Mary Landrieu has stood up for Louisiana time and again during her 18 years in the U.S. Senate. She fought for our fair share of oil and gas lease revenues. She made sure our communities received vital disaster aid after Hurricane Katrina and the levee breaches, after Hurricane Rita, after Gustav, after Isaac. She understood the need to keep flood insurance premiums affordable long before others in Congress came to that realization.
Her opponent is trying to distract voters from Sen. Landrieu’s accomplishments in the Senate. He shouldn’t be allowed to get away with that.
The most important question in the Dec. 6 runoff election is who would best represent the interests of Louisiana residents in Washington. The answer is clear: Mary Landrieu.
Her Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act, which passed in 2006, achieved something Louisiana leaders had tried for decades to do: Require the federal government to give our state and other energy-producing states a significant share of revenues from offshore drilling. By 2017, the act will provide an estimated $500 million each year for restoring Louisiana’s coast.
Those revenues will benefit Louisianians for generations to come and help families hold onto the land they love.
Sen. Landrieu also helped ensure that New Orleans and other communities across South Louisiana got the federal resources essential to rebuilding homes, businesses and levees post-Katrina. That wasn’t an easy task, with influential members of Congress questioning whether we deserved help.
She played a key role in writing and passing the Restore Act, which will ensure that the vast majority of BP’s fines for the 2010 oil spill will go to coastal restoration — with Louisiana in line for the largest share. Her leadership and ability to work with Republican colleagues in other Gulf states was essential to the act’s approval.
She also wrote provisions into law allowing FEMA to forgive community disaster loans, which eliminated $391 million in post-Katrina debt for parish governments. In the past year, $54.8 million in loans for Jefferson Parish, $67.8 million for St. Tammany Parish schools and $24.4 million for the St. Tammany sheriff and parish government were wiped off the books thanks to her efforts.
Sen. Landrieu also successfully fought last year to reverse exorbitant flood insurance rates that would have been devastating for homeowners and businesses. Not only did she help get legislation through the Senate, she brought the stories of distressed homeowners to Congress with a collection of anecdotes and photos called MyHomeMyStory.
These are major achievements that speak to her leadership skills, her effectiveness and her commitment to her state.
Don’t know about y’all but I am sick of the shitty news this past week. It is too depressing, and not in the usual way… This latest bout of “justice” has brought the feeling of hopelessness to the television screens in the form of anger, violence and disparity.
I want to say that this outrage over Ferguson is going to be the one event that will cause people to realize the real issues that this nation needs to address, that “Black Lives Matter” and that “Justice” should be blind to the color of skin…and that the “rule of law” applies to everyone, no matter “who” they are…
Remember the shitstorm after Newtown…and folks were saying, “Oh, this is the turning point…this is the massacre that will bring about change in the gun control laws.” I felt then the horrors we saw at Sandy Hook Elementary were not going to make a difference. And now, with another white man…a cop, getting away with murder of an unarmed black teen…we are seeing headlines in the news, protest on the streets, and I know that nothing is going to change.
I see the racism first hand every day. There are so many people who believe with all their “christian” souls that whites are the supreme race. Nothing will change this deeply held hatred and intolerance. Add to that the fact that it was a “law enforcement” officer who shot down and killed the (you can put the racist word of choice here) …hell, to these “good” people of the land, the police/sheriff/deputy are worshiped like heroes. (As long as they are white.)
These are the same people who put the GOP majority into Congress. They are the ones fucking with women’s rights. (You can read a summary about that here: Zandar Versus The Stupid: The War On Women, Post 2014 Midterms Edition) And they also are the voters who can sleep at night after giving power to some asshole that cuts food stamps for hungry families.(Ugh, more on that here: Less food stamps = more hunger. Duh! | Grist) What’s more, they actually agree with cuts to food stamps…cause in their moronic minds, who are the ones that receive and “abuse” food stamps? I will give you a hint, their skin is of the brown or black variety.
There is a post over at Salon that may explain the science behind the Republican mind: Why are these clowns winning? Secrets of the right-wing brain – Salon.com
But personally, I think it is because Republicans are racist. Most of the country is still very, very racist. Racist people are hateful people, and hateful people do not let up on anything….meaning they will vote for whoever is giving them the opportunity to distribute that hate on a wider audience. And nothing…I mean nothing, is going to change the way these people feel.
Now for today’s links in dump fashion…
“The discovery concludes a half century of efforts to find, identify, and characterize a natural specimen of this important mineral,” wrote the researchers, from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, CalTech and the University of Chicago, in the study.
…named after Percy Bridgman, the “father of high-pressure experiments,” who won the 1946 Nobel Prize in Physics.
It will not allow me to quote from the article, so be sure to go and check it out.
In cop news, including Darren Wilson:
Hey, at least there was two cops on board this flight to restrain this nutcase: Masturbating Passenger Forces Emergency Landing on Virgin America Flight
I mean, we do need a police force. Just needs to be one that know what they are doing…before they do it.
But then, you all know that Here’s Proof Pigs Actually Do Fly (Almost) – ABC News
(And that article ain’t talking about cops!)
Okay, moving on…some op/eds”
This one is strange, maybe I am just off this morning: A deafening liberal silence on Ferguson | Al Jazeera America
it is by Chris Lehmann. Look at the part about Hillary at the end.
Now a few op/eds on other topics:
Bill Cosby, UVA and Rape – NYTimes.com This one is by Nicholas Kristof, so just a heads up.
Let’s stick with some articles on the subject of women:
Hullabaloo–Damn, she’s good…about the Notorious R.B.G. (Ruth Bader Ginsburg.)
Hullabaloo–When geniuses had to be nuns
The Astonishing Rise of Angela Merkel– The New Yorker
A series of links about the First Daughters:
And a bit of history for ya:
Sand Creek – Lawyers, Guns & Money This link points out a book called Violence Over the Land: Indians and Empires in the Early American West.”
And this link via HNN is an article written by the man who wrote the book…Remember the Sand Creek Massacre – NYTimes.com
What were you thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday? This Is What America Was Most Thankful for This Year, State by State
Click picture to see larger image.
Funny how those folks from the south are thankful for god’s word…salvation and forgiveness. Those are the same racist intolerant hateful people I was talking about up top.
Well, it took me longer than I thought to write this post out…have a “blessed day” you muddafuddas!
Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t find much new and or interesting to write about this morning. Sure, some things are happening out there; but I can’t seem to find anything to get excited about.
An Egyptian court has decided that former president Hosni Mubarak was wrongly convicted of murder back in 2011. You can read about it in the NPR summary of several reports on the case.
British prime minister David Cameron gave an anti-immigration speech and said that if he’s reelected, he’ll stop immigrants from getting any government benefits until they’ve been in the UK for four years. Read all about it at the NYT.
Ferguson protesters closed down a mall yesterday.
(Reuters) – Demonstrators shut down a shopping mall near Ferguson, Missouri, at the start of the holiday shopping season on Friday as protests over the killing of an unarmed black teen by a white police officer turned against some retailers around the country.
After a mostly quiet Thanksgiving Day, protesters were out in force again on Friday to decry Monday’s decision by a grand jury not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb.
At locations around the country, protesters said they were encouraging a boycott of Black Friday to highlight the purchasing power of black Americans and to draw links between economic inequality and racial inequality.
Read more at Reuters.
Two men in Austin and Chicago went nuts and shot buildings and people.
A suspected gunman is dead after a rampage through downtown Austin on Friday morning that left more than 100 rounds in the U.S. Federal Courthouse, the Consulate General of Mexico, a BB&T Bank and the Austin Police Department headquarters.
Though the investigation, which is led by FBI Special Agent Dan Powers and Austin Police Department, is still ongoing, APD Police Chief Art Acevedo gave a press conference to elaborate on the timeline of events. Beginning at 2:22 am, emergency dispatchers started receiving reports of a gunman in the vicinity of the Federal Courthouse near Fourth and Nueces streets. These were corroborated by patrol officers who also reported hearing gunfire in the area.
At 2:24 am, APD received more reports of gunfire from a possible automatic weapon. This was followed five minutes later at 2:29 am with a report of shots fired at the Mexican Consulate on Baylor Street near West Fifth Street. A later investigation found what Acevedo described as a “small, green cylinder” had been set on fire near the consulate. It was extinguished and did minimal damage to the building.
At 2:32 am, Austin Police Department headquarters came under fire. “An Austin police sergeant who was in process of loading horses from mounted patrol saw the gunman and heard gunfire,” said Acevedo. At 2:33 am, the sergeant, a 15-year veteran of the force, returned gunfire and the suspect was killed. Acevedo said it was unclear if the bullet that killed the suspect was from the officer’s gun or if it was self-inflicted.
The shooter has been identified as 49-year-old Larry Steven McQuilliams. Read more at WFAA Channel 8.
WGN TV Chicago: Nordstrom closed Saturday after fatal shooting on Mag Mile.
A Nordstrom employee is in critical condition after being shot in what Chicago police are calling a domestic related-shooting inside Nordstrom at 55 E. Grand Avenue.
The shooting happened at about 8:20 p.m. Friday night in the North Bridge Shops in the busy shopping area along the Mag Mile.
Police say the man was targeting his “girlfriend or ex-girlfriend,” who was a seasonal employee at the department store.
Oddly, the story says the man had tried to get a restraining order against the woman for stalking. The shooter, who killed himself, and the woman he shot don’t seem to have been identified yet.
There will probably be many more such shootings, because the FBI is reporting record-breaking Black Friday gun sales.
Then there are the maddening stories that make me want to run out into the street screaming and pulling my hair out.
As has been long predicted, Ray Rice’s indefinite suspension for knocking out his then-girlfriend, now wife, Janay, has been overturned by a judge, and he is now free to sign with any NFL team. From The Boston Globe: Ray Rice didn’t mislead NFL, ruling states.
Barbara Jones, a former US District judge who was appointed as an independent arbitrator for the case, overturned Rice’s indefinite suspension from the NFL and reinstated him immediately, calling the punishment “an abuse of discretion” in her written ruling.
Rice was first suspended in July for punching his then-fiancee (now wife) in an Atlantic City elevator in a February incident, rendering her unconscious. When the celebrity news website TMZ obtained and released a video of the incident from inside the elevator on Sept. 8, the Ravens cut Rice, and Goodell suspended him indefinitely.
The NFL justified the harsher penalty by claiming Rice was “ambiguous” in his description of the episode when he met with Goodell and NFL officials on June 16, and that the TMZ video showed “a starkly different sequence of events.”
The judge found that Goodell lied (no surprise) and that he had known all along exactly what happened. He just didn’t care about what Rice had done until the public outrage began.
So now NFL teams will have to decide whether they want to sign Rice and deal with more public outrage. Or maybe there won’t be any public outrage, who knows? And the problem of “domestic violence” in the NFL will continue as before.
Rudy Giuliani has been “on a tear since Sunday.” From TPM: Rudy Giuliani Uses Ferguson To Take His Race Baiting To Whole New Level.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani has been on a tear since Sunday, turning himself into a B storyline as he offers what you might call unvarnished takes on race and crime in America amid the tension in Ferguson, Mo. It started with a “Meet The Press” panel, when he told a black panelist that white police officers wouldn’t be in black communities if “you weren’t killing each other.”
And he hasn’t let up while a grand jury has decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in Michael Brown’s shooting and heated protests have followed….
First, Giuliani said Sunday that black-on-black crime was “the reason for the heavy police presence in the black community.
“White police officers won’t be there if you weren’t killing each other 70 percent of the time,” he said to a fellow “Meet the Press” guest, Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson, who is black.
He didn’t back down from that position either, rather diving even fuller into the ills of black-on-black crime the next day.
“The danger to a black child in America is not a white police officer. That’s going to happen less than one percent of the time,” Giuliani said Monday on Fox News. “The danger to a black child — if it was my child — the danger is another black.”
He then referenced the reduction in crime during his time as mayor.
“I used to look at our crime reduction, and the reason we reduced homicide by 65 percent is because we reduced it in the black community,” he said. “Because there is virtually no homicide in the white community.”
Then after the news of no indictment for Wilson and resulting protests that turned violent, Giuliani went on CNN on Tuesday to talk about “racial arsonists” and the need for the black community to be “trained.”
The whole story is a must-read. IMO, Giuliani should be locked in a rubber room for the good of polite society.
Then there are the usual pieces about right wing nuts doing crazy things, like this one from Raw Story: Science-hating homeschool mom sued for defamation in ongoing library porn flap. I’m feeling so stressed out that I’m having difficulty making sense of this one.
Megan Fox, a blogger for PJ Media and YouTube commentator, has aggressively campaigned for more than a year to change library policies in Orland Park after she and an associate claimed they saw men viewing porn at the public library.
She and Kevin DuJan — who promotes conspiracy theories about President Barack Obama’s birthplace, drug use, andsexual history — have filed hundreds of Freedom of Information Act requests on library policies and employees.
They have also filed at least 34 complaints with the Illinois attorney general alleging transparency law violations by library staffers.
Fox and DuJan have written numerous blog and social media posts and posted videos of themselves hounding library employees for information.
This harassment has cost the library an arm and a leg, and is driving library employees crazy, so they have gone to court.
Bridget Bittman….the library marketing and public relations coordinator, has sued Fox, DuJan, two other associates — Dan Kleinman and Adam Andrzejewski – and the activist organization For the Good of Illinois last month in U.S. District Court.
She claims the plaintiffs – none of whom live in Orland Park – have made numerous and intentionally defamatory statementsabout her as part of their efforts to limit access to pornography at the public library.
More at the link.
So . . . there are some things happening, but nothing that seems like real news to me. What about you? Are you following any stories, or are you just recovering from Thanksgiving? The good news is that the first of the three end-of-year holidays is over and there are only two more to go before we can return to ordinary life and welcome a Republican Senate in January.
Have a nice weekend, Sky Dancers! I think I’m going to spend it reading a good book.
I was chatting with Mona today…and we both were laughing about how the iPhone auto spell correct will change various curse words like “fuck” into “duck.” (Hell, when I replied to Mona…”damn” it changed it to “dame”…what a shitty pain in the ass.)
Anyway. When I told her how I had to add words like, fuck…fucking, shitass, etc. to the shortcut function on the iPhone keyboard…Mona LOL and said…
Lalochezia for the motherfucking win!
Immediately I knew I had the title for tonight’s post.
That got me thinking about Samuel L Jackson…and his unique use of the word motherfucking. Check this out:
Since joining Twitter… in October 2011, Samuel L. Jackson has used the word “Motherf*cker” 186 times. And you’re probably all like, “So what, that’s no big deal!” The man’s got a thing for it, and I would too if I wielded it like a platinum pussy magnet. But read carefully, then go back and re-read because there’s no way to comprehend what I’m about to tell you. Out of all those 186 “motherf*cker”s, 151 of them are completely unique spellings.
Nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs (no, not motherf*ckingly) and grammatical units beyond linguistic classification. That’s one new variant every 4 days. Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets, and I’ve been taught that he’s super important, even though I’m pretty sure he hasn’t offered even one spelling of “motherf*cker.” It’s unimaginable. It’s beyond poetry.
This infographic list the “motherfuckers” from 05/07/13 to 10/11/11…I wonder what this list would look like now.
As you can see, the first couple dozen are pretty similar in structure, if not mostly repeats. Then 2012 happened, and it seems like Mr. L. Jackson’s resolution was to never use the same motherf*cker twice. From January 2012 onward, 92% of his “motherf*cker”s are unique, compared to 81% total. Compared to 1% for the worthless other people like you and me. I’ve seen his variants described as crude or vulgar, but that’s bullshit. When Jackson uses the standard spelling, it’s only to acknowledge his aversion to its lack of style. He treats Twitter as the playground that it is, so he brings his celebrity character to the medium like he would anywhere else. The spellings are nuanced and sonically faithful to his pronounced talent. Read them as impressionist cues rather than literal spellings, and you’ll get 151 unique pronunciations.
Here’s to Sam Jackson, the Lewis Carrol of swearing.
Well, here is your muhbunchafuqqyn cartoons for tonight’s thread.
Oh and btw, Mona says hello…and she misses y’all!
This is from an Egyptian State Newspaper:
For some reason, that Sack cartoon is credited with a Jensen cartoon…
This is an open thread…
The day after Thanksgiving might very well be the slowest news day of the year unless you want to read about people fighting tooth and nail over “bargains” bargains at Walmart and other huge chain stores. Nevertheless, I’ve managed to dig up a few stories of possible interest.
Professor Jaeha Lee of at North Dakota State University and her colleagues actually published a study on the phenomenon of bad behavior by “Black Friday” shoppers. From The Conversation, Retail rage: why Black Friday leads shoppers to behave badly.
The manic nature of Black Friday has often led shoppers to engage in fistfights and other misbehavior in their desperation to snatch up the last ultra-discounted television, computer or pair of pants. What is it about the day after Thanksgiving, historically one of the busiest shopping days of the year and traditionally the start of the holiday season, that inspires consumers to misbehave?
The unique characteristics of Black Friday sales promotions and the frantic retail environment they create, coupled with the shoppers’ own physical and emotional states combine to loosen the emotional constraints. Retailers heavily promote their most desirable items at deeply discounted prices in order to encourage more foot traffic. Demand for those precious few items naturally exceeds supply, and that imbalance can lead to aggressive consumer behavior.
But another key ingredient results from the very timing of the sales, which may begin at midnight or early in the morning and require eager customers to camp outside a store all night: sleep deprivation. That means many Black Friday shoppers’ cognitive levels are not functioning at top form, resulting in impaired decision-making and heightened negative mood states, thus facilitating misbehavior.
Researchers found that most Black Friday customers are well behaved, and a “proactive” strategy would be to make store rules clear to shoppers and “monitor” their behavior even before get into the store; and remove rude and aggressive shoppers before they can start trouble. Read more at the link if you’re interested. My personal solution to “retail rage” is to stay out of stores as much as possible until after the new year, and do most of my shopping on line.
Of course Ferguson is still very much in the headlines.
From Reuters, via Huffington Post, Ferguson Protesters Target Black Friday Sales.
(Reuters) – Protesters in Ferguson, Missouri began targeting Black Friday sales at major retailers overnight in a new tactic to vent their anger at a grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer who fatally shot an unarmed black teen.
Kicking off their latest strategy inside a Walmart in another nearby suburb of St. Louis, about 75 demonstrators protested peacefully, chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot!”, bemusing bargain-hunters pushing their brimming shopping carts.
They dispersed peacefully when ordered by a small group of police, moving on to a Target store where they staged a similar demonstration. More protests were planned for Friday.
Before heading in convoy to Walmart late on Thursday, a group of some 100 demonstrators ate Thanksgiving dinner, sang, prayed and discussed their new strategy in the basement of a St. Louis church.
“We are bruised but not broken,” said Cathy Daniels, a woman known to the activists as “Momma Cat” who prepared the food. “We are regrouping. We are not going to take this lying down.”
It’s really impressive to me how organized the long-time Ferguson protesters have become.
PBS Newshour has compiled a useful chart that breaks down the differences and similarities among grand jury witnesses to the shooting of Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson. The results of the analysis:
– More than 50 percent of the witness statements said that Michael Brown held his hands up when Darren Wilson shot him. (16 out of 29 such statements)
– Only five witness statements said that Brown reached toward his waist during the confrontation leading up to Wilson shooting him to death.
– More than half of the witness statements said that Brown was running away from Wilson when the police officer opened fire on the 18-year-old, while fewer than one-fifth of such statements indicated that was not the case.
– There was an even split among witness statements that said whether or not Wilson fired upon Brown when the 18-year-old had already collapsed onto the ground.
– Only six witness statements said that Brown was kneeling when Wilson opened fire on him. More than half of the witness statements did not mention whether or not Brown was kneeling.
Check out the full chart at the link.
From the Guardian US, How Michael Brown’s family could still file a lawsuit against Darren Wilson.
If they do decide to go that route, the family’s first option would be to file suit against Wilson or the Ferguson police department or both for wrongful death in a state court. If they did that, the case would most likely be heard in nearby Clayton, Missouri, in the same courthouse where the grand jury that declined to indict Wilson sat.
The other option is to sue in federal court, for what is known as a “1983” violation (named for its place in federal law, Title 42 Section 1983 of the US code, not the year), which means a deprivation of civil rights. This would be filed in the US district court for the eastern district of Missouri, in St Louis.
While in federal court for the 1983 violation, they could at the same time assert the state law case of wrongful death. Importantly, a 1983 suit also contains a variety of provisions for shifting the burden of legal fees; if the plaintiff wins a 1983 case, the defendant has to pay all the lawyers’ fees and expenses, on top of any damages awarded.
“My guess is the family will go to federal court, both because of the fee-shifting rule and also because of a potentially better jury pool,” said Ben Trachtenberg, a professor of law at the University of Missouri. The state court jury pool would draw from St Louis County, which might be seen as more predisposed to support Wilson, while the federal jury would come from a wider geographical area.
At The New Republic, Brian Beutler tries to make the best of the outcome of the midterm elections, Six Reasons I’m Thankful for a Republican Congress. I can say that I agree with him, but I could be wrong. Here’s the introduction to the piece:+
I generally don’t go in for sentimental holiday rituals like announcing New Year’s resolutions or giving children candy on Halloween. But in the interest of promoting counterintuitive thinking about American politics and juicing this website’s holiday traffic, I’m making an exception this Thanksgiving. So here goes:
Today, I am thankful that Republicans won the midterm elections and will soon control the U.S. Senate.
I’m not arguing that a fully Republican Congress will produce better policy than a divided Congress, or that Democrats should feel relieved to have lost the midterms so badly. All I’m suggesting is that a Republican Senate is the best outcome for me, personally, and for the growth interests of my employer. And also, maybe—in the longer term—for the country’s fragile, wheezing political system.
Read his reasons at the link.
According to the AP (via the WaPo), some Southern Democrats want their party to get back to “basics.”
ATLANTA — Southern Democrats are joining others in the party who say that a return to advocating to lift people out of economic hardship and emphasizing spending on education and public works will re-energize black voters and attract whites as well.
“It’s time to draw a line in the sand and not surrender our brand,” Rickey Cole, the party chairman in Mississippi, said. He believes candidates have distanced themselves from the past half-century of Democratic principles.
“We don’t need a New Coke formula,” Cole said. “The problem is we’ve been out there trying to peddle Tab and RC Cola.”
Cole and other Southern Democrats acknowledge divisions with prominent populists such as Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is expected to run for president in 2016, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Yet they see merit in pushing stronger voting rights laws, tighter bank regulation, labor-friendly policies such as a higher minimum wage and other familiar party themes.
Finally, a great British mystery novelist, PD James, died yesterday at age 93. I’ve read a number of her books. From BBC News:
Her agent said she died “peacefully at her home in Oxford” on Thursday morning.
The author’s books, many featuring sleuth Adam Dalgliesh, sold millions of books around the world, with various adaptations for television and film.
Her best known novels include The Children of Men, The Murder Room and Pride and Prejudice spin-off Death Comes to Pemberley.
The author told the BBC last year she was working on another detective story and it was “important to write one more”.
“With old age, it becomes very difficult. It takes longer for the inspiration to come, but the thing about being a writer is that you need to write,” she said.
There’s much more about James at the link. I absolutely loved her first novel, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman.–so much so that I’ve read it at least three times. It’s about Cordelia Gray, a woman who successfully runs a detective agency.
Here’s tribute to PD James by her close friend and fellow mystery novelist Ruth Rendell from the Guardian, PD James: ‘Any of the events in Phyllis’s books might have happened’.
She did not write sensation novels, she wrote books about real things, things that could have happened. She didn’t write at all like Agatha Christie. Christie had the most magnificent plots and great stories, but I don’t think anyone would say that she wrote believable stuff, people didn’t want that from her.
But any of the events in Phyllis’s books might have happened – and I think people liked that because they’d never had it in crime fiction before. Dorothy Sayers was a marvellous crime writer, whom both Phyllis and I admired very much, but she hadn’t got the same reality, and she also had that peculiar snobbishness that made her have her detective the son of a duke. Phyllis would have nothing of that.
Both of us thought more about the characters than the crime. Her plots were good, of course, but she took particular care in the creation of character. Place also mattered a lot to her: if you knew the Essex coast you’d want to read some of her books because of her wonderful descriptions.
She always took enormous pains to be accurate and research her work with the greatest attention. She made few mistakes, but on one memorable occasion she did have a male character get on a motorbike and reverse it (I think you can do that now, but this was 30 or 40 years ago), and of course she got a lot of letters about it. But she had a great sense of humour and thought it was very funny.
If one of her books had police work in it, the police work would be true, it would be very real. Her detective Dalgliesh – named him after a female teacher at her school, she just liked the name – is the most intelligent police officer in fiction that I’ve ever come across. He’s sensitive, intelligent, rather awe-inspiring and slightly frightening, but he is a real person, you can get really involved in him.
Both of these women were involved in British politics.
We never talked about crime – because it was what we both wrote about – and we never talked about politics. Phyllis joined the House of Lords several years before me. We were both utterly opposed to each other politically: she was a Tory and very much a committed Conservative, whereas I’m a socialist, I’m Labour and always have been. Once we were in for a vote and crossed paths going to the two division lobbies, she to the “content” lobby and I to the “not content” – and we kissed in the chamber, which caused some concern and amazement.
James lived a long and productive life and her writing gave pleasure and intellectual stimulation to millions of readers around the world. RIP Phyllis.
That’s all the news I’ve got this morning. What stories are you following, if any? I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday. I hope to see some of you in the comment thread, although I know it’s a busy day for lots of people.
Take care, Sky Dancers! I’m thankful for all of you.
Good Morning and Happy Thanksgiving!
We’ve gotten passed the Turkey Amnesty Day–an executive action–with President Obama. Mac and Cheese were saved from Thanksgiving Dinner and will live out their lives in the National Zoo. You can see the President talk turkey on that link. It was a cute speech with Sasha and Malia standing by to clap for the rescue.
President Obama poked fun Wednesday at his conservative critics over his executive actions that give legal status to as many as five million undocumented immigrants, saying his Thanksgiving pardon of a turkey would doubtlessly be criticized as “amnesty.”
Obama joked that the pardon of a turkey named Cheese would be the “most talked about executive action this month” and one that’s “fully within my legal authority, the same kind of action taken by Democrats and Republican presidents before.”
“I know some will call this amnesty, but don’t worry, there is plenty of turkey to go around,” he said.
During a speech at a Polish community center in Chicago on Wednesday, Obama used similar language to his turkey pardoning. He called his actions within his “legal authority,” reminded the audience about former President Ronald Reagan’s immigration executive order, and hit back against those who call the executive order “amnesty.”
The turkey pardon’s White House audience chuckled at Obama’s jokes, but last week’s executive action that gave legal status and work permits to illegal immigrants isn’t a laughing matter for many conservatives. Republicans ripped Obama’s decision, accusing him of acting outside his authority, and threatened that they’ll go after him with legislation that seeks to block Obama’s order.
I know most of us aren’t in the mood today for something long and depressing. I thought I’d take this opportunity to lay down a little dirt on the Cassiday-Landrieu Race and a lot of good research done by two fellow Louisiana Bloggers on Triple Dipping “Double Bill” Cassiday. Cassiday has been running on an nti-Obama and anti-government health care program campaign and that’s just about it. Interestingly enough, the millionaire doctor has three sources of income and all are either from State or Federal Government sources. He also appears to be commiting payroll fraud concurrently. I’m glad to see that National media and state Newspapers are now picking up on the story. We vote in a few weeks. I’m not sure this will make any difference but it really should give some of these voters pause. Will they vote this turkey into office?
Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge is disputing reports on two political blogs about his part-time work at LSU Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) that suggested he was compensated for hours he didn’t perform, didn’t do the teaching work for which he was given a House ethics waiver to perform, and filed work sheets indicated he did medical work when Congress was conducting votes and holding hearings.
The allegations, based on records obtained by Jason Berry writing on theamericanzombie.com, were posted Tuesday — just 11 days before the Dec. 6 Louisiana Senate runoff between Cassidy and incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu. The records also were the subject of a report on the political blog by Lamar White Jr. on CenLamar.com.
The reports outline Cassidy’s continued work for LSUHSC after his election to Congress in November, 2008. The House Ethics Committee approved part-time work for Cassidy as a “teaching physician,” offering a “regular course of instruction.”
In an interview Wednesday, Cassidy said that although LSUHSC records don’t show him doing lectures, he taught students as he and they worked with patients at clinics and other facilities. He also advised students, worked with them on their research and papers, including in Washington when he would meet with students doing residencies and internships in area medical facilities after the day’s congressional work ended.
Memos from LSUHSC said that Cassidy was expected to work, “on average,” 7.5 hours a week, or 30 hours a month, for a stipend of $20,000, reflecting about one-fifth of his hours and pay from before 2009 when he was working full-time.
But 16 time sheets obtained from LSU by American Zombie, and later provided NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, show he reported working a cumulative 219.75 hours, or 13.7 hours per month — well short of the 30 hour per month figure. None of the time sheets showed him working more than 27 hours in a single month.
Cassidy said that he wasn’t being paid “by the hour,” and that he worked longer hours when Congress wasn’t in session. A Cassidy campaign spokesman said he often worked more than the specified hours for LSCHSC.
The blogs questioned whether it was appropriate for Cassidy to retain his tenure at LSUHSC after going part-time, and to be compensated for malpractice insurance. Cassidy said LSU provides malpractice insurance for all is part-time physicians.
As for tenure, Cassidy said he wasn’t even aware he had been kept in a tenured position.
To quote my friend Nath Pizzolato, “BILL CASSIDY draws a PAYCHECK from the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND from the STATE GOVERMENT for a job he’s NOT EVEN WORKING? And even though BILL CASSIDY is in the top ONE PERCENT, his wife draws her own GOVERNMENT PAYCHECK for NOT WORKING? THREE GOVERNMENT PAYCHECKS? Sounds like THE CASSIDYS are some WELFARE FREELOADERS GETTING RICH off HARD-WORKING, HONEST TAXPAYERS.”
Late Tuesday, a handful of local Louisiana political blogs released internal emails and school records they say call into question whether Cassidy remained on payroll as a congressman while not contributing at the school, wrongly logged hours at LSU while he was in Washington, and whether he maintained tenure when he didn’t meet the minimum requirements.
“The documents speak for themselves and certainly raise serious questions that Congressman Cassidy will have to answer,” Landrieu spokesman Fabien Levy said in a statement.
“Congressman Cassidy may have taken home over $100,000 in taxpayer funds for work he never did. Most people don’t get paid enough for the work they do, let alone for the work they don’t do. But it seems Congressman Cassidy got a pat on the back and a check in the bank. Louisiana taxpayers deserve answers.”
The Landrieu campaign noted that some people at LSU have been arrested for falsifying time sheets.
Lamar White’s blog piece was picked up by IND Reporter the day he published it. I love that he’s coined the Congressman “Double Bill” Cassiday given he’s getting paid by Congress and the state simultaneously.
On at least 21 different occasions during the last 2.5 years, Rep. Bill Cassidy billed the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the Affordable Care Act, according to records first posted by Jason Berry ofThe American Zombie. Cassidy, a medical doctor, remained on LSU’s payroll after he was first elected, despite concerns by his associates about the nature of work that Cassidy, as a member of Congress, could legitimately conduct in his capacity as an employee of LSU.
Cassidy faces incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu in the Dec. 6 runoff.
In May of 2010, Cassidy received an extensive opinion from the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, advising, among other things, that he could be compensated as a “teaching physician” who teaches “a regular course of instruction.” The House Committee also advised Cassidy that, although he is prohibited from practicing medicine for compensation, he could still accept “payments for professional medical services in an amount that does not exceed the actual and necessary expenses associated with the medical services provided.” Payments for actual and necessary expenses associated with medical services, it is worth noting, are considered on a case-by-case basis; physician members of Congress are not allowed to earn a salary for the practice of medicine.
Although the records released are incomplete, they raise serious legal and ethical questions about Cassidy’s role at LSU and seem to suggest that Cassidy may have been in open violation of the House Committee’s clear guidelines and may have been grossly overcompensated for his work.
Instead of taking a leave of absence from LSU after he was elected in November 2008, Cassidy agreed to an 80 percent reduction in his salary, or approximately $20,000 a year, slightly less than the $26,550 annual limitation on outside wages earned by members of Congress. There were practical reasons a physician who had been newly and narrowly elected to a Congressional seat that had already changed hands twice in the last two years would want to remain on LSU’s payroll: In addition to his salary, LSU also paid for Cassidy’s medical malpractice insurance, continuing education, and licensing fees, expenses that can easily total in the thousands. In the event that he lost re-election, he would be able to immediately return to his medical practice, without even skipping a beat.
Remember this guy is part of Boehner’s gang that hates the Affordable Health Care Act and votes against poor people getting any kind of government money. He even voted against his own district getting Hurricane Relief. He also wants to privatize Medicare while his wife uses it as part of her disability benefits. He said that he didn’t during a recent debate, but here’s the article from two years ago showing the votes. Again, Newspapers across the state are supporting Landrieu. I can’t imagine facing a major hurricane again without her.
Anway, I hope you have a good long weekend and that you have plenty of food on your table! I’m terrifically busy right now but I will be attending a brunch on Sunday with Debbie Wasserman Schultz. I hope I can report back on that for you.
If you want to read the original great analysis and work done by two Louisiana bloggers, be sure to check out their original analysis on the Double Bill. Here’s the article from CenLAmar’s site. Also, here’s the link to American Zombie. Lamar and Jason did a great job pulling the data together and doing the analysis. It appears their work has “legs”. Go give them some traffic love!!!
What’s on your agenda today? This is an open thread so have at it!!!
Bonus Turkey Material: TURKEYS AWAY!!!
I’m very much at a disadvantage today, because I’ve been driving across country for the past two days and I barely heard any news.
I did get to my hotel on Monday night in time to watch Bob McCulloch present his outrageous defense of the killing of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Thanks to Sky Dancing, I was able to read part of Wilson’s shockingly racist story of his encounter with Brown and I saw parts of some of Wilson’s TV appearances.
I have to assume at this point that–to put it kindly–a large proportion of white people who live in Missouri are in thrall to ancient myths about black people. As more educated people around the country look closely at what McCulloch and Wilson had to say, these two men are going to be surprised to learn that many Americans have moved into the 21st century and can recognize racist tropes when they hear and see them.
I drove 11 hours yesterday, and I wasn’t able to get a single NPR station until I got to Ohio. The parts of Pennsylvania that I drove through were so desolate that all I could get on the radio was right wing talk shows, religious stations, christian rock stations, and oldies stations. I finally heard a little bit of actual news as I approached Toldedo, Ohio. I got to my mother’s house at 9:00 last night.
Fortunately I was able to watch Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Brien, so I learned a bit more about what’s actually happening. I stayed up late watching the live coverage on MSNBC, but I was so exhausted that I don’t recall many details.
So, as I said, I’m really at a disadvantage, and I can’t write a really knowledgeable post yet.
A big question in my mind after I watched McCulloch’s strange presentation on Monday night has been about which witnesses testified before the St. Louis grand jury. The prosecutor only mentioned one witness–a person who claimed that after being shot several times, Michael Brown turned and ran “full charge” toward Wilson before being fatally shot in the top of his head.
What about the several witnesses who saw the altercation between Brown and Wilson close up, including Brown’s friend Dorian Johnson, who was right there watching what took place inside the police SUV? What about the two women who watched the events from two different close vantage points and whose independently-told stories were strikingly similar? McCulloch chose to discount them in favor of a man (?) who said he watched from 100 yards away? Why were his inconsistent deemed credible while he found descriptions from close by with minor inconsistencies so deeply flawed as to be ignored? Was this person white? Is that why McCulloch found his shifting stories credible?
That obviously makes no sense. No one runs head facing down–how would he see where he was going? It seems clear to me that if Brown did in fact turn, it was because he had been shot multiple times and was either trying to surrender or was falling forward after being wounded. He couldn’t possibly have been a threat to Wilson at that point–thirty-five feet away and shot multiple times.
Lawrence O’Donnell did an excellent job of breaking this down last night, so if you didn’t see it, please try to watch it on-line today. I’m going to do my best to read the grand jury testimony, but I’ll probably have to do it at night, so it may take me awhile to catch up on all that has happened.
Dakinikat alerted me to a post at Vox that discusses the stunning racial stereotypes in Darren Wilson’s testimony, and in yesterday’s thread she also linked to an excellent post by a black writer, Chaucey de Vega on the same subject.
From Lauren Williams at Vox, The terrifying racial stereotypes laced through Darren Wilson’s testimony.
The Ferguson story is entirely about race
It’s imprecise to call race the subtext of this story or an underlying complication. Itdefines it. Race has woven its way through every aspect of the drama, from the shooting of a black teen by a white officer, to the glaring racial disparities in the St. Louis suburb at the center of the incident, to the protesters’ demands that the criminal justice system recognize that “black lives matter.”Although the demonstrators have been explicit, this theme of racism doesn’t have to be spelled out to be understood clearly and painfully. Reading Wilson’s characterization of Brown in transcripts from his interview with detectives and his grand jury testimony is like taking a master class in the gross racial fear-mongering that has pervaded our country for centuries.
Darren Wilson’s Michael Brown
Throughout his testimony and post-shooting interview with detectives, Wilson emphasized the size disparity between him and Brown. He tells detectives, “never at any point did I have control of him. I mean … he manipulated me, while I was in the vehicle, completely.”
Wilson, who testified that he is 6’4 and around 210 lbs, told the grand jury that when he tried to grab Brown, “the only way to describe it is that I felt like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan.” At one point, he said Brown looked like a “demon.” He also expressed concern that Brown could have possibly killed him with a punch to the face.
In the last moments before Wilson fired the fatal shot, he said, Brown made “a grunting, like aggravated sound” and charged toward him, through Wilson’s gunfire. He didn’t even slow down, Wilson said, after one of the bullets apparently hit him.
“I’ve never seen anybody look that, for lack of a better word, crazy,” he told detectives. “I’ve never seen that. I mean, it was very aggravated, … aggressive, hostile… You could tell he was looking through you. There was nothing he was seeing.”
Brown’s eyes were probably glazed over because he had been shot at least 5 times and was close to death. But to Wilson, he was a monster/demon who needed to be killed.
The two men were each very tall, although Brown weighed about 80 more pounds than Wilson. Brown was a teenage boy and Wilson was a trained (supposedly) police officer. Yet Wilson feared Brown and felt like a five-year-old in his presence. Wilson believed Brown was a “demon” who could kill with one blow from his fist and could run through bullets without being felled. Why on earth was Wilson allowed to be a policeman? Are there other Ferguson and St. Louis police officers who hold these bizarre beliefs about black people?
Williams goes on to cite articles from The New York Times that conveyed this stereotype of the giant, superhuman black man (she cites blogger Undercover Black Man as her source)
Here’s a sample of how this played out in the Times:
The September 24, 1900, edition included a double whammy: back-to-back stories about criminally insane negroes of “gigantic build,” headlined “Giant Negro Attacks Police” and “Big Negro Spreads Terror.”
In 1897, the paper exclaimed, “Giant negro disables 4 policemen in fight.” He was eventually felled by a baton blow to the head.
A 1922 story, “Seize giant negro, hide him for safety,” told of a typically huge black man who was terrorizing motorists in Atlantic City (the last straw before his capture was apparently an assault on an 18-year-old white woman).
A “ghost-haunted darkey” went nuts at sea in 1916, according to a story titled “Armed giant negro giant goes mad on liner.” He was rather tall, the reporter makes sure to note.
How many of our fellow Americans still believe this bizarre myths and how many of them are patrolling American streets as police officers?
Here’s Chauncy de Vega, Shorter Darren Wilson Testimony: Michael Brown was a ‘Giant Beast Negro’ That Had to Be Killed.
If you have not yet read Darren Wilson’s testimony to the Ferguson grand jury which decided that he would suffer no ill consequences for his decision to kill Michael Brown, please do so.
Wilson’s description of the events on the day that he decided to shoot and kill an unarmed person cannot be adequately relayed to you by a second party.
The absurd, unfathomable, and fantastical story which Wilson spun out of the whole cloth in order to justify killing an unarmed black teenager combines the deepest and ugliest white supremacist stereotypes and fantasies about black folks’ humanitysuch as the “negro fiend”, “black beast”, and “giant negro”, with white racist paranoiac thinking, and dialogue from blaxploitation movies.
Darren Wilson’s grand jury testimony purports to be an accurate description of his encounter with Michael Brown. In reality, it is closer to an amateurish summer stock theater production of the movie Birth of the Nation as performed by the KKK and/or Neo-Nazis.
What century are these people living in? Suddenly I’m beginning to understand where the seemingly insane people in the Tea Party and the voters who elect candidates like Ted Cruz of Texas and Steve King of Iowa are coming from.
Ezra Klein also had an important post at Vox yesterday, Officer Darren Wilson’s story is unbelievable. Literally.
We’ve finally heard from Officer Darren Wilson.
Wilson had been publicly silent since the events of August 9, when he shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. And, even as the grand jury announced its decision not to indict him, he remained silent. He had his attorneys release a statement on his behalf.But on Monday night, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch released the evidence given to the grand jury, including the interview police did with Wilson in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. And so we got to read, for the first time, Wilson’s full, immediate account of his altercation with Brown.
And it is unbelievable.
I mean that in the literal sense of the term: “difficult or impossible to believe.” But I want to be clear here. I’m not saying Wilson is lying. I’m not saying his testimony is false. I am saying that the events, as he describes them, are simply bizarre. His story is difficult to believe.
Please read the rest at the link.
The Ferguson story is revealing that there are indeed two white Americas*: one in which people have been educated about bigotry and racism and have learned to recognize racist stereotypes and do our best to counter them, and one in which people have apparently been raised to believe delusional racist tropes and, as a consequence, have developed irrational fears of people who have darker skin than they do.
Do the people in the second group of Americans hold similar beliefs about Asians, Latinos, and Native Americans as well? I think we know how they feel about Muslims. Can anything be done to educate these people and/or to prevent them from passing along these irrational and ugly beliefs to their children? Some Americans still need to be taught that every human life is has value.
Ferguson demonstrates that these are vitally important questions that we need to address as a nation.
Here are a few more recent stories on the Ferguson situation.
Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker, How Not to Use a Grand Jury.
Jamelle Bouie at Slate, Rudy Giuiani Doesn’t Understand Crime as Well as He Thinks.
Dana Millbank at the WaPo, Bob McCulloch, the Face of Injustice.
German News site Deutsche Welle, Mother of Michael Brown calls Wilson account ‘insult’.
Jacob Siegel at The Daily Beast, The Three Biggest Unanswered Questions About Ferguson.
David A. Love at The Progessive, Ferguson decision again unearths America’s racial problems.
I look forward to reading more about what Sky Dancers think about all this. As always, please post links on any topic in the comment thread. Enjoy your Wednesday and have a happy Thanksgiving day tomorrow.
*NOTE: This post has been updated to change the title and a reference in the text from “Two Americas” to “Two White Americas.”
Well, I usually start these things with a “Good Morning” but with the disappointing news from last’s nights ridiculous display by Prosecutor Bob McCulloch.
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch announced on Monday night that Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in a press conference that many found baffling, unwieldy and inflammatory.
McCulloch said the grand jury “gave up their lives” while deliberating.
The prosecutor also repeatedly lashed out at the media, blaming the internet and “the 24-hour news cycle” for the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, where Brown was shot and killed in August. He continued talking for several minutes before revealing the much-anticipated grand jury decision.
“The most significant challenge encountered in this investigation has been the 24-hour news cycle and its insatiable appetite for something, for anything to talk about, following closely behind with the non-stop rumors on social media,” he said.
“Social media isn’t the problem,” author Maureen Johnson said. “Shooting children is the problem.”
Go to the link to see the full statement via video. You can also see how some folks reacted to it from last night’s live blog.
Another look at the funky ass statement here: Bombshell evidence laid out in death of Michael Brown – NY Daily News
I don’t know about “bombshell” there was nothing new in the information…just confirmation of what was “leaked” earlier to the press.
Next up, I will first give you two links…they are both to the same thing, the huge document dump as promised by McCulloch at his press conference.
That link has the items in large files, you will need to download them and then extract the documents.
The Guardian has the documents individually:
Both have search features.
Photo below of Michael Brown’s mother when she heard the decision:
When you get a chance, take a look at these links:
I’ve been dreaming of death. Seeing pictures of death. Seeing pictures of bloody sheets hanging on clotheslines.
Just days before Michael Brown and his brown body encountered a white police officer and a gun in Ferguson, Missouri, the 18-year-old child said that to his stepmother. She told the world of this foreshadowing during Brown’s funeral two months ago, as anger turned to tears, and this small community ignited a wave of protests and activism that would continue for more than 100 days – and will begin anew, starting right now.
In the months since, all of the leaks and all of the tweets warning that there would be no indictment for Darren Wilson – that instead there would be black“violence” and a perpetual “state of emergency” – have served as constructed preparations to manage our disappointment, for the big reveal that our criminal justice system was still as broken as it ever was. And now that the grand jury’s decision has arrived in the form of a smirking white prosecutor, all of the agony of that wait has culminated in nothing more than the sum of our grim expectations, to ignite cynicism and an old rage.
Today, Mike Brown is still dead, and Darren Wilson has not been indicted for his murder. And who among us can say anything but: “I am not surprised”?
As BB pointed out yesterday: It’s Incredibly Rare For A Grand Jury To Do What Ferguson’s Just Did | FiveThirtyEight
A St. Louis County grand jury on Monday decided not to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police Officer Darren Wilson in the August killing of teenager Michael Brown. The decision wasn’t a surprise — leaks from the grand jury had led most observers to conclude an indictment was unlikely — but it was unusual. Grand juries nearly always decide to indict.
Or at least, they nearly always do so in cases that don’t involve police officers.
Former New York state Chief Judge Sol Wachtler famously remarked that a prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to “indict a ham sandwich.” The data suggests he was barely exaggerating: According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010, the most recent year for which we have data. Grand juries declined to return an indictment in 11 of them.
Brown family attorney Benjamin Crump has been critical of the Grand Jury process in Fergusonsince before the decision was announced Monday evening, and he remained so Tuesday morning in an interview with Savannah Guthrie on Today.
“[Bob McColluch] didn’t recommend any charges or anything,” Crump said. “He put all the evidence out there and said let’s just be fair to everybody. And this is different than what I’ve ever seen in my twenty years of practicing law.”
“So the question becomes, if for 28 years he has been prosecutor before the grand juries and he didn’t do it this way, was he being unfair to them? Why change the rules now when it’s our children lying on the ground? We want the same justice, we want equal justice, that you do for everybody else. Don’t change the rules on our children.”
This is an open thread….feel free to post links to anything you like.