Wednesday Reads: Link Dump in the Morning

chF3Good Morning

Just a link dump today, so think of this morning’s post as an open thread.

In US news, 1 dead in same NC motel room where 2 died in April

North Carolina police are investigating why an 11-year-old South Carolina boy died and his mother was injured in the same motel room where two elderly guests were found dead almost two months ago.

Yeah, two months go by without anyone knowing that the first two people died from carbon monoxide poisoning? And they still had people using the room?

BOONE, N.C.: NC health dept.: Poison gas not in pool inspection

Inspectors checked a motel where three people were presumed killed by carbon monoxide fumes six weeks before anyone died, but their review didn’t include investigating for the poisonous gas, the local health agency said Tuesday.The Appalachian District Health Department said it inspected the swimming pool at the Best Western Blue Ridge Plaza in Boone six weeks before a Longview, Wash., couple were found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in their motel room. Boone Police Sgt. Shane Robbins said the room is near the indoor pool, which is warmed by a natural gas heater.

Turns out the local coroner who did the autopsy report missed the carbon monoxide in the first couple. You can see a video report here: Hotel Room Where 3 Died Had Carbon Monoxide Leak | Video – ABC News

Here is another southeastern news story for you, but it touches on something that we have been talking about for months: 4 Ga. youth lockups among worst for sex assaults

The results of the 2012 National Survey of Youth in Custody included four Georgia juvenile detention centers among a list of 13 with the highest rates of sexual misconduct nationally. The data, released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, was based on anonymous surveys completed by 8,707 youth randomly sampled from at least one facility in every state and the District of Columbia.

The four Georgia facilities were a regional youth detention center in Paulding County; the Eastman Youth Development Campus in Dodge County; the Augusta YDC in Richmond County; and the Sumter YDC in Americus, according to a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Paulding County facility led the nation with 32.1 percent of youth inmates reporting last year that they were victimized sexually by staff or other juveniles. That was more than three times the national rate of 9.5 percent.

The survey results were released as Georgia tries to overhaul its juvenile justice system, which has been plagued by reports of attacks on teenage inmates and abusive behavior by staff members.

Researchers found that 15.8 percent of the 497 juveniles in Georgia’s criminal justice system who were surveyed had had a sexual encounter with a staff member, which is a felony even if it is deemed consensual. Just at the four Georgia facilities cited among the worst in the nation, nearly 300 boys reported sexual abuse last year.

Niles, the state commissioner, said the state has been working to build a “reporting culture” among the youth in custody and said officials had expected an increased number of survey responses from Georgia.

“DJJ will take a hard look at this,” Niles said. “DJJ will always teach our youth to break the silence and say ‘NO’ to sexual abuse.”

Just say no to sex abuse? Gee…yeah like that is going to go far in changing the “culture” of reporting sex abuse.

Speaking of which, Allen West And Michael Savage’s Dismissal Of Military Rape Exemplifies Why It Is So Under-Reported –

On Thursday’s airing of right-wing wackadoodle Michael Savage’s radio program, Savage Nation, Allen West agreed with Savage’s assertion that “Khmer Rouge feminists” are attempting a “coup” against the military by proposing to change the military chain of command in sexual assault cases. Allen West also took the opportunity to blame sexual assault on Liberals for allowing women in combat. Savage began with an audio recording of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) proposing a change in the way sexual assault cases are handled. The Senator wants the cases to be handled outside the victim’s chain of command. Savage, clearly not in favor of this proposal said the Senator sounded like a “college chick at a dorm” (whatever the hell that is supposed to mean) and made the Feminist claim:

 SAVAGE: “When I watch these Khmer Rouge feminists try to take over the military, this looked like an attempted coup to me, Colonel West.”

WEST: “Nah, you’re absolutely right and that’s a big concern that I have because when you start to get — you know, I understand civilian oversight of the military. We all understand that as all officers who served in uniform. But when you start to have this interjection of, you know, political, you know, will against, you know, the military, good order and discipline, where you start to try to usurp the commanders’ authority and I guess replace it with some type of political, legal officers, and things of that nature. Then the next thing you know, it goes from just dealing with this, you know, sexual assault thing to, you know, making decisions on the battlefield.”

Yes, because wanting a to change the way rapes are handled is clearly a military coup. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that many perpetrators of rape get away with it because they are buddy-buddy with their commanding officer. It has nothing to do with the fact that military rape is less likely to be reported than civilian rape because of the stigma attached to it. Nope. That’s not it at all.

Oh, the misogyny didn’t stop there. It’s not enough that the two pigs insulted lawmakers that are fighting for justice for thousands and thousands and thousands of rape victims; No, they also had to insult the actual victims of these rapes and call into question whether or not there is a wide scale problem:

SAVAGE: … Am I mistaken in assuming the following: When you say sexual assault, according to the new liberal interpretation of such a phrase, does that not include, “Hey honey, let’s go for a beer?” Could she turn him in and say that was a sexual assault because it was an unwanted advance?

WEST: Well she could. I mean that’s the –

SAVAGE: Alright, so amongst the 23,000 — amongst the 23,000 so-called cases that the Commander-in-Chief Obama talked about last, two weeks ago, at a commencement address, how many of them are fraudulent claims? We don’t know, do we?

WEST: No we don’t. And furthermore, Dr. Savage, we don’t know how many of them are female against male, you know, sexual assaults, or same-sex sexual assaults. So we don’t have those numbers either.

There is absolutely no doubt that the military has a rape problem. The Pentagon estimates that there were 26,000 rapes in 2012. A six percent rise from the previous year. Military rapes and sexual assaults reach over 70 per day. The head of the Air Force’s sexual assault prevention program was charged with assaulting a woman. Furthermore, only 34% of women and 24% of men report assaults. All of this information is easily available to Savage and West, but they choose to stay ignorant and spread they’re filth over the airwaves. These are the kind of comments that motivates victims of sexual assault to stay silent.

Like I said, this is a link dump so…

In nation’s breadbasket, Latinos stuck in poverty

On a warm spring day, farmworker Cristina Melendez was bedridden and unable to make her way back into the asparagus fields of central California for the kind of backbreaking work she’s done since childhood.

The 36-year-old mother of seven was desperate. Her bank account had been at zero for months, the refrigerator was nearly empty, and she didn’t have enough to cover the rent. Lacking health insurance, Melendez couldn’t see a doctor or afford medication, so her illness dragged on – and another day came and went without work or pay.

A native of Mexico who was smuggled into the United States as a child, Melendez had once dreamed big: to be a bilingual secretary, to own a house and a car, to become a U.S. citizen. Agriculture, she hoped, would be the springboard to a better life – for her and her U.S.-born children, the next generation of a family whose past and future are deeply rooted in the fertile earth of America’s breadbasket.

California’s San Joaquin Valley is one of the richest agricultural regions in the world, with Fresno County farmers receiving a record $6.8 billion in revenues last year. But the region also consistently ranks among the nation’s most impoverished. Sometimes called “Appalachia of the West,” it’s where families, especially Hispanic immigrants and their children, live year after year in destitution.

Boston Boomer sent me this link yesterday, The Most Epic Supercell Thunderstorm Footage You Will See Today «TwistedSifter

The Booker Supercell

Take a look at that link for more images.

No more ferry tales for New Orleans | Grist

Come the end of this month, New Orleans may lose its one and only ferry, thanks to a state uncommitted to keeping it financially afloat and a city even less sure about who’s responsible for keeping it from going under. This is the ferry that since 1827 has crossed the Mississippi River, transporting “West Bank” residents to jobs downtown. It’s the ferry featured in the HBO series Treme that carries the populist scold Creighton Bernette, a hopeless romantic for New Orleans, to his death at the end of the first season. Now, with its original funding stream dammed off for good, the ferry’s own ending is imminent.

Your Hidden Censor: What Your Mind Will Not Let You See: Scientific American

…when attention is occupied with one thing, people often fail to notice other things right before their eyes.

The Ghosts of Europe Past

THE cheerleaders of the European Union like to think of it as an entirely new phenomenon, born of the horrors of two world wars. But in fact it closely resembles a formation that many Europeans thought they had long since left to the dustbin of history: the Holy Roman Empire, the political commonwealth under which the Germans lived for many hundreds of years.

Some might take that as a compliment; after all, the empire lasted for almost a millennium. But they shouldn’t. If anything, today’s Europe still has to learn the lessons of the empire’s failures.

Then you have this little shit at Fox, here is a laugh. I had found this last link while looking at the way Fox News, Drudge and other news outlets were covering the latest California shootout as it was happening. As you might as well have guessed Fox News and Drudge had nothing on their websites alerting to the shooting, ABC News also was downplaying the shooting as well. Even after the crisis was over, to find any news coverage of the “event” on Fox News you had to go searching for a link to an article. Anyway, here is some of the quality reporting over at Fox News. Like I said, it is just a little shit but it is funny in a racial/hypocritical/typical asshole Fox News way:  Baby names reveal parents’ political ideology | Fox News

Quick, make a guess: Are Liam’s parents Obama voters, or did they pull for John McCain? How about Kurt’s mom and dad?

If your gut suggested that Kurt’s parents might swing conservative while Liam’s are liberal, congratulations. A new study of baby names does, indeed, show that parents in liberal neighborhoods are more likely to choose softer, more feminine sounds, such as “L,” for their babies’ names, while conservative parents go for macho-sounding K’s, B’s and D’s.

The same research finds that liberal, well-educated parents are more likely to pick obscure names for their children, while conservative, well-educated parents take a more conventional naming path. Both methods seem to be a way of signaling status, said study researcher Eric Oliver, a political scientist at the University of Chicago though it’s unlikely parents realize what they’re doing.

Okay so you can probably guess where this is going, look at this:

Lots of research has focused on American political polarization, particularly whether liberals and conservatives in the general public are moving further apart. Some possible examples of the gulf focus on consumer choices, including stereotypes like Whole Foods-loving liberals and Walmart-shopping conservatives.

The results revealed that overall, the less educated the parent, the more likely they were to give their child either an uncommon name (meaning fewer than 20 children got the same name that year in California), or a unique name (meaning only one child got that name in 2004 in California). When parents had less than a college education, there were no major ideological differences in naming choice.

However, among college-educated whites, politics made a difference. College-educated moms and dads in the most liberal neighborhoods were twice as likely as college-educated parents in the most conservative neighborhoods to give their kids an uncommon name. Educated conservatives were more likely to favor popular names, which were defined as names in the top 100 in California that year.

For boys, 46 percent got a popular name in conservative areas, compared with 37 percent in liberal areas. For girls, 38 percent were given a popular name in conservative neighborhoods, compared with 30 percent in liberal neighborhoods.

Notably, the kinds of uncommon names chosen by upper-class liberals differed from the unusual names picked by people of lower socioeconomic status, Oliver said. Lower-status moms tend to invent names or pick unusual spellings of common names (Andruw instead of Andrew, for example).

“Educated liberal mothers are not making names up,” Oliver said. “They’re choosing more culturally obscure names, like Archimedes or Finnegan or, in our case, we named our daughter Esme.”

The liberal Obamas named their daughters Sasha and Malia, both names heavy on As and Ls, whereas the conservative Palin family picked more masculine-sounding names for both their boys and girls, particularly Track, Trig, Bristol and Piper (although third daughter Willow got a softer-sounding moniker).

What, so no comment about the “unconventional” names that Palin picked for her brood?

Anyway, that is all I got for you now, have a great day.

50 Comments on “Wednesday Reads: Link Dump in the Morning”

  1. Hope you all have a fun day, see you later on tonight!

  2. bostonboomer says:

    What’s most amazing at that link about the supercell thunderstorm is the time-lapse video. It’s a magnificent example of the awesome power of nature.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Today is a big day in Boston as the Whitey Bulger trial begins with opening statements. WBUR has a special section with background on the victims and more history to come.

    They had an amazing report this morning on the FBI corruption that allowed criminals to walk free to murder with impunity. This trial will be very relevant to the current controversy over the killing of Ibragim Todashev in Orlando. The government will make every effort to cover up the corruption, but Bulger’s lawyers are very skilled and determined. It will be fascinating to watch.

    It’s also very interesting to note the timing of FBI Boston chief Richard DesLaurier’s announcement yesterday that he is “retiring” to take a not-very-exciting corporate security job in an affluent Detroit suburb.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Koch Brothers backed CATO Institute salutes Glenn Greenwald.

    Yes, folks, St. Glenn has had quite a bit of involvement with the right wing “think tank.”

  5. RalphB says:

    HuffPo: Harry Reid: If Lawmakers Didn’t Know About NSA Surveillance, It’s Their Fault

    WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) chastised lawmakers on Tuesday for claiming they had not been briefed on the National Security Agency’s sweeping surveillance programs, saying it’s their own fault if they didn’t know.

    “For senators to complain that ‘I didn’t know this was happening,’ we’ve had many, many meetings that have been both classified and unclassified that members have been invited to,” Reid told reporters at his weekly Capitol Hill briefing.

    “If they don’t come and take advantage of this, I can’t say enough to say they shouldn’t come and say ‘I wasn’t aware of this,’ because they’ve had every opportunity to be aware of these programs,” Reid added.

    Hard to say they didn’t know because they were too lazy to attend a meeting. 🙂

    • NW Luna says:

      That’s even worse than claiming they can’t read (and understand) everything they sign off on.

  6. RalphB says:

    LA Times: High prices are driving more motorists to rent tires

    When the tires on their Dodge Caravan had worn so thin that the steel belts were showing through, Don and Florence Cherry couldn’t afford to buy a new set.

    So they decided to rent instead.

    The Rich Square, N.C., couple last September agreed to pay Rent-N-Roll $54.60 a month for 18 months in exchange for four basic Hankook tires. Over the life of the deal, that works out to $982, almost triple what the radials would have cost at Wal-Mart.

    “I know you have to pay a lot more this way,” said Florence Cherry, a 57-year-old nurse who drives the 15-year-old van when her husband, a Vietnam veteran, isn’t using it to get to his job as a prison guard. “But we didn’t really have a choice.”

    Socked by soaring tire prices and short on funds, growing numbers of Americans are renting the rubber to keep their cars rolling.

    Rent-to-own tire shops are among the newest arrivals to a sprawling alternative financial sector focused on the nation’s economic underclass. Like payday lenders, pawn shops and Buy Here Pay Here used-car lots, tire rental businesses provide ready credit to consumers who can’t get a loan anywhere else. But that access doesn’t come cheap.

    Another depressing story about the plight of the former middle class and the poor. Chains such as Rent-a-Wheel and Rimco are seeing business boom. Many consumers pay double or triple the cost of buying and face aggressive repossession policies.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    The coming shocking cuts in food stamps.

    The Senate this week passed, by a vote of 66-27, a new farm bill that, amongst its many provisions, would eliminate more than $4 billion in food stamp funding over 10 years. But that’s peanuts next to the $20 billion in cuts that the House has in mind, which would toss nearly two million households out of the program.

    Why does Congress want to cut food stamps now? To hear proponents of the cuts tell it, the program has exploded, growing wildly out of control since (conveniently) President Obama took office. “Any meaningful support for farmers and ranchers in this trillion-dollar bill is unnecessarily held hostage to the unchecked growth of food stamp entitlements and numerous other programs unrelated to farming,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. “Nearly 80 percent of it consists of a massive expansion in food stamps, trapping millions in long-term dependency.”

    But Cruz’s version of events doesn’t pass the smell test. Of course food stamp usage has increased in the last few years, due to the whole worst-recession-since-the-Great-Depression thing. Increased payments during a time of skyrocketing unemployment are a feature of a functioning social safety net, not a bug.

  8. bostonboomer says:


    I’d like to get your opinion on this article: How low-level insider could steal from NSA

    It describes some unscrupulous methods for getting access to data.

    • RalphB says:

      It makes sense to me. No way he could be authorized to do what he said and I doubt a lot of it even if had access. Stealing the data I can see, conducting wiretaps etc is a whole other kettle of fish.

      • bostonboomer says:

        So you think he could have done all that?

        From everything I’ve been reading today, the government has to get a warrant through for any wiretaps, and what Greenwald claimed about NSA being able to get stuff from tech co’s electronically is a total lie. They have to request it in writing and Google or whatever prints out the material and sends it to them.

        Also, I wonder if Snowden has all that personnel data on his computers–he has four with him.

        • RalphB says:

          No I don’t he could have wiretapped or gotten into the most sensitive servers or programs, Those probably have their own special logins, as opposed to normal root access.

          It would be easier for Google to query the data, save the results, and place those results on an NSA server via VPN which would be firewalled off from the outside and the internal NSANet into no man’s land. Then NSA analysts could retrieve the data, via VPN, at their convenience. Would save a lot of time, effort, and trees with no NSA direct access to Google’s servers and it’s a time honored technique.

          • RalphB says:

            That is query the data in response to a FISA warrant. Mirroring an entire system that way would get ridiculous.

          • bostonboomer says:

            This article says analysts can get data directly from their workstation.

            One top-secret document obtained by The Post described it as “Collection directly from the servers of these U.S. Service Providers: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, Apple.”

            Intelligence community sources said that this description, although inaccurate from a technical perspective, matches the experience of analysts at the NSA. From their workstations anywhere in the world, government employees cleared for PRISM access may “task” the system and receive results from an Internet company without further interaction with the company’s staff.

            In intelligence parlance, PRISM is the code name for a “signals intelligence address,” or SIGAD, in this case US-984XN, according to the NSA’s official classified description of PRISM and sources interviewed by The Post. The SIGAD is used to designate a source of electronic information, a point of access for the NSA and a method of extraction. In those terms, PRISM is a not a computer system but a set of technologies and operations for collecting intelligence from Facebook, Google and other large Internet companies.

          • bostonboomer says:

            OK, I don’t know why I got that idea of stuff being printed out. That makes no sense. I’m just getting confused. Here’s another article that “explains” how it works.

            The point is that analysts don’t tap directly into the tech companies’ servers.

            The legal process, the person said, is akin to how law enforcement requests information in criminal investigations: the government delivers an order to obtain account details about someone who’s specifically identified as a non-U.S. individual, with a specific finding that they’re involved in an activity related to international terrorism. Both the contents of communications and metadata, such as information about who’s talking to whom, can be requested.

          • RalphB says:

            There is not one word in that story that precludes what I wrote. From the NSA analyst’s workstation he would query and retrieve internet company data from the server in no man’s land. The analyst’s experience would be the same as if they were on Google’s server but with only the warranted dataset available. Does that make any sense?

            By he way, I think that’s the WaPo article that kicked off this mess, with changes in the headline and story but maybe not?

          • bostonboomer says:

            Right. I was agreeing with you. What I said before made no sense. I think that was the WaPo story with the corrections in it. But the second one I posted made more sense to me and it sounds like what you described.

          • RalphB says:

            BB, From your CNET article, hilarious. It will take years to shake out the propaganda in this mess.

            Marc Ambinder, author of “Deep State: Inside The Government Secrecy Industry,” wrote this evening that PRISM is an unclassified “data processing tool” used by many NSA components. It’s not, he said, the name of a secret surveillance program.

            PRISM is also the name of a data processing tool used for other intelligence purposes, meaning it may be the same utility. It stands for “Planning Tool for Resource Integration, Synchronization, and Management,” and it’s long been in common military use. An Air Force-commissioned report that predates the FISA Amendments, for instance, describes PRISM (PDF) as “Web-based collection management software.” It’s not unusual to see PRISM experience required in job postings at government contractors as well.

            Stewart Baker, the NSA’s general counsel in the 1990s and now an attorney at Steptoe and Johnson, said he was not familiar with PRISM or similar government activity, but the leaked Powerpoint presentation sounds “flaky,” as do the initial reports.

            “The Powerpoint is suffused with a kind of hype that makes it sound more like a marketing pitch than a briefing — we don’t know what its provenance is and we don’t know the full context,” Baker said. He added, referring to the Post’s coverage: “It looks rushed and it looks wrong.”

          • bostonboomer says:

            Yeah, I read that. Prism is a software program that is used by lots of corporations. It’s not some secret government classified program.

        • RalphB says:

          By now, the NSA should have a good idea of what he stole. There are audit trails all over those systems for sensitive documents.

          • bostonboomer says:

            They say they know according to an article I read today.

            One thing that is strange about Greenwald’s story. He claims when he was negotiating with Snowden, he didn’t ask where Snoden worked. It really sounds like Snowden deliberate got a job at Booz Allen in order to steal data.

            The DOJ has asked Dell not to talk about Snowden’s employment. Maybe he was fired. But he was living in Maryland when he worked at Dell in March 2012, not Hawaii.

          • RalphB says:

            That puts him closer and Dell does PC business. One of the easiest ways to break into a system, if you’re local, is get someone to trust you enough to give you the root password. Maybe he did weekend duty as a junior admin?

          • bostonboomer says:

            What if he is a disgruntled employee? And why wouldn’t Greenwald even ask him where he was working?!

            Snowden just told a Hong Kong newspaper that the U.S. is hacking into Hong Kong and China w/ this Prism program.

            I think I’d better put up a new post.

          • RalphB says:

            I don’t trust a word from him at this point. It just never sounded right.

  9. RalphB says:

    TBogg: Me & God Are Watching Skynet Grow

    You probably don’t need me to recap all of The Shit That We Knew The Government Was Doing But Are Now Surprised About and, besides, further revelations are coming faster than Rich Lowry watching Sarah Palin’s Alaska so everything that was said before is either no longer operational, debunked, or just the tip-of-the-iceberg-andnow-we’re-all-gonna-die depending how your shock meter is calibrated. …

    Funny with a good cartoon.

  10. RalphB says:

    NBC: Military sex assaults: Plan for outside prosecutor blocked in Senate

    An effort to place military sex assault cases in the hands of an independent prosecutor was thwarted late Tuesday when Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin sided with the top brass – and against a fellow Democrat.

    Levin (D-Mich.) will strip a proposal by Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) from the policy-setting Defense Authorization Act and replace it with a measure that instead requires senior military officers to review decisions when commanders refuse to prosecute a case.

    Gillibrand’s proposal – which had 27 co-sponsors, including 4 Republicans – came in response to complaints that the U.S. military has repeatedly failed to deal with the issue of sex assaults. The military has resisted efforts to involve outsiders in its handling of such cases.

    Aides for Gillibrand told NBC’s Capital Hill correspondent Kelly O’Donnell that the move was “a real setback.”

    Carl Levin is being an asshole!

  11. ***Y’all pay attention to this, if you are in the area of this weather alert, Long line of fierce thunderstorms could spawn derecho – CBS News

    Meteorologists are warning that the continuous line of storms may even spawn an unusual weather event called a derecho, which is a massive storm of strong straight-line winds spanning at least 240 miles.

    Wednesday’s storms are also likely to generate tornadoes and cause power outages that will be followed by oppressive heat, said Bill Bunting, operations chief at the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla.

    The risk of severe weather in Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, is roughly 45 times higher than on a normal June day, Bunting said. Detroit, Baltimore, Washington, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Louisville, Ky., have a risk level 15 times more than normal. All told, the area the weather service considers to be under heightened risk of dangerous weather includes 64 million people in 10 states.

    I know it may seem like I am always harping on the weather warnings, but I just worry about people who may be in the path of these storms. I’ve seen what havoc it brings to my friend out in OK…anyway, just keep safe.

  12. NW Luna says:

    Kewl stuff in science dept: Weird surface features on Mars interpreted. And a planetary scientist’s daydream of “snowboarding down a Martian sand dune on a block of dry ice.”

  13. RalphB says:

    TPM: Amazing

    I’m late to this. But I hadn’t heard the plans to build a new Central American canal – through Nicaragua and funded by a Chinese consortium – are so far advanced. Amazing mix of issues of engineering, geography, faltering US economic clout and political initiative, China’s economic rise and the long memory of Daniel Ortega.

  14. bostonboomer says:

    Breaking news post up above.