Sunday Reads: Wow


Good Morning

It sure is strange to click on the computer and the top news stories have headlines like these, I mean look at that picture up top…you would expect a tripod shooting out of the ground at any minute.

The Associated Press: A look at tornadoes that have hit major cities

Tornadoes hit NYC; Violent storms tear through D.C. –

Tornado Touches Down in NYC – Truthdig

There is video at that USA Today link.

This morning’s post will be on the short side. It is five thirty am, and real life has been kicking me in the ass lately…so truth be told, I am exhausted.

I saved this next link from earlier in the week, because I wanted to share it with my dad…he flies ultralights. Putin leads Siberian crane migration in hang-glider – CBC News

Russian President Vladimir Putin, seen here in a motorized hang-glider near a Siberian crane, has drawn both praise and criticism for a number of adventurous stunts. Russian President Vladimir Putin, seen here in a motorized hang-glider near a Siberian crane, has drawn both praise and criticism for a number of adventurous stunts. (Alexsey Druginyn/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/Reuters)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has piloted a motorized hang-glider to lead a flock of young Siberian white cranes in flight.

Dressed in a white costume meant to imitate an adult crane, Putin took part in a project to teach the endangered birds — which were raised in captivity — to follow the aircraft on their migration to Central Asia.

RIA-Novosti news agency reported that only one crane followed Putin on his first flight, which he attributed to high winds that caused the hang-glider to travel faster than usual. On the second flight, five birds followed Putin, but after a few circles only two had stuck with him for the full 15-minute flight.

Wow, talk about a photo op, if this dude isn’t wresting snow leopards or flashing his muscular abs, he is showing a bird its migratory path south.

Check out how this story is playing this morning:

An octopus? Group sex? Flying with cranes? It’s all in a week’s work for Vladimir Putin – World news, News –

Putin’s cranes vs anti-Putin protesters

Putin’s God Squad: The Orthodox Church and Russian Politics – Newsweek and The Daily Beast

Okay, so that last link was more along the lines of Pussy Riot news, but hey…that Putin is something else.

And Putin’s Pussy fiasco…and crane FAIL aren’t the only bits of Russian news trending today. BBC News – Syria: Hillary Clinton rejects Russian plan for UN

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the Apec summit 8/9/12
Despite the smiles at the Apec summit, differences on Syria remain between the US and Russia
On to another WOW story, this one is about a big “trial” of the century a couple decades ago. Remember…it involves a white bronco and a bloody glove. Ex-prosecutor claims O.J. Simpson attorney tampered with glove –
And one last link, this one actually makes sense to me. Some Ga. Schools Make Mandarin Mandatory : NPR
Sorry for the quick links…maybe things will cool down long enough for me to stop in and say hey later on. Until then, comment section is below…share what you are reading about today.

Friday Evening News Reads: Murphy NC Tornado Damage, Pink Slime, Spiders and Snakes

Good Evening…

Tonight, for your viewing pleasure, I have videos and images full of destruction…disgust…terror…dated perceptions and bad romance.  Those being a collection of tornado damage, pink slime, wolf spiders, early 70′s Dolly Parton and a song about Women’s Suffrage.

First, we have the debris and destruction part of this evening’s post. I went to Murphy, North Carolina today and shot some video of the damage the town received after being hit by a F2 tornado on March 3, 2012. This town is just a spit from my old house near the border of Georgia and North Carolina. The town may sound familiar to you because it was made famous by Olympic Park and abortion clinic bomber Eric Rudolf...who hid out in the mountains around the town for six years, before being discovered rummaging through a trash dumpster.

My video is short so take a look:

Earlier today, a local Atlanta station had a crew shoot a story about the tornado that hit last week,  a lot of the same things I video taped are in their report…which does explain what you are looking at and interviews some residents and owners of the damaged buildings.

Transcript of the news video here:

- Residents in Murphy, N.C. are still picking up the pieces after a tornado touched down last Friday.

The twister destroyed homes and businesses throughout the town.

Wayne’s Feed Store, a somewhat local institution in the mountain town since 1951, was blown away.

Reggie Cox lost his house, but said he was grateful that his family — including his three children– are safe.

“It was scary, you know winds, debris,” said Cox.

The EF-2 tornado tore through town with winds of up to 125 miles an hour — fast enough to drive a four by four post through the side of a station wagon.

“We had over 100 homes that suffered some type of damage. We had eight that were destroyed,’ said Cherokee County, N.C. spokesman Doug Clement.

Cox’s uncle’s house was one of the those totaled, where a week later a smoke detector was still sounding the alarm.

“They just left about five to seven minutes before it hit,” said Cox. “I don’t think anybody could have survived it.”

Rebuilding has begun, bringing with it a sense of recovery.

“We feel like we are on the road to recovery. Mountain people are survivors. Well indeed make it, I indeed assure you of that,” said Mayor Bill Hughes.

While the storm caused millions of dollars in damage, there were no reports of injuries.

The same storm system did damage in Haralson and Paulding Counties

Now… I bring you the disgusting portion of the evening. I have another video for you to watch, it is from a segment of ABC News last night, and it is revolting!

Is Pink Slime in the Beef at Your Grocery Store? – ABC News

As seen in the movie Food Inc., the low-grade trimmings come from the most contaminated parts of the cow and were once only used in dog food and cooking oil. But because of BPI’s treatment of the trimmings — simmering them in low heat, separating fat and tissue using a centrifuge and spraying them with ammonia gas to kill germs — the United States Department of Agriculture says it’s safe to eat.

The company calls the final product “Finely Textured Lean Beef.” It is flash frozen and boxed. Foshee says it is more like gelatin and not nutritious as ground beef because the protein comes mostly from connective tissue, not muscle meat.

“[It will] fill you up, but won’t do any good,” Foshee said.

ABC News was flooded with questions from concerned viewers following last night’s report on pink slime.

Many, like Dale Rittenhouse, wanted to know where beef with pink slime was sold.

“What stores use pink slime?” Rittenhouse wrote.

So ABC News producers traveled across the country to the meat section to see if its in the ground beef they sell. Most couldn’t tell us for sure.

“There is no way to even know from labels or even from the butchers here whether it contains pink slime,” said ABC News producer Candace Smith in New York.

“The guy at the meat counter said that he had been getting the same question all day,” said Janice McDonald in Atlanta.

ABC News emailed the top 10 grocery chains in America. Only Publix, Costco, HEB and Whole Foods responded, saying they don’t use pink slime. No word yet from the rest.

Geez, we don’t have any of those pink slime free grocery stores in Banjoville…ABC has an update on Where You Can Get ‘Pink-Slime’-Free Beef

At most stores it was impossible to tell for sure whether the beef contained pink slime. At one store there was no way to know from the labels and the butchers did not know the answer.

ABC News emailed the top 10 grocery chains in America and seven responded:

1. Safeway
“We rely on the federal government to help guide us on food safety issues. USDA has been clear in its judgment that Lean Finely Textured Ground Beef is a safe source of nutrition. However, we are reviewing the matter at this time.”

2. Ahold (Stop & Shop/Giant)
“Stores operated by the divisions of Ahold USA do carry ground beef made with Boneless Lean Beef Trimmings (BLBT), also called Finely Textured Beef (FTB). Boneless Lean Beef Trimmings (BLBT) is beef and is absolutely safe for consumption. To make the product, beef companies use beef trimmings, which are the small cuts of beef that remain when larger cuts are trimmed down. These trimmings are USDA-inspected, wholesome cuts of beef. This process has been an industry standard for almost 20 years. Alternatives to the conventional ground beef supply, in the form of Certified Angus Beef and Nature’s Promise ground beef products, are available to customers in stores across all of the divisions of Ahold USA. These products do not include the use of BLBT. Customers are being encouraged to ask any meat associate should they have any questions or would like to be directed to meat that does not include Boneless Lean Beef Trimmings. Our labeling is in compliance with USDA regulations. BLBT is USDA tested and approved ground beef and therefore does not require labeling.”

3. Costco
Does not use pink slime.
“Anything that we sell at Costco we want to explain it’s origins, and I personally don’t know how to explain trim treated with ammonia in our ground beef,” Craig Wilson, vice president of quality assurance for Costco, told ABC News. “I just don’t know how to explain that. I’m not that smart.”

4. Publix
“We have never allowed the use of LFTB (pink slime) in our meat. It’s 100 percent ground beef with no LFTB.”

5. H-E-B
“All our ground beef sold at H-E-B is 100% pure with no additives.”

6. Whole Foods
Does not use pink slime.

7. Kroger
“We do not use finely textured beef in our fresh ground beef. … We are routinely presented the finely textured beef as an option, but have always refused.”

A viewer, Miles Herbert, wanted to know, “Is there any evidence that organic meat contains this pink slim?”

It turns out there isn’t. If your meat is stamped USDA Organic, it’s pure meat with no filler.

There is a petition at  Health Petition: Tell USDA to STOP Using Pink Slime in School Food! …according to an article in the LA Times, Pink slime: In the supermarket and school lunches

Texas mom Bettina Siegel has a petition going at to get the additive out of school lunches.


Meanwhile, over at the Cattle Network, American Meat Institute President J. Patrick Boyle  defended the process as well as the product in an article Thursday, saying the “lean beef trimmings” were “absolutely edible” and that using them ensured that “lean, nutritious, safe beef” did not go to waste.

Boyle goes on to say that media reports create an inaccurate picture.  An opinion piece on the site refers to “pink slime” as a “headline writer’s dream.”

It would indeed seem great fodder for a snarky British tabloid headline, considering that in the United Kingdom lean beef trimmings are banned for human consumption.

Damn, so the UK has banned this “stuff” for human consumption…funny, they banned the TSA’s nude screening cancer x-rays as well…I guess their government officials do not have “connections” to lobbyist that promote the TSA scanners, or get paid over a million dollars by the company that makes that pink slime, like  the under-secretary who approved of this ghastly crap. Yeah, check out what she actually said in regards to what makes this “filler” meat:

“The under secretary said, ‘it’s pink, therefore it’s meat,’” Custer told ABC News.

ABC News has learned the woman who made the decision to OK the mix is a former undersecretary of agriculture, Joann Smith. It was a call that led to hundred of millions of dollars for Beef Products Inc., the makers of pink slime.

When Smith stepped down from the USDA in 1993, BPI’s principal major supplier appointed her to its board of directors, where she made at least $1.2 million over 17 years.

Smith did not return ABC News’ calls for comment and BPI said it had nothing to do with her appointment. The USDA said while her appointment was legal at the time, under current ethics rules Smith could not have immediately joined the board.

Alrighty then, I got some terror for you this evening as well. Do you all remember those floods in Australia last year? Thousands of spiders blanket Australian farm after escaping flood Take a look at some creepy photographs of the wolf spider.

What appears to be snow is actually spider webs blanketing an Australian farm. (Daniel Munoz/Reuters)

Thousands of normally solitary wolf spiders have blanketed an Australian farm after fleeing a rising flood.

Reuters reports that the flooding has forced more than 8,000 Australian (human) residents from their homes in the city of Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. But for every temporarily displaced person, it appears several spiders have moved in to fill the void.

“What we’ve seen here is a type of wolf spider,” Owen Seeman, an arachnid expert at Queensland Museum, told Reuters. “They are trying to hide away (from the waters).”

The Australian Museum’s entomology collections manager Graham Milledge told Reuters that there’s even a term for the phenomenon, “ballooning,” and that it is typical behavior for spiders forced to escape rising waters.

Click image for more photos

I don’t like spiders or snakes…you fool, you fool…
Y’all know that tune?
I remember listening to this song when I was a kid, the video is from 1974…it is very annoying, but check out Dolly Parton…no big hair and no high heels. Oh yeah, this is the part I described up top as “dated perceptions.” It is really more like obnoxious stereo-types but you will get my meaning when you watch it.
The video does present a nice contrast to the last video I have for you tonight, which rounds out our “Bad Romance…”
Hope you enjoyed that wild ride, I will catch y’all in the comments later tonight. There is a strawberry shortcake with my name all over it in the kitchen…and it is calling me. (Well, it is either that or I really am going off the deep end.)

Can We Admit That What We’re Seeing Is More Than . . . ‘Weather?’

These are some images from my neck of the woods from this past weekend’s round of ‘weather.’

Now granted, I’m not a native of the southeast—South Jersey girl here.  But the locals tell me that vertical winds are a hellva lot different than tornado touchdowns, particularly when you’re living in hill country, in the shadow of the Smoky Mountains.  Locally, this time we were fortunate—some downed branches and yard mess.  The major damage was to the east and south of us.  Last year?  Not so much. 

In fact, last year’s April storm front in the southeast produced 280+ tornadoes in 3 days.  Historic, the headlines screamed.

If this were merely a local event, we could chalk it up to bad luck and Mother Nature in a cranky mood.  But consider that earth-orbiting satellites have been gathering scientific data not previously available, giving us the ‘big picture’, data on a global scale. The following evidence has been accumulated:

  • Sea levels are, in fact, rising, the rate of the last decade nearly double that of the last century.
  • Global temperatures are on the rise, increasing since the 1970s with the 10 hottest recorded temperatures within the last 12 years.
  • The oceans have been warming since 1969, measureable temperatures increasing in the top surfaces [2300 ft] and the acidification of the oceans has increased by 30% since the start of the Industrial Revolution.
  • Glaciers are retreating, the Arctic sea ice is shrinking and the ice sheets of Greenland [36-60 cubic miles per year between 2002-2006] and the Antarctic [36 cubic miles per year between 2002-2005] have declined.

According to NASA data, there are certain facts beyond dispute:

The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century. Their ability to affect the transfer of infrared energy through the atmosphere is the scientific basis of many JPL-designed instruments, such as AIRS. Increased levels of greenhouse gases must cause the Earth to warm in response.

Ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers show that the Earth’s climate responds to changes in solar output, in the Earth’s orbit, and in greenhouse gas levels. They also show that in the past, large changes in climate have happened very quickly, geologically-speaking: in tens of years, not in millions or even thousands.

We can take the facts and data of NASA, their orbiting satellites and sensors or we can fall back on the word of say . . . a Rick Santorum, who has proven himself such an expert on other subjects.  According to Santorum in a speech in Colorado:

[Climate change is] an absolute travesty of scientific research that was motivated by those who, in my opinion, saw this as an opportunity to create a panic and a crisis for government to be able to step in and even more greatly control your life. … I for one never bought the hoax. I for one understand just from science that there are one hundred factors that influence the climate. To suggest that one minor factor of which man’s contribution is a minor factor in the minor factor is the determining ingredient in the sauce that affects the entire global warming and cooling is just absurd on its face. And yet we have politicians running to the ramparts — unfortunately politicians who happen to be running for the Republican nomination for president — who bought into man-made global warming and bought into cap-and-trade.

We can argue the merits of cap and trade but I find it comical that Santorum is running around talking about Satan on one hand—a Santorum absolute–while denying climate change on the other.  This is a ‘don’t trust your lying eyes’ moment.  And certainly don’t trust science.  He continued with:

We were put on this Earth as creatures of God to have dominion over the Earth, to use it wisely and steward it wisely, but for our benefit not for the Earth’s benefit … We are the intelligent beings that know how to manage things and through that course of science and discovery if we can be better stewards of this environment, then we should not let the vagaries of nature destroy what we have helped create.

Huh?  I’m not sure what this rambling statement is intended to mean, other than we shouldn’t let nature clue us in that we’re skating on the edge, pushing the health of the planet and its inhabitants to the max.  Full steam ahead with those extractions, boys!

Of course, Santorum is not alone in this type of denial.  Rush Limbaugh, who has had his fair share of attention in the last few days [not of the good kind], had this to say after declaring climate change a ‘hoax’:

I happen to believe in God. I believe in a loving, brilliant – I know that this – there is no way, I don’t want to sound simpleton here, but there is not – it is not possible that we would be created by a creator in such a way that we would destroy by virtue of our created existence our own planet and environment. It just doesn’t compute and yet that’s what these people are trying to tell us. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 2/2/11

All righty then!  God, a loving brilliant God, would not allow us to destroy ourselves.  Scrap all that science and data, the fat man speaketh.

Beginning to see a pattern here?  We can believe in myth—Satan’s going to getcha and/or a benevolent, personal God-creator, who would never allow Man to be stupid enough to destroy His/Her creation.  No problem then.  Keep spewing those toxins into the air, don’t worry about contaminating our water supply and . . . heat?  What heat?

Despite the relentless war on climate data in particular and science in general, it turns out the public is beginning to catch on to all the corporate-friendly tap dancing.  After a dip in public sentiment about Climate Change and the mass investment in misinformation, Americans are using their powers of observation and taking heed to the mounting evidence.  According to the Brookings Institute National Survey, Fall 2011, a strong majority [62%] of the American public now believes that global warming is real and poses a threat to global security.  Observation to local effects of warming temperatures and world-wide reports of floods, droughts, freakishly warm temperatures, melting ice sheets, ocean acidification and the effects on wildlife and fauna are slowly turning opinion.

We cannot wait for a benevolent God-spirit to save us.  We’ll need to do that for ourselves, sooner rather than later.  Because we won’t get a second chance.  As Naomi Klien recently stated any real shift towards climate sustainability means a shift in the entire free-market ethos that depends on continual growth, massive extraction and profit-making over people.

. . . you can’t do it all with carbon markets and offsetting. You have to really seriously regulate corporations and invest in the public sector. And we need to build public transport systems and light rail and affordable housing along transit lines to lower emissions. The market is not going to step up to this challenge. We must do more: rebuild levees and bridges and the public sphere, because we saw in Katrina what happens when weak infrastructure clashes with heavy weather—it’s catastrophe. These climate deniers aren’t crazy—their worldview is under threat. If you take climate change seriously, you do have to throw out the free-market playbook.

In the end, so many of these pressing issues are related to a flawed economic and political model—the current corporate state.  It will be up to us to reimagine a new system or as Peter Barnes suggested in ‘Capitalism 3.0,’  it’s time to upgrade.

Because there’s no place to run or hide.  Earth is the only home we have. Reclaiming the commons isn’t optional; it’s a must.  And personally?  I’m just not into wicked tornadoes.

UPDATE: The Red Cross is now asking for donations for storm ravaged areas in the Southeast.  Contact your local offices for information. Or go here.

Sunday Reads: It ain’t over til the fat man is fired! #FlushRush

Good Morning!

Let me just say hello to the many new readers here at Sky Dancing. So glad to see new commentators and folks who like the blog…from all of us on the Front Page, we are happy you are here!

Can you believe it is the first Sunday in March? The days are flying by, and instead of moving forward, it seems we keep moving back. Well, let me make that more clear…the men are moving forward and the women are being pushed back.

I just finished the book Nuns Behaving Badly, and although it was interesting to read about the scandalous nuns, what got me most was the reactions of the Cardinals, Bishops, and the Pope. Some of the language used is exactly the same as the stuff that comes out of Santorum and the other wacko big mouths. (BTW, the book itself starts out much better than it finishes. Meh…)

Anyway, you must have already heard about the Rush “apology.” Dakinikat wrote a post on it last night, I love the title:

Fat Misogynistic Drug Felon makes Faux Apology « Sky Dancing

Here is the apology in full:

For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week.  In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke.

I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress. I personally do not agree that American citizens should pay for these social activities. What happened to personal responsibility and accountability? Where do we draw the line? If this is accepted as the norm, what will follow? Will we be debating if taxpayers should pay for new sneakers for all students that are interested in running to keep fit?In my monologue, I posited that it is not our business whatsoever to know what is going on in anyone’s bedroom nor do I think it is a topic that should reach a Presidential level.

My choice of words was not the best, and in the attempt to be humorous, I created a national stir. I sincerely apologize to Ms. Fluke for the insulting word choices.

I played around with the apology and made a word cloud from Wordle:

Wordle: Rush Fake Apology

I know it is very small. Click the image to see it larger...

Funny how sorry is not the largest word on that picture. Oh wait, the word “sorry” is not even in the word cloud.  And if you are looking for the word “apologize” it is there, underneath the word Fluke.

Ugh…And Rush still gets it wrong in his apology. H/T Historiann from Reclusive Leftist:  Tax Payers don’t pay for the contraception!

  1. Taxpayers aren’t paying for Sandra Fluke’s healthcare or anybody else’s healthcare at Georgetown. It’s a private insurance plan and the people who are paying the premiums are the ones footing the bill. This is true with all employer-sponsored plans. And anything contributed by the employer is part of the employee’s compensation. (Student plans also fall into this category: the students pay premiums, and any subsidization by the university is part of student aid and ultimately covered by tuition.)
  2. Insurance works by providing a pool of coverage for everybody in the plan. My insurance plan, to which I contribute substantial premiums, is right now paying for some guy’s Viagra as well as for somebody’s prostate exam, even though I personally have no use for those things. That’s just how it works.
  3. Insurance normally covers all kinds of medical expenses connected with sex and other voluntary activities. Bill O’Reilly complains that “men’s activities” aren’t covered, but they are. If men want Viagra so they can have sex, insurance covers it. If they get gonorrhea or syphilis or crabs from having sex, insurance covers it. If they get AIDS from having sex, insurance covers it. If they want to go skiing and need a cardiac stress test first, insurance covers it. If they need Diamox so they can go skiing in Aspen, insurance covers it. If they break their legs skiing, insurance covers it. If they need Simvastatin to lower their cholesterol because they won’t stop eating fatty food and red meat, insurance covers it. If they suffer a heart attack from all that fatty food and red meat, insurance covers it. If they need a nicotine patch to quit smoking, insurance covers it. If they get lung cancer because they won’t quit smoking, insurance covers it. And on and on and on.Does this mean that men are being paid to have sex, to ski in Aspen, to eat sausage, to smoke or not smoke? No.

Women’s contraception is the only medical treatment associated with normal human activity that is treated as some kind of weird off-the-wall thing that shouldn’t be covered by insurance. The only one. And we know why.

I will say one thing, the campaign against that fat basturd’s advertising sponsors worked. This is the key to getting in some good shots in this war on women. I firmly believe that the way to choke off the religious right’s balls on these anti-woman issues is through the only thing they care more about than clumps of personhood…and that is their bank accounts. Cut the tax exemptions and other “faith-based” funding, get rid of all of it! That is the only way they will feel the wrath of the women they are trying to control and dominate.  (And I want to mention not just the men, remember those women who are also vying for asshole of the week status as well.)

This weekend Kirsten Powers had some annoying tweets :

She made a point to clarify her position on Rush Limbaugh’s slut remark:

So I made sure to read her post this week, I wanted to see what she would say about all this…Rush Limbaugh Isn’t the Only Media Misogynist – The Daily Beast

And she is right…but as readers of the blog know, we have always condemned the misogynistic talk show host and writers she has listed in her column. Anyway, from the link:

Did you know there is a war on women?

Yes, it’s true. Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Bill Maher, Matt Taibbi, and Ed Schultz have been waging it for years with their misogynist outbursts. There have been boycotts by people on the left who are outraged that these guys still have jobs. Oh, wait. Sorry, that never happened.

I personally won’t watch any of those shows…and I really can’t stand Taibbi.

Boycotts are reserved for people on the right like Rush Limbaugh, who finally apologized Saturday for calling a 30-year-old Georgetown Law student, Sandra Fluke a “slut” after she testified before congress about contraception. Limbaugh’s apology was likely extracted in order to stop the departure of any more advertisers, who were rightly under pressure from liberal groups outraged by the comments.

Let it be shouted from the rooftops that Rush Limbaugh should not have called Ms. Fluke a “slut” or as he added later, a “prostitute” who should post her sex tapes. It’s unlikely that his apology will assuage the people on a warpath for his scalp, and after all, why should it? He spent days attacking a woman as a “slut” and “prostitute” and refused to relent. Now because he doesn’t want to lose advertisers, he apologizes. What’s in order is something more like groveling—and of course a phone call to Ms. Fluke—if you ask me.

I agree with her on the groveling and the phone call to Sandra Fluke…however, those boycotts are also utilized by the right extremely well too…how many times have we seen TV shows, celebrities, politicians and presidents cave because of the squawking from the right wing wheels.

Click the link to read the examples she give of the blatant and disgusting sexist and misogynistic things that Matthews, Olbermann, Maher, Taibbi and Schultz have said or written. (She gives a lot of memorable Hillary examples I might add.) We could list all the other media, whether it be news networks or newspapers or magazines that have shit loads of anti-women writers, anchors, host, etc. On both the right and left…and they all should be held accountable for the sexist crap they say or write.

…Many feminist blogs now document attacks on women on the left and the right including Jezebel, Shakesville, and the Women’s Media Center (which was founded by Gloria Steinem.) But when it comes to high-profile campaigns to hold these men accountable—such as that waged against Limbaugh—the real fury seems reserved only for conservatives while the men on the left get a wink and a nod as long as they are carrying water for the liberal cause.

After all, if Limbaugh’s outburst is part of the “War on Women,” then what is the routine misogyny of liberal media men?

It’s time for some equal opportunity accountability. Without it, the fight against media misogyny will continue to be perceived as a proxy war for the Democratic Party, not a fight for fair treatment of women in the public square.

So I will say to Powers, check that…all routine misogyny in the media…both the liberal and conservative needs to be called out.

(I realize that I am repeating myself, but I am proud that I can honestly say we do call it out here on Sky Dancing. And we don’t limit it to the right or left male misogynist either…we hit those women misogynistic assholes as well.  No mistake about that!)

Moving right along….

The storms over the weekend have killed dozens of people. The last figure I saw was 39…but that may have changed.

March tornadoes: One day there was a town; the next day it was gone –

“What we know is we’ve got complete destruction. We’re going to deal with it the best we can,” Sgt. Jerry Goodin of the Indiana State Police told CNN affiliate WISH-TV.

There a lots of videos and photographs of the tornadoes and the damage at that CNN link.

One story in particular is both heartbreaking and amazing at the same time.

Tornado Survivor: Young Girl Found in Field Amid Dead Family Members

In a field outside of a flattened home rescuers found a young child laying among the bodies of her family who were killed by a powerful tornado.

The unidentified 2-year-old girl was found in New Pekin, Ind., and taken to Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Ky., where she is in critical condition. The girl has one family member, who was not identified, with her at the hospital as she recuperates from her injuries, said Cis Gruebbel, chief of nursing at the hospital.

Washington County Sheriff Claude Combs told ABC News that the girl was discovered near the bodies of her 21-year-old mother and two younger siblings, ages 2 years and 2 months old. The body of a 20-year-old male was also recovered from the field.

Indiana Tornado Outbreak 2012: Baby Found Alone In Field After Storms

A hospital spokeswoman says a toddler found alive in an Indiana field after violent storms is the sole survivor of her immediate family.

Cis Gruebbel is a spokeswoman for Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, Ky. Gruebbel says the toddler is in critical condition.

Washington County, Ind., Coroner Rondale Brishaber said the girl’s mother, father, 2-month-old sister and 2-year-old brother all died in the storm.

We had some damage just north of Banjoville. In fact the town of Murphy, NC is just on the north side of the mountain where we used to live. Some video below:

Tornado causes damage in Cherokee County

Homes Destroyed By Storms In North Carolina

However, this image from Rome, GA pretty much says it all, via Susie Madrak: March comes in like a lion….

A friend from Rome, Ga sent this to me. This photograph was taken during last night’s storm.

It is getting to be a long post, so I will move along quickly with the rest of the news round-up after the jump.

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Thursday Reads: Allergies, French Attitude Adjustments, Neo-Nazi Homicide Update, and More


I’ve been saying for awhile now that my spring allergies this year are the worst I can remember. Apparently I haven’t been imagining things. From USA Today:

“Everyone always has a reason to think the current year is the worst year ever for allergies,” said Dr. David Rosenstreich, director of the allergy and immunology division at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

But this year those complaints really do have some merit, he added.

“It’s been a very unusual allergy season. I don’t know if it’s because of the very wet winter or that it’s been cold longer, but the pollen counts are much higher. This week, it’s been running about 6,000 grains a day, instead of the usual 1,500,” Rosenstreich said of his local area.

I knew it was really bad this year! The Chicago Tribune got the same story from different allergy experts.

“Allergy season came a bit sooner and faster, and that’s what took everyone by surprise,” said Dr. Sonali Majmudar, an allergist and immunologist based in Hoffman Estates, who said many of her patients report that they’ve never struggled with allergies before this season.


The choppy, indecisive early spring weather for which Chicago is known, with temperatures jumping between balmy and freezing every few days, might also be to blame, Majmudar said. When it warms up and cools down, pollination starts and stops and immune systems don’t know how to react, she said.

Also contributing: one of the rainiest Aprils on record. While that might be great for yard plants, it’s a big problem for people with allergies, said Dr. Joseph Leija.

That’s exactly how the weather has been here in the Boston area: cold one day, warm the next, then back to cold–and constant rain.

Leija, an allergist at Loyola University Health System’s Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park, also called this the most severe allergy season he has seen in years.

Tree allergy season, which usually begins to wane by early May, is still going strong this year, said Leija, who provides pollen counts for the Midwest to the National Allergy Bureau.

Well at least I know I’m not completely crazy (just partly). According this article in USA Today, allergies are “on the rise” and ragweed is mostly responsible. Want to know if your city is one of the worst for ragweed? Here’s a list of the top 30 cities.

1 Phoenix
2 Las Vegas
3 Kansas City
4 Riverside-San Bernardino
5 Dallas
6 Chicago
7 Sacramento
8 Philadelphia
9 Denver
10 Washington, D.C. (tied)
10 Minneapolis/St. Paul (tied)
12 New York
13 Cincinnati
14 Baltimore
15 Cleveland
16 St. Louis (tied)
16 Detroit (tied)
18. Atlanta
19 Boston
20 Pittsburgh
21 Orlando
22 Los Angeles (tied)
22 San Antonio (tied)
24 Houston
25 Seattle
26 San Diego
27 Tampa
28 Portland
29 San Francisco
30 Miami

Weird. I always thought the southwest was good for allergy sufferers. And I can’t believe Indianapolis isn’t even on the list!

Researchers say the increase in allergies is related to climate change.

Apocalyptic images of global climate change include drought, rising sea levels, suffocating coral reefs and emaciated, drowning polar bears. But a new study points to some of the more immediate and mundane side effects of global warming: runny noses, itchy eyes and persistent coughs.

Researchers say allergies are on the rise, and it’s the result of warmer temperatures and happier allergens, like ragweed and mold.

It figures, doesn’t it? Another recent study found that men are more susceptible to allergies than women, which is the opposite of what many people have always assumed.

It appears that French women are becoming more cognizant of their rights to not be sexually harrassed. Now one of Sarkozy’s ministers has been accused of sexually harrassing and/or attacking two former employees.

French prosecutors have opened an inquiry into sexual harassment accusations leveled against a junior minister by two women, one of whom said the arrest of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn on sex crime charges encouraged her to speak up.

The two women filed the complaints this week against George Tron, a minister in charge of the civil service in the center-right government of President Nicolas Sarkozy, according to their lawyer, Gilbert Collard.

Prosecutor Marie-Suzanne Le Queau told Reuters in response to a telephone query that a preliminary inquiry had been opened as a result of the accusations. “The inquiry will cover (suspected) counts of sexual assault and rape,” Le Queau said. All types of penetration can be classified as rape in France.

One of the women

said she was driven to break her silence after former IMF chief Strauss-Kahn was arrested and charged with attempted rape on the basis of the accusations of a New York hotel maid in a case that stunned France and the world.

“When I see that a little chambermaid is capable of taking on Dominique Strauss-Kahn, I tell myself I do not have the right to stay silent,”

I don’t care for the “little chambermaid” reference, but I applaud the general spirit of what this woman had to say.

The Washington Post reports that the French are “questioning attitudes” about the sexual behavior of powerful men

The criminal charges prompted the media to revisit little-reported incidents in which Strauss-Kahn was accused of sexual aggressiveness that appeared to cross the line into harassment. Women have come forward with their own stories of unwanted approaches that they felt powerless to do anything about….

Feminists say that, to succeed in France, women in politics, business and the media have to put up with “heavy flirting” bordering on harassment.

One political TV talk show panel titled “The Return of the Feminists” asked: “Are we all chambermaids?’”

Prominent journalist Helene Jouan said last week that as a young reporter she had to put up with politicians “knocking on my hotel-room door” and sending unwanted text messages. She said the behavior made her uncomfortable, but it was something that was not really talked about.

There is a similar article at Bloomberg.

The arrest in New York of former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn on charges of attempted rape is forcing men to watch what they say and emboldening women to challenge the modern-day version of France’s “droit de cuissage,” a feudal practice giving masters the right to have sex with female servants. It’s prompting introspection in the media over whether its laissez-faire attitude toward private lives of those in power helps them act with impunity.

“Since power is often thought of as an aphrodisiac, there was a sort of acceptance of men’s excesses toward women,” said Rachel Mulot, a member of a feminist group called “La Barbe,” or The Beard, which on May 22 joined protests in Paris against the “dominant male.” The Strauss-Kahn case may serve as a trigger to help victims of sexual assaults to break the “taboo of rape” in France, she said.

I wanted to give you an update on the case of the 10-year-old boy who shot and killed his Neo-Nazi skinhead dad. I told you I thought it was highly likely that the father was abusing his kids. It turns out I was right. The guy was beating his wife too.

A 10-year-old boy charged with murdering his white supremacist father told investigators that he shot the man after growing tired of him hitting him and his stepmother, court documents showed on Wednesday.

In the hours after the shooting, the boy told investigators he thought Jeff Hall, 32, was cheating on his stepmother and that he might have to choose who to live with, according to a police declaration filed in Riverside County.

The blonde-haired boy from Southern California told investigators he went into his parents’ closet, pulled a revolver off a low shelf, went downstairs and aimed the gun at his father’s ear while he was asleep and shot him. He later hid the gun under his bed, according to court documents.

“It was right there on the shelf,” the boy told investigators, according to the police declaration filed Tuesday in support of an arrest warrant for his stepmother Krista McCary on nine felony charges of child endangerment and criminal storage of a gun.

Investigators also reported that the house was a pigsty and not a fit place to be raising five children, including a two-month old baby girl.

The tornado season is continuing in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and all over the midwest. Why are the tornadoes so bad this year? That’s the question this article in the Christian Science Monitor tries to answer.

Nearly 1,200 tornadoes have swarmed the United States this year, according to preliminary numbers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Four of these storms have been rated at the highest tornado strength, an EF-5. The death toll from these tornadoes has likely topped 500, a number not seen since 1953.

But why has this year seen so many and such devastating twisters? Scientists point to several large-scale climate factors, some of which have been at work behind the scenes since winter. And at least some of the mind-boggling tornado numbers, believe it or not, can be chalked up to humans — there are more of us around to see them.

The article offers a number of explanations–too much information to excerpt, so read the whole thing if you’re interested.

I’m going to finish with a couple of Obama-family-related stories First, there’s a sex scandal roiling the private elementary school that Malia Obama attended.

The father of a 5-year-old Sidwell Friends School student has filed a $10 million suit against the school for allegedly allowing its staff psychologist to carry on an affair with his wife.

In court filings, Arthur Newmyer claims he and his daughter suffered “severe emotional distress” when then-school psychologist James Huntington carried on a lengthy affair with his wife, Tara Newmyer. Huntington was treating Newmyer’s daughter at the time, and the suit alleges that the girl was routinely present when he and Tara Newmyer would meet to spend time together.

Arthur Newmyer is accusing Sidwell of being aware of the affair and doing “nothing to stop it.”

Finally, as everyone who hasn’t been living under a rock knows, the Obamas are touring Europe right now. Afrocity posted this photo on Facebook. I think she probably did it to make fun of Michelle Obama, but I really loved it. I just can’t help but like Michelle. I even like her outfits. Go ahead and yell at me for it. I don’t mind. So here’s the photo

I just love that picture! That woman is a good sport and doesn’t take herself too seriously. I like that. If she were President instead of her husband, I think we’d probably be a lot better off, as you can see below: President Obama talks over “God Save the Queen” and quotes Shakespeare inappropriately. What an embarrassment!

So…. what are you reading and blogging about this morning?