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.


42 Comments on “Sunday Reads: Women’s World Cup, Whitey Bulger, Teacher Cheaters, Chilean Miners and Camel Farts?”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Hi Minx,

    I don’t know if the Whitey Bulger trial will be televised, do you? I don’t find gangers that interesting psychologically. They kill because it’s their job.

    I’m looking forward to another case with ties to the Boston area–Amy Bishop will go on trial in Alabama in October.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    The Gropes of Wrath: Colorado woman denies grabbing and twisting left breast of TSA agent.

    Yukari Mihamae, a writer and translator who lives outside Denver, was arrested for allegedly groping and squeezing the agent’s breast at Sky Harbor Airport Thursday, according to a report obtained by Fox 31 TV news in Denver.

    “I go through this every week, and every week there is some problem,” she said at her home in Longmont, Colo.

    [….

    The Department of Homeland Security defended the arrest, saying “the agency will not tolerate assaults against its workforce.” A source denied that a TSA officer patted down Mihamae.

    But it’s OK for TSA agents to grope passengers….

  3. Minkoff Minx says:

    Geez, I need some coffee! Woke up this morning feeling like I’ve been run over by a truck.

    I’ve got some news updates for you:

    Rebekah Brooks arrested in UK hacking scan – The Washington Post

    Rebekah Brooks, a top executive in Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. media empire before resigning Friday in the wake of a phone hacking scandal, was arrested Sunday by Scotland Yard in a broadening probe into illicit newsgathering.

    Police confirmed a 43-year- old woman was taken into custody Sunday on charges of conspiring to intercept communications and on corruption allegations, a reference to bribes made to police officers for news tips. David Wilson, Brooks’ spokesman, confirmed the woman as Brooks, making her the highest-ranking News Corp official yet to be arrested in the case.

    and this:

    Indonesian Volcano Becomes More Violent | News | English

    Okay, I can’t even think coherently. Going to get a pot of coffee going right now.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Hope the coffee works!

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Nope, must be a case of LOSS… Loathe Obama Severity Syndrome.

        Symptoms include extreme anger, frustration and disbelief, coupled with utter hopelessness, and disgust that brings about the loss of cognitive thought.

        Hence the acronym LOSS.

        Coffee does not help, only a democratic challenger can give sufferers a hope of finding a cure. And even then, there is no guarantee of experiencing a full recovery.

  4. Delphyne says:

    See, one dead camel equals a tax credit based on the amount of carbon fart emissions that the average camel puts out.

    Gee, if using that logic, how much for one dead CEO of the corporations receiving the carbon credit? I’m sure that there is more methane gas released from any of those blowhards than from camels passing gas.

    The ignorance of some humans is simply mind boggling.

  5. A few pre coffee thoughts this morning:I have some tattoos I wish were history, but I am stuck with them forever. Gropes of Wrath is a Headless Body Found in Topless Bar NY Post classic. Was the now more violent Indonesian volcano taken into custody? I will not touch Whitey Bulger. Bad. Man.

    And of course, I would like to say “Thank you, young elephants.

    Have a faboo morning, everyone. And now coffee!

  6. joanelle says:

    Okay so he let Elizabeth Warren do all the leg work and now he’s giving it to one of the boyz – grrrr 👿

  7. dakinikat says:

    MarkThoma Mark Thoma
    Private Sector Snake Oil http://bit.ly/qIuqBJ

    really good comments on how dysfunctional the current insurance company driven health care market is

  8. dakinikat says:

    AJELive AJELive
    Breaking: #Mubarak has suffered a stroke & in a coma, his lawyer told Al Jazeera, more soon… aje.me/fwtYjF #Egypt #Jan25

  9. Beata says:

    Oh, joy! Oh, rapture!

    HGTV is having a sneak preview of their new show, “Selling LA”, tomorrow night. Obnoxious over-the-top LA types, who have had WAY TOO MUCH WORK DONE, looking at ultra-fab multi-million dollar houses and bitching about how they “just won’t do” ! The anticipation of this show makes my pathetic life worth living!!! I can’t wait.

    • marylee says:

      I remember when HGTV actually had gardening shows on and quilting and crafts. Almost never watch the channel any more.

    • paper doll says:

      I agree with you both…and Extreme Chef? I predicted years ago they would combine “Survivor” with a “cooking ” show and they have.

      Both HGTV and The Food Channel look like Onion spins offs…all in search for the 18-35 male market who is not watching their lame ass and pissing off those that would… way to go. What’s next? How to cook the wings you pull of a fly?

      • The suits turn everything to crap.

      • dakinikat says:

        What drives me crazy is that health channel that shows that man with multiple wives and man with wife who does nothing but spit out babies shows. I’m glad to see the state of Utah is at least going after the bigamy thing. I wish child services would take a look at more of those situations were children appear to be nothing more than accessories to religious beliefs. How do you adequate raise a herd of kids without creating psychological damage? It’s amazing any of them have language skills and now the pregnancies are high risk and the babies are coming out damaged. Who the heck is paying for this? My understanding is that most of the bigamy wives are on welfare in Utah and Arizona because none of them ever go to work. These shows turn women and children into commodities and symbols of male prowess. Disgusting!

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Dak, completely agree with you about that show. And what about the one were they switched wives? It was on a few years ago. Sick and disgusting.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Today I watched an old episode of Studio One, What Makes Sammy Run?
      Westinghouse Studio One – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      Studio One was the show where they had excellent teleplays and actors and they did the show live…which is amazing when you see the way shots are set up.

      All these reality shows are such crap. What a treat it must have been to have some real good tv to watch back in the day. It is a shame that those kind of programs are lost now. With the exception of PBS, which is not as good as it used to be…

  10. Minkoff Minx says:

    Well, here it is:
    Former Ohio Attorney General Picked to Lead Consumer Agency – NYTimes.com

    President Obama said Sunday that he would nominate Richard Cordray, the former attorney general of Ohio, to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, passing over Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law professor who was the driving force behind the bureau’s creation.

    • dakinikat says:

      Cordray’s okay. He may not pass the Teabots.

      • JeanLouise says:

        I thought I posted a comment about Cordray but it’s not showing. Did it get deleted?

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        Nope Jean Louise, I did not see your post. Sometimes wordpress has hiccups like that and comments get eaten. I hate when it happens.

      • JeanLouise says:

        Okay, maybe I posted it somewhere else and got confused. That happens!

        The post just said that Cordray was a really good Attorney General from the consumers’ perspective. He recognized and tried to address the problem with sub-prime loans before anyone on the federal level did. He doesn’t have Warren’s charisma but he’s a workhorse and he’s on the right side.

        Since it looks like Hillary is going to retire from public life, I’d like to see Warren run for senator in 2012 and for president in 2016.

    • dakinikat says:

      ezraklein Ezra Klein
      Bob Kuttner, who knows Mass politics well, thinks Elizabeth Warren will run for MA Senate: bit.ly/nBQ286

      • paper doll says:

        I hope so!!…but what party? ….somewhat kidding , but New Dems will not help her natch

  11. Fannie says:

    Alex and Abby – you go girls

  12. Thanks for the beautiful timelapse of the Australian sky, MM.

  13. dakinikat says:

    From CNN:

    The Japanese women’s soccer team won the World Cup after defeating the United States on penalty kicks Sunday night, rallying from a pair of one-goal deficits to capture its first-ever world title.

    The Japanese had been dubbed “sentimental favorites,” their strong play and surprising run having buoyed their countrymen back home still trying to recover from a massive earthquake this spring that triggered a devastating tsunami and a nuclear crisis.

    Japan shocked host Germany by a 1-0 score in the quarterfinals, then defeated a potent Sweden team 3-1 to advance to the finals.

    The World Cup win marks the first time the Japanese national women’s team has beaten the U.S. The teams have met 25 previous times.

    The one thing I will say about this is that Japan really needs a win in something. It reminds me of the Saints after Hurricane Katrina. After so much disaster it’s nice to feel like the tide has turned …

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      Good for them, actually…I had hoped they would win. They went into the game as underdogs, and I wanted them to win for the country of Japan.

      • dakinikat says:

        It was a great game. Both teams were equally deserving in terms of play.

      • Minkoff Minx says:

        I didn’t watch it, too engrossed in that old Studio One show. Damn that was good. I wish they would produce another show like that, and shoot it live right when it is being aired. Let the actors really act like they were on stage, and give some good screenwriters some work by having intelligent stories and good dialogue.

      • joanelle says:

        It was a great game but it seemed more like the USA lost it rather than the Japanese won it. Both teams played their hearts out and you’re right Minx, they really were the sentimental favorite, after all they’ve been through.

        The announcer mentioned that one of the Japanese players lost four friends in the Fukashima disaster.

    • joanelle says:

      I remember Studio One – it was a great show, with great actors and storylines.