Monday Reads: Back in black…and other dark sordid talesPosted: April 2, 2012
It is a Big Fat Monday morning, the kind that makes you want to crawl back into bed and wait till Tuesday morning…
A special thanks to Dakinikat who switched with me on Sunday. (Thank you Kat! oxox)
I have a lot of news items to bring you, this first one is from Cannonfire, and it is spectacular… in a creep you out sort of way. (Especially if it is not an April Fool’s joke.) Is the Romney campaign using subliminals in their ads?
Folks, this is genuinely weird. I received a message from a reader informing me that certain teevee ads for Mitt Romney contain monod-bizarro “extras” that pass by at hummingbird speed. Be warned: This investigation gets into some very unsettling areas.
You need to read the entire thing so go to that link…now.
After I read that amazing post late last night, I felt so violated, and I would guess this is pretty common among all political party campaigns. Joseph, that was one hell of a post!
Alright, next up we have some quick links to things you should watch out for…you will see what I mean in a minute.
Major Security Breach At Atlanta Credit Card Processor; Experts Warn Consumers To Check Transactions – Susie Madrak brought this to my attention via C&L:
You should pay close attention to your accounts, but as one quoted expert says, you need to be especially vigilant right now:
Visa and MasterCard acknowledged Friday that they’ve been alerting banks about a major breach at Global Payments, an Atlanta-based payment card processing firm.
Global Payments issued a statement late Friday saying it discovered the breach in March and reported it to industry officials and the FBI. The company scheduled a press conference for Monday morning.
Gartner banking security analyst Avivah Litan says unverified reports point to a New York City street gang with Central American ties taking control of “an administrative account that was not protected sufficiently.”
“I’ve spoken with folks in the card business who are seeing signs of this breach mushroom,” says Litan.
When the words “breach” and “mushroom” are used together to describe a credit card hacking scheme, it isn’t very encouraging.
Chemical Exposure Is Suspect in Early Female Puberty– Take a quick look at this, from TruthDig:
Marcia Herman-Giddens first observed the age of puberty dropping for American girls in the late 1980s. Today, she and other researchers agree that the average age of onset has fallen significantly since the 1970s, and some point toward chemicals like bisphenol A—a ubiquitous hormone-like substance that the FDA recently refused to ban—as a possible cause.
There is a link to a New York Times article about the study, I would guess that all the hormones in foods like chicken would also bring about early puberty. I have seen it first hand with my daughter…and many of her girlfriends at school. The boobies start to pop out earlier than they did in my day.
You may have seen this next link over the weekend, but I have an update for you: Financers and Sex Trafficking
THE biggest forum for sex trafficking of under-age girls in the United States appears to be a Web site called Backpage.com.This emporium for girls and women — some under age or forced into prostitution — is in turn owned by an opaque private company called Village Voice Media. Until now it has been unclear who the ultimate owners are.
Here is the latest on this sick disgusting story…Goldman Sachs Sex Trafficking Controversy: Company Sells Stake In Village Voice Media For Promoting Under-Age Sex Trade
A private equity fund run by Goldman Sachs Group Inc, under fire over its business ethics, has agreed to sell back its stake in a media company that critics say facilitates sex trafficking.
GS Capital Partners III on Friday signed a deal to sell its 16 percent stake in Village Voice Media, which owns the website Backpage.com, back to management, a Goldman spokeswoman said Sunday.
Doesn’t it seem strange that Goldman was not aware of the kind of ads associated with Backpage? You’d think Goldman would have done some due diligence before they invested in it. (I mean, everyone know what that Backpage of the Village Voice is like, I would not doubt that some of those dudes at Goldman Sachs have utilized the “want ads” themselves.)
More news round-ups after the jump…
Okay, this weekend I went to Asheville, North Carolina…to see an orchid show. It was so beautiful. My favorite orchid out of these amazing flowers was a little tiny black orchid called maxillaria schunkeana, or as it has recently been reclassified as, brasiliorcis schunkeana.
These orchids are very small, and very rare. (Not sure why I am so fond of these little things.) I had such a hard time trying to find information about them. What a wonderful trip, it was great to be able to spend some time with my mom and daughter before my surgery on Wednesday.
On Friday evening, when we were coming back from dinner it was drizzling. As we walked into the hotel, my daughter pulled up her hoodie she was wearing, and I said to her…in Florida, wearing a hoodie like that could be dangerous. Not knowing what or who I was talking about, she said…what do you mean, it is raining, of course I am putting my hoodie up. (Yup, it is common sense innit?)
So with that bit of teenage wisdom, let’s get to the latest on the Trayvon Martin killing.
Did anyone see this on CNN? Soledad O’Brien’s Beyond Trayvon CNN Special Hits At The Core Of Martin Case
After almost two weeks as a national news story, the Trayvon Martin case has elevated many tempers and flared up more than a few political wars– so yesterday’s Beyond Trayvon special on CNN, hosted by Soledad O’Brien, was a welcome change of pace to the story. Rather than the brief and punchy 5-minute debates on other networks over the story or its politicization, or the extended humiliations of weak witnesses and lawyers (and sometimes empty chairs) that characterized the week, O’Brien and her panel took and hour to debate the cultural impact of every detail, the place the story has in our national historical narrative, and what exactly led so many to care so deeply about the Florida teen and the fate of his shooter.
With an hour to study the case and the way it played out in the media, O’Brien had plenty of time to focus on the specifics, from the way Zimmerman’s 911 has been interpreted to the damage the reputation of community watch leaders has taken to the cultural implications of being black and wearing a hoodie. On hand were experts in almost every relevant field– from lawyers to psychology experts to police chiefs to cultural commentators and first-hand witnesses to similar events, like Kadiatou Diallo, mother of slain young man Amadou. There was a surprising amount to parse and, given the time, enough to flesh out the details of the larger implications as well as the specifics that make the case so compelling and difficult to follow.
Entering the third week of wall-to-wall Trayvon Martin coverage, the narrative has emerged that there is a left vs. right dynamic to the way this story has been covered. Indeed, I have traced the way some online conservatives (particularly The Daily Caller) have turned against Trayvon Martin, in my view as an expression of their hatred of President Obama. But is this really a left versus right thing? I looked at the Trayvon Martin coverage by conservative media like Fox News, The Blaze, The Bigs, and Hot Air, and found a complicated picture.
Now, both of those links are to Mediaite articles, they have had some excellent coverage of the story, the second one is more like an Op/Ed from Tommy Christopher…give it a read when you can.
I have posted links to the political cartoons in my post last week, but this cartoon was just too good to ignore:
Changing directions, let us look at an article from Emptywheel…about the SCOTUS hearings last week, time sure does fly by doesn’t it? Requiem For ACA at SCOTUS & Legitimacy Of Court and Case
Here are the first few lines, be sure to check it out.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise popularly known as “Obamacare” had a bit of a rough go of it this week at the Supreme Court. Jeff Toobin called it a train wreck (later upgraded to plane wreck). Kevin Drum termed it a “debacle” and Adam Serwer a “Disaster“.
Was it really that bad? Considering how supremely confident, bordering on arrogant, the Obama Administration, and many of the ACA’s plethora of healthcare “specialists”, had been going into this week’s arguments, yes, it really was that bad.
The next link discusses something that Dakinikat has mentioned from time to time. Anti-abortion climate ‘will deter new generation of doctors’
The current climate is already causing anxiety among doctors who are concerned that their practice will be called into question, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) said, as activists behind a new campaign to demonstrate outside abortion clinics were joined at one protest in London by a Catholic bishop.
So the US is not the only country that will find themselves moving backward when it comes to medical care and sciences which would benefit women. (But that is not the only areas that will see declines, I am talking about the environmental sciences as well.)
Whoa, speaking of science, lets take a look at some interesting links from this week…
Researchers use “Walden” author’s tables of flowering dates in 1840s Massachusetts to show temperature has risen 2.4 C.
Fittingly for a man seen as the first environmentalist, Henry David Thoreau, who described his isolated life in 1840s Massachusetts in the classic of American literature Walden, is now helping scientists pin down the impacts of climate change.
A new study contrasting ocean temperature readings of the 1870s with temperatures of the modern seas reveals an upward trend of global ocean warming spanning at least 100 years.
The decline of Caribbean coral reefs has been linked to the recent effects of human-induced climate change. However, new research led by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego suggests an even earlier cause. The bad news — humans are still to blame. The good news — relatively simple policy changes can hinder further coral reef decline.
Those are some of the best articles on climate change and global warming, but I guess my opinion is slightly bias because of the use of history and literature to study the effects of climate change.
Here is another cool science link that is connected to the arts…and history as well:
In addition to being among his most vibrant and celebrated works, Vincent van Gogh’s series of sunflower paintings also depict a mutation whose genetic basis has, until now, been a bit of a mystery.
In a study published March 29 in the journal PLoS Genetics, however, a team of University of Georgia scientists reveals the mutation behind the distinctive, thick bands of yellow “double flowers” that the post-Impressionist artist painted more than 100 years ago.
“In addition to being of interest from a historical perspective, this finding gives us insight into the molecular basis of an economically important trait,” said senior author John Burke, professor of plant biology in the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.
And one for all those saddle wearing dinosaur lovers: Scientists say foot fossil confirms two human ancestor species co-existed
A 3.4 million-year-old partial foot fossil – one that did not belong to the same species as Lucy, the most famous early human relation, according to scientists – has come to light in Ethiopia. These scientists say this new specimen suggests that more than one species of early human ancestor lived between 3 and 4 million years ago. The scientists – from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Case Western Reserve University – published their results in the March 29, 2012 issue of the journal Nature.
Now a few multi-media links, both from BBC, these are cool:
H/T to Andrew Sullivan on this next link:
And lastly, when you get some time…please read this long piece from a classic movie blog that I have mentioned before. She Blogged By Night: The White Elephant Blogathon: Clara Bow and It (1927) It is an excellent post, and I believe many of you will enjoy it.
Well, this morning reads turned out a bit longer than I expected. So, what are you thinking about today…what are you all up to this fine, big, fat, dark, foreboding, black Monday morning?