Sunday Reads: Quick PicksPosted: July 21, 2013
Oh, what a wonderful lunch I had yesterday with that most awesome Wonking woman Mona! In fact, the day was filled with so much energy and enthusiasm, it was difficult to fall asleep…as you can see…I ended up sleeping late…so I will just give you two quick links now and post another thread later this morning.
I mentioned this article to Mona yesterday during our lunch, but I could not remember the name of the douche-bag who was talking up the benefits of selective breeding at this latest Tea Party meeting: That Awkward Moment When The Tea Party Rally Gets Overtly Racist
Earlier this week, tea party activists and GOP lawmakers gathered near the Capitol to rail against an immigration reform bill passed by the Senate.
While the event was linked to a number of controversial figures, including an organizer who has argued for eugenics and called African-Americans a “retrograde species,” that didn’t deter Republicans like Rep. Steve King (Iowa) and Sens. Jeff Sessions (Ala.) and Ted Cruz (Texas) from showing up to join the chorus against a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
When Ken Crow — a co-founder of the Tea Party Community — stepped up to the microphone, however, George Zornick of The Nation said he was taken aback by the talk of “breeding” and racial purity that followed.
You can actually watch the video of this crap at the HuffPo link above, but here is a little transcript to give you a taste:
From those incredible blood lines of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and John Smith. And all these great Americans, Martin Luther King. These great Americans who built this country. You came from them. And the unique thing about being from that part of the world, when you learn about breeding, you learn that you cannot breed Secretariat to a donkey and expect to win the Kentucky Derby. You guys have incredible DNA and don’t forget it.
UPDATE: The Center for Immigration Studies, the nativist group that organized Monday’s rally, has posted Crow’s entire speech online. It includes a reference to the Bill Pullman’s iconic speech in the 1996 blockbuster “Independence Day.” Watch it here.
Ah…yup…the douche-bag was Ken Crow…damn, I should have remembered that shithead’s name.
Over at Gin and Tacos, please read this post, it is interesting as hell, about where all the unclaimed dead get buried in New York City… NPF: POTTER’S FIELD | Gin and Tacos
We don’t like to think of things concerning death very often, especially the nasty technicalities of disposing of human remains. A few years ago I read Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers (10/10 should read) which offers a good deal of insight on this morbid topic. I was reading it on a flight to New York City; as we were landing, a fellow passenger pointed out the gargantuan Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island, once considered the largest man-made structure on Earth. It was aerial sightseeing at its finest. It struck me just how much garbage a city the size of NYC must produce.
And then I thought back to Stiff and wondered, with its enormous and highly transient population, how many dead bodies New York generates. Processing the dead probably happens there much as it does anywhere else, with the vast majority ending up in cemeteries, crematoria, and so on. But certainly big cities must have to deal with an above-average number of unclaimed and unidentified bodies as well. So I did a tiny amount of research and learned about Hart Island, which is apparently the largest publicly-funded cemetery in the world. Hart Island is where all of the unclaimed (or indigent) dead in New York City end up for more than a century.
It’s not in the tourist guides.
It is estimated that Hart Island contains well over 1 million bodies, having been used to inter bodies from the public hospitals and morgues since 1869, when it was sold by the Army (who were also using it as a cemetery) to the City. Until 1913 remains were buried in mass graves. Today they are buried (by Riker’s Island inmates, formerly conscripted but who are now paid prison wage for the labor) in rows of 25 in thin pine boxes. These “trenches” are re-used after forty to fifty years, by which time the previous boxes (and occupants) have decomposed almost completely. That’s 140-plus years of New York City’s dead, literally buried atop one another. If you’ve ever wondered what hospitals do with amputated limbs, well…in New York they end up on Hart Island. In special small boxes marked LIMBS. I’m not suggesting that this is inappropriate; personally I don’t think it matters what is done with the remains of the dead. I’m simply amazed by the quantity of people who have ended up in this one modestly sized cemetery – and the literal layers of social and human history found on that island.
More at the link, and this G&T post also has links to other websites and books where you can find more information.
Okay, see you a bit later on this morning…just treat this as an open thread.