Sunday Reads: Isn’t it pretty to think so?
Posted: June 19, 2011 Filed under: abortion rights, education, Federal Budget, Foreign Affairs, Human Rights, morning reads, Reproductive Rights, Sudan | Tags: Clarence Thomas, FFFWeek, Hemingway, Japan, Nuclear
Happy Father’s Day to all you baby daddies everywhere! Just a few links for you today, let’s get to it…
New figures of radiation are being released in Japan, there is a real good post about this at naked capitalism, called Global Nuclear Update.
Science Magazine reports that Japanese scientists have become so concerned about the health of their children that they have initiated their own radiation monitoring program and made their own maps. The results are shocking.
It shows one wide belt of radiation reaching 225 kilometers south from the stricken reactors to Tokyo and another extending to the southwest. Within those belts are localized hot spots, including an oval that encloses northeast Tokyo and Kashiwa and neighboring cities in Chiba Prefecture.
A map of citizen measured radiation levels shows radioactivity is distributed in a complex pattern reflecting the mountainous terrain and the shifting winds across a broad area of Japan north of Tokyo which is in the center of the of bottom of the map.
That article has info on many other Nuclear sites throughout the world. Take some time to read it.
Why is it when any distressing news comes out of Africa, it always seems to involves such large numbers? Half a million displaced as Khartoum moves to crush Sudan’s Nuba people | World news | The Observer
New fighting has increased the chances that a north-south war will reignite, ending hopes of peaceful partition Photograph: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images
Fierce new fighting along Sudan‘s volatile north-south divide is raising deep concern for the safety of the Nuba people, the forgotten victims of the country’s long-running civil war who are once again under attack by government forces and militias.
The fighting has significantly increased the chances that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the civil war six years ago will collapse, reigniting a north-south war and ending all hopes of peaceful partition when oil-rich South Sudan formally declares itself independent on 9 July.
On 5 June, as the Sudanese government army prepared to “control” – disarm – Nuba fighters, fighting erupted in South Kordofan’s capital, Kadugli, and spread quickly across most of the region. The battle for Kadugli became a street-by-street war of attrition: Khartoum piled in brigades of regulars and irregulars, and the SPLA relentlessly mortared the army’s divisional headquarters.
The UN has issued a report stating that human right offenses are becoming more frequent, and a humanitarian crises is being to build.
On Thursday the Nuba leader, Abdelaziz Adam al-Hilu, told African Union (AU) mediators frantically crafting a ceasefire agreement that more than 3,000 people have disappeared – either killed or their whereabouts unknown – “because they are Nuba or belong to the SPLA”. He said 400,000-500,000 have been displaced, in a population of approximately 2.5 million, and more than 50 towns had been bombed.
Food, he said, was being used as a weapon, with no flow of goods to rural areas since May. Kadugli airport has been closed to humanitarian flights. Relief coming by road has been turned away.
The deadline for the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) staff to leave Khartoum has been set for July 9th, but the situation has become so violent they are afraid to leave the compound.
Justice Clarence Thomas is again in the news, and this time, the “friends” he keeps are bringing about serious questions regarding ethics and the Supreme Court. Friendship of Justice and Magnate Puts Focus on Ethics – NYTimes.com
The seafood cannery that Justice Thomas mother once worked is now becoming a large museum in Pin Point, GA, just outside of Savannah, GA is a new pet project of Thomas. According to the NYT, Thomas became interested in the property when he met the owner Algernon Varn, while visiting his birthplace in coastal GA.
Varn told Mike McIntire of the NYT:
“And Clarence said, ‘Well, I’ve got a friend I’m going to put you in touch with,’ ” Mr. Varn recalled, adding that he was later told by others not to identify the friend.
The publicity-shy friend turned out to be Harlan Crow, a Dallas real estate magnate and a major contributor to conservative causes. Mr. Crow stepped in to finance the multimillion-dollar purchase and restoration of the cannery, featuring a museum about the culture and history of Pin Point…
The project throws a spotlight on an unusual, and ethically sensitive, friendship that appears to be markedly different from those of other justices on the nation’s highest court.
Many remember the last time Thomas was in the news because of his questionable ethics practices.
In January, the liberal advocacy organization Common Cause asked the Justice Department to investigate whether Justices Thomas and Antonin Scalia should have recused themselves from last year’s Citizens United campaign finance case because they had attended a political retreat organized by the billionaire Koch brothers, who support groups that stood to benefit from the court’s decision.
A month later, more than 100 law professors asked Congress to extend to Supreme Court justices the ethics code that applies to other federal judges, and a bill addressing the issue was introduced.
It is not unusual for justices to accept gifts or take part in outside activities, some with political overtones.
The article mentions a few examples of Judges who participate in events that are connected to outside interest.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg participated in a symposium sponsored by the National Organization for Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund, and a philanthropic foundation once tried to give her a $100,000 achievement award. She instructed that the money be given to charity.
Unlike Federal Judges that have a code they must follow, the Supreme court is not bound by a code of conduct. However, they claim to “adhere” to it.
Beyond the admonition against fund-raising, the code generally discourages judges from partaking in any off-the-bench behavior that could create even the perception of partiality. It acknowledges the value in judges’ being engaged with their communities, lecturing on the law and doing charitable work, but draws a line where those activities might cause a reasonable person to worry that a judge is indebted to or influenced by someone.
“The code of conduct is quite clear that judges are not supposed to be soliciting money for their pet projects or charities, period,” said Arn Pearson, a lawyer with Common Cause. “If any other federal judge was doing it, he could face disciplinary action.”
Which brings us to the questions this new Museum raises or more importantly, the relationship between Thomas and Crow. Clarence Thomas is no stranger to ethical investigations.
Justice Thomas’s gift acceptances drew attention in 2004, when The Los Angeles Times reported that he had accumulated gifts totaling $42,200 in the previous six years — far more than any of the other justices.
Since 2004, Justice Thomas has never reported another gift.
The article is really interesting to read. I just picked out some good points, but go ahead and read the entire thing.
Since I am a history major, certain stories seem to attract my attention more than others. This next link is to a Wall Street Journal interview with David McCullough. (Who I think has one of the best voices for narrating documentaries or reading audio books.)
The Weekend Interview With David McCullough: Don’t Know Much About History – WSJ.com
‘We’re raising young people who are, by and large, historically illiterate,” David McCullough tells me on a recent afternoon in a quiet meeting room at the Boston Public Library. Having lectured at more than 100 colleges and universities over the past 25 years, he says, “I know how much these young people—even at the most esteemed institutions of higher learning—don’t know.” Slowly, he shakes his head in dismay. “It’s shocking.”
He’s right. This week, the Department of Education released the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress, which found that only 12% of high-school seniors have a firm grasp of our nation’s history. And consider: Just 2% of those students understand the significance of Brown v. Board of Education.
Mr. McCullough began worrying about the history gap some 20 years ago, when a college sophomore approached him after an appearance at “a very good university in the Midwest.” She thanked him for coming and admitted, “Until I heard your talk this morning, I never realized the original 13 colonies were all on the East Coast.” Remembering the incident, Mr. McCullough’s snow-white eyebrows curl in pain. “I thought, ‘What have we been doing so wrong that this obviously bright young woman could get this far and not know that?'”
Answer: We’ve been teaching history poorly. And Mr. McCullough wants us to amend our ways.
No kidding, if I am not mistaken, History is one of the subjects that is receiving cuts in funding at many public schools and universities, like in Michigan and Colorado. So what do you expect?
Also, the attention span and interest levels of the average American these days is pretty pathetic. I guess if Snookie was giving a lecture on American History, more people would be interested in it.
New anti-abortion billboards have popped up recently, only the group being targeted this time is the Latinas. Billboards Targeting Latinas Exposes Cynical Motives of Conservative Funders | RH Reality Check
In February, billboards in New York City warned that “The most dangerous place for African Americans is in the womb.” Now Latinos in Los Angeles learn that “El lugar más peligroso para un Latino es el vientre de su madre.” (“The most dangerous place for a Latino in in his mother’s womb.”) So what’s going on in the wombs of minority women in the United States? According to Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, which launched the Latina version last week in Los Angeles, Latina women are under attack from Planned Parenthood. Aguilar claims Planned Parenthood is systematically entering Latino neighborhoods to promote what amount to eugenic abortions.
What minority group is next on the list?
From Minx’s Missing Link File: Being a “full figured” gal myself, I found this article from last week refreshing. Full Figured Fashion Week Hits New York City
Today kicks off the start to New York City’s third annual Full Figured Fashion Week (FFFWeek). Over the next three days, buyers, models, sponsors, and bloggers will enjoy an array of events that celebrate plus-size fashion.
It’s no surprise that plus-size models and fashion are largely absent in runway shows, magazine advertisements, and clothing stores. FFFWeek is a great opportunity to begin bridging this gap and give full figured women access to beautiful and fashionable clothing like anyone else.
Wow, FFFWeek lasted three days…facinating huh?
Easy Like Sunday Morning Link of the Week: My son and daughter are named Jake and Brett after the book The Sun Also Rises. So this travel piece about Madrid caught my eye. A Tour of Hemingway’s Madrid – NYTimes.com
El Sobrino de Botín, open since 1725 on a tiny street behind Plaza Mayor, claims to be the oldest restaurant in the world. Jake and Brett turned up here — like Hemingway himself often did — to dine on the house specialty, roasted suckling pig, and drink several bottles of Rioja Alta. Botín isn’t above playing up the association: the front window displays an image of the writer and a quote from “The Sun Also Rises” that mentions the restaurant. (Until recently, the owners of a nearby restaurant, presumably trying to differentiate themselves from Botín, hung a large sign above its door reading: “HEMINGWAY NEVER ATE HERE.”)
…I asked for a table upstairs, the place where Hemingway put Jake and Brett and where he preferred sitting as well. And like our fictional counterparts, we dined on juicy roast suckling pig, though we stopped at just one bottle of Rioja. Afterward, I introduced myself to Antonio and Carlos Gonzáles, the third generation of their family (along with José) to run Botín. The brothers hadn’t been born when Hemingway was a regular guest at their restaurant, but they’ve heard plenty of stories.
“Don Ernesto once wanted to make paella,” Carlos said. “And so our grandfather allowed him to go into the kitchen to make it.”
Was it any good?
“Apparently not,” he said, laughing. “It was the last time they let him cook anything.”
So, I will leave you with the last few sentences in one of Hemingway’s masterpieces. Be sure to leave some comments below, and let us know what you have read today. Happy Father’s Day…
Ernest Hemingway (with the mustache) with Lady Duff Twysden (wearing a hat), Hadley, and three men at a café in Pamplona, Spain, July 1925.
Quote from The Sun Also Rises:
“Oh, Jake,” Brett said, “we could have had such a damned good time together.”
Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly pressing Brett against me.
“Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”