Friday Nite Lite: Bachmann Gone, Cartoonist Lament

Oh yeah,

you know what day it is…

it’s Friday!

I am not in the mood to say much tonight, my thoughts are with my friend JD and her family in OKC…there was a time when I was sending text messages to her letting her know where the storm was located because her power was out…

5/31 Luckovich cartoon: Lots of luck | Mike Luckovich

053113-toon-luckovich-ed

Engineering – Truthdig

Fresh Water Invasive Species by Political Cartoonist Adam Zyglis

132539 600 Fresh Water Invasive Species cartoons

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Mike Smith, Las Vegas Sun – 05/31/2013

Cartoon by Mike Smith -

Bachmann Out – Truthdig

Bye Bye Bachmann by Political Cartoonist Nate Beeler

132508 600 Bye Bye Bachmann cartoons

5/30 Luckovich cartoon: Goodbye, Michele | Mike Luckovich

053013-toon-luckovich-ed

Clay Bennett editorial cartoon – Political Cartoon by Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press – 05/30/2013

Cartoon by Clay Bennett - Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

Clown Exit – Political Cartoon by Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – 05/31/2013

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Clown Exit

Crazy Takes A Holiday by Political Cartoonist John Darkow

132477 600 Crazy Takes A Holiday cartoons

Fact Checkers – Political Cartoon by Bruce Plante, Tulsa World – 05/31/2013

Cartoon by Bruce Plante - Fact Checkers

Paul Szep on Creators.com – A Syndicate Of Talent

Michele Bachmann Quits by Political Cartoonist Joe Heller

132479 600 Michele Bachmann Quits cartoons

Michele Bachmann Leaves Congress by Political Cartoonist Steve Sack

132499 600 Michele Bachmann Leaves Congress cartoons

I will end with this cartoon, the eyes on the little porcupine are very cute.

Bed of Nails by Political Cartoonist Marian Kamensky

132488 600 Bed of Nails cartoons

This is an open thread.

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Friday Reads: Hacks that Hate Women

which-female-stereotype-are-you-jun-13-2012-9-600x400Good Morning!

I’m going to try to try not to let the rant out quite yet.  But, wow,  these two guys really piss me off and I cannot figure for the life of me why ANYONE takes them seriously.  They belong in museums with the other prehistoric cave dwellers.   I hate to ruin your day by quoting Erick Erickson and Ross Douthat in one post.  But, sometimes you just have take them out and on.  I have never had a single nice word to say about either of them.  You’ll notice that nothing will stop that trend today.  So,  let’s start with the fat boy at FOX instead of the fat boy at NYT. I can’t even imagine what kind of hell realm their wives must experience daily.

Appearing on a Fox Business panel Wednesday evening, Fox contributor Erick Erickson suggested it is “anti-science” to reject the biological claim that men should be in the “dominant” role in the nuclear family.

This particular panel segment of Lou Dobbs Tonight took on a recent Pew study claiming that mothers are now the primary source of income in 40 percent of American households. Dobbs characterized the findings as “troubling” while panelist Juan Williams asserted that it indicates “something going terribly wrong in American society.”

Erickson added to that by suggesting female breadwinners are antithetical to biology:

“I’m so used to liberals telling conservatives that they’re anti-science. But liberals who defend this and say it is not a bad thing are very anti-science. When you look at biology — when you look at the natural world — the roles of a male and a female in society and in other animals, the male typically is the dominant role. The female, it’s not antithesis, or it’s not competing, it’s a complementary role.”

He continued on to lament that “We as people in a smart society have lost the ability to have complementary relationships in nuclear families, and it is tearing us apart.”

He concluded: “Having mom as primary bread winner is bad for kids and bad for marriage.”

woman_stereotype_max600Have you ever read anything so far removed from history, biology, or life as that? Amanda Marcotte dissects his tiny little brain that seems incapable of any thought that isn’t straight out of 1950s black and white family life that was shown in home ec classes to keep women thinking one man and one kitchen was the be-all and end-all of her life. The reality today is that 4 out of 10 households have female breadwinners.   Penguins must be spawn of  the devil in Erickson’s world.

Erickson must have this nifty scientific “fact” by studying the animals in the well-known academic text, The Berenstain Bears, which clearly shows Papa Bear going out and earning the money while Mama Bear stays at home and cooks the food for the cubs. Of course, in the actual natural world, bears don’t make money—plus there’s a lot of diversity in how animals raise their young. (In case you’re wondering, outside of the two weeks of maternity leave mothers take to nurse their babies, foxes embrace a fairly egalitarian approach to child rearing where both parents go out and get food for their young.) One thing, however, is certain: Other primates besides humans mostly shun the male-dominated monogamy that Erickson prefers, with most species living in large bands with lots of kinky partner swapping.

Needless to say, the utter destruction of social stability that these men predict from the growth of female independence is not borne out by the facts. The divorce rate is actually declining. The abortion rate is roughly what it was pre-Roe and is mostly in decline, in part because of all those women opting into the sole breadwinner lifestyle. The only man on this panel who got close to the facts in midst of the full-blown panic was Williams, who hinted at how this is more about men’s declining fortunes than women’s growing ones. It’s true that these new breadwinner stats are not all good news, but the real problem is that men earning less means less money overall for the average American home. What’s really hurting Americans isn’t female equality, but growing income inequality between the rich and everyone else. Pitting men against women is simply a distraction from the real economic issues facing us all.

Douthat’s pudgy little fingers typed out some earlier diatribe in the NYT.  Douthat belongs in the religious propaganda pages of The Catholic Voice. I’ve said this timehousecleaning and time again.  But, his insistence that “conservativism” is aligned with his religious dogma really gets old. It shows there is something seriously wrong with the people that run the NYT that they continue to give him space for this kind of drivel. Yes, folks.  The decline of Western civilization is because women just won’t get back in the home and do their thing and stop complaining about spitting out babies.  Barry Goldwater–and probably even Ronald Reagan–would take issue with every word here.

1) The core economic challenge facing the American experiment is not income inequality per se, but rather stratification and stagnation — weak mobility from the bottom of the income ladder and wage stagnation for the middle class. These challenges are bound up in a growing social crisis — a retreat from marriage, a weakening of religious and communal ties, a decline in workforce participation — that cannot be solved in Washington D.C. But economic and social policy can make a difference nonetheless, making family life more affordable, upward mobility more likely, and employment easier to find.

2) The existing welfare-state institutions we’ve inherited from the New Deal and the Great Society, however, often make these tasks harder rather than easier: Their exploding costs crowd out every other form of spending, require middle class tax increases and threaten to drag on economic growth; their tangled web of subsidies and credits and tax breaks often benefit the already-affluent and create perverse incentives for the poor, and the distortions created by the way they pay for health care, in particular, contribute mightily to the rising cost of health insurance and thus the stagnation of middle class incomes. So we don’t face a choice between streamlining the welfare state and making it more supportive of work and family; we should be doing both at once.

You just can read the implied disdain of thing not being like they are on Leave it to Beaver.  So Ericson, after probably being reminded of penguins and all the huge number of animals where the male is never even around except for breeding, insisted he was right. He says it’s the truth on his own stinker of a blog Red State, and that it’s not only a conspiracy by women but by GLBT who want to get married and raise children.

 Feminists and politicians on both sides of the aisle view these statements as insulting to single moms and antithetical to their support for gay marriage. What should be insulting to single moms is for society to tell them they can do it all and, in fact, will subsidize their doing it all. I know a number of wonderful, nurturing single mothers. They do as best they can. Most of them have wonderful children. But not one of them prefers to be a single mother.

His small little world has produced its truth.  He ignores that fact that most violence, child abuse and child sexual assault occurs in the sole family situations he worshipfully desires.  To put it in terms of no one wants to be a single mother when they are one is enough to make me want to hit him and puke at the same time.   He needs to be reminded that the traditional way of raising children is really extended families, children working instead of going to school or playing,  both parents work with children left to older children or the elderly.  I have never in my life read so much that just is so microscopically focused on a small period of time in human history that it is just freaking laughable.  However, it is hard to laugh because both of these asses wind up with audiences and they really don’t do deserve it.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Evening Open Thread: Earhart, Mammoths and Reality Shows

Earl Moran Pin Up artist, model Marilyn Monroe

Earl Moran Pin Up artist, model Marilyn Monroe

Good Evening Folks

Storms clouds over the Oklahoma today, I need to update this post, there have been injuries….Tornadoes in Oklahoma, Arkansas injure at least five | Reuters

Severe storms spawned a dozen reported tornadoes in Oklahoma and Arkansas on Thursday, injuring at least five people and sending residents scrambling for cover 10 days after a powerful twister killed 24 people in Oklahoma.

One tornado warning included Cushing, Oklahoma, a critical hub for the U.S. oil markets northeast of Oklahoma City, but the storm passed through without damaging tanks that store more than 50 million barrels of oil, said Bob Noltensmeyer, Cushing’s emergency management director.

The storms were not expected to taper off until later on Thursday night and more storms are expected on Friday, said Greg Dial, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center.

More storms tomorrow so keep an eye on it if you live out there in Tornado Alley.

Photograph study used for the Earl Moran artwork above. Model Marilyn Monroe.

Photograph study used for the Earl Moran artwork above. Photo Earl Moran. Model Marilyn Monroe.

I have just a few links for you tonight. Nothing in the way of “hard news” so relax and enjoy…

There has been speculation about the latest mammoth find in Siberia, I mentioned this spectacular find earlier in the week remember? There was actual flowing blood and the muscle tissue still looked red and fresh. From Nature at Scientific American here is an article written by Kate Wong.

Can a mammoth carcass really preserve flowing blood and possibly live cells?

Yesterday brought a flurry of news stories trumpeting a mind-blowing discovery from the lost world of the last ice age: a 10,000-year-old woolly mammoth carcass that preserves muscle tissue the color of fresh meat and blood in liquid form, despite the –10 degrees Celsius temperatures in the Novosibirsk Islands, where Russian researchers discovered the beast.

The Siberian Times obtained striking photos of the specimen showing the reddish tissues and a vial of the dark brown liquid said to be blood that was found in ice cavities under the animal’s belly, as well as additional details of the discovery. The story quotes mammoth researcher Semyon Grigoriev of the North-Eastern Federal University in Yakutsk, who led the recovery of th

e mammoth, as speculating that the blood contains “a kind of natural anti-freeze” and declaring the specimen — a female that was between 50 and 60 years old when she died — to be “the best preserved mammoth in the history of paleontology.”

I have tried to load that Siberian Times website, but the page is taking too long to load. Anyway, check out what the rest of this article has to say:

Yet with only the news reports to go on (the find was announced in the popular press rather than in a peer-reviewed scientific journal), I wondered if it might be too good to be true. So I contacted a couple of experts not involved in the discovery to get their read on the development. The upshot: it really does appear to be an incredible find, but some of the claims about it are incorrect as reported or have yet to be established as fact.

Daniel Fisher of the University of Michigan, a leading authority on mammoths who has worked with Grigoriev in the past and considers him a close colleague, comments that the news reports appear to be mostly legit. But he noted via email:

“…a few points have gone astray in the story, perhaps just the usual result of language differences and reporters and scientists getting a little out of sync.” For instance, this is not the first old female mammoth found, just the first time we have found this much of the carcass (i.e., soft tissues) of an old female. Likewise, they have not found any “living cell” — at most they could hope to find what the cloning enthusiasts might call a cell with “viable” DNA, meaning that it would be intact enough to use in the context of a cloning effort. In fact, although there is much talk of “viability” of this sort, I think it remains to be demonstrated that any DNA from a mammoth meets this criterion. In general, ancient DNA is highly fragmented and by no means “ready to go” into the next mammoth embryo.

“As for the blood, I have no doubt that they have something interesting, but what exactly it is … is hard to say at this moment. Whether it is exactly blood, and only blood, will of course require a little more analysis, including some microscopic examination. I have previously seen coagulated blood in mammoth blood vessels, which is very close to what has been reported here, so that much is entirely reasonable. At the moment, I must reserve judgment on the specific nature of this new sample, but I am sure it will be of interest.”

I also reached out to physiologist Kevin Campbell of the University of Manitoba, who, working with colleagues, has used ancient DNA to recreate the red blood cell protein hemoglobin from a woolly mammoth and then observed how that protein functioned. Their efforts, which he and molecular biologist Michael Hofreiter of the University of York, UK, described last year in an article for Scientific American, revealed that the temperature-sensitive protein evolved adaptations that enabled it to perform its job of delivering oxygen to body tissues in the frigid conditions mammoths faced.

Campbell noted via email that “If the fluid (‘blood’) sample is as well preserved as the muscle (which, judging from the pictures seems to be amazingly well), there is the possibility that red blood cells are still intact.” He told me he is interested in studying the substance to evaluate its oxygen-binding properties.

“The first step from an oxygen-binding study perspective is to look for red blood cells and then isolate hemoglobin from all the other proteins/cell debris in the sample. Since the sample was collected from outside the body, it is likely that there is also ‘contamination’ from myoglobin and possibly bacteria (for example). Based on the color alone, I think it is pretty safe to say that there is indeed a fair amount of hemoglobin (and possibly myoglobin) in the vials.”

This is very exciting, because as you read on with Wong’s article, it looks like most of what is being reported is true.

Campbell says Grigoriev told him by email that the “blood” did not even freeze when placed in a museum freezer kept at –17 degrees C. Campbell would like to examine why the substance is not frozen solid at –17 degrees C, noting that he was initially very skeptical about the claim that the supposed blood contains so-called cryoprotectants that have maintained it in a fluid state. He writes:

“Given that the sample is still fluid at 17C indicates that it is in a ‘supercooled’ state, as we expect blood and other body fluids to freeze at about 0.6C. Many insects (and some vertebrates) are able to avoid freezing at far colder temperatures via the expression of antifreeze peptides/glycoproteins and (largely carbohydrate based) cryoprotectants, which can dramatically lower the supercooling point (roughly equivalent with the freezing point).

If mammoth blood had this trait, they would be the only known mammalian example of this to my knowledge (however, the abdomens of arctic ground squirrels have been shown to supercool down to 2.9C, though the mechanism allowing this ability is still unknown [I think]). At any rate, I highly (very highly) doubt that circulating mammoth blood was able to supercool to 17C though it is worth testing the samples to see why they are still ‘fluid’.

“For instance, maybe they did have some sort of cryoprotectant (arctic ground squirrels certainly seem to), and this became concentrated during the long period of preservation. Conversely, maybe they had absolutely no ‘antifreezes’ and instead most of the water in the sample was taken up by the surrounding ice, such that the remaining ‘blood’ became extremely concentrated which would lower its freezing point. Alternatively, perhaps the sample was contaminated by ice-living bacteria which secreted cryoprotectants, or maybe there is some other explanation?

Another question is, how were these samples preserved in this state for so long? Also, why, given the many recent mammoth finds, is this the only one (that I know of) with ‘fluid’ blood? Regardless, this on balance appears to be a remarkable finding [if of course it is true and I have no way to assess that at this point] and something worth pursuing.”

This is fantastic…and really something wonderful for these scientist to work with.

Meanwhile another “discovery” of sorts is making news: Amelia Earhart’s Plane Wreckage May Be Visible in Newly-Released Images

Grainy sonar images depicting a narrow, 22-ft. long object found some 600 feet below sea level in the Pacific Ocean may show the remains of the Lockheed Electra plane flown by famed aviator Amelia Earhart. The world-famous airwoman and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared on July 2, 1937, somewhere near Nikumaroro Island in the western Pacific Ocean. Five years after successfully crossing the Atlantic on a solo flight at age 34, the world-famous airwoman was attempting to circumnavigate the globe along the equator.

First reported by Discovery News on Wednesday, the images were released by the organization best known for hunting down the truth behind Amelia Earhart’s last flight, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR). Although they were taken on June 15, 2012 in the waters off Nikumaroro Island (then known as Gardner Island), it was not until the group posted them to an online forum in March that someone noticed what could be the remains of the two-engine plane, according to ABC News. TIGHAR cannot definitively confirm that the wreckage is part of Earhart’s plane, although their shape and location suggest that they may well be.

Imagine…someone on an online forum discovered the anomaly.

30_05_13_12_47_40
TIGHARA sonar image released by The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery on May 28, 2013 displays what could be the remains of aviator Amelia Earhart’s two-engine Lockheed Electra plane.

Reviews of underwater footage captured last year “revealed a scattering of man-made objects on the reef slope off the west end of Nikumaroro” lying near the island, Richard Gillespie, the executive director of TIGHAR, told Discovery News. “What initially got our attention is that there is no other sonar return like it in the entire body of data collected.” He added, “it is truly an anomaly, and when you’re looking for man-made objects against a natural background, anomalies are good.” On the same trip, the search team found remnants of a possible anti-freckle cream jar popular in the early 20th century on the remote island. Earhart was known for disliking freckles.

“She landed the plane safely on a reef off Nikumaroro Island,” Gillespie told ABC News. “The wreckage washed into the ocean with the high tide and broke up in the surf. There is archaeological evidence on that island that we believe indicates that Earhart was marooned there until her death several days later.”
While I was reading that Earhart link over at Time Magazine, this caught my eye. Both my son and Boston Boomer’s nephews are into the game Minecraft…check out the video here: Game of Blocks: The Man Who Built Westeros in Minecraft – Video – TIME.com
The continent of Westeros is home to ‘Game of Thrones’ and now exists in the virtual world of Minecraft. Meet Jacob Granberry, the artist behind the epic build.

And finally, there was this funny story over at Mediaite, PBS in New York has a sense of humor when it comes to fund raising.  PBS Hilariously Lampoons The Sad ‘State Of TV’ With Fake Ads To Inspire Donations  According to Andrew Kirell,

As I entered my local subway station this morning, one particular ad stood out: The Culture Network’s (hmm, is that a real channel?) new reality show The Dillionaire, presumably inspired by other niche entrepreneur-oriented reality shows like Duck Dynasty and Pawn Stars.

The “Life’s a pickle” tagline caught my eye as particularly corny.

But then I looked to the right of the poster and all was made clear:

“The fact you thought this was a real show says a lot about the state of TV,” the adjacent ad read with an arrow pointing to Dillionaire. Guilty as charged.

It turns out this poster is part of a series of ads New York City’s PBS station, Thirteen, has rolled out this week in an effort to inspire donor support for “quality programming.”

The other posters in the series are equally hilarious and pitch-perfect in their mockery of today’s “reality”-crazy TV world. Unrealistic-yet-somehow-realistic shows like Knitting Wars and Bayou Eskimos get their place alongside the critical tagline.

Go to the link and see the others… they are a riot. My favorite has to be the Bad Bad Bag Boys…

Anyway, y’all have a good evening. This is an open thread.


Thursday Reads: What Really Happened to Ibragim Todashev?

images

Good Morning!!

We’re heading into a heat wave here in the Boston area. It’s supposed to be hot and humid for the next few days with temps in the high 80s or low 90s. It will be a shock to my system, since it has been rather chilly here recently.

I’m going to focus on the ongoing Boston bombing story again, but you can treat this as a regular morning reads post/open thread. Don’t feel you have to comment on this topic. I haven’t paid much attention to other news for a few days, so I hope you’ll update me on the latest news in the comment thread!

A week ago, I wrote a post about the death of Ibragim Todashev, who was shot and killed in an apartment in Orlando, FL by an FBI agent from Boston in the early hours of Wednesday May 22. Todashev was being questioned by representatives of the FBI, the Massachusetts State Police, and “other law enforcement personnel” about his relationship with deceased Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev and possible connections to an unsolved 2011 triple murder in Waltham, Massachusetts. Todashev had reportedly been questioned for hours on Tuesday and was shot shortly after midnight. The FBI had been following him for about a month, calling him daily and questioning him on several different occasions.

At the time I wrote that post, there was a great deal of confusion about the circumstances of the shooting and that confusion has only increased during the past week. At first, anonymous law enforcement sources claimed Todashev had been killed after he attacked the agent with a knife. By he next day sources were walking back that claim, some saying Todashev had something in his hand but it wasn’t a knife, others suggesting it was a pipe or something similar.

I’ve been following this story closely, and I’ve never seen anything like it. Presumably, the events in question were fairly straightforward. A man was shot dead with at least four–perhaps more–law enforcement officers present. How hard would it be to figure out if the dead man had a knife in his hand or not? Something was obviously not right.

FBI gun

During the past week, the reported details of the Todashev shooting have continued to change. On May 25, the Boston Globe offered a new version of events, again based on anonymous sources.

An FBI agent from the bureau’s Boston office fired the shot, or shots, that killed a friend of Boston ­Marathon bombing suspect ­Tamerlan Tsarnaev early Wednesday morning during an interview about an unsolved Waltham homicide, say officials briefed on the investigation.

Ibragim Todashev, a 27-year-old mixed martial arts fighter formerly from Allston and Cambridge, was shot in the kitchen of his apartment after overturning a table and attacking the agent with a blade, the officials said. The Globe has ­reported that the shooting came after Todashev had implicated himself in a grisly 2011 triple homicide in Waltham. ­Tamerlan Tsarnaev was friendly with one of the Waltham victims, and authorities suspect he may also have taken part in the slayings.

Two law enforcement officials said that the Boston FBI agent felt he was in grave danger when Todashev attacked him and that he fired in self-defense.

“This was a tough guy; he was a dangerous individual,” one law enforcement official said, speaking of Todashev. The official asked not to be named because the official was not ­authorized to discuss the case.

Okay, but with at least four trained law enforcement officers present, why was it necessary to kill a potentially valuable witness? Is it really credible that they couldn’t control one not very large (about 5’8″) man?

Yesterday morning there was another version. In this one, first reported by Fox Boston, Todashev not only knocked over a table, but also slammed the FBI agent’s head into a wall and attacked him with a sword. Yes, a sword. As in previous stories, the claim was that Todashev had been about to sign a confession about his involvement in the Waltham murders when things got out of control.

During the interview, investigators took notes and everything appeared to be going well. Eventually, Todashev was asked to write down, in his own handwriting and in his own words, what he had been telling authorities about his role in the murders when in the words of one source – all hell broke loose.

Todashev allegedly began writing, but then flipped a table over, knocking the Boston FBI agent into the wall hitting his head.

FOX 25’s Bob Ward was told the agent looked up to see Todashev waving in his direction what was described as a Banzai ceremonial sword.

Fearing for his life, the FBI agent drew his weapon and fatally shot Todashev. The entire incident taking only seconds.

During the course of the day, the story continued to change as more anonymous “sources” weighed in. WESH Orlando’s “sources” told a slight different tale than Fox Boston’s.

Sources said Todashev might have been lunging toward a sword, but he was not in possession of it.

Law enforcement officials said Todashev was in the process of confessing to a 2011 triple murder in Waltham, Mass., and was working on writing out the details of the crime when he snapped and turned violent.

Officials said Todashev pushed a table and possibly threw a chair.

Sources said a sword was inside the apartment, but the weapon was moved to the corner of the room before questioning began. Law enforcement said when Todashev lunged, the FBI agent believed he could have possibly been going for his gun or the sword in the room, and that’s when the agent opened fire.

Because of course the best law enforcement technique is to move any sharp objects to the corner of the room before questioning a suspect? WTF?!

FBI-2

Finally, last night several news outlets–among them The Washington Post–reported that Todashev had been unarmed when he was shot.

One law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said Wednesday that Todashev lunged at the agent and overturned a table. But the official said Todashev did not have a gun or a knife. A second official also said Todashev was unarmed.

An official said that according to one account of the shooting, the other law enforcement officials had just stepped out of the room, leaving the FBI agent alone with Todashev, when the confrontation occurred.

The shooting followed hours of questioning by the law enforcement officials that had begun the night before.

And exactly why did the other officers “step out of the room?” The source doesn’t say.

This story is becoming just plain ridiculous, and as Emptywheel wrote yesterday, it makes the FBI look just plain stupid. Last night on twitter, someone compared it to the old “Get Smart” recurring bit, “Would you believe…”

But as ridiculous as this story seems, we need to understand that something like this could happen to any one of us. A man was killed in an apartment with multiple law enforcement officers present, and after more than a week, we still don’t know for sure what happened.

At 7PM yesterday, the Florida chapter of the Council on Islamic-American Relations (CAIR) held a press conference with Todashev’s wife, her mother, and a close friend of Todashev’s in attendance and called for the Department of Justice to initiate a civil rights investigation of the shooting.

[T]he Tampa director of that group said not only was 27-year-old Ibragim Todashev unarmed when he was shot by the agent May 22, he was hit seven times, including once in the head….the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Florida chapter on Wednesday cited unnamed sources within the FBI as saying Todashev was not armed at the time of the shooting.

“We did confirm today with sources within the FBI that he was unarmed,” CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Hassan Shibly told the Orlando Sentinel on Wednesday afternoon. Later, Shibly told reporters that CAIR has an “intermediary” who said the FBI told him Todashev was unarmed. Shibly did not identify the intermediary.

At a news conference Wednesday evening, Shibly showed what he said were photos of Todashev’s body after the shooting. The photos were taken at an Orlando funeral home after the Orange-Osceola County Medical Examiner’s office released the body to Todashev’s next of kin, he said.

The photographer was Khusen Taramov — a friend of Todashev’s who lives in Kissimmee — and photos show at least a dozen wounds, although some may have been exit wounds, Shibly said.

In addition, Todashev’s widow Reniya Manukyan claimed that she has evidence to show that her husband could not have committed the murders in Waltham in September 2011.

Todashev’s widow said Wednesday that she has records proving her husband was with her in Atlanta on Sept. 11, 2011, so he could not have been in Massachusetts on the day of the triple killing. Manukyan was married to Todashev for about three years, she said.

In another interaction on Twitter last night Boston Globe reporter Wesley Lowery told me he wasn’t ready to accept the latest version of events until he can independently confirm it from official sources. His reporting on the Boston bombing generally and the Todashev story specifically has been very good, and I’ll be watching to see what he finds out.

Once again, I’ve used up most of my space on a Boston bombing story, but I still have room for a few more quick links, with an emphasis on law enforcement and civil liberties.

Cory Doctorow: Kafka, meet Orwell: peek behind the scenes of the modern surveillance state. At the link you can watch a short, powerful documentary about public surveillance in the UK.

Rob Fischer at The New Yorker: Watching the Detectives–a piece about “Floyd v. Floyd v. City of New York, a landmark challenge to the New York Police Department’s stop-and-frisk policies.”

NYT: Former Bush Official Said to Be Obama Pick to Lead F.B.I. Obama is about to nominate James Comey as FBI Director–a man who was in the Bush DOJ during the torture deliberations.

Emptywheel: When NYT Accused Jim Comey of Approving Torture

Holder Faces New Round of Criticism After Leak Inquiries

HuffPo: Eric Holder To Meet With Washington Bureau Chiefs Amid Leak Investigation Criticism (UPDATE)

Politico: N.Y. Times will not attend DOJ session, citing opposition to off-the-record provision

Buzzfeed: ACLU Defends News Organizations For Rejecting Off-The-Record Meeting With Attorney General

And another Boston link: Dirty Old Boston Facebook page shows the city as it really was

Now it’s your turn. What are you reading and blogging about today?


Evening Open Thread: Again?

9c1e9c5e78536964fd42571a9796578bGood Evening

Ricin is in the news again, this time two letters sent threatening Mayor Bloomberg last week have been found to to contain the poison.

Letter Sent to Bloomberg Is Said to Test Positive for Ricin

Two letters that contained threats to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg — one addressed to him, the other to a lobbyist who works on his gun control campaign — have tested positive for the deadly poison ricin, the authorities said on Wednesday.

The first letter was opened at a New York City mail center in Lower Manhattan on Friday, the police said. Although staff members at the mail center do not appear to have become ill, several police officers who came into contact with the letter’s contents “indicated some mild symptoms the next day, including diarrhea,” and they are being treated in hospitals, the New York Police Department’s spokesman, Paul J. Browne, said on Wednesday afternoon. “They’re being checked out as a precaution.”

The second letter, which was opened on Sunday in Washington, was addressed to Mark Glaze, the director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group Mr. Bloomberg helps run and finances, officials said. No injuries were reported as a result of that letter, Mr. Browne said.

A spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, J. Peter Donald, confirmed that the bureau was investigating the letters, but declined to comment further. Both letters were identical in content, bore references to the debate over gun regulation and contained written threats to Mayor Bloomberg, Mr. Browne said.

Both letters have the same postmark and and sent around the same time  and place.  Investigation is continuing.

Meanwhile, the American company that makes Smithfield ham has been bought by a Chinese firm:  Smithfield Foods sale to Chinese firm gives US pork giant entry to China

Smithfield Foods

A takeover would give Smithfield entry into China, one of the biggest and fastest growing markets for pork. Photograph: Tony Talbot/AP

China‘s Shuanghui International has made a $4.7bn bid to takeover Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, in what would be the biggest takeover of a US company by a Chinese firm to date – if it passes regulatory hurdles.

The deal is likely to run into heavy opposition in Washington, where a series of Chinese takeovers have been blocked by politicians and regulators. Shuanghui, also known as Shineway, is China’s largest pork producer and is part owned by an investment firm run by Goldman Sachs.

A takeover would give Smithfield entry into China, the biggest and fastest growing market for pork.

Take a look at the comment section and you will get a laugh or two.

And lastly, this past Sunday I mentioned the legislation passed in Oklahoma to defund Planned Parenthood. Well, take a look at the one GOP rep who spoke out against his fellow Republicans: Oklahoma Lawmaker Blasts GOP’s War On Women: ‘What Happened To The Republican Party That I Joined?’ | ThinkProgress

In an op-ed published on Wednesday, an Oklahoma Republican sharply criticizes his fellow party members for focusing on enacting unnecessary legislation to limit women’s access to abortion and contraception. “What happened to the Republican Party that I joined?” state Rep. Doug Cox (R) wonders, pointing out that the mounting pile of reproductive restrictions represents a government intrusion into women’s personal lives.

Cox, who is a practicing physician, writes that the GOP-led pushes to eliminate women’s health resources don’t work in the “real world,” as the U.S. continues to face high rates of unintended teen pregnancy. Instead of expanding access to contraception to help address that reality, his fellow Republicans are working to do the opposite — pushing to eliminate Medicaid coverage for Plan B and allow pharmacists to refuse to fill birth control prescriptions for any reason.

This is what Cox had to say:  State Rep. Doug Cox: The GOP and abortion legislation | News OK

All of the new Oklahoma laws aimed at limiting abortion and contraception are great for the Republican family that lives in a gingerbread house with a two-car garage, two planned kids and a dog. In the real world, they are less than perfect.

As a practicing physician (who never has or will perform an abortion), I deal with the real world. In the real world, 15- and 16-year-olds get pregnant (sadly, 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds do also). In the real world, 62 percent of women ages 20 to 24 who give birth are unmarried. And in the world I work and live in, an unplanned pregnancy can throw up a real roadblock on a woman’s path to escaping the shackles of poverty.

Yet I cannot convince my Republican colleagues that one of the best ways to eliminate abortions is to ensure access to contraception. A recent attempt by my fellow lawmakers to prevent Medicaid dollars from covering the “morning after” pill is a case in point. Denying access to this important contraceptive is a sure way to increase legal and back-alley abortions. Moreover, such a law would discriminate against low-income women who depend on Medicaid for their health care.

But wait, some lawmakers want to go even further and limit everyone’s access to birth control by allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for contraception.

Yes….please go on…

What happened to the Republican Party that I joined? The party where conservative presidential candidate Barry Goldwater felt women should have the right to control their own destiny? The party where President Ronald Reagan said a poor person showing up in the emergency room deserved needed treatment regardless of ability to pay? What happened to the Republican Party that felt government should not overregulate people until (as we say in Oklahoma) “you have walked a mile in their moccasins”?

Watch him call out the hypocrisy…

Is my thinking too clouded by my experiences in the real world? Experiences like having a preacher, in the privacy of an exam room say, “Doc, you have heard me preach against abortion but now my 15-year-old daughter is pregnant, where can I send her?” Or maybe it was that 17-year-old foreign exchange student who said, “I really made a mistake last night. Can you prescribe a morning-after pill for me? If I return to my home country pregnant, life as I know it will be over.”

What happened to the Republican Party that felt that the government has no business being in an exam room, standing between me and my patient? Where did the party go that felt some decisions in a woman’s life should be made not by legislators and government, but rather by the women, her conscience, her doctor and her God?

Just 15 plus comments on that op/ed, mostly positive, but then it hasn’t been linked on Drudge yet. Sure wish more GOP folks talked like Cox did.

Have a good night…

This is an open thread.


One Less Clown in the Clown Car

republicancandidatesclowncarMichele Bachmann has announced her retirement.  She announced that this term–her fourth one–would be her last.  Who else but James Carville could put it like this?

Veteran Democratic strategist James Carville predicted on Wednesday that Republicans throughout the country would be “relieved” Rep. Michele Bachmann has decided to retire.

“Sad day,” Carville quipped on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” when host Joe Scarborough mentioned Bachmann’s retirement.

“It makes me so sad and you so happy, Joe,” Carville said later. “God closes one door for Michelle Bachmann and opens three to Louie Gohmert. Everybody in a political party feels some sense of: ‘God, why can’t these people just shut up?’ We have many of them in the Democratic party that I’m not going to name right now, but I do think there are a lot of Republicans that are going to be relieved that some of these fringe people decide to pursue a speaking career.”

There are several thoughts going through my  mind.  First, maybe she wants to try to go the Palin route and make some money.  She may be a religious nutter, but she did say fewer stupid things in her presidential debates.  She at least his some facts at hand and could make a go of it at Fox.  Second, she is under investigation for irregularities in her campaign finances and aids have said she had a weird relationship with one of her advisers.  Given she is married to an obviously gay man, she may have been ripe for all kinds of things we don’t know about yet that could come out. The FBI is investigating her.

A recent study by PolitiFact found that she was one of the most dishonest politicians inside the Beltway. That’ s even though she stopped at nothing to call President Obama all manner of names. Of course, Republicans have so much nerve that a dishonest GOP pol would never admit he or she is dishonest.  That reminds me of her intro to “Lying Ass B*tch” on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” I think Quest Love was on to something then…..

Representative Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota Republican who made an ill-fated run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, announced Wednesday that she would not seek a fifth term in Congress next year.

She made the announcement just six months after being re-elected in what was her most challenging campaign since she was first elected to Congress nine years ago. Her announcement also comes as her former presidential campaign faces inquiries into its fund-raising activities.

“I have decided next year I will not seek a fifth congressional term,” she said in a video on her campaign Web site. “This decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign or my former presidential staff,” she added. … In her congressional race last year, Mrs. Bachmann won re-election by just 4,200 votes, beating the hotelier Jim Graves, who was greatly outspent. Mr. Graves recently announced that he would seek the seat again.

Michele Bachmann also added:  “[T]he law limits anyone from serving as president of the United States for more than eight years. bachmann cartoonAnd in my opinion, well, eight years is also long enough for any individual to serve as a representative for a specific congressional district.” Sorry, but she’s not just stepping aside because she believes she should only serve eight years in Congress. She may have decided to cut and run a week after reports that thw FBI is probing her campaign finances.

The FBI probe would undoubtedly play out in an election.  Minnesota is an unbelievably squeaky clean state and really hates any kind of improprieties.

The FBI is scheduling interviews related to allegations of financial impropriety in Rep. Michele Bachmann’s 2012 campaign.

An attorney for Andy Parrish, the Minnesota Republican’s former chief of staff, confirmed that he will be interviewed by the FBI next week. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that two other former Bachmann staffers have also been contacted.

Peter Waldron, who served as Bachmann’s national field coordinator in Iowa, has filed a Federal Elections Commission complaint alleging that the lawmaker’s campaign improperly used leadership PAC funds to pay presidential campaign staff — including national political director Guy Short — and concealed payments to state Sen. Kent Sorenson. Waldron would not confirm or deny that he had been contacted by the FBI.

We haven’t been exactly kind to Bachmann here even though she is a woman in politics.  But, any one with her agenda is a friend to no woman. Her outspoken hatred of gays, her race-baiting, and just general creepiness when it comes to crack pot religious beliefs puts her in the “not to be taken seriously” category.  I am personally glad that both Palin and Bachmann will fade into no where.  You hate to have bad role models for girls being given face time on national air waves.  Plus, when they fight for policies that so obviously hurt women, they become the most effective tools of injustice.  I really hate that too.  Anyway,  it’s garbage day tomorrow.  Nice to see that some of the trash has been taken out early.


Wednesday Reads: Tuktuks, “Closet Cases” and Coke Heads

Indian-Coffee-PosterGood Morning

Eeek….more doctor appointments today. I can’t wait until all these things are over and done with, the family had to put off follow-up and re-check appointments because of the last few weeks of the kid’s school. So now these doctor visits or lab work or ct scans etc., seem to be scheduled every other day…it is exhausting.

Real weird news items for you today, check this out: Mammoth find: Preserved Ice Age giant found with flowing blood in Siberia

Russian scientists discovered a fully-grown female mammoth with blood and well-preserved muscle tissue trapped in ice in Siberia. The findings come amid debates on whether the extinct species should be resurrected using DNA.

Scientists say they have managed to find mammoth blood during the excavation of a grown female animal on the Lyakhovsky Islands, the southernmost group of the New Siberian Islands in the Arctic seas of northeastern Russia.
The dark blood was found in ice cavities below the belly of the animal. When researchers broke the cavities with a poll pick, the blood came flowing out. The fact surprised them because the temperature was 10C below zero.

It can be assumed that the blood of mammoths had some cryo-protective properties,” said Semyon Grigoriev, head of the Museum of Mammoths of the Institute of Applied Ecology of the North at the North Eastern Federal University as cited by Interfax news agency.

The blood was placed in a test tube and a bacteriological analysis of the sample is expected soon.
The muscle tissue of the animal was also well-preserved and had a natural red color of fresh meat, added the scientist. Such preservation can be explained by the fact that the lower part of the mammoth’s body was trapped in pure ice, while the upper part was discovered in the middle of the tundra. The trunk was found separately from the carcass.

The female mammoth was between 50 and 60 years old when she died…but dark blood flowing out? Wow, isn’t that amazing?  I wonder if this lower part of the mammoth will be preserved well enough to obtain better or complete DNA, then we can get to cloning these babies. I’d love to try spinning some of the fiber from a woolly mammoth.

Milton from Office Space

Milton from Office Space

More news of the “odd” variety, I guess even Al Qaeda has their own version of Milton: The Shortcomings of Al Qaeda’s Worst Employee

Al Qaeda’s mission may be “overthrowing godless regimes” and replacing them with Islamic ones, according to its handbook, but even that is still a tangible goal, and the group has corporate-style protocols for achieving it. And just like any corporation, Al Qaeda has to deal with personnel problems. On Tuesday, the Associated Press told the story of the group’s biggest human resources headache yet, in the form of Moktar Belmoktar, an ambitious regional commander in Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb who bridled under the group’s strict structure and, after AQIM sent him a letter detailing his shortcomings, split off to form his own organization. That scolding letter, which sounds remarkably like a corporate communique rebuking an out-of-line middle manager, was Belmoktar’s last straw. And the AP found a copy.

After he split from AQIM, Belmoktar went on to take credit for January’s hostage crisis at an Algerian gas field, and an attack on a French uranium mine in Nigeria this month, attacks he apparently carried out to show up his former AQIM managers and rivals. The AP found the copy of the letter to Belmoktar in a building in Mali formerly occupied by Al Qaeda fighters. It details his faults, from failing to file his expense reports to a lack of teamwork. The highlights, below:

Does not work well with others: “Abu Abbas is not willing to follow anyone,” AQIM wrote, referring to Belmoktar by his nom de guerre, Khaled Abu Abbas. “He is only willing to be followed and obeyed.”

Oh, that does not sound like Milton at all! No…that sounds more like, Nurse Ratchet.

Poor allocation of resources: AQIM’s Osama bin Laden-approved business model was to kidnap tourists and aid workers, hold them for ransom, then use the money to buy arms and carry out attacks. But Belmoktar didn’t manage his resources to their satisfaction, per the letter: “(The chapter) gave Abu Abbas a considerable amount of money to buy military material, despite its own great need for money at the time. … Abu Abbas didn’t participate in stepping up to buy weapons,” it says. “So whose performance deserves to be called poor in this case, I wonder?”

Not “stepping up” eh? Yes poor performance indeed…can’t argue with that.

Failure to achieve performance goals: “Any observer of the armed actions (carried out) in the Sahara will clearly notice the failure of The Masked Brigade to carry out spectacular operations, despite the region’s vast possibilities — there are plenty of mujahedeen, funding is available, weapons are widespread and strategic targets are within reach,” AP quotes from the letter. “Your brigade did not achieve a single spectacular operation targeting the crusader alliance.”

Wait, maybe that is more like Glenn Gary, Glenn Ross?

In other far out news stories: Mount Everest base jump marks 60th anniversary of first ascent

An extreme sport star from Russia has successfully completed the world’s highest base jump – leaping off the north face of Mount Everest.

Valery Rozov made the jump from a point 7,220m (23,680ft) above sea level.

The stunt took more than two years to plan and marked almost 60 years to the day the anniversary of the first ascent up Mount Everest.

Video at the link.

Remember that Egyptian Revolution from a couple of years ago? Egypt’s youths feel disenfranchised after revolution

Young activists who helped topple Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak say they have been politically sidelined by a society that favors the older generation.

Egypt‘s 2011 uprising was often referred to as a youth revolution, but two years after longtime President Hosni Mubarak was forced out of office, many in the younger generation say they feel more politically isolated than ever.

The country is beset by severe political and social divisions as the struggle between the ruling Muslim Brotherhood and its opponents persists.

Young activists across the political spectrum say they have been sidelined, prevented from participating in the leadership and management of post-Mubarak Egypt by a patriarchal culture that favors the older and supposedly more experienced.

“We received nothing of what we fought for and what some of us died for,” said Mostafa Sherif, 29, an unemployed mechanical engineer. “We did not get our freedoms, the rights for which people died, the economy is doing much worse than ever, and it seems like we’re in need of a new revolution.”

Joblessness among the young has been one of Egypt’s main and persistent issues for years. But with the economy’s steady decline since the 2011 uprising, job opportunities have dwindled further.

Officially, the unemployment rate rose to nearly 13% in the last quarter of 2012, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics said in its latest report. That’s up from 9% in a 2010 census. Many believe, however, that the true unemployment rate is much higher.

Pushed out of both the job market and the political sphere, many young people in Egypt are exploring alternatives.

“A lot of my friends are either looking for ways out of the country or have already left,” Sherif said. “We fought hard for too long and nothing came of it, so now we feel unwelcome, like there’s no space for us anymore.”

That is a long read, so click the link to the LA Times article and read the rest.

This next video from BBC is about a woman who drives a tuktuk… India’s Trailblazers: The female tuktuk driver

India and the country’s attitude towards women have been in the spotlight for some months, following a series of violent assaults.

But far from seeing themselves as potential victims, some Indian women are breaking into industries usually dominated by men.

As part of its series on India’s Trailblazers, BBC News spoke to one woman, who works as a tuktuk driver in Delhi.

That job takes guts. I tell you…

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/67/Autorickshaw_Bangalore.jpg/220px-Autorickshaw_Bangalore.jpgOne thing though, those tuktuks are cute. My dad is always going on about these little tuktuk things, that he would one day like to have a fleet of these cars/bikes/motorcycles that would drive people around Banjoville. It won’t work around here, not the kind geography or urban setting to keep a tuktuk busy.

Alright, almost done with the post, before I get to the final story…you may find this link interesting. The future of news, as viewed from 1993: What we got right, and very wrong – GeekWire

CompuServe logoTwenty years ago, we sat at the dawn of the web age (Mosaic, the first image-friendly, general-use web browser, was introduced later the same year). It was a time before widespread broadband, smartphones, social media, Google or Chat Roulette.

Reviewing the transcript from JForum’s Future Media board (written as individual email-like posts strung together over several weeks under the common subject line, “Are Newspapers Dead?”), the messages reveal impassioned predictions and obligatory snipes, and retroactively show how prognosticators could wind up off track, sometimes wildly so.

I’ve also been wrong. In a lengthy 1992 essay for Analog Science Fiction and Fact (later excerpted in the Seattle Times), I predicted that the coming plethora of news channels and “online” news would lead to a renaissance in original reporting to fill the increased news hole. It never occurred to me that the extra time would instead largely be filled by talking heads commenting on the reporting of others, an oversight that makes anything I wrote that did turn out to be correct (such as the democratization of information and the use of smart filters to select news) pale in comparison.

Here are historical views of the future of news from 1993, along with thoughts on where, and perhaps why, some went sideways:

Go see what was being kicked around on the CompuServe’s JForum (a.k.a. Journalism Forum) — dated May, 1993. You may find yourself laughing and shaking your head…

Okay, now let’s end with this:

5/29 Luckovich cartoon: Scandal | Mike Luckovich

052913-toon-luckovich-ed

And what goes for news these days?

Examiner.com Publishes Then Deletes an Unbelievably Deranged Wingnut Conspiracy Fantasy – Little Green Footballs

They’ve deleted it from their site now, but if you hurry you can still see Examiner.com’s freaky anti-Obama conspiracy fantasy in the Google web cache: Was President Obama High on Coke While Benghazi Burned? – Arlington Conservative | Examiner.com.

“Arlington Conservative” is Dean Chambers, the delusional nutbag responsible for one of the funnier websites in recent memory, Unskewed Polls. And he based his crazed hallucinatory article on something he read at Hillbuzz.org, where they’re even more unhinged than Dean Chambers.

It’s an absolute classic in the annals of whacked out right wing gay-sex-and-drugs fantasizing, bubbling up from the sub-Alex Jones far right. It has everything; homophobia mixed with a simultaneous sick fascination with gay sex, thinly buried racism, sheer insanity inspired by blind hatred turned up to 99.

That link to LGF has the full text typed out and quoted, here is just a little nugget to tempt you, go to the link to read the rest… seriously, go read the rest of this thing you won’t be disappointed:

While our consulate in Benghazi was attacked during the night of September 11 of last year, our fearless leader was allegedly hiding away somewhere getting “high as a kite” on cocaine. This is the speculation of Kevin DuJan, a self-described “gay conservative political analyst” writing for a publication called HillBuzz.

[…]

“If you’ve ever known anyone who is a drug addict, you’d see it’s obvious that Barack Obama was high on cocaine the night of Benghazi; it is the only logical explanation for his disappearance and the White House’s refusal to comment on what he was doing at the time. Since this was a night of great crisis for our country, the only logical reason that the White House won’t explain where the president was is if this man was high as a kite on illegal narcotics at the time.”

I’ll just end it on that note, but any “news” article that has this statement regarding the expertise of DuJuan’s fellow nut theorist named Justine, and I quote:

…ran in the same circles as friends of closeted gay men like Rock Hudson…

Uh, you know it will be…”juicy.”

What’s going on in your neck of the woods? If you have time, leave a comment below!