Lazy Caturday Reads

Good Afternoon!!

We’re living in crazy world now. It’s the weekend, and Trump is golfing, so maybe we’ll have a little peace for a couple of days. Maybe. I’ve been looking at the latest news for hours now, and I’m at a loss to know what to write about today. There’s just too much crazy.

So, before I get to political news, I want to call your attention to with fascinating story about recent advances in crime solving that were long ignored because they were discovered and championed by older women.

The New York Times: Sooner or Later Your Cousin’s DNA Is Going to Solve a Murder, by Heather Murphy. [Emphasis added]

In the year since the arrest of the man believed to be the notorious Golden State Killer, the world of criminal investigation has been radically transformed.

Using an unconventional technique that relies on DNA submitted to online genealogy sites, investigators have solved dozens of violent crimes, in many cases decades after they hit dead ends. Experts believe the technique could be used to revive investigations into a vast number of cases that have gone cold across the country, including at least 100,000 unsolved major violent crimes and 40,000 unidentified bodies.

Many have called it a revolutionary new technology. But credit for this method largely belongs to a number of mostly female, mostly retired family history lovers who tried for years to persuade law enforcement officials that their techniques could be used for more than locating the biological parents of adoptees.

These women were ignored by law enforcement, probably because they were older women. What could they possibly know about finding murderers and rapists?

One was Diane Harman Hoog, the 78-year-old director of education at DNA Adoption, who realized in 2013 that she could apply the techniques she was using to identify two bodies she’d read about in a Seattle newspaper. “This is too complicated,” she said she was told when she reached out to a detective. Four years later, Margaret Press, a 72-year-old retired computer programmer and skilled family tree builder in California, tried to help her local sheriff with a similar case. No one would return her calls.

Fast forward to April 25, 2018, the day that a gaggle of California prosecutors announced that an “innovative DNA technology” had been used in the Golden State Killer case.

The innovator was Dr. Barbara Rae-Venter, a genetic genealogist who had uploaded crime scene DNA to, a low-key genealogical research site run out of a little yellow house in Florida. Dr. Rae-Venter, 70, and her team soon found a suspect by using the genetic and family tree data provided by his cousins.

And that was how a former police officer, Joseph DeAngelo, came to be charged with 26 counts of murder and kidnapping in connection with scores of rapes and murders that were committed across California in the 1970s and ’80s. In interview after interview, Paul Holes, a determined investigator who had spent decades chasing false leads, rejoiced in his decision to involve Dr. Rae-Venter.

“Barbara really braved the pass,” said CeCe Moore, a genetic genealogist who was also among the first to see the potential in the technique. Within a few weeks of the announcement, she began working with Parabon, a forensic consulting firm.

Practically every week now, there are news reports of cold cases being solved, including famous cases that have long been the subjects of popular speculation and conspiracy theories.

In rapid succession, Parabon’s work led to 49 genetic identifications, reopening a number of cold cases: the 1987 double murder of a young Canadian couple, six rapes in North Carolina and the slaying of a Stanford University graduate 46 years ago. The technique resulted in at least 17 arrests, including people who had never been under any suspicion, such as a well-established party D.J. and children’s entertainer in Pennsylvania. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is revisiting about 700 cases involving unidentified children’s remains and has identified about 15 in the past year.

An additional 300 cases are in the works: old murders, serial sexual assaults, and unidentified bodies, according to estimates by various genealogists and investigators.

Thanks to women in their 60s and 70s, who were long ignored and discounted. Isn’t that amazing? We live in a culture that diminishes women’s accomplishments.

We have a similar situation in politics. Women’s voices and talents are overlooked in favor of anyone with a penis. If you’re white and have a penis, you’re never to old to run for president; but if you’re an accomplished woman with specific plans to make life better for Americans, you’ll never be good enough to draw attention from the white male media.

Yesterday, the latest ancient white male savior appeared on The View. He was challenged about his refusal to apologize either to Anita Hill or to women he manhandled.

The Daily Beast: Biden Gives Bumbling Apology as ‘The View’ Confronts Him on Creepy Touching, Anita Hill.

In his first television interview since announcing his run for president, former Vice President Joe Biden found himself sputtering a bit Friday when confronted by The View over multiple allegations of inappropriate touching and his treatment of Anita Hill.

Biden was initially greeted by The View hosts with a very warm welcome by the panel and extremely friendly audience. But the tone shifted halfway through the chat when co-host Sunny Hostin brought up recent accusations from multiple women that he invaded their personal space and made them feel “gross.”

The former veep replied that “everybody has to be more away of the private space of men and women” before awkwardly asking the all-woman panel if he can hug them, noting that he wasn’t sure what to do when he walked out….

Biden then rambled a bit about how it is his responsibility to be “more aware” and how he needs to better read when “this is space no one wants me to invade.” He made sure to note that no one has categorized the allegations as having anything “to do with harassment.”

“They have said that,” Hostin replied. “They have also said they would like an apology.”

“Look, I’m really sorry if what I did is talk to them and trying to console that they took it a different way,” the former vice president replied. “It’s my responsibility to make sure that I bend over backwards to try to understand how not to do that.”

On Anita Hill:

Biden claimed he did everything he could to defeat Thomas’ confirmation while adding that he “believed her from the beginning,” causing the panel to grill him on whether he wanted to “clean this up right now” and directly apologize to her.

Asked why he didn’t reach out to Hill earlier, considering the hearings occurred 28 years ago, Biden said: “Since I had publicly apologized for the way she was treated… I didn’t want to, quote, invade her space.”

“I think she wants you to say I’m sorry for the way I treated you, not for the way you were treated,” Behar shot back. “That might be a littler closer.”

Biden, still unable to unequivocally apologize for his actions, answered: “But I’m sorry the way she got treated. I never heard—if you go back and look at what I said and I didn’t say, I don’t think I treated her badly. I took on her opposition.”

This clueless old guy is the supposed savior that white men–and all the Never Trumpers apparently–thinks can defeat Trump in 2020. How will he do that if he doesn’t reach out to women and people of color? He has to win the nomination first, right?

I got in a ridiculous argument about this on Twitter last night, and I was stunned to learn how many people don’t understand that in order to run against Trump, Biden will need to get votes from the base of the Democratic Party–not just working class white men.

One more Biden article from Slate: Joe Biden Wants Women to Vote for Him. He doesn’t want to earn their votes, by Christina Cauterucci.

On Thursday, soon after Biden announced his entrance into the race with a tweeted video, the New York Times published Anita Hill’s account of a phone call he’d made to her a few weeks earlier. Ostensibly, the point of the call was to make amends with the woman he’d famously failed as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991, when Hill testified that then–Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had repeatedly sexually harassed her.

But according to both Hill and Biden’s team, the former vice president didn’t apologize for asking Hill skeptical questions about her alleged harassment or for failing to call three witnesses who were willing to echo or back up Hill’s allegations. He didn’t apologize for allowing Republicans on the committee to badger her with accusations that she suffered from “erotomania,” a condition characterized by delusions that a higher-ranking person has the hots for them. Biden didn’t even apologize for telling Hill she’d get to testify first, then, without notifying her, allowing Thomas to go first instead….

Over the past couple of years, as Biden has been mulling a presidential run, he’s occasionally expressed sympathy for Hill in public. Every time, he’s refused to put any blame on his own shoulders. “I’m so sorry that she had to go through what she went through,” he told Glamour in 2017. Later that year, he gave an interview to Teen Vogue. “My one regret is that I wasn’t able to tone down the attacks on her by some of my Republican friends,” he said. “I wish I had been able to do more for Anita Hill. I owe her an apology.” And when Biden appeared on The View on Friday, in his first sit-down interview since launching his campaign, he again declined to take any responsibility. “I’m sorry for the way [Hill] got treated,” he told the show’s panel of women. “I don’t think I treated her badly.”

The fact that he gave these dutiful half-apologies to outlets and shows that are designed to appeal to women is typical of the Biden approach to gender: more concerned with where and how he appears than what he says and does….

The message Biden is sending is that he cares about women as a political bloc but not as individuals whose perspectives merit concerted empathy. He either thinks female voters will be satisfied by a pat on the head accompanied by a roll of the eyes, or he believes his strong support among older Democrats—many of whom share his eye-rolling impulse when it comes to gender issues—will be enough to win a contested primary without getting the buy-in of progressive feminists.

Read the rest at Slate.

And there’s the even more ancient white male “savior,” Bernie Sanders.

Honestly, at this point I’m ready to throw up my hands and give up. The Iowa caucuses are more than 8 months away and the election is a year and a half away!

There’s much more news out there. Here are some stories to check out.

The Washington Post: ‘I can land the plane’: How Rosenstein tried to mollify Trump, protect Mueller and save his job.

The New York Times: Donald Trump Shows a New Level of Contempt for Congress.

The Washington Post: In Trump’s world, FBI agents are traitors and Robert E. Lee isn’t.

Slate: A New Obstruction Case Against a Judge Proves William Barr’s DOJ Is Now Just an Arm of President Donald Trump.

The Washington Post: Coast Guard officer accused of terror plot remains in custody, but judge will consider terms of a release.

HuffPost: Exposed: Military Investigating 4 More Servicemen For Ties To White Nationalist Group.

Buzzfeed: Blackwater Founder Erik Prince’s New Company Is Operating In Iraq.

The New York Times: F.B.I. Warns of Russian Interference in 2020 Race and Boosts Counterintelligence Operations.

That’s all I have for you today. What stories have you been following?


47 Comments on “Lazy Caturday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Have a nice weekend everyone!!

    • NW Luna says:

      I love the kitty hammocks!

    • BB, nice job tying in together the story about advances in crime solving long ignored because they were by women and our politics. And of course the hammock babies are too cute, thank you for distracting us from dunderhead Biden. I wish Beto would crush Biden and Bernie — but so far it seems like he’s had a slow start. Which really makes me question the bullshit canard that tptb want a new face. No, they want a white male face, and apparently the older the better, with as much baggage as possible—penis + baggage = awesome. Vagina + baggage = unlikeable. (Baggage being what women need to get experience.)

      Bernard, Joe, and Donald. It’s like their own geriatric country club.

  2. bostonboomer says:

  3. quixote says:

    Those cats! Wonderful!

  4. dakinikat says:

  5. NW Luna says:

    Thanks to women in their 60s and 70s, who were long ignored and discounted.

    I hope these examples will produce more respect for the knowledge gained over the years by women paying attention and analyzing the possibilities.


    The staffers working for Metzenbaum and Kennedy, however, took Hill’s allegations more seriously and were the first to reach out to her. They urged Biden’s staff to talk to Hill as well. But the effort languished in Biden’s office, where his staff followed his personal rules, which went beyond those of the Senate. The aide who investigated the claim, for instance, declined to call Hill, requiring that Hill instead initiate contact. Once they spoke, the aide declined to act on Hill’s allegation unless Hill consented to Biden’s office confronting Thomas directly and disclosing Hill’s name to him. Hill, who hadn’t asked for any of this, demurred. Biden’s aide concluded that Hill had merely wanted to “get it off her chest.” The public, meanwhile, heard nothing about it.

    Biden really sucks.

    • quixote says:

      Fits right in with the way Biden has been all along, but even so, it’s worse than what I was already aware of!

      What a trainwreck this sleazeball is.

      • Exactly.

        He’s just so smarmy. I remember when he and Jill wanted to make a point of saying Obama had offered him SecState if he wanted it. So petty. I was reminded of that again, reading the tweet about how
        Biden told Obama not to endorse him. Honestly, I never really got the impression that O thought that highly of Biden anyway. 😂

        • NW Luna says:

          I think Obama felt he had to pick a “safe” older white male as VP.

          “and disclosing Hill’s name to him” What a bastard.

          • bostonboomer says:

            He needed someone with foreign policy cred. I still think it would have been better if Obama had waited till 2016 and Hillary had become president in 2008, but the penis always takes precedence.

  7. NW Luna says:

  8. Bernie supporter says Kamala Harris owning a handgun is a disqualifier… ummmmm. Why don’t you ask your guy about his love affair with the NRA.

  9. Sorry for so many comments, but this really frightens me…

    Trump in Wisconsin, full of shit:

    “The baby is born, the mother meets w/the doctor. They take care of the baby. They wrap the baby beautifully. Then the doctor and mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby.”

    Go to the video here… he says it starting at the 1:12 mark

    More from February:

    • quixote says:

      This is such bizarre flat-earther stuff I can feel myself going ha-ha-yeah-right-mooooving-right-along.

      But unlike flat-earthers these droogs have power. And an agenda: to get women barefoot, pregnant, and behind some plow.

      You can’t enslave somebody without controlling their body, so the slavers are desperate to control women through their reproductive organs, and they’re going to be working hard to believe that garbage. It’s a free pass to livestock status for half the human race.

      You’re totally right to be terrified!

      • It would be one thing if everyone listening were very obviously scoffing at him, but they all just eat it up. It’s like Jamestown. They all believe it and boo at it without missing a beat.

        I mean… if anyone thinks this is actually happening—if I thought this was actually happening, I/they should be screaming to the top of one’s lungs.

        • NW Luna says:

          The other week I had a patient who, when I asked the usual “How have you been since you were last here?” started to go into a tirade about babies being killed at birth. Oh, did I want to launch into him! But I managed to keep calm and tell him that what he’d heard was incorrect, that early delivery was an attempt to save the life of the mother and if possible the fetus, and that rare but very severe and usually fatal fetal malformations did occur, for example, ancephalopathy when no brain had formed. I also briefly described the Irish woman who died because the Catholic hospital refused to terminate her pregnancy when life-threatening complications occurred. That last example shut him up.

          • Enheduanna says:

            I had a friend years ago whose first try at pregnancy was ended by encephalopathy (? sorry not totally sure of the use of the term). The fetus’ brain never developed. So tragic and yet these cretins immediately assume the baby wasn’t wanted?

          • quixote says:

            Enheduanna, there’s different encephalopathies, but anencephaly (complete lack of brain tissue), specifically, is fatal. About 90% of embryos that have it are miscarried, the remaining 10% die at birth or a few days after. So it’s beyond d.u.m.b. to second-guess medical decisions about the best way to deal with an awful situation because life!. There isn’t any.

          • NW Luna says:

            quixote, thx for the correct spelling! I didn’t proofread my comment.

        • NW Luna says:

          That surprising Kansas decision that women have “bodily integrity” including abortion rights is especially good news.

          • quixote says:

            I wonder if what finally dawned on these judges is that if you can force one type of body (female) into using its organs to support someone else’s life, there’s not actually anything to stop the idea from generalizing.

            We have enough medical technology now to have dialysis vans prowling the street, forcibly hooking up people (real ones! men, even!) to use their kidneys as cheap dialysis machines for people with kidney failure. Or to donate lobes of their livers. Or half a lung. The possibilities are endless. So many lives to save!

            It’s always amazed me that the anti-choicers are so focused on controlling women, it never seems to occur to them that the worst thing that could happen to them is if their side won. Their same ideas can be used to control them.

        • dakinikat says:

          I have friends that escort at clinics and my oldest daughter is an ob/gyn who delivers babies every week of the year. I actually am afraid for them all.

    • dakinikat says:

      Great! Thank you! A woman who ran the Hillary Campaign down here has already signed on with a Booker. I haven’t made any commitments yet but he’s one on my keeper list along with Harris and Warren. I still have Klobucher, Inslee, and Castro on the most likely a keeper list. That’s a huge pool for me to think about but I’m definitely looking forward to the debates which usually makes or breaks me. The first one after Dubya was retiring I went in thinking I’d support John Edwards and that blew up really quickly. Switched to Hillary because she blew every one out of the water. I remember Edwards telling Obama at the time he better step up his game. Then, all that stuff started coming out about him. Edwards and Elizabeth came here to kick off his campaign across the canal on in the lower 9th ward. I live in the upper 9th ward and it meant a lot to see some one come here and bring the national media to show how our side of town was not coming back like the others.

      • Enheduanna says:

        Dak – you and I have the same favorites – now and in 2008! Edwards was a big ole disappointment. What an overblown ego to think he’d keep a mistress and love child secret.

      • NW Luna says:

        Edwards had good policies. Too bad his private life was unprincipled. Then again, look at Trump. Oh, but he’s Republican.

  10. dakinikat says:

  11. dakinikat says:

  12. NW Luna says:

    Woo-hoo! I love my state Rep Eileen Cody, who’s a neuro-rehab nurse when the Legislature isn’t in session, and my Gov Inslee who worked hard to get this passed. Blue states rock!