Wednesday Reads: Body Scanners and Grover’s Pledge

Good Morning!

Here’s a few links, I hope they aren’t repeats for you…newmikecolor

I haven’t been able to follow the news in the past few days, but from what I have seen…This cartoon pretty much says it all.

Yesterday Dakinikat had a post about the Super Committee, I saw this at TPM:  Grover Norquist And The Super Committee — Who’s Really In Charge? | TPMDC

About a week ago, Republicans on the Super Committee offered Democrats a plan they themselves claimed would raise new tax revenues. Setting aside specifics, Democrats treated it as a crack in the dam — the first indication the GOP’s alliance with anti-tax activists was starting to crumble.

Democrats ultimately rejected it. But so too did Grover Norquist, which suggests it really did violate his pledge (which most Republicans have taken) never to raise effective tax rates.

Fast forward to Monday, Norquist told The Hill, “I’ve talked to the House leadership and the Senate leadership. They’re not going to be passing any tax increases…. If Republicans raise taxes now, they don’t win the Senate, and if Republicans raise taxes now they might not keep the House.”

Logically, this means one of four things:

1). Norquist isn’t telling the truth about what GOP leaders are telling him;

2) GOP leaders aren’t telling Norquist the truth about their intentions, or, at least, the state of negotiations; or

3). Ummm… oops!

4). Republicans aren’t being honest with Democrats and the public about putting revenue on the table.

I can think of another reason, Grover has the GOP by the nuts…and if increasing taxes…or putting them back to what they were before Bush cut them are out, then it gives the Dems just the right excuses they need to wimp out and attack social programs.

Check it out, Europe Bans X-Ray Body Scanners Used at U.S. Airports – ProPublica

The European Union on Monday prohibited the use of X-ray body scanners in European airports, parting ways with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration, which has deployed hundreds of the scanners as a way to screen millions of airline passengers for explosives hidden under clothing.

The European Commission, which enforces common policies of the EU’s 27 member countries, adopted the rule “in order not to risk jeopardizing citizens’ health and safety.”

You may remember the article from ProPublica about the dangers of the x-rays.

As a ProPublica/PBS NewsHour investigation detailed earlier this month, X-ray body scanners use ionizing radiation, a form of energy that has been shown to damage DNA and cause cancer. Although the amount of radiation is extremely low, equivalent to the radiation a person would receive in a few minutes of flying, several research studies have concluded that a small number of cancer cases would result from scanning hundreds of millions of passengers a year.

Europe will be allowed to use an alternative scanner that uses radio waves. Of course the TSA has no comment on Europe’s decision to ban the x-ray scanners. Give the rest of the article a read through.

Okay, this next article has a title that almost sounds like something from The Onion: Vladimir Putin scoops Chinese peace award | World news | The Guardian

China has a peace award?

Vladimir Putin

Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin, winner of the second annual Confucian peace prize. Photograph: Itar-Tass/Reuters

The Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, is used to receiving accolades in friendly nations, but even he may raise an eyebrow at the prize he has just been awarded in China: peacemaker of the year.

After two wars in Chechnya, one conflict in South Ossetia and two of the deadliest hostage relief operations in modern history, the former KGB officer was named on Monday as the winner of the second Confucian peace prize.

It is unclear if Putin is even aware of the award which was chosen by an obscure cultural organisation, the China International Peace Research Centre, from a field of nominees including Bill Gates, Angela Merkel, Kofi Annan, Jacob Zuma and a Tibetan Panchen Lama imposed by Beijing.

The 16-judge panel said that Putin deserved the award because his criticism of Nato’s military engagement in Libya was “outstanding in keeping world peace”, regardless of the fact that it had no bearing on the outcome of the north African conflict.

Perhaps Herman Cain can win the Idiot Piece Prize for not knowing what Libya was in the first place?

There are some nice pictures at this next link: Profile: Norman Parkinson – Features – Art – The Independent

Norman Parkinson is generally recognised as the man who fathered a new age of stylish storytelling in fashion photography. He blasted the rather stuffy and staid traditions of the 1930s photography, for which, he once said: “All the girls had their knees bolted together”.

Railing against the conservatism of the day when he entered the industry in 1931, Parkinson photographed some of Britain’s most beautiful women in fun, feisty and whimsical set-ups, blazing a trail which would be taken up by David Bailey and Brian Duffy.

“I like to make people look as good as they’d like to look, and with luck, a shade better,” he famously once said. This formula evidently worked well, as one of Parkinson’s favourite and most frequent models was the actress and author Wenda Rogerson, who became his wife of 40 years.

Over the years Parkinson took pictures of women like Elizabeth Taylor, Vivien Leigh, super models, politicians and royalty. His work will be on exhibit in Amsterdam.

‘The Godfather of British Fashion Photography – The Glamour Years’ is at Gallery Vassie from 26 November 2011 until 21 January 2012, www.galleryvassie.com

One last article for you today…Crime Writer Lindsay Ashford: Jane Austen Was Poisoned

Until yesterday, Jane Austen was thought to have died of bovine tuberculosis or Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a strain of cancer. But crime writer, Lindsay Ashford, recently told The Guardian that the untimely death of the beloved author was due to an even less innocuous offender: poison.

By the time she was in her 40s, Austen had completed six novels, including the often celebrated and studied “Pride and Prejudice.” But while working on another book, “Sandition,” the writer came down with a painful illness that left her with discolored, brownish skin.

Ashford, author of the recently published “The Mysterious Death of Miss Austen” [Honro], read about these symptoms in Austen’s letters: “I am considerably better now and am recovering my looks a little, which have been bad enough, black and white and every wrong colour.” Because she had researched poison and contemporary forensic techniques for her crime novels, Ashford was able to identify Austen’s symptoms as potential arsenic poisoning. Arsenic would also explain Austen’s slow decline and fatigue. Asford’s suspicions were heightened “after she learned that a lock of Austen’s hair on display in a museum tested positive for arsenic.”

As Flavorwire reports, arsenic does not necessarily equate to murder, as we’re so often led to believe, because “a doctor could well have prescribed a medicine containing the element.” Still, Ashford wishes not to rule out the option.

Ashford says that Austen’s family had a tumultuous history and there could have been some evidence of a “motive for murder.” That seems interesting…I see a screenplay in the future, it would definitely make a cool idea for a movie.

That is all I have today, see you all on Sunday Morning.  With the big move things have been crazy. So the Evening News Reads will be put on hold for a bit. We should be back to normal next week! Have a great day.


17 Comments on “Wednesday Reads: Body Scanners and Grover’s Pledge”

  1. fiscalliberal says:

    Last night Larry O’donnel in the last segment identified a way out for the Republicans to evade Norquist pledge.

    Apparently the Bush Tax cuts are sunsetted and need to be renewed. By not voting for the Bush Tax cut renewal we go back to the 2000 tax rates.

    Apparently this option was identified by Republican Senator Pat Toomy of PA

    I do not know if this is credible. At the least, it is messing with Norquest rice bowel.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      The fact that these GOP nitwits are finding a “loophole” to get past their pledge to the power that is Norquist makes me even more pissed off…What the hell is wrong with these people that they will bow down to one man over the good of the country. What “laws” are they going to break if they go against on man? Meanwhile things are getting worse…not better. The hopes I had for Occupy are fading. With the recent collective effort to squash any voice the people had by clearing out the protesters, it seems the movement has become stale. Not dead…but wilted. Occupy needs to evolve. I wish it would become more focused on occupying pre-foreclosure property. I don’t know, I have become so disappointed with everything.

      • Peggy Sue says:

        I wouldn’t get too depressed, Minx. I think OWS will evolve as every social movement of the past has changed, developed over time. The Occupiers have, in fact, changed the national conversation. That’s no small thing in itself for a two-month action. Tomorrow will be interesting and probably pivotal–the call for a national march in all Occupy cities and towns, the request that people–residents, small business owners, unions, citizens at large–hit the streets for a show of unity.

        Bloomberg is on the wrong side of history in this recent crackdown, particularly in banning reporters. And since the raids were performed at relatively the same time, I don’t think it’s much a jump or tinfoil speculation that this pushback was coordinated by the PDs across the country with the help of the FBI. That and the barrage of negative articles about ‘health and safety’ concerns at Occupy sites, tell me at least that the protests are seen as a threat to the powers-that-be.

        Change never comes quickly. And these bastards have a huge head start. But as I said in an earlier thread, you cannot bulldoze an idea or pretend that the growing discontent in the country doesn’t exist. We shall see.

        Btw, I loved the toon. Says it all in a simple image.

    • bostonboomer says:

      That wouldn’t evade the pledge. It would be considered a tax increase. Even Obama didn’t fight to let the Bush tax cuts expire last year. Will he do it this time? I doubt it. In fact, Obama isn’t even getting involved in this. As usually he’s off flitting around, taking his hands-off approach, not governing at all. We have no leadership. As Larry Summers said repeatedly when he was in the administration: “We’re home alone. There are no adults in charge.”

  2. Minkoff Minx says:

    Super Committee, Super Lie – Major Garrett – NationalJournal.com

    When I left the White House beat to cover Congress, I told people what the biggest difference was between the two beats. People in the White House and Congress lie to you, I would say; the difference is that on the Hill it’s not the same lie told by the same seven people.

    That was true until the super committee was created. Now, instead of politicians lying to their constituents and reporters, they are lying to themselves. Not rationalizing, or trimming the truth, or speaking in euphemisms. Lying. Bald. Faced. Lying.

  3. Outis says:

    Thanks MM for the info on Parkinson, I just ordered a book of his photographs. I love mid-century portraits and his look brilliant.

  4. northwestrain says:

    Thank you for the update on the naked body scans.

    The German police rejected the body scanners — mostly because they were useless — too many false positives.

    The Government — TSA — has crossed the line — x-ray of humans should ONLY be used for medical diagnosis and on machines that are monitored and tested by professionals. In hospitals the x-ray machines are often monitored by individuals with tons of training and often PhDs. (According to my friend who has worked as a radiologist for decades — and she is still working professionally in a 3rd world country.)

  5. Beata says:

    Attacks on protestors at Occupy Seattle included a pregnant woman, an elderly woman, and a priest:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57325688/pregnant-woman-pepper-sprayed-at-occupy-seattle/

    • ralphb says:

      I noted in that story that Occupy Zurich was also cleared by Swiss police on Nov 15 and that London restarted legal efforts to evict Occupy at St Pauls yesterday. Now that is a heck of a coincidence. The 1% have a very long reach.

    • northwestrain says:

      The Seattle cops are PIGS — just like the rest of the militarized pigs in the US.

      A few cops might still be semi human — but not many.

      The cop’s actions and behavior remind me or the Orks in Lord of the Rings. Or the bad guys working for the evil rich guys in movies — the pigs can follow orders of the evil 1%.

  6. Are you equating ‘Grover Norquist’ with sitting Democratic Congressman on the panel? So because some non-elected guy out there opposes the deal, that’s okay for elected Democratic Congressman serving on the panel to also vote against it? This sort of logical consistency is a sad commentary on you and those of your readers who agree with it.

    • northwestrain says:

      apparently you don’t keep up with current political events and the shadow players. I feel sorry for your students.

      Oh worship the rich for they are closest to god??????????????

    • ralphb says:

      I prefer not to think of Grover Norquist at all but when I do it’s usually as noxious vermin.

  7. ralphb says:

    Best advice I’ve seen yet, if Obama wants to remain president after 2012.

    Remember the CWA, A Government Jobs Program That Worked: Echoes

    On Nov. 9, 1933, Roosevelt announced the creation of a new government agency, the Civil Works Administration, with an eye toward using government employment to jump-start job creation. The CWA’s story resonates with our present moment, not least as an obvious example of government’s ability to swiftly provide, as FDR put it, “a smashing answer for those cynical men who say that a democracy cannot be honest and efficient.” The details of how Roosevelt and his administration made the CWA a success that winter — and of how the CWA was ultimately killed off — can help us grasp some of the political risks and possible benefits for politicians, like President Barack Obama, looking to use governmental authority to create jobs today.

  8. foxyladi14 says:

    I loved the toon. 🙂

  9. quixote says:

    That cartoon! Beautiful. Perfect. It should go on every billboard in the country.