Sunday Reads: Forget Rubenesque Women, Try Willendorf

russianMorning Everyone!

Still feeling a little off, but somewhat better…I even tried to write this post on Friday night, only I just could not get it all together.

If this post doesn’t make much sense, blame it on my lack of brain activity.

Some GOP idiot was pulling an Akin over the weekend, by that I mean she was spouting crap about rape. Little Green Footballs takes a look at a California GOP Leader: Rape Pregnancy Is Rare Because “The Body Is Traumatized” 

When are Republicans going to learn that when the subject of rape comes up, they should shut the front door?

This time it’s the president of the California Republican Assembly, Celeste Greig, who thinks a woman who is raped is less likely to get pregnant because “the body is traumatized.”

All this when the California GOP is trying to change their image. Calif. Republicans seek to restore party’s luster

They sure as hell won’t get a sparkle continuing to talk shit about rape.

Of course with Fox and Friends pushing the right’s meme….You May Have Seen These Fox Graphics Before — In A GOP Press Release according to  Media Matters

Fox aired on-screen graphics that mimicked images included in the NRCC release in order to criticized what they termed Obama’s “sequestration priorities.” Here are those images, with the Fox versions on the left and NRCC versions on the right:


Fox 3


Fox News has repeatedly cut and pasted or otherwise parroted GOP materials without disclosing the partisan source of the research. In graphics used for one 2009 segment, Fox News even replicated a typo that had been included in the Republican research document that the network was reproducing without disclosure. After anchor Jon Scott subsequently apologized for the typo. CNN host Howard Kurtz castigated Scott at the time, saying that the Fox anchor should apologize for repeating “partisan propaganda from the GOP” unsourced.

Funny huh?

Then you have news from Wally World, Why Are Walmart Billionaires Bankrolling Phony School ‘Reform’ In LA? | Perspectives, What Matters Today |

For years, Los Angeles has been ground zero in an intense debate about how to improve our nation’s education system. What’s less known is who is shaping that debate. Many of the biggest contributors to the so-called “school choice” movement — code words for privatizing our public education system — are billionaires who don’t live in Southern California, but have gained significant influence in local school politics. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s recent contribution of $1 million to a political action committee created to influence next week’s LAUSD school board elections is only the most recent example of the billionaire blitzkrieg.

For more than a decade, however, one of the biggest of the billionaire interlopers has been the Walton family, heirs to the Walmart fortune, who have poured millions into a privatization-oriented, ideological campaign to make LA a laboratory for their ideas about treating schools like for-profit businesses, and treating parents, students and teachers like cogs in what they must think are education big-box retail stores.

As a business chain, Walmart has spent a fortune — in philanthropy and campaign contributions — trying to break into the Los Angeles retail market with its low-wage retail stores.

Now the Walton family — which derives its fortune from the Arkansas-based Walmart — is trying to use that fortune to bring Walmart-style education to Los Angeles.

You know, even in my half-organized loopy sense of things, I can still appreciate the irony of this. I’ll explain after another quote from the Moyers blog:

The Waltons have long supported efforts to privatize education through the Walton Family Foundation as well as individual political donations to local candidates. Since 2005, the Waltons have given more than $1 billion to organizations and candidates who support privatization. They’ve channeled the funds to the pro-charter and pro-voucher Milton Friedman Foundation for Education Choice, Michelle Rhee’s pro-privatization and high-stakes testing organization Students First, and the pro-voucher Alliance for School Choice, where Walton family member Carrie Walton Penner sits on the board. In addition to funding these corporate-style education reform organizations, since 2000 the Waltons have also spent more than $24 million bankrolling politicians, political action committees, and ballot issues in California and elsewhere at the state and local level which undermine public education and literally shortchange students.

Read more at the link.

I wonder if these folks in Alabama would think Walmart has an agenda: Alabama GOP Official Warns Obama Plans to Indoctrinate Children | Right Wing Watch

I have to give you the rest in link dump fashion.

The rest of today’s reads deal with history…

Rise and fall of black America’s first fighter pilot – The Independent:

Out of America: Honoured by the French as a war hero, Eugene Jacques Bullard ended his days as a lift operator.

From The New York Times: The Holocaust Just Got More Shocking

THIRTEEN years ago, researchers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum began the grim task of documenting all the ghettos, slave labor sites, concentration camps and killing factories that the Nazis set up throughout Europe.

 What they have found so far has shocked even scholars steeped in the history of the Holocaust.

New York Fashion Museum Shows its ‘Shoe Obsession’-Voice of America

Christian Louboutin (Museum at FIT)

The museum’s current show, “Shoe Obsession,” presents some of the most extreme examples of those objects of desire: fantastically wrought sky-high heels by leading designers, with prices equally unreachable.

Read about the history of shoes at that link, and you can look at more pictures, since they have a gallery at the link too.

And finally, this last story which connects to the title of this post. Seeking Meaning in the Earliest Female Nudes


sn-figurines-thumb-200xauto-16374Changing styles. Prehistoric female figurines started off voluptuous like the Venus of Willendorf (left) but then became schematic like these “Gönnersdorf” style statuettes (right), possibly signaling a shift in their meaning.
Credit: Bildersturm/Creative Commons

About 35,000 years ago, prehistoric artists across Europe suddenly discovered the female formand the art world has never been the same. The explosion of voluptuous female figurines sculpted out of limestone, ivory, and clay directly inspired Picasso and Matisse. Researchers have debated the figurines’ meaning for decades. Now, two scientists think they have the answer. Presenting their work here last week at the European Palaeolithic Conference, they claimed that the objects started off as celebrations of the female form, then later became symbols that tied together a growing human society.

The talk, part of a special exhibition on Ice Age art at London’s British Museum, surveyed the more than 20,000 year-history of female figurines, which are found at dozens of archaeological sites from Russia to France. The earliest such objects, which include the famous Venus of Willendorf from Austria (see photo) and a statuette recently found in Germany that some have called the “earliest pornography,” date from as early as 35,000 years ago and are generally called the “Willendorf style” of prehistoric art.

Y’all have a good Sunday.


53 Comments on “Sunday Reads: Forget Rubenesque Women, Try Willendorf”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Take care, JJ. Thanks for the roundup.

    How the sequester will hurt scientific research

    For anyone who cares about basic research, this is frightening. But I guess as long as it doesn’t keep Wall Street from doling out bonuses, it’s OK with the psychopaths in charge.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Nina Totenberg explains why Justice Roberts was completely wrong when he claimed that Massachusetts has worse black voter registration and turnout than Mississippi.

    But George Will catapaults the propaganda anyway.

  3. So sorry about my last few post, it usually takes a while after a seizure before I can think straight. Well, not that straight.

  4. Have you all seen this? New York Fed Agreed to Testify for Bank of America –

    Published: March 2, 2013

    TWO weeks ago, I wrote a column about a secret agreement struck in July 2012 by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Bank of America. The existence of the confidential deal was disclosed recently in court filings, which showed the New York Fed releasing Bank of America from all fraud claims on mortgage securities the Fed had bought as part of the government’s rescue of the American International Group in 2008.

    A.I.G., which is suing Bank of America to recover losses it suffered on those securities, has calculated the value of the fraud claims at $7 billion.

    Late on Thursday, a copy of the actual agreement came to light. It was filed by Bank of America in a California court that is hearing the matter of who owns those fraud claims — A.I.G. or the New York Fed. The agreement was also filed by the New York Fed in a related lawsuit in the Southern District of New York, where the New York Fed asked that the court keep the agreement under seal.

    A reading of the document makes it clear why.

    • Another banking link for you, this time from the UK: HSBC set to unveil one of the biggest profit hauls in UK banking history with announcement of £15.6bn profits – Business News – Business – The Independent

      HSBC will unveil one of the biggest profit hauls in the history of UK banking tomorrow – triggering another windfall for its chief executive.

      Stuart Gulliver is expected to receive a bonus of around £2 million as part of a total pay and benefits package reportedly worth between £6 million and £7 million for 2012.

      The award, which comes despite HSBC’s record fine of 1.9 billion US dollars (£1.2 billion) to settle a US investigation into money-laundering, will be announced alongside pre-tax profits of 23.4 billion US dollars (£15.6 billion), according to City forecasts.

      That is just shy of the bank’s record haul of 24 billion US dollars seen in 2007 and will be the biggest profit by a British bank since before the financial crisis.

      The banking group makes an estimated 90% of its money outside Britain and has benefited from its exposure to emerging markets in Asia.

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Scientists exhume the heart of Richard the Lionheart.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    He’s baaaaaaaak!

  7. RalphB says:

    Today in Well, Duh Once more into the breach with Paul Krugman.

    • bostonboomer says:

      This is actually good news for us normal people. Obama can offer a grand bargain to the Republicans until he’s blue in the face. They don’t want to cut “entitlements.” They just want to make Obama look weak and ineffectual.

      • RalphB says:

        Well, actually they want Obama and the Dems to cut entitlements then they’ll run against them because of it. But I hope you don’t think the GOP doesn’t want them cut.

      • bostonboomer says:

        No, I know that. They want the cuts but only if they don’t get blamed. They’d like to scrap the programs entirely.

      • RalphB says:

        I was sure you did! 🙂

  8. RalphB says:

    Virginia’s Feast on U.S. Funds Nears an End

    ARLINGTON, Va. — To listen to the human side of sequestration, wait in line here for the 595 bus to Reston, Va., a journey across a suburbia grown fat and happy on a federal spending boom in the past decade, primarily military.

    While the rest of the country experienced a corrosive recession, unemployment in Arlington County, home of the Pentagon, never rose above 5 percent. Nearby Fairfax County, with a cyberintelligence industry that took off after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, gorged on government contracts to private companies.

    “It was easy, and people got comfortable,” said Stephen S. Fuller of George Mason University, an expert on the regional economy. “They haven’t come to terms with the fact it isn’t going to be as easy.”

    They’re nowhere near the real world and won’t be much closer after these defense cuts.

    • bostonboomer says:

      It’s going to kill us here in the Boston area. Our main industry is education, research, and medicine. MIT is running scared right now. But we have other research universities–Harvard and Boston University rely on federal funds for research, and Harvard’s endowment isn’t what it used to be. One entire area of Boston is devoted to teaching hospitals.

      • RalphB says:

        We will lost something like 56K workers due to the Defense cuts then a lot more because Houston has become a large medical complex in the past couple of decades.

      • bostonboomer says:

        MIT Technology Review: R & D Faces Its Own Fiscal Cliff

        U.S. politicians of all stripes are often quick to sing the praises of innovation and the economic benefits of federally funded research. But unless there’s a dramatic turn of events, U.S. government-funded R&D is poised for years of stagnation.

        The automatic federal budget cuts, known as sequestration, scheduled to take effect on Friday will trigger significant cuts in research and development. From now until the end of September this year, almost $8.7 billion will need to be removed from research budgets, reducing nondefense spending by 5.1 percent and discretionary defense spending by 7.3 percent, according to an analysis by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

        In the short term, the impact will likely be curtailed projects and lost research jobs at universities and national laboratories in the months ahead. But the longer-term implications of the across-the-board cuts are even more profound. “This is going to have an impact on the next generation of scientists and engineers for the future,” says Joanne Carney, the director of government relations at the AAAS. “And it’s only going to get worse because we are going to have to make more cuts in future years.”

        The belt-tightening has already begun. The National Institutes for Health has reduced grant levels to 90 percent and will fund fewer of them this year. The National Science Foundation is cutting 1,000 grants this year, resulting in 1,600 fewer graduate students and 200 fewer post-docs. Research and development is particularly vulnerable to the biggest cuts in some agencies. The Department of Defense is more likely to fund pressing concerns, such as a project near completion, whereas long-term research is an “easy area to target,” says Carney.

        Harvard and MIT are two of the biggest employers in the Boston area.

  9. bostonboomer says:

    The final sequester cuts from the OMB:

    NIH loses $1.5 billion.

  10. RalphB says:

    That was for the “fiscal cliff” chapter of Dysfunctional America. But it almost certainly hasn’t changed in this “sequester” chapter.

  11. janicen says:

    Why is Walmart sticking it’s nose in to education? Money. Government investment in public education has been slashed by the conservatives so that public schools can no longer afford to provide school supplies. Enter Walmart. All parents go marching over to Walmart every year to buy what used to be provided, at lower cost to each student, by the school systems. After all, why have “inefficient government” buy supplies directly from manufacturers at volume discounts when we can inject Walmart, Target, and Staples as middlemen and pay them for the supplies along with a little profit as well? Not to mention the cost of transportation to these retail outlets and what we spend on incidentals while we are in the stores. It’s a scandal I’ve been railing about for years. We are at the point that we have an entire generation of people who don’t even remember that schools used to provide school supplies and we all spent less for them.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Walmart is getting desperate. They are losing millions because low income people don’t have as much money since they cancelled the payroll tax vacation. We are already approaching European-style austerity. I wish Obama would wake up before unemployment goes to 10%. Customers who do show up find empty shelves.

      • My husband says the suits in his district feel another reason for the crappy same store sales is that the tax refunds are being held up.

      • HT says:

        I’m being really cynical here, but it’s not just the lack of consumers. If they don’t dumb down education how will they ensure an endless supply of workers who will settle for their shitty wages and no benefits? Slave labour here we come.

  12. bostonboomer says:

    David Gregory says the Washington press corps and Washington “establishment” don’t particularly like President Obama.

    • ecocatwoman says:

      Some terrific comments to that piece, jj. Thanks for sharing.

      I’m concerned about you too. I wish you could see the neurologist sooner than April 1st. Please take it easy.

    • HT says:

      Good article Fannie, thanks. Lest we forget – however some have and we’re fighting the same fights today – some people even want to revoke the women’s ability to vote. How far have we come – after the 80’s, one step forward and two steps back.

      • Fannie says:

        So true HT……..

      • HT says:

        Right Fannie, and that’s what scares the hell out of me. I’m toast in terms of life expectancy, but I have a young daughter and son (I was an old preggy) and the thought of my children (who are now adult) going through what I went through in the 1960’s gives me the dry heaves. I don’t know what I can do to stop it. My kids don’t see the danger because they never lived through it. I’m terrified that they wil give up their rights because they don’t see that their rights are being attacked. Both of them just pooh pooh my concerns, and quite honestly I won’t live to see the mess that their lack of attention will result in, however I love the idiots and want to ensure they and their children (should they choose to have any) have a future free of this interference in their lives. I don’t want my beloved children in a distopiac version of Handmaid’s Tale, which if the religious ass##les have their choice will occur.

    • janicen says:

      I just watched the entire three hours of “Makers”. It was really good until the last 15 minutes when I started to get pissed off and by the end, my jaw dropped. No mention, NO MENTION, of Hillary Clinton’s historic run in the Democratic primary campaign for POTUS. 18 million what? Nothing.

  13. HT says:

    JJ – try to get into see your specialist sooner, and in the meantime, do take care of yourself. Like other skydancers, I am concerned.