Friday Nite Lite: Fat one tonight!

hamuketsu

hamuketsu

Good Evening

Hey ho! We got us a thick ass post tonight.

So many cartoons….let’s just get to them, in no particular order. Oh, except that the Maya Angelou tributes will be at the end.

The Harm of Limited Intervention in Syria – Political Cartoon by Dan Nott, The Gabbler – 05/30/2014

Cartoon by Dan Nott - The Harm of Limited Intervention in Syria

Mike Luckovich: NRAuto – Mike Luckovich – Truthdig

Putin’s weapon by Political Cartoonist Olle Johansson

149098 600 Putins weapon cartoons

 

US Troops Extend Stay in Afghanistan by Political Cartoonist R.J. Matson

149096 600 US Troops Extend Stay in Afghanistan cartoons

 

Dick Cheney put the W in Weakness for War by J.D. Crowe

149092 600 Dick Cheney put the W in Weakness for War cartoons

 

CNN Coverage by Rick McKee

149103 600 CNN Coverage cartoons

 

Voting by Political Cartoonist Marian Kamensky

149054 600 Voting cartoons

School’s Out by Political Cartoonist Joe Heller

149045 600 Schools Out cartoons

 

Too Many Captains by Political Cartoonist Jeff Koterba

149078 600 Too Many Captains cartoons

Cloud by Political Cartoonist Jen Sorensen

149062 600 Cloud cartoons

 

Death Row Show by Political Cartoonist Martin Kozlowski

149076 600 Death Row Show cartoons

 

Spot the Differences by Political Cartoonist Tim Eagan

149079 600 Spot the Differences cartoons

 

Clay Bennett: Bill – Clay Bennett – Truthdig

 

Taking a chance on net neutrality – Political Cartoon by Don Landgren Jr., TelegramTowns – 05/30/2014

Cartoon by Don Landgren Jr. - Taking a chance on net neutrality

Snowden homecoming demands by Political Cartoonist Dave Granlund

149031 600 Snowden homecoming demands cartoons

 

Sexist Manifesto – Political Cartoon by Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – 05/30/2014

 

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Sexist Manifesto

 

Our Religion of The Founding Fathers by Tina Dupuy

The Founding Fathers are all things to all Americans.

“The American people having healthier life that [‘s what] our founders wanted for them,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said last month about Obamacare. Other self-described patriots sneered, “George Washington wanted Obamacare, Pelosi says.” And “No, Nancy, the Founding Fathers Would Not Have Supported Obamacare.” Senators Rand Paul and Chris Coons penned a bipartisan op/ed for Politico Magazine titled: “The Founding Fathers Would Have Protected Your Smartphone.”

87776 600 Our Religion of The Founding Fathers cartoons

Pat Bagley / Salt Lake Tribune

Last year a series of polls came out asking Americans if the Founding Fathers would be happy with the country today. A majority of Americans told pollsters these Framers would be disappointed.

Even as we continue to debate what religion meant to the people who christened the country—they now themselves have become a religion. And like all stern paternal deities, our Liberty Lords are frowning down on us because they know we can do better.

No one ever brings up Jesus’ name when the 2000-year-old prophet would disagree with them. As in: “Jesus drank wine with hookers and outcasts, but as a Christian, I find that reprehensible.” Jesus only gets used to corroborate personal conviction.

As an appeal to what we imagine to be our better selves we ask, “What would Jesus do?” And as Americans we’re expected to ponder, “What would the Founding Father’s think?”

 

Read the rest at the link.

Boning Up Again by Political Cartoonist Randy Jones

149074 600 Boning Up Again cartoons

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Gustavo Rodriguez, El Nuevo Herald – 05/30/2014

Cartoon by Gustavo Rodriguez -

And now the tributes to Maya Angelou.

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Gustavo Rodriguez, El Nuevo Herald – 05/29/2014

Cartoon by Gustavo Rodriguez -

 

Maya Angelou tribute by Dave Granlund

149099 600 Maya Angelou tribute cartoons

Maya Angelou tribute by Political Cartoonist J.D. Crowe

149013 600 Maya Angelou tribute cartoons

 

A Rainbow in our Cloud by Political Cartoonist Mark Streeter

149015 600 A Rainbow in our Cloud cartoons

Maya Angelou by Political Cartoonist John Darkow

149021 600 Maya Angelou cartoons

 

Maya Angelou by Political Cartoonist Taylor Jones

149051 600 Maya Angelou cartoons

 

Have a good evening…this is an open thread.


Friday Reads: A little bit of This and a little bit of That

Good Morning!

images (42)Here’s some updates to some stories we’ve been following.

French Economist Thomas Piketty has responded to the FT attack on his data published in Capital in the 21st Century. Basically, he considers it all very nit picky and doesn’t think it changes his overall thesis and results.

In response to a request from The New York Times to further address the criticisms, which The Financial Times published on Friday, Mr. Piketty, a professor at the Paris School of Economics, wrote that his data were correct, and his conclusions stood: Wealth inequality in Europe and the United States was high in the years before World War I, fell for much of the 20th century, and has been rising sharply again in the past three decades.

He argued that many of the things that The Financial Times identified as sloppy or arbitrary were in fact considered choices, which he explained in footnotes. Reasonable people might disagree with some of his choices of how to handle the data, he says. But even where there’s room for debate, any reasonable changes to his methodology would be small and not alter the broad conclusions, he suggested.

The part of the newspaper’s critique that throws the most doubt on his overall conclusions is its argument that wealth inequality in Britain has risen much less than Mr. Piketty contends. For that, he has sharp words. He says the newspaper’s analysis rests on apples-to-oranges comparisons of past data from tax returns mixed with current data from surveys, which makes the conclusions they reach deeply flawed, and contrary to what a wide range of other studies have found.

“My problem with the FT criticisms is twofold,” he wrote, in a 4,400-word response on his website. “The FT suggests that I made mistakes and errors in my computations, which is simply wrong, as I show below. The corrections proposed by The FT to my series (and with which I disagree) are for the most part relatively minor, and do not affect the long run evolutions and my overall analysis, contrarily to what The FT suggests.”

And those arguments by the newspaper that are not so minor and do undermine his findings, he writes, “are based upon methodological choices that are quite debatable (to say the least).”

 Green-eggs-and-ham-dr-seuss-screenshot-4Whacko Republican “Conservative Scholar” Ken Blackwell thinks that marriage equality is the cause of the recent mass shootings in Santa Barbara.  Yea, I can’t figure it out either.  Ignore the war on women and basic misogyny it’s kicked up and blame “Teh GAY!!!!”

Family Research Council senior fellow Ken Blackwell yesterday linked the Isla Vista mass killings to marriage equality laws, which he claimed are destroying the culture. Speaking with FRC president Tony Perkins on “Washington Watch,” Blackwell blamed the shooting on “the crumbling of the moral foundation of the country” and “the attack on natural marriage and the family.”

“When these fundamental institutions are attacked and destroyed and weakened and abandoned, you get what we are now seeing,” Blackwell said, arguing that people who are “blaming the Second Amendment” are “avoiding talking about what is at the root cause of the problem.”

Blackwell has previously described marriage equality advocates as “opponents of natural marriage.”

You remember Joe the Plumber?  It wasn’t sufficient he told a grieving father that father’s dead son meant less that Joe’s right to carry whatever history_grinchweapon of death he chose, he topped it with a threat to all politicians.

Samuel Wurzelbacher — better known as Joe the Plumber — likes guns. And he wants everyone to know why.

“Guns are mostly for hunting down politicians who would actively seek to take your freedoms and liberty away from you,” Wurzelbacher wrote on Thursday in a blog post on his website. “Google ‘Hitler, Mao, Kim Jung Il, Castro, Stalin’ just for starters.”

The post was a kind of follow-up to the “open letter” Wurzelbacher published Tuesdayaddressing the parents of the victims of last week’s mass shooting near the University of California, Santa Barbara. Following the shooting, Richard Martinez, whose son Chris was among the victims, blamed “craven, irresponsible politicians” and the National Rifle Association for his son’s death. Wurzelbacher responded by writing that “[a]s harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.”

In his latest post, Wurzelbacher said his pro-gun arguments also had something to do with Memorial Day.

“I wrote my ‘open letter’ on the eve of Memorial day – a day we honor the fallen heroes that defend and protect our rights,” he wrote. “These men and women that served and paid the ultimate price for our way of life were someone’s dad, mom, brother, sister, or daughter. They made that sacrifice, which guarantees our freedoms because they believe in America. So I’m asking the question: Why are the lives of these brave Americans less important than the victims of Elliot Rodger?”

Wurzelbacher again warned that “left-leaning” politicians and “Marxists” would use Friday’s shooting to “further chip away our rights.

The Oil Industry is doing a job on Louisiana again. I’m afraid there’s no hope for the important ecosystem here.1452703_f260

BP Plc on Wednesday asked Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to allow the company to avoid making payments to businesses demanding compensation for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill while litigation continues.

The company acted after the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted an injunction earlier in the day that had prevented payments being made. Last week, the court had decided not to revisit a decision rejecting BP’s bid to block payments to businesses that could not trace their economic losses to the disaster.

Scalia, who has responsibility for emergency applications arising from the 5th Circuit, can either act on BP’s request himself or refer the matter to the nine-member court as a whole. There is no specific deadline by which the court must act.

In the new court filing, BP’s lawyers say that if the payments are not blocked, “countless awards totaling potentially hundreds of millions of dollars will be irreparably scattered to claimants that suffered no injury traceable to BP’s conduct.”

The appeals court in March voted 2-1 to authorize payments on so-called business economic loss claims, and said the injunction preventing payments should be lifted. BP already had said it would seek Supreme Court review of the ruling.

BP is trying to limit payments over the April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and rupture of BP’s Macondo oil well. The disaster killed 11

That’s not all. Our legislature just voted to nullify our popular vote of changes to the composition of Levee Boards because Jindal wants it and the Oil Industry wants it.  Again, it’s over the ability of the state to sue these companies for the damage they’ve done and will do down here.

The Louisiana House voted with the oil and gas industry Thursday, supporting a bill that seeks to void a lawsuit filed by a New Orleans area levee board against 97 oil and gas companies.

With the 59-39 House vote, the proposal is one step from passage. The Senate-backed billmust return to the Senate for consideration of changes that solidify the bill’s intent to kill the lawsuit. Gov. Bobby Jindal supports the measure.

The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East filed a lawsuit against 97 oil and gas companies, alleging their drilling activities damaged Louisiana’s coast and vulnerable wetlands.

Lawsuit supporters say the industry hasn’t sufficiently been held accountable for the damage done by dredging for canals and pipelines. Critics call it an attack on a valuable state industry, a boon for trial lawyers and a lawsuit that the levee board had no authority to file.

The bill by Sen. Bret Allain, R-Franklin, would define which governmental entities can bring legal claims about management of Louisiana’s coastal zones to entities designated in the Coastal Zone Management Act. Levee boards aren’t on the list.

That would offer a legal argument to have the levee board’s lawsuit thrown out. The bill specifies that its provisions “shall be applicable to all claims existing or actions pending.”

Rep. Joel Robideaux, R-Lafayette, who handled the proposal in the House, said it protects industry from “rogue agencies” that file lawsuits without standing to do so.

“They shouldn’t have even gone down this path,” Robideaux said of the levee board.

Rep. Eddie Lambert, R-Gonzales, said a court should decide whether the board had the legal authority to file a lawsuit. Robideaux replied that he wanted to give the courts more information.

“This isn’t about clarifying existing law,” said Rep. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite, who voted against the measure. “The courts know how to read a law and apply it.”

Edwards said if the lawsuit was frivolous and improperly filed, the oil and gas industry wouldn’t be fighting so hard to pass Allain’s bill. He and other opponents of the bill said it sought to immunize the industry from paying for damages they caused.

images (43)You can read General Russell Honore’s op ed on this in the NYT here.  He was on Maddow last night too.  He’s been a tireless advocate of the enviornment down here since he found out how so much damage done by hurricanes recently is due to what the oil and gas industry has done to us.  That’s just the side issues compared to what they’ve done directly.

“A final effort to restrict the authority’s power to sue these industries is expected to come Thursday (May 29) before the State House of Representatives, where it has the support of the Republican governor, Bobby Jindal, and legislative allies of oil and gas. The bill has already passed the Senate. The House needs to defeat the bill,” he wrote.

“That won’t assure us that the oil and gas industries will fix the damage they’ve caused to our coast over decades. But it will give the citizens of Louisiana their day in court to stand up and say, ‘We’ve had enough.’ “

The president may be poised to do something about carbon emissions from coal burning plants without congress.  It’s about time we take global warming seriously and the damage done to our planet by the extraction and burning of all these fossil fuels.

President Obama will use his executive authority to cut carbon emissions from the nation’s coal-fired power plants by up to 20 percent, according to people familiar with his plans, which will spur the creation of a state cap-and-trade program forcing industry to pay for the carbon pollution it creates.

Mr. Obama will unveil his plans in a new regulation, written by the Environmental Protection Agency, at the White House on Monday. It would be the strongest action ever taken by an American president to tackle climate change and could become one of the defining elements of Mr. Obama’s legacy.

Cutting carbon emissions by 20 percent — a substantial amount — would be the most important step in the administration’s pledged goal to reduce pollution over the next six years and could eventually shut down hundreds of coal-fired power plants across the country. The regulation would have far more impact on the environment than the Keystone pipeline, which many administration officials consider a political sideshow, and is certain to be met with opposition from Republicans who say that Mr. Obama will be using his executive authority as a back door to force through an inflammatory cap-and-trade policy he could not get through Congress.

People familiar with the rule say that it will set a national limit on carbon pollution from coal plants, but that it will allow each state to come up with its own plan to cut emissions based on a menu of options that include adding wind and solar power, energy-efficiency technology and creating or joining state cap-and-trade programs. Cap-and-trade programs are effectively carbon taxes that place a limit on carbon pollution and create markets for buying and selling government-issued pollution permits.

Coal plants are the nation’s largest source of the greenhouse gases that scientists say are the chief cause of global warming.

So that’s it for me today!  What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Thursday Reads

maya-angelou

Good Morning!

The world lost the great activist, poet, author, and educator Maya Angelou yesterday. She was an outstanding person who led a full and productive life.

Maya Angelou, whose landmark book of 1969, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” — a lyrical, unsparing account of her childhood in the Jim Crow South — was among the first autobiographies by a 20th-century black woman to reach a wide general readership, died on Wednesday at her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was 86.

Her death was confirmed by her longtime literary agent, Helen Brann. The cause was not immediately known, but Ms. Brann said Ms. Angelou had been frail for some time and had heart problems.

In a statement, President Obama said, “Today, Michelle and I join millions around the world in remembering one of the brightest lights of our time — a brilliant writer, a fierce friend and a truly phenomenal woman,” adding, “She inspired my own mother to name my sister Maya.”

Though her memoirs, which eventually filled six volumes, garnered more critical praise than her poetry did, Ms. Angelou (pronounced AHN-zhe-low) very likely received her widest exposure on a chilly January day in 1993, when she delivered her inaugural poem, “On the Pulse of Morning,” at the swearing-in of Bill Clinton, the nation’s 42nd president. He, like Ms. Angelou, had grown up in Arkansas.

I had to fortune and pleasure to meet Dr. Angelou when I was barely pregnant with oldest daughter at a conference.  I was lucky to hear her speak anddownload (11) to be able to spend some time speaking with her.  I actually have that meeting on a VHS tape that I will have to transfer to DVD one day.  It also has me with Kate Millet and Bette Friedan and is one of my most prized possessions.  I spoke to her about my teaching experience in an alternative high school where they basically dumped teenage pregnant girls and uncontrollable boys.  I used to give them copies of her book “I know why the Caged Bird Sings”. She was amazing.  She was serene in a strong way.  I have to say she had a deep and profound effect on me then and every time I had the pleasure to read something she wrote.

Growing up in St. Louis, Mo., and Stamps, Ark., she was Marguerite Johnson. It was her brother who first called her Maya, and the name stuck. Later she added the Angelou, a version of her first husband’s name.

Angelou left a troubled childhood and the segregated world of Arkansas behind and began a career as a dancer and singer. She toured Europe in the1950s with a production of Porgy and Bess, studied dance with Martha Graham and performed with Alvin Ailey on television. In 1957 she recorded an album called “Calypso Lady.”

“I was known as Miss Calypso, and when I’d forget the lyric, I would tell the audience, ‘I seem to have forgotten the lyric. Now I will dance.’ And I would move around a bit,” she recalled with a laugh during a 2008 interview with NPR.

“She really believed that life was a banquet,” says Patrik Henry Bass, an editor at Essence Magazine. When he read Angelou’s memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, he saw parallels in his own life in a small town in North Carolina. He says everyone in the African-American community looked up to her; she was a celebrity but she was one of them. He remembers seeing her on television and hearing her speak.

“When we think of her, we often think about her books, of course, and her poems,” he says. “But in the African-American community, certainly, we heard so much of her work recited, so I think about her voice. You would hear that voice, and that voice would capture a humanity, and that voice would calm you in so many ways through some of the most significant challenges.”

Film director John Singleton grew up in a very different part of the country. But he remembers the effect Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise” had on him as a kid. It begins:

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

“I come from South Central Los Angeles,” he says. It’s “a place where we learn to puff up our chests to make ourselves bigger than we are because we have so many forces knocking us down — including some of our own. And so that poem … it pumps me up, you know. … It makes me feel better about myself, or at least made me feel better about myself when I was young.”

Singleton used Angelou’s poems in his 1993 film Poetic Justice. Angelou also had a small part in the movie. Singleton says he thinks of Angelou as a griot — a traditional African storyteller.

master-class-maya-angelou-3-600x411

Jezebel has a compendium of Angelou appearances, poems, and accomplishments that is wonderful.  Take  a look if you get a chance!
Here are some other stories you may want to follow.
The Texas Tea Party is alive and well.I certainly hope that this means that November elections make the Democrats there look appealing.

Longtime Texas GOP observers have noticed the sea change, too. They say the grassroots now controls the GOP.

“Things certainly have changed. The conservative grassroots activists have come to dominate the party establishment, offsetting or pushing aside some of the more traditional business/donor community,” said Texas Republican strategist Ray Sullivan, a former top aide to both Gov. Rick Perry and former President George W. Bush.

Sullivan said grassroots groups are much more organized and unified than in the past. They can also depend on help from national groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund and the Club for Growth.

“The conservative factions largely within Tea Party brands have become very well organized and have a significant amount of influence in Republican primary elections,” he added.

Hopefully, Mona and Ralph will keep us updated on this.
Two-thirds of Americans in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll disapprove of the Republican strategist raising questions about Clinton’s age and health in advance of her potential presidential run. The lopsided negative reaction to Rove’s commentary — just 26 percent approve of his topic of criticism — includes majorities of every age group as well as Democrats and independents. Republicans split evenly on the issue, with 45 percent approving and 46 percent disapproving of Rove broaching the issue.

One of the most durable myths in recent history is that the religious right, the coalition of conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists, emerged as a political movement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion. The tale goes something like this: Evangelicals, who had been politically quiescent for decades, were so morally outraged by Roe that they resolved to organize in order to overturn it.

This myth of origins is oft repeated by the movement’s leaders. In his 2005 book, Jerry Falwell, the firebrand fundamentalist preacher, recounts his distress upon reading about the ruling in the Jan. 23, 1973, edition of the Lynchburg News: “I sat there staring at the Roe v. Wadestory,” Falwell writes, “growing more and more fearful of the consequences of the Supreme Court’s act and wondering why so few voices had been raised against it.” Evangelicals, he decided, needed to organize.

Some of these anti-Roe crusaders even went so far as to call themselves “new abolitionists,” invoking their antebellum predecessors who had fought to eradicate slavery.

But the abortion myth quickly collapses under historical scrutiny. In fact, it wasn’t until 1979—a full six years after Roe—that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion not for moral reasons, but as a rallying-cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools. So much for the new abolitionism.

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

Wednesday Reads: But we are Sicilians, and we are not cold-blooded.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGood Morning

Oh, as I write this I am watching the 1955 film, The Rose Tattoo, starring Anna Magnani.

It is fantastic…they do not play it very often on TCM, I’d forgotten how good it was.

You can see the entire film at the link below.

 

What dialogue there is in this play written by Tennessee Williams.

Take these couple of lines:

MP-marisapavan-rosetattoo-kneeling

The Rose Tattoo - Tennessee Williams - Google Books 2014-05-28 03-30-13

tumblr_ljznitdFUA1qi97xgo1_500Yes…that is so true. There is so many other lines that are spot on in the play/film. Check out this review from the New York Times published December 13, 1955.  Movie Review – The Rose Tattoo – Anna Magnani Triumphs in ‘Rose Tattoo’; Film Version of Play by Williams Opens Italian Star and Burt Lancaster Superb

THAT fine Italian actress Anna Magnani, whom American audiences know best from such fine Italian films as “Open City” and “The Miracle,” has a triumphant field day in her first Hollywood and English-speaking film. It is “The Rose Tatoo,” from the play of Tennessee Williams. It opened at the Astor last night.

14065963_galThey say that Mr. Williams wrote the play with Miss Magnani in mind. Her performance would indicate it, for she fits the role—or it fits her—like skin. As the robust Italian-born widow of a truck driver in an American Gulf Coast town, where she baffles her friends with her endless mourning and her Spartan watchfulness over her teen-age daughter who is ripe for love, she splays on the screen a warm, full-bodied, tragi-comic character. And she is grandly assisted by Burt Lancaster in the second lead—and the second half—of the film.

13646707_galNote well that Mr. Lancaster does not appear until the tale is nigh half told. This has particular significance in the pattern of the film. For the first half of it is a somber and sometimes even morbid account of a woman’s idolization of a dead husband who, everyone but she seems to know was unfaithful to her. And because Miss Magnani is so ardent and intense in conveying the bleakness of this grief, this whole segment of the picture has a curious oppressiveness, which is barely lightened by the squawling and brawling that she either excites or engineers.

The review continues,

3700872387_16f24d5fd4Let us be candid about it: there is a great deal more happening inside the widow’s psychological frame than either she understands or Mr. Williams has bothered to analyze in the play or film. It is clear that she has a strong sex complex which stems from a lot of possible things, including her deep religious training. This is not discussed and barely hinted on the screen. Thus one must make one’s own decision about the character’s complete validity and the logic of her eventual conversion to a natural life and the acceptance of her daughter’s love affair.

rose1But, logical or not, Miss Magnani makes the change from dismal grief to booming joy such a spectrum of emotional alterations and personality eccentricities that—well, who cares! She overwhelms all objectivity with the rush of her subjective force. From the moment she and her new acquaintance get together for a good old-fashioned weep (for no particular reason except that they are both emotional), and then go on to obvious courting in a clumsy, explosive, guarded way. Miss Magnani sweeps most everything before her. And what she misses Mr. Lancaster picks up.

the-rose-tattooThe exquisiteness of these two as sheer performers—just for instance, the authority with which she claps her hand to her ample bosom or he snags a runaway goat—would dominate the picture, if the rest of the cast were not so good and Daniel Mann as the director did not hold them under tingling, taut control. Marisa Pavan as the sensitive, nubile daughter; Ben Cooper as the decent sailor whom she craves; Virginia Grey as a tawdry ex-mistress and Sandro Giglio as a gentle priest head a group of supporting players that gives this picture—much of which was shot in Key West—a quality of utter authenticity. Producer Hal Wallis has afforded it the best.

It almost makes me want to get a rose tattoo on my chest. 😉

So today the post will feature pictures from the film…enjoy them.

First up, this link that I posted in the comments the other day. It is a “most excellent” op/ed written by Lauren Jones on the ongoing rape investigation of a Calhoun High School student. GUEST COLUMN: On the R-word

I’ve heard my share of information regarding the alleged perpetrators in this case, and I don’t care to repeat it here. But I will say this: No means no, and wrong is wrong. I don’t think any sexual act that ended up with a young lady going to the hospital was consensual.

MVST1010,-Rose-Tattoo,-MothAnd I don’t care whether the alleged perpetrator or perpetrators are star athletes, straight A students, or even carry little old ladies’ grocery bags for them; they deserve justice. They deserve a fair trial. And if the allegations are true, every single person involved needs counseling and support. In order for any kind of abuser to change, he or she must recognize that within themselves is someone who did something wrong and needs help.

I can’t imagine the gravity of what this young lady will have to go through in the years to come. But as a survivor of sexual assault, I know a little about the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I know what it is like to be at the mall or grocery store and see the back of someone’s head and think “Oh God, it’s him,” and suffer a panic attack, even if the person I saw is a complete stranger. I know the anxiety, the humiliation, the fear. The self-blaming reinforced by the blaming of others. It takes years of counseling, and you never get over it. Like the loss of a loved one, you learn to manage it.

burt-lancaster-rose-tattooI’m angry. I’m sad. I know I’m not alone in that. This young woman did not ask for what happened to her. And but for the choices of a handful of young men, this lady could have gone home that night, breathless from dancing, slightly buzzed and excited about her upcoming graduation. She could have taken a few aspirin and downed a glass of water to cut the hangover in two. Instead, she got pain medicine from an IV that night.

As a community we have to stand behind her and support her, and not sweep this under the rug. RAINN reports that 60 percent of sexual assaults are never reported and 97 percent of rapists never spend a day in jail. So I challenge this community to raise their voices, and educate themselves and their children about sexual violence.

This has to stop.

What a challenge…

It needed to be front paged, so if you missed it, please go and take a look at it now.

Funny that Lauren Jones ends her article very much like another article I will quote from below. But more on that connection later. Just put that little tidbit in the back of your mind.

**Update**

Okay, there is new Calhoun High School Post Prom Rape Case news!

Gilmer County to hold press conference to discuss suspects and charges concerning alleged rape after Calhoun High School prom – : Police/Fire

The Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office will host a press conference today at 2 p.m. to talk about the suspects in the alleged rape that occurred at a cabin in Elijay after the Calhoun High School Prom. The sheriff’s office will discuss the charges that will be received, according to Gilmer County Captain Copeland.

**Update 2**

Finally, you have no idea how relieved I am:

Three Calhoun High School students charged in alleged after-prom rape | Times Free Press

Three Calhoun High School students will turn themselves in today for their roles in an alleged rape that occurred at a post-prom party two weeks ago.

The Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office has issued warrants for Fields Chapman, Andrew Haynes and Avery Johnson, charging the three men with aggravated sexual battery and underage consumption.

Lawyers for the three men did not return calls seeking comment this morning.

Recent Southeast Whitfield High graduate not charged in rape investigation » Local News »

A recent Southeast Whitfield High School graduate is not among three men charged with the sexual assault of a woman at an alcohol-fueled post-prom party in Ellijay earlier this month.

Fields Chapman, 609 Shenandoah Drive, Andrew Haynes, 263 Thornwood Drive, and Damon Avery Johnson, 321 Doubletree Drive, all 18 and 2014 graduates of Calhoun High School, were each charged by the Gilmer County’s Sheriff’s Office with one count of aggravated sexual assault and one count of possession of alcohol by a minor.

Rhett Harper, the former Southeast Whitfield student who was at the party, was not charged.

Sam Sanders, Harper’s Dalton-based attorney, told The Daily Citizen last week that Harper was only a witness in the case and was no longer a suspect.

The Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office incident report from May 11 lists 16 Calhoun High students — including the three charged — and Harper. Chapman, Haynes, Johnson and Harper were listed as suspects in the rape investigation. Sanders said Harper was at the party, but “did not participate in any sexual assault whatsoever.”

My guess is that Harper gave some up some information in return for not being charged. But that is pure speculation on my part, as nothing has been confirmed from the sheriff office…

News conference later today. Will update you at that time.

004_anna_magnani_theredlistYes, I’ve become obsessed with this case. And like a moth to the flame, the comments at various fora threads or local Calhoun websites suck me in…one thing is certain, these remarks are perfect examples of that hashtag that has made the twitterverse buzz lately. From Will Bunch at Philly.com:

#YesAllWomen: Feminism has its ‘Birmingham moment’

One of the most positive and uplifting characteristics of humans is our ability to take an unspeakable tragedy and not wallow in the despair that it creates, but channel that anger and sadness into something positive that benefits all of us, going forward.

6d6af30e5c5651050493dcb0b667e14eFor example, it happened in America in 1963. For years, the moral arc of the struggle for civil rights across the Deep South was bending toward justice…in slow motion. Anger over the Emmett Till case, the resilience of Dr. Martin Luther King and the Montgomery bus boycott, the courage of the Freedom Riders and marchers who faced fire hoses in Birmingham did put government-sanctioned racism on the front burner, and there were some impressive wins. But America — especially on the federal level — was still falling woefully short in ending segregation and other forms of sanctioned discrimination.

On September 15, 1963, in Birmingham, Ala., four monsters associated with the racist Ku Klux Klan placed a dynamite bomb against the 16th Street Baptist Church — a staging area for civil rights protests. Four adolescent girls — Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley — were murdered in the bomb blast. The shock of losing four innocent young girls to adult hatred caused many Americans to see the civil rights struggle in a new light, to truly focus on the broader injustice perpetrated against citizens because of the color of their skin. Within two years, Congress moved swiftly to pass both the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, ending an ugly chapter in our history.

vlcsnap-9685884I thought about Birmingham this weekend as I heard the grim, sickening news out of Southern California, about how a young man filled with misogynistic rage and inhuman hatred went on a murder spree that claimed six lives…and also as I watched the remarkable reaction that unfolded over the next four days. The news that the killer had posted anti-women rants on YouTube and in a lengthy manifesto, that he’d sworn to slaughter women for spurning his sexual advances and that he subscribed to something called the Men’s Rights Movement caused thousands of women to come out in the open and declare to anyone who will listen that enough is enough.

Oh, but then we here at the blog have had enough of this shit years ago, eh? Attytood goes on to say,

…the sad thing is that the misogyny and sexual objectification of women that motivated him was just extreme manifestation of something far too common. The uncomfortable truth is that we live In a nation where one out of five women are raped or sexually assaulted, millions more are beaten or roughed up by a man, and ALL WOMEN experience various forms of sexual harassment, frequently to the point of fearing for their own safety.

13ebe074dc55f624d0b1f6a2b8d032fdYes, all women.

On Twitter, the hashtag #YesAllWomen was born as a response to some who were eager to point that the killer (I try to not to glorify mass murderers here by mentioning their names, if possible) does not represent all men (in Twitterese, #NotAllMen.) Of course, not all men are killers, not all men are chauvinist pigs…but that’s not the point. All women in America experience misogyny, harassment, sexual objectification, or forms of abuse that are far worse.

Yes, all women. Say what you will about “hashtag activism” — I understand the quibbles — but you can’t start a national conversation without the first 140 characters. The truths that flew across cyberspace this weekend were both revealing and profoundly depressing. Women openly sharing their breakups in a public coffee shop because of fears over violence, the times they were threatened with physical assault, the non-stop harassment from men who were drunk, or worse.

Did you know that over a million #yesALLwomen tags had been posted in just two days? But here is the disgusting part of this news, the women who started this twitter hashtag activism had to shut down their twitter accounts because of harassment.

6335439_f520Read more about this at the link.

All I can say is those “men’s rights” dickwads post hateful kind of remarks on those Calhoun commentaries. (I can’t really say “dickwads” because there are women who do that shit too. Is cunt to harsh a word? Yes, I am that mad. And if you are offended by that, I direct you to  the title of this post and remind you that I am a Sicilian.)

It pisses me off.  What the hell is wrong with these people? Young adults committed a crime and they must be charged and arrested and tried. They should not be allowed to get away with this horrible act. It is both disgusting and disturbing to see the many comments blaming the victim, making pathetic excuses for the ones who raped her, and passing the whole incident off as something that got out of control.

So of the folks talk about the fact that Calhoun high school has a “wealthy” student body. That the football team is an elite group. That may be but after thinking about all the crap that has happened lately, especially when you see the comments from the sheriffs office…I don’t think the word “elite” is the correct one to use.  I say the word should be Entitled. It is an attitude we see all around us, these “suspects” felt entitled to abuse their victim in the vicious manner they did. Just as they feel entitled to get away with it. The same way the sheriff felt entitled to cast the evening the rape happened as only a party with alcohol that got a “little out of hand.”  Seriously, he said that remember?

anna-magnani-in-the-rose-001If you have time, or the stomach for it, read this shit: These commentators feel entitled to post derogatory things about the victim, because she is a woman and they have misogynistic issues from the get go…but also it goes along the line that women are subservient to men, period.

When you take a look at the situation in California, with the mass shooting at Isla Vista just this weekend and Google the pick up artist culture, it is disturbing as hell.(PAU Hate, PAU lingo) These men are f*cked up. Their views are exactly like some of the ones expressed in those threads.

The community needs to support the victim, they need to press the authorities for arrests. Instead many of these assholes are spending their time spreading the hate against women that Attytood ended his piece with:

 

Friday’s senselessness in Santa Barbara took things to a a new level. It was — sadly, yet of necessity — a “Birmingham moment” for female empowerment in America. What’s less clear, though, is what comes next, of how to translate anger and emotion into social change. The strong chance of electing a female president in 2016 is a positive — but remember that electing a black president in 2008 seems to have done more to provoke racism than to end it.

There are certainly areas — equal pay, sick leave — where government can play a greater role, but the deeper issues cut not just across the media — yes, the media — business and universities, but also the human spirit. Ending hate against women will require real work from all of us.

#YesAllPeople.

Much like the challenge that Lauren puts up in her op/ed isn’t it?

You know, when up against the kind of hate like this…that human spirit gets trampled down powerfully low.  I am willing to do the work but dammit, sometimes all I feel is defeated and that there is no chance in hell anything will change for the better.

rose-tatouee-1955-01-gNow the rest of the links in dump fashion because I went on a rant:

 

Separatists remain resolute in Ukraine after elections and bombardments | Al Jazeera America

 

ISLA VISTA, Calif.: Isla Vista returning to normal as painful questions linger | MCT National News | McClatchy DC

 

Did the SEC just drop a big hint about pay-to-play prosecutions? | PandoDaily

 

Burt-Lancaster-tattooThe EPA, The Fate of the Planet, and the Neoconfederate Judiciary – Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money

 

Take a look at the picture on this link: Indigenous people, Brazilia police clash | Al Jazeera America

 

CANNED HEAT | Gin and Tacos

 

Christian woman on Sudanese death row gives birth | Al Jazeera America

 

Robert De Niro Opens Up About His Gay Father – Hollywood ReporterBurt-Lancaster-Anna-Magnani-fun-Rose-Tattoo

 

The World’s Most Content (and Miserable) Countries – 24/7 Wall St.

 

And that is all I got. It is 5:27 in the morning…I’ve got to get the soup started, making Ropa Veja today.

It is a Spanish dish that takes hours and hours. The soup alone will not be done until 3 or 4 pm…Anyway, y’all have a good day.

Leave some links in the comments, and tell us how you are feeling today.

Ciao!

 


Tuesday Reads: Same as it ever was

Good Morning!

Temple and DinahDid you enjoy your long weekend?  The cats and I have been getting Temple acclimated to City life and the rule of Miles.  Temple is an extremely bright and friendly dog!   She’s been charming the neighborhood too. It’s fun to see all these recent transplants see the basic Louisiana dog for the first time.  The Catahoula leopard dog really has the most beautiful coat you’ve ever seen and it comes in a variety of colors and patterns.  I was surprised to learn that it was the first true North America Dog Breed.  Temple is a Silver Leopard Catahoula cur with a mix of something that’s not clear. She’s a little on the small side which is fine by me.

Speaking of Louisiana Curs, the administration of La Tech decided to “honor” Phil “marry a teenage girl so she’ll pluck your ducks for ya” Robertson in a really sneaky last minute ploy to avoid bad publicity and responses.  I can only assume they’re trying to get his money.  Still, the local GLBT student body association and some professors walked out in protest.

 On Friday afternoon, a group of Louisiana Tech students involved in Prism, the organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students and their allies on campus, were alerted to the fact that the university would honor Phil Robertson from the popular reality TV show Duck Dynasty at the commencement ceremony held on Saturday.

Students only found out about Robertson’s role in commencement from faculty members, who also found out about the award the day before the ceremony.

Only a few months ago, Robertson came under fire for anti-LGBT comments in his interview with GQ Magazine. As soon as they found out about the recognition of the reality TV star, Prism members and other students at LA Tech began organizing a social media action to let the university know they did not support the university’s actions.

Students, faculty, and people across the state posted Facebook statuses and tweeted at Louisiana Tech using the hashtag #NoHonorInBigotry to send a message to the university.

Hannah Ellsworth, President of Prism, said, “We wanted to make a statement displaying our disapproval of the honoring, and for several reasons, including the minimal time we were given to react, a social media campaign was the best way to do this. Faculty, staff, and students didn’t have any time to give input since no one new until the day before.”

The social media campaign accompanied a walk-out by several faculty members during the commencement ceremony.

Prism is a coalition member of Equality Louisiana (EQLA), a statewide coalition of over 30 LGBT and allied organizations. The student organization had the support of EQLA and other advocates.

I am surprised at the number of people who think that a university should just allow anybody to stand up and represent them as an “honored” alum no temple on bedmatter what they say because “free speech”.  I’m sure if Ol’ Phil had done a program knocking jeebus and white people those same people would be hollering about the hate and religious persecution they feel.

In Bobby Jindal’s Louisiana, an Indy car Track is worth more than a child with Down’s Syndrome.  Jindal shifted 4.5 million dollars in state funds from helping persons with disabilities to fund an Indy-style Race Track.  

Several budget changes made by the Senate Finance Committee Sunday has state senators scratching their heads, but one — the shifting of $4.5 million from helping persons with developmental disabilities to pay for development of an Indy-style race track — has raised concerns for a number of lawmakers.

Even some senators on the committee said Monday they believe that action could be overturned when House Bill 1 is debated by the full Senate, even though Gov. Bobby Jindal promised the developer the state would supply the money.

How on earth could that happen?

The Louisiana Legislature is poised to take $4 million of your tax dollars away from supporting disabled Louisianians in order to give it to a corporate indycar event at a private racetrack owned by a multi-millionaire. That is not spin:

We’re taking money away from the disabled community and giving it to motor sports?” Claitor asked during the committee meeting.

The answer to your question, Sen. Claitor, is yes,” said Sen. Jack Donahue, R-Mandeville, the committee’s chairman, in response.

Outrageous

After the meeting, Donahue said he was optimistic that more money could be found for services for people with disabilities as the budget advances through the legislative process. Money had to be put toward IndyCar, he said, because Jindal had promised $4.5 million in upgrades to NOLA Motorsports Parkin Avondale as part of the deal to lure the event to New Orleans.

NOLA Motorsports is owned by Laney Chouest, a multi-millionaire co-owner of Edison Chouest Offshore (ECO). He seems like a fine enough chap, one devoted to building a world class racetrack. Now, of course, he’s done it with his own fortune. Good for him. He even opened it to the public, so normal folks could go racing or go-karting around his prize.

But the idea that we need to pay for $4m in “track improvements” to “lure” a billion-dollar national racing league to New Orleans for a race almost no one cars about, INSTEAD of patching our meager budget for the disabled, is absolutely sick. Just because Jindal “promised” the billionaire owners he’d scoop some tax dollars up for them. Absolutely sick.

temple in bedIt’s really hard to know what to say to that isn’t it?

But, the more you think things will change for the better, the more it because clear that there are quite a few people that will not get with the program.  I may complain about Louisiana, but the one thing that I can say is it is never as bad here as it is in Mississippi.

The family of Eric Rivers, 20, filed a complaint against Madison County Justice Court Judge Bill Weisenberger, who is white, accusing him of striking Rivers at the market on May 8 in Canton, Miss.

“This is 2014, not 1960, where someone could slap a young man and call out, ‘Run, n—–, run,'” former Canton Mayor William Truly, now president of the Canton branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, told the Clarion-Ledger.

An apparent witness, Tammy Westbrook, told the newspaper Rivers was offering to help flea market vendors unload their goods when Weisenberger slapped him twice, then yelled “run, n—-, run” as he fled. Westbrook and her sister, a vendor at the flea market, recalled that they thought Weisenberger was a law enforcement officer because he was wearing a security guard’s uniform.

Weisenberger did not respond to the Clarion-Ledger’s requests for comment.

The local NAACP head told the newspaper that he plans to file further complaints against Weisenberger and expects a grand jury will eventually hear the case.

“No citizen should have to face justice before a judge who holds such a high degree of racial animus and hatred,” Truly said Friday in a news conference, as quoted by the Clarion-Ledger.

So, even though we are inching towards marriage equality and our first woman president, we still have to deal with the violence that comes with those temple 2men that think women should be available to them sexually at all times.

A California man allegedly fired his gun at three women Saturday morning who refused to have sex with him and his friends.

The women, estimated to be between about 18 and 19 years old, had gone to the home of three men late Friday night in the northern California town of Stockton, according to Stockton Police. After the men asked to have sex and the women refused, the men kicked the girls out, Stockton Police Department Public Information Officer Joseph Silva told ThinkProgress. When the women started to leave, multiple shots were fired, but none of the women were injured, Silva said. The women fled the area to a nearby Buffalo Wild Wings, where they called police.

All three girls corroborated the story, according to Silva. The security guard in the building also heard the shots and called the police independently. Silva said eight shell casings were found at the crime scene, but the men cannot be found. He does not know whether the gun was possessed legally.

The suspected gunman is Keith Binder, 21. But police have not yet arrested or charged him, saying the case is still under investigation and Binder has not been located. Two other men were at the scene, but police only know their nicknames: “Little D” and “Little Eggy.”

The incident occurred around 1:45 a.m. Saturday morning — just hours after Elliot Rodger took took seven lives in Santa Barbara, Calfornia, over what he described as retribution for women’s lack of sexual interest in him.

We’ve talked a lot bout rape culture and misogyny.  We read these stories that are so shocking!   I wish society spent as much time teaching our straight young men not to rape women as us mothers of girls spend teaching our daughters to avoid being the victims of rape, sexual harassment, and  battery. Men in our society and nearly all societies get the idea that women are available to them at all times in any way they desire and they are in no way at fault for anything that happens.  As a matter of fact, even our media makes up excuses for them.

Just as past school shootings in America, the media has reacted by isolating the event as a monstrous and heinous act with no precedent. Rather than seeing Elliot Rodger as a product of society, the media has depicted him as a bloodthirsty madman, a mere glitch in the system. And yet the facts show a very different story.

What happened in Santa Barbara is nothing less than a hate crime, and yet mainstream news outlets are distilling the issue to “mental illness” and “premeditated mass murder.” Although we should be shocked by Elliot Rodger’s actions, we should not be surprised. In fact, most school shootings share chillingly similar characteristics. It’s time we stop treating these incidents as anomalies and start recognizing the deep societal issues at play.

The thing that makes me the most mad is the folks that claim that when the GLBT community or women or minorities stand up to say this is not just “boys being boys” or religious people whose rights to believe whatever should be respected or “just” another mentally ill person they are being intolerant.  It trivializes and mischaracterizes every one’s concerns and further enables these outrageous examples of entitlement and privilege. Besides, why tolerate bigotry and bullies?

So, some times it just seems that it is and will be the same as it ever was.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Memorial Day Reads

first memorial day

Good Morning!!

A few days ago, I read an article about the “true meaning of Memorial Day.” I can’t find it now, but it was in the Chicago Tribune. The author wrote that Memorial Day began as “Decoration Day,” when Southern women decorated the graves of Confederate soldiers. I Googled some more and found other writers making the same claim. Here’s a piece by a Civil War historian from Purdue University Caroline Janney:

Many may not know the holiday weekend that marks the start of summer by paying respects to veterans and remembering loved ones began when white Southern women took a leadership role in honoring their Civil War veterans, says a Purdue University historian.

“After the Civil War, southern men would have appeared treasonous if they had organized memorials to honor their fallen, so women – perceived as apolitical – instead organized tributes and events that set the tone for how the country celebrates Memorial Day today,” says Caroline E. Janney, professor of historyand president-elect of the Society of Civil War Historians. “In 1866, the men were figuratively hiding behind the skirts of these women who worked together as part of Ladies’ Memorial Associations.”

The women organized dozens of memorials during the spring of 1866 and the following years, Janney says. Historically these memorials were scheduled throughout the spring as a sign of renewal and rebirth, and each community chose its own date to celebrate.

The date usually reflected a key date in the Civil War, such as the May 10 death of Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, or a battle close to the association’s individual area. Memorial Day became more unified when larger associations, such as the United Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy, began organizing memorials in the 1890s. And memorial days also were observed in the North, but they were organized by Union veterans beginning in 1868, two years after the ex-Confederate women had established the practice.

I was surprised, because I had read years ago that the practice was begun by former slaves who wanted to honor Union soldiers. I found the above photo on Facebook–with the suggestion that it was taken on that first Decoration Day May 1, 1865; but I can’t be absolutely certain that’s accurate. Note that that dates is a year earlier than the one Janney writes about. It turns out that a number of places and people claim to have started the practice of decorating Union and Confederate Graves. Southerners designated “Confederate Memorial Days.” Kingston, Georgia claims to have held the first one.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yale historian David Blight wrote about the disputed origins of Memorial Day in the New York Times in 2011.

Officially, in the North, Memorial Day emerged in 1868 when the Grand Army of the Republic, the Union veterans’ organization, called on communities to conduct grave-decorating ceremonies. On May 30, funereal events attracted thousands of people at hundreds of cemeteries in countless towns, cities and mere crossroads. By the 1870s, one could not live in an American town, North or South, and be unaware of the spring ritual.

But the practice of decorating graves — which gave rise to an alternative name, Decoration Day — didn’t start with the 1868 events, nor was it an exclusively Northern practice. In 1866 the Ladies’ Memorial Association of Columbus, Ga., chose April 26, the anniversary of Gen. Joseph Johnston’s final surrender to Gen. William T. Sherman, to commemorate fallen Confederate soldiers. Later, both May 10, the anniversary of Gen. Stonewall Jackson’s death, and June 3, the birthday of Jefferson Davis, were designated Confederate Memorial Day in different states.

Soon the yearly practice became partisan:

In the South, Memorial Day was a means of confronting the Confederacy’s defeat but without repudiating its cause. Some Southern orators stressed Christian notions of noble sacrifice. Others, however, used the ritual for Confederate vindication and renewed assertions of white supremacy. Blacks had a place in this Confederate narrative, but only as time-warped loyal slaves who were supposed to remain frozen in the past.

The Lost Cause tradition thrived in Confederate Memorial Day rhetoric; the Southern dead were honored as the true “patriots,” defenders of their homeland, sovereign rights, a natural racial order and a “cause” that had been overwhelmed by “numbers and resources” but never defeated on battlefields.

Yankee Memorial Day orations often righteously claimed the high ground of blood sacrifice to save the Union and destroy slavery. It was not uncommon for a speaker to honor the fallen of both sides, but still lay the war guilt on the “rebel dead.”

But Blight discovered in a historical archive at Harvard University that the earliest celebration of “Decoration Day” was organized by freed slaves in Charleston, South Carolina in 1865.

During the final year of the war, the Confederates had converted the city’s Washington Race Course and Jockey Club into an outdoor prison. Union captives were kept in horrible conditions in the interior of the track; at least 257 died of disease and were hastily buried in a mass grave behind the grandstand.

After the Confederate evacuation of Charleston black workmen went to the site, reburied the Union dead properly, and built a high fence around the cemetery. They whitewashed the fence and built an archway over an entrance on which they inscribed the words, “Martyrs of the Race Course.” ….

The procession was led by 3,000 black schoolchildren carrying armloads of roses and singing the Union marching song “John Brown’s Body.” Several hundred black women followed with baskets of flowers, wreaths and crosses. Then came black men marching in cadence, followed by contingents of Union infantrymen. Within the cemetery enclosure a black children’s choir sang “We’ll Rally Around the Flag,” the “Star-Spangled Banner” and spirituals before a series of black ministers read from the Bible.

After the dedication the crowd dispersed into the infield and did what many of us do on Memorial Day: enjoyed picnics, listened to speeches and watched soldiers drill. Among the full brigade of Union infantrymen participating were the famous 54th Massachusetts and the 34th and 104th United States Colored Troops, who performed a special double-columned march around the gravesite.

Nearly 150 years later, it’s apparently very difficult for some Americans to credit African Americans with the first Memorial Day (or with much of anything else for that matter). As Ta-Nehisi Coates showed in The Atlantic recently, it’s apparently difficult for Americans to remember much of anything about African American history–before or after the Civil War. Why would anyone feel comfortable mourning the “lost cause” of a society built on the enslavement of other human beings? I can understand mourning the dead Confederate soldiers, but shouldn’t there be recognition that they died for something shameful? We can look around us today and still see the aftereffects of the slavery and the war that ended it. Will we ever get over it? One more quote from Blight’s article:

The war was over, and Memorial Day had been founded by African-Americans in a ritual of remembrance and consecration. The war, they had boldly announced, had been about the triumph of their emancipation over a slaveholders’ republic. They were themselves the true patriots.

Homeless01

On Memorial Day in 2014, we honor the dead of all wars, but we treat our living war veteran with disrespect. From CNN, ‘Thanks for your service’ not enough, by Sebastian Junger, Jim McDermott and Karl Marlantes.

According to current Veterans Administration estimates, 22 American veterans take their lives every single day.

High rates of unemployment, homelessness, alcoholism, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress are decimating our community of veterans. With the wars of the past 13 years in Iraq and Afghanistan coming to a close, we are seeing too many casualties among American soldiers in this transition to peace.

In light of this crisis, we need a new kind of Memorial Day.

Many veterans are desperate to talk about their experiences with fellow Americans who accept shared responsibility for what is done in war, particularly the killing. Yet these conversations rarely happen today. How can a veteran truly come home unless we acknowledge that our nation’s wars are something we all chose and paid for?

Returning Vietnam veterans were treated shamefully. That, thankfully, is behind America. We’ve moved from outright hostility to awkward, if well-meant, expressions of “thank you for your service” and the creation of a number of new veterans services organizations.

However, there remains an abiding sense of national indifference, or worse, a sense that somehow veterans are victims. This must change.

A great deal needs to change for the United States to be “one nation indivisible.”

news3

In the News

 

Isla Vista Mass Murder:

The horrible murders in Santa Barbara are still at the top of the Google News page today. A few links:

NBC News: What Do We Know About Elliot Rodger’s Rampage?

Little Green Footballs: Echoes of Montreal – Isla Vista shows us 25 years doesn’t change much.

NY Daily News: Social media strikes back with #YesAllWomen after deadly Isla Vista rampage.

Slate: The Pick-Up Artist Community’s Predictable, Horrible Response to a Mass Murder

CBS Los Angeles: Rodger’s Family Friend says Killer’s Parents Tried to Get Son Mental Help.

Village Voice: Rightbloggers: Santa Barbara Killer Elliot Rodger’s Sexist Rants Have Nothing To Do With Sexism (Or Guns).

Fox News: Sheriffs never saw menacing videos before California rampage.

NY Daily News: Santa Barbara killer’s parents raced to stop him after receiving disturbing emails

 

news

Other News:

The Washington Post: White House mistakenly identifies CIA chief in Afghanistan.

The New York Times: Pro-European Businessman Claims Victory in Ukraine Presidential Vote.

Reuters: French far right in ‘earthquake’ win as Europe votes.

Raw Story: It’s all in your head: Scientist now believes his pioneering work on gluten allergy was wrong.

Raw Story: SC pastor accused of turning Bible college into forced labor camp for foreign students.

The Hollywood Reporter: Walt Disney Family Feud: Inside His Grandkids’ Weird, Sad Battle Over a $400 Million Fortune.

Politico: The ‘Wary of Hillary’ Democrats

What else is happening? Please post your links in the comment thread, and enjoy the holiday!