Thursday Reads: All The News I Can Stomach (With Pretty Pictures)


Good Morning (Barely)!!

I wish I could spend this morning looking at paintings on the internet and then take a long nap. I don’t want to know anymore about workplace shootings, theater shootings, “domestic abuse” killings, rapes, hate crimes, and clown car politicians who stoke the rage of crazy people. This country, this world cannot be as crazy as it seems, can it? Here’s some of crazy stuff I’ve been reading. The peaceful paintings are to distract us from the insanity of today’s current events.

On the latest nutcase shooting:

The Guardian: Vester Flanagan told by Virginia TV station to seek medical help, say memos.

Vester Flanagan, the gunman who killed two journalists in Virginia, was told by his bosses to seek medical help after colleagues at the television station where he worked with his victims repeatedly complained about him, according to memos obtained by the Guardian.

Several flare-ups were detailed in internal messages from Dan Dennison, then the news director of WDBJ7, that were sent to Flanagan and copied to senior colleagues. Flanagan on Wednesday morning shot deadreporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward.

Flanagan, who died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound later on Wednesday, was reprimanded for “lashing out” at a colleague and for his “harsh language” and “aggressive body language” while working as a reporter.

He was told to contact employee assistance professionals at the company Health Advocate. “This is a mandatory referral requiring your compliance,” Dennison told Flanagan on 30 July 2012. “Failure to comply will result in termination of employment.”

On Christmas Eve that year, Dennison emailed colleagues to say he had just warned Flanagan that he had one final chance to save his job. “I’m not entirely sure where his head is at,” said Dennison. Flanagan was fired three months later.

A favorite author by Poul Friis Nybo

A favorite author by Poul Friis Nybo

Flanigan apparently spent months preparing to go out with a bang with everything recorded on social media before he committed suicide. More links:

New York Times: Virginia Shooting Gone Viral, in a Well-Planned Rollout on Social Media.

The Guardian: Virginia shooting: how Vester Flanagan forced the world to be his audience.

The Daily Beast: TV Station Called 911 When They Fired Vester Flanagan.

The Daily Mail: ‘He was the human tape recorder’: How TV murderer was criticized by bosses for appalling journalistic standards and reprimanded for wearing an Obama badge to report on elections.

Fox News: Inside Vester Lee Flanagan’s life.

We old folks remember how shocked we were when Jack Ruby shot and killed Lee Harvey Oswald on live TV. Little did we know that a half century later such horrifying events would become almost ordinary–shocking at first but swiftly and easily absorbed into the flow of daily violence reported by the news media.

The latest from the crazy-ass Duggar family:

Daisy by the river, T.C. Steele

Daisy by the river, T.C. Steele


In a bombshell world-exclusive interview with In Touch magazine, stripper and porn star Danica Dillon, 28, reveals she had sex not once, but on two separate occasions, with Josh Duggar, both occurring when his wife, Anna, was pregnant with their fourth child!

Danica — who passed a polygraph test conducted for In Touch by a top certified polygrapher on Aug. 24 — details her two sexual encounters with Josh in the new issue of +In Touch+, on newsstands now. The first occurred after Josh approached her at the Gold Club in Philadelphia, where she was performing, in mid-March and the second only a month later when Danica was performing at Creekside Cabaret in Colmar, Pa.

Josh paid Dillon for “$600 in private dances,” and then asked her to spend the night with him. She agreed to do it for $1,500, but she soon learned that Josh was into violent sex.

Danica admits she “took the opportunity because Josh offered to gift [her] $1,500.” But soon after Josh arrived at her hotel m, things got rough.

“He was manhandling me, basically tossing me around like I was a rag doll,” Danica, whose real name is Ashley Lewis, and although the sex was consensual, “It was very traumatic. I’ve had rough sex before, but this was terrifying.”

Ugh. A few more Duggar links:

An old woman reading by Harry Clifford Pilbury

An old woman reading by Harry Clifford Pilbury

AP via Josh Duggar in rehab after admitting to pornography habit.

Amanda Marcotte at Slate: Josh Duggar’s Brother-in-Law Speaks Out Against Him.

People: All About Josh Duggar’s Wife Anna: Her Parents Are Even ‘More Extreme’ Than the Duggars, Says Source.

Zach J. Hoag at Huffington Post: Divorcing Josh Duggar’s Monster God.

I don’t believe for one minute that Josh Duggar got so warped without some serious abuse in early childhood. Mark my words, it will come out eventually.

The latest on creepy old Uncle Joe:

New York Times: Tom Harkin Cautions Joe Biden Against Running for President.

Former Senator Tom Harkin, a fixture in Iowa Democratic politics for over four decades, discouraged Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Wednesday from entering the presidential race, suggesting that Hillary Rodham Clinton, if elected, could name him to a top diplomatic post instead.

Mr. Harkin, who served with Mr. Biden in the Senate for nearly 25 years and is now supporting Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, said the vice president should not risk ending his career with what would be a third bid for the presidency.

“He has served the country so well and been a good friend of mine — I love Joe,” Mr. Harkin said in a phone interview. “I just don’t think this would be a wise move.”

Without prompting, Mr. Harkin added that there were “other ways Joe can serve the country.”

“With Hillary as president, I can see him being secretary of state or ambassador to the United Nations,” he said. “There are a lot of things he can do down the road that would be of valuable service to the country or the world.”

Good advice. It sounds like Biden is having second thoughts anyway.

Someone is waiting, David Hettinger

Someone is waiting, David Hettinger

MSNBC: Joe Biden weighs whether he has ‘emotional fuel’ to run.

ABC News: ‘Time is Running Out’ for Joe Biden 2016 Candidacy, State Party Chairs Say.

CBS News: Does Joe Biden have what it takes to compete in New Hampshire?

Christian Science Monitor: Poll: Joe Biden runs better than Hillary Clinton against Republicans.

Well, the grass is always greener . . . those poll numbers would collapse very quickly if Biden actually got into the race.

The latest on the elephant in the clown car:

Joe Conason at The National Memo: ‘Fascist’ Trump Isn’t First Demagogue Laughed Off As A Buffoon.

Although he is still a clown, nobody laughs at Donald Trump anymore — which may be the real purpose of his candidacy, at least as far as he is concerned. The casino mogul is pleased to instill fear among Republican elites, as he dominates their presidential nominating contest — and forces them to face a hard question about the man who is exciting such belligerent enthusiasm among Republican voters:

Is Trump a real live fire-breathing fascist?

From Newsweek to Salon to the Daily Caller, commentators of various colorations have found ample reason to apply that often-discredited label to him. While these observers hesitate to lump Trump in with totalitarian dictatorships and historic crimes against humanity, they are clearly worried by his strongman appeal, his populist rhetoric, and his rejection of GOP free-market orthodoxy. Matt Lewis complains that Trump is reviving Nietzschean notions that inspired fascist ideology; Jeffrey Tucker warns that Trump is hostile to individual freedom and sees himself as the embodiment of the state, like fascist leaders before him.

Such worried conservatives aren’t wrong, but they seem unwilling or unable to grasp the clearest evidence that Trump is channeling toxic currents from the past—namely, his appeals to racial bigotry, his xenophobic and truculent attitude toward other nations, and his extremist “solution” to the problem of illegal immigration. Others have observed that the Republicans have only themselves to blame for encouraging the crude prejudices that Trump now calls forth in his “un-P.C.” way, as Maureen Dowd so cutely phrased it.

Woman reading, Pablo Picasso

Woman reading, Pablo Picasso

Read the rest at the link. I have to admit that Trump is starting to scare me. More links:

Nate Silver: Donald Trump Is Running A Perpetual Attention Machine.

Jennifer L. Pozner at Politico: Think Reality TV Is Sexist? Blame Donald Trump.

Amanda Marcotte at TPM Cafe: Why Fox News’ Defense Of Megyn Kelly Is Going To Backfire.

NY Daily News: Donald Trump ends feud with Megyn Kelly, says he has ‘much bigger things to think about.’

Greg Sargent: Megyn Kelly nails it on why Donald Trump matters.

Wall Street Journal: Donald Trump’s Insults Rattle Republican Rivals, Please Fans.

Fortune: Why Donald Trump’s antics pose a serious long-term threat to the GOP.

That’s about all the news I can stomach for this morning. Am I just focusing on the negative or are things really this bad?

As always, this is an open thread. Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread and enjoy your Thursday.

33 Comments on “Thursday Reads: All The News I Can Stomach (With Pretty Pictures)”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Sorry this is so late.

  2. Delphyne49 says:

    Trump reminds me of Buzz Windrip in Sinclair Lewis’s “It Can’t Happen Here.” I remember reading this when I was about 19 and was horrified by it – I could actually see it happening in the US and that hasn’t changed much.

    Hope you’re feeling more uplifted soon – it’s a gorgeous day in NJ and, perhaps if it’s that way in Boston, you can go outside and let the breeze take away the heaviness of politics, gun and sex insanity… ❤

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks, Delphyne. I’ve always wanted to read that book, but I never have.

      • Delphyne49 says:

        It’s not a book I would reread – it’s too realistic for my taste. Better to read something that gives you peace of mind and enjoyment!

  3. NW Luna says:

    WTF? This rapist gets off because the prosecution lawyers referred to Army policies on non-tolerance of sexual assault?

    Army appeals court reverses rape conviction, citing evidence problems

    A Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier was inspired by the military’s ramped-up campaign against sexual assault when she reported in 2012 she had been raped several years before.

    The soldier’s belated testimony helped convict Army Staff Sgt. Gabriel C. Garcia. But now, an appeals court has dismissed Garcia’s rape conviction, citing evidence problems, as well as a politically infused command climate that deems military sexual assault an epidemic.

    “The proceedings were unfair,” the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals said in its unanimous Aug. 18 ruling.

    In particular, the two men and one woman on the panel noted how the Army prosecutor summoned sentiments that have swept through Congress and the Pentagon in recent years. The ruling makes clear that all military lawyers must now tread carefully as they balance zeal with justice. “With multiple references, some overt and others thinly veiled, to the Army’s efforts to confront sexual assault, the government attempted to impermissibly influence the (court martial) panel’s findings by injecting command policy into the trial,” Col. R. Tideland Penman, Jr. wrote for the court.

  4. Riverbird says:

    Thanks for the link to the story about Tom Harkin.

    There’s a movement to persuade the media to stop publicizing the name and image of killers after the initial identification. I’ve seen a couple of those sites on Facebook and twitter. Here’s one:

  5. Great post BB.

    This is fucked up :

    “South Dakota drops history as a high school requirement
    Monday, the South Dakota Board of Education approved new guidelines that do no require high schools to teach U.S. history beginning next year.

    Some college history professors are against the social studies requirement saying history has the chance to repeat itself if students are not taught early American history.

  6. janicen says:

    I lived in Roanoke, VA for 9 years before I moved to DC. It’s a really great place nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The city was built by the railroads in the mid 1800’s and the culture is a mixture of blue and white collar people who embrace the mountains and the outdoors where hikers can enjoy great trails, including the Appalachian Trail. It also has a surprisingly good blues music scene. It is so beautiful that I used to drive to work and make it a point to look around at the gorgeous mountains and appreciate the fact that I’d never seen such scenery. I really haven’t since. The story of the murders of the WDBJ reporter and camera person really hit close to home. My brother worked at that station when he was alive. He died in the same hospital the injured victim was taken. I still have family members who live there.

    I really hope that some change in our gun laws will come of this. It won’t happen overnight, but as long as brave politicians like Hillary Clinton refuse to stand down under pressure from the gun lobbyists I believe change will happen. It has to happen. We are not safe anywhere.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Roanoke Times: Alison Parker’s father: I’m on a mission now

      Andy Parker’s morning started at 5:30 a.m. today. The hours passed by in a blur: ABC, NBC, CNN.

      In interview after interview, Alison Parker’s father made his case. Something needs to change, he pleaded. Someone has to stand up for his daughter Alison, Adam Ward and countless others.

      “It’s very hard not to break down,” said Parker, of Henry County. “You hit the wall at some point. But I can’t do that. I’m not going to rest.”
      “This is my new mission in life, and I’m doing it for Alison.”

  7. bostonboomer says:

    This is why we need a woman running for president:

    ABC News: Hillary Clinton Compares GOP Stance on Women’s Health to Terrorists’ Views

    Hillary Clinton compared her Republican rivals’ views on women’s health issues to those of “terrorist groups” in a Cleveland speech today.

    She named Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich calling their conservative views on reproductive rights “dead wrong for 21st America,” pledging her campaign is “going forward, we are not going back.”

    “Extreme views about women, we expect them from some of the terrorist groups, we expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world, but it’s a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States, yet they espouse out-of-date and out-of-touch policies,” Clinton said.

    Clinton specifically named Rubio’s position to make all abortions illegal even in case of rape and incest and Bush’s position—along with many of his GOP opponents—to defund Planned Parenthood.

    “I would like these Republican candidates to look the mom in the eye who caught her breast cancer early because she was able to get a screening for cancer or the teenager who didn’t get pregnant because she has access to contraception,” Clinton told the crowd. “Or anyone who has ever been protected by an HIV test.”

    • ANonOMouse says:

      She’s nailing them to their own cross. When she gets to the GE she will pound them into the ground with their own words. Bravo Hillary

  8. bostonboomer says:

    Matt Yglesias: New poll showing Clinton beating everyone is reported as bad news for Hillary

    • janicen says:

      That’s a riot.

    • NW Luna says:

      Classic example of anti-Hillary bias in the media!

    • RalphB says:

      If you look inside that Q poll which shows Biden doing better against the GOP candidates, you’ll see it’s totally bogus. Their weighted sample has black turnout at the 2004 level and hispanic turnout lower than 2004.

      If anyone buys those numbers, I’ve got a nice bridge in Brooklyn for sale. They skewed their own poll to generate headlines and it worked. But, meh!

      Matt is right on in his Vox piece.

  9. ANonOMouse says:

    “don’t believe for one minute that Josh Duggar got so warped without some serious abuse in early childhood. Mark my words, it will come out eventually”

    Totally agree BB. I’m guessing this guy grew up seeing and experiencing sexual abuse. Too bad he’s been sent to a, “TREATMENT BY JESUS” center instead of real psychological and mental health counseling facility. The guy is messed up.