Wednesday Reads: Botched? Horror.

Civil Rights Congress, 1949, linoleum cut, or linocut History Fact: artist and sculpture Elizabeth Catlett

Civil Rights Congress, 1949, linoleum cut, or linocut History Fact: artist and sculpture Elizabeth Catlett

Morning

Nothing Good about it, when this is the kind of headlines you see on websites across the internet, via HuffPo:

NIGHTMARE: EXECUTION BOTCHED

Inmate Dies After 20 Minutes… Breathed Heavily, Writhed On Gurney, Clenched Teeth, Tried To Lift Up Head… Vein ‘Exploded’… ‘Conscious And Blinking, Licking His Lips’… Secret Drug Cocktail… WITNESS: Inmate Cried Out ‘Man’ – After He Was Declared Unconscious… Had Sued State Over Safety Concerns… Next Execution Postponed… ATTORNEY: It ‘Looked Like Torture’…
STUDY: 1 In 25 Death Row Inmates Is Innocent...

Geez…how horrible. No matter what anyone personally feels about the death penalty. This is a nightmare…

Hullabaloo

Oh my God:

Erick Erickson said on twitter that it wasn’t “botched” because it was less horrible than the murder the man was convicted of. So, you know, we’re good and they’re evil. Jesus said so, I’m pretty sure. Or maybe not.

 

Elizabeth Catlett ~ My right is a future of equality with other Americans (from the series I am the Black woman), 1947 (linocut)

Elizabeth Catlett ~ My right is a future of equality with other Americans (from the series I am the Black woman), 1947 (linocut)

Not OK: The state of Oklahoma tortured a man tonight

This is not supposed to happen in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave:

McALESTER, Okla. — What was supposed to be the first of two executions here Tuesday night was halted when the prisoner, Clayton D. Lockett, began to twitch and gasp after he had already been declared unconscious and called out “man” and “something’s wrong,” according to witnesses.

Some people in America are squeamish about using the word “torture” — but if this isn’t torture, what the hell is?

“This was botched, and it was difficult to watch,” said David Autry, one of Mr. Lockett’s lawyers.

A doctor started to administer the first drug, a sedative intended to knock the man out, at 6:23. Ten minutes later, the doctor said that Mr. Lockett was unconscious, and started to administer the next two drugs, a paralytic and one intended to make the heart stop.

At that point, witnesses said, things began to go awry. Mr. Lockett’s body moved, his foot shook, and he mumbled, witnesses said.

At 6 :37, he tried to rise and exhaled loudly. At that point, prison officials pulled a curtain in front of the witnesses and the doctor discovered a “vein failure,” Mr. Patton said.

A couple of things here. Let’s deal with the obvious first: Clayton Lockett (who did die, of a heart attack, 40 minutes into the process) committed a horrific crime — he and his accomplices also tortured the 19-year-old woman that they murdered. He deserved to spend every day of the rest of his life behind bars. But at the end of it all, there’s a reason why we like to call ourselves a civilization. Society is supposed to be better than the individuals that we must punish, and so the answer to violence is never pre-meditated state-sponsored violence. That’s why the death penalty has been virtually banned by advanced democracies, and for the most part only takes place for the most part in ruthless dictatorships like North Korea, China, and Saudi Arabia.

573bad3e10f83de3ac5825883c713074 John Buckland Wright

John Buckland Wright

More at the link or you can read up on the background of the cases here: Oklahoma Botches Execution, Postpones Another — NYMag

After a lengthy legal battle over Oklahoma’s refusal to disclose the source of drugs used in lethal injections, two men were scheduled to be put to death tonight in the state’s first double execution since 1937. However, the second inmate was given a stay of execution after the first execution went horribly awry. Ten minutes after he was injected with a sedative, Clayton Lockett, 38, was declared unconscious. Then as the doctor injected two drugs meant to paralyze him and stop his heart, Lockett began to writhe on the gurney and tried to get up. “This was botched, and it was difficult to watch,” said attorney David Autry, who represented Lockett.

A curtain was closed to prevent witnesses from seeing what was happening, and a doctor discovered that Lockett’s vein had ruptured. “There was some concern at that time that the drugs were not having that (desired) effect, and the doctor observed the [vein] at that time and determined the line had blown,” Robert Patton director of the Department of Corrections, said at a press conference. Lockett’s execution was halted 20 minutes after the first drug was administered. About 25 minutes later, he died of a heart attack.

I am sure more blogs will have discussions on this today…we will see what comes of it as the news cycle progresses.

Meanwhile, I will give you the rest of the links in dump fashion, I feel another migraine coming on…and the nausea is hitting me all of a sudden:

Southern tornado death toll hits 34 as storm system heads east – latimes.com

Senators back out of revealing drone death toll | Al Jazeera America

Cannonfire_: Slavery: You’re wearing it

 

Charles White, Bessie Smith | Harvard Art Museums, linocut

Charles White, Bessie Smith | Harvard Art Museums, linocut

Preparing for War in Indianapolis: Inside the NRA Plot to Terrify America – The Daily Beast

 

No More Mister Nice Blog

This is creepy:

Sheriff urged to clamp down on armed militiamen around Bundy ranch

A growing number of Bunkerville residents want to see the armed militiamen guarding rancher Cliven Bundy leave Nevada, according to a letter from Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., to Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie.

Horsford, whose congressional district includes Bunkerville, wrote that his constituents are concerned about Bundy supporters carrying weapons near local churches, schools and elsewhere….

Wait, it gets worse.

The letter also says militiamen have a presence on state and local roads as well as federal highways. In some areas, according to the letter, militiamen have set up checkpoints where drivers are stopped and asked to provide a proof of residency….

There’s no government for these people, except what suits them. There’s no law, except what they agree with. Even if you think border enforcement is the absolute #1 priority for the U.S. government, with everything else a distant second, which one of us got to vote on designating these clowns as our new Border Patrol?

You can argue that these self-appointed substitutes for legally constituted law enforcement agencies are taking the Declaration of Independence seriously — “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness], it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it” and all that — but they decide who constitutes “the people,” and they don’t care that the majority of us, however dissatisfied we might be, didn’t ask for a revolution, and certainly didn’t ask

"Liberty of Expression," a poster issued in support of student protests before Mexico City 1968 Olympic Games, by Adolfo Mexiac Calderόn

“Liberty of Expression,” a poster issued in support of student protests before Mexico City 1968 Olympic Games, by Adolfo Mexiac Calderόn

them to be our vanguard army, or to choose the issues over which the fighting should take place.

More at the link.

Addictin Info– Glenn Beck Says Hillary Clinton Would Have Lesbian Sex On The White House Desk (VIDEO)

Gawd..if I didn’t feel like puking because of this headache that Beck story alone would do the trick.

Jezebel: Iowa College Lets Accused Rapist Choose His Own Punishment

Wait…that was the icing on the cake.

Think of this as an open thread and have a good day.

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Tuesday Reads

Couch on the Porch at Cos Cob by Childe Hassam, 1914

Couch on the Porch at Cos Cob by Childe Hassam, 1914

Good Morning!!

 

Secretary of State John Kerry is under fire for making a frank statement in a closed-door meeting that he believed to be private. Politico’s Dylan Byers reports: John Kerry’s private remarks allegedly taped by Daily Beast reporter.

Secretary of State John Kerry’s private remarks to a meeting of influential world leaders last week were allegedly taped by a reporter from The Daily Beast, a fact that led to a personal apology from Trilateral Commission chairman Joseph S. Nye on Monday.

In a letter to Sec. Kerry, obtained by POLITICO, Nye expressed “my deep apology and dismay that a reporter form The Daily Beast, Josh Rogin, somehow sneaked into the meeting room in which you were speaking to the Commission this past Friday.”

“He was not invited,” Nye wrote. “Althought how Mr. Rogin slipped past both Commission staff and Diplomatic Security is unclear to me, we have confirmed that he indeed was present and apparently recorded the session.”

Josh Rogin

Josh Rogin

Rogin, who somehow sneaked into the meeting and taped Kerry’s remarks, soon began posting “exclusives” at The Daily Beast.

Within minutes of Kerry’s remarks on Friday, Rogin posted an exclusive to The Daily Beast in which he reported that Kerry had “warned that [a] new round of American financial assaults on Russia were on the way.”

On Sunday, Rogin posted another exclusive headlined, “Kerry Warns Israel Could Become ‘An Apartheid State’.” The report earned Sec. Kerry fierce criticism from Jewish organizations such as AIPAC, which called the remarks “offensive and inapropriate,” and the Anti-Defamation League, which called them “incendiary.”

In the first article, Rogin attributed his knowledge of Sec. Kerry’s remarks to “an attendee.” In the second article, he attributed them to “a recording… obtained by The Daily Beast.” Rogin did not mention his presence at the event in either article.

Is that okay according to journalistic ethics? I don’t know, but this definitely demonstrates to me the need for some secrecy in government diplomacy. I think the Greenwaldian notion of government as absolute enemy has rubbed off on reporters like Rogin. His first “exclusive” was on a breakdown of communications between the White House and the Kremlin and the second was about Kerry’s comments on Israel. Rogin writes:

If there’s no two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict soon, Israel risks becoming “an apartheid state,” Secretary of State John Kerry told a room of influential world leaders in a closed-door meeting Friday.

It wasn’t the only controversial comment on the Middle East that Kerry made during his remarks to the Trilateral Commission, a recording of which was obtained by The Daily Beast. Kerry also repeated his warning that a failure of Middle East peace talks could lead to a resumption of Palestinian violence against Israeli citizens. He suggested that a change in either the Israeli or Palestinian leadership could make achieving a peace deal more feasible. He lashed out against Israeli settlement-building. And Kerry said that both Israeli and Palestinian leaders share the blame for the current impasse in the talks. 

Kerry also said that at some point, he might unveil his own peace deal and tell both sides to “take it or leave it.”

“A two-state solution will be clearly underscored as the only real alternative. Because a unitary state winds up either being an apartheid state with second-class citizens—or it ends up being a state that destroys the capacity of Israel to be a Jewish state,” Kerry told the group of senior officials and experts from the U.S., Western Europe, Russia, and Japan. “Once you put that frame in your mind, that reality, which is the bottom line, you understand how imperative it is to get to the two-state solution, which both leaders, even yesterday, said they remain deeply committed to.”

It’s hard for me to find much fault with that. I guess the use of the term “apartheid” is a no-no, Kerry is not the first to use it. As Rogin notes, former President Jimmy Carter wrote a book in 2007 with the title Palestine: Peace or Apartheid. Carter was forced to backtrack somewhat, and Kerry has had do it also. Michael Gordon at The New York Times: Kerry Apologizes for Remark That Israel Risks Apartheid

US-Secretary-Of-State-John-Kerry

In the statement that Mr. Kerry issued Monday, which bore the title “On Support for Israel,” he said that he had been a staunch supporter of Israel during his years as a senator and had spent many hours since working with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials.

“For more than 30 years in the United States Senate, I didn’t just speak words in support of Israel,” Mr. Kerry said in his statement. “I walked the walk when it came time to vote and when it came time to fight.”

Mr. Kerry added that he did not believe that Israel was an “apartheid state” or intended to become one. Mr. Kerry did not dispute he had used the phrase but said it had led to a “misimpression” about his views.

“If I could rewind the tape, I would have chosen a different word to describe my firm belief that the only way in the long term to have a Jewish state and two nations and two peoples living side by side in peace and security is through a two state solution,” he said.

“In the long term, a unitary, binational state cannot be the democratic Jewish state that Israel deserves or the prosperous state with full rights that the Palestinian people deserve,” he added.

Kerry has now been attacked for his remarks by Senators Ted Cruz and Barabara Boxer. Quite an achievement!

Rogin’s latest “exclusive,” published this morning, reveals (surprise, surprise!) that the U.S. is spying on calls between Russia and it’s spies on the ground in Eastern Ukraine. You’d think that would be a good thing, but in the age of Greenwaldian “advocacy journalism,” maybe not. Rogin:

“Intel is producing taped conversations of intelligence operatives taking their orders from Moscow and everybody can tell the difference in the accents, in the idioms, in the language. We know exactly who’s giving those orders, we know where they are coming from,” Kerry said at a private meeting of the Trilateral Commission in Washington. A recording of Kerry’s remarks was obtained by The Daily Beast.

Kerry didn’t name specific Russian officials implicated in the recordings. But he claimed that the intercepts provided proof of the Russians deliberately fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine—and lying about it to U.S. officials and the public.

“It’s not an accident that you have some of the same people identified who were in Crimea and in Georgia and who are now in east Ukraine,” said Kerry. “This is insulting to everybody’s intelligence, let alone to our notions about how we ought to be behaving in the 21st century. It’s thuggism, it’s rogue state-ism. It’s the worst order of behavior.”

Rogin goes on to speculate on whether the NSA has now corrected issues that prevented them from receiving accurate intelligence on Russia’s plans to invade Ukraine and annex Crimea and explains the methods NSA uses to collected such information. I guess they will have to go back to the drawing board again now? In the latest piece, Rogin still does not state that he is the source of the tapes of Kerry’s remarks.

Reuters has an article this morning on Israel’s latest plans: Israeli politicians seek to bypass talks, set own boundaries.

With Middle East peace talks frozen and expectations of a negotiated deal at an all-time low, a growing number of Israeli politicians believe it is time for the government to set the nation’s own borders unilaterally.

Some seek the annexation of most of the occupied West Bank, others say only the big Jewish settlement blocs should be brought under Israeli sovereignty, while a third group calls for a partial pullout to create a de facto Palestinian state.

Such actions would break the dynamics of the U.S.-driven peace process, which has been bogged down by years of failure and recrimination. By the same token, it would likely unleash a firestorm of protest at home and abroad.

Isn’t that just ducky? Read lots of details at the link.

This is just breaking (9AM EST) . . . there has been a mass shooting at a FedEx location in Georgia.

FedEx shooting

From NBC News: FedEx Facility Shooting Prompts Massive Police Response

At least six people were injured in a shooting early Tuesday at a FedEx facility in Kennesaw, Ga., officials said.

The male gunman remained at large, and police said they are sweeping the surrounding area, reported NBC affiliate WXIA-TV.

Cobb County police said the call came in at 5:44 a.m., prompting a lockdown of the facility on Airport Road and more than 50 emergency vehicles to arrive at the scene. The injured were taken to the hospital, and at least one person was taken immediately to the operating room, WXIA reported.

That’s all I have for you today–I hope you’ll also post your links in the comment thread.


BasKKKetball Because Luckovich is the Best: Open thread

Oh yeah!

 

 

042914-toon-luckovich-ed

4/29 Mike Luckovich cartoon: BasKKKetball | Mike Luckovich

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Luckovich is my favorite…fucking awesome and spot on as usuall!!!!!!!

This is an open thread.


Monday Reads

Good Morning!  Quelle Surprise! Pop Culture is still Misogynist, Racist, and Homophobic!

Pige-Manga-BWI found some interesting reads over the weekend so I hope you’ll enjoy them!   They are all sort’ve stories that actually reflect a lot of the things that fascinate and entertain me.  I love strategy games and have been playing them on line for quite some time  Actually, it’s been since the early 1990s when most of the games were simply text oriented.  I also love animation art, and books, and of course, music. So, here’s a little bit on that and a little bit of stuff that has to do with social justice too.  If I do a have a consistent train of thought here it is that so much of what should be entertaining and could be informative can sow bad seeds.  I’ve a few examples where the pop and geek culture are taking on hard topics. Some are  successful and examining crucial human stories.  Some rely on the same old misogyny, racism, and homobigotry.

Japanese Manga is a way many creative people in Japan explore how they feel about a variety of things. This article is about a new manga book on the lives of the Fukashima plant workers.

A manga that describes the reality of daily life at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant through the eyes of a worker is enjoying popularity.

“Ichiefu” (1F), written by Kazuto Tatsuta, 49, first appeared in autumn 2013 as a serial comic in the weekly magazine “Morning,” published by Kodansha Ltd. Ichiefu stands for the Fukushima No. 1 plant among locals.

The comic was published in book form on April 23. The publisher shipped a total of 150,000 copies of the first volume, which is an unusually large number for a little-known manga artist.

Tatsuta said he changed jobs repeatedly after graduating from university. At the same time, he also worked as a comic strip artist.

It was when he was considering another job change that the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami occurred, triggering the nuclear accident at the Fukushima plant.

While seeking a better-paying job, Tatsuta also wondered what part he could do as a citizen of Japan to help. As a result, he began to work at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant from June 2012 for a total of six months.

“Ichiefu” describes the situation at the plant in great detail. The descriptions of equipment, such as the masks and protective gear the workers used, and the procedures they took to measure radiation levels make readers feel as if they are there and reading actual worker manuals.

The comic also depicts intimate practices only workers there would know. For example, the workers always say “Be safe” to each other before starting their shifts.

Each of the workers was also required to stop working when his dosimeter issued a fourth warning sound.

I quit playing a few games last year that I had really grown fond of because of the rampant misogyny and homophobia of many of the white male manga-dark-warriorplayers.  I had repeatedly asked them to constrain their language, behavior, and what they posted.  I am fortunately playing a game right now where that’s not the case.  I am still one of the few female players in my alliance.  I believe I am one of two but I have found that I generally enjoy better game play if I am in an alliance where there are many openly gay men.  This NPR article summarizes a series of articles that are focused on white male privilege in the online game atmosphere.

In video games, sexism often comes in the form of male-dominated storylines and character archetypes. In the video game community, it takes a more menacing shape.

It ranges from attempts to silence female critics to the harassment of fellow players. Some harassment even goes so far as phone calls and rape threats, as one female game developer found out last year.

“The issue is often framed as a women’s issue, but sexual harassment, sexism and misogyny in gaming is not a women’s issue — it’s a gaming community issue,” says Jonathan McIntosh, a producer for the Tropes vs. Women in Video Games Web series.

Last week, McIntosh wrote a piece for gaming website Polygon about what he calls the “invisible benefits” that males experience while playing video games. In the post, he lists 25 effects of “male gamer privilege.” Here’s a sample:

  • I can choose to remain completely oblivious, or indifferent to the harassment that many women face in gaming spaces.
  • I am never told that video games or the surrounding culture is not intended for me because I am male.
  • I can publicly post my username, gamertag or contact information online without having to fear being stalked or sexually harassed because of my gender.
  • I will never be asked to “prove my gaming cred” simply because of my gender.
  • I will almost always have the option to play a character of my gender, as most protagonists or heroes will be male by default.
  • If I am trash-talked or verbally berated while playing online, it will not be because I am male nor will my gender be invoked as an insult.
  • My gaming ability, attitude, feelings or capability will never be called into question based on unrelated natural biological functions.

So far, the reaction to his post — both in the more than 700 comments on the piece and elsewhere — has been relatively civil. As McIntosh pointed out on Twitter, he doubts it would have been as civil if he had been a female writer raising the same points.

“I’m saying the same thing that women have been saying for years,” McIntosh says. “There’s nothing in my piece that’s really new, it’s just that it’s coming from me. If my name was Joanna McIntosh … I’d be called irrational, I’d be called hysterical and I’d be called too sensitive.”

One other thing that I did not mention last week but I would like to mention this week is the rape scene between the Lannister twins in Game of Thrones.  The same scene in the book actually was rough but consensual.  

There’s been a lot of discussion, Internet rage, and general overall hoopla following Sunday night’s episode of Game of Thrones, as the television show made the most shocking book-to-screen deviation to date. *Spoiler free for future books.*

Jaime and Cersei finally had their reunited love scene, and suddenly for book readers, Jeyne Westerling seemed like a small cinematic sacrifice to make in comparison. I don’t want to get into a philosophical discussion on whether or not this scene constitutes as rape. Smarter people than I have alreadydonethat.

What we have to work with in the scene is what the characters said and did because we can’t know how they felt. And whether or not the scene was intended to come across as consensual sex, the way the scene was cut by the director makes it definitive to the audience that it was not consensual. Cersei repeatedly said no while Jaime forced himself on top of her and answered that he didn’t care as his creepy voiceover carried out onto a shot of Arya staring at mountains. If that’s all we know about the scene, then yes, in the television show Jaime raped Cersei.

The “debate” about the rape has been nearly as upsetting as the rape itself.  I liked this take clearly stating that rape is not a “narrative device”.

In some ways, it’s useful for television shows to acknowledge the extent of sexual violence in our culture. These narratives allow necessary stories to be told. But the execution is too easy. From daytime soap operas to prestige cable shows, rape is all too often used to place the degradation of the female body and a woman’s vulnerability at the center of the narrative. Rape is used to create drama and ratchet up ratings. And it’s rare to see the brutality and complexity of a rape accurately conveyed on-screen. Instead, we are treated to an endless parade of women being forced into submission as the delicate and wilting flowers television writers and producers seem to want them to be.

download (9)I am still wondering why there seems to be a renaissance in misogny, racism and homobigotry.  You would think that the sports arena would have made better strides against racism given that teams and fans are fully integrated to the idea that there are players of many races.  However, it seems the real money and power behind the bread and circuses are still those rich, horrid, white men.  We talked about the Clippers’ owner last week.  There is, of course, more on that.

Deadspin has acquired an extended, 15-minute version of the conversation between Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his then-girlfriend V. Stiviano. If the original nine-minute tape acquired by TMZ left any questions about Sterling’s opinions regarding minorities, the audio here should remove all doubt that he’s a doddering racist with views not too far removed from the plantation.

The Clippers themselves showed some class this week in a protest that was priceless.  There will undoubtedly be more coming and hopefully the NBA can find a way to strip Sterling of the franchise.

The Clippers gathered at center court before a118-97 Game 4 loss in their first-round series against the Golden State Warriors and took off their Clippers warm-up shirts and left them there. They then warmed up wearing inside-out red shooting shirts that did not display the Clippers name or logo. During the game, players wore black arm or wrist bands and black socks.

In other news, water is still wet and Sarah Palin is still one of the dumbest people on the planet.  This is the money quote she gave the NRA: ‘Waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists’.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) defended the controversial enhanced interrogation technique of waterboarding this weekend, and implied that the practice would still be commonplace “if I were in charge.”

“They obviously have information on plots to carry out Jihad,” she said at the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual meeting on Saturday evening, referring to prisoners. “Oh, but you can’t offend them, can’t make them feel uncomfortable, not even a smidgen. Well, if I were in charge, they would know that waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.”

The remark stands in stark contrast to the opinion of her former running mate, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

The former Republican presidential nominee, who spent more than five years in a prison camp during the Vietnam War, has repeatedly denounced the practice, which he says is torture.

In her speech, Palin praised the NRA, a group whose members “are needed now more than ever, because every day we are seeing more and more efforts to strip away our Second Amendment rights,” she said.

I am still waiting for some examples of how any government in the US is stripping away the second amendment rights.  I do, however, have thousands of examples of how women are losing their right to self determination.

My last offering this morning is yet another in depth article on the demise of the middle class in the USA.  Middle class Americans are an endangered species.

Wages for millions of American workers, particularly those without college degrees, have flat-lined. Census figures show the median household income in 2012 was no higher than it was 25 years ago. Men’s median wages were lower than in the early 1970s.

Meanwhile, many of the expenses associated with a middle-class life have increased beyond inflation. This includes college tuition, whose skyrocketing cost has laid siege to a bedrock principle of the American Dream: that your children will do better than you did.

recent poll conducted by the Washington Post and the Miller Center at the University of Virginia found that 40 percent of those calling themselves middle class felt less financially secure than they were just a few years ago. Forty-five percent said they worry “a lot” about having enough money stashed away for retirement, and 57 percent said they worry about meeting their bills. Less than half said they expect their kids to do any better.

Fewer Americans find themselves in the heart of the middle class with every passing year.

In the mid-1970s, the majority of Americans were in the middle, with 52 percent earning the equivalent (in today’s dollars) of $35,000 to $100,000. Today, according to census figures, the share of households earning under $35,000 is virtually unchanged, 35 percent. The shift has occurred in the other two categories. Households with incomes over $100,000 have doubled, to 22 percent, while less than 44 percent are in the middle cluster.

So, what’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sunday Reads: Hatpins and Little Debbie’s

6fba9135e66f895fa92fe5f54d904aadGood Morning

Our internet service has been acting up once again, so for now I have just a few links…to get by until later this morning.

Nothing depressing, well, unless the loss of a shitload… 70,000 pounds to be exact, of Little Debbies strewn about the side of the interstate will give you the blues: Overturned truck dumps thousands of Little Debbies on I-75

Pictures and raw video at the link.

On to an interesting article that Kathy sent me via Facebook:

“The Hatpin Peril” Terrorized Men Who Couldn’t Handle the 20th-Century Woman

On the afternoon of May 28, 1903, Leoti Blaker, a young Kansan touring New York City, boarded a Fifth Avenue stagecoach at 23rd Street and settled in for the ride. The coach was crowded, and when it jostled she noticed that the man next to her settled himself an inch closer to her. She made a silent assessment: elderly, elegantly dressed, “benevolent-looking.” The horse picked up speed and the stage jumped, tossing the passengers at one another again, and now the man was touching her, hip to hip, shoulder to shoulder. When he lifted his arm and draped it low across her back, Leoti had enough. In a move that would thrill victim of modern-day subway harassment, she reached for her hatpin—nearly a foot long—and plunged it into the meat of the man’s arm. He let out a terrible scream and left the coach at the next stop.

“He was such a nice-looking old gentleman I was sorry to hurt him,” she told the New York World. “I’ve heard about Broadway mashers and ‘L’ mashers, but I didn’t know Fifth Avenue had a particular brand of its own…. If New York women will tolerate mashing, Kansas girls will not.”

Newspapers across the country began reporting similar encounters with “mashers,” period slang for lecherous or predatory men (defined more delicately in Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie as “one whose dress or manners are calculated to elicit the admiration of susceptible young women”). A New York City housewife fended off a man who brushed up against her on a crowded Columbus Avenue streetcar and asked if he might “see her home.” A Chicago showgirl, bothered by a masher’s “insulting questions,” beat him in the face with her umbrella until he staggered away. A St. Louis schoolteacher drove her would-be attacker away by slashing his face with her hatpin. Such stories were notable not only for their frequency but also for their laudatory tone; for the first time, women who fought back against harassers were regarded as heroes rather than comic characters, as subjects rather than objects. Society was transitioning, slowly but surely, from expecting and advocating female dependence on men to recognizing their desire and ability to defend themselves.

Go to that link to read more about these hatpins for defense, as shown here:

(San Francisco Sunday Call, 1904)

 

And one last link, this one is a real neat one…from a blog written by Pearl at The Beading Gem, again via Facebook, Amazing Huichol Bead Work on Wheels

I previously wrote about the extraordinary skill of the Huichol  or Wixáritari of West Mexico turning beads and skulls into works of art. Now eight of these artisans from the communities of Nayarit and Jalisco are showcasing their amazing bead work on an entire car!

The car in question is a a 1990 Volkswagen Beetle so this “moving” piece of art is thus called the Vochol – a combination of the car’s name with that of the Huichol.

The team of  Huichol bead artisans took 9,000 hours to completely adorn the car both inside and out. They covered virtually all the surfaces including the mirrors, seats, steering wheel and dashboard!

Please, go and see the rest of her post…it is fascinating, with more pictures and information on the process of the work as well…

Anyway, see you later and think of this as an open thread.


Lazy Saturday Reads: “Shelter in Plates” — WTF? — And Other News

slideshow_5

Happy Saturday!!

 

The image to the right shows a commemorative plate from the “Shelter in Plates” project created by Chantal Zakari and Mike Mandela, a married couple who live in Watertown, MA, to mark the day when their town was locked down while hundreds (thousands?) of law enforcement officers swarmed their neighborhood in search of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger of the accused Boston Marathon bombers.

When I first saw these plates, I laughed out loud. The image of someone collecting these plates and displaying them in your home just struck me as ridiculous and incongruous. Every time I looked at them, I laughed out loud and couldn’t stop laughing. “Just the thing to add to a collection of Princess Diana and Elvis plates!”

I too was shocked to see multiple swat teams confronting innocent people in their homes and military equipment in the streets of a residential neighborhood. IMO the response to the killing of an MIT police officer and a carjacking was way over the top. It’s amazing that no one was killed by one of the hundreds of stray bullets that penetrated the walls of people’s houses. And the conduct of the manhunt the next day was even worse. In the end Tsarnaev was discovered, not by law enforcement but by a homeowner who went into his backyard to check on his boat and found the fugitive inside. I guess it’s just the notion of memorializing the events with plates that struck me funny.

But there is also serious side to this story. Last year, the Chief of Police of Watertown contacted couple’s employer at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. From PBS station WGBH:

“We created the website on a Saturday or Sunday, and four days later I got a call from my employer saying that Chief (Ed) Deveau had called and wanted my employer to pull funding out of the project, because if this project went to the press it would be bad publicity for the institution,” Zakari said.

Sarah McKinnon is the dean of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. That is Zakari and Mandel’s place of employment. She remembered the call from Chief Deveau.

“Back in December, I had a phone call from Chief Deveau from Watertown police to talk to me a little bit about it,” McKinnon stated. “He said, ‘Were you aware that the SMFA was mentioned on the website?’ and I said, ‘No, I wasn’t.’ So I took a closer look and indeed saw that SMFA was mentioned on the website itself. SMFA had supported the project by virtue of a faculty enrichment grant.”

plates

The article doesn’t say this specifically, but it appears that McKinnon did ask Zakari and Mandel to remove the school’s name from their website, but the funding for the project was not withdrawn.

McKinnon says that the SMFA respects academic freedom and there was no attempt to rescind the faculty enrichment grant that had actually been dispensed a year ago, despite her misgivings.

“My concern is, I just didn’t want the school seen in a negative light. My concern was not with the particulars of the project, which I didn’t know about, but we didn’t want to be taking advantage of anyone else’s suffering. If this was a project that would put us in a bad light, that was of concern to me,” McKinnon said.

But Mandel argued that Chief Deveau was attempting to intimidate the artists.

“For the chief of police —in his official capacity—to call our employer and make his accusations was an act of intimidation,” Mandel said. “It was an act of harassment and he should desist, and in addition he should apologize.”

I absolutely agree with him, despite the fact that I loathe commemorative plates generally, and think the ones Madel and Zakari designed are ludicrous. The couple’s attorney sent a letter to Deveau demanding that he cease and desist from further harassment. The letter is posted on and their website. You can watch the WGBH interview with Zakari and Mandel on YouTube.

What do you think?

In other news . . . 

Following on massive publicity about Cliven Bundy over the past week, the New York Times published a fascinating article about changing demographics in the U.S.: Southern Whites’ Loyalty to G.O.P. Nearing That of Blacks to Democrats.

President Obama’s landslide victory in 2008 was supposed to herald the beginning of a new Democratic era. And yet, six years later, there is not even a clear Democratic majority in the country, let alone one poised for 30 years of dominance….

From the high plains of West Texas to the Atlantic Coast of Georgia, white voters opposed Mr. Obama’s re-election in overwhelming numbers. In many counties 90 percent of white voters chose Mitt Romney, nearly the reversal of the margin by which black voters supported Mr. Obama.

While white Southerners have been voting Republican for decades, the hugeness of the gap was new. Mr. Obama often lost more than 40 percent of Al Gore’s support among white voters south of the historically significant line of the Missouri Compromise. Two centuries later, Southern politics are deeply polarized along racial lines. It is no exaggeration to suggest that in these states the Democrats have become the party of African Americans and that the Republicans are the party of whites.

I hope you’ll read the whole thing if you haven’t already. Particularly interesting is this map of counties (in yellow) where Obama received less than 20% of the white vote in the last election (census data was not available for Alaska).

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This pattern represents a reversal of a trend that suggested “the South’s assimilation into the American political and cultural mainstream.” Some southern and western areas of the U.S. are regressing to the point that it’s as if the Civil War never happened. How would these areas respond to a woman President?

Milford, CT high school stabbing

Maren Sanchez

Maren Sanchez

Early yesterday morning, 16-year-old Maren Sanchez was murdered by male classmate who reportedly had asked her to go to the junior prom with him and was angry at being turned down. From the Hartford Courant:

MILFORD, Conn. — A 16-year-old Connecticut high school student was stabbed to death Friday morning, and police are investigating whether the 16-year-old male who is suspected of killing her had wanted to take her to the junior prom, which was scheduled for Friday night.

Jonathan Law High School junior Maren Sanchez was killed in a hallway at the school.

The suspect, also a junior at the school in Milford, was charged as a juvenile offender with murder. His name is being withheld because he is a minor, police said….

Milford Police Chief Keith Mello said that the assault happened about 7:15 a.m. in a hallway inside Jonathan Law High School. A staff member witnessed part of the assault, he said, and tried to help. Others joined the effort, and EMS personnel soon arrived to take Sanchez to Bridgeport Hospital. She was pronounced dead at 7:43 a.m., Mello said….

Police said that Sanchez suffered multiple cuts to her neck, chest and face. Investigators recovered a knife at the scene.

The prom was cancelled. Milford is about a half-hour’s drive from Newtown, CT. Read more and see photos at The New York Daily News, which also learned the name of the alleged murderer.

Jonathan Law High School students should have been going to their junior prom Friday night. Instead, the teens went to a seaside vigil for their murdered classmate.

About 200 community members and students, some wearing their prom dresses and tuxedos, gathered Friday evening at Walnut Beach in Milford, Conn., to remember 16-year-old Maren Sanchez, a junior who was murdered earlier in the day at the school after rejecting a classmate’s invitation to the dance….

Anguished classmates funneled down to Walnut Beach around 6 p.m. — just one hour before the school’s junior prom was scheduled to start at a nearby banquet hall. The annual dance was postponed after the tragedy.

Wearing their formal wear, students cried and prayed at the local beach, the Hartford Courant reported. Friends shouted out memories of their slain classmate as they released purple balloons into the sky and yelled “Love you, Maren,” the newspaper reported.

Earlier, students covered a rock outside the school with purple spray paint and wrote the teen’s name and birthday, Aug. 26, 1997, alongside a white heart.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden Pond, and Climate Change

 Yesterday, NPR’s Science Friday had a report on Henry David Thoreau’s careful 160-year-old observations of plants in the Walden Pond area of Concord, MA and how they are being used by climate scientists today. The guest was Richard Primack, Professor of Biology at Boston University and author of the book, Walden Warming: Climate Change Comes to Thoreau’s Woods.

From The Guardian, Scientists use Thoreau’s journal notes to track climate change.

Fittingly for a man seen as the first environmentalist, Henry David Thoreau, who described his isolated life in 1840s Massachusetts in the classic of American literature Walden, is now helping scientists pin down the impacts of climate change.

The American author, who died in 1862, is best known for his account of the two years he spent living in a one-room wooden cabin near Walden Pond “because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life”. Packed with descriptions of the natural world he loved, Walden is partly autobiographical, partly a manifesto for Thoreau’s belief in the rightness of living close to nature. “I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude,” he writes. “Simplify, simplify.”

But Thoreau was also a naturalist, and he meticulously observed the first flowering dates for over 500 species of wildflowers in Concord, Massachusetts, between 1851 and 1858, recording them in a set of tables. When Richard Primack, a biology professor at Boston University, and fellow researcher Abraham Miller-Rushing discovered Thoreau’s unpublished records, they immediately realised how useful they would be for pinning down the impact of the changing climate over the last century and a half. The timing of seasonal events such as flowering dates is known as phenology, and the phenologies of plants in a temperate climate such as that of Massachusetts are very sensitive to temperature, say the scientists. Studying phenology is therefore a good indicator of ecological responses to climate change.

“We had been searching for historical records for about six months when we learned about Thoreau’s plant observations. We knew right away that they would be incredibly useful for climate change research because they were from 150 years ago, there were so many species included, and they were gathered by Thoreau, who is so famous in the United States for his book Walden,” said Primack. “The records were surprisingly easy to locate once we were aware of them. A copy was given to us by an independent research scholar, who knew that they would be valuable for climate change research.”

For a more in-depth report of the research project, check out this long-form article at Smithsonian Magazine.

In the real world, where we’re definitely not doing much to address climate change, The Financial Times reports that, a “senior scientist” has charged that the “Climate Change Report was Watered Down.”

A politically sensitive part of the latest report by the world’s leading authority on climate change was gutted at the insistence of government officials, one of the study’s authors has revealed.

Nearly 75 per cent of a section on the impact of international climate negotiations was deleted at a meeting in Berlin two weeks ago, said one of the authors responsible for that part of the report, Harvard University’s Professor Robert Stavins.

The Berlin meeting was held so representatives of the world’s governments could approve a summary of a massive report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, on how to tackle climate change which took hundreds of authors from around the world nearly five years to compile.

The report was the third of a trilogy of studies the IPCC has released since September in its fifth major assessment of the latest state of knowledge about climate change.

Prof Stavins, a leading expert on climate negotiations at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, wrote to the organisers of the Berlin meeting last week to express his “disappointment and frustration” at the outcome.

Read the rest at the Financial Times link.

Those are my recommendations for today. What stories are you following? Please post your links in the comment thread, and have a great weekend!


Damn You Windstream…Friday Nite Lite: Bad Internet Service Edition

No, it isn’t a Good Evening!

Again our Windstream internet service was out, and we were again without connection to the web…so this post is late, and all that shit that goes with suckass DSL service from a provider that has a monopoly on the area here in Banjoville. They know we have no other choice in the matter and are screwed, we gotta stick with them.

I am so fucking sick of Banjoville, I don’t want to make this a full on rant but safe to say…these small town religious hypocritical asshole bastards and bitches are pissing me off big time!

So here are some cartoons. Whatever…

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Dak shared that on her Facebook page, and it is marvelous!

Wheel Well by Rick McKee

147659 600 Wheel Well cartoons

 

Pyramid Scheme – Political Cartoon by Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News – 04/25/2014

Cartoon by Adam Zyglis - Pyramid Scheme

 

Cliven Bundy by Political Cartoonist Randall Enos

147654 600 Cliven Bundy cartoons

 

Blind Justice Roberts by Political Cartoonist John Cole

147640 600 Blind Justice Roberts cartoons

 

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune – 04/25/2014

Cartoon by Pat Bagley -

 

Government Handouts – Political Cartoon by Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – 04/25/2014

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Government Handouts

 

Guns R Us by Political Cartoonist Mark Streeter

147606 600 Guns R Us cartoons

 

Pineda pine tar cheat by Political Cartoonist Dave Granlund

147595 600 Pineda pine tar cheat cartoons

 

 

4/27 Mike Luckovich cartoon: Aliens | Mike Luckovich

042714-toon-luckovich-ed

 

4/25 Mike Luckovich cartoon: Rest in peace, child | Mike Luckovich

042514-toon-luckovich2-ed

 

4/24 Luckovich cartoon: Don’t fear the reaper | Mike Luckovich

042414-toon-luckovich-ed

 

And for another laugh at Georgia’s expense…or should I say this state I live in…Georgia Unveils New Slogan: ‘We Make Florida Look Safe’ : The New Yorker

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ATLANTA (The Borowitz Report)—Flanked by members of his state’s legislature on Wednesday afternoon, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal proudly unveiled Georgia’s new official state slogan, “We Make Florida Look Safe.”

Gov. Deal told reporters that the slogan was “more than just words,” reflecting Georgia’s determination to best its rival Florida for the nation’s most reckless gun law.

“When Florida passed Stand Your Ground, we knew we were playing catch-up,” Gov. Deal said. “Thanks to the fine men and women in the Georgia state legislature, we’re No. 1.”

The last cartoon of the night. And it is from New Zealand: Report on the US by Political Cartoonist Malcolm Evans

147600 600 Report on the US cartoons

 

This is an open thread…