Saturday Reads: America’s Greatest Mystery

JFK Assassination

Good Morning!!

In less than two weeks, our nation will mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. I’ve spent quite a bit of time recently reading books and articles about the assassination and it’s aftermath. I have wanted to write a post about it, but I just haven’t been able to do it. For me, the JFK assassination is still a very painful issue–in fact, it has become more and more painful for me over the years as I’ve grown older and wiser and more knowledgeable about politics and history. Anyway, I thought I’d take a shot at writing about it this morning. I may have more to say, as we approach the anniversary. I’m going to focus on the role of the media in defending the conclusions of the Warren Commission.

I think most people who have read my posts in the past probably know that I think the JFK assassination was a coup, and that we haven’t really had more than a very limited form of democracy in this country since that day. We probably will never know who the men were who shot at Kennedy in Dallas in 1963, but anyone who has watched the Zapruder film with anything resembling an open mind, has to know that there was more than one shooter; because Kennedy was shot from both the front and back.

The reasons Kennedy died are varied and complex. He had angered a number of powerful groups inside as well as outside the government.

- Powerful members of the mafia had relationships with JFK’s father Joseph Kennedy, and at his behest had helped carry Illinois–and perhaps West Virginia–for his son. These mafia chiefs expected payback, but instead, they got Bobby Kennedy as Attorney General on a crusade to destroy organized crime. In the 1960s both the CIA and FBI had used the mafia to carry out operations.

- FBI boss J. Edgar Hoover hated Bobby Kennedy for “interfering” with the FBI by ordering Hoover to hire more minorities and generally undercutting Hoover’s absolute control of the organization.

- Elements within the CIA hated Kennedy for his refusal to provide air support for the Bay of Pigs invasion (which had been planned by Vice President Nixon well before the 1960 election), and for firing CIA head Allen Dulles.

- Texas oil men like H.L. Hunt and Clint Murchison hated Kennedy for pushing for repeal of the oil depletion allowance.

- The military hated Kennedy because of the Bay of Pigs, his decision to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis by pulling U.S. missiles out of Turkey in return for removal of the missiles from Cuba instead of responding with a nuclear attack, his efforts to reach out to both the Nikita Krushchev of the Soviet Union and Fidel Castro of Cuba, his firing of General Edward Walker, and his decision to pull the military “advisers” out of Vietnam.

- Vice President Lyndon Johnson hated both Kennedys, and he knew he was on the verge of being dropped from the presidential ticket in 1964. In addition, scandals involving his corrupt financial dealings were coming to a head, and the Kennedys were pushing the stories about Johnson cronies Bobby Baker and Billy Sol Estes in the media.

What I know for sure is that after what happened to Kennedy (and to Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy), there is no way any president would dare to really challenge the military and intelligence infrastructure within the government. Richard Nixon found that out when a number of the same people who were involved in the Kennedy assassination helped to bring him down.

To long-term government bureaucracies, the POTUS is just passing through the government that they essentially control. Any POTUS who crosses them too often is asking for trouble. People who think President Obama should simply force the CIA, NSA, FBI and the military to respect the rights of American citizens should think about that for a minute. Can we as a nation survive the assassination of another president?
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Sunday Reads: Women’s World Cup, Whitey Bulger, Teacher Cheaters, Chilean Miners and Camel Farts?

Eat your Cheerioats this morning?

Good morning!

Many of our readers know this past week has been an absolute frustrating hell…and it is only going to continue.  So if you don’t mind, I won’t mention anything about the smoke and mirror show going on now in Washington.  Today’s Sunday Reads is going to be on the light side…as far as the political news stories are concerned.  You won’t find any in this post… So sit back and enjoy the interesting links I have found for you today.

First thing…the Women’s World Cup…Hurray for US Women’s Soccer!

Yes, some excited news out of Germany.  The US Woman’s team is in the finals against Japan.  Women’s World Cup – This Time, a Show Worth Watching – NYTimes.com

In cities across Germany, 16 teams have been competing for the sixth World Cup title (men have had 19) and — thanks to a buzzer-beater against Brazil and some true grit against France — the Americans meet Japan in Sunday’s final in Frankfurt.

For those of you who are more into soccer, there is a good analysis of the players on both teams here on Sports Illustrated:  U.S. women favored against Japan in Women’s World Cup final – Georgina Turner – SI.com

The game is scheduled to start today at 2:45pm EST and 11:45am PST, ESPN will be covering the game live.

Now, yesterday Boston Boomer asked in the comments when the next spectacular trial will be starting, aside from the Michael Jackson one, or actually his doctor’s involuntary manslaughter trial. (Starts in September…) The next trial I am looking forward to is the one in Boston…Here is a real engrossing article about the sons of one of Whitey’s 19 murder victims.  In Whitey Bulger Case, a Voice for the Victims – NYTimes.com

Heads turned as the lanky man made his way to the courtroom pews reserved for those who suffer because of the criminal Whitey Bulger. The face of an altar boy masked his rage, and a shirt of powder-blue covered his tattoos, including one evoking the Celtic cross that adorns his father’s gravestone.

“Tommy’s here,” one of the many reporters whispered, and others nodded, for it was like saying that all of Boston had just walked into Federal District Court to bear witness.

Tommy Donahue, a union electrician, 37 years old, with one good eye and the nickname of Bagga — as in bag of bones — attends nearly every Bulger-related hearing as the representative of the 19 people Mr. Bulger is accused of killing, especially Michael Donahue, his father. He then tells the news media assembled outside exactly what he thinks, his every word accented with Dorchester distrust.

“To be honest with you,” Mr. Donahue often begins, as if to suggest that in this uncomfortable summer of Bulger, honesty needs to be stipulated.

Tommy Donahue and his family are seeking some closure in the murder of their father and husband, Michael Donahue.

Now that Mr. Bulger’s return has exhumed a damning past never properly buried in the first place, a half-blind electrician from Dorchester is once again speaking out. And everyone in Boston knows that in this matter, Tommy Donahue has standing.

In the late afternoon of May 11, 1982, a union truck driver, the son of a Boston police officer, found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s how a wise guy later summed it up, in the oops philosophy of the underworld: wrong place, wrong time.

Give the rest of the article a read. This family has been through a horrible experience, they deserve some justice.

Meanwhile, back in my own state of Georgia, there has been a huge scandal involving cheating in schools.  But it wasn’t the kids cheating…it was the teachers and school administrators.  Atlanta schools created culture of cheating, fear – CBS Atlanta News

Teachers spent nights huddled in a back room, erasing wrong answers on students’ test sheets and filling in the correct bubbles. At another school, struggling students were seated next to higher-performing classmates so they could copy answers.

Those and other confessions are contained in a new state report that reveals how far some Atlanta public schools went to raise test scores in the nation’s largest-ever cheating scandal. Investigators concluded that nearly half the city’s schools allowed the cheating to go unchecked for as long as a decade, beginning in 2001.

Administrators – pressured to maintain high scores under the federal No Child Left Behind law – punished or fired those who reported anything amiss and created a culture of “fear, intimidation and retaliation,” according to the report released earlier this month, two years after officials noticed a suspicious spike in some scores.

The report names 178 teachers and principals, and 82 of those confessed. Tens of thousands of children at the 44 schools, most in the city’s poorest neighborhoods, were allowed to advance to higher grades, even though they didn’t know basic concepts.

One teacher told investigators the district was “run like the mob.”

“Everybody was in fear,” another teacher said in the report. “It is not that the teachers are bad people and want to do it. It is that they are scared.”

In an effort to keep from losing funding, you know that no kid left behind bill that really does not work as well as those politicians say it does…teachers and administrators were cheating on standardized test.  School systems in Washington DC, Philadelphia and Los Angeles are currently under investigation for cheating.

Experts say the cheating scandal – which involved more schools and teachers than any other in U.S. history – has led to soul-searching among other urban districts facing cheating investigations and those that have seen a rapid rise in test scores.

In Georgia, teachers complained to investigators that some students arrived at middle school reading at a first-grade level. But, they said, principals insisted those students had to pass their standardized tests. Teachers were either ordered to cheat or pressured by administrators until they felt they had no choice, authorities said.

One principal forced a teacher to crawl under a desk during a faculty meeting because her test scores were low. Another principal told teachers that “Walmart is hiring” and “the door swings both ways,” the report said.

Another principal told a teacher on her first day that the school did whatever was necessary to meet testing benchmarks, even if that meant “breaking the rules.”

Wow, The article is a long one, but give it a read, it is hard to imagine all these students for the last 10 plus years getting passed on through the system. What kind of jobs and productive lives could these people have if their education was nothing but a farce.

HuffPo has the latest here: Teachers Implicated In Atlanta Cheating Scandal Told To Resign Or Get Fired

The 178 educators implicated in the Atlanta Public Schools’ cheating investigation received letters in their mailboxes Friday from interim Superintendent Erroll Davis. The message: Resign by Wednesday, or get fired.

The announcement comes after Davis replaced four area superintendents and two principals as a result of the investigation into alleged cheating by teachers, revealed early this month. APS Human Resources Chief Millicent Few resigned Monday. Investigators accused Few of illegally ordering the destruction or altering of important documents that evidenced the cheating.

According to the article, the entire process could take months.  Some teachers have retained lawyers to fight for their jobs.

Another long read for you:  Los 33: Chilean miners face up to a strange new world | World news | The Observer

The rescue of 33 miners from Chile’s San José mine after 69 days trapped underground was a triumph shared with the whole world. But the transition back to normality is proving difficult for both the men and their families

These miners have just filed a lawsuit against the mining company and country of Chile for negligence. It is the start of a long legal battle as the men and their families are still trying to adjust and heal from the trauma of being buried alive, 2,000 feet down for 69 days.

Moving on to something very cool…check out this eye candy: The Maddow Blog – Lost afternoon: British tattoo history

Jezebel ran a great set of photos yesterday related to Great Britain’s first professional female tattoo artist, Jessie Knight, including the one above, likely dating back to the early 1930s.

Some neat pictures at the link…I have five tattoos myself, so seeing some history about woman tattoo artist is cool as hell.

From Minx’s Missing Link File:  The website this next link comes from, called Geekosystem, is a sister site to Mediaite.  I could have posted so many cool geeky science articles but this one popped out at me.  I don’t know, perhaps it was the photo of the  majestic animal…with her head held high, or perhaps it was the phrase “farting camels” that struck my childish, immature heart-strings? Anyway, here it is:  Australia Considering Camel Kill To Reduce Global Warming | Geekosystem

Farting camels make global warming worse, death to the camels! It would be nice if there was something (anything?) that we could blame for climate change, other than human actions. But, farting camels? What seems like a ridiculous farting farce, is actually a real plan being considered by officials in Australia to kill camels for their alleged role in global warming.

The idea is that killing camels, who release methane gas when they fart, would solve global warming in Australia because their farting has a serious impact on the country’s carbon emissions. The International Society of Camelid Research Development (ISOCARD), has called the proposed camel-cull “stupid,” and an “abomination of science,” in addition to declaring that it would make camels scape-goats for a man-made problem.

Sound a bit far fetched to you? Well, what if I told you that there was money to be had…or at least carbon tax credits for Australia’s big corporations. See, one dead camel equals a tax credit based on the amount of carbon fart emissions that the average camel puts out.

Australia still relies on coal for power and has one of the highest carbon footprints in the world. The government has set plans to start taxing the country’s biggest polluters, but these companies will be able to buy carbon credits to offset their emissions.

So far, it remains to be seen what will happen to the camels, but ISOCARD seems ready to fight for feral camels, who in all their farting glory, are not a major player in Australia’s carbon emission problem.

I don’t know, but I can bet there will be some pissed off animal lovers down in Australia if this plan goes through.

Easy like Sunday Morning Link of the Week:  Another one from Down Under…this one has nothing to do with camelid flatulence. The Earth/Sky website is freaking awesome!  Check this video out:  Astonishing time lapse video of the Australian night sky | Earth | EarthSky

This beautiful collection of images depicts the Milky Way from the Southern Ocean Coast in Australia and was posted on Vimeo by Alex Cherney. Complete description can be found here.

Here is a direct link to the video: http://vimeo.com/terrastro/oceansky

Well, that is it for me…post links to whatever you like below in the comment section. Hell, post some of your thoughts if you don’t have a link…

Hope you have an awesome Sunday.