Thursday Reads

Subway Riders, Francis Louis Mora, 1914

Subway Riders, Francis Louis Mora, 1914

 Good Morning!!

 

I suppose I have to cover the war news, although I’d much prefer to ignore it. So here goes.

First, the good news. According to The Washington Post, more than 60 countries have signed on with the “Anti-Islamic State Coalition.”

In his speech to the United Nations on Wednesday morning, President Obama said, “Already, over 40 nations have offered to join this coalition.”

But on Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry said more than 50 nations have agreed to join the coalition. And in a document released by the State Department on Tuesday, 62 nations (including the European Union and the Arab League) are listed as providing support to the U.S.-led coalition.

The strongest allies in the coalition are those providing air support to the United States, while others are offering delivery services and some are providing humanitarian aid.

Click on the link above to read the list of countries providing air support, military equipment, and humanitarian aid. You can follow the latest developments in the fight against ISIL at The Guardian’s live blog.

Now the not-so-good news: a couple of op-eds that suggest the air war against the Islamic State militants is ineffective and/or counterproductive.

Reuters, Air strikes won’t disrupt Islamic State’s real safe haven: social media.

President Barack Obama has pledged to destroy Islamic State and ensure fighters “find no safe haven.” But even as U.S.-led airstrikes are underway in Iraq and Syria, it is clear that bombs alone will not do the job. For Islamic State hides out in the most perfect haven: the World Wide Web.

In June 2014, the militant group that Obama refers to as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, grabbed the world’s attention after it took over much of northern Iraq in roughly four days. Islamic State accomplished this by building a massive, sophisticated virtual network of fighters in addition to those on the ground. Indeed, its expansion online has been as swift as its territorial gains. It is this virtual power grab that will be most difficult to combat.

The Internet has largely sustained the jihadist movement since 9/11. With this powerful tool, jihadists coordinate actions, share information, recruit new members and propagate their ideology.

Until the rise of Islamic State, extremist activity and exchanges online usually took place inside restricted, password-protected jihadist forums. But Islamic State brought online jihadism out of the shadows and into the mainstream, using social media — especially Twitter – to issue rapid updates on its successes to a theoretically unlimited audience.

In the same way that Islamic State’s land grab proved stunning, the group’s actions online have been deeply troubling. Up until a recent crackdown by Twitter, Islamic State’s presence on the site had grown tremendously — from a small one to a well-organized network with dozens of accounts.

Click the link to read all about it at Reuters’ “The Great Debate” page.

Reading the Newspaper. War News, by Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky

Reading the Newspaper. War News, by Nikolay Bogdanov-Belsky

Jamie Dettmer at The Daily Beast argues that Obama’s Arab Backers May Draw the U.S. Deep Into the Mideast Quagmire. Detmer also discusses ISIL’s social media operation.

The backing from Gulf countries for the military intervention against militants of the so-called Islamic State in northern Syria, far from helping the United States in the battle for hearts and minds, may actually be hurting Washington in the region. And the reasons for that suggest just how densely complicated the Mideast quagmire has become.

While the participation of the super-rich Gulf monarchies in a coalition against the group widely known as ISIS or ISIL may help with some moderate Muslims, and may reassure European leaders, among those Islamists inside and outside Syria who are at the core of the opposition to President Bashar al Assad this development is viewed with deep suspicion.

“This has been labeled as a war against ISIS but it is a war against Islamic groups,” Tauqir Sharif, a British Islamist activist based in Idlib, Syria, told British Channel Four news Wednesday.

Already ISIS activists and jihadists sympathizers in the Gulf are leveraging their social media skills to fuel suspicions that the Americans are ready to give Assad a free pass and that the Sunni Muslims of Syria will be sacrificed with the connivance of the Gulf monarchies.

Much more at the Daily Beast link.

Suspect in Alleged Abduction of UVA Student Captured in Texas

I’ve been following the case of missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham since Janicen posted about it about a week ago. The last person to be seen with Graham on surveillance footage was Jesse Matthew, 32, who worked as a nurses’ aid at the university. After police searched his car and apartment, Matthew came to the police station and asked for an attorney. He then drove away at a high speed and apparently disappeared. Police issued a warrant for his arrest for a traffic violation, but could not locate him. After more searches of his apartment, police upgraded the charge to abduction of Graham.

Last night, news broke that Matthew had been located in Galveston, Texas, and he is currently being held by police there. From the Associated Press, via ABC News, Suspect Captured but UVa Student Still Missing.

Jesse Leroy Matthew Jr. was arrested on a beach in the Texas community of Gilchrist by Galveston County Sheriff’s authorities, Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo announced Wednesday night.

The capture came less than a full day after police announced they had probable cause to arrest Matthew on charges of abduction with intent to defile Hannah Graham, an 18-year-old sophomore who went missing on Sept. 13 in Charlottesville.

Longo said an intense search for Graham continues.

“This case is nowhere near over,” he told a news conference late Wednesday. “We have a person in custody but there’s a long road ahead of us and that long road includes finding Hannah Graham.”

Longo said Thursday on NBC’s “Today” show that the search is focusing on rural and wooded areas around Charlottesville.

Matthew was captured at a beach in the sparsely populated community of Gilchrist around 3:30 p.m. after police received a call reporting a suspicious person, the Galveston County Daily News reported. The newspaper quoted Galveston County Sheriff Henry Trochesset as saying a deputy responding to the call found a man who had pitched a tent on the beach with his car parked nearby. Trochesset said a check of the car’s plates revealed it was the vehicle sought in connection to the case. Authorities were trying to get a warrant to search the car, he added.

Reading the Morning Newspaper, Harry Herman Roseland

Reading the Morning Newspaper, Harry Herman Roseland

ABC News has more on how police located Jesse Matthew, Suspect in UVA Case Seen on Video Buying Bug Spray Before Capture.

Detectives investigating the case of a missing University of Virginia student were headed to Texas today after a man suspected in her disappearance was arrested after being caught on surveillance video there buying mosquito repellent a day before his capture….

The surveillance video from a convenience store in Galveston showed Matthew buying Off!, said the store’s owner, Dave Paresh.

“He asked me the question if it’s safe to stay on the beach, so I told him yeah, it’s good there,” Paresh, told ABC News station KTRK in Houston.

I guess there must be lots of mosquitoes on Galveston beaches right now.

Matthew appeared in court this morning, and was denied bail.

For anyone who thinks I shouldn’t write about “missing white girl” stories, violence against women is endemic in this country. It’s a bloodbath out there, with women being beaten (see the NFL scandal), raped, and/or murdered daily in this country; and I think it should be talked about. There truly is a war against women. Admittedly, the use of violence against women for entertainment should be discussed. Think about how many movies and TV shows center around the rape, torture, and murder of women. It’s important that real-life cases be seen as horrible crimes that involve agonizing suffering for victims, their families and friends.

Police Misconduct in the News

Speaking of violence against women, even police get into the act. Thank goodness they are often caught on video these days.

From The Christian Science Monitor, NYPD under fire for video of pregnant woman hitting ground.

New York City police officers are under investigation this week after a bystander used a smartphone to capture a particularly rough arrest of a Brooklyn woman five months pregnant.

The video shows the arrest of Sandra Amezquita, a Colombian immigrant and mother of four, who fell belly first onto the pavement as officers wrestled her to the ground and cuffed her hands behind her back. The incident occurred during an early morning melee Saturday in Sunset Park – a neighborhood sometimes called Brooklyn’s “Little Latin America,” since more than half its residents are Latino.

The video also shows another officer violently shoving an unidentified woman to the pavement as she stands near the arrest. Police simply issued Ms. Amezquita a summons for disorderly conduct, but the other woman, reported to be a friend, was neither arrested or accused of a crime.

Amezquita suffered vaginal bleeding after the incident. She was arrested for trying to interfere with police who were beating her son after they stopped and frisked him.

“It’s appalling,” said Sanford Rubenstein, Amezquita’s attorney. “It’s clear to me when an incident like this occurs you understand why police-community relations are at an all-time low,” he told The Associated Press.

The scuffle occurred after Amezquita and her husband, Ronel Lemos, attempted to intervene as police arrested and allegedly began to beat their 17-year-old son, Jhohan Lemos, who was accused of carrying a knife and resisting arrest around 2:15 a.m. on Saturday.

The elder Mr. Lemos was also arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer during the arrest of his son. Photos show the younger Mr. Lemos with his eye swollen shut and lacerations to his cheek and forehead following his arrest.

Reading the News at the Weavers' Cottage, 1673, Adriaen van Ostade

Reading the News at the Weavers’ Cottage, 1673, Adriaen van Ostade

In California, a 51-year-old woman won a lawsuit against the Highway Patrol after an officer beat her and it was caught on tape. Fox News reports:

A woman who was punched repeatedly by a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer in an incident caught on film earlier this year will receive $1.5M as part of a settlement reached Wednesday.

CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow announced the settlement in an emailed statement and an attorney for 51-year-old Marlene Pinnock confirmed the deal to the Associated Press. The agreement was reached after nine hours of mediation in Los Angeles.

As part of the agreement, the officer who struck Pinnock, Daniel Andrew, will resign.  Andrew, who joined the CHP in 2012 and had been on paid administrative leave, could still be charged criminally in the case. The CHP forwarded the results of its investigation of the incident to Los Angeles County prosecutors last month, saying he could face serious charges but none have been filed yet.

There was another demonstration in Ferguson, Missouri on Tuesday Night after someone burned a memorial to Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on August 9. The Christian Science Monitor asks,  Who burned Michael Brown memorial? Questions spark new Ferguson unrest.

Fresh unrest in Ferguson, Mo., Tuesday night shows that the embers of the month-old unrest surrounding Michael Brown’s death can be kindled by even tiny sparks.

Detectives are investigating how a makeshift memorial to Mr. Brown, an unarmed black teenager killed by white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9., burned early Tuesday morning. The memorial, which is one of two near where Brown died on Canfield Drive, included mementos and small candles that may have caused the fire.

But some in the area suggested that it’s “naïve” to think the fire was accidental, and about 200 protesters rallied to West Florissant Avenue again Tuesday, squaring off with police and looting for the third time a store called Beauty Town. There were media reports of looters yelling “Burn it down!” and of gun shots in the area near Canfield Drive. Police made five arrests.

Meanwhile, the DOJ is investigating the Ferguson Police Department.

Finally, there will apparently be no charges in the shooting of John Crawford III, who was shot by police while holding a toy gun in a Walmart. From Fox News, Grand jury issues no indictments in man’s fatal shooting at Ohio Wal-Mart.

Officers’ actions were justified in the fatal shooting of a man holding an air rifle inside an Ohio Wal-Mart store, a grand jury determined Wednesday —  using surveillance video the slain man’s family said shows the shooting was completely unjustified.

The Greene County grand jury opted not to issue any indictments in the Aug. 5 death of 22-year-old John Crawford III inside a Wal-Mart in Beavercreek, Special Prosecutor Mark Piepmeier said.

A 911 caller reported Crawford was waving what appeared to be a rifle in the store. Police said he was killed after failing to obey commands to put down what turned out to be an air rifle taken from a shelf.

Since the shooting, Crawford’s family had demanded public release of the surveillance footage, a request denied until Wednesday by the state attorney general, who said releasing it earlier could taint the investigation and potential jury pool.

Video presented at a news conference by Piepmeier in Xenia shows Crawford walking the aisles, apparently on his cellphone, and picking up an air rifle that had been left, unboxed, on a shelf.

Crawford carries the air rifle around the store — sometimes over his shoulder, sometimes pointed at the ground — before police arrive and shoot him twice.

Would a customer have called 911 if Crawford hadn’t been a black man?

At the Miliners, by Edgar Degas, 1882

At the Miliners, by Edgar Degas, 1882

In Other News . . .

I’m running out of space, so I’ll end with some links to other stories that may pique your interest.

Cleveland Plain Dealer, FBI report shows mass shootings on the rise since 2000. We already knew this, but now there’s hard evidence.

Beta News.com, Five things to hate about the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. It bends!

And the new Apple IOS is messed up. From ComputerWorld, Apple yanks iOS 8 update after crippling iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Massachusetts GOP candidate for Governor is not endearing himself to women voters. Two op-ed pieces from The Boston Globe:

Charlie Baker needs an intervention on women, by Joan Vennochi

Charlie Baker’s ‘sweetheart’ problem, by Yvonne Abraham

Women, let’s all get out and vote for Martha Coakley. It’s high time Massachusetts had a woman as Governor!

So . . . what else is happening in the world? I’ll see you in the comments! Have a great day!

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33 Comments on “Thursday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Dakinikat told me about this amazing story yesterday.

    Blood Test for Depression?

    European scientists say they have demonstrated that depression can be detected by a blood test.

    While blood tests for mental illnesses have until recently been regarded as impossible, researchers at the MedUni Vienna say the technique may be in place in the not too distant future.

    Researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and pharmacological investigations to monitor and predict levels of serotonin.

    Another study at Northwestern U. showed that blood factors could predict which depressed people would benefit from cognitive-behavioral therapy.

    Blood Test Can Measure Major Depressive Disorder and Indicate Treatment Options

    Northwestern Medicine develops blood test for depression

    • bostonboomer says:

      Here’s a post at HuffPo from a dissenter:

      Why We Don’t Need a Blood Test to Diagnose Depression

      He has some good points. The main reason I can see for a blood test is that it might satisfy insurance companies and get them to pay for treatment.

    • NW Luna says:

      I don’t think this is close to ready for prime time yet, and there were only 32 in the study. Still, it’s very intriguing. I’ll try to get the original journal article in Translational Psychiatryand read it for more specifics. If I get a pdf of the full article, I can email that to you, BB.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Thanks! That would be great.

        The European study sounds the most interesting to me. If the connection between seratonin uptake levels and negative ruminating were actually shown to be powerful, it would be a huge step forward and disprove a lot of the attacks on the effectiveness of anti-depressants.

        I think the biggest problem with many studies of anti-depressant meds is that they are run on people who are only mildly depressed instead of truly clinically depressed.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    From Fast Company:

    The Secret Histories Of 5 Famous Hollywood Costumes

    Hollywood Costume, opening October 2 at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles, puts 150 legendary costumes on display, from Dorothy Gale’s ruby slippers and gingham pinafore to Captain America’s superhero suit, highlighting clothing’s crucial role in cinematic storytelling. The exhibition’s curator, Deborah Nadoolman Landis, spent five years researching and designing the exhibit. She’s also the costume design mastermind behind classic films like Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Animal House, and The Blues Brothers. Also on view are getups by costume designer Judianna Makovsky, whose wizardly work for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone earned her an Academy Award nomination; she also dressed Katniss Everdeen and her fellow fighters in The Hunger Games and the cast of Captain America: Winter Soldier.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    CNN: Ferguson police chief apologizes to Michael Brown’s parents

    Ferguson, Missouri, Police Chief Thomas Jackson apologized Thursday to the parents of Michael Brown, as well as to any peaceful protesters who feel he didn’t do “enough to protect their constitutional right to protest.”

    Specifically, he apologized that it took investigating officers four hours to remove Brown’s body from the street after Officer Darren Wilson fatally shot him last month.
    “I’m truly sorry for the loss of your son. I’m also sorry that it took so long to remove Michael from the street,” he said during his video statement.

    Too little, too late, IMHO.

  4. joanelle says:

    Wow, great post, BB. Just chock full of useful information. Thanks!

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks! I was just coming to post that. Here’s the NPR story:

      Eric Holder To Step Down As Attorney General

      Two sources familiar with the decision tell NPR that Holder, 63, intends to leave the Justice Department as soon as his successor is confirmed, a process that could run through 2014 and even into next year. A former U.S. government official says Holder has been increasingly “adamant” about his desire to leave soon for fear that he otherwise could be locked in to stay for much of the rest of President Obama’s second term.

      Holder already is one of the longest-serving members of the Obama Cabinet and ranks as the fourth-longest tenured AG in history. Hundreds of employees waited in lines, stacked three rows deep, for his return in early February 2009 to the Justice Department, where he previously worked as a young corruption prosecutor and as deputy attorney general — the second in command — during the Clinton administration.

    • Fannie says:

      Yep, you got one religion who are saying if you don’t believe in us we are going to kill you, then we got the other religion saying if you don’t believe in us we are going to kill you. Gather round people.

    • janicen says:

      That could not be better news. Any “dynasty” bullshit about Hillary running will be neutralized by Jeb’s candidacy and the hatchet job he did on Florida schools will provide plenty to run against. Excellent!

  5. janicen says:

    Thanks for following and posting about the Hannah Graham disappearance, bb. The entire state is holding its collective breath waiting for news about her. Last night, hubby and I were staggering out of our kick-ass spin class and we were noticing people staring at TV’s as we went through the gym and they were turning to the people around them saying “They got the guy…” “They got the guy…”. That’s all we kept hearing as we walked out and we knew who they were talking about. It’s a big relief but we still need to find Hannah.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I’m glad you told us about it. It’s a very troubling case. The guy ran, so he really looks guilty. That wasn’t very smart of him.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Video shows white South Carolina trooper shooting unarmed black man who was stopped for a seat belt violation.

    http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-south-carolina-trooper-shooting-20140925-story.html

    • RalphB says:

      At least that trooper isn’t going to get away with it. Looks like he’ll get some jail time.

      • gregoryp says:

        According to the news he is charged with assault and battery. Maybe they’ll upgrade the charges to attempted murder or something. At least this particular coward (and that is what these guys are who are shooting unarmed black kids) was a bad shot. Can’t be a police officer if you are scared to death; otherwise, you wind up shooting innocent people because of your own insecurities. Really sad.

  7. RalphB says:

    This is lovely and highly corrupt …

    Audit: Texas Enterprise Fund gave out $222M with no strings attached

    An independent audit of the Texas Enterprise Fund has found that roughly $222 million doled out from the fund went to companies that submitted no applications or made no promises to create jobs. The fund has been highly touted over the years by Gov. Rick Perry, who has said it was an invaluable tool to bring jobs to Texas and to stem the flow of jobs that might otherwise have left the state.

    • RalphB says:

      With results like this, Perry should be glad he’s not indicted again.

      The report noted that a $40 million award in 2004 to then-Austin based Sematech Inc., a research consortium, had no requirements to create jobs, nor did the company submit an application for its funds. At the time of the award, Perry said the funding would allow Sematech to add 350 workers here, and economic research groups touting the award said it could eventually create up to 4,600 new jobs in the area. By 2007, the company had moved its headquarters to Albany, New York.

  8. RalphB says:

    TBogg is hilarious!

    TBogg Ready to have some Duggar sexytime tips shoved down your throat? Of course you are

    To the best of our knowledge, Arkansas breeding stock Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have successfully had sex a minimum of 19 times, each resulting in a little J-named Duggar — Joshua, Jana, John-David, Jill, Jessa, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedidiah, Jeremiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer, Jordyn-Grace, Josie, and Jinger –the one who was born without a soul.

    And as far as we can tell, nobody in the history of the world has ever said out loud, or using their inside-the-head-crazy-thought voice, “I bet they have hawt hawt hawt bumpin’ ugly all-nighters.” And less than zero people have ever wished that Jim Bob and Michelle would share with the world what goes on in those all-nighters when they’re getting their baby-makin’-for-Jesus groove on.

    Well, that ends today, because ignorance is only bliss when it comes to evolution. Or climate science. Or how magnets work. …