Freedom’s Ring is faint and disappearing in the USA!
State after state is signing laws to criminalize abortion under all circumstances making women chattel of the state. Many women with ectopic pregnancies are left to suffer until death’s door is nearly open on the advice of lawyers. Republicans with federal appointments and offices are trying to make that a Total Abortion Ban Federal Law.
Guns have more rights in this country than women and children. The Supreme Court is rewriting law after law with little more justification than they were put there by the Federalist Society to get the job done, they now hold a supermajority and their misguided religious fervor will rule every decision. Police can overlook stating Miranda Rights. The EPA can’t oversee pollution releases in carbon-producing companies This is what the post-2016 election era has brought us. We are living in a Republican dystopia and it’s getting worse.
Every American officeholder should announce that they will never appoint anyone recommended by the extremist group funded by the Koch brothers and others to any judicial appointment. Every candidate needs to announce their intent.
I would suggest you read a compelling book about Germany called The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic published in 2018 and written by Benjamin Carter Hett. As you ask yourselves what Germans in the years of 1933-1934 should’ve, would’ve, could’ve been doing finish by asking yourselves what should we be doing now?
To say that Hitler was elected is too simple. He would never have come to power if Germany’s leading politicians had not responded to a spate of populist insurgencies by trying to co-opt him, a strategy that backed them into a corner from which the only way out was to bring the Nazis in. Hett lays bare the misguided confidence of conservative politicians who believed that Hitler and his followers would willingly support them, not recognizing that their efforts to use the Nazis actually played into Hitler’s hands. They had willingly given him the tools to turn Germany into a vicious dictatorship.
Benjamin Carter Hett is a leading scholar of twentieth-century Germany and a gifted storyteller whose portraits of these feckless politicians show how fragile democracy can be when those in power do not respect it. He offers a powerful lesson for today, when democracy once again finds itself embattled and the siren song of strongmen sounds ever louder.
Realize that Republicans at all levels are using these same techniques. We have “spates” of right-wing insurgencies and they appear only helpless and enabling to stop the rise of White Nationalism. Patriot Front marched around the Freedom Trail in downtown Boston this weekend. The Patriot Front also showed up around Independence day in Philadelphia in 2021. The group was run off by residents. They were arrested in Idaho last month. They are a radical white Christian nationalist group. This is not normal. They’re showing up everywhere.
Driving the news: Police received a call around 12:30 p.m. that a group of protesters were marching through the city, though their route was unknown, CNN reported.
- Many of the marchers wore khaki pants and dark-colored polo shirts, with cloth coverings over their lower faces, along with sunglasses and caps.
State of play: The group approached a rental truck parked near the Haymarket metro stop and unloaded shields and a number of different flags, according to the Boston Herald.
- Among them were U.S. flags, with some being flown upside down and others showing just the 13 stars of the original U.S. colonies. Other flags displayed versions of the symbol used by Benito Mussolini’s National Fascist Party, per the Herald.
- Patriot Front flags were also flown, per CNN.
- Boston police received a report around 1:25 p.m. of a Black man being injured in a confrontation with Patriot Front marchers.
- The man told police that he was pushed around, knocked to the ground, and assaulted by members of the group, suffering several lacerations. He was later taken to Tufts Medical Center, the Herald reported.
- Around 1:30 p.m. the group left the scene via the metro system after packing their materials into a rental truck, per the Herald.
The big picture: City Council President Ed Flynn wrote in a letter Saturday that members of neo-Nazi groups have “continued to make their presence known” in Boston in recent months.
- In February they targeted doctors working to address racial disparities in healthcare at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and appeared at the city’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade in March, Flynn wrote.
- In June, 31 members of the Patriot Front were arrested in Idaho after being caught planning to riot at an LGBTQ Pride event.
What to watch: The Boston Police Department is conducting a civil rights investigation into the incident and no arrests have yet been made, per the Herald.
What they’re saying: “The disgusting hate of white supremacists has no place here. [Especially] when so many of our rights are under attack, we will not normalize intimidation by bigots,” Boston Mayor Michelle Wu tweeted on Saturday.
They marched with anti-abortion protestors in the loop in Chicago in January.
I will never go to Florida again. It’s become the fascist cookbook for laws that could be enforced by the White Nationalist Inquisition. They’ve come for me again. Every student and especially professor at any legitimate university or college has what is called Academic Freedom. It no longer exists in Florida
The concept of academic freedom is based on the idea that the free exchange of ideas on campus is essential to good education. Specifically, academic freedom is the right of faculty members, acting both as individuals and as a collective, to determine without outside interference: (1) the college curriculum; (2) course content; (3) teaching; (4) student evaluation; and (5) the conduct of scholarly inquiry. These rights are supported by two institutional practices—shared governance and tenure (see below.) Academic freedom ensures that colleges and universities are “safe havens” for inquiry, places where students and scholars can challenge the conventional wisdom of any field—art, science, politics or others.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Tuesday signed legislation mandating public colleges and universities survey students and faculty about their beliefs in an effort to promote intellectual diversity on campuses.
“We obviously want our universities to be focused on critical thinking, academic rigor,” DeSantis said during a news conference Tuesday, according to the Naples Daily News.
“We do not want them as basically hotbeds for stale ideology,” he said.
“It used to be thought that a university campus was a place where you’d be exposed to a lot of different ideas,” DeSantis said. “Unfortunately, now the norm is, these are more intellectually repressive environments,” he added.
Under House Bill 233, surveys would be conducted annually on campuses to assess viewpoint diversity and intellectual freedom, and determine “the extent to which competing ideas and perspectives are presented,” and whether students and faculty “feel free to express beliefs and viewpoints on campus and in the classroom.”
I would hate to hear what DeSantis thinks is “stale ideology”. Academic freedom supports the free exchange of ideas but basically ensuring your faculty has an agenda you approve of is just about as fascist as you can get. Throw out theory and replace it with whatever. Does this mean Med Schools must teach that a clump of vibrating cells is a heartbeat when there are no valves present in a fetus at that point in development? How about me? We all live in mixed market economies. Capitalism, Socialism, Communism, whatever are political ideologies and are discussed just as philosophical takes on how to apply data and theory. They’re abstracts only. There, I just got in trouble because I use market economies and dump the philosophical vantages for the idea of doing what works for each individual market. Capitalism is a Marxist Construct. Are my views stale or is he just plain ignorant?
ESPN is not the place where you’d expect a headline or thought piece like this one by Howard Bryant:“Baseball, barbecue and losing freedom this Fourth of July”.
Last month, Major League Baseball and its partners again released Independence Day-themed baseball hats that each of the 30 teams will wear. This year’s version features a flush of stars across the front against a blue and white backdrop, offset with a shaggy shock of red. The Toronto Blue Jays, located in a country that does not celebrate American independence, were also issued the caps — even though the Canadian flag does not contain stars nor the color blue. Public outrage prompted a redesign of the Toronto caps. Next is the USA-themed socks, the marketing, the freedom-inspired spikes, gloves, wristbands, the inevitable paeans to the armed forces.
By now, we’re all numb to the spectacle. At least publicly, the emphasis on the Fourth of July shifted from family to symbols years ago — Sept. 11 did that. Two decades of paid patriotism has made it ever harder to center the Fourth on reconnecting with your favorite aunts and uncles. No backyard barbecue and badminton game could compete with 20 years of military tributes and unquestioned nationalism. You think back to Righetti. Cosmetically, there was nothing about that July 4, 1983, that said patriotism. All Yankee Stadium said that day 39 years ago was baseball. Ninety-four degrees. Sox-Yankees. The Stadium looked as it did every other day. The crowd came because it was July 4, a Monday day game — a great day for baseball and family — and, along with Bat Day, the biggest giveaway day of the year: Yankee Cap Day. You smile a little at the victory in that, because only a few decades earlier, the Yankees were most resistant to a brilliant piece of marketing. In the 1950s, the Yankees did not want fans wearing Yankees caps. George Weiss, the Yankees’ general manager at the time, thought a million New York kids wearing the team cap cheapened the brand. Yankees hats were a piece of a professional uniform. They were for players, not fans.
Grilling, baseball and fireworks, first replaced by symbols — and now by a country tearing itself completely apart. July 4, 2022, falls in the midst of devastation. It is Independence Day in America with independence under current and relentless assault. From Miranda rights to the environment, to the separation of church and state, to guns — so many guns — people are reeling. The U.S. Supreme Court has run a chain saw through what two generations of Americans had known to be the legal baselines of their lives. Tens of millions of women today do not feel freedom and certainly are not celebrating independence. The people who can become pregnant who feel celebratory toward the Court may do so from the victory of their position, but it nevertheless remains true that the power of choice — and the right to privacy — has been taken from all of them.
There’s not a fine line between honoring and disrespecting the flag, but Trumperz doesn’t appear to know that. If you want to see what a cult look likes take a look at this Guardian piece: “Trump supporters: what they wear – in pictures.” It’s frankly scary and depressing at the same time while being terrifically disrespectful to the flag.
Here’s a video from Ken Burns published at the New York Times. America Is Failing Refugees, and Itself/ For his 1985 documentary about the Statue of Liberty, the filmmaker Ken Burns interviewed two Jewish boys sitting on a bench in New York City. They were twins who had fled Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union, with their father.”
Also from The New York Times and Peter Baker: “New Insights Into Trump’s State of Mind on Jan. 6 Chip Away at Doubts. Former President Donald J. Trump has weathered scandals by keeping his intentions under wraps, but recent testimony paints a stark portrait of a man willing to do almost anything to hang onto power.”
He was not speaking metaphorically. It was not an offhand comment. President Donald J. Trump had every intention of joining a mob of supporters he knew to be armed and dangerous as it marched to the Capitol. And there had even been talk of marching into the House chamber himself to disrupt Congress from ratifying his election defeat.
For a year and a half, Mr. Trump has been shielded by obfuscations and mischaracterizations, benefiting from uncertainty about what he was thinking on Jan. 6, 2021. If he truly believed the election had been stolen, if he genuinely expected the gathering at the Capitol would be a peaceful protest, the argument went, then could he be held accountable, much less indicted, for the mayhem that ensued?
But for a man who famously avoids leaving emails or other trails of evidence of his unspoken motives, any doubts about what was really going through Mr. Trump’s mind on that day of violence seemed to have been eviscerated by testimony presented in recent weeks by the House committee investigating the Capitol attack — especially the dramatic appearance last week of a 26-year-old former White House aide who offered a chilling portrait of a president willing to do almost anything to hang onto power.
So, this is not a drill. This is real. I think it’s time we dig into a little Weimar Republic History and see where the Germans got it wrong and then vow to get it right.
Happy Independence Day even though we are less independent today than we were when Hillary told us during her campaign that all of this was bound to happen.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Good Day Sky Dancers!
I’ve been staring at this white page on my computer screen for several hours now. I’m going back and forth between Twitter and Memeorandum, sorting out the headlines we’ve lived with for over a year. It’s just a riff on the days and months before.
The news on the Insurrectionists continues to be grim, with yet another Republican refusing to testify before a committee. This time it’s Gym Jordan who swears he knows nothing, nothing! This is from Steve Benen, writing for MSNBC.
It was nearly three weeks ago when the bipartisan panel first reached out to Jordan, not with a subpoena, but with a written request for information. The far-right congressman soon after appeared on Fox News, saying he was unlikely to cooperate. “I got real concerns about any committee that will take a document and alter it and present it to the American people — completely mislead the American people like they did last week,” he argued.
In reality, the committee did not actually mislead anyone and Jordan’s complaint was difficult to take seriously.
Yesterday, Jordan moved on to a new list of concerns, claiming in a written response that the request from investigators “is far outside the bounds of any legitimate inquiry, violates core constitutional principles and would serve to further erode legislative norms.”
So much for “if they call me, I got nothing to hide.”
In case this isn’t obvious, the Republican is in a unique position to help shed light on the events surrounding last year’s political violence. The New York Times recently reported, for example, that Jordan attended crisis meetings at Trump campaign headquarters as early as Nov. 9, just two days after Joe Biden became president-elect.
Nicolas Wu reports this bit of breaking news today in Politico. As we all know, Trump was a very busy boy trying to dump election results. Now, we are beginning to see the extent of it.
The public focus of Congress’ Jan. 6 investigation, so far, is what happened in Washington, D.C. Behind the scenes, the probe’s state-level work is kicking into overdrive.
The House committee investigating the Capitol attack has gathered thousands of records from state officials and interviewed a slate of witnesses as it attempts to retrace former President Donald Trump’s attempts to subvert the 2020 election, particularly in four key states that swung the presidency to Joe Biden. They’re getting ready to take their work public, possibly as soon as the spring.
“We want to let the public see and hear from those individuals who conducted elections in those states,” select panel chair Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in an interview. He described those witnesses as particularly important given their mandates to keep elections “fair and impartial” while hailing from one political party.
The voluminous documents state election officials have sent the Jan. 6 committee, obtained by POLITICO through open records requests, underscore the depth of Trump’s pressure campaign directed at the typically lower-level administrators of presidential balloting. The emails, texts and phone recordings also add consequential context to previously reported incidents, such as Trump’s call to Georgia’s top elections investigator and Mark Meadows’ outreach to Georgia election officials.
Trump really mistook all those state public servants as foot soldiers in his campaign to be President-for-Life. It shows how urgent the situation will be if any more Trumpzies get into the office at any level.
The Washington Post has a most exciting database and analysis of ng “Who owned Slaves in Congress.” As a descendent of 6 signers of the Declaration of Independence and two signers of The US Constitution, I continually deal with the idea that my family–at one point–owned people. All of my greats that fought in the Civil War were on the Union side; still, farther back, were everything from prominent plantation families from Virginia and South Carolina to small farmers owning a couple and their children. It’s still something I try to wrap my head around. “More than 1,700 congressmen once enslaved Black people. This is who they were and how they shaped the nation”. The Washington Post has compiled the first database of slaveholding members of Congress by examining thousands of pages of census records and historical documents.” This is also how my mother dug up our family history.
The biggest shock came for me after the murder of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, who I realized was most likely a family member. He was murdered in 2015 by a white supremacist along with other parishioners. Mother always was a little weird when explaining the relationship between the signers of the Constitution from South Carolina. She would always point out that the Governor was just a great Uncle while our “direct” ancestor was the other. I’ve known this since high school but only delved deeper into that history after that horrible massacre in the Mother Emanuel AME church. I found that great Uncle Charles Pinckney helped write the Fugitive Slave Act. This haunts me and the knowledge that every black American with that name has ties to that family plantation. It grounds me in history in a significant way. The interactive database is quite interesting.
The country is still grappling with the legacy of their embrace of slavery. The link between race and political power in early America echoes in complicated ways, from the racial inequities that persist to this day to the polarizing fights over voting rights and the way history is taught in schools.
The Washington Post created a database that shows enslavers in Congressrepresented 37 states, including not just the South but every state in New England, much of the Midwest, and many Western states.
While teachers are now discouraged from teaching actual history including our roots in slavery and the slaughter and displacement of Indigenous peoples, one GOP State Senator from Indiana has a really abhorrent policy suggestion. “An Indiana GOP state senator said teachers’ need to be impartial’ during lessons about Nazism and fascism” I’m thrilled my father didn’t live to see this coming out of the Republican Party.
On Wednesday, during an Indiana state Senate committee hearing about a proposed bill that would ban “divisive concepts” in school classrooms, Republican Sen. Scott Baldwin said teachers’ lessons about fascism and Nazismshould be impartial.
“Marxism, Nazism, fascism … I have no problem with the education system providing instruction on the existence of those ‘isms,’ ” said Baldwin, who co-wrote the bill. “I believe that we’ve gone too far when we take a position. … We need to be impartial.”
Baldwin backtracked those comments Thursday following criticism. In an email to the Indianapolis Star, Baldwin said he was focused on the “big picture” of preventing teachers fromtelling students “what to think about politics.”
“Nazism, Marxism and fascism are a stain on our world history and should be regarded as such, and I failed to adequately articulate that in my comments during the meeting,” Baldwin said. “I believe that kids should learn about these horrible events in history so that we don’t experience them again in humanity.”
These are the same people that insist their take on Christianity be forced on everyone, including other Christians. They’re still continuing to try to kill public education.
Here’s why they hate anyone who teaches critical thinking skills like yours truly. (via Eudhanna). This is from the New Daily of Australia. “Conspiracy theorists lack critical thinking skills: New study.” It was initially published last July by John Elder.
The French researchers ran two studies, where they assessed the critical thinking skills of 338 undergraduate students using a French version of a teaching and testing tool known as the Ennis-Weir Critical Thinking Essay Test.
They then scored the students’ tendencies towards conspiracy beliefs and their personal assessment of their critical thinking skills.
Critical thinking is the objective analysis and evaluation of a situation – and requires a number of cognitive skills.
These include the ability to think systematically, see other perspectives, change your mind when new evidence arises, identify relevant versus irrelevant information, identify and discard logical fallacies, be aware of biases and avoid them, and look beyond the obvious.
None of this is particularly easy.
What the researchers found was a strong association between lower critical thinking skills and an increased tendency toward believing conspiracy theories.
This isn’t a new idea – instead, it persuasively builds on previous research.
Meanwhile, the pandemic continues unabated.
.Caitlin Owens–writing for Axios—believes that “The Biden administration has a COVID credibility crisis.”
A series of messaging missteps is threatening the credibility of federal health agencies, and critics say the White House isn’t doing enough to manage the fallout.
Why it matters: While much of the unvaccinated population is unlikely to be persuaded by any messenger, large swaths of the public are still receptive to expert guidance, but federal health agencies, particularly the CDC, may be squandering their credibility with this population.
- “The administration in general has lost the confidence of people who would be their natural supporters,” said Celine Gounder, an infectious disease expert and former Biden administration advisory board member.
State of play: Months of convoluted guidance hit a breaking point over the winter holiday, when the CDC became a viral internet meme amongst frustrated Americans who could no longer take the agency’s guidance seriously.
- The CDC’s new guidance on how long COVID patients should remain in isolation was mocked by thousands of internet meme-makers. The CDC responded by saying the changing guidelines are motivated by “fast-moving science.”
- “It’s never good to be the butt of jokes,” former CDC director Tom Frieden said in an interview.
Context: The CDC and the FDA also waited months to make booster shots available to all American adults. Those shots have proven especially important against Omicron, and many states, pharmacies and individual patients ignored the CDC’s more limited initial recommendations.
- Recommendations about masking have fallen flat for months.
What they’re saying: “The CDC is facing a real crisis of trust,” said Leana Wen, a physician and professor at George Washington University.
- And some experts say CDC director Rochelle Walensky should shoulder much of the blame for the administration’s messaging mess.
- “The primary problem is the policy and how insular Walensky has been in setting it,” Wen said. “She and the others are great communicators but no one can communicate a bad policy.”
The next part of the piece is basically a rebuttal if you want to read the counterpoints.
So, you can always take the Q-Anon/Anti-Vaxxer’s take on things, including taking horse pills and drinking piss. This is from the Daily Beast. “Anti-Vax Leader Urges Followers to Drink Their Own Urine to Fight COVID.”
Anti-COVID-19 “Vaccine Police” leader Christopher Key has a new quarter-baked conspiracy theory for his anti-vax followers to use to cure themselves of COVID-19: Drink their own urine. “The antidote that we have seen now, and we have tons and tons of research, is urine therapy. OK, and I know to a lot of you this sounds crazy, but guys, God’s given us everything we need,” Key said in a video posted over the weekend on his Telegram account after being released from jail over a trespassing charge. “This has been around for centuries,” he added. “When I tell you this, please take it with a grain of salt,” the anti-vaccine advocate warned while saying people might now think he is “cray cray.” “Now drink urine!” he continued. “This vaccine is the worst bioweapon I have ever seen,” he concluded. “I drink my own urine!” Reached for comment by The Daily Beast on Sunday night, Key doubled down on what he calls “urine therapy” and railed against “foolish” people who took the COVID-19 vaccine, which is safe and effective.
No critical thinking skills here at all, I’d say!
So, the last thing I want to mention is the Bronx fire that has killed 17 people, including children.
And with that, I leave you.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Good Day Sky Dancers!
For the first time in four years I had CNN or MSNBC news on during the day while I was working with students and grading. It’s been my background noise for years but I gave it up for at least the last two. Yesterday and today, it’s like being a kid on Christmas morning just about every hour. Presents! Presents! Presents!
We heard an unleashed Dr Fauci give a press conference filled with facts and science! There were presidential signatures with actual pens–not childlike sharpie markers–placed on executive orders giving us a Federal Response to Covid-19 and to future Pandemics. And freeing us from so much of the damage Trump has done to the environment, diplomacy, and collective bargaining.
We welcomed back the idea that women have a right to moral agency and to make decisions concerning their own bodies without politicians. Two wonderfully able people were put into cabinet posts for the nation’s defense and intelligence. *Katie Tur called it a return to ‘radical normalcy’. I felt years of stress fall from my shoulders and today, I slept in late again with no Felliniesque Dystopian nightmare.
Today, Jane Yellen was approved for Treasury Secretary. I’m thrilled.
The House will send its Articles of Impeachment to the Senate on Monday where Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and the new Democratic majority will work with what’s left of the Trump-Free Republican Party to deal with sedition charges. This is from Axios and Zachary Basu.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for “incitement of insurrection” on Monday.
Why it matters: The Senate is required to begin the impeachment trial at 1 p.m. the day after the article is transmitted.
- Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had been pushing for the trial to begin in mid-February to allow senators more time to gather evidence and to give Trump proper due process.
- Schumer had countered that it would force the Senate to delay other important business, such as passing COVID relief.
What they’re saying: “I’ve heard some of my Republican colleagues argue that this trial would be unconstitutional because Donald Trump is no longer in office. An argument that has been roundly repudiated, debunked by hundreds of constitutional scholars — left, right, and center — and defies basic common sense,” Schumer said in a speech on the Senate floor.
- “It makes no sense whatsoever that a president or any official could commit a heinous crime against our country and then be permitted to resign so as to avoid accountability and a vote to disbar them from future office. It makes no sense,” he continued.
The bottom line: Trump is the first president to be impeached twice, and he will be the first to face a Senate trial after leaving office.
Talking Heads consider Trump’s choice of lawyers to be a signal he’s taking this impeachment with more gravitas. He’s no longer protected by the Presidency and he’s already facing financial problems. This should be a seriously good watch.
Some Trump allies believe the president plans to use his trial to further his baseless claims that the election was stolen from him, according to two former aides familiar with his strategy. One of the aides cautioned that no defense strategy had been definitively agreed upon, though.
Bowers’ history suggests that the ex-president is keen on focusing on how votes were cast and counted during the 2020 cycle.Bowers served under President George W. Bush as special counsel for voting matters in the Justice Department, and worked as counsel in Florida for John McCain’s 2008 presidential run.
“All I can say is based on the Butch Bowers I know and respect, I would hope that he wouldn’t be sucked in as a tool in advancing the president’s conspiracy theories,” Sanford said.
Trump’s push to bolster his defense team comes one week after House Democrats impeached him for a second time on charges of inciting an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Hundreds of pro-Trump demonstrators stormed the building — injuring law enforcement officials and forcing the evacuation of members of Congress — after rallying with the ex-president outside the White House.
There’s actually a lot of there there.
Meanwhile, back in the Trump clown car that still functions in and around Capitol Hill, one of the whack-a-do QAnon Congresswomen Margorie Taylor Greene is fundraising off of it as reported by Newsweek. Hunter Biden’s Laptop is the new What about her emails?
According to a press release posted to Twitter by Greene, the impeachment articles are for Biden’s “corrupt actions involving his quid pro quo in Ukraine and his abuse of power by allowing his son, Hunter Biden, to siphon off cash from America’s greatest enemies Russia and China.”
There’s already a twitter troll army out there that seem to be freshly minted like a few hours ago.
The lawyers on the Impeachment side are an impressive list of prosecutors. But so are the ones waiting to hit him with all kinds of suits now that he’s left office.
So, if you like Law and Order Shows, we have what seems an endless stream of them coming for Unindicted Co-conspirator Number One. Radical Normalcy will indeed by Radical for the Trump Crime Family. The reckoning is coming.
Meanwhile, GOOD NEWS EVERYONE! Buck up White Christian Nationalists! You snowflakes you!
On his first day in office, President Biden issued a sweeping executive order making it clear that gay and transgender people are protected against discrimination in schools, health care, the workplace and other realms of American life.
Via KLRT-TV: President Biden has button used to order Diet Coke removed from Oval Office’s Resolute Desk— (NEXSTAR)
The furniture and artwork may be largely the same, but one ornament has apparently quickly disappeared disappeared from the White House Oval Office following the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
From Susannah George at the Washington Post: U.S. to resume processing thousands of stalled visas for Afghans who aided Americans
The U.S. Embassy in Kabul will soon resume processing thousands of stalled special visa applications for Afghans who aided U.S. forces after halting visa interviews in March because of the pandemic.
A State Department official said the U.S. Embassy in Kabul would begin “a phased resumption” of in-person interviews in February. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity under rules imposed by the State Department, would not comment on how many visas the embassy expects to process.
More than 7,000 special visas allocated to Afghans by Congress in 2020 went unissued, compared with about 5,000 the year before, according to State Department data. Nearly 19,000 visa applications were stuck in processing as of September 2019, according to a State Department audit last year, a number that was all but guaranteed to grow with the coronavirus disruptions.
Doesn’t Radical Normalcy feel grand? I, for one, am looking forward to another boring Press Conference where we learn endless details and actually information about all kinds of things that just go along with basic competent governance. No more of any of this:
I’m beginning to feel human and alive again!
How are y’all doing? What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
In a world….
…where glow-in-the-dark mutant jellyfish fetuses have a 3 in 2 chance of being aborted and flushed down a pink commie Planned Parenthood commode…
….there is only one man brave enough to fight against all reason, science, and comedic ridicule to save them…
…that man, is Georgia Republican Tom Kirby.
But when Colonel Kirby, Defender of the Sea Jelly Veldt….comes up against a few no-good science loving bums…who question his reasons against mixing human DNA and jellyfish DNA…
…his plans to pass his “Save the unborn Jellyfish People Bill” run amok.
And yet…at the same time….save Gawd’s little sacred unborn glowing gift of life?
Coming to theaters this summer….
JELLYMEN: The Miss Adventures of Tom Kirby
Oh he ain’t all that innocent.
Yup, the force is strong with this one…and if you think it is a fucking joke. IT ISN’T!
From Huffington Post:
A Georgia state representative is standing up for the rights of embryos: He wants to make sure they aren’t forced to glow in the dark.
Republican Rep. Tom Kirby, who has served since 2012, has posted a list of his top issues on his website. Among them he names the “ethical treatment of embryos,” which he notes includes a call to ban the mixing of human and jellyfish DNA.
The website states:
We in Georgia are taking the lead on this issue. Human life at all stages is precious including as an embryo. We need to get out in front of the science and technology, before it becomes something no one wants. The mixing of Human Embryos with Jellyfish cells to create a glow in the dark human, we say not in Georgia. This bill is about protecting Human life while maintaining good, valid research that does not destroy life.
Kirby also introduced legislation last week that would make it unlawful for “any person or entity to intentionally or knowingly create or attempt to create an in vitro human embryo by any means other than fertilization of a human egg by a human sperm.”
A reporter from a Georgia news station caught up with Kirby to ask for an explanation of his bill and why someone might want to mix human and jellyfish DNA.
“To make them glow in the dark is the only thing I know of,” he told Channel 2.
He also said he has not seen evidence that anyone in Georgia is trying to create human-jellyfish hybrids. “I’ve had people tell me it is, but I have not verified that for sure,” Kirby said. “It’s time we either get in front of it or we’re going to be chasing our tails.”
This is apparently not a new concern for Kirby. In a 2013 video posted on YouTube, he talked about banning human-animal hybrids.
“We’re going to stand up and say that Frankenstein-type science is not going to happen in Georgia anymore,” Kirby said. “That’s something that we really need to get rid of here.”
Sorry, but I had to quote that article in full…I could not help it. You have to forgive me. This is just fucked up beyond belief.
I mean, who needs “Frankenstein-type science” going on here in Georgia when we’ve got a proven Deliverance style of inbreeding program working in full force?
Never say that Georgia Republican Tom Kirby isn’t fighting for What Matters. Many politicians enter public service because there is something in their hearts that compels them to do it, for the good of their people, and Georgia state Rep. Tom Kirby is no exception. He will protect Georgians from the scourge of human jellyfish fetuses, because that his is calling in life! You didn’t know this was a problem affecting Georgia? That is because you are clearly stupid, let Tom’s website (the URL of which inexplicably ends with “pretty photo”) tell you:
We in Georgia are taking the lead on this issue.
Human life at all stages is precious including as an embryo. We need to get out in front of the science and technology, before it becomes something no one wants. The mixing of Human Embryos with Jellyfish cells to create a glow in the dark human, we say not in Georgia.
Leave that to South Carolina or Alabama, let Lindsey Graham and Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore glow like gay nightlights, NOT IN GEORGIA. We are relieved that Tom will help us GET IN FRONT OF SCIENCE, because we all know what happens when science is in front of you, you learn things and make breakthroughs and suddenly everybody starts evolutioning each other, right in front of the children, NOT IN GEORGIA!
Tom just wants to make sure that when we do science, we are not destroying embryos, because Abortion, but we did not know that “light it up” was a third option between “let it become a beautiful baby” and “kill it!”
A beautiful greenish glow in the dark jellyfish freak baby who will probably end up on food stamps and addicted to crack….fucking jelly welfare queens.
He has not seen evidence, you guys, of anyone in Georgia doing the people-jellyfish, but it’s something that we “really need to get rid of” and that “is not going to happen in Georgia anymore.” You know that thing when you are having a hard time making a joke because the joke is already written? That is happening to your Wonkette right now, it is tough. Also, you don’t want to be chasing your tails on this issue, because you know who ELSE has a tail? Jellyfish. (No they don’t.)
Kirby also says in this here video that he is concerned about getting jellyfish embryos to do sex to cow embryos, effectively making glow-in-the-dark cows, and that is A Outrage, because that is cheating at the rules of Cow Tipping, it’s not fair if one team’s cows glow and the other ones don’t.
Anyway, nobody send Tom this article about how humans actually ALREADY glow in the dark, it will give him wingnut nightmares and he will wake up crying, because he is such a dipshit.
Not only is he a dipshit…he is a symbol of what this Country’s elected office has become. A whole domed building of legislator dipshits, (well, except for the ones who bring ovaries to the Hill: Study: Women in the Senate Get Shit Done.) These dipshits…bought and paid for by two rich ass dipshit brothers…set on destroying the world as we know it. Now when are we going to see a summer blockbuster movie about that?
Now, I really have some disturbing links for you today, so what I am going to do is put them up first and then hit ya with a lot of fun stuff. Okay?
Last week saw the launch of the Femicide Census, a list of murdered women that digs down into the internet like a terrible well. It was reported at length in this paper, in a piece that detailed what has changed since Karen Ingala Smith first started counting dead women in 2012, and contained tributes to some of the victims, pictured smiling and beautiful, looking off to the side of the photos, shy.
Since that piece was published though, it’s likely that in the UK alone, four more women have been murdered by their partners. This thing is going to take some time. The numbers continue to rise. These deaths are being defined not just as murders, but as “femicide”, because these are very particular deaths. These 150 women, the word acknowledges, were killed for being women. They were killed for being women because killing women is the endgame of inequality. So the word is important, because it defines their deaths as sexist acts, as tragedies that we are all witness to. The aim of the census is to connect the cases in order to analyse this violence properly, and then to end it.
Patterns are already clear. There were more than 64,000 sexual offences recorded by police last year, Ingala Smith tells me, and 1.4 million domestic violence assaults against women. “When men kill women,” she wants to stress, “they are doing so in the context of a society in which men’s violence against women is entrenched and systemic. When misogyny, sexism and the objectification of women are so pervasive that they are all but inescapable, can a man killing a women ever not be a sexist act?”
An aside: since the launch, reports of the census have inevitably been pissed on with the question: “What about the men?” Like the commenter’s cliché “Not all men”, it’s a question noisily applied to derail feminist arguments, and sometimes it is worth answering and sometimes, well, no. This time, the what-about-the-menners are claiming that in concentrating solely on female victims the census is itself sexist. But when men kill their partners they have usually been abusing them for years. When women kill, they themselves have usually been abused. In the decade up to 2012, 93.9% of adults who were convicted of murder were men. So.
Read more at the link, but to illustrate a point that this census makes…
A 26-year-old single mother from Houston was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend just hours after she reported him to authorities, KHOU-TV reported.
Investigators said the suspect went to Takita Mathieu’s workplace on Thursday afternoon and shot her before turning the gun on himself in an apparent murder-suicide attempt. However, he survived and was listed as being on life support as of Friday at a local hospital.
The Houston Chronicle reported that, according to witnesses, the suspect argued with Mathieu before the shooting. A semi-automatic pistol, believed to be the weapon, was found at the scene.
Mathieu had reportedly filed multiple complaints with the police about the suspect’s “erratic” behavior and harassment leading up to the shooting. Authorities said the man called her 140 times since she ended the relationship four months ago.
The victim’s cousin, Morris Williams, told KHOU that she was afraid to return to Houston after visiting family in Louisiana for Mardi Gras festivities.
“To see her daughter just to grow up without her mother is very sad,” Williams said.
What can you say to this woman’s daughter, who saw her mother trying to do the right thing by turning to the authorities and courts…ugh.
At the time I wrote for Salon in late August, (Michael) Peroutka had only recently convened a press conference, under severe pressure, in which he insisted that he wasn’t a racist—those who attacked him were—and that he had no intention of leaving the League of the South. However, in mid-October, just two weeks before the election, the Baltimore Sun reported that he had left the League, around the time my story had run, but for inexplicable reasons:
Peroutka, a Millersville Republican, said he left the group prior to Labor Day because he discovered statements members made on the subject of being opposed to interracial marriage were “contrary to my beliefs.” He would not elaborate.
Though his League of the South membership drew criticism during the campaign — “Everybody wants to talk about League of the South all the time,” he said — the decision to quit the group was not politically motivated, Peroutka said.
“I didn’t do it to bring up any political points,” Peroutka said. “I dont have any problem with the organization.”
Peroutka said he still stands by the group’s stances on self-government and conserving southern heritage.
The lack of any serious differences were further underscored, when Peroutka won the election, and was congratulated by League President Michael Hill. His resignation was kabuki theater, nothing more
Even in its own terms, the account was nonsensical, since he remains quite friendly with Hill, who is himself opposed to racial intermarriage. But that’s relatively common among Southern conservatives: about 20 percent of them held such views from 2000 to 2012, according to the General Social Survey. Given that the League of the South appeals overwhelmingly to this demographic, it would have been truly shocking if there weren’t members who felt this way. What did Peroutka expect to find there? Who’s he trying to kid?
At the same time, the League’s official policy since its founding had been opposed to racial integration in the private sector—artfully phrased by saying, “we believe in a Southern society that…. Values and sustains true freedom of association.” As Rand Paul will tell you, “true freedom of association” means discrimination. And Peroutka never had a problem with that.
In short, his resignation was just political theater: Peroutka needed an opportunity to perform the pretense of anti-racism, without actually doing or saying anything to alienate his like-minded base. That finely-tuned balance was precisely the point, and it worked perfectly with those who wanted to believe his performance, who were just enough to help him get elected in the GOP wave, with a little extra help from a Nixon-style, last-minute dirty-trick anti-gay robocall, which Peroutka also unconvincingly denied any knowledge of.
This is how Peroutka operates, a master of contradictory mixed message delivery, highly skilled at crafting beautiful lies in the best Southern tradition. He’s closely aligned with the Southern secessionist white supremacist base, but he’s particularly focused on trying to make it seem mainstream, spinning out an alternative-history view of the world. As happened here, this sometimes requires him to play distancing games, but he effortlessly paired that distancing with blatantly open assurances of continued allegiance.
Peroutka and Moore both make a similar basic argument. Its full-blown form runs as follows: Gay marriage is against “God’s law,” and the Constitution is based on “God’s law” (the Bible), ergo gay marriage is unconstitutional, and judges who say otherwise are violating their oaths, and need not be obeyed—in fact, they should be impeached, and if not, their continued officeholding may be grounds for (a) nullification and/or (b) secession, because it is a form of tyranny. Peroutka has openly touched all the bases on this argument, while Moore has at least gone as far as calling for impeachment, as Sara Posner reports, but no one should be surprised if he’s willing to go all the way. The ease with which he ignored a Supreme Court ruling—declining to stay the same-sex marriage order—certainly would suggest that he might be just as comfortable with nullification and secession as his good friend Michael Peroutka is.
That is just part of the middle of the article…read the whole thing at the link.
A Louisiana elected official accused of sexually assaulting his former wife watched pornography on his government computer and left a threatening note to his alleged victim, prosecutors said.
St. Bernard Parish President Dave Peralta was indicted in April on sexual battery charges in connection with an October 2013 attack on his then-wife, who is accused of handcuffing, tying to the ceiling, beating, and sexually assaulting.
The state Attorney General filed documents Thursday that described the incident and offers a possible motive and intent, reported the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
Investigators said Peralta, a Republican from Meraux, frequently viewed explicit videos depicting bondage and forced sex on his personal and work computers, and they also found a handwritten note that appears to threaten his then-wife with assault.
“Your going to be a rape victim,” the note reads. “Put on heels, skirt & a blouse you don’t care if it gets ruined. Text me when you are ready and come downstairs.”
The note is not signed or dated, but prosecutors said it was written by Peralta and discovered during a July search of his home.
The 107-page court filing accused Peralta of using his position to intimidate his former wife, who worked as a paralegal for the parish government.
Prosecutors said Peralta retaliated against his former wife after she tried to expose his alleged gambling addiction.
He also threatened to expose sexually explicit photos of her to force the woman to drop her accusations against him during their divorce proceedings, investigators said.
Peralta was also charged with felony stalking in another parish after he was accused of sending threatening emails to his ex-wife.
A grand jury is considering a possible malfeasance in office charge against him, as well.
This next one is unbelievably cruel: Cops: Baby Died After Couple Used Breast Milk for Porn Instead of Food
The picture of the mug shots are enough to get you even more pissed. The dude is smirking…
A pair of parents in Glendale, Oregon, were charged with murder by abuse this week in the starvation death of their seven-week-old son. According to local news outlet KPIC, police believe Amanda Hancock used breast milk for lactation porn “instead of feeding the child.” Stephen Williams, the father, also allegedly worked in online porn.
Deputies from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call about an infant in distress on January 22. Data Hancock, the baby boy, died on the scene, and Williams and Amanda Hancock were arrested following a monthlong investigation, during which medical examiners determined that starvation was the time of death.
Hancock and Williams told police that they fed Data milk several times a day, KPIC reports, but admitted that they did not properly care for him in general. Williams said that he noticed that the baby was losing weight, but did not call a doctor because he believed that to be Hancock’s responsibility.
An advisory panel of the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors has recommended closing three academic centers, including a poverty center and one dedicated to social change, inciting outrage among liberals who believe that conservatives in control of state government are targeting ideological opponents in academia.
Conservatives are cheering the move, seeing it as a corrective to a higher education system they believe has lent its imprimatur to groups that engage in partisan activism.
A Catholic church there, the Star of the Sea, decided to stop allowing girls to be altar servers. Existing girls who are serving can continue but new ones will not be accepted.
Imagine how you would feel if you were one of those “mistake, oops” girls! To allow them to continue doesn’t patch up the rejection.
But it’s all perfectly fine, because there are parents in the congregation who like the idea of boys-only (in a church of male-priests-only) and because the priest behind this “innovation,” one Joseph Illo, argues that the change is great for male bonding and makes sense as being an altar server could be the first step to becoming a priest and — duh — girls cannot become priests ever. The logic is beautiful and very clear and in my divine opinion backwards.
The same Joseph Illo raised a few feathers more recently:
The Rev. Joseph Illo recently banned the use of altar girls at school and parish Masses at Star of the Sea, a decision opposed by some parents and staff.
Illo also upset families when he decided that non-Catholic students could no longer receive blessings during Communion, a decision he reversed after complaints from the school community.
And this week, parents revealed that Star of the Sea students as young as those in second grade received a pamphlet about confession late last year that referred to sexual topics such as sodomy, masturbation and abortion.
That was a mistake, Illo said Wednesday.
“Among the 70 items for reflection, some were not age appropriate for schoolchildren,” Illo said in a statement. “We apologize for this oversight and removed the pamphlet as soon as this was brought to our attention by the school faculty in December.”
You want to know what those pamphlets contained?
They asked questions such as, “Did I perform impure acts by myself (masturbation) or with another (adultery, fornication and sodomy)?” and, “Did I practice artificial birth control or was I or my spouse prematurely sterilized (tubal ligation or vasectomy)?” as well as, “Have I had or advised anyone to have an abortion?”
Riley Brooks, an 11-year-old student at the school, explained how he and his sixth-grade classmates responded to the material: they were “really grossed out.” “There was something about masturbation,” Brooks told the Chronicle. “Pretty sure abortion was on there, but I can’t remember. And sodomy. I don’t know what that means.”
Put all that together and Illo, a presumably celibate man in power inside a church which assigns most power to celibate men, comes across as someone who just may have a slight problem with women and women’s sexuality. The irony in that is more than I can quite absorb.
I can’t absorb it either.
As I read this piece in the Washington Post yesterday I felt sicker and sicker. It’s about the deep psychological toll that many feminist writers endure when they publish online.
The underlying problem is well documented. Thanks to the Internet and social media, a message can reach more people, via fewer gatekeepers, than ever before. But that freedom of movement for information has also allowed groups of highly organized trolls to pummel and pummel in highly targeted and efficient ways they couldn’t before. Often the targets of those trolls are women.
Women who receive this kind of daily onslaught are often faced with two possible outcomes: The first is that they stand their ground, knowing that the attacks will keep coming, and that they’ll likely spend the rest of their lives battling the damage to their psyche. Or, they agree to be silenced and spend the rest of their lives in a mixture of guilt and sadness that they “allowed” the bullies to win.
As I said, those were some heavy duty links. Be sure to take a look at the rest of the articles if you have a chance…I think you will find these interesting:
Tonight is Oscar night!
So in celebration of that, here are some movie linkish goodness~
I know that The Grand Budapest Hotel has a slim chance of winning for best picture. But if you have not seen it, please…go and check it out…it is wonderful!
Wes Anderson’s Oscar-nominated film does something few art forms have managed: It offers a funny, but respectful, reflection on the horrors of the Holocaust.
Like so many others, I spent last month’s 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in remembrance of the Holocaust. I quietly contemplated the past, thought about family members who had survived, and those who had perished, attended a commemorative ceremony, said Kaddish, and shed some tears. And then I watched a comedy—Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, which is nominated for nine Academy Awards at this Sunday’s ceremony.
How can comedy ever be appropriate when it comes to remembering such solemn events? I first asked that question about the film three years ago, before it was even made. At the time I was the U.S. Ambassador in Prague, and the filmmakers reached out to say that they were researching a movie set in the fictional land of Zubrowka (a stand in for the Czech lands) during the 1930s, concluding in 1938 and told in flashback from 1968 (two very bleak years in Czech history, marking the Nazi and the Soviet invasions). Would I help?
I hope that Anderson wins for best screenplay. Read the rest at that link, it is a good review.
Next up, an actual article written by Hattie McDaniel’s Defies Critics in 1947 THR Essay: “I Have Never Apologized” – Hollywood Reporter
THR has reprinted this essay by McDaniel…
Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American actor to win an Academy Award for 1939’s Gone With the Wind, wrote this touching piece in a 1947 issue of The Hollywood Reporter.
An utterance of a first century Jewish scholar, “I am became all things to all men,” can very aptly be applied to Hollywood — film city of the world. To the blue-nosed moralist, it is a city of gin and sin. To a producer, it is an exacting place of business. To the actor or actress, it is a powerful potentate, holding in its hands honor or oblivion. To the tourist from Salt Lake, or Peoria, or Milwaukee, Hollywood is a man-made fairyland.
Sixteen years ago, I was a tourist from Milwaukee.
Two separate polarizing debates attached themselves to the 87th Academy Awards long before the red carpets were unfurled. Are the dearth of African-American nominees and the low count of Selma noms indicative of a colorblind selection process, or of entrenched racism? Is American Sniper a chilling view of the personal costs of war, or unadulterated propaganda?
There’s a chance these pressure points will pop up during Sunday night’s broadcast from the Dolby Theatre. But will any potential eruptions dislodge one of these 10 historical moments of political theater as played out live on the Oscar stage?
1940: Hattie McDaniel’s Long Walk to Gold
Way back at the 12th Academy Awards, Hattie McDaniel won an Academy Award for best supporting actress, which on the surface is an ordinary big deal. An actress wins the best supporting award every year, and the film McDaniel was nominated for, Gone With the Wind, raked in eight Oscars. Hattie McDaniel’s big deal is that she was the first African-American ever to be nominated for an Academy Award, and she won it, too. When her name was announced in the Cocoanut Grove nightclub at L.A.’s Ambassador Hotel, McDaniel stood up, way back in the room, and started the long walk down toward the stage from the segregated dining table.
More at the link.
Hullabaloo– Saturday Night at the Movies Pre-Oscar marathon: Top 10 Movies about the movies By Dennis Hartley
And for the last link of the post:
Back in January we told you about Rowan Hansen, an 11-year-old comic lover who hand-wrote a letter to DC sharing her frustration over gendered toys and lack of representation for female fans.
Nearly a month later, Rowan and her message that “girls read comics, too” are still gaining traction, with the fifth-grader appearing on an NBC Today segment this morning to talk about her favorite heroes, the impracticality of most female battle armor, and accept a token of DC’s “commitment to fulfill their promise” to create more “superhero fun for girls.”
I say that this Super Rowan needs to star in her own Summer Blockbuster soon! I can’t wait to see SR kicking some anti-Jellyfish People, Science denying, PLUB women hating, GOP Mens Club members.
This is an open thread…yeah, I said open thread. You wanna start somethin’?
Hey…you lookin’ at me?
Well, what do ya know? Obama administration puts immigration protections on hold after order – LA Times
President Obama’s plans to protect millions of immigrants from deportation were frozen on Tuesday while his administration scrambled to appeal an order by a federal judge in Texas temporarily halting the program.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced that the Obama administration has put off for now the first step in implementing the program, expanding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative that has granted a temporary reprieve from deportation for nearly 600,000 young people. The administration had been scheduled to begin accepting applications for the expansion Wednesday.
Johnson said the administration was also putting on hold plans for a much larger program, known as Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, which could apply to around 4 million adult immigrants.
“The Department of Justice will appeal that temporary injunction,” Johnson said in a statement, referring to the judge’s order. “In the meantime, we recognize we must comply with it. We fully expect to ultimately prevail in the courts, and we will be prepared to implement DAPA and expanded DACA once we do.”
I don’t know…I thought that the Federal Court could not overrule an Executive Order. I mean, seriously…isn’t it a Presidential Order?…Above Congress and stuff? (But you know, I am talking out my ass here. It just felt good to say what I first thought about when I’d heard about this “temporary injunction”….to be honest with y’all. )
Really, my mind is not working very well the past few days. It sounds crazy, but the only thought I can seem to work on is trying to write out a metaphor for the Koch Brothers, and the lingering effect they will have on our country, as to their crappy Angel Soft toilet paper…and the fibery dingleberries the stuff leaves behind.
Oh sure, they make it out like the product (shit paper) their selling you is the best quality and hell…they say it is so fucking cheap to boot. But the truth of the matter is, you are being fucked in more ways than you realize. Because they are charging you the same prices for way less than what you used to get, they’ve got a monopoly on the shit paper isle as it is anyway so what choices do you really have…and, as if they do it purposely, those bits of linty irritant only continue to remind you just what an annoying pain in the ass the Koch Brothers really are. (Oh, and they are going to bring down the whole of civilization as we know it…you’ll see.) But that somehow connects to a reference to a backed up septic tank… due to the said nappy ass toilet paper in the first place, but then you see I am back where I started.
This week in things we wish were just a Colbert Report sketch, an Oklahoma legislative committee overwhelmingly approved a bill that would cut funding for the teaching of Advanced Placement U.S. History. The 11 Republicans who approved the measure over the objections of four Democrats weren’t trying to win over Oklahoma’s lazy high school juniors. Tulsa Worldreports that Representative Dan Fisher, who introduced the bill, lamented during Monday’s hearing that the new AP U.S. History framework emphasizes “what is bad about America,” and doesn’t teach “American exceptionalism.” It’s a complaint that’s been spreading among mostly conservative state legislatures in recent months, and has some calling for a ban on all AP courses.
Earlier this month, the Georgia state Senate introduced a resolution that rejects a new version of the AP U.S. History course for presenting a “radically revisionist view of American history” and minimizing “discussion of America’s Founding Fathers, the principles of the Declaration of Independence, [and] the religious influences on our nation’s history.” It says that if the College Board does not revise the test, Georgia will cut funding for the course. The exam has also sparked controversy in Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Colorado, where students in Jefferson County protested last fall when a school board member said the course should be modified to promote “patriotism,” and discourage “civil disorder, social strife, or disregard of the law.”
I can’t bear to link to any more stories like that. Let’s all look at some cool pictures.
A great portrait is more than just a frozen reflection of the subject’s appearance. It’s a chance moment, blanketed in natural light, in which the subject’s authentic self is visible in her expression, her stance, her aura. A great portrait blurs the line between a subject and her surroundings, all contributing equally to the overall impression of a singular human being.
Photographer Barbara Yoshida captured not one great portrait, but 100. And to make it all the more glorious, her subjects are all female artists, groundbreaking in their own right.
The story of Vivian Maier is probably one of the art world’s most compelling mysteries. A nanny by profession, she was an alarmingly talented and vastly prolific photographer whose keen eye for the mundane produced some of the 20th century’s most intriguing works of street photography. At times she was a Mary Poppins, trekking across a city like Chicago with a gaggle of children passing like ducklings behind her. At other times, she was Weegee, tuned into the pulse of urban centers, her lens drawn to crowds of celebrity, crime and everything squished in between.
The juxtaposition of being a lifelong caretaker in one moment, chasing kids and bickering with parents, and a relentless documentarian on the other, churning out rolls of film a day, is enigmatic in itself. But the real kick is that Vivian Maier is a name no one truly knew until about 2007. It was then that a former real estate agent named John Maloof unknowingly purchased a box of her photographic negatives for $400. Fast forward through a heavy dose of research and detective work, and you have “Finding Vivian Maier,” the Oscar-nominated film that recounts the life of a woman the art world reveres, but no one actually seems to know.
In 2012, Brooklyn-based artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh embarked upon a project titled “Stop Telling Women to Smile.” The series, comprised of portraits pasted on the sides of buildings, aimed to combat street harassment targeted at women by commanding offenders in public spaces to think before they speak.
“Street harassment is a serious issue that affects women worldwide,” the artist proclaims on her site. “This project takes women’s voices, and faces, and puts them in the street — creating a bold presence for women in an environment where they are so often made to feel uncomfortable and unsafe.”
In his landmark book, Orientalism, the late scholar Edward Said wrote of “exteriority,” a disconnect between the traveler’s fantasies and reality. Reading the travelogues of French writers, Said once explained that he found “representations of the Orient had very little to do with what I knew about my own background in life.”
That is the least strange of the bunch.
As you’re probably well aware, hospitals tend not to be the most visually enticing of spaces, especially for kids. Between the fluorescent lights, the sterile aesthetic and the deluge of achromatic hues somewhere between oatmeal and taupe, the spaces where so many humans experience their most physically and emotionally trying moments really aren’t helping much as far as ambiance goes.
That’s where the power of art comes in.
American Ballet Theater icon Misty Copeland has over 402,000 followers on Instagram. To compare, athletes like Venus and Serena Williams have 89,500 and 992,000 followers, respectively. Michael Phelps has 462,000. Danica Patrick has 26,900.
Of course, ballet is easily the most photogenic of the sports. An art form that toes the line between performance and feats of athleticism, it’s filled with pirouettes and arabesques that when frozen in a frame appear like paintings or perfectly sculpted statues. Misty’s Instagram account is filled with shots both on and off a stage, flexing her muscles and practicing her craft. And she’s hardly the only ballerina — or ballerino — to grace the platform. One glimpse at the popular Ballerina Project account, followed by an impressive 641,000, and it’s easy to see why dance fans are quick to double click on the endless stream of posed portraits.
Each student at the Forensic Sculpture Workshop at the New York Academy of Art (NYAA) begins with a skull. More specifically, each begins with a plaster replica of a real human skull made by a medical examiner, a facsimile of an unidentified crime victim in New York City.
From this foundation, the students sculpt a face, using a block of clay and whatever information they can glean from the ongoing investigations — such as age, height, gender and race. They also included grimmer details, such as the locations of bullet holes or crushed bones.
The resulting sculptures, lifelike in their realistic portrayals, capture the likenesses of unknown citizens who faced cruel and untimely deaths from a variety of gruesome circumstances, in the hopes that someone walking by the university windows will see a face and recognize it.
In his series “Cesar,” the French artist captures babies in their first moments of life — specifically, between three and 18 seconds of existing outside the womb. As you may have ascertained from the project’s title, all of Berthelot’s subjects underwent (and survived) a Caesarean section — a procedure in which the baby is removed via an incision in the mother’s abdomen. Berthelot’s first child was born after a C-section, serving as the inspiration for this powerful project.
The circus has always been a space rife with visual splendor. Long before a certain FX anthology series brought “freak shows” into the pop culture conversation, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey made clowns and acrobats essential elements of entertainment when they merged in 1919. In fact, together, they amounted to “The Greatest Show on Earth.”
Ken Light’s photos from 1969 to 1974 document the social landscape of America as it frayed at the seams, rife with turmoil. As a young photographer, Light captured the country at this pivotal moment, and his frontline protest photos in Ohio and political images from the 1972 Republican Convention in Miami show the opposite ends of the spectrum.
But the photos that make his new book, American Stories in the Age of Protest, so great are less-familiar ones: the everyday person out waving flags in support of Nixon, the garage band taking to a makeshift stage in support of McGovern, the kids hanging out in West Oakland. It’s photos like these, so common at the time, that gain importance with age. They give contour and meaning to historical projects such as this.
Think of this as an open thread, there is just one more thing…try and stay warm cause it is fucking cold out there.