Sunday Reads: Volcanic Ash, Elephant Speak and Secret Pigeons of WarPosted: November 4, 2012
This morning’s post has many items that are not about Romney, Ryan or the election. I suppose however, we should get a few of the newsy links out-of-the-way first.
The forecasters are predicting cold weather in the Northeast. U.S. disaster relief in a race against freezing cold
The power restorations relit the skyline in Lower Manhattan for the first time in nearly a week and allowed 80 percent of the New York City subway service to resume, but more than a million homes and businesses still lacked power, down from 3.5 million on Friday.
The power outages combined with a heating oil shortage meant some homes could go cold as unseasonably frigid weather sets in. Forecasters saw temperatures dipping into the upper 30s Fahrenheit (around 3 degrees Celsius) on Saturday night with freezing temperatures expected next week.
The weather forecast remains bleak. An aggressive early-season “Nor’easter” storm was expected to hit the battered New England coast next week with strong winds and heavy rain.
Another storm has been brewing over the last year, the disaster cyclone that is Romney. Over on the Maddow Blog, Steven Benen has been chronicling the Romney Lies. His latest entry can be found here: Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity, Vol. XLI – The Maddow Blog
In a way, I blame my friend Greg Sargent. In the first week in January, he noted, almost in passing, that Mitt Romney seemed to be making a lot of false claims, and someone “really should document them all.” That struck me as a good idea, so I decided to tackle this on my own.
After all, I thought at the time, how hard could this be? Once a week, I’d let readers know about Romney’s whoppers, which I assumed would total about a half-dozen a week, and maybe after the election, I’d do a top 20 list of my favorites. The project would be a nice little Friday-afternoon feature.
Little did I know at the time that Romney would become an ambitious prevaricator, whose rhetoric would come to define post-truth politics. Nearly 11 months after Greg Sargent’s harmless suggestion, I’ve published 40 installments in this series, which, before today, featured 884 falsehoods. (If you include today’s edition, the new total is 917 falsehoods for the year.)
I wish that were a typo. It’s not.
I have followed this series from the beginning, and actually have linked to a few articles now and then. If you want to skim over lies upon lies, then check out the full Mendacity series here.
Previous editions of Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity: Vol. I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII,XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XX, XXI, XXII, XXIII, XXIV, XXV, XXVI, XXVII, XXVIII, XXIX, XXX, XXXI, XXXII, XXXIII, XXXIV, XXXV, XXXVI, XXXVII, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XL
I’ve got several links for you on the GOP’s War on Women:
Judge Robert Cleland, a George H.W. Bush appointee and former Republican candidate for Michigan Attorney General, held yesterday that a private, for-profit outdoor power equipment company can ignore new rules requiring most employer-provided health plans to offer contraceptive coverage to womenbecause the new rules conflict with the company’s owner’s religious beliefs.
There’s a lot to not like about Judge Cleland’s opinion, which often relies on cursory reasoning or fails to apply the correct legal standard. The plaintiffs, for example, sought what is known as a “preliminary injunction” which means that they wanted their client to be held immune from following the law until the court has sufficient time to fully consider the case. Under binding Supreme Court precedent, “[a] plaintiff seeking a preliminary injunction must establish that he is likely to succeed on the merits.” Yet Judge Cleland never determines that this is the case. At one point, he says that it “remains uncertain” how to resolve a key prong of this case. At another point, he outright states that “[n]either Plaintiffs nor the Government have shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits.” For this reason, an appeals court should reverse Cleland’s order solely because he failed to apply the correct legal standard.
There are many other observations about the ruling at the link.
Do you remember that Bishop that compared Obama to Hitler, well…he is making all catholic priest read a letter at this morning’s mass. Here is a good Catholic’s take on the letter and The Vatican’s Merger With The GOP via Andrew Sullivan
In Peoria, Illinois, Catholic Bishop Jenky, who has previously compared president Obama with Hitler and Stalin, has ordered a letter to be read at all masses next Sunday by the priest. This instruction gives you a taste of the legacy of Benedict XVI in his restoration of total clerical and episcopal obedience:
By virtue of your vow of obedience to me as your Bishop, I require that this letter be personally read by each celebrating priest at each Weekend Mass, November 3/4.
It’s a screed about religious liberty, with respect to the liberty of Catholic hierarchs to prevent the 99 percent of their female parishioners who use contraception from getting it from their health insurance via Obamacare. Money quote from the unhinged letter which all but instructs Catholics to vote for Romney-Ryan:
Nearly two thousand years ago, after our Savior had been bound, beaten, scourged, mocked, and crowned with thorns, a pagan Roman Procurator displayed Jesus to a hostile crowd by sarcastically declaring: Behold your King. The mob roared back: We have no king but Caesar. Today, Catholic politicians, bureaucrats, and their electoral supporters who callously enable the destruction of innocent human life in the womb also thereby reject Jesus as their Lord. They are objectively guilty of grave sin.
For those who hope for salvation, no political loyalty can ever take precedence over loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ and to his Gospel of Life.
Democrats are the equivalent of the mob who called out to crucify Jesus. The man has lost his sense of proportion and compassion and restraint entirely. But so, alas, has the hierarchy he serves.
Here is an update on Planned Parenthood in Texas. Errors in Texas database pose barriers to health care access
Texas health commissioner Kyle Janek said Wednesday that errors in a state-crafted database intended to help women find reproductive health care providers are “a real problem.”
As the state attempts to implement a rule barring Planned Parenthood clinics from participating in the government-funded Women’s Health Program, the health commission has directed low-income women to use its online database to search for a new provider.
Nearly half of the women served by the program currently rely on Planned Parenthood. The commission says that more than 3,000 providers are available to serve these women, but many experts are skeptical that these facilities will be able to accommodate the women displaced by the new rule.
Read the rest of the horrible situation women in Texas must face for basic services.
The database has garnered complaints from health care providers and patients for producing what they see as inflated and “misleading” search results. It includes a number of duplicate entries, facilities that do not provide reproductive health services (such as children’s clinics), and listings for clinics that are unable to see new program clients.
When confronted about the issue by The American Independent at an event hosted by The Texas Tribune, Janek insisted that the “3,000 providers” figure was accurate and that the error-prone database is “a separate list.”
“When we say that we’ve got 3,000 providers out there ready to participate in this program, there’s no duplicates,” he said.
Still, Janek admitted the inaccurate database is “a real problem.”
Very upsetting, please read more at the link.
More disgusting stuff about violence against women Rapists, Beware: Detroit Prosecutor IDs 21 Attackers in ‘Rape Kit’ Probe I realize that headline may sound promising but it is not.
Twenty-one serial rapists have been identified in a massive investigation led by Detroit prosecutor Kym Worthy—and her manhunt has only just begun.
Worthy is leading a charge to investigate more than 11,000 police “rape kits”—which contain swabs of semen, saliva, and other evidence of rape—so the rapists can be brought to justice. The thousands of rape kits had piled up in a dusty police warehouse in Detroit for years, ignored, until one of Worthy’s colleagues stumbled upon them in 2009. Since then, an outraged Worthy has been fighting to get the kits logged, tested for DNA, and then entered into the national DNA database.
11,000 rape kits that have yet to be worked over? WTF…
The logging of the kits alone has been a staggering project. “There were no police reports attached to the kits,” she says, explaining that her colleagues “literally had to dust them off” and “physically go through and open them to get the name of the victim, the date that it happened.” A federal grant for $1 million—the first of two such grants of its kind, with the other going to Houston—has helped her get all the kits logged, she says, but the grant won’t cover the DNA testing of all 11,303 kits. “Unfortunately money’s not falling from the sky,” she says.
Rape-kit pileups aren’t just a problem in Detroit. In recent years, cities across the country have reported mountains of kits—11,000 in San Antonio, 1,200 in Albuquerque, 4,000 in Houston—according to Sarah Tofte, who has studied the national debacle for the advocacy group Human Rights Watch. Experts estimate that hundreds of thousands of kits are languishing in police warehouses.
When Worthy learned of the Detroit pileup from the colleague who discovered it by chance, she says, she demanded immediate action from the police chief at the time. “No one really paid attention to what I was saying and yelling about till about four months in,” she says. People finally took notice, she says, when someone in the police department leaked the news to the press.
I can’t quote the rest, you have to read it for yourself. It is maddening! Women don’t matter, and the treatment we receive from the right-wing assholes is sometimes more than I can bear.
For some perspective on this, check out how a typical white male GOP loving Fox News celebrity views women voters. Bill O’Reilly on single women voters: hot, good at costumes, not too smart.
Bill O’Reilly has been very concerned about the problem of degrading women lately. So concerned, in fact, that he worried out loud that Sandra Fluke had degraded women with her immodest suggestion that insurance benefits cover contraception. With Bill O’Reilly as a fierce protector of ladies, you can imagine that his show’s segment on single female voters last night was a chaste, respectful affair that represented the wide diversity of this important portion of the electorate: the never-married, the divorced, the widowed, the single mothers and the non-mothers, the cohabitating but unmarried, the young and the old, and, of course, women from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Just kidding! O’Reilly sent his producer Jesse Watters out on Halloween weekend to interview sexy young white women on the street, all of them in costume and ready to party, so that Watters could leer at their single lady voter breasts and condescendingly make “can you believe they have a right to vote?!” faces at the camera in response to the women’s selectively edited answers to his questions.
My favorite part is when Watters asks one woman, an Obama supporter, if she’s a “radical feminist” in the same tone adults use when asking kindergartners what they want to be when they grow up. After she points out that feminism is simply a matter of believing women have equal rights, the audience is reminded that we’re supposed to find that answer ridiculous with a sarcastic quick cut to a man saying, “I sure do appreciate knowing that.”
Read the rest of Amanda Marcotte’s article, where she touches on the Fox News audience…a bunch of dirty old men. If you missed Dak’s article yesterday on the Fox Assholes...then go read it. Wow!
I’ve got another article for you, about Why Frightened White Men Love Romney
These are the facts you don’t want to know. This is the hard data that can make you cringe, that can despoil the soul and make you wonder at the sad state of the modern world, and gender politics, and the tragically deceived hearts of (ahem) men.
All that progress! All that supposed enlightenment! All that push and desire, that evolution and that open-hearted possibility! And for what? For naught! For shame!
That is just a taste…being married to one of those white men with a fondness for Mittens, I can tell you that I still don’t get why anyone would vote for Romney.
Great, now that all those terrible links are posted, let’s get to the fun.
More after the jump…
I don’t know where to begin…first an update, during the beginning of the year we had stories of mass bird deaths, not only in the US, but in Britain as well. Check it out, I have heard of cattle getting drunk (they eat apples which ferment as they digest them) but I’ve never heard of drunk birds: Mass blackbird deaths attributed to intoxication from fermented berries
bizarre spate of young blackbird deaths at a school in England was likely caused by the feathered teens getting drunk on fermented berries, crashing mid-air and falling from the sky, according to vets.
Police and animal experts were called in after more than a dozen birds were found dead at a primary school in Cumbria last August — many of them sporting serious injuries.
One of the juvenile blackbirds was found alive but appeared “drunk”, pressing its wings into the ground to steady itself and trying to stay upright by leaning against the walls of the enclosure it was taken to.
Foul play was initially suspected, but post-mortem examinations ruled out a murder spree or diseases like bird flu.
Instead, the examiners found berries in the birds’ stomachs that had a smell of fermentation, said a report in the BMJ Group journal Veterinary Record.
Alcohol levels were very high in blood of these birds. Most telling however was that once that one bird who was found in a stupor had a night’s rest, he woke up fine.
“Some of the birds had died from traumatic injury, possibly related to in-flight collisions secondary to intoxication,” wrote investigators from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency.
“Unsteadiness on the feet, a tendency to fall over and losing the ability to steer is considerably more of a problem when life is normally spent in trees or in the air,” added a media statement.
The lone survivor made a full recovery and was released back into the wild after sleeping off its hangover.
That bird must have had one hell of a headache.
On to a quick interview with another bird who is best known for her alcoholic benders. I should say her portrayal of drunken floozy. I am speaking of Joanna Lumley, aka Patsy Stone. My Secret Life: Joanna Lumley, 66, actress – Profiles – People – The Independent
This next story is really something, you need to hear and see the video of this elephant who speaks Korean. Elephant mimics Korean with help of his trunk Yeah, it manipulates the sound with his trunk. Cool huh?
Alright, the next few links will be a series of articles, photos and video in a timeline of Earth’s history…
This first one is special to me because when I made handwoven jewelry, my shop was called Painted Bull, after the cave paintings in France.
Credit: Prof saxx, Wikimedia Commons
Painted aurochs and antelopes, estimated to be around 17,300 years old, caper across the wall of a cave in Lascaux, France.
More cave paintings at the link.
Next we have one that dakinikat will like, Bulgaria archaeologists find Europe’s most prehistoric town Provadia-Solnitsata
The remains of a man with a ceramic bowl Photo: AFP/GETTY
Experts believe the key to the development of the town was salt, which at the time was as valuable as gold.
Remains of the ancient settlement, including the ruins of two-storey houses, fortification walls and parts of a gate, have been unearthed near the modern-day town of Provadia, close to the Black Sea resort of Varna.
It dates back to between 4,700 and 4,200BC – more than a millennium before the start of Greece’s ancient civilisation.
Jump forwards quite a bit, to Alaska…Ash from 100-year-old Novarupta volcanic eruption sweeps over Kodiak Island
Strong winds swept ash from the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century into the atmosphere Tuesday, creating a haze over Alaska’s Kodiak Island and prompting the National Weather Service to issue flight warnings for the area.
Powerful northwest winds funneled through the mountains at the Katmai Bay, sending ash around 4,000 feet into the sky southeast toward Kodiak.
Brian Hagenbuch, general meteorologist at the National Weather Service Anchorage office, was the first to spot the ash. “When the sun came up yesterday, I noticed it looked foggy on the Larson Bay camera,” one of many cameras set up by the FAA to monitor weather conditions. But as the sun continued to rise, he noted the fog looked smoggy and brown.
Around 10 a.m., Hagenbuch checked the visible satellite and found a “milky, dome-shaped plume.” He then double-checked on infra-red equipment that is used specifically to spot ash even through cloud cover, which verified his findings.
Having confirmed his suspicions, Hagenbuch put together a “Significant Meterological Event” warning, called a SIGMET, to alert pilots of the hazardous conditions in the area.
Hagenbuch says that very strong winds “from time to time” will stir up the ash from Novarupta.
Flying volcanic ash that is one hundred years old? This is something I’ve never heard of…have you?
The Novarupta volcanic eruption of June 6, 1912, occurred in what is now the Katmai National Park and Preserve. For three days, the volcano spewed 100 times more material than the Mount St. Helens eruption, shooting plumes 20 miles into the air and burying the valley downwind in over 500 feet of ash and volcanic rock. Four years later, when botanist Robert Griggs visited the valley, steam still poured from vents across the valley, prompting the crew to name it The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes.
Let us move forward again, to World War II…Undercover pigeon carrying WWII secrets found in chimney
Pigeon skeleton and the coded message it was carrying during World War II. Credit: Bletchley ParkThe remains of a carrier pigeon from World War II have been found in the chimney of a house in Bletchingley, Surrey, with the top-secret coded message it was meant to deliver still attached to the bird’s foot.
The pigeon could have been dispatched from Nazi-occupied France during the D-Day invasions and was thought to have been headed for Bletchley Park with the coded message.
More info at the link…
And finally, a video…a quick look at the history of the world, from the very beginning of time! Watch the entire history of the planet in under two minutes
I guess this was two big post in one, so you all can take it in bits at a time. Well…what sort of things are you doing today? What are your reading about? Comments below…have at it.