Manic Monday Reads: Save the American Dream

Image result for images vintage Americans picturesGood Morning Sky Dancers!

Once again, we are visited by so many odd and unfortunate things–covered all the time in the news–that have been brought on by our stolen Presidential Election that it’s difficult to get a handle on them all.  We are ruled by a monster put there by Russians and worse monsters.  This?  This is the next culture war?  More horrid attacks on children white Christians fear?  (Jeremy W. Peters / New York Times:   A Conservative Push to Make Trans Kids and School Sports the Next Battleground in the Culture War).  We’re going to have to endure additional attacks on vulnerable children ?  Children in Cages is not enough?

I’m not even going to cover that but you can go read it and and feel angry if you wish.  Today, my 64th birthday, I am searching for America the beautiful in the faces of ancestors who tried to fight the tyranny of the rich and few and the many who have suffered at their hands. Not the ones we study in school though.  It’s in the faces of ordinary Americans.  The diverse, wonderful America we love. We have shared ancestry for many reasons, shared history of both good and bad, and shared dreams promised in our Constitution.  This demands we put things right for every one. We all should be able to pursue life, liberty and justice for all.   We all share this:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

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White men started this country on the backs and blood of others.  We  are now all in this together regardless of the good done by these men and the evil.

I just read this this morning (also in the New York Times) and hope it can offset what will only be another election year of interference by Russians, Chinese, and most likely Saudi Arabia..  “Democratic Strategists Set Up $75 Million Digital Campaign to Counter Trump. David Plouffe, the former Obama campaign manager, will advise the effort, which aims to compete with the president on his terms. ”  It can’t hurt but pray that it helps.  A. LOT.  We are an increasingly diverse country and the white male minority is obviously not going down without making things nasty.

A progressive organization is plunging itself into the presidential campaign, unveiling plans to spend $75 million on digital advertising to counter President Trump’s early spending advantage in key 2020 battleground states.

The effort, by a nonprofit group called Acronym and an affiliated political action committee, is an outgrowth of growing concern by some Democratic officials that Mr. Trump could build an insurmountable edge in those key states through massive early advertising efforts. Mr. Trump has spent more than $26 million so far nationally just on Facebook and Google, more than the four top-polling Democrats — Joseph R. Biden Jr., Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg — have spent in total on those platforms.

“The gun on this general election does not start when we have a nominee; it started months ago,” said David Plouffe, who managed Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and was a key adviser to him in 2012, and who recently joined Acronym’s board. ”If the things that need to happen don’t happen in these battleground states between now and May or June, our nominee will never have time to catch up.“

In an interview, Mr. Plouffe and Tara McGowan, the founder and chief executive of Acronym, said their digital campaign would kick off immediately with a heavy focus on shaping how the public views Mr. Trump and the Democratic Party during the primary season, well before a nominee emerges.

“Our nominee is going to be broke, tired, have to pull together the party and turn around on a dime and run a completely different race for a completely different audience,” Mr. Plouffe said.

“There is an enormous amount of danger between now and then,” he added. “If the hole is too steep to dig out of, they’re not going to win.”

Image result for images vintage Americans picturesSo, I agree with that.  I know both of them worked media miracles on the Obama campaigns so I’m all in for that.

This is the kind of thing at stake. “Wealthy Americans will receive billions in tax cuts if Obamacare is overturned, new report says.” from CNBC.  And working and poor Americans will die, I might add.

Wealthy Americans stand to gain from Obamacare’s demise.

The rich will likely receive billions in tax cuts if the health-care law is overturned, according to a new analysis published Monday from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington think tank.

The nation’s top 0.001%, the 1,409 U.S. households with annual incomes over $53 million, would receive a combined $3.8 billion in tax cuts if the law is overturned, according to the report.

That’s because overturning Obamacare would eliminate several taxes that were imposed to help pay for the law’s expansion, including a 0.9% Medicare tax on single Americans who earn more than $200,000 a year or couples who make $250,000, the report said.

A ruling against the health law would also eliminate a 3.8% Medicare surtax on net investment income for high-income filers — $200,000 for single filers and $250,000 for joint filers.

Most of these tax cuts would go to households with incomes over $1 million, who would receive tax cuts averaging about $46,000 apiece, according to the report.

The pharmaceutical industry would also benefit. Obamacare collects an annual fee from pharmaceutical companies that sell branded prescription drugs.

While the nation’s wealthiest taxpayers and pharmaceutical companies would benefit, the middle-class and poor would be at a disadvantage. About 25 million Americans may be left uninsured if the law is struck down in its entirety, including those insured through Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

“In arguing the ACA should be struck down, the administration and the state attorneys general are in effect seeking to transfer billions of dollars of income from low- and moderate-income Americans to people on the top rungs of the income ladder,” said Aviva Aron-Dine, vice president for health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and lead author of the report.

A federal appeals court in New Orleans is expected to issue a decision any day now on a lower court ruling that overturned Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, in a case known as Texas vs. the United States.

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The cruelty of today’s Republicans knows no bottom.  And, what about the so-called Trumpist great economy?

According to the Washington Post,  “Unemployment is climbing in key swing states, including Michigan and Wisconsin.”

There’s been a steady increase of people coming to the St. Vincent de Paul Society’s food pantry in Marinette, Wis., a small city of about 10,000 just across the border from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

In the past year or so, a slew of major employers — ShopkoKmartYounkers — have closed. J.C. Penney left the year before. After each business shuttered, visits to the food pantry ticked up. The number of people served at the food pantry has risen by 600 in just the past half-year.

“We are a lifeline for folks facing a financial crisis, which happens more often than not when they are living paycheck to paycheck,” said Kalyani Grasso, executive director of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Marinette, which runs a food bank, thrift store and other services. “We’ve had a spate of business closures.”

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Then, there is this: from the Financial Times and Lauren Fedor : Nearly two-thirds of US voters say Trump has not made them better off

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they are not better off financially than they were when Donald Trump was elected, casting doubt on whether economic expansion and a record bull market will boost the president’s re-election campaign in 2020. According to a poll of likely voters conducted by the Financial Times and the Peter G Peterson Foundation, 31 per cent of Americans say they are now worse off financially than they were at the start of Mr Trump’s presidency. Another 33 per cent say there has been no change in their financial position since Mr Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, while 35 per cent say they are better off. Persistently slow wage growth appeared to be a main driver of discontent, with 36 per cent of those who said they were worse off blaming their income levels. On Friday, the US labour department said average hourly income had risen 3 per cent in October, growth that was near highs for the past decade but lower than before the financial crisis. Another 19 per cent pointed to personal or family debts as the reason they felt worse off.

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And, we see more signs of NAZIs and the Klan among us  Yesterday, JJ posted on the desecration of the memorial to American Emmett Till lynched by an angry mob.

Guardians of Emmett Till’s memorial have gotten used to the site’s desecration – so used to it that a new, bulletproof plaque dedicated two weeks ago acknowledges the repeated abuse as an essential part of Till’s story.

“Signs erected here have been stolen, thrown in the river, shot, removed, replaced, and shot again,” the monument tells those who visit the Tallahatchie River, where the black 14-year-old was found 64 years ago, killed by white men never convicted. The litany of damage is a “reminder of the progress yet to be made,” the latest marker says.

So Till’s cousin Airickca Gordon-Taylor wasn’t surprised this weekend to learn about the latest outrage. A white-supremacist group had gathered in front of the memorial to shoot a video.

Gordon-Taylor says she felt a familiar anger at another testament to the racism “alive today in the fabric of our United States of America.” But there was also a feeling of resolve.

“They can keep coming, and the more they do, we can do more,” Gordon-Taylor told The Washington Post.

The visit by white nationalists to Till’s memorial has provoked a new round of dismay, at the way a remembrance of horrific injustice could be a magnet for those who promote bigotry. Till’s torture and lynching – he was accused of flirting with a white woman in a grocery store, a charge the woman would largely recant – helped galvanize the civil rights movement.

Today? (Via CNN)

Norwegian authorities have arrested a high-profile American white supremacist, hours before he was due to give a speech at a far-right conference in Oslo on Saturday.

The detained American, Greg Johnson, is editor-in-chief of the white nationalist Counter-Currents Publishing group.
He had been scheduled to speak at the Scandza Forum, a network known for its anti-Semitic and racist views.
Norway’s intelligence service considered Johnson “to be a threat, not because of what he could do but because of his hate speech and his previously expressed support for Anders Breivik,” spokesman Martin Bernsen told CNN.

Image result for images vintage Americans picturesWhite Supremacists Richard Spencer is back in the news.  Have we all caught on to the pattern of the Trump Regime by now?  This is via Vice: “Noted Racist Richard Spencer Apparently Yelled Racist Slurs After Racist Rally. Leaked audio purportedly shows the far-right leader screaming anti-Semitic slurs and threatening further violence in Charlottesville.”

In the audio, the person Milo (note: Yiannopoulos ) claims is Spencer promises to return to Charlottesville, despite the national uproar about the rally, at which hundreds of white nationalists marched and a white supremacist murdered anti-racism protester Heather Heyer when he drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters.

“We are coming back here like a hundred fucking times. I am so mad. I am so fucking mad at these fucking people,” Spencer says on the tape. “They don’t do this to fucking me. We’re going to ritualistically humiliate them. I am coming back here every fucking weekend if I have to. Like this is never over! I win! They fucking lose!”

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You can read more from Matt Novak  writing for  Gizmodo:  “Internet-Savvy Nazi Says a Bunch of Old Fashioned Nazi Shit in Leaked Tape “.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They discard religious teachings, increase the deficit, and expand government power, but there’s one area where Republican politicians are remarkably consistent: bigotry.

They’ve proven this in Congress, reintroducing bills to allow religious discrimination against gay marriage and confirm Supreme Court nominees who likely aim to overturn the landmark marriage equality ruling.

They fight to disenfranchise black Americans, gerrymandering districts and suppressing turnout by making it harder to vote.

They try to (further) control women’s bodies, angling to overturn Roe v. Wade, and prevent sex and racial equality in the workplace with votes against equal pay initiatives.

They make clear their disdain for non-white immigrants and conduct a wide-ranging “assault on transgender existence.”

Image result for images vintage Americans pictures Indeed, nothing we see coming from them sounds the least bit like “love one another”.  Remind me who said that again?   And up on the campaign agenda  Natasha Korecki  writes this for POlitico: ‘Dems tiptoe around ‘Pocahontas’ and Hunter as Trump licks his chops ‘.

“Pocahontas?” A racial slur unfit for discussion. Bernie’s heart attack? Out of bounds. Questions about Hunter Biden’s business dealings? Stop carrying Donald Trump’s water.

To listen to 2020 Democrats, some of the most volatile critiques of the top three polling candidates aren’t worthy of public debate — even though Trump and GOP operatives have made clear they’d hammer them on those issues during the general election

Some Democrats fear the crowded field is doing the eventual nominee a disservice by tiptoeing around their possible vulnerabilities while the GOP loads torpedoes into the tubes. It’s a dynamic reminiscent of the 2016 Democratic primary, when Democrats — including primary candidate Bernie Sanders — downplayed the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton’s emails, only to confront a vicious general election onslaught on those very questions from Donald Trump.

“Trump has more money than God, no embarrassment gene, no shame and no guardrail,” said Sue Dvorsky, former Iowa Democratic Party chairwoman, who has endorsed Kamala Harris in the race. “I worry when so many of our activists say: ‘I like all of them.’ It is not our job to like everybody, it is our job to pick one. I worry as this goes on that we are not having a vigorous enough debate.”

So, from this baby with an election time birthday during the Eisenhower Republicans regime, I say impeach the shit out of him and vote him out.  No more Steve Millers in the White House.

13199403_10154158348156703_1651337273_oSo, in 1955 both houses of Congress were controlled by Democrats.  What happened during the election cycle that led to 1956?

At the 1956 Democratic convention, in Chicago, the delegates renominated Adlai Stevenson. The only drama at the convention occurred when Stevenson opened up to the convention body to decide on his Vice Presidential running mate. John F. Kennedy opposed the veteran Senator Estes Kefauver for the nomination. Senator Kefauver won.

Stevenson faced almost insurmountable odds, in opposing the very popular incumbent President. Stevenson attempted to contrast his vigor, with Eisenhower’s health problems. Stevenson made proposals regarding benefits for senior citizens, health, education, natural resources, and economic policies. He also called for the end of the draft and the creation of a professional army. Stevenson further called for a Test Ban Treaty on Atomic weapons with the Soviet Union. Stevenson’s efforts were unsuccessful. Eisenhower won a landslide victory.

With the 1956 elections approaching the primary question was whether President Eisenhower would run for a second term. He had suffered a heart attack in 1955. In February, he announced his decision to seek a second term. He was immediately nominated for re-election by the Republicans in San Francisco. The only question was whether Nixon would remain on the ticket. Eisenhower decided in favor of keeping Nixon on as his running mate.

And the rest, as they say, is history. Let’s make some new history.  Let’s vote for a whole lot of some ones that can get us out of this hell realm.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Friday Reads: Good News Every One!

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Good Afternoon

Sky Dancers!

More and more media, people, and voters are deciding that Trump is unfit for the presidency. That’s good news.  Meanwhile, Trump is having a meltdown on Twitter in response to Hillary’s pointing out the treatment of former Miss Universe and victim of Trump-abuse Alicia Machado.  

Revenge is a dish best served with some salsa.  Between his attacks on Machado and the discovery of his illegal foray into Cuba, we should see Florida begin to solidify for Hillary Clinton.  Trump’s consistent abuse, fat-shaming, slut-shaming, and objectification of women is not going to go over well with undecided women voters either.  Indeed, the strategy of letting Trump be Trump is good news for us all.

The only folks that are solidly behind him are Neo Nazis and other nasty forms of white supremacists. These are the s0-called basket of deplorables.  What’s wrong with the rest of the Trump tag along?  Are they star struck or just low information?

Trump’s surprise rise to become the GOP presidential nominee, built largely on a willingness to openly criticize minority groups and tap into long-simmering racial divisions, has reenergized white supremacist groups and drawn them into mainstream American politics like nothing seen in decades.

White nationalist leaders who once shunned presidential races have endorsed Trump, marking the first time some have openly supported a candidate from one of the two main parties.

Members are showing up at his rallies, knocking on doors to get out the vote and organizing debate-watching parties.

White supremacists are active on social media and their websites report a sharp rise in traffic and visitors, particularly when posting stories and chat forums about the New York businessman.

Stormfront, already one of the oldest and largest white nationalist websites, reported a 600% increase in readership since President Obama’s election, and now has more than one in five threads devoted to Trump. It reportedly had to upgrade its servers recently due to the increased traffic.

“Before Trump, our identity ideas, national ideas, they had no place to go,” said Richard Spencer, president of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank based in Arlington, Va.

Not since Southern segregationist George Wallace’s failed presidential bids in 1968 and 1972 have white nationalists been so motivated to participate in a presidential election.

Andrew Anglin, editor of the Daily Stormer website and an emerging leader of a new generation of millennial extremists, said he had “zero interest” in the 2012 general election and viewed presidential politics as “pointless.” That is, until he heard Trump.

“Trump had me at ‘build a wall,’” Anglin said. “Virtually every alt-right Nazi I know is volunteering for the Trump campaign.”

One California white nationalist leader dug into his own pockets to give $12,000 to launch a pro-Trump super PAC that made robocalls in seven primary states — with more promised before the Nov. 8 election.

The idea that [Trump] is taking a wrecking ball to ‘political correctness’ excites them,” said Peter Montgomery, who has tracked far right groups as a senior fellow at People for the American Way, the Norman Lear-founded advocacy group. “They’ve been marginalized in our discourse, but he’s really made space for them…. He has energized these folks politically in a way that’s going to have damaging long-term consequences.”

 

 

So, Trump spent the night maniacally tweeting insults on the former Miss Universe introduced by Hillary Clinton at the Debate this week.   I’m really thinking the world owes Howard Dean an apology because how could these old guy with such obvious health issues stay up all night tweeting nastiness without having some kind of bump or seven?  What’s even more bizarre is that he and his surrogates are going around saying they’re big men for not bringing up the Bill Clinton bimbo eruption.  These are men whose records with women are truly horrifying. These boys have a history of sexual harassment, infidelity.spousal abuse and just all around oafishness when it comes to women.

Republican presidential nominee Donald  Trump’s campaign is circulating talking points that instruct his supporters and campaign surrogates to attack Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton over Bill Clinton’s marital infidelity. If the media is going to report on those claims they should also note that Trump and his closest advisers are profoundly poor messengers for those claims.

According to CNN, one talking point says, “Hillary Clinton bullied and smeared women like Paula Jones, Gennifer Flowers and Monica Lewinsky.” Another reads, “Are you blaming Hillary for Bill’s infidelities? No, however, she’s been an active participant in trying to destroy the women who has (sic) come forward with a claim.”

Politico reported that after the Republican nominee’s poor performance in the presidential debate, “threats emanated from Trump Tower on Tuesday that the Republican nominee was preparing to name-check Bill Clinton’s mistresses — alleged or otherwise.”

Yet Trump and several of his campaign’s top staffers, allies, and surrogates have episodes of marital infidelity, sexual harassment, and alleged spousal abuse in their pasts, making them hypocritical messengers for this particular type of attack.

Trump and his allies have also directly attacked Clinton on this topic.

Trump himself has previously described former President Clinton as “one of the great woman abusers of all time,” and he said Hillary Clinton “went after the women very, very strongly and very viciously.” He also praised himself for not referencing the topic during the September 26 presidential debate, claiming, “I’m really happy I was able to hold back on the indiscretions in respect to Bill Clinton. Because I have a lot of respect for Chelsea Clinton.”

Newt Gingrich praised Trump for not bringing up the issue during the debate: “He thought about it, and I’m sure he said to himself, ‘a president of the United States shouldn’t attack somebody personally when their daughter is sitting in the audience.’” He added, “And he bit his tongue, and he was a gentleman, and I thought in many ways that was the most important moment of the whole evening. He proved that he had the discipline to remain as a decent guy even when she was disgusting.”

Rudy Giuliani said, “The president of the United States, her husband, disgraced this country with what he did in the Oval Office and she didn’t just stand by him, she attacked Monica Lewinsky. And after being married to Bill Clinton for 20 years, if you didn’t know the moment Monica Lewinsky said that Bill Clinton violated her that she was telling the truth, then you’re too stupid to be president.”

Go see the list of their personal peccadilloes and crimes.  It’s horrifying.

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-10-29-07-am-670x397Trump and his entourage make life miserable for women. Check out this link sent to me by Boston Boomer earlier today from The Cut at NYM.  Women reporters feel traumatized covering him and his rallies.

Donald Trump’s relationship with women has been under scrutiny for as long as he’s been in the public eye — which is to say, for decades. But since launching his presidential bid, some of his remarks to and about women — that letting them work is “dangerous,” that pregnancy is an “inconvenience” to business, or that they should be “punished” for getting abortions — have worked their way into the narrative of his campaign. (Just yesterday, his own campaign manager accidentally referred to his record on women as “abuse.”) His comments have not endeared him to women voters. But for the women whose job it is to report on Trump every day, the negative effects have been subtler.
One of the first people to interview him after his formal announcement was MSNBC’s Katy Tur. Tur called their 29-minute exchange in the lobby of Trump Tower “combative” and said that when the cameras turned off he was “furious.” According to an essay Tur wrote for Marie Claire, Trump told her, “You couldn’t do this. You stumbled three times.”

Over the course of his campaign, Trump’s insults toward Tur have become more pointed — he’s called her “little Katy” on more than one occasion, and when she pressed him on his apparent appeal to Russian hackers, he told her to “sit down.” He’s done the same to other women on the trail, calling CNN’s Sarah Murray “unemotional” and, just last week, Maureen Dowd “wacky” and a “neurotic dope.”

That’s not to say he hasn’t gone after male reporters, too. “When you hear his daughter say he’s an equal-opportunity offender, I think that’s largely true,” one reporter told me on condition of anonymity. (Two of the women I spoke to requested anonymity so they could speak freely without it affecting their jobs.) “Contrary to what a lot of people might think, I don’t think he’s more inclined to go after women than men.” But, she said, when he does “go after” women on the trail, there’s a sexist tinge to his insults.

“He doesn’t call men crazy or wacky … he’s so much quicker to label women he’s attacking that way,” the reporter said. “I think that what’s innate in a lot of what he says is a subtle kind of sexism. If you’re attuned to it, you can hear it. That’s why it’s so important to have women on the trail. We’re able to say, ‘Gender is an issue here,’ even though no one’s blatant about it.”

When I asked her whether she thought Trump realized the sexism implicit in his word choices, she laughed. “No, I don’t.” Then she paused. “You know, maybe he does. I’ve always said he’s an incredibly intelligent brander — he’s a master at this. If he’s smart enough to be branding Hillary Clinton as unstable, he could be doing it on purpose. He’s definitely playing into a lot of the genderized concerns that men across the country share.”

 

But, the polls are giving Clinton a debate bump, big time.https-%2f%2fblueprint-api-production-s3-amazonaws-com%2fuploads%2fcard%2fimage%2f225962%2fap_16271092691559

WBUR Poll: Clinton Leads Trump In New Hampshire

 

Suffolk University Nevada Poll Shows Clinton Leading by 6 Points

 

Poll: Clinton holds 7-point lead in Michigan

 

Clinton leads Trump by 4 in post-debate Florida poll

Hillary has a lot to shimmy about.  So do we. The debate has clearly knocked down any supposed Trump momentum.

But post-debate polling suggests the Democratic nominee may have improved her standing. Rasmussen Reports released a poll Thursday that showed Clinton ahead of Trump by one point. This is a significant improvement from Rasmussen’s poll last week, which had Trump leading by five. Public Policy Polling (a Democratic firm) also released a post-debate survey that put Clinton ahead of Trump by four points. PPP’s last survey showed her ahead by five, but it was conducted in late August. At that time, Clinton was leading Trump by about four points in the RCP poll averages rather than one or two. Additionally, many polls have shown that voters believe Clinton won the debate by a large margin, and debate wins do sometimes lead to bounces in the polls.

If polling data continues to show such a bounce, it will likely keep Trump from exceeding his benchmarks and may even put him behind on them. If the debate ends up improving Clinton’s standing by about two points, then Trump will be at a four-point deficit. He would then just barely hit his late September/early October benchmark. If Clinton’s bounce is larger than two points, Trump will miss his benchmarks by a significant amount. He could still win despite missing the benchmarks, but he would have to make up ground more quickly than most of his predecessors have been able to do.

So, here’s a few other stories for your reading pleasure today.  This is a moving  story about a 66 year old homeless woman as she tries to hold her life together living in her car with her dog.

Not having a home is hard. Now imagine not having a home at the age of 66.

Elderly homelessness is on the rise. A combination of slow economic recovery from the recession and an aging baby boomer population has contributed to the rise of the 51 and older homeless population. The percentage has spiked by almost 10 points since 2007 — in 2014, the 51-and-older group represented nearly a third of the national homeless population.

I never thought I’d be living in my car at age 66

You can read CeliaSue’s blog about her adventures with her dog Cici.  You can support her blogging efforts with her paypal link on her blog.  I’m hoping her moving piece–quoted above–at VOX gets her a job and brings attention to this problem which hasn’t been a problem until recently.  The Social Security Program basically helped end the plight of Elder homelessness until recently. It’s my worst nightmare and my story isn’t all that different from hers with the exception that I have daughters that are doing very well and love me.

Homophobe and Ten Commandments pushing Alabama Supreme Court Justice Ray Moore has been suspended for his refusal to recognize the SCOTUS decision on Gay marriage.23875570250_34c0aa93dc

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has been suspended from the bench for telling probate judges to defy federal orders regarding gay marriage.

It’s the second time Moore has been removed from the chief justice job for defiance of federal courts – the first time in 2003 for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building.

The Alabama Court of the Judiciary (COJ) issued the order Friday suspending Moore from the bench for the remainder of his term after an unanimous vote of the nine-member court.

“For these violations, Chief Justice Moore is hereby suspended from office without pay for the remainder of his term. This suspension is effective immediately,” the order stated.

The court found him guilty of all six charges of violation of the canons of judicial ethics. Moore’s term is to end in 2019, but because of his age, 69, he cannot run for the office again. Gov. Robert Bentley will name a replacement for Moore.

Moore is filing an appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court, his attorney said.

In its order, the COJ wanted to make sure people understood what Moore’s case was and was not about.

“At the outset, this court emphasizes that this case is concerned only with alleged violations of the Canons of Judicial Ethics,” the COJ states. “This case is not about whether same-sex marriage should be permitted: indeed, we recognize that a majority of voters in Alabama adopted a constitutional amendment in 2006 banning same-sex marriage, as did a majority of states over the last 15 years.”

The COJ also stated it is also not a case to review or to editorialize about the United States Supreme Court’s 5-4 split decision in June 2015 to declare same-sex marriage legal nationwide in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges.

57ea7a08c3618897518b459bIf you haven’t read the latest by David Farenholdt on Trump’s fake Foundation, you should.  “Trump Foundation lacks the certification required for charities that solicit money.”  He may have to reimburse EVERYONE.

Donald Trump’s charitable foundation — which has been sustained for years by donors outside the Trump family — has never obtained the certification that New York requires before charities can solicit money from the public, according to the state attorney general’s office.

Under the laws in New York, where the Donald J. Trump Foundation is based, any charity that solicits more than $25,000 a year from the public must obtain a special kind of registration beforehand. Charities as large as Trump’s must also submit to a rigorous annual audit that asks — among other things — whether the charity spent any money for the personal benefit of its officers.

If New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) finds that Trump’s foundation raised money in violation of the law, he could order the charity to stop raising money immediately. With a court’s permission, Schneiderman could also force Trump to return money that his foundation has already raised.

The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

You also need to read Paul Krugman’s latest on “How the Clinton-Trump Race Got Close“.

As I’ve written before, she got Gored. That is, like Al Gore in 2000, she ran into a buzz saw of adversarial reporting from the mainstream media, which treated relatively minor missteps as major scandals, and invented additional scandals out of thin air.

Meanwhile, her opponent’s genuine scandals and various grotesqueries were downplayed or whitewashed; but as Jonathan Chait of New York magazine says, the normalization of Donald Trump was probably less important than the abnormalization of Hillary Clinton.

This media onslaught started with an Associated Press report on the Clinton Foundation, which roughly coincided with the beginning of Mrs. Clinton’s poll slide. The A.P. took on a valid question: Did foundation donors get inappropriate access and exert undue influence?

As it happened, it failed to find any evidence of wrongdoing — but nonetheless wrote the report as if it had. And this was the beginning of an extraordinary series of hostile news stories about how various aspects of Mrs. Clinton’s life “raise questions” or “cast shadows,” conveying an impression of terrible things without saying anything that could be refuted.

The culmination of this process came with the infamous Matt Lauer-moderated forum, which might be briefly summarized as “Emails, emails, emails; yes, Mr. Trump, whatever you say, Mr. Trump.”

I still don’t fully understand this hostility, which wasn’t ideological. Instead, it had the feel of the cool kids in high school jeering at the class nerd. Sexism was surely involved but may not have been central, since the same thing happened to Mr. Gore.

So, it’s a really big meltdown folks!  So, a few smiles today!  She’s really winning big!  Remember, we have the VP Debate coming up on Tuesday where Tim Kaine will knock the socks off of dull and dour Michael Pence.   We’ll be live blogging as usual!

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Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Sen. Tim Kaine laugh at a campaign rally in Annandale, Virginia, on July 14

When is the vice presidential debate?

The vice presidential debate will take place on October 4 at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia.

What time is the vice presidential debate and how long is it?

The debate will start at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time and is scheduled to run for 90 minutes without commercial breaks.

Who is in the vice presidential debate?

Sen. Tim Kaine, a Senator from Virginia and Hillary Clinton’s running mate, will debate Mike Pence, the governor of Indiana and running mate to Donald Trump. Pence is a first term governor of Indiana who previously served over a decade in Congress. Kaine is a former Democratic National Committee chairman who also served as governor of Virginia and mayor of Richmond.

How can I watch the vice presidential debate?

The debate will be broadcast on all major television networks and cable channels. C-SPAN will also air the debate.

Who will moderate the vice presidential debate?

Elaine Quijano of CBS News will be the debate’s sole moderator. She is a correspondent for CBS News and an anchor for CBSN, the digital streaming network for CBS. This election, Quijano covered 2016 debates and both the Republican and Democratic national conventions for CBS. In 2011, Quijano revealed in a CBS Evening News report that the White House did not send condolence letters to the families of military personnel who had committed suicide. That report spurred the Obama administration to reverse that policy.

Quijano, a Chicago-area native of Filipino descent, is also the first Asian American moderator for a general election debate.

What is the format of the vice presidential debate?

The debate is divided into nine 10 minute segments. Quijano will start each segment with an opening question and then Kaine and Pence will each have two minutes to respond. Quijano will also use the leftover time in each segment to dive deeper into the discussion topic.

I’m going to mention this briefly today.  We have to fund raise twice a year here at Sky Dancing to keep the site up.  The bill for the WordPress blog site, the domain name and the bells and whistles–other than the font–is up in about two weeks and hits my pay pal account.  It’s not huge so we don’t need you to overwhelm us.  If you could send a little something something, it would be great!  If I get to the billed amount, this will be the last you’ll hear from me!  Anything left over I split with the BB and JJ for a little Halloween Joy. The link is to the right. Thanks!  Dkat

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sunday: V-J Day, Goodbye Kisses, Working Women and Warning Signs

54178c4d97b3668cb079ff3c12ef35d8Good Morning

I think it will be safe to say that today’s post is retro, super retro. And I really do not have all the space I need to post all the historic pictures I would like to post…so there will be links to other pages/galleries, and you must spend some time looking through the fascinating images.

Like the one to the right ———–>

Look at the expression on that woman’s face, if she could slam that thermos up-side the guy’s stupid head she would…but she appears too damn tired of hearing the kind of shit he is saying to even bother replying to the asshole.

At least the tag line on the bottom of the poster got it right:

America’s Women Have Met the Test!

Too bad that opinion did not last when the boys came back home.

cab40a4e5ea83e324782208ec2734216I often wonder what would have happened if the Republican push to get women and their views on politics back in the kitchen was not as successful as it was during the 5o’s…can you imagine?

Anyway, this may seem a little familiar to my post from Wednesday, but there is a reason for this opening thought:

You must have heard that the sailor in one of the most iconic pictures of World War II died last week…V-J Day, 1945: A Nation Lets Loose | LIFE.com

Glenn McDuffie, a Navy veteran who long claimed to be the sailor photographed kissing a nurse in Times Square on V-J day — and whose claim was reportedly backed up by a police forensic artist — has died. He was 86 years old. (LIFE magazine — in which the now-iconic Alfred Eisenstaedt photo first appeared — never officially identified either the sailor or the nurse.)

01_00141661Made almost 70 years ago, it remains one of the most famous photographs — perhaps the most famous photograph — of the 20th century: a sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square on V-J Day in August 1945.

That simple, straightforward description of the scene, however, hardly begins to capture not only the spontaneity, energy and sheer exuberance shining from Alfred Eisentaedt’s photograph, but the significance of the picture as a kind of cultural — indeed a totemic — artifact.

15_05531421“V-J Day in Times Square” is not merely the one image that captures what it felt like in America when it was finally announced, after a half-decade of global conflict, that Japan had surrendered and that the War in the Pacific — and thus the Second World War itself — was effectively ended. Instead, for countless people, Eisentaedt’s photograph captures at least part of what the people of a nation at war experience when war, any war, is over.

Glenn Edward McDuffie, who long claimed to be sailor in iconic Times Square  ‘kiss’ photo at end of WWII, dies  – NY Daily News

McDuffie, who passed away Sunday in Texas, had said he was motivated to randomly kiss the pretty nurse on the day Japan surrendered because it meant his brother would be getting released from a Japanese prison campTimes Square V-J Day Kiss

The Texas man who made headlines for his repeated claims to being the sailor who randomly kissed a woman in Times Square, leading to one of the most iconic photographic images of World War II, has died.

Glenn Edward McDuffie passed away at age 86 on Sunday in Texas after suffering a heart attack at a casino earlier in the day, his daughter told the Daily News.

McDuffie claimed for years he was the strapping sailor who planted one on the lips of the swooning woman on August 14, 1945. He said it was a spontaneous act of unbridled euphoria sparked by the announcement of Japan’s surrender.

The Life magazine photographer who took the famed shot, Alfred Eisenstaedt, did not record the names of the subjects, and many people have claimed to be the mysterious sailor. In 2007 noted forensic artist Lois Gibson, who works for the Houston Police Department, said she positively identified McDuffie as the sailor. Her technique was to take numerous pictures of the older McDuffie and overlay them over the original. By doing so she said she compared the sailor’s muscles, ears and other features to McDuffie’s, and found them to be a match.

Take a look at the rest of that NY Daily News piece, it has later pictures of McDuffie along with some photos of him when he was young…and other older interview quotes as well.

But back to the Life Magazine link for a little more:

…two small but significant pieces of information related to Eisenstaedt’s rightfully famous “Kiss in Times Square” might come — especially when taken together — as a real surprise to fans of both photography and of LIFE magazine in general.

First, contrary to what countless people have long believed, the photo of the sailor kissing the nurse did not appear on the cover of LIFE. It did warrant a full page of its own inside the magazine (page 27 of the August 27, 1945, issue, to be exact) but was part of a larger, multi-page feature titled, simply, “Victory Celebrations.”

Closely tied to that first point is the fact that while the conclusion of the Second World War might be something LIFE magazine, of all publications, could be expected to feature on its cover for weeks on end, the magazine’s editors clearly had other ideas. post_1267972In fact, not only did Eisensteadt’s Times Square photo not make the cover of the August 27th issue; no image related to the war, or the peace, graced the cover. Instead the magazine carried a striking photograph of a ballet dancer.

An underwater ballet dancer.

War is over! that cover seems to say.

After years of brutal, global slaughter, our lives — in all their frivolous, mysterious beauty — can finally begin again.

Amen to that.

Some of the pictures in that Life Magazine’s gallery are beautiful, they have published pictures that were not published in the original 1945 piece. Like this one below, of the V-J Day reaction in Hollywood:

11_00267533

I love that woman’s shoes! This article also is connected to another WWII era gallery at Life, Fighting Words: World War II Battlefield Signs | LIFE.com

00600729.JPGThe universe is made of stories, not of atoms,” the American poet Muriel Rukeyser once wrote, and more and more, as time goes by, that sounds about right.

But what if paying strict heed to every written word that one saw every single day meant the difference between survival and annihilation? What if the misreading of a sign on an unfamiliar road, for example, meant not the inconvenience of a missed turn, but a sudden, violent death?

Take your Atabrine, an anti-malaria drug. Sign was put up at the 363rd station hospital in Papua, New Guinea during WWII

Take your Atabrine, an anti-malaria drug. Sign was put up at the 363rd station hospital in Papua, New Guinea during WWII

Here, LIFE.com takes a look at some of the countless signs that troops encountered during the course of World War II, from the islands of the Pacific to the deserts of North Africa to the ruined cities of Europe. Official warnings; adamant instructions; wry, handwritten inside jokes — all of them silent reminders of a conflict that, until the very end, dished out one paramount, universal command: Pay attention!

So again, check that link out along with the following:

d5eb019a959d5f074b8a7121137129eeWWII Signs on Pinterest

Women in WWII on Pinterest

Alfred Eisenstaedt Life Photographer on Pinterest

WWII on Pinterest

On the Job in WWII – Rosie and Friends. on Pinterest

This last board has some posters from WWI as well:

Vintage Ads, Billboards, Signs, Posters on Pinterest

Here are your newsy links for today, after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »


Tuesday Reads: Damned If He Does; Damned If He Doesn’t, and Other News

matisse_woman_reading

Good Morning!!

Syria is still the top news story today, and its still very unclear what is going to happen. The latest CBS/NYT poll found that 56% of Americans disapprove of the president’s handing of the Syria situation, and 61% are opposed to military strikes.

Yesterday President Obama told CBS’ Scott Pelley, “I understand” American people aren’t with me on Syria strike. You can read the transcript of the interview at the above link. The interview ended this way:

SCOTT PELLEY: The people aren’t with you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yeah, well, not yet. And I, as I said, I understand that. So I’ll have a chance to talk to the American people directly tomorrow. I don’t expect that it’s gonna suddenly swing the polls wildly in the direction of another military engagement. If you ask the average person — including my household — “Do we need another military engagement?” I think the answer generally is gonna be no.

But what I’m gonna try to propose is, is that we have a very specific objective, a very narrow military option, and one that will not lead into some large-scale invasion of Syria or involvement or boots on the ground, nothing like that. This isn’t like Iraq, it’s not like Afghanistan, it’s not even like Libya. Then hopefully people will recognize why I think this is so important.

And that we should all be haunted by those images of those children that were killed. But more importantly, we should understand that when when we start saying it’s okay to — or at least that there’s no response to the gassing of children, that’s the kind of slippery slope that leads eventually to these chemical weapons being used more broadly around the world. That’s not the kind of world that we want to leave to our children.

Obama will address the nation tonight, and it seems unlikely that he’ll be able to shift public opinion dramatically enough to get support for military intervention in Syria. According to the CBS/NYT poll linked above, Republicans oppose Obama on Syria even more overwhelmingly that Democrats do; and it’s not clear to me that the opposition is just about military action. As far as I can tell, the hatred for Obama at this point is so strong among Republicans–and among many Democrats as well–that he can’t do anything right. If he had ignored the chemical weapons attacks in Syria, he would have been called weak, but now that he wants to act, he’s suddenly a warmonger. He’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

Currently the focus is on whether Obama can convince Congress to support action on Syria. If, as is most likely, his speech tonight doesn’t magically change public opinion, he’ll apparently be seen as an utter failure, both nationally and internationally. From The Boston Globe: Credibility stakes high for Obama in Syria speech.

President Obama’s speech to the nation Tuesday night has turned into a defining moment for the remainder of his term. The outcome of his call for Congress to authorize military strikes against Syria could determine both his credibility on domestic issues and his power on the international stage, analysts said Monday.

The stakes remained high even in light of Monday’s development that Russia is pushing Syria to allow United Nations control of its alleged chemical weapons. In an interview with CBS, Obama said Monday night that any proposed diplomatic solution must be backed by the “credible military threat from the United States.” [….]

“If he loses, then clearly, his lame duck status probably starts more than a year earlier than normal,” said Elaine C. Kamarck, a Clinton administration veteran and now a senior scholar at the Brookings Institution. “Also if he loses, it’s difficult to say how the bad guys in the world, like North Korea and other places, interpret this.”

President Obama said he will go ahead with his speech on Tuesday, outlining the rationale for US military action. The task has been made much more difficult because Obama has seemed uncertain of his own course. He initially drew a hard line on chemical weapons and then, once convinced that the Syrian government had used them last month, spoke and acted as if a military strike were imminent.

But of course if Obama hadn’t asked for Congressional approval, he would have been excoriated by the press for that and his second term would have been written off anyway. I just don’t think Obama can win at this point, regardless of what he decides to do on Syria or any other issue. Even the endorsement of popular former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton can’t turn around the current judgment that Obama is always wrong.

Former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday endorsed President Obama’s call for military strikes against Syria and said “it would be an important step” if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad surrendered his stockpile of chemical weapons.

“The Assad regime’s inhuman use of weapons of mass destruction against innocent men, women and children violates a universal norm at the heart of our global order, and therefore it demands a strong response from the international community, led by the United States,” she said.

Clinton, a potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, made her first public remarks on Syria during a previously scheduled appearance at the White House. She said she had just come from a meeting with Obama, during which they discussed a proposal advanced by Russia to avert U.S. military strikes by having Assad turn over control of the country’s chemical weapons to international monitors.

She said that such a move would be important but that “this cannot be another excuse for delay or obstruction, and Russia has to support the international community’s efforts sincerely or be held to account.”

She also suggested that the Russian proposal came about only because of a “credible military threat by the United States.”

I think that’s probably true. Personally, I hope there’s a diplomatic solution, and the fact that Obama and Putin discussed such a possibility last week–and even before that–gives me some hope.

In other news,

Four men have been convicted in the gang rape of a women in Delhi, India last year. From BBC News:

The 23-year-old woman was brutally assaulted on a bus and died two weeks later.

Her death led to days of huge protests across India in a wave of unprecedented anger.

The case forced the introduction of tough new laws to punish sexual offences. The four men are expected to be sentenced on Wednesday.

Mukesh Singh, Vinay Sharma, Akshay Thakur and Pawan Gupta denied charges including rape and murder, and lawyers for three of the men said they would appeal against the convictions.

They face the death penalty over the attack on the physiotherapy student after being found guilty of rape, murder and destruction of evidence.

Read more at the link.

Will the verdict affect attitudes toward violence against women in India? Nita Bhalla discusses this question at Thompson Reuters: As India gang rape trial ends, a debate over what has changed.

The serial rapist stalks her for days. Eventually he breaks into her home when she is alone and tries to rape her at knifepoint. But she somehow manages to overpower and trap him.

Now, with the help of her two housemates, she has to decide what to do. Kill him and bury him in the garden? Or call the police, who are known to be insensitive and may let him off?

The plot is from “Kill the Rapist?” – a provocative new Bollywood thriller which aims to embolden Indian women to report sexual assaults – and to deter potential rapists by making them “shiver with fear before even thinking of rape” the film’s Facebook page says.

Controversial? Yes, but it is part of a growing awareness in India about violence against women since the high-profile fatal gang rape of a 23-year-old student on a bus in December.

“Like most Indians, I had become used to hearing about rapes and other crimes against women. I would read about them, then turn the page and forget,” says Siddhartha Jain, the 39-year-old producer of “Kill the Rapist?”

“But the December incident shook me to the core. I didn’t want this just to be another story that would be forgotten in a year. My film, which will be released on the anniversary of the incident, is an excuse to amplify the discussion of women’s security and hopefully bring about some positive changes.”

It sounds a little like that play from the 1980s, “Extremities,” that Farrah Fawcett starred in. Perhaps India is getting its consciousness raised?

Meanwhile, check out this info I just pulled off Twitter: Study: 1 in 4 men across parts of Asia admit to rape. Some highlights:

1  A UN study in 6 Asia-Pacific countries found that 1 in 10 men admitted to raping a woman other than his wife or girlfriend. Counting wives and girlfriends, the figure rose to 24%. More than 10,000 men were interviewed in Bangladesh, China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka.
2  The percentages of men who admitted to rape varied by country. In Bangladesh, 11.1% admitted to rape; in Cambodia 20.8%; in China 22.7%; in Indonesia 31.9%; in Papua New Guinea 60.7%.
3  More than 70% of those who admitted to forcing a woman to have sex gave reasons that fell under the study’s category of “sexual entitlement.” Nearly 60% said they were bored or wanted to have fun. 40% said they were angry and wanted to punish the woman. Only half said they felt guilty and 24% had been imprisoned for rape.
There are citations at the end of the piece.

Here’s an economics story from Wonkblog for Dakninkat to opine on. Why doesn’t Fed policy pack more punch? Blame Grandpa.

One of the great frustrations of the last few years has been that, even as central banks around the world have taken extensive steps to try to prop up growth, the impact hasn’t been that great. Indeed, over the last generation, there’s lots of evidence that changes in interest rates don’t pack the punch, in terms of both jobs and inflation, that they used to.

A researcher at the International Monetary Fund has a novel explanation for one reason  why this may be: namely,  a growing proportion of the world population, and especially in advanced nations, that is elderly.

“We will argue that monetary policy also has a weakened effect on the economy due to changing demographics,” Patrick Imam writes in a working paper. “The elderly used to account for a small share of the population, but technological breakthroughs and social changes over the last two centuries have transformed this demographic structure.”

The gist is that young people are more likely to borrow money, while older people tend to live investments, so lower interest rates have less effect on an aging society overall.

When just embarking on a career, a young person might take out major loans for education and for buying a house and car. As they reach middle age, they will tend to have paid down some of that debt while also building savings. By the time they hit retirement age, they should be net creditors, with significantly more savings than they still owe in debt.

That would imply that in an older society fewer people are actively using credit products. Which should in turn imply that a central bank turning the dials of interest rates will be less powerful at shaping the speed of the overall economy.

As usual, it’s the baby boomers’ fault. Anyway it’s an Interesting theory . . . we’ll have to see what Dak has to say about it.

Now it’s your turn. What stories are you following today? Please post your links in the comment thread.


Tuesday: Something’s Gotta Give!

greta garbo reading

Good Morning!!

I’ve finally reached a point of such frustration with politics, with the do-nothing Congress, and the mostly unserious media, that I wonder if the bottleneck of corruption, incompetence, and stupidity in Washington DC will ever be broken.

Congress–particularly the Senate–is populated mostly with old, rich white men who work about two days a week at most and take so many vacations that it’s hard to keep track of when they’re actually on the job. When the rest of us have a day off, they get a week. And for major holidays like Christmas, they take a month. It’s sickening.

The Republican House spends its two days a week mostly taking votes to repeal or defund Obamacare or finding new ways to wage war on women’s individual freedom and autonomy. The rest of their time is spent trying to take food out of the mouths of poor children by cutting food stamps and other safety net programs. Then there are the states where Republican governors and legislatures are waging all-out war on women and pretty much anyone who isn’t in the top 1%.

Meanwhile, our roads and bridges are falling down all over the country. Can you imagine how many jobs the government could create by helping to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure? Not only that, but baby boomers like me could be put back to work helping in the schools. The government could create a WPA for the growing ranks of seniors instead of attacking us for collecting the Social Security and Medicare we’ve paid into for our entire lives!

Will the logjam ever break? Will we ever see the slightest focus on jobs and economic equality for the vast majority of Americans?

Back in 2000, after the Supreme Court designated George W. Bush as president, I despaired and ignored politics for awhile. But after 9/11 and the lies that dragged us into two wars that ended up being longer and more pointless than the war of my youth–Vietnam–I began to follow politics closely again. I felt it was my responsibility as a citizen to pay attention to what was being done in our name. And I did.

I had gone back to college in 1993 and got into using computers again. In 1997, I started graduate school, and got my first PC and immediately got my cable company to hook it up to the internet. I joined internet mailing lists where I could discuss issues that interested me.

Around 2003, I heard about “weblogs,” and I set out to find some that discussed politics. Every day I read and commented at Daily Kos, Talking Points Memo, and dozens of other liberal blogs. Most of you know the rest. In 2008, I was driven off DK after I failed to drink the Obot Koolaid. I wrote for a small blog for a couple of years and then finally Dakinkat and I joined up here at Sky Dancing, along with Mona and JJ.

I’m here and I want to keep on writing here. I love learning about new subjects when I research news stories. But Goddammit, I want something new to happen. I want our government to be functional and have positive effects on my life and the lives of other ordinary people.

Back in 2008 I pretty much shut off the TV and focused on getting my news on the internet. But for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been escaping into detective novels and watching old movies on the tube. It’s difficult to find things blog about when the news is the same every day–the war on women and working people and Congress refusing to lift a finger to improve the economic situation for the vast majority of Americans.

As you know, lately I’ve become fascinated by the case of Edward Snowden and his leaks about NSA spying. Previously, I had focused on the bombings that took place in Boston and that had led me to do a lot of research on Russia, where the accused bombers’ roots were. So when Snowden ended up in Russia, I had a little bit of background on the place.

When the NSA leaks first broke, I thought it was possible we might get some real movement on the issue of domestic spying, but once Snowden revealed himself the story became mostly about him and his mouthpiece Glenn Greenwald.

Now the Snowden story has also settled into a holding pattern. The Russians are enjoying playing with their new toy and sticking it to the Obama administration, and Greenwald isn’t even writing about leaks anymore. He just writes long, angry lectures about how Democrats and liberals are the root of all evil.

Speaking of libertarians, have you noticed the Ayn Rand crowd is taking over and brainwashing a lot of so-called “progressives?” Last week there was an effort to pass an amendment that would have prevented NSA from collecting any telephone metadata. Instead of having an intelligent discussion about how to carefully regulate electronic surveillance, we would have simply ended it–and gone back to where we were before 9/11 in terms of identifying terrorist threats.

That bill was named after an Ayn Rand worshipping wingnut from Michigan named Justin Amash whose goal is to remove all power from the Federal government except the power to control women’s bodies! Did you know that Amash wants to ban abortions as of three days after conception? This reactionary who is being called “the next Ron Paul” was actually named “Truthdigger of the week.” Are you kidding me?

Have we finally reached the point where the “progressives” of 2008 are joining with the anti-statist libertarians? Sorry, but I’m not down with that. I believe in government, and I believe we need a strong Federal government. I think the states have too much power over people’s lives right now. I think we need a national equal rights amendment to end the constant ridiculous efforts to control the lives of women and LGBT people!

Now I’ve ranted away much of the space for this post, and I haven’t really given you any news. I’m going to post a few links, and I will put up another post a little later on. And If you have any suggestions for how I can deal with my Political Affective Disorder, I’ll be very grateful to receive them.

President Obama has been trying to put some focus on economics, and will make his fourth speech on the topic today. A few links:

The Windsor Star– Analysis: Obama tries to shift focus to economy, faces withering Republican opposition

WSJ– Obama Economic Proposals Face Long Odds in Congress

Dean Baker– Cruel Arithmetic and President Obama’s Big Speech

The Hill– Obama to propose ‘grand bargain’ on jobs, corporate tax rates

Other News

Fox News– 8 injured, including 4 critically, after dozens of explosions rock central Florida propane plant

Amy Davidson at The New Yorker– Waiting for the Bradley Manning Verdict

Vanity Fair– Anthony Weiner’s Cringe-y New Sexts Reveal Request for “Daily Shoe Update”

USA Today– San Diego mayor wants taxpayers to foot legal bills

So…….. What’s new with you today? Are you frustrated, depressed, or perhaps inspired? What issues are you focusing on today? Please let me know in the comment thread.


Sunday Reads: Bacon on Wheels, Alpaca Buzz Cuts and Penguins on Parade

151-001Good Morning

Guess you can tell from the title of this post, animals will play a feature role in today’s reads.  Right now here in Banjoville the skies are opening up and raining down cats and dogs. Loud thunder is shaking the house, and that means lightning…real bad lightning…so I best make this post short and sweet. So here are your morning reads in link dump fashion.

Well, down in Miami the police roughed up a kid who was holding a puppy because he looked at them funny. I should say not funny as in funny amusing, but as they put it….”dehumanizing.”

Police Allegedly Assault Black Kid Carrying A Puppy For Looking At Them Wrong

Miami-Dade Police allegedly handcuffed and choked a 14 year old boy while he was carrying a newborn puppy for giving them a “dehumanizing” stare. A court case over the incident will begin on July 16th.

Tremaine McMillian was, by his account, playing on a beach with a friend and his puppy on the Miami boardwalk when police came over to tell them to stop “roughousing.” Though the police later admitted the boys’ activity was neither criminal nor violent, they asked the boys where their parents were. McMillian directed the officers to his nearby mother, and that’s where the family and the police’s story diverge.

McMillian and his mother, Maurissa Holmes, say the police chased down McMillian on ATVs and attacked him essentially without provocation. “The police officers were on their ATVs, and my son was walking,” Holmes said. “They jumped off their ATVs, grabbed him and slammed him to the ground.”

You can read the police’s version at the link, you can also see video of the arrest as well…there are some discrepancies however…pointed out by Tommy Christopher…check this out.

…there’s another painfully adorable detail that was left out of that report. Here’s what Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaletatold CBS 4:

Miami-Dade Police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta told D’Oench it was just after 11:00 am on Memorial Day on Haulover Beach when officers saw McMillian slamming another teenager on to the sand.

“They told him that behavior was unacceptable,” said Zabaleta. “He walked away and officers followed him. They asked where his parents were. He said he was not going to take them to them. When he started to leave the beach area, officers had to get off their ATVs to detain him. He had closed arms, clenched fists and pulled his arm away.”

“Once he was approaching the road, the officers restrained him. Again his body language was that he was stiffening up and pulling away,” said Zabaleta. “Now you’re resisting officers at that point and when the hands are swinging and you are resisting officers, at that point you have to be taken into custody.”

“Of course we have to neutralize the threat,” said Zabaleta. “When you have somebody resistant to them and pulling away and somebody clenching their fists and flailing their arms, that’s a threat.”

He said the police report did not indicate that a puppy was involved.

“At that point we are not concerned with a puppy,” said Zabaleta. “We are concerned with the threat to the officer.”

So, the police don’t seem to be disputing that the puppy was there, just that he didn’t merit inclusion in the report. But if the puppy was there, then how do police explain this?

“How could I be clenching my fists when I was taking care of my puppy and giving him some milk with a bottle?” asked McMillian.

I mean the kid was giving the newborn puppy a bottle of milk…WTF?

Shit…with the way law enforcement authorities are reporting things lately, that bottle of milk could have been a rocket launcher and the puppy? Well that was no puppy, that was a dwarf Muslim terrorist, hey….don’t mistake that fur for the towel on his head. /snark

I want to bring this story to your attention, it is about pigs but not the real animals. U.S. Naval Academy football players investigated for sexual assault | Reuters

Three members of the U.S. Naval Academy football team are being investigated for the alleged sexual assault of a female student, the Pentagon said on Friday, the latest in a string of scandals that have thrown a spotlight on sex crimes in the military.

The alleged incident took place in April 2012, when the student attended a party at the off-campus “football house” in Annapolis, Maryland and became intoxicated, her attorney, Susan Burke, said in a statement.

“She woke up at the football house the next morning with little recall of what had occurred. She learned from friends and social media that three football players were claiming to have had sexual intercourse with her while she was incapacitated,” Burke said, without identifying her client by name.

No charges have been brought forth yet, this is still being investigated.

Burke said that one of the football players pressured the woman not to cooperate with an initial investigation into the case. She initially followed that advice, but was still “ostracized and retaliated against by the football players and the Naval Academy community.” She was also disciplined for drinking, Burke said in a statement.

In early 2013, the female student decided to seek legal help and the Navy re-opened the investigation, Burke said.

“Over time, the midshipman began to recover from the trauma, and became angered at the lack of justice and retaliation in her case,” she said.

I am sure that this investigation will eventually end up like these cases usually do. But with the congressional hearings coming up…maybe there will be a fire under the ass of these military brass and justice will finally take a front seat and not get molested like so many of these women service members.

Here is yet another article about shitty pay and what it does to the economy. One Walmart’s Low Wages Could Cost Taxpayers $900,000 Per Year, House Dems Find

Then you have the other side of the coin, y’all heard that Tumblr was sold to Yahoo for 1.1 billion dollars…check this out: Tumblr’s Creative Director Quits

On to something more interesting, these next two links are about different things…but deal with the same subject.

First, this article from the New York Times: Justice Dept. Reports Rise in Prosecutions on Indian Lands

The Justice Department said this week that it had increased its rate of criminal prosecutions in Indian country by more than 50 percent in the past four years, a period in which violent crime on the nation’s Indian reservations has soared and tribes have complained of lawlessness.

The data, part of a Justice Department report released Thursday, found that United States attorneys had prosecuted about 69 percent of the 3,145 criminal cases referred to their offices from Indian country last year — an improvement over 2011, when the federal government tried 63 percent of 2,840 criminal cases in Indian country.

The report comes amid a wave of violent crime on Indian lands and criticism of the Justice Department by tribal officials who say United States attorneys pursue far too few violent criminal cases on reservations.

Prosecutors say they must decline many Indian country cases — about 60 percent of the total — because of a lack of evidence.

The feds usually prosecute murder, rape and white-collar crimes, but these numbers are a bit confusing because there is a new law that went into effect which includes various other violent crimes.

Previous government data have cited violent crimes, which presented a more pessimistic picture: that the Justice Department files charges in only about half of Indian country murder investigations and one-third of sexual assault cases. The data also showed the number of prosecutions by United States attorneys of violent crimes fell by 3 percent from 2000 to 2010, even as crime on some reservations increased by 50 percent or more.

But the report released this week does not separate the number of federal prosecutions for violent crimes. Instead, the report groups them with drug cases and white-collar crime.

On Friday, Wyn Hornbuckle, a Justice Department spokesman, said the analysis did not specify figures for violent crime because the department was not required to do so by the Tribal Law and Order Act, a 2010 law that mandates that the department release prosecution rates in Indian country. (This week’s report is the agency’s first since the law went into effect.)

I guess these reports are just like any other reports out there, what the hell do they really tell us? And do they exist so people can twist these department figures to their advantage, and by doing that manipulate the dialogue to justify their own agenda. (I know the answer to that…)

The other link is this: Do Mascots Need Modernizing? « The Dish

Earlier this week, ten members of Congress sent a letter to the front office of the Washington Redskins, pushing them to select a new mascot:

In this day and age, it is imperative that you uphold your moral responsibility to disavow the usage of racial slurs.  The usage of the “R-word” is especially harmful to Native American youth, tending to lower their sense of dignity and self-esteem.  It also diminishes feelings of community worth among the Native American tribes and dampens the aspirations of their people. We look forward to working with you to find a solution to this important matter.

This is something that I am hesitant to get involved in. I am no fan of the Atlanta Braves, but they also have an Indian mascot. There is talk of getting the government involved, like previous strategy used by the JFK admin when the Redskins owners would not integrate the team.  See  the JFKs guys would not allow the Redskins on the stadium property because it was federal land…however,

Doug Mataconis disagrees with the liberal lawmakers’ strategy:

I have to wonder why this is something that Members of Congress need to be getting involved in, or why legislation is necessary to address something that is, in the end, a private business matter.

The people who don’t like the name are free to protest it. Dan Snyder and the rest of Redskins ownership are free to reject their pleas. If there ever comes a time when the public sympathizes with the protesters, then perhaps the team will feel the kind of economic pressure most likely to cause them to change positions, then we’ll likely see a name change of some kind.

Personally, I think the odds of that happening are pretty remote. The Redskins name has been in existence now since 1933 when the football version of the Boston Braves changed its name to Boston Redskins before moving to Washington, D.C. several years later. We’re not that far away from the 100th anniversary of that name. It’s going to be around for a long time to come, and I’m just fine with that.

Well, the Redskins play on the FedEx field in Maryland now…and it isn’t on Federal land. Like I said, I don’t know how I feel about this…guess we will talk about it in the comments below.

Ralph posted a link to an article about the DOJ Press Leaks by Walter Pincus last week in the comments and I thought everyone would appreciate this response from the ACLU. (I remembered the name Pincus because of Seinfeld…and Kramer, “Poor little Pincus.”) Anyway: Responding to The Washington Post’s Walter Pincus on Leaks and Shield Laws | American Civil Liberties Union

There is a rumor going round that Hillary Clinton is getting her own Twitter Hillary Clinton To Start Using Twitter: Report:This is supposed to be her handle…  https://twitter.com/HillaryClinton

For some far out images,  Global flight-path maps: Five interpretations  Large pictures here:  In pictures: Global flight paths

A bit of Manhattan History for those of you who are the nostalgic types: 1930s New York subway train makes rare trip from Queens to Manhattan

ccbcad213a676312330f6a706700ede3.jpg

May 30, 2013: In this photo provided by the New York Mass Transit Administration, an unidentified MTA employee checks the platform from between the cars of a 1930’s era subway train in the Queens borough of New York. (AP/Mass Transit Administration)

[…]

Lucky straphangers who happened to be in the right place at the right time on Thursday got to ride in eight subway cars purchased between 1930 and 1939.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority says some of the cars were taken out of the New York Transit Museum to commemorate the opening of a stretch of subway tracks badly damaged during Superstorm Sandy.

After the ceremony, the cars were put into regular passenger service for one quick trip from Queens to upper Manhattan.

Riders on board the train took pictures and gawked at its old-school style. Ads for Clark bars, fireworks shows on Coney Island and Levy’s Rye Bread adorned the walls.

More history for you, this is Breaking Bad meets Inglorious Basturds: Crystal Meth Origins Link Back to Nazi Germany and World War II – SPIEGEL ONLINE

Crystal meth is notorious for being highly addictive and ravaging countless communities. But few know that the drug can be traced back to Nazi Germany, where it first became popular as a way to keep pilots and soldiers alert in battle during World War II.

Photo Gallery: Crystal Meth's German Roots

“Alertness aid” read the packaging, to be taken “to maintain wakefulness.” But “only from time to time,” it warned, followed by a large exclamation point.

The young soldier, though, needed more of the drug, much more. He was exhausted by the war, becoming “cold and apathetic, completely without interests,” as he himself observed. In letters sent home by the army postal service, he asked his family to send more. On May 20, 1940, for example, he wrote: “Perhaps you could obtain some more Pervitin for my supplies?” He found just one pill was as effective for staying alert as liters of strong coffee. And — even better — when he took the drug, all his worries seemed to disappear. For a couple of hours, he felt happy.

This 22-year-old, who wrote numerous letters home begging for more Pervitin, was not just any soldier — he was Heinrich Böll, who would go on to become one of Germany’s leading postwar writers and win a Nobel Prize for literature in 1972. And the drug he asked for is now illegal, notoriously so. We now know it as crystal meth.

Man, that is some fucked up shit.

Alright, since we touched on chemistry…here is a link that ties in perfectly. Molecule Chemical Bond Images From UC Berkeley | Geekosystem

2-firsteverhig

Have you ever looked at a textbook diagram of the chemical bonds that make up molecules and thought to yourself, “This is just a dumb drawing — how do they know what it even looks like in real life?” Well stop it. Stop it right now. Felix Fischer of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is going to show you what it looks like with these gorgeous high-resolution images of individual carbon atoms linking together. And guess what? They look just like they do in the textbooks. Happy now?

I swear I had no idea these things really looked like this! Did you? Go to the link to read the rest. Amazing.

Back now to my own comfort zone: ‘Amazingly rare’ letter written by Robert the Bruce to Edward II found (But I gotta say, I hated the movie Braveheart!)

An unknown and “amazingly rare” letter written by Robert the Bruce at a pivotal point of the Wars of Scottish Independence has been uncovered by a Scottish academic.

In the letter, the fearsome Scottish warrior appeals to the English King Edward II for an end to “persecution and disturbance”. It was sent in 1310, less than four years before Bannockburn, the  victory that paved the way for Scottish independence.

Dauvit Broun, professor of Scottish History at the University of Glasgow, found the letter in The British Library while studying a manuscript written by the monks of Kirkstall Abbey about 500 years ago. The correspondence  happened to be copied by the monks into their manuscript, the original has not survived.

Professor Broun said: “It’s  amazingly rare, a freak survival. There’s nothing like this that  survives from around that time.”

Listen to the tone of Robert the Bruce…

Bruce wrote to “beseech” the king that “you would take pains to cease from our persecution and the disturbance of the people of our kingdom in order that devastation and the spilling of a neighbour’s blood may henceforth stop.”

Take a look at the rest of the article at the link. I wish they had printed the full letter. I would have loved to read the whole thing myself.

Real quick archeology links:

Japan’s Oldest-Known Wooden Mask – Archaeology Magazine

San “Rain Control” in South Africa – Archaeology Magazine

Earlier this week I linked to the female mammoth with flowing blood that was found in Siberia…well, this was another cool “ice age” related article that I was planning on sharing with you:  Centuries-old frozen plants revived

Plants that were frozen during the “Little Ice Age” centuries ago have been observed sprouting new growth, scientists say.

Samples of 400-year-old plants known as bryophytes have flourished under laboratory conditions.

Researchers say this back-from-the-dead trick has implications for how ecosystems recover from the planet’s cyclic long periods of ice coverage. The findings appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The receding glaciers are exposing land that has not seen daylight since the mini ice age.

Bryophytes are different from the land plants that we know best, in that they do not have vascular tissue that helps pump fluids around different parts of the organism.

They can survive being completely desiccated in long Arctic winters, returning to growth in warmer times, but Dr La Farge was surprised by an emergence of bryophytes that had been buried under ice for so long.

“When we looked at them in detail and brought them to the lab, I could see some of the stems actually had new growth of green lateral branches, and that said to me that these guys are regenerating in the field, and that blew my mind,” she told BBC News.

“If you think of ice sheets covering the landscape, we’ve always thought that plants have to come in from refugia around the margins of an ice system, never considering land plants as coming out from underneath a glacier.”

But the retreating ice at Sverdrup Pass, where the Teardrop Glacier is located, is uncovering an array of life, including cyanobacteria and green terrestrial algae. Many of the species spotted there are entirely new to science.

And from that story of new life from ancient plants to a post in The Atlantic, I will just put it here because…well, you all will see why: Why the Boomers Are the Most Hated Generation – Edward Tenner – The Atlantic (Look at the comments, some of them are funny and vicious indeed.)

While you “feast” on that, take a look at this op/ed from the LA Times…Jefferson Davis’ ‘presidential’ library –  It offers a rallying point for the myth of a gentle and just South dragged into the War of Northern Aggression.

And then…think about that little island in the Mediterranean for all us Sky Dancers to escape to:  The island of long life – On the Greek island of Ikaria, life is sweet… and very, very long. So what is the locals’ secret?

The island of long life – in pictures | Life and style | The Guardian

Ikaria - in pictures: Ikaria island - secrets of the blue zone

BTW, did you see my man Samuel L Jackson and his latest video? Samuel L. Jackson Quitting Acting To Pursue A ‘Life Of Vigilantism’? | Mediaite

Samuel L. Jacksonsubmitted a challenge to the Reddit community this week. “It’s simple,” he wrote, “write 300 words and the most upvoted post I’ll read out loud in monologue form.” Today, Jackson posted the winning monologue video and it was just as “bad-ass” as promised.

“Hi, I’m Samuel L. Jackson,” he began, “I’m sorry to disappoint you, Reddit, but I’ve decided to break the rules of my own competition.” From there, the actor said he wanted to “speak to you all from my own heart, in my own words” before announcing that he was “quitting acting and pursuing a life of vigilantism.” Fortunately for fans of one of America’s most prolific actors, this was all part of the winning submission from Reddit user adiddy.

I love this mutha…

Jackson set up the unconventional contest to help raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association, and revealed on Reddit that the campaign had raised over $130,000. Everyone who donated was entered to win lunch with Jackson and a trip to his UK celebrity golf tournament.

The whole thing almost got “derailed by the internet forum 4Chan”but here it is…

Whoa….ooooeeee, that dude is awesome.

Now for the animals.

Sheared Alpaca – Business Insider

Alpaca Getting Sheared

Farmers shear an alpaca at a zoo in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, May 30, 2013…

Scrawny under all that fleece aren’t they. I just got one thing to say, that alpaca is not getting sheared by someone looking to spin the fiber into yarn. What a waste! Butcher of a job…

See:

What a difference….those of you inclined to fiber fun, check out the video and watch these guys get sheared.

Shearing Movies | Cliff House Alpacas

And see how the fiber is prepared:

After we Shear we Skirt | Cliff House Alpacas

Alright then, moving on to the penguins.

So This Happened | TPM Editors Blog

To greet African leaders arriving for conference in Japan, event organizers force group of Penguins to dress up in ‘African’ costumes …

And finally, meet Chris P. Bacon: The wheelchair pig

Chris P. Bacon The wheelchair pig

A Florida veterinarian who fashioned a wheelchair for his pet pig has just signed a three-book publishing deal on the life and adventures of his little friend he named Chris P. Bacon.

That’ll do pig. Oh he is so damn cute.

Geez, 3360 words later, short and sweet my ass!

That should keep everyone busy, now some of you will have storms to look out for today, so stay alert:  Severe Weather Warnings Page

And if you are around, stop and leave a comment or two….have a wonderful day!


Sunday Reads: Themes and Variations…

Vintage Advertisement Good Morning!

Well, we all knew that the Newt Master was going to take South Carolina. So if its alright with you, I’d like to avoid all that Primary fodder and spend today’s morning reads on items associated with film. Real Film. The kind that has gone the way of 8–Tracks and buggy whips.

The past few weeks we have seen companies file bankruptcy left and right.  (Personally, I cannot understand how the company that gave us the Twinkie and Wonder Bread failed so miserably. I mean, in this land of milk and Hohos…or if you prefer, Ding Dongs, how can Hostess not succeed?)

However, there was one company who filed for Chapter 11, that should have seen the writing on the wall.

In his 1973 hit song Kodachrome, Paul Simon warned everyone who had a Nikon camera and loved to take a photograph that everything looks worse in black and white.

You can colour him prophetic. Eastman Kodak, maker of the Kodachrome colour slide film immortalized by Simon, filed for bankruptcy protection and was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

Here’s some history for you:

Between its humble beginnings as a two-man partner-ship formed 132 years ago and now the most humbling of denouements, the Kodak brand enjoyed immense popularity, exercised social influence and wielded corporate power. In 1930, Kodak joined the stable of blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average listings. At Kodak’s peak of market dominance in the mid-1970s, 90 per cent of the film and 85 per cent of the cameras sold in the United States were theirs. The user-friendly, low-tech, point-and-shoot Kodak Instamatic, its top-of-the-line version complete with flashcubes, was omnipresent in Canada too through the 1960s and ’70s, and it acted as something of a democratizing social force. Rich or poor, everyone could be a shutterbug, and people of all ages were forever churning through Kodacolor 126 film cartridges.

At the same time, Kodachrome saturated the 35mm market and all those Nikon cameras were capturing the nice bright colours, preserving the greens of summer, making people think all the world was a sunny day, oh yeah – just like the song said.

By 1983, the little company that George Eastman and Henry Strong founded in Rochester, N.Y., about a century earlier had 60,400 people on its payroll and was the quintessential portrait of an American success story.

It has been reported that Kodak got too fat and sassy at that point, its management too complacent at the top of the photography industry to keep innovating in order to fend off rivals like Japan’s Fuji Corp., many of them leaner and hungrier and more than capable of stealing market share. Fuji became the official camera and film of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics – setting up shop in Kodak’s back yard as it were – and the foothold gained in the U.S. market through that one strategic partnership was incredibly valuable.

Strangely, Kodak was slow to read the writing on the wall and as the rest of the industry wholeheartedly embraced the advent of digital technology, too much of Kodak’s identity, inventory and infrastructure was still tied up in film, a throwback commodity that was becoming obsolete. They believed in its staying power, as this statement from Kodak corporate literature suggests.

“While electronic or digital technologies will continue to provide many enhancements for home and commercial use, film will remain the highest quality medium for image capture well into the 21st century.”

Yes, film is the quintessential medium to capture an image, but unfortunately the public has become a digital technology consumer. Film, records, videos, books…the list goes on. Everything is there at your fingertips. Literally. Just swipe your index finger along a touch screen and voila…you can watch, listen or read anything that tickles your fancy. So as the article concludes:

So it was not Mama who took our Kodachrome away, as Simon feared all those years ago, it was digital technology.

Now that Kodak has bankruptcy protection, the company has a year to reorganize. Bankruptcy protection: Kodak gets a year to reorganize – CSMonitor.com

Girded by a $950 million financing deal with Citigroup Inc., the photography pioneer aims to keep operating normally during bankruptcy while it peddles a trove of digital-imaging patents.

After years of mammoth cost-cutting and turnaround efforts, Kodak ran short of cash and sought protection from its creditors Thursday. It is required under its bankruptcy financing terms to produce a reorganization plan by Feb. 15, 2013.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper in New York gave Kodak permission to borrow an initial $650 million from Citigroup.

He also set a June 30 deadline for Kodak to seek his approval of bidding procedures for the sale of 1,100 patents that analysts estimate could fetch at least $2 billion. No buyers have emerged since Kodak started shopping them around in July.

Through negotiations and lawsuits, Kodak has already collected $1.9 billion in patent licensing fees and royalties since 2008. Last week, it intensified efforts to defend its intellectual property by filing patent-infringement lawsuits against Apple Inc., HTC Corp., Samsung Electronics and Fujifilm Corp.

Kodak is also involved another high figure dispute at the US International Trade Commission, with Apple and Blackberry’s maker Research in Motion, Ltd. regarding image preview technology.

Kodak is hoping to see a billion dollar settlement from the trade disputes, however the decision has been put off until September.

The Independent had this to say about Kodak and Chapter 11: The moment it all went wrong for Kodak

When companies go bust, we, the customers, rarely pay much heed. It’s all about judges, restructuring and then, if they are lucky, their re-emerging in some shrunken form to carry on as if nothing had happened. Not so in the case of Kodak, which is now taking the walk of ignominy to the bankruptcy courts.

For this is a company we care about – at least if we were born before 1986 or so, when Kodak was at the peak of its commercial powers. A hundred years earlier George Eastman, the company’s founder, had invented roll film, which replaced photographic plates and allowed photography to become a hobby of the masses. Kodak did not quite own the 20th century, but it did become the curator of our memories.

“One of the interesting parts of this bankruptcy story is everyone’s saddened by it,” notes Robert Burley, professor of photography at Ryerson University in Toronto. “There’s a kind of emotional connection to Kodak for many people. You could find that name inside every American household and, in the last five years, it’s disappeared.”

I think that is a fair assessment, it is a sad thing to read about Kodak filling for bankruptcy because so much of our lives can be connected to a Kodak Moment…My family has boxes and boxes of Kodak Moments. Those cherished photos tucked away will remain, eventually fading into a yellowed memory that can be touched and held in your fingertips. Only to be replaced by a memory stick and a glossy printout, very sad indeed.

Here are a few links for you that honor the thing we call film…Kodachrome…A fond farewell to Kodak.

Eastman Kodak film negatives

Eastman Kodak black and white film, negatives, film development reels and black and white prints. Photograph: Gary Cameron/Reuters

I’ve wanted to write something about the imminent demise of Kodak since rumours about their bankruptcy started circulating a couple of months ago. But it wasn’t until I caught a repeat of British fashion photographer Rankin’s TV programme about Time magazine’s veteran photojournalists that something really caught my eye, taking me back to my early experience of being a photographer. It brought home what Kodak meant to me.

The documentary includes a clip of an old BBC Omnibus film about the great war photographer and Life staffer Larry Burrows, who returned time and again to Vietnam to document the war, and eventually died there. Here he was, I guess early in the morning, getting ready to go out for the day, sitting and talking about his experiences to the film crew while opening box after box of Kodak film. He was taking out those lovely, tiny, dome-topped tin canisters and chucking the boxes at his feet until it formed a veritable pile of discarded cardboard.

That was the thing about shooting on film and printing on paper: every time, it felt fresh. Fresh film, chilled from a fridge. Box fresh, beautifully packaged by Kodak in cute yellow boxes that opened with one thumb, perforated in exactly the right place. It was photographic paper that seemed somehow less greasy than the Ilford equivalent when it slipped through your fingers in the developing tray. It was printing paper packed in stylishly thin and flat boxes, in the same yellow Kodak livery. Was it really more contrasty than the competition? Were the blacks deeper, or did it just feel better when soaked through?

When Kodak stopped making their Kodachrome film in 2010, the company issued this press release and tribute. Take some time to look at the images, some of them like the one below will obviously be recognized as photographs which defined a mood, a moment, a war, a life…

Kodak: A Thousand Words – A Tribute to KODACHROME: A Photography Icon

They say all good things in life come to an end. Today we announced that Kodak will retire KODACHROME Film, concluding its 74-year run.

It was a difficult decision, given its rich history. At the end of the day, photographers have told us and showed us they’ve moved on to newer other Kodak films and/or digital. KODACHROME Film currently represents a fraction of one percent of our film sales. We at Kodak want to celebrate with you the rich history of this storied film. Feel free to share with us your fondest memories of Kodachrome.


© Steve McCurry
Sharbat Gula, Afghan Girl, at Nasir Bagh refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan, 1984.

I’ve had the profound privilege of working with the world’s greatest photographers in my role here at Kodak. I serve as the company’s liaison with the pro community, and I’ve gotten to know the best of the best.  Each one has their Kodachrome story.

Please read those stories…and,

View our slideshow of great KODACHROME moments.

Another farewell to Kodachrome, this time from CBS Sunday Morning:

They are fast becoming a memory of Christmas past – photographs taken the old way, with film. And the most famous film of all — Kodachrome — is itself about to become a memory, as CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod reports.

Professional photographer Kent Miller is up before sunrise making sure everything’s perfect for his photo shoot. He wants to capture a triathlete named Carlos Lema at the foot of the George Washington Bridge just across the river from Manhattan in just the right light at dawn.

His film of choice, as it has been for millions of others, is Kodachrome.

“Kodachrome is probably the first professional film I ever really shot,” Miller said.

A professional photographer for more than 20 years, Miller shoots mostly digital now. But this is a job for film, and not just any film – Kodachrome.

“It just reproduces colors in a way that most other films never did, and it lasts forever,” Miller said. “It’s something that is difficult to do with just shooting digital until you bring it in to Photoshop and resaturate and do all your work in there. But just straight out the camera it doesn’t have that density and dynamic ranges as the Kodachrome does just naturally.”

[…]

Todd Gustavson is the curator of technology at the Eastman House – Kodak’s museum in Rochester, N.Y.

“It’s a baby boom product,” he said. “After World War II – availability of new automobiles, national parks were open – and people were able to have some time to travel and of course now there is a this new color film which you could use to document your family vacations and then of course come back and show your friends and neighbors your slides on your carousel or Kodak slide projector.”

Back in 2010, when this story was reported, the last place on earth who could develop the Kodachrome film was on its last week of production.

Kodachrome isn’t a do-it-yourself kind of film. Those long-lasting brilliant colors are the result of a unique developing process involving special chemicals only Kodak makes – or made to be more precise.

It isn’t something you can develop in your basement darkroom.

“The real difference between Kodachrome and all the other color films is that the dyes that make up the image you see in the film, in Kodachrome, don’t get incorporated into the film until it is actually developed,” explained Grant Steinle, who now runs the business his father started .

They’re sad at Dwayne’s, but not at all surprised. They’ve been watching their Kodachrome business shrink, even as other labs stopped processing Kodachrome and Dwayne’s became the only place people from around the world could send their film to be developed.

They’re still doing 700 rolls a day, but that’s not nearly enough demand to convince Kodak to make more chemicals. They’ve got just enough for another week.

“It’s going to be really sad day, it was an important part of our business and Kodachrome was an important part of the history of all of photography,” Grant Steinle said. “To know it was the first consumer color film that was available. Lots of really iconic images of the 20th century were captured on Kodachrome.”

Here are some wonderful images, captured on Kodachrome by one of the photographers for Vanity Fair. The Last Roll of Kodachrome—Frame by Frame! | Culture | Vanity Fair

Two years ago, photographer Steve McCurry heard the whispers. Due to the digital-photography revolution, Kodak was considering discontinuing one of the most legendary film stocks of all time: Kodachrome, a film which was to color slides what the saxophone was to jazz. McCurry spoke with Kodak’s worldwide-marketing wizard Audrey Jonckheer, hoping to persuade Kodak to bequeath him the very last roll that came off the assembly line in Rochester, New York. They readily agreed. And recently, McCurry—most famous for his National Geographic cover of an Afghan girl in a refugee camp, shot on Kodachrome—loaded his Nikon F6 with the 36-exposure spool and headed east, intending to concentrate on visual artists like himself, relying on his typical mix of portraiture, photojournalism, and street photography.

Herewith, presented for the first time in their entirety, are the frames from that historic final roll, which accompanied McCurry from the manufacturing plant in Rochester to his home in Manhattan (where he is a member of the prestigious photo agency Magnum), to Bombay, Rajasthan, Bombay, Istanbul, London, and back to New York. (The camera was X-rayed twice at airports along the way.) McCurry’s final stop, on July 12, 2010: Dwayne’s Photo, in Parsons, Kansas—the only lab on Earth that still developed Kodachrome—which halted all such processing in late December.

Now, these next links are not Kodachrome specific, but nevertheless, photos taken with film.

For some images of the The Iran Hostage Crisis, 31 Years Later — PICTURES – – NationalJournal.com

Jan. 20 marks the 31-year anniversary of the release of hostages from Iran. Fifty-two Americans were held for 444 days in the American Embassy in Tehran, in one of the most significant flash points in the long, tumultuous relationship between the two countries.

Gin and Tacos has some links to photo galleries in one of the blog’s latest post: ginandtacos.com » Blog Archive » NPF: TORCH-PASSING

NASA’s newly released, true color, hi-res scans of the photographs from the Gemini missions (pre-Apollo).

[…]

If space isn’t interesting to you, take a look through one of my other favorites, the Prokudin-Gorsky color photographs taken in Russia between 1900 and 1910. Or learn more about the pioneer of color photography here. It’s pretty difficult to convince your brain that this photo was taken in 1905, isn’t it?

Of course I  must link to one of my favorite sites: Shorpy Historical Photo Archive | Vintage Fine Art Prints

More after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »