Monday Reads

Good Morning! It’s been a tough weekend. As usual when dreadful events happen, the cable channels are covering the shooting in Arizona 24/7. Things are still happening in the DC despite the horror of that story. I just don’t know how much more I can read about it. Thinking about senseless hatred and violence is starting to make me feel physically ill.

If you do want to read more about the Arizona tragedy, the Washington Post has special section on it: Special Report: The Tucson shooting rampage. The New York Times also has lots of stories and photos on the front page.

Now I’ll see if I can find any other important stories for you to check out this morning.

On Saturday, I wrote a long piece on Darrell Issa, the man who is going have subpoena power as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee. The man is a thug, and we’d better be paying attention to what he’s doing. I hope when the news about the shooting calms down that people will take a look at that piece. I don’t usually “pimp” my posts, but I feel that this one is important.

Now I see that the Republicans plan to make changes in another important House committee: Republicans banish ‘civil rights’ and ‘civil liberties’ from House subcommittee

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) blasted Republicans for planning to change the name of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties to the “Constitution Subcommittee.”

“Once again, the new Republican majority has shown that it isn’t quite as committed to the Constitution as its recent lofty rhetoric would indicate,” Rep. Nadler, who has served as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties since 2007, said.

“It has yet again shown its contempt for key portions of the document – the areas of civil rights and civil liberties – by banishing those words from the title of the Constitution Subcommittee.”

The Subcommittee on the Constitution is one of five subcommittees of the US House Committee on the Judiciary. The subcommittee has jurisdiction over constitutional amendments, constitutional rights, federal civil rights, ethics in government, and related matters.

Nice, huh?

I’ve seen people talking about this in the comments, but can I just say that I’m sick and tired of people tampering with Huckleberry Finn? It’s one of my favorite books. I have read it multiple times, and I happen to think it’s a candidate for the Great American Novel.

Mark Twain wrote the book the way he did to deliver some serious messages, one of which was an argument against racism. He did that by demonstrating in his novel why racism is wrong. There is also a strong message in the book about child neglect and abuse and about alcoholism. It’s a brilliant book, and there is no need to censor it. If it is taught in school, then the context of the language Twain used can be discussed and debated. Huckleberry Finn is not a children’s book. High school students are perfectly capable of understanding the book and its importance.

Here’s a piece at Truthdig that offers 10 Reasons Why the Slurs Should Stay in ‘Huck Finn.’ It’s pretty good.

When I was a senior in high school I read Shakespeare’s plays in my English class. There were two teachers who taught the Shakespeare course. My teacher had us read the plays aloud as written. The other teacher, an elderly woman, had students read the “dirty” parts silently. I’m glad I wasn’t in her class. But at least she didn’t make the students skip over those parts entirely or try to censor the plays.

I say let’s read the greatest works of literature as written.

Here’s a interesting and ironic story at the LA Times: 1800s-era skeletons discovered as crews build L.A. heritage center

Under a half-acre lot of dirt and mud being transformed into a garden and public space for a cultural center celebrating the Mexican American heritage of Los Angeles, construction workers and scientists have found bodies buried in the first cemetery of Los Angeles — bodies believed to have been removed and reinterred elsewhere in the 1800s.

Since late October, the fragile bones of dozens of Los Angeles settlers have been discovered under what will be the outdoor space of La Plaza de Cultura y Artes downtown near Olvera Street. According to archaeologists and the chief executive of La Plaza, they appear to be remains from the Campo Santo, or cemetery, connected to the historic Catholic church Our Lady Queen of Angels, commonly called La Placita. The remains are just south of the church.

Pieces of decaying wood coffins as well as religious artifacts such as rosary beads and medals have also been unearthed.

The cemetery, which officially closed in 1844, was the final resting place of a melting pot of early Los Angeles — Native Americans; Spanish, Mexican, European settlers; and their intermarried offspring. But the repercussions of the discovery outside La Placita have been anything but peaceful.

So digging up the bones of early settlers in order to build a monument to early settlers. Ironic.

Dakinikat sent me this Bloomberg article about Goldman Sachs and their investment in Facebook.

News has leaked out that Goldman, supposedly the smartest Wall Street firm, will buy $450 million of stock in closely held Facebook, with Digital Sky Technologies, which invests in start- ups and is partly owned by Goldman, purchasing another $50 million.

The anonymous folks who put out these numbers said the deal sets a value for Facebook equal to that of Boeing Co. and approaching that of Home Depot Inc.

Goldman clearly is capitalizing on Wall Street’s latest diversion: a semi-public stock market for private companies.

Several firms now offer shares of closely held companies or offer estimates of their value, or both.

It seems that Goldman is hyping Facebook in order to increase the value of its own investment in advance of Facebook going public. Shouldn’t that be illegal?

Dak also sent me this link to the Economist about the war on government unions: It’s a long article and I haven’t been able to read the whole thing yet, but it looks worthwhile. Perhaps Dak will do a longer post on this issue.

[MABlue’s picks]
Bethany McLean from Vanity Fair has a great reportage about Goldman Sachs. These poor guys, they’re so misunderstood.
The Bank Job

One of the biggest disconnects on Wall Street today is between the way Goldman Sachs sees itself (they’re the smartest) and the way everyone else sees Goldman (they’re the smartest, greediest, and most dangerous). Questioning C.E.O. Lloyd Blankfein, C.O.O. Gary Cohn, and C.F.O. David Viniar, among others, the author explores how their firm navigated the collapse of September 2008, why it has already set aside $16.7 billion for compensation this year, and which lines it’s accused of crossing.

There’s more on the heinous crimes of the week-end, violent rhetoric from Right (spare me the “Both-Sides-Do-It”), and intimidation of political figures.
How the Tucson Massacre Rattled U.S. Judges

For a moment, U.S. District Judge John M. Roll seemed as likely the main target of the Tucson massacre as Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. In 2009, Roll had come under threats severe enough that he and his family were placed under 24-hour protection by the U.S. Marshals Service. After he ruled that a high-profile suit brought by a group of Mexican immigrants could proceed, his phone lines were deluged with angry callers — including at least four that threatened violence.

At the time, the U.S. Marshal for Arizona told the Arizona Republic that the threats had been egged on by radio talk-show hosts critical of Roll’s decision. Critics began sharing his personal information on Web sites as the rhetoric became more heated. The round-the-clock protection lasted a month, though Roll ultimately decided not to press charges against the callers.
For some members of the judiciary, the news that Roll was among the six who died during the shooting spree in Tucson was unsettling in ways that went beyond personal grief from those who knew and served with Roll, who had been placed on the bench by President George H. W. Bush in 1991 at the urging of Senator John McCain. Just minutes after learning of the slayings, U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman of Chicago told TIME in an email that the news of the murder was “very disturbing… Just when we were beginning to feel more secure.”

Or I see. There’s a big difference between men’s tears and women’s tears. As “luck” would have it (or as always in these matters), men’s tears are a turn on for women, but women’s tears are a turnoff for men. Or is it? There’s an interesting study out but not all agree on the interpretation of the results.
Crying, Sex, and John Boehner: Not So Fast

The study is, predictably, getting a lot of media attention (WOMEN’S TEARS SAY, ‘NOT TONIGHT, DEAR’), but experts on tears and crying aren’t so sure the findings mean what the Weizmann scientists say they do. “I like their study very much, and I think their results are fascinating, but I have my doubts about their interpretation,” says Vingerhoets. “I suspect the sexual effect is just a side effect: testosterone, which was reduced when men sniffed the women’s tears, isn’t only about sex: it’s also about aggression. And that fits better with our current thinking about tears.”

Sooooo…. What are you reading this morning?

42 Comments on “Monday Reads”

  1. Nice roundup, BB! I know what you mean about the Arizona situation. Not only is it a terrible tragedy, but the cable networks can be counted on to try and turn a buck from it. And the talking heads are prognosticating like they really have some insight. I wouldn’t be surprised if Congress doesn’t try to pass some crap now that we are all mourning with the Arizonans that are in the middle of this tragedy.

    I needed a pick me up, so I went looking for Hillary news. Surprisingly, or not surprisingly, it was sparse as she seems to have just been working hard as always.

    In West African news, all peaceful avenues have been exhausted. Next up – war. My country will take the lead in that one, and I can tell you this, we don’t need Obumbles sticking his nose in it.

    Have a great day all!

    Hillary 2012

  2. It seems impossible for the story of Christina Green to get even more heart wrenching than it was from the outset… but it does with every new detail…

    Born on Sept. 11, Claimed by a New Horror
    Christina Green was special from birth because she was born
    on Sept. 11, 2001, and was proud of it, her mother said,
    because it lent a note of hope to that terrible day.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Get this. Christina Green was the granddaughter of Dallas Green, former manager of the Mets, Yankees, and Phillies. Her dad, John, is a scout for the Dodgers.

  3. From BB’s ever-excellent roundup:

    Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) blasted Republicans for planning to change the name of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties to the “Constitution Subcommittee.”

    Wake me when 2010 is over.

  4. janicen says:

    I’m so glad you linked to your Saturday post on Issa. I didn’t get to read it then, but I read it this morning and I can’t close my mouth! It’s jaw-droppingly amazing that this criminal is now a member of Congress! People complain about Michael Vick playing football (I’m neither defending nor excusing Vick) but how in Hades can Issa be elected to the House and Chair the House Oversight Committee? I know someone who is trying to get a high level security clearance, and I can’t imagine that Issa would even come close to passing the detailed polygraph test much less the scrutiny of personal history, but now he’s going to have subpoena power? Wow.

    Sky Dancers, if you didn’t read BB’s Saturday post, read it today. It’s amazing.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks, Janicen. Issa is truly scary. I’m not sure the Chicago gang are a match for him.

      • Woman Voter says:

        Funny, but Bill Maher (Fawns over him) has him on as ‘moderate’ Republican and I think once he mentioned he had presidential aspirations…God Help US.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Janicen, I know that post was fantastic…I am so surprised that all these criminal activities are going unnoticed. It is amazing that this guy even was able to run for a major political office.

  5. Pat Johnson says:

    bb: I read your essay on Darryl Issa and it is well researched and most informative. We seem to have developed an ability to overlook even the most egregious actions carried out by members of congress who are elected to serve us. Excellent summary.

    The new governor of Florida won his race though he had been cited for Medicare fraud that resulted in millions lost but that state elected to put their futures in his hands.

    It is becoming impossible to read into the minds and hearts of voters who tolerate and reward these thieves when the evidence is right smack in front of them.

    It’s all about the money, who has it, and how it is spent in the race for power.

    • bostonboomer says:

      It seems that as soon as someone gets rich, his crimes are no longer treated as crimes. Issa has tried to dismiss all this as youthful indiscretions, but the evidence shows that his unethical/criminal behavior has continued throughout his adult life.

      • Fannie says:

        BB a perfect example of an unjust society……Gov. Brown just appointed Louis “Bill” Honig to the State Board of Education. In 1993 he was convicted of 4 felony conflict of interest counts. Was ordered to be placed on probation, to pay $275,000 dollars, and do community time. The law review slapped him so he could not practice law. In 1996, the Court of appeals reduced his convictions to misdemeanors and he was ordered to pay $47,000 (which he did immediately) and to do community service time. Which he did.

        Here we have yet another person put back in charge of the very program that he funnelled money to illegally. It just
        gets under my skin like Issa does.

      • Woman Voter says:


        youthful indiscretions

        , hemmm, in his twenties and later???? Ya, Right!

      • Woman Voter says:

        As I recall Bill Honig did one thing that brought the Republicans chasing him. He was trying to pass ‘Education Parity’ and it was via his efforts that many of the Charter Schools were started and many children benefited from that. The conflict as far as I can recall, the org was trying to find ways to involve parents in their children’s education and later that philosophy including educating the parents via parent academies where they could learn how they could support their children in their schools. Some parents were even assisted into going back to school and some were referred to project read and other adult resources.

        So, Bill Honig, didn’t steal, he was lapse in his efforts to see that his wife should resigned or worked pro-bono in the org that was spear heading these efforts. Rob Reiner was another person that was targeted, and he resigned from the First Five Commission and was Tar and Feathered, despite all his good works on behalf of California’s Children and their educational goals and a chance at a good future.

        Comparing Bill Honig to Issa is not even close.



        Honig Gained Nothing, Accountant Testifies
        Education: Defense rests after witness says neither the schools chief nor his wife benefited from state contracts.
        January 27, 1993|JOHN HURST | TIMES STAFF WRITER

        SACRAMENTO — The defense rested its case Tuesday in the Bill Honig conflict-of-interest trial after presenting a certified public accountant who testified that neither the schools chief nor his wife benefited from contracts that Honig is accused of illegally authorizing.

        On the contrary, Francis J. Callahan told a Superior Court jury, the Quality Education Project run by Nancy Honig spent hundreds of thousands of dollars of its own money to augment the contracts that were aimed at developing parental involvement in the public schools.

        (emphasis mine)
        California Governor Brown’s wife is going to work in a position where she will work for FREE, as to avoid a similar situation and NO Bill Honig isn’t a millionaire.

        Any hoo, my 2 Cents!

  6. dakinikat says:

    I wanted to share a bit of satire with you fromDutch Journalist Okke Ornstein. It’s a ‘confession’ letter to Tracy McCormick, source of the wikileaks subpoena. It put a big smile on my face.

    I hereby confess that I am one of the 635,561 followers of WikiLeaks on Twitter. I also follow Gabriel Garcia Marquéz and someone called PJCrowley. Just saying. To make things worse, I also signed a petition together with over a hundred colleagues in support of WikiLeaks – I think they’re doing a great job – and against the kind of thing your department is doing.

    I’m also one of the 1,516,269 people who “like” WikiLeaks on FaceBook – I’m assuming that they received a similar subpoena. I also like the “Diving Wrecks and Reefs” page, the “Latin American Art” page, the “NO A LA REELECCION DEL RECTOR GUSTAVO GARCIA DE PAREDES” page as well as the “Fossil Sharks of Panama” page. Oh, I was also the first journalist in Panama to report on the leaked cables from your embassy. Juicy stuff! I thought I might as well make a full confession here and I don’t want to withhold vital information.

    So, now that you have my confession, what are you gonna do with this information, if I may ask; put us all on a no-fly list? Guantanamo? Or some Kuwait torture chamber? A cease and desist order against over 2 million people to stop them from liking or following WikiLeaks?

    That’s just an excerpt go read the entire thing. It’s one of those things where you don’t know if you should laugh or cry. I got it from a retweet from WomanVoter.

    • Woman Voter says:

      I just put in my little confession too. Funny, thing is ‘WikiLeaks’ never replied, they just fixed the link. 😯 Gosh, to think I am expecting a third grandchild which generally brings a euphoria of new beginnings, hope and light, but under the continual WAR ON TERROR (Grope Scanner/Hands on Groping and Free Speech restrictions), which seems more and more like a WAR on Citizens and Civil Liberties, I am glum… 😦

  7. Woman Voter says:

    To Mrs. Tracy McCormick, of that Twitter WikiLeaks subpoena

    My comment below, albeit more emotional than articulate, 😥 but heart felt.
    By Woman Voter on January 10th, 2011 at 12:31
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    I would like to say that I don’t think I will do well at waterboarding and well I will confess:
    I once contacted WikiLeaks because their video link didn’t work!. Oh, and don’t forget my medications and yes, I tend to be an Activist, but then you (government) already know this. Oh, and maybe my former org where I was a Board Member of the local Chapter, may take up the case, I hope and I may contact them later this week just in case and to give them an FYI. Oh, I follow them too…on Twitter too, but you (government know this).

    I see tweeter like a cyber newspaper and ‘FOLLOWING’ is like signing up for the newspaper, ‘LIKING’ is favoring the news content and is not indicative of any illegal activity.

    Oh, but then again, since the NEVER ENDING WAR on TERROR, we are all presumed guilty. Oh, but we shouldn’t worry, President Obama has a Nobel Peace Prize, and he wouldn’t be doing this to me, or would he.

    P.S. I have written health related articles in a progressive paper and have used my own photos (do photography mainly) and therefore I complain as feel/experiencing Oppression of my First Amendment Rights and also on basis Freedom of The Press. If we can not communicate with one another, do we have life? If we are prevented from following a story do we have Freedom of Expression? So many questions, so little answers.

    The below video shows how ‘GOOD PEOPLE’, can be transformed into Evil (By policies that don’t respect people’s rights and/or Human Rights) and how in this case they even took photos of the Human Rights violations and had completely lost the plot (Didn’t see that it was wrong). So, us 635,561 followers of WikiLeaks on Twitter, should watch this very carefully and write our congressperson and senator while we still can.

    The Lucifer Effect – Part 2 (Philip Zimbardo is internationally recognized as a leading “voice and face of contemporary psychology” through his widely seen PBS-TV series, Discovering Psychology, his media appearances, best-selling trade books on shyness, and his classic research, The Stanford Prison Experiment.)

  8. Sophie says:

    OT but WOW, I really love the new digs. Congratulations!

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Thanks Sophie. Yeah, we are getting it all together…still working out the fonts and a few other things…but I think it is really looking good too.

    • dakinikat says:

      We’re kind’ve letting it settle down right now and they we may tweak it some more eventually. I set every one’s head’s spinning enough for the time being when I did live changes. Minx has set up a test site for comments.

      Basically, the big goals are to make it welcoming, make it look professional, and make it easy to read on all of our aging eyes (i.e. no gray font on gray background or small font)

  9. dakinikat says:

    Harry Shearer has some good thoughts on how we don’t deal with the Mentally Ill well at all in this country.

    Why There Are So Many Mentally Ill Among Us ?

    But now we’re being told that toxic political rhetoric is dangerous, because of its possible effect on the less rational, more mentally unhinged folks among us. So, maybe it’s time to ask this question: Why are they among us?

    Amanda Marcotte covers this too:

    Giffords Shooting Raises Questions About Mental Health Care

    It appears that many people noticed that Loughner was suffering from some kind of mental health problems, and yet so far there’s no indication that he got a diagnosis or even saw a mental health professional. If he had, there’s a chance that this tragedy could have been averted.

    I still can’t believe the community college couldn’t do something other than toss him out of their classes and make him some one else’s problem.

    • Teresa says:

      I doubt the community college had any legal right to do anything, other than kick him out of school. They did tell the parents that he couldn’t re-enter without mental health counseling.

    • Branjor says:

      At this point, I have been told that virtually all therapy in this country is being limited to 3-6 sessions, and medication if needed. This is barely enough to treat a slightly neurotic gerbil. Inpatient treatment is also very brief. The only way you can get more and at an affordable cost is to be part of a research study, as far as I know.

    • dakinikat says:

      Yes, but she just loves using gun images and gun rhetoric for political purposes when it’s opportune and the crowds love it.

      Not buying what you’re selling Sarah! Not gonna do it! Wouldn’t be prudent at this juncture.

      Sounds like the same justification that people make when they make tons of money off Gangsta rap and they have to make excuses when some disturbed black inner city youth shoots some one. That disturbed black inner city youth doesn’t get access to top lawyers and there’s not talk about mental illnesses then.

    • Woman Voter says:

      Beck who inspired a ‘criminal’ to go out and prepare to massacre dozens in two Civil Rights Orgs is doing the talking? I heard of one Mormon man that attended and then learned of Beck’s incitement and was horrified. Palin knew and still went to speak as the main speaker with disregard for what Beck spews out, and that bothers me, even if it doesn’t bother Palin. Palin needs to do some introspective accounting about ‘gun’ toughness and ‘gun’ visuals and the ‘Hunt down Assange’ bit too. Internationally she is not gaining respect as the potential GOP candidate who will run for president. In fact there are sites by people in other countries that are dedicated to her FaceBook and her Tweets (not joking just saw one a day or two ago).

      So, Palin needs to raise the BAR and take notes of other GOP Leaders, Trail Blazers that were able to work with both sides of the isle and especially women and women’s issues.

      Are There Still Cultural Barriers for Women In Politics?

      Interesting thing is that she mentions Hillary R. Clinton in the 2008 primaries and that is remarkable…more remarkable too is that she doesn’t sling shots at the Dem women and that she speaks of the hurdles women face in today’s political climate.

      So, Palin should leave the violent gun stuff out of politics as it doesn’t bode well and won’t serve her well in the future nor women in general.

  10. Minkoff Minx says:

    A couple more links:

    Loughner’s Politics: Chaos. Pure Chaos | Crooks and Liars

    The past 36 hours have been a constant circle of finger-pointing, denial, finger-pointing, and more denial with a heavy dose of false equivalence thrown in. Conservatives say Loughner’s liberal; liberals say he’s conservative. Neither one is true. At best, Jared Lee Loughner was an anarchist in how he viewed his impact on the external world. And he was a man with a grudge.

    Women’s Media Center Statement on Giffords Shooting – WMC Blog

    The Women’s Media Center is stunned and saddened by the attack on Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and her staff and supporters. As media cover this tragic story, they have a special responsibility NOT to legitimize violent rhetoric that targets and attempts to silence women leaders and progressive voices. The Womens’ Media Center will continue to monitor the coverage of this story, and encourages media to make the link between hate speech and violence, and to condemn violent rhetoric and armed groups. Our hearts go out to the victims of this violence, and hope that through critical examination of the cultural factors that produce such tragedies, that we prevent them in the future, because violence against one woman is violence against all.

  11. dakinikat says:

    And as usual, who do you suppose is going to picket the funeral of that 10 year old girl and the 30 year old woman that was a victim of that shooter?

    westborough haters

    Fred Phelps announced Sunday he will bring his tiny band of followers, fresh from last month’s Elizabeth Edwards funeral, to this wounded city because, “That’s how God the avenger rolls,” he says.

    and they’ll know we are christians by our love…

    (sigh) definitely not a church but a hate group.

  12. dakinikat says:

    Here’s something from a licensed psychologist at FDL:

    I would caution against implying any politics to someone who appears so disturbed, as his interpretation of political symbols and phrases are interpreted in a highly idiosyncratic and irrational way. However, if he were susceptible to violence, then the targets available by the given society, i.e., the rhetoric out there in the society, would have pointed him towards liberals, leftists, Muslims, or other minorities, and that kind of rhetoric has mainly been from the right-wing, as has been copiously commented upon.

  13. dakinikat says:

    Another interesting read from Truth Out by Michael Winship:

    Hate Speech, the Right’s Magic Bullet

    The Russian playwright Anton Chekhov had a rule: if you show a gun in the first act, by the time the curtain falls, it has to go off.

  14. dakinikat says:

    From CNN breaking news: — Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay sentenced to at least three years in prison in money-laundering case, judge rules.

    Wonder who is dancing partner will be now?

  15. Woman Voter says:

    DAK & Team,

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  16. dakinikat says:

    oh, dear there appears to be a similar situation/copy cat except the Feds put the brake on this guy for making threats that mentioned the AZ shooting . It involves Colorado Democratic Senator Bennet.