re like forgotten, and I think that’s a shame, if you want to know the truth.”

Before Trump’s comments Saturday, McCain had said the real estate mogul was firing up “crazies.” Trump had already found himself embroiled in controversy over comments he made last month regarding Mexican immigrants.

Raddatz asked Trump if McCain’s capture in Vietnam — where he spent five years as a prisoner of war and was beaten and tortured by the North Vietnamese — described a war hero. He reiterated what his campaign said following his comments Saturday — that he was disappointed in the Arizona senator because of how veterans are treated in the U.S.

“I’m very disappointed in John McCain because the vets are horribly treated in this country,” said Trump. “I’m fighting for the vets. I’ve done a lot for the vets.”

Trump said veterans were treated like “third-class citizens,” adding that McCain has “done nothing to help the vets.”

Trump didn’t serve in the Vietnam War after receiving four student deferments and an additional medical deferment after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School in 1968. He said he would have “proudly served” but wasn’t drafted because of his high lottery number.

“If I would have gotten a low number, I would have been drafted. I would have proudly served,” he said. “But I got a number, I think it was 356. That’s right at the very end. And they didn’t get — I don’t believe — past even 300, so I was — I was not chosen because of the fact that I had a very high lottery number.”

Asked if he would continue his pattern of “name-calling, using terms like ‘dummy,’ ‘loser,’ ‘total losers’ on Twitter and elsewhere” when he’s “criticized or attacked” if he was elected president, Trump told Raddatz he only gives it back to people who attack him.

“When people attack me, I let them have it back,” he said. “People are constantly attacking my hair. I don’t see you coming to my defense.”

If you go to the link, you will see a shitload of “crazies” coming to Trumps defense, most of them in a completely fucked up fantastic sort of way.

And speaking about fucked up…Cosby depositions have become public:

What We Learned From the Newly Revealed Cosby Deposition | TIME

Bill Cosby Deposition Released: Admits Affairs and Giving Women Drugs : People.com

Bill Cosby Deposition Reveals Callous Pursuit Of Women | Vanity Fair

On Saturday, The New York Timespublished a detailed account of Cosby’s testimony based on the transcript of the deposition, which had been publicly available, but tucked away. TheTimes says that in the deposition, Cosby “comes across as alternately annoyed, mocking, occasionally charming and sometimes boastful, often blithely describing sexual encounters in graphic detail.” It’s a sharp contrast to his sitcom-sharpened image of fatherly charm.

The testimony was recorded as part of a lawsuit filed in 2005 against the actor and comedian by a woman, Andrea Constand, who worked at Temple University as a basketball manager, who made what is now a familiar claim—that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her. While dozens of women have now come forward with similar stories, at the time, Constand was the only one to file suit against Cosby.

New York Times reporters Graham Bowley and Sydney Ember describe Cosby’s demeanor in the depositions as an “unapologetic, cavalier playboy” and as “someone who used a combination of fame, apparent concern and powerful sedatives in a calculated pursuit of young women” with “casual indifference.”

I think it is safe to say he sees the victims of his rapes not as young women…or humans at all. Like any serial rapist, the man does not care what happens to the women, his “casual indifference” is typical of the criminal psychology innit?

This month, Constand’s lawyer and the A.P. asked the court to lift the confidentiality clause so her client would be free to release the nearly 1,000-page deposition transcript, according to the Times. U.S. District Judge Eduardo Robreno unsealed a portion of Cosby’s deposition, ruling that “the stark contrast between Bill Cosby, the public moralist and Bill Cosby, the subject of serious allegations concerning improper (and perhaps criminal) conduct is a matter as to which the A.P.—and by extension the public—has a significant interest.”

But indifference is not limited to rapist alone….leaders of countries can show indifference to whole nations.

When did European politics lose its sense of empathy? – Comment – Voices – The Independent

When did European politics lose its sense of empathy    Comment   Voices   The Independent

 

 

Riots are breaking out in Athens and forest fires burn around the Greek capital as the anger of the people spills over. The country’s creditors have confirmed they will insist on even harsher austerity measures, despite a no vote in a national referendum on exactly that proposal.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, and Wolfgang Schäuble, her Finance Minister, remained firm, in spite of a warning from the International Monetary Fund that, without substantial debt relief, any new bailout would fail. The message is clear: we don’t care about the wishes of your people, nor do we care about their suffering. Democratic process means nothing; obey the creditors, or we’ll take a wrecking ball to your economy.

Greek upset over the harsh terms attached to Europe’s latest financial deal isn’t merely a question of a belligerent refusal to pay. Living standards have plummeted in Greece, with alarming results. Heart attacks are rising among young people, youth unemployment has reaching staggering rates and hospitals and pharmacies struggling to treat and prescribe for life-threatening conditions. Signs in chemists list medicines that are out of stock – not obscure medications, but insulin, heart medication, thyroid tablets.

Just a fortnight ago in Britain, a short video of Ken Livingstone’s speech in the wake of the London 7/7 bombings circulated on the 10th anniversary of the event. The clip from the former mayor, like many famous political speeches, speaks of community, resilience in the face of tragedy, and the importance of sympathy and empathy.

A decade on, empathy is an unfashionable political emotion, and the effects of that cultural change are being felt across Europe.

Read the rest of that piece. It points out some obvious things…

Last week, the Home Office announced cuts to the subsistence payments given to Britain’s 27,800 destitute asylum-seekers. A single parent with one child seeking asylum in Britain will now receive £73.90 a week, rather than the £96.90 previously paid, because, the Home Office says, that is “significantly more cash than is necessary” to feed, clothe and nurture an adult and child in one of the most expensive countries in Europe.

Meanwhile the Children’s Society warns that an increasing number of vulnerable children are being forced to represent themselves at immigration tribunals, due to the removal of legal aid for such cases under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.

If you fall sick in Britain, your luck may run out, too: David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith are considering forcing workers to “save up” for their own sick pay and periods of unemployment – an idea borrowed from that bastion of workers’ rights, Singapore. Most people save up for a rainy day, if they’re able to. It’s not a surprise that a washing machine doesn’t last for ever. But saving up to replace a social safety net stripped away is another matter, and ignores the fact that the people least able to save are the people most likely to be sick – those in menial jobs, with poor working conditions and caring responsibilities, the already disabled.

The policies knocked out by governments at home and in the eurozone share a common approach: they fit an ideological mission statement and ignore a human cost.

More on Merkle:

Merkel Rules Out Greek Debt Write-Off, But Open To Other Relief

The rest of today’s links are here, in a dump. My Bebe came back from Panama City Beach today…so I am running even later than usual.

The worst place for bacteria at the beach – CBS News

Congress to examine FBI handling of Tennessee shooter | Reuters

Women inmates suffer agonizing deaths | www.myajc.com

A black transgender woman is in jail because police were called on her for being transgender

House GOP Files Bill That Allows Employers To Fire Single Pregnant Women |

The Texas county where Sandra Bland died: there’s ‘racism from cradle to grave’ | US news | The Guardian

Prosecutor investigating Sandra Bland’s death has troubling history of racial bias — just like the sheriff

Planned Parenthood ‘sting’ video: the abortion debate’s latest battleground | US news | The Guardian

Street Artist Revamps Abandoned Buildings With Creepy Baroque Imagery

Archaeologists find Assyrian tablets in Turkey, some about women’s rights – Al Arabiya News

New dinosaur find shows a ‘feathered poodle from hell’ | Stuff.co.nz

This is an open thread…