Thursday Reads


Good Morning!!

So much has been happening in the news for the past couple of weeks, it’s hard for me to decide what to write about.

I guess I might as well begin with the latest breaking outrage–the attack on Canada’s Parliament yesterday.

Reuters reports: Canada’s parliament attacked, soldier fatally shot nearby.

A gunman attacked Canada’s parliament on Wednesday, with gunfire erupting near where Prime Minister Stephen Harper was speaking, and a soldier was fatally shot at a nearby war memorial, stunning the Canadian capital.

The gunman in the parliament building was shot dead, and Harper was safely removed in incidents that may have been linked to Islamic militants.

Witness accounts indicated the man who shot dead the soldier guarding the National War Memorial in central Ottawa, went on to attack the parliament building minutes later. Canadian police said however they could not “at this point” confirm it was the same person….

Witnesses said a flurry of shots were fired after a gunman entered the parliament building, pursued by police.

The assault took place very near the room where Harper was meeting with members of his Conservative party, a government minister said.

“PM (Harper) was addressing caucus, then a huge boom, followed by rat-a-tat shots. We all scattered. It was clearly right outside our caucus door,” Treasury Board Minister Tony Clement told Reuters.

The shooter was later identified as “Michael Joseph Hall, 32, a convert to Islam who was using the name Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.”

On Monday, there had been another incident in Quebec in which a man “deliberately drove a car into two soldiers.” One of the victims died and the other was injured. The suspect, Martin Couture-Rouleau, who was shot and killed by police, was among about 90 people who were being monitored by the Canadian government as possible domestic terrorists.

CNN has a background article on the events in Canada, Canadian shooting: What we know — and don’t know — a day later; and here’s another from The Globe and Mail: Attack on Ottowa: What We Know So Far. One more story from Fox News, Pal says Ottawa gunman wanted to go to Middle East, seemed ‘mentally ill’.

4127~Gromit-Reading-PostersWhite House Fence Jumper Intercepted by Guard Dogs

Back in the USA, there was another White House fence jumper last night about 7:30 ET. From The Washington Post, Another man jumps White House fence, is apprehended on lawn by K-9 squad.

A man jumped the White House fence Wednesday night and was taken into custody after being bitten by a guard dog, officials said, just weeks after another fence jumper made it deep into the executive mansion amid a series of security failures.

Secret Service agents and K-9 units quickly apprehended the latest fence jumper, who authorities identified as Dominic Adesanya, 23, of Bel Air, Md. He was taken to a hospital with injuries from a dog bite, and charges against him were pending, authorities said.

Two of the Secret Service dogs — named Hurricane and Jordan — were taken to a veterinarian and treated for minor bruising they suffered during the incident, according to agency spokesman Edwin Donovan. “Both K-9s were cleared for duty by the veterinarian,” Donovan wrote in an e-mail….

Adesanya has been charged with two counts of assault on a police officer — a charge that stems from his attack on the dogs — along with one count of making threats and four counts of resisting and unlawful entry, Donovan added. All charges except for resisting and unlawful threats are felonies; Adesanya was unarmed at the time of his arrest.

It’s a good thing the dogs were there; they seem to be better at apprehending crazy people than Secret Service agents. A couple more links:

ABC News, Alleged White House Fence Jumper Accused of Kicking Dog.

CNN, Latest White House fence jumper has mental problems, father says.

Cockney and the Indiana Serial Killer

Yesterday, NW Luna posted a link from the Seattle Times about a lawsuit against, asks high court to throw out lawsuit.

A lawyer for told the Washington Supreme Court on Tuesday that a lawsuit filed by three young girls who were sold as prostitutes on the website should be thrown out because Backpage didn’t write the ads, so it is not liable.

But the victims’ lawyer said Backpage doesn’t have immunity under the federal Communications Decency Act because the website markets itself as a place to sell “escort services” and provides pimps with instructions on how to write an ad that works, making Backpage a participant in the largest human-trafficking website in the U.S.

The justices plan to rule on the case at a later date….

Suggesting they might be skeptical about Backpage’s argument, the justices asked lawyer Jim Grant about the website’s content.

“Your client wouldn’t say with a straight face that ‘escort service’ doesn’t mean something else most of the time?” Justice Steven Gonzalez asked.

Justice Charles Johnson asked whether this was an “ostrich issue.”

“We escape liability if we stick our head in the sand and not pay any attention — as long as you don’t affirmatively contribute?” Johnson asked. is where recently arrested Indiana serial killer Darren Vann found his last victim. The Washington Post reports:

On the Internet, 43-year-old Darren Deon Vann went by the name “Big Boy Appetite.” On the Chicago-centric landing site for, which has become the king of online sex ads, he apparently thought he could be anonymous.

That all changed Monday when Vann, a convicted sex offender,was charged with murdering a woman. Police said they are investigating his alleged role in the killings of six others whose bodies police say he helped find in abandoned homes dotting Gary, Ind., over the weekend.

It’s unclear how many of Vann’s apparent victims were targeted using Backpage, but it was his final act — finding his victim through classifieds on the site — that led police to his doorstep, authorities said.

Like many sex-crime victims whose services were openly advertised on the Internet (sometimes unwillingly), the dead northwest Indiana women seemed to share the commonality that they “might be less likely to be reported missing,” said Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, according to the Chicago Tribune. Of the seven women found with Vann’s help — some of them long dead — only one, 35-year-old Anith Jones, had been reported missing.

Police said Vann found the most recent woman, 19-year-old Afrika Hardy, on Backpage a week before he allegedly killed her. He had met her, according to police, by responding to one of the hundreds of ads for “body rubs,” “escorts” or “adult jobs” that populate the site.

An update on the police investigation of Vann and his crimes: From AP via ABC News, Police Track Indiana Slaying Suspect’s Movements.

Investigators are using the cellphone records of an Indiana man already charged in the slayings of two women to pinpoint his movements after he told police he liked to check on the status of bodies he’d previously stashed after a fresh kill, authorities said.

Illinois law enforcement officials told The Associated Press Wednesday that Darren Vann, 43, may have traveled to Chicago’s south suburbs between the time 19-year-old Afrikka Hardy’s body was discovered Friday in Hammond, Indiana, and Saturday when Vann was arrested in nearby Gary. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the investigation.

Indiana police say Vann, a convicted sex offender, has confessed to killing Hardy and six women whose bodies were found over the weekend in abandoned houses in Gary. He has been charged with murder in the deaths of Hardy and 35-year-old Anith Jones, whose body was found Saturday in Gary.

Yesterday, at his arraignment, Vann refused to respond to the Judge’s questions.

A judge ordered Vann be held in contempt of court Wednesday when the former Marine refused to even acknowledge his name during an initial court hearing in Hardy’s slaying.

Magistrate Judge Kathleen Sullivan asked Vann if he understood the reason for the hearing but he just stared back silently.

“Mr. Vann, are you choosing not to take part in this hearing?” Sullivan asked the shackled Vann, who was flanked by two Lake County Jail guards at the lockup in Crown Point.

Sullivan urged Vann’s public defender, Matthew Fech, to tell his client “that he stays in jail the rest of his life until this hearing takes place.” Fech urged Vann to speak, but he again offered no response. Sullivan found Vann in contempt and said she would schedule another initial hearing for next week.

Apparently, Vann was upset because there were so many media people in court. Hey, court hearings are open to the public. When you murder a lot of people, reporters show up. I guess Vann doesn’t understand that he’s no longer a private citizen.

To Kill a MockingbirdSome updates on responses to the Ebola situation . . ., US to Track Everyone Coming From Ebola Nations.

All travelers who come into the U.S. from three Ebola-stricken West African nations will now be monitored for three weeks, the latest step by federal officials to keep the disease from spreading into the country.

Starting Monday, anyone traveling from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone will have to report in with health officials daily and take their temperature twice a day.

The measure applies not only to visitors from those countries but also returning American aid workers, federal health employees and journalists. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the new step Wednesday.

CDC Director Tom Frieden said monitoring will provide an extra level of safety. Passengers already get screened and temperature checks before they leave West Africa and again when they arrive in the United States.

‘‘We have to keep our guard up,’’ Frieden told reporters on a conference call.

A few more links on Ebola:

WaPo, Dallas nurse Amber Vinson free of Ebola virus.

Newsweek, Ebola’s Missing Vaccine: Europe Is Being Caught Unprepared by the Deadly Outbreak.

Forbes, America Is Beating Ebola: Every Patient Taken To An Elite U.S. Facility Has Survived.

martha-holmes-actress-buff-cobb-reading-comic-books-at-homeMore interesting news stories, in no particular order, links only

Reuters, NOAA employee charged with stealing U.S. dam information.

Buzzfeed, Conservative Cardinal Who Clashed With Pope Francis Confirms He Has Been Ousted.

Eonline, See Bloody Photos From Bristol Palin’s Drunken Fight in Alaska.

Sweden has been looking for a mysterious submarine for the past week or so: Sweden gets two new sightings, as hunt for undersea intruder goes on.

Reuters, Special Report: Traffickers use abductions, prison ships to feed Asian slave trade.

ABC News on University of North Carolina Chapel Hill academic fraud report, Probe: UNC Academic Fraud Was ‘Shadow Curriculum’ (faculty were involved for decades in giving breaks to athletes).

ABC News, The Hilarious Moment When a Guy Told Obama ‘Don’t Touch My Girlfriend’ (I don’t see it as hilarious; it’s part of a pattern of disrespect toward this President).

Crooks & Liars, Conservative think tank say women should stop being worried about date rape and date rape drugs.

Discovery News, 45,000-Year-Old Man Was Human-Neanderthal Mix (how will the fundies deal with this?).

What else is happening? Please share your thoughts and links in the comment thread.

39 Comments on “Thursday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    WordPress keeps freezing up on me every time I try to add a graphic to this post, which is already a confusing mish-mash. When will I get over this cold?

    Happy Thursday, everyone!

    • bostonboomer says:

      I finally got it to work. Now I have to deal with the curbing outside my house, which slid down over my driveway during last night’s storm.

      Sigh . . .

      • janicen says:

        wow, you must have gotten a ton of rain.

        • bostonboomer says:

          I went out and looked at it, and it appears the curb didn’t slide down. The street buckled in front of my driveway, so it looks like a curb now. I’m not sure what to do. I have asked public works for help with this twice.

          My neighbor up the hill (I live on a steep hill) put in a new driveway several years ago, and the lip of it directs the runoff in between the curb and my front lawn. The erosion got really bad and I called public works a few years ago. They just filled the space with dirt, which quickly washed down the hill. I told them about this, but I guess they can’t make the neighbor fix the problem. I’ll have to report this, but I live on a private road, and I don’t know if the town will fix it. I hope I can get my car out.

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    Another day in North America where some crazy gets ahold of weapons and is able to terrorize a city, kill an innocent victim, and hold a country hostage for several hours. Another societal trend.

    I would like to know just what “message” is being sent by the imans and mullahs who are able to recruit these malcontents – including young women – that assists in “converting” them over to the “cause”. So far they are saying that up to 100 US citizens have found their way to Syria to enlist in ISIS and many of these are not even of this religion to begin with.

    Perhaps Pat Robertson can add some “insight” into this latest phenomenon (she says with tongue in cheek). Must have something to do with gay marriage or women.

    We have more to fear from the homegrown terrorists who are more difficult to keep track of then an army of lunatics in the mideast.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Here’s something positive from the LA Times:

    Justice Department condemns Ferguson leaks as effort to influence opinion

    New details from the inquiry into Michael Brown’s Aug. 9 death — all provided by unidentified sources and which seem to support Officer Darren Wilson’s story of what happened that day — have emerged in St. Louis and national news outlets in recent days.

    The U.S. Department of Justice condemned the leaks Wednesday as “irresponsible and highly troubling” and said, “There seems to be an inappropriate effort to influence public opinion about this case.”

  4. janicen says:

    I experience such profound sadness as I read about the murder victims in Indiana. Bad enough that they are murdered, but the fact that nobody cared enough to report them missing is doubly heartbreaking.

    Louise Penny reported on her FB page that the Canadian soldier who was killed was unarmed. The gun he was carrying was not loaded, it was for ceremonial purposes only.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Their families probably care about them, but many women in the sex trade become estranged from the people who love them. Their families may not have been in touch with them. It is very sad.

  5. bostonboomer says:


    GOPer Ernst Promises To Use Her Gun If Gov’t Decides Rights Aren’t ‘Important’

    During an National Rifle Association event in Iowa in 2012, state Sen. Joni Ernst, now the Republican nominee for Senate in the state, said she carries a 9-millimeter gun around everywhere and believes in the right to use it even if it’s against the government if they disregard her rights.

    “I have a beautiful little Smith & Wesson, 9 millimeter, and it goes with me virtually everywhere,” Ernst said during a speech at the NRA’s Iowa Firearms Coalition Second Amendment Rally in Searsboro, Iowa, as flagged by The Huffington Post on Thursday. “But I do believe in the right to carry, and I believe in the right to defend myself and my family — whether it’s from an intruder, or whether it’s from the government, should they decide that my rights are no longer important.”

    As TPM previously noted, Ernst previously suggested in a survey that she supported legislation that would let local law enforcement arrest federal officials involved in implementing Obamacare.

    • gregoryp says:

      I don’t know how these people equate the Right to Bear Arms with the right to carry a handgun and shoot other people that don’t agree with them. These folks are just so baffling and crazy.

      • Sweet Sue says:

        Those stand your ground and open carry laws are so nuts and scary.
        I’m at Wendy’s minding my own business, just trying to grab some lunch and some guy walks in carrying a semi automatic rifle.
        Do I know if he’s ” exercising his Second Amendment rights” or if he’s there to commit a mass murder?
        How long do I have to figure it out?
        These gun right crazies want us to live in a wild, wild West crossfire with weapons of mass destruction.

        • ANonOMouse says:

          “Do I know if he’s ” exercising his Second Amendment rights” or if he’s there to commit a mass murder? How long do I have to figure it out?”

          And the larger problem remains. WTF would we do if he was there to commit mass murder? It seems to me, as you suggest, that what the 2nd Amendment extremists are trying to do is create an environment (by open carrying into places that are peaceful and safe 99.999% of the time) that makes us so uneasy we feel like we might need to carry a weapon over our shoulder or on our hip too. You nailed it with the “wild, wild West”. There are only 6 States that don’t have some sort of open carry law, which means that 44 States allow open carry. Most of the States that have open carry don’t even require a permit, so who the hell knows what they’re seeing when one of these folks strolls into Wendy’s?

          FYI….I have a neighbor who runs around the neighborhood with a Glock on his hip. I don’t fear him because I know him, but I still wonder why he feels so insecure in his own yard.

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Yesterday, just before the attack on the Canadian Parliament, Glenn Greenwald published a post justifying the Monday Quebec attack. Here’s Bob Cesca’s response:

    Glenn Greenwald’s Reaction to Attack in Quebec: “It’s Not the Slightest Bit Surprising”

    It’s so strange that Greenwald never seems to find fault with Brazil, Germany, or Russia . . .

  7. bostonboomer says:

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Mother Jones:

    The Making of the Warrior Cop: Do Police Really Need Grenade Launchers?

    • gregoryp says:

      I don’t need to read that article to answer that question. No way, no how do they need to be launching grenades in ANY scenario. And here I thought that water cannons were brutal and basically useless. Protect and serve are not synonymous with kill, maim, kill.

  9. dakinikat says:

    Just a sample of rewriting history, economics and everything else so that schools become propaganda outlets for wrong information.

    During the 1950s, Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-Wis.) and the House Un-American Activities Committee engaged in a witch hunt that was designed to expose supposed communists living in the United States, but ended up smearing many innocent citizens. In 1995, the U.S. National Security Agency released intelligence from a 1940s program called the Venona Project that had gathered Soviet military activity. It implicated several Soviet spies. While the Venona Papers do provide evidence against some communist spies, scholars have said they do not provide justification for the hysteria of McCarthyism or the senator’s actions.

    But, the Texas social studies standards take a different view. According to the standards, students should know about “McCarthyism, and the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), the findings of which were confirmed by the Venona Papers.”

    McCarthy as American Hero.

    • janicen says:

      That is unbelievable.

      • bostonboomer says:

        The Venona case doesn’t justify the blacklisting of hundreds (thousands?) of writers, screenwriters, actors, directors, academics, and on and on.

      • dakinikat says:

        I’ve noticed recently that I have to undo propaganda when I have entering freshmen in an economics course. They come in with really really wrong ideas and they have to be reprogrammed to think into terms of the scientific method and correct definitions of things. The first lecture is basically explaining to them there is no such thing as communism or capitalism as they are both theoretical constructs. They don’t seem to understand that we have blended markets here in reality and the degree they represent one extreme or another has nothing to do with philosophical beliefs or opinions. It’s maddeningly time consuming to undo this misinformation. I can only imagine what history teachers and science teachers face. I haven’t taught introductory econ for quite a few years but I imagine it’s getting worse all the time. I still have the issue even when teaching graduates.

        • gregoryp says:

          When I was still teaching college biology we always had a few every semester who decided they wanted to be biologists so they could correct the Theory of Evolution and set us all straight. They never made it far simply because they were ideologues who already had all the answers and weren’t willing to put in the time and effort to actually understand the concepts. I am quite surprised that you have had success reprogramming these kids. My experience is that they just drop out when it starts becoming difficult for them to dovetail their beliefs with reality.

          • Beata says:

            I remember my Hebrew Bible and NT college classes. It was so difficult to get students from fundamentalist Christian backgrounds to even listen to historical-critical Biblical interpretations. Some just walked out during the first week and never came back.

        • janicen says:

          Thank goodness they have a teacher like you. A lot of high school teachings have to be undone and people who don’t have the opportunity to attend a four year institution will never have the knowledge and understanding that you, and Phd’s and professors like you, impart to their students.

  10. bostonboomer says:

    Doctor who recently returned from West Africa has been isolated in a NYC hospital with ebola-like symptoms

  11. NW Luna says:

    Just got home, picked up the mail, and there’s a great flyer for state Initiative 594, which would expand background checks for gun buyers.

    “In states with background checks, 38% fewer women are shot to death by a domestic abuser.”

    On the back is a picture of a lovely young women, and a smaller inset of a small girl with an adult woman who looks very much like her. The young woman’s mother was shot dead by her husband.