Wednesday Reads: Big Blue Marble and Grand Illusions

Good morning!

Let us start this morning’s post with a bit of cheer from Kansas, of course that was a snarky comment. Honestly, I don’t know what to say about the latest news out of Kansas, particularly out of Gov. Brownback’s little sack of horrors. Brownback Signs Law Allowing Expansive Refusal of Medication Based on “Belief” About Abortion

Get this,

by changing the law to include refusal to administer any drug that they believe may terminate a pregnancy, it opens the door to refusal of birth control and emergency contraception — both of which many anti-choice medical workers and pharmacists erroneously charge end very early pregnancies rather than preventing conception. The law could also allow refusal of even more medically-necessary drugs simply because they may relate to abortions.

Idaho already had a case of a pharmacist who refused to fill a perscription for a woman who needed drugs to stop bleeding, believing that the woman may have had an abortion which caused her blood loss, and the pharmacist received no punishment for the action.  How long will it take for that to become the rule, rather than the exception, as the Kansas law goes into effect?

“Assisting in terminating a pregnancy” has already become an overly expansive phrase that many anti-choice activists are applying to even more unrelated situations — from the nurses who refuse to do intake of women in the hospital for a termination to the bus driver who won’t drive a route to Planned Parenthood.

I knew that these religious conscience exemptions were going to bring the crazy ass legislation like this out of the woodwork, but this…this has to be something that should be challenged in court.

Here is another gem for you this morning, Coat Hanger Abortions Are Fine, Says Mississippi Lawmaker, Because ‘Hey, You Have To Have Moral Values’

Mississippi state Rep. Bubba Carpenter (R) said that it’s OK for women to have coat hanger abortions because it’s for a greater good.

A video obtained by Rachel Maddow’s blog captures Carpenter saying he is proud of Mississippi’s attempts to outlaw abortion outright, despite the fact that the Supreme Court has ruled abortions legal in the United States.

And what about women who will perform self-induced abortions because they cannot afford to go out of state to get the procedure? “Hey,” he says, “you have to have moral values”:

Here is what Buuuuubba had to say,

It’s going to be challenged, of course, in the Supreme Court and all — but literally, we stopped abortion in the state of Mississippi, legally, without having to– Roe vs. Wade. So we’ve done that. I was proud of it. The governor signed it into law. And of course, there you have the other side. They’re like, ‘Well, the poor pitiful women that can’t afford to go out of state are just going to start doing them at home with a coat hanger. That’s what we’ve learned over and over and over.’

But hey, you have to have moral values. You have to start somewhere, and that’s what we’ve decided to do. This became law and the governor signed it, and I think for one time, we were first in the nation in the state of Mississippi

Video at this link if you feel the need to watch a dumbass at work.

There was an interesting story at Fox Nation this week, this headline was caught by one of the readers at Maddow Blog:  Water. Rest. Shade.

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration launched an effort to prevent heat illnesses among outdoor workers, and at face value, this wouldn’t be especially noteworthy. On the contrary, this is a basic part of OSHA’s mission, in this case, the agency recommends, “Water. Rest. Shade. The work can’t get done without them.”

So why am I mentioning this? Because, as Steve M. noticed, Fox News’ website put its own unique spin on what seems like a fairly mundane story.


Fox Nation has an amazing track record of putting silly spins on routine news stories, but going after the administration over heat strokes is breaking new ground.

I’m not sure whether to be annoyed by Fox’s ridiculous standards or impressed with its creativity.

Yeah, that sure is a hell of a way to spin a story.

This next link is via The Grio, Mount Auburn Cemetery, Baltimore’s oldest black cemetery, finally restored with help of inmates

After decades of neglect, interrupted occasionally by well-meaning but ultimately fruitless cleanup efforts, the cemetery in South Baltimore was officially rededicated Monday, due in large part to the labors of an unlikely group: state prison inmates.

As part of a program to put those serving time to work on meaningful projects, more than 40 prisoners have worked on the four-year effort to transform the cemetery’s 34 acres.

“There’s 55,000 graves here,” said Gary Maynard, the secretary for the state’s Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, looking out over Mount Auburn’s bright green fields. “That’s 55,000 families. There are a lot of people connected to this cemetery, and now they’re out here looking for graves of family they couldn’t find in the past.”

Maynard calls these programs “restorative justice,” where prisoners work on projects that help the community in a better way than just picking up garbage on the side of the road.

Founded in 1872, when blacks could not be interred next to whites, Mount Auburn was known as “The City of the Dead for Colored People.” The cemetery, which overlooks the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River, became the final resting place for many pioneers of Baltimore’s black community.

They include Lillie May Carroll Jackson, who led the Baltimore chapter of the NAACP for 35 years; Carl J. Murphy, a leading voice of the civil rights movement, and his father, John Henry Murphy, the founder of the Afro-American newspaper; and Joseph Gans, the first lightweight boxing champion.

It seems like a good time to bring up a post Dakinikat wrote yesterday about the prison system in her neck of the woods. At least these prisoners are working on something worthwhile. Right?

Corrections officials hope such skills and the experience working on a team will help inmates prepare for a return to society. Those who have participated in such projects have a reduced rate of recidivism.

Not just any inmate can participate in the program, Maynard said. To be eligible, prisoners must have committed less-serious crimes, be nearing release, and earn their way into the program. They earn “a dollar or two” a day for their labor, officials said.

Learning about the historical significance of the sites is built into much of the work.

Maynard said the inmates who worked around Antietam “probably didn’t know the history of the Civil War.”

“They didn’t know what sacrifice was made, for both sides, for saving the Union and state’s rights,” he said. “So all of a sudden, they’re a part of history. That’s going to help them change their mentality and what they’re worth as a person.”

Hmmm, I don’t know what to make of the comment about the Civil War, sounds a bit strange in context with the sentence “they earn a dollar or two a day” doesn’t it? I mean, seems like something was left out…like…Emancipation?  Well, lets move on…

This is very cool: This 121-Megapixel Photo of Earth Will Make Your Jaw Drop

earthNeed something to put things into perspective on a Monday morning? Our suggestion: The largest single-shot photo of Earth ever taken.

Eclipsing NASA’s updated “Blue Marble” shot, which is a composite of many satellite images, this image is a single-shot taken from 22,369 miles away by Russian weather satellite Elektro-L No.1.

The colors on the 121-megapixel photo are quite different from the ones on NASA’s photos of Earth. To capture the image, the satellite combines visible and infrared wavelengths of light. Infrared light is used to see plants, which is why the parts of the Earth that would normally be green are seen as rusty brown.

For a time-lapse video of the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere, click the link above.

I’ve got one more link for you, this is also about prisoners…of war…World War I that is. Renoir’s Vision for a United Europe in ‘Grand Illusion’ It is the 75th Anniversary of this masterpiece directed by Jean Renoir.

Rialto Pictures

Jean Renoir directed the classic “Grand Illusion” (1937) starring Pierre Fresnay, left, and Erich Von Stroheim.

“GRAND ILLUSION” had its premiere at the Venice Film Festival in 1937, and it has been around ever since, by enduring consensus one of the greatest films ever made. It is true that Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda chief and cultural arbiter, was not a fan, but Mussolini, patron of the festival and Europe’s leading fascist cinephile, kept a print in his personal collection. Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that “all the democracies in the world must see this film,” which is still sound advice. The nations that fall within that rubric may have grown in number since those days, but none of those democracies, old or new, is so secure as to be immune to the lessons of Jean Renoir’s great and piercing antiwar comedy.

Which is not to say that “Grand Illusion” is didactic, though it is, like much of the art of its era, unapologetic about its social concerns and political implications. It survives partly as a document of those volatile times, and of the idealism that persisted through them even as history prepared a new, unimaginable round of horrors. Seventy-five years on, Europe is far from a state of war, but in light of its current crisis — which is not only economic and political, but also, once again, a crisis of identity — Renoir’s film is still news.

In France the late 1930s were the years of the Popular Front, an attempt by the left to counter the rise of fascism and overcome its own tendencies toward sectarianism and orthodoxy. The political face of the front was Léon Blum, a moderate Jewish Socialist whose two truncated, frustrating terms as prime minister coincided with the production and release of Renoir’s film. It is hardly incidental that the friendship at the heart of “Grand Illusion” — the alliance that carries the germ of its political hope — is between Lieutenant Maréchal, a proudly working-class Parisian played by Jean Gabin, and Rosenthal, an assimilated, wealthy French Jew played by Marcel Dalio. The action takes place during World War I (in which Renoir had served as a pilot), when the Dreyfus Affair was still a recent memory, but it has an eye on contemporary anti-Semitism and labor militancy as well as a subtle, anxious premonition of global conflicts to come.

The film has been restored, and is being shown on screens across the US:

The new, digitally restored 35-millimeter print (made from a newly unearthed camera negative) playing at Film Forum in Manhattan through May 24 is not a revelation or a rediscovery. It is, instead, a sparkling reminder of how a movie absorbed in its own historical moment and preoccupied with the legacies of the past can resonate into a future that lies beyond its specific range of imagination (while looking at least as luminous as it did when Mussolini first laid eyes on it).

Please read the rest of the NYT article, it describes the film’s sensitivity to the human characters on the screen. It is a wonderful film. If you live in one of the cities on the list below, be sure to see it on the big screen.

:: Grand Illusion ::

::    May 11 – 24    NEW YORK,  NY    Film Forum
::    May 18 – 31    LOS ANGELES,  CA    Laemmle’s Royal Theatre
::    May 18 – 31    PASADENA,  CA    Laemmle’s Playhouse 7
::    June 1 – 3    SAN FRANCISCO,  CA    Castro Theatre
::    June 8 – 14    DALLAS,  TX    Angelika Film Center
::    June 16 – 17    AUSTIN,  TX    Paramount Theatre
::    June 29 – July 5    CHICAGO,  IL    Gene Siskel Film Center
::    July 6 – 12    PORTLAND,  OR    Cinema 21
::    July 13 – 19    SEATTLE,  WA    Northwest Film Forum
::    July 27    ST. LOUIS,  MO    Cinema St. Louis

That is all I have for you this morning, enjoy your day and share what you are reading about today…

33 Comments on “Wednesday Reads: Big Blue Marble and Grand Illusions”

  1. Remember my friend, Sheriff Officer Derrick Whittle, who was killed last year while responding to a call? His family is in Washington, DC for National Police week, in honor of officers who have died in the line of duty. While on the plane to DC, they met Jimmy Carter and yesterday, at an event at the White House they met Barack Obama. Derrick’s daughter said, ” I have been in Washington for 4 days and I have already met 2 presidents? WOW!!!! ”

    Yes, I agree, that is a big “WOW!!!”

  2. Mladic taunts survivors at start of genocide trial | Reuters

    Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic taunted Srebrenica survivors on Wednesday at the start of his trial for genocide, running his hand across his throat in a gesture of defiance to relatives of the worst massacre in Europe since World War Two.

    Mladic, now 70, flashed a thumbs-up and clapped his hands as he entered the courtroom in The Hague, where he faces possible life imprisonment for allegedly leading the slaughter of 8,000 unarmed Muslim boys and men in Srebrenica in 1995.

    In the packed public seating area, a mother of one of the Srebrenica victims whispered “vulture” several times as prosecutors opened their case.

    Later, Mladic made eye contact with one of the Muslim women in the audience, running a hand across his throat, in a gesture that led Presiding judge Alphons Orie to hold a brief recess and order an end to “inappropriate interactions.”

    • Pat Johnson says:

      Which once again proves that a sociopath remains a sociopath for life.

      I hope they hang this bastard from the highest pole.

    • Fannie says:

      No one was allowed to escape his death commands, not those in the hosptials, not those in the churches, not those in the school houses, and not those in their homes. No one was exempt from this General.

      Thinking of cemeteries, you should see the genocide memorial at Srebenica on Wiki – the general leveedl the city like no other before him.

  3. Woman Voter says:

    Patty Solis Doyle is on The Daily Rundown and is identifying herself as being with the Hillary Clinton campaign when she left before the primaries were over to work for Obama’s campaign and many of us thought she was working for his campaign before she left.

    Why isn’t she identifying with Obama’s campaign after all she jumped ship and left and didn’t work to get the delegates needed to insure Hillary Clinton a Roll Call Vote! Patty Solis Doyle is from Chicago and one has to wonder how much was going back and forth to Chicago.

    • northwestrain says:

      She’s a back stabbing woman hating female! I guess she thinks everyone has the attention span of a gnat.

  4. Woman Voter says:

    ALEC Drops Push for Voter ID, Stand Your Ground Laws After Public Outcry Sparks Corporate Exodus

    This call out for a post…so Intuit supported ALEC??? I use their payroll services and am sad to hear that they were past supporters.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I did a post on that about a month ago. We had several posts during the corporate exodus also.

      • Woman Voter says:

        I guess I was trying to find out who is left of their corporate endorsers as I wasn’t aware of Intuit being a supporter of ALEC. Shocked me!

      • bostonboomer says:

        Just about every corporation was donating to ALEC. Good places to follow the story: Think Progress and ALEC Exposed.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Donors connected to the big banks are supporting Romney, hoping he’ll get all regulations repealed.

    • bostonboomer says:

      The top five donor groups in Romney’s campaign are individuals and political action committees associated with large financial institutions, led by Wall Street giants Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, according to information compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan research group that tracks campaign donations.

      By contrast, Obama’s top five contributor groups include individuals and PACs affiliated with high technology giants Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., and the global law firms DLA Piper and Sidley Austin, and do not include those associated with banks. In 2008, financial institutions backed him generously.

      • RalphB says:

        All that while Willard has an ad campaign in battleground states filleting Obama for being backed by Wall Street. More projection from the Mittastrophe.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    The Grio has a very interesting article about the Marissa Anderson case–long.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    A new poll in Greece shows that the radical left party candidate most likely would win the re-vote on June 17.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      Today’s news from Greece……..And this is where austerity aimed at the middle class, working poor and poor ends up. Up next, Italy, Spain, GB, can the U.S. be far behind? Not if Mitt Romney and the TP/GOP “drive-it-in-the-ditchers” have their way.

      By Alastair Jamieson, and NBC News

      Updated at 10:45 a.m. ET: Political leaders in Athens were due to discuss an emergency government Wednesday to deal with a possible run on banks as it emerged Greeks withdrew almost $900 million in a single day, fearing their country could crash out of the euro currency by the end of the week.

      • quixote says:

        Interesting. I have such a bad case of Political Affective Disorder, I don’t see voters in the US having the same get-up-and-go as the Greeks and throwing the corporate bums out. But the corporate bums themselves are probably worried.

        They’re going to have to figure out whether to support the less effective but even more loyal stooge, or the slightly less reliable one who’s better on deliverables.

        Interesting times. Not.

        Right about now, I wish we were more like the Greeks.

      • RalphB says:

        A few days ago Krugman was predicting that unless Germany did at least a partial 180 on their austerity demands, the euro would be dead within months. I hated to read that because it’s a bad bet to go against his predictions. What a horrendous mess,

      • HT says:

        It’s getting interesting in Europe – Angela Merkel’s party lost a major election in Westphalia five days ago. North Rhine-Westphalia is the most populous part of Germany. Perhaps the worm is finally turning?

      • bostonboomer says:

        The corporate stooges have already gone over the Romney. See my comment above.

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Forbes breaks down Mitt Romney’s wealth.

  9. RalphB says:

    If you want to know why the general consensus among the Beltway elites is that so-called entitlements must be cut, just read this story.

    Peter Peterson Spent Nearly Half A Billion In Washington Targeting Social Security, Medicare

    Pete Peterson wants to get his greedy hands on that money for his Wall Street firm.

  10. HT says:

    JJ, great round up. It astonishes me that men like that lout from Kansas are still in government and still get press time. I remember well the days of the coat hanger abortion – the women/girls who went that route were desperate – to their minds they had the option of being sent to a place where they would have to remain till the baby was born, at which point the baby would be taken and sold to the highest bidder, then they were tossed out to the “loving arms” of their families and communities, only to be branded and shunned for the rest of their lives, or they could abort. Either choice was deplorable – in the first, they risked slow death by depression, in the other, they risked death or sterility. One hell of a choice, eh. Now this yahoo who would never be in this position has the unmitigated gall…… well you know what I’m thinking.

  11. RalphB says:

    Steve Benen at maddowblog has a great post on Willard’s speech in Iowa yesterday. He dissects it with precision.

    A peek into an alternate reality

    Watching the Republican’s remarks, I was annoyed by the breathtaking dishonesty, but I was also struck by something that seemed rather new to me: Romney’s immaturity. His arguments weren’t just wrong; they were silly. If the political discourse were in any way grounded in fact, this was the kind of speech that would laugh Romney off the national stage, with sensible people agreeing that the guy just isn’t ready for the big kids’ table. Grown-ups don’t feel the need to create fantasy lands where their wishes are true.

    The speech seemed like it had been written by a high-school student who’s preoccupied with Rush Limbaugh’s radio show and assorted right-wing Twitter feeds. I couldn’t take Romney seriously yesterday because Romney no longer cares enough to take himself seriously.

    We got a peek into an alternate reality yesterday, and it appears that Romney Land is a deeply foolish place.