Lazy Saturday Reads: Mary Cassatt’s Mothers and Children (Plus News)

Reine Lefebre And Margot Before A Window, Mary Cassatt

Reine Lefebre And Margot Before A Window, Mary Cassatt

Happy Weekend!

The best way to have a happy weekend might be to go into a cocoon and isolate yourself from the outside world and the ugly things that are happening in it. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I can bring myself to do it. I’ve become addicted to knowing what’s going on out there.

What has really been bugging me for the past couple of days is the way law enforcement agencies and the media refuse to label even horrendously violent acts like the attack on Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs “terrorism.”

It seems the only events that get that designation are those involving Muslim attackers. In my estimation a violent attack that kills and injures a number of people and “terrifies” the surrounding community should be called terrorism, because that’s exactly what it is.

How can the attacks on abortion clinics not be “terrorism” when they obviously are designed specifically to frighten doctors, nurses, and other health care workers into not getting involved in reproductive health care and women into not having abortions?

What is “Terrorism” and What Isn’t?

Mary Cassatt Mother nursing baby

Here’s the official explanation from NPR: Why the Planned Parenthood shooting isn’t legally referred to as ‘domestic terrorism.’

To some in the community, the attack resembled an act of domestic terrorism, sparking a debate over what to call Robert Lewis Dear’s rampage even before he was taken into custody.

But the legal system may not resolve that question.

Dear faces state charges of first-degree murder, and the federal criminal code has no specific, catchall charge for acts of domestic terrorism. That means federal prosecutors pursuing charges for ideologically motivated violence often turn to other statutes — such as those for firearms, explosives, hate crimes or murder — to cover offenses that could arguably be labeled as terror. The punishment may be the same, but generally without the branding more typically associated with international terrorism.

“There has long been some interest in defining acts of domestic terrorism as terrorism. It’s become quite a partisan issue,” said William Yeomans, an American University law fellow and former high-ranking official in the Justice Department’s civil rights division.

But given the number of laws already available to federal prosecutors, he added, “Whether it’s domestic terrorism or not, it doesn’t really matter.”

Mary Cassatt - Mother and Sara Admiring the Baby

Mary Cassatt – Mother and Sara Admiring the Baby

Well then the definition needs to be changed, because focusing only on acts by people of one particular religion–Islam–is going to lead to terrorist attacks against Muslims, whether they get the label “terrorism” from the FBI or not. Saying it doesn’t matter is just plain stupid. It matters.

Melissa McEwan at Shakesville:

I didn’t need to know a thing about Syed Rizwan Farook’s and Tashfeen Malik’s religious beliefs or political ideologies to know that this was an act of terrorism, because I fail to understand how we can legally define one or more people picking up weapons and opening fire on civilians as anythingbut an act of terror, irrespective of their reasons.

(Unless it happens in a war zone, in which case it is a war crime and an act of terror.)

And I have a real goddamn problem with the fact that it only became “officially” an act of terrorism once they were connected to a particular religion and particular ideology, but had it been another religion and another ideology, it just would have been the inexplicable actions of mad people.

This selective elevation to a terrorist act of only certain religions and ideologies is harmful. And the people it harms the most are those who broadly share identifying traits with the elevated terrorists.

Our government is being deeply hypocritical when it urges bigots not to blame all Muslims for acts of terror committed by Muslims, but refuses to identify as acts of terror the same sort of crimes committed, for the same ugly reasons, by Christians. If the government doesn’t want all Muslims smeared as terrorists, then it needs to stop limiting to Muslims its elevation to terrorism of religiously-motivated mass murder

Here’s another example. This white guy isn’t a threat to anyone, according to law enforcement.

Breakfast in Bed, Mary Cassatt

Breakfast in Bed, Mary Cassatt

NY Daily News: Police find 8,300 rounds of ammo, assault rifle and body armor in home of Long Island man who impersonated Air Marshal.

He had a fake federal air marshal ID in one pocket, a Ruger .380-caliber pistol in the other and was driving around Long Island with ballistic body armor and a loaded AR-15 assault rifle. He also had an arsenal of weapons at his gated home.

But don’t worry folks, Mark Vicars wasn’t a threat to anyone, Nassau County officials insisted Friday.

The amount of firepower is comparable to what terror couple Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik had during the massacre they committed Wednesday in San Bernardino, Calif.

“At this time we don’t see any immediate threat to the public,” Nassau County Police Department spokesman Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun told reporters.

Seven illegal firearms, three high-capacity magazines and 8,300 rounds of ammunition were found in the 49-year-old’s SUV and Syosset home after an exhaustive search, police confirmed.

Yet cops don’t believe that Vicars was up to anything nefarious — except for masquerading as a federal agent.

“We don’t see any nexus to any terrorism at this time,” LeBrun said, adding that no anti-American literature or links to terrorism were found at his home.

Mother_Berthe holding her baby, Mary Cassett

Mother_Berthe holding her baby, Mary Cassett

This idiotic labeling situation must be remedied, and we need to pressure our elected representatives and the White House to get it done.

The Media Sucks

Anyway, the media clearly has forgotten about the people who were killed and injured by a fanatic in Colorado Springs, because they now have Muslim attackers and their families to examine in disgusting detail.

In their rush to get “scoops,” MSNBC forced their way (along with other reporters) into the apartment that was occupied by the two deceased shooters in the San Bernardino massacre and showed images of personal property and information belonging to family members on live TV.

Mashable: Journalists storm San Bernardino shooters’ apartment after landlord pries open door.

In a surreal scene, a swarm of local and national media entered the apartment where San Bernardino shooters Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik lived after the landlord tore off a piece of plywood that was blocking the door.

News outlets, including MSNBC, BBC, CBS News and CNN, broadcast live scenes as reporters toting cameras and microphones pushed through the open door and reported from inside the apartment in Redlands, California.

One MSNBC reporter was seen examining items left on the suspects’ desk, at one point picking up a child-rearing book. CNN journalists described seeing driver’s licenses, social security cards and shredded documents inside the residence. A group of photographers zeroed in on a pile of papers that were laid out on a bed.

The Family, Mary Cassatt

The Family, Mary Cassatt

What the hell?!

Another camera crew panned over a crib; the couple had a 6-month-old daughter. A CNN correspondent picked up prayer beads.

It appeared that members of the public were inside the apartment as well. One man lingered holding a large soda. A child was seen wandering throughout the home. Another opened the refrigerator and peered inside.

MSNBC even showed ID cards and family photographs on camera. According to the landlord, he didn’t invite the media in. “They rushed,” he said. Fortunately, the FBI later said they had cleared the apartment and it was no longer an active crime scene.

Slate’s Justin Peters says that good reporters should grab opportunities like this one, but still had some harsh words for MSNBC.

MSNBC Was Right to Enter the Shooters’ Apartment. They did what good reporters do: poke around.

During the walk through the apartment, which producers said was opened to the media by the couple’s landlord, a NBC News reporter held up photos of unidentified children, a bank document, and a driver’s license on live television.

As MSNBC’s Kerry Sanders walked through the apartment, where police had earlier recovered 12 pipe bombs and more than 1,400 rounds of ammunition, he expressed disbelief that the killers would have toys and stuffed animals for their young child.

The apartment was crowded by camera crews and other journalists all digging through the home. Sanders eventually found a pile of family photos, including what appeared to be passport photos of an unidentified woman, which he promptly suggested were the first images of Malik seen by the public.

“I’m going to guess these are the photographs of Malik. So this is the first – this may be – OK,” he said on air. “But we don’t know. We don’t know if that’s her.”

Maternal Caress, Mary Cassatt

Maternal Caress, Mary Cassatt


Andrea Mitchell encouraged Sanders to hold one photo up and get a “tight shot” of other pictures, including a portrait of a woman in traditional dress, as Sanders continued to guess where and for what occasion the photos were taken.

“Let’s make sure we don’t see the children, let’s not show the child,” a clearly uncomfortable Mitchell eventually interjected. “Let’s cut away from that.”

In a bedroom where credit cards and IDs were shown spread out on a bed, the camera quickly zoomed in on a California driver’s license. MSNBC did not appear to blur out a woman’s personal details as Sanders read the name on the driver’s license.

I think I’m going to be sick. MSNBC “apologized” after it was too late to protect innocent children and other family members who were not involved in the shooting. TPM:

After MSNBC treated viewers on Friday to a live look inside the San Bernardino shooters’ apartment, the network said they “regret” showing photos of children and identification cards during the live broadcast.

While the apartment was thick with camera crews and journalists all rifling through Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeem Malik’s Redlands, California home, MSNBC was the most heavily criticized for its broadcast. NBC News reporter Kerry Sanders showed close-up photos of children and held up a women’s driver’s license during the live shot.

Read the statement at TPM if you’re interested.

I’ll add some more links in the comment thread. What stories are you following today?

27 Comments on “Lazy Saturday Reads: Mary Cassatt’s Mothers and Children (Plus News)”

  1. bostonboomer says:


    Watch the Most Deeply Uncomfortable Moments of the Ted Cruz Family Outtake Videos.

    Thanks to the (few) rules governing campaign Super PACs, candidates aren’t technically allowed to coordinate with them. Which means candidates can’t technically feed them hours and hours of raw video footage for future campaign ads. Candidates can however, casually leave them on a neglected YouTube account for Super PACs to find. And thank god they can, because Ted Cruz did.

    Buzzfeed originally uncovered the 16 hour-long videos on an old YouTube account belonging to Cruz’s Senate campaign, to which the videos were quietly uploaded about four months ago.

    The footage is, as CNN noted, deeply painful to watch. Long periods of coaching and silence are followed by clearly scripted word of praise for dear Ted. Hugs are repeated.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Mother Jones:

    The Craziest Thing About This Supreme Court Case Isn’t That One Plaintiff Believes Unicorns Are Real.

    On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will examine the bedrock principle of “one person, one vote” in a major case that could yield the Republican Party a critical advantage in future elections. In Evenwel v. Abbott, the court is being asked to change how states draw legislative districts in a way that would boost the electoral power of white, rural voters, who lean Republican, at the expense of Latinos and African Americans, who tend to vote Democratic. The plaintiffs behind this high-stakes legal challenge are an unusual pair. One is a Texas tea party activist who has promoted a conspiratorial film suggesting President Barack Obama’s real father was Frank Marshall Davis, a supposed propagandist for the Communist Party. The other is a security guard and religious fundamentalist who believes the Earth doesn’t revolve around the sun and that unicorns were real.

    Texas residents Sue Evenwel and Ed Pfenninger want the court to create a uniform national standard for drawing legislative districts based on the total number of eligible voters in them, as opposed to the total number of people, which is the standard that Texas and many other states use now. Such a change would effectively diminish the political clout of urban areas, which have large populations of people who can’t vote, such as felons, children and noncitizens.

  3. dakinikat says:


    Thanks for writing about the Terrorism definitions. Some of us blue Louisiana folks have been talking about it and I’ve gotten yelled at simply for saying that they categorize things in a fairly strict way. Didn’t Congress have a hissy fit when that report came out after 9/11 and said that vets were a likely source of right wing terrorism and a bunch of them shut that definition down? Some huge report from the NSA that somewhat described their own base? Am I remembering that right?

    • janicen says:

      I like what was said in the NYT editorial, the first time since 1920 that they put an editorial on the front page…

      They (elected officials) distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism.

  4. NW Luna says:

    The PP shooter and his ilk are obvious terrorists, whether meeting the US legal definition or not.

    As to the media picking through the San Bernadino shooters’ apartment — OK, I can buy that a journalist’s job is to “sniff around” but that does not give license to sniff around indiscriminately, while broadcasting everything — including private details of unrelated persons — to the world.

  5. roofingbird says:

    Did the landlord give 24 hours notice to their baby’s guardian before entering? I think not. Did the baby, guardian have any choice in what happened inside? I think not. Should the media and landlord be sued for breaking and entering? I think so.

  6. roofingbird says:

    This is why it think Dear should be charged with at least a hate crime. Hate crime according to the FBI is:

    2.1Bias Motivation
    The FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program collects hate crime data regarding criminal offenses motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity. Due to the difficulty of ascertaining the offender’s subjective motivation, bias is to be reported only if investigation reveals sufficient objective facts to lead a reasonable and prudent person to conclude that the offender’s actions were motivated, in whole or in part, by bias. The specific types of bias to be reported, along with their UCR bias codes, are listed below. (More information about some types of biases is provided in Section 6.3, Learning Module Two.)

    Click to access hate-crime-data-collection-guidelines-and-training-manual.pdf

    If I understand the problem correctly, the FBI thinks it has to be asked in this case, as there are probable grounds for death penalty murder due to the killing of the police officer. BB, you know how this went in Boston. Maybe you can add to this. Colorado may be happy with just the murder charges. My problem with this is that Dear attacked a federally funded facility and killed three people, two of whom would not warrant a judgement of death. He clearly terrorized others. There is evidence that he hates women, but none of his victims followed through with charges. So, what there is appears circumstantial to this non-lawyer. I fear that Colorado is blinkered, though there are recall efforts being made to get rid of Rep. JoAnn Windholz.

  7. roofingbird says:

    When William Yeomans, an American University law fellow and former high-ranking official in the Justice Department’s civil rights division, says this:
    But given the number of laws already available to federal prosecutors, he added, “Whether it’s domestic terrorism or not, it doesn’t really matter.”

    He is wrong!!! It does matter.

  8. janicen says:

    That the media stormed the apartment of the shooters is disgusting and revolting behavior. What school of journalism would teach that?

  9. List of X says:

    Just because a mass shooting terrifies a lot of people, it doesn’t automatically make it a terrorist attack. A gang shooting, or somebody shooting his relatives or coworkers wouldn’t be terrorism since there is no clear intent to terrorize the rest of the population by the attack (although some Mexican drug cartel violence would fit well into that category and could be called terrorism).
    In San Bernardino shooting, where the victims were the former coworkers of one of the attackers, it’s not clear which it is. In the Planned Parenthood, it is more clear because there doesn’t seem to be any other motive.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Attacks on abortion clinics are attempts to terrify women, doctors and clinic workers. IMHO, that’s terrorism. No one is suggesting that gang violence is terrorism as far as I know.

      • List of X says:

        In the US, probably not. But I think there were cases when cartels in Mexico had killed people who tried to fight them and hanged their bodies in public places to “make example of”, to terrify others – that would be an example of terrorism, I would say.
        I’d say the idea is similar to the attacks on women’s clinics.

  10. Fannie says:

    I’m trying to understand Eric Tucker, says the laws turn to firearms, explosives, hate crime, murder, and that he wasn’t an international terrorist. Really, I agree he wasn’t an international terrorist he was a HOME GROWN Terrorist. Saying it doesn’t really matter, because they can apply all kinds of punishments in the courts. So, the court is going to bless the home grown terrorist before he even gets to court. Is that what he is saying, after all it’s in the brand.

    When you have a friggin’ stand off with the Sheriff, with the Police Dept,. with the FBI, and it’s apparent that he has killed, wouldn’t you be thinking that the departments or ordered to shoot to kill. Oh, forgot that only applies to people of color.

    When you look at the roots of of anti abortionist, surely one would be thinking there is a tendency towards violence. Apparently all the training that the religious republicans have been preaching, via the news, via their anti abortion bills (over 200 since they have been in charge), and the training they are getting in the churches, they are out spawning the hate and violence, and they are themselves radicalizing themselves, and sharing all their radical beliefs, because their motive is politics (end abortion), and to retaliate using terrorism, and mixing it up with the anti-government groups, including militias, KKK, NRA, and all other forces behind the movement, including the Medical Center that promoted the film that was chock full of lies, and heavily edited.

    There is a process when it comes to terrorism, and it’s often being influence by groups, and sharing the same identity. In this case, Robert Lewis Dear was influence by religious groups with political beliefs. He listened to the tapes/videos, he listened to Carly Fiorina talk about “body parts”, he listened to Donald Trump, talk about chopping babies, and he heard in on CNN, and MSNBC. They were part of that process, and he joined up, by taking up arms, because he saw the GREEN light, GO. He knew terrorism is working here in this country, he knows people are afraid, and that we are becoming a country, many of us can’t recognize anymore.

    Saying it doesn’t matter that women are the target, that Planned Parenthood doesn’t matter, that the POOR people of this country just don’t goddamn matter, shows once again that home grown terrorist are more violent than ever before. Yeah, the process involves the mergers with Antigovernment Tea Party, with Pro life groups, with NRA, and Christian churches, ready to take up arms.

    That Rev. Manning in New York, I hope Eric Tucker goes and interviews him, he’s out saying that if you mess with his church, the men of the church are going to start cutting some dicks off, and slaughtering the women, and children, and pissing on their graves. Yeah, wonder how many people were listening to their lesson on how to be a terrorist, training thousands of others is what they have in mind. It’s going to get worst, especially when somebody thinks it doesn’t matter.

  11. bostonboomer says:

    Donald Trump says in a speech that the best way to deal with terrorists is to “take out their families.”

    • NW Luna says:

      That’s guaranteed to create more terrorists. Trump is appalling.

      • Fannie says:

        If the Hatfield’s shoots a McCoy, are the McCoy’s going to say oh well. Absolutely right, Luna it just proves his 3rd grade mentality to approaching problems here, and there.

    • Fannie says:

      Amazing that all these guys have ideals that the FBI have never thought about! Marco Rubio said Pres. Obama need to have telephone recording going back years on this guy, not just the last two years. You know he’s been here all his life he said this morning, and we need to find out about him to protect this country. I didn’t hear a damn thing about his father being a involved in domestic violence with his family, and having to have watched it, and probably also beaten up himself.

      • Fannie says:

        I just looked up the changes that the republicans made in regards to NSA, and FCC Regulations on telephone records. I don’t know if Rubio was there for the vote (as he is often missing in action), but he out and out lied this morning, and Trapper, didn’t call him out on this.

        The only thing changed NSA collections program, is that the phone company keeps the records. The way to get to those records, is via the customer’s permission, or a criminal investigation, and you and I know there are always loopholes in any of these laws pertaining to FCC.

        Here’s another headline this Sunday morning: Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University has a motto:
        Training Champions for Chris, as of now they are offering free concealed weapons courses for all students. How about that, I guess my above opinion on the issues does indeed apply, they are spawning and training for Christ.

  12. Fannie says:

    Here’s wiki on the definition of domestic terrorism, and gives nine examples, plus has Robert Lewis Dear as a Anti-Abortion terrorist:

  13. joanelle says:

    By recommending everyone ‘get a gun’ the far right are just about guaranteeing numerous deaths of innocent people.

  14. joanelle says:

    The media has totally run amuck!