Friday Reads: This and that and the other …

“The popular artist @PENPENCILDRAW created an illustration in response to that ruling, depicting “an Indian judge’s guide to being an ideal rape survivor”. The illustration went viral.”

Hi Sky Dancers!

I’m still exhausted from end-of-term madness. We’re still caught up in reacting to Trumpist news.  I’ll go there but not quite yet.

My neighbor tweeted this BBC article this morning on the terrifying rape culture in India.  Read this and see how the judge on the case dismissed a work-related rape.  It’s horrifying!  I need to post a trigger warning here!  The judge actually describes what he finds “appropriate” behavior for a rape victim. There should be global outrage on this one.

As many of you may know, I’ve been an advocate of battered women and children and also rape victims since high school.  I’ve been involved in this well into my current state of cronehood.  I fear for my daughters and for my soon-to-be-born granddaughters.  How can we ever get rid of these attitudes?  This is from India but I’ve run into these same attitudes here.

The illustration came from the following article.

Arianna Vairo

From the BBC World News article above:

Is there an appropriate way for a rape victim to behave?

That’s the question many are asking in India after a judge threw out charges against a man accused of raping a female colleague and questioned the behaviour of the alleged victim.

Judge Kshama Joshi wrote that in photographs taken shortly after the alleged assault, the young woman was “smiling and looked happy, normal, in [a] good mood”.

“She did not look disturbed, reserved, terrified or traumatised in any way even though this was immediately after she claims to have been sexually assaulted,” the judge wrote in a 527-page judgement.

The charges against Tarun Tejpal, the high-profile former editor of Tehelka magazine, were dismissed. The Goa government, which has appealed the decision, asked on Thursday for an early hearing, saying “we owe it to our girls” and that the acquittal order was “erroneous in law” and “unsustainable”. The High Court judge agreed and said he would hear the case on 2 June.

Endless debunking of these myths has led to little progress.  The root causes are power and control.  Never forget!

The fight to remove power and control from women also continues on the fight to preserve access to legal abortions.  This is from WBUR: “The Supreme Court, Abortion And The Anti-Abortion Movement’s Long Game.” The forced birth movement will never be satisfied an end to Roe V Wade.  Here’s a list of articles discussed in the broadcast.

CNN: “How Trump and McConnell set the final pieces for the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe v. Wade” — “Conservatives have been waiting decades for this moment: a transformed Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear an abortion case that directly challenges women’s reproductive rights tracing to the 1973 Roe v. Wade milestone.”

Wall Street Journal: “The Mississippi Abortion Case at the Supreme Court: What You Should Know” — “The question of abortion rights is making a return to the Supreme Court, with justices on Monday agreeing to hear a challenge to a Mississippi law that bans abortions after about 15 weeks of pregnancy.”

Ms. Magazine: “Unprecedented Surge in Anti-Abortion Laws Proposed and Passed Across the U.S.” — “In the first four months of 2021, anti-abortion lawmakers introduced 536 abortion restrictions in 46 states, including 146 abortion bans, according to a report released by the Guttmacher Institute on Friday. They enacted 61 restrictions in 13 states, including eight bans that would go into effect if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Governors signed 28 restrictions into law in eight states just last week.”

The Hill: “Democrats: Roe v. Wade blow would fuel expanding Supreme Court” — “Democratic senators say if the Supreme Court strikes a blow against Roe v. Wade by upholding a Mississippi abortion law, it will fuel an effort to add justices to the court or otherwise reform it.”

Susanna and the Elders, Restored – X-Ray
1998 Kathleen Gilje

The headlines are quite bleak. This is from New York Magazine and was written by By Irin Carmon and Benjamin Hart. “The Radicalism of the Abortion Law the Supreme Court Granted”.

Irin: I would call this catastrophic for abortion rights. Not even the 5th circuit, arguably the most conservative appeals court in the country, thought it was worth upholding this ban, because it so egregiously flouts almost a half-century of precedent. There’s no circuit split — the dissent among lower courts that usually obliges the Supreme Court to step in. The court has had many chances to change its rule as to whether states can ban abortion before viability and never has. This suggests at least four justices (which is how many it takes to take up a case) think now is the time.

This is the from the local Erie News about the radical set of abortion legislation advanced by republicans in the Pennsylvania house.  I have not put the headline up because it contains mislabelling of the Forced Birth movement

Pennsylvania conservatives have previously pushed anti-abortion legislation, but several bills have stalled in committee, including when the Republican-controlled Legislature had a Republican governor to sign their agenda into law.

Former Republican Gov. Tom Corbett in 2011 signed into law stricter standards for abortion clinics and in 2013 signed a law that denied abortion coverage through Obamacare.

But nothing as restrictive as what was introduced Tuesday got close to law during the Corbett years.

The three bills Republicans advanced this week include a heartbeat bill that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected; a ban on abortions after a Down syndrome diagnosis; and another that requires medical facilities to disclose burial options for miscarriages and abortions.

Rep. Kate Klunk, R-York County, said during the committee meeting that supporting the ban on abortions after a Down syndrome diagnosis is a “no brainer.”

“We shouldn’t allow them to be discriminated against,” she said.

“Children with Down syndrome, they lead amazing lives,” Klunk added. “They are contributing in so many ways, but they need the chance at life to be able to do that.”

Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny County, called the ban “dystopian” during the meeting and said the General Assembly is creating more fear while denying access to healthcare.

Rep. Frank Ryan, R-Lebanon County, introduced the bill on burial options because of his own experience after losing a child, a story he has shared previously.

He said he was “asking the ladies in the room” to “recognize how men feel.”

He said his bill is optional and gives families a chance at closure after losing a baby, he said.

“This is about giving choice to those people whose faith says that life begins at conception,” Ryan said.

Frankel argued that Ryan’s bill mandates cremation or burial and does not make it optional after abortion or miscarriage. To get a burial, a death certificate would also be required for abortions and miscarriages.

This is also about power and control.  This is from The Guardian “Anti-abortion movement bullish as legal campaign reaches US supreme court.”

The anti-abortion movement in the US is emboldened and optimistic after the supreme court announced it would hear a direct challenge to laws underpinning the right to abortion in the US, and Texas enacted a law intended to ban abortion after six weeks.

The high court decision to take up the case and the Texas move come during the most hostile year for reproductive rights in the nearly half-century since pregnant people won the constitutional right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy in the landmark 1973 case Roe v Wade.

“The long-predicted scaling back of abortion rights by the supreme court just got a lot more likely,” said Mary Ziegler, a legal historian, author of Abortion and the Law in America: Roe v Wade to the Present, and law professor at Florida State University.

Today, abortion is legal in all 50 states up to the point the fetus can survive outside the womb, a legal concept called “viability” established in Roe. This is generally understood to be about 24 weeks (a full-term pregnancy is 39 weeks).

The case taken up by the court, called Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, will answer whether Mississippi can limit abortion to 15 weeks, and is brought by the state’s last abortion clinic. If upheld, it would reduce by more than two months the time in which a woman could choose to terminate a pregnancy.

“It’s really hard to see why the court would take this case unless they’re interested in reversing part of Roe or all of Roe,” said Ziegler. Further, the court chose to answer “the most explosive question in the case”, which “suggests they’re not really worried about the political fallout”.

On the right, the hopes are clear: that the court will end the legal right to an abortion, and potentially allow room to criminalize the procedure.

“We’re all hopeful the court will be intellectually honest and acknowledge what the science is clear on – that a unique human life starts at fertilization,” said Lila Rose, founder and president of the anti-abortion advocacy group Life Action. Rose is widely seen as the face of the millennial anti-abortion movement.

Mississippi is just one of 29 states across the south and midwest considered hostile to abortion rights, where 58% of American women of reproductive age live, and which would probably act to further restrict abortion rights.

The supreme court case represents the most severe challenge ever presented to Roe, and is a reflection of how the country has splintered in a decade of Republican-led voting restrictions and partisan gerrymandering, the process of redrawing politicians’ districts to favor one party.

“We’re becoming two countries, and your voting rights and your reproductive rights are increasingly likely to depend on where you live,” said David Daley, a senior fellow at FairVote and the bestselling author of Rat F**ked: Why Your Vote Doesn’t Count.

The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Pablo Picasso, 1962

The purge continues in education.  Not only is sex education in many states illegal but now summer school classes in Oklahoma have been cancelled because they don’t teach the white male version of racism. From Oklahoma City Local News station 5: “Oklahoma teacher says summer class canceled due to bill that bans teaching critical race theory.”

A teacher is disappointed with Gov. Kevin Stitt after one of her summer classes was canceled due to House Bill 1775, which bans educators from teaching certain concepts of race and racism.

Melissa Smith told KOCO 5 that she’s taught race theory-type classes for six years and is confused why there’s an issue now.

“I’m not happy. This is information everyone needs to know,” Smith said.

The high school and community college teacher said House Bill 1775 has caused her to lose a class she was supposed to teach this summer at Oklahoma City Community College.

“I’ve actually been teaching race and ethnicities in the United States for multiple years,” she said.

The recently signed legislation restricts what can be taught about racial divisions through history in Oklahoma classrooms.

“I got an email a week or so ago, saying due to this new law, they were canceling my completely full race and ethnicities class,” Smith said.

Her students won’t be able to take her class even though it was required for some to graduate. Also, Smith won’t be paid.

“This was a huge chunk of my income,” she said.

When Stitt signed the bill, he said, “We can and should teach the history without labeling a young child as an oppressor or requiring he or she feel guilt or shame based on their race or sex. I refused to tolerate otherwise.”

Yaqiu Wang • CHINA

So, this is AmeriKKKa.  This is from The New Yorker and Susanne B. Glasser: “American Democracy Isn’t Dead Yet, but It’s Getting There.  A country that cannot even agree to investigate an assault on its Capitol is in big trouble, indeed.”  

Before leaving town for their Memorial Day recess, in fact, Senate Republicans were expected to use the legislative filibuster for the first time this session to block the proposed bipartisan panel. Their stated arguments against a commission range from the implausible to the insulting; the real explanation is political cynicism in the extreme. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is so far delivering on his pledge to focus a “hundred per cent” on blocking Biden’s agenda, even claimed that an investigation was pointless because it would result in “no new fact.” John Cornyn, a close McConnell ally, from Texas, was more honest, at least, in admitting, to Politico, that the vote was all about denying Democrats “a political platform” from which to make the 2022 midterm elections a “referendum on President Trump.” For his part, Trump has been putting out the word that he plans to run for reëlection in 2024—and exulting in polls showing that a majority of Republicans continue to believe both his false claims of a fraudulent election and that nothing untoward happened on January 6th. Needless to say, these are not the signs of a healthy democracy ready to combat the autocratic tyrants of the world.

“Turns out, things are much worse than we expected,” Daniel Ziblatt, one of the “How Democracies Die” authors, told me this week. He said he had never envisioned a scenario like the one that has played itself out among Republicans on Capitol Hill during the past few months. How could he have? It’s hard to imagine anyone in America, even when “How Democracies Die” was published, a year into Trump’s term, seriously contemplating an American President who would unleash an insurrection in order to steal an election that he clearly lost—and then still commanding the support of his party after doing so.

This is the worrisome essence of the matter. In one alarming survey released this week, nearly thirty per cent of Republicans endorsed the idea that the country is so far “off track” that “American patriots may have to resort to violence” against their political opponents. You don’t need two Harvard professors to tell you that sort of reasoning is just what could lead to the death of a democracy. The implications? Consider the blunt words of Judge Amy Berman Jackson, in a ruling on a case involving one of the January 6th rioters at the Capitol, issued even as it became clear that Republican senators would move to block the January 6th commission from investigating what had caused the riot:

The steady drumbeat that inspired defendant to take up arms has not faded away; six months later, the canard that the election was stolen is being repeated daily on major news outlets and from the corridors of power in state and federal government, not to mention in the near daily fulminations of the former President.

It’s worth noting that Jackson released this ruling this week, the same week that Trump issued statements calling the 2020 vote “the most corrupt Election in the history of our Country,” touting himself as “the true President,” and warning that American elections are “rigged, corrupt, and stolen.”

Via HuffPo: “Sen. Lisa Murkowski Says Mitch McConnell Is Blocking Jan. 6 Commission For Political Gain.

“To be making a decision for the short-term political gain at the expense of understanding and acknowledging what was in front of us on Jan. 6, I think we need to look at that critically. Is that really what this is about, one election cycle after another?” Murkowski said.

She added: “Or are we going to acknowledge that as a country that is based on these principles of democracy that we hold so dear. And one of those is that we have free and fair elections… I kind of want that to endure beyond just one election cycle.”

So, I rather thought this post would be something else than it became as I wrote. Once again, I went down a dark rabbit hole.  We are losing our democracy and our selves in a series of right wing autocratic attempts to make laws and send them to courts stacked with religionists, autocrats, white nationalists, and enablers of patriarchy. Trumpism is radicalizing me. It’s something we must vote against, march against, and speak out against.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Wednesday Reads

Good afternoon.

There was something about that image of the high heel and at vaccine 💉 …connecting women to science and how women are moving forward with Covid relief. (It also harkens back to the film High Heels by Pedro Almodóvar.)

The tag line to the film was, “Life can be murder in high heels.” And that is one statement you can’t argue with…even though we are living in 2021.

First some cartoons:

Ok…

All this makes this next tweet relevant…

On women:

Update here:

So true:

And I will end it with this thought:

Have a kick ass day…


Monday Reads: Losing Ground but Finding Strength

Coyote Buttes South. Photo: John Fowler

I keep fighting back the urge to sing “It’s the end of the world as we know it” even though it seems like that way on so many fronts. The most dreadful of all gaslighting tricks fills the airwaves.  Brett Kavanaugh and his republican enablers are pretending that they are the victims of women’s hysteria while Dr. Ford can’t return to her home because of actual threats. Then, there are the rest of us. The people that aren’t white males or white male enablers.  How many more rights can they strip?

We’re looking to a future of having our voting rights stripped, our right to self determine our access to health care removed, and the enabling of police to shoot unarmed black men while white men complain they can’t watch their football without seeing folks bending a knee to remind them of the injustice. We’re looking to a future of likely seeing a President put above the law even though his obstruction of justice, theft of public property, and cooperation with Russian agents is there for nearly all to see. We’re going to continue to watch children and babies thrown into tents in the middle of deserts and jail cells after being ripped away from their parents.  We’re going to see the folks that need protection from our bad foreign policy flee to our borders only to be incarcerated for asking for refuge. We’re looking to losing spouses, jobs, and rights because of who we love and wish to marry.  In each of us, there is all of us.

We have to take one of the Houses of Congress away from the Republicans to turn this around.

There are other things we have to turn around too and I fully admit that I’ve thrown myself at the wall a few too many times to rise again. And yet, like every one else, I must.  We must.

Buffalo in Yellowstone National Park

From WAPO: The world has just over a decade to get climate change under control, U.N. scientists say. “There is no documented historic precedent” for the scale of changes required, the body found.”

The world stands on the brink of failure when it comes to holding global warming to moderate levels, and nations will need to take “unprecedented” actions to cut their carbon emissions over the next decade, according to a landmark report by the top scientific body studying climate change.

With global emissions showing few signs of slowing and the United States — the world’s second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide — rolling back a suite of Obama-era climate measures, the prospects for meeting the most ambitious goals of the 2015 Paris agreement look increasingly slim. To avoid racing past warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) over preindustrial levels would require a “rapid and far-reaching” transformation of human civilization at a magnitude that has never happened before, the group found.

Gros Morne National Park

NYT: Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040″

The report, issued on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations to guide world leaders, describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 — a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population.

The report “is quite a shock, and quite concerning,” said Bill Hare, an author of previous I.P.C.C. reports and a physicist with Climate Analytics, a nonprofit organization. “We were not aware of this just a few years ago.” The report was the first to be commissioned by world leaders under the Paris agreement, the 2015 pact by nations to fight global warming.

The authors found that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the atmosphere will warm up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above preindustrial levels by 2040, inundating coastlines and intensifying droughts and poverty. Previous work had focused on estimating the damage if average temperatures were to rise by a larger number, 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), because that was the threshold scientists previously considered for the most severe effects of climate change.

The new report, however, shows that many of those effects will come much sooner, at the 2.7-degree mark.

Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming

The Guardian: “We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN”

At 2C extremely hot days, such as those experienced in the northern hemisphere this summer, would become more severe and common, increasing heat-related deaths and causing more forest fires.

But the greatest difference would be to nature. Insects, which are vital for pollination of crops, and plants are almost twice as likely to lose half their habitat at 2C compared with 1.5C. Corals would be 99% lost at the higher of the two temperatures, but more than 10% have a chance of surviving if the lower target is reached.

Sea-level rise would affect 10 million more people by 2100 if the half-degree extra warming brought a forecast 10cm additional pressure on coastlines. The number affected would increase substantially in the following centuries due to locked-in ice melt.

Oceans are already suffering from elevated acidity and lower levels of oxygen as a result of climate change. One model shows marine fisheries would lose 3m tonnes at 2C, twice the decline at 1.5C.

Sea ice-free summers in the Arctic, which is warming two to three times fast than the world average, would come once every 100 years at 1.5C, but every 10 years with half a degree more of global warming.

l Capitan looms over the Merced River in California’s Yosemite National Park.

Back to Judge Bad News and Worse Temperament … Sarah Kendzior writes this for Canada’s Globe and Mail: “Kavanaugh’s appointment isn’t a step backward. It’s a head-first plunge into an ugly past”.

The confirmation of Justice Kavanaugh was, at heart, a referendum on the integrity of U.S. institutions and of the impunity of elites – and the U.S. failed. Senators who purport to believe in rule of law vouched for a judge who sees himself as above it. Senators who purport to believe in democracy honoured a man who degrades it, and did so in deference to a man seemingly attempting to destroy it – President Trump.

Checks and balances are nearly gone. The executive branch was long ago corrupted; the independent legislature neutered by a GOP majority nakedly seeking one-party rule. Until now, the judiciary had been the strongest bulwark against autocracy, having struck down many of Mr. Trump’s unconstitutional executive orders during his first year. The Trump administration responded by packing the courts, appointing right-wing judgesto lifetime appointments and purging attorneys they view as opponents. Justice Kavanaugh is the final nail in that coffin.

This is now Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court of the United States, run on white male entitlement and alternative facts. Justice Kavanaugh is expected to act as Mr. Trump’s legal lackey, exonerating him regardless of the charge or the evidence. His appointment may not only end the efficacy of the Robert Mueller probe, but curtail other attempts to prosecute Mr. Trump or his aides on state charges, due to a case, Gamble v. The United States, that the Supreme Court is set to hear this term.

Autocrats rewrite the law so they are no longer breaking it, and they hire and fire accordingly. This is why I have been warning for years that Donald Trump, whose seemingly autocratic consolidation grows stronger every day, was akin to a criminal able to someday select his own judge or delay his own trial – and now he has. This is why a purge of the FBI was followed by a sham FBI investigation into Justice Kavanaugh, reminiscent of those of authoritarian states, with key witnesses and evidence ignored.

For the President, the confirmation of this judge is a hand-picked gift, but for ordinary Americans, he marks the end of truths we deemed self-evident. Justice Kavanaugh marks the imposition of a corrosive new reality. The Supreme Court is likely to roll back decades of hard-earned rights, particularly voting rights, civil rights and women’s rights.

Also, a lot of Trump’s thug buddies in thuggish countries are disappearing journalists and others.

 

 

 

The silence is showing exactly what kind of country we’ve become.  We’re just another one of those ugly countries where the ruling class can’t possibly be bothered with human rights and hates the idea of a free press.

That’s all I can stomach today.

I’m trying to stay focused on the city around me because it’s kinda where I am right now and it appears the housing market has shifted against me in the last six months.  It’s one of those signs that tells me that the economy is likely to get pretty ugly pretty fast.   So, hug the ones around you, be thankful for what you have, and drag at least 10 people with you to the voting both in November.

It’s a matter of life and death for all of us.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Wednesday Reads: Buckets of what?

 

That about sums it up….buckets of shit.

Today’s thread is hosted by a twisted children’s books spoof meme. I’ve done this theme before but since then more of the little devils have sprung up on Pinterest and the like so I thought, why not.

It is sadly however that the news stories I bring you are not spoofs, but the real thing, yes…these are the tales of children…no wait. Former Fetuses…. Who find themselves to be in the unfortunate circumstance now (at least) to be a Female Former Fetus aka Woman/Girl living in a PLUB Anti-choice world.

imageNow there are plenty of links here, some are a few weeks old…but they all focus on primarily one thing.

Starting off with Sam Bee.

Watch: Samantha Bee Exposes the Hideous Lie of Fake Abortion Clinics | Alternet

Recently Samantha Bee introduced her audience to an atrocious anti-woman lawmaker, Senator Renee Unterman of Georgia, who has fought against justice for rape victims. Turns out that is not the only thing Unterman has been doing. She also wrote legislation that allows Georgia to give state money to [Crisis] Pregnancy Resource Centers.

“Woman, have you lost your f*cking mind?” Samantha Bee, host of “Full Frontal,” shouted.

Pregnancy Resource Centers are places that deliberately mislead women about the services that they actually offer.

“Much like Renee Unterman, Crisis Pregnancy Centers may look sweet and helpful, but they’re really full of toxic bullsh*t,” confirmed Bee.

Samantha Bee Takes Down Fake Abortion Centers — The Cut

 

 

If you want to see the rape kit bit Sam Bee mentions in the Abortion clip…here is that video.

 

By the way, other Sam Bee videos can be seen here: Full Frontal with Samantha Bee – YouTube

Back to the links…

imageCrisis Pregnancy Centers Are Pretty Bad at Dissuading People Seeking Abortion – Rewire

Until recently, a person who Googled “abortion clinic” might be directed to a CPC instead. CPCs, as a result, are reaching more clients than ever, but as statistics indicate, persuading very few to remain pregnant.

Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) are billed as alternatives to abortion clinics, but new data suggests they largely fail at their mission, persuading less than 4 percent of clients to forgo abortion care.

Of the 2.6 million clients who visited crisis pregnancy centers since 2004, 3.52 percent, or 92,679 people, decided against having an abortion. The statistics come from eKYROS.com, Inc., an anti-choice, Texas-based software company, which says more than 1,200 CPCs use its software to track clients and measure results.

The publicly available data, as the eKYROS website explains, reflects “clients who came to the center with initial intentions of Abortion or Undecided and then changed their mind to carry baby to term.”

The eKYROS software allows CPCs to collect demographic information on clients and categorize them based on a variety of criteria, including whether they are “abortion minded,” “abortion vulnerable,” or “likely to carry“—categories described in a software demo posted online. These categories are key to assessing whether the facilities are achieving what is at the heart of CPCs’ mission: convincing pregnant people to “choose life,” a viewpoint reflecting the largely evangelical Christian ideals of the centers’ religious operators.

imageFucking hell….

And as the Sam Bee video up top explains, these fuckers get money funds from the government! Yeah, as if having damn “tax free church status” wasn’t enough.

Georgia GOP Approves $2 Million for Anti-Choice Pregnancy Centers – Rewire

Elizabeth Nash, a policy analyst at the Guttmacher Institute, said the Republican-backed measure “allows state funds to go to organizations providing women with incomplete information or outright misinformation.”

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) signed a bill Tuesday that provides $2 million in state funding for anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), reported the Associated Press.

SB 308, sponsored by state Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), would establish a program through the Georgia Department of Public Health that will provide grants to organizations “whose mission and practice is to provide alternatives to abortion services to medically indigent women at no cost.”

imageOh, but I wonder what will happen to those women and former fetuses once they are looking for help or assistance from these same fuckers?

State lawmaker seeks dramatic cuts in welfare, food stamps | www.ajc.com

This week I wrote about how Georgia won’t be requiring photos on food stamp cards. But that’s just a proxy for the real battle underway to dramatically scale back the food stamp program in Georgia.

State Rep. Greg Morris wants to dial back the state’s social safety net significantlyby requiring Georgia adopt only the bare minimum standards to qualify for federal welfare and food stamp funding.

imageGet this…

“The fundamental issue is that there are too many people” receiving benefits, said Morris, chairman of the House Banking Committee.

Morris has tried to trim the food stamp rolls before. In 2014, he sponsored House Bill 772, which required recipients suspected of using drugs to submit to urine tests and for all recipients to have their photos put on the EBT cards they use to access benefits.

About 1.6 million Georgians are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, roughly 16 percent of the overall state population, according to the state Division of Family and Children Services. About half of food stamp recipients are children.

The food stamp program brings $2.8 billion in annual federal aid to the state, with an average monthly benefit about just under $130 per person.

imageAssholes.

Meanwhile in Alabama, Alabama’s creative new anti-abortion strategy: regulate clinics like sex offenders – Vox

Over the past five years, some states have become quite creative about passing laws that seem specifically designed to close abortion clinics. Innocuous-sounding requirements about building codes ormedical licensing have proven so impossible for abortion providers to comply with that the Supreme Court is considering whether to overturn them.

But Alabama might have just come up with the most creative idea yet:forbidding abortion clinics from operating within 2,000 feet of a public elementary or middle school. Two of the state’s five abortion clinics fit this description — two of the largest, no less, which together provide more than half of all abortions in the state.

imageAs Hannah Levintova of Mother Jones points out, the bill would quite literally regulate abortion clinics in a similar manner as sex offenders. Alabama state law forbids registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools and child care facilities. And the bill’s sponsor has made this comparison explicit.

“We can put a restriction on whether a liquor store opens up across the street and make sure pedophiles stay away from schools,” Alabama state Sen. Paul Sanford told the Times Daily in February. “I just think having an abortion clinic that close to elementary-age school children that actually have to walk on the sidewalk past it is not the best thing.”

The bill’s opponents argue that the children would never even know abortions were performed there if not for the disruptive protests outside of the clinic. This, by the way, is why one Washington, DC, charter school is now suing anti-abortion activists.

imageWhat it’s like to own an abortion clinic in a deep red state | Fusion

June Ayers does not ignore calls.

It was after 4 p.m., and Reproductive Health Services, the clinic she has owned and operated for the last 30 years, was closed for the day. Ayers, in periwinkle scrubs dotted with purple butterflies, was seated behind a front desk covered with patient charts. A muted television played HGTV to an empty waiting room. The silent feed from the security cameras revealed a deserted parking lot.

But the phone kept ringing, so Ayers kept answering.

“Reproductive Health, may I help you?” Ayers, 61, has been repeating this line for decades. And her voice—Alabama drawl, all heavy vowels, sugar-sweet with a little rasp—is very likely one of the first things you will hear if you need an abortion within 100 miles of Montgomery.

The clinic is one of just five left in Alabama, which means that a majority of women in the state live in a county without an abortion provider. So in Alabama—like in Texas, like in Mississippi, like in a growing number of states across the country—to have an abortion means to travel.

It also means state-directed counseling intended to discourage abortion, a mandatory ultrasound, two separate clinic visits, and a 48-hour waiting period between them. For women who live outside of Montgomery, the waiting period requires time off work, traveling hundreds of miles for repeat trips, or finding somewhere to stay in the area overnight. And because 60% of women who have abortions are already mothers, the travel required means, in some cases, two full days of childcare. None of it comes cheap.

“And right now the state Legislature has seven other bills ready to go,” Ayers told me as we talked that afternoon, gliding her hand in the air like a conveyor belt.

Minors in the state must overcome another potential barrier: parental consent. Alabama is one of 21 states in the country that require minors to obtain the permission of at least one parentbefore terminating a pregnancy. If they can’t get that, whether because their parent is incarcerated or estranged, abusive, or strictly anti-abortion, then the law says they have to go to court.

For people under the age of 18, getting an abortion in Alabama is a little like that line about Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire: all the same steps, except backward and in heels.

imageThe Long Term Impact Of Alabama’s New Abortion Clinic Location Restrictions | Care2 Causes

Alabama, never one to shy away from in your face anti-abortion sentiment, has come up with a new bill that will help to shutter clinics in the state – a requirement that all abortion providers be located at least 2000 feet from any schools. This seemingly innocuous restriction is poised to completely change the landscape of access in the state and beyond, even more than the critics themselves may realize.

The 2000 foot bill was introduced last legislative session as an attempt to close the abortion clinic in Huntsville, Ala., the only clinic in the northern part of the state. It was introduced to target the clinic, which had only recently reopened after moving to a new location because it could not meet the newly enforced building requirements that had been a part of new legislation passed one year prior. Instead, the clinic relocated into a new building that met most of the standards – but was also located across the street from a local school.

The bill failed to make it through both chambers last year, but came back again this session. A brief debate was held over whether the new legislation should allow a grandfather clause, which would have allowed existing clinics an exception. That proposal failed, and now Huntsville – and possibly the clinic in Tuscaloosa, Ala., too – is in danger of losing licensure.

 

imageI’ve used this article before in one of my post, but I think it is important to state it again here:

Missouri Republicans spend more than $8 million to block less than $400,000 in federal funding for Planned Parenthood 

Why?

Anyway, more crazy in Utah:

Utah abortion providers stumped by law requiring fetal pain relief | PBS NewsHour

Utah’s first-in-the-nation requirement that fetuses receive anesthesia or painkillers before some abortions takes effect Tuesday, but doctors say it’s unnecessary and impossible to comply with.

The law requires pain relief for a fetus before any abortion at 20 weeks of gestation or later, based on the disputed premise that a fetus can feel pain at that stage.

 

New Utah Law Will Require Abortion Doctors To Lie To Their Patients | ThinkProgress

A new Utah law that goes into effect on Tuesday will force doctors to shirk their promise to “do no harm” by dangerously over-anesthetizing women who seek a later abortion.

Informed by anti-abortion state lawmakers rather than by medical experts, the “Protecting Unborn Children Amendment” requires physicians to administer an anesthetic to any women seeking an abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later, to “eliminate or alleviate organic pain to the unborn child.” Like many anti-abortion laws on the state level, Utah’s law rests on the unscientific belief that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks of gestation.

Most states that introduce “fetal pain” legislation try to ban abortions entirely after 20 weeks — and at least 12 have been successful. Utah is the first to pass a anesthesia-related bill instead of outright prohibiting the practice. But according to physicians, it may as well be a ban.

“You’re asking me to invent a procedure that doesn’t have any research to back it up,” said Dr. Leah Torres, an OB-GYN who works at one of Utah’s two licensed abortion clinics, in an interview with the New York Times. “You want me to experiment on my patients.”

Utah physicians have strongly opposed the bill since its inception, arguing that unscientific opinions from state lawmakers have no place in a safe doctor-patient relationship — especially if they put a woman’s life at risk.

 

imageIn other Utah news…At Brigham Young, a Cost in Reporting a Rape – The New York Times

Before she could move into a dormitory atBrigham Young University or sign up for freshman classes, Brooke had to sign the college’s Honor Code.

Part moral compass and part contract, the Honor Code is a cornerstone of life for the nearly 30,000 students at Brigham Young, a Mormon-run university. It points students, faculty and staff members toward “moral virtues encompassed in the gospel of Jesus Christ,” prizing chastity, honesty and virtue. It requires modest dress on campus, discourages consensual sex outside marriage and, among other things, prohibits drinking, drug use, same-sex intimacy and indecency, as well as sexual misconduct.

But after Brooke, 20, told the university that a fellow student had raped her at his apartment in February 2014, she said the Honor Code became a tool to punish her. She had taken LSD that night, and also told the university about an earlier sexual encounter with the same student that she said had been coerced. Four months after reporting the assault, she received a letter from the associate dean of students.

“You are being suspended from Brigham Young University because of your violation of the Honor Code including continued illegal drug use and consensual sex, effective immediately,” the letter read.

This is something of a habit over there at BYU…

In the past few weeks, Brooke and a handful of other female students have come forward, first at a rape-awareness conference and then in The Salt Lake Tribune, to say that after they made complaints of sexual abuse they had faced Honor Code investigations into whether they drank alcohol, took drugs or had consensual sex.

image“They treated me in such an un-Christlike way, like I was some sinner,” said Brooke, who agreed to be identified by her first name. “There was no forgiveness and mercy.”

Their accounts have brought a national debate over colleges’ disparate treatment of women who have reported sexual assaults crashing onto this faith-driven campus, where Mormon students gather from around the globe, skirts must fall to the knee and beards are outlawed. The women’s complaints have focused attention on how the university deals with such cases as it also seeks to uphold a moral code that lies at the heart of its identity.

Brigham Young’s policy on sexual misconduct urges students to come forward even if they have broken university policies. The university says that it investigates sexual assault complaints fully, but that it also has an obligation to pursue misconduct under the Honor Code. According to the sexual misconduct policy, violations of its code discouraging consensual sex are not exempt from scrutiny.

“Brigham Young University cares deeply about the safety of our students,” Carri Jenkins, a university spokeswoman, wrote in an email. “When a student reports a sexual assault, our primary focus is on the well-being of the victim.”

Sometimes, though, “facts come to light that a victim has engaged in prior Honor Code violations,” she said.

While the recent complaints about Brigham Young have come from female students, the university says that all students are required to follow the Honor Code “at all times,” whether on or off campus. Any potential violation that comes to the university’s attention could be investigated, it said. In the wake of the students’ complaints, the university announced last week that it would review how it handled reports of sexual assaults.

Go to the link to see other stories on the situation at BYU,  and to read more about this case.

Then remember this new law in Oklahoma:

imageOklahoma Says Drunk Girls Can’t Get Raped and the Other Worst Rape Laws in the U.S. – The Daily Beast

Bizarre loopholes and double standards in rape legislation aren’t just confined to Oklahoma.

On March 24, an Oklahoma appeals court unanimously ruled that “forcible sodomy cannot occur where a victim is so intoxicated as to be completely unconscious at the time of the sexual act of oral copulation” (PDF). 

Translated into English: Forcing a woman to perform oral sex while she’s blackout drunk isn’t rape.

Oklahoma Watch first reported the shocking decision, which Tulsa County assistant district attorney Benjamin Fu called “dangerous” and “offensive.” Fu served as the lead prosecutor in a case against a 17-year-old boy who claimed in a police interview that a 16-year-old girl he drove home from a park had consented to oral sex.

 The girl said she did not remember what happened and another boy who rode in the car confirmed that she was having difficulty staying conscious. After she was taken to the hospital early the next morning, tests showed that her blood alcohol level was a staggering .341 and that traces of the boy’s DNA were around her mouth.

But because she was intoxicated—and because the alleged rape was oral rather than vaginal—the court determined that Oklahoma law did not apply to her case. 

Oklahoma’s “rape in the first degree” statute is fairly comprehensive, applying to victims who were mentally ill, intoxicated, unconscious, physically coerced, or threatened with violence. But the “forcible sodomy” statute only lists two barriers to consent: mental illness and violence. 

The difference between the statutes might seem like a technicality, but it’s one that the appeals court took seriously, writing that they could not “enlarge a statute” in order to prosecute the boy.

More alarming than this conclusion is the fact that these bizarre loopholes and double standards in rape legislation aren’t just confined to one state.

As of 2013, the FBI defines rape as “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” The agency’s prior definition—“the carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will”—was not only archaic, it was ambiguous about what, precisely, counted as rape: Did “carnal knowledge” include oral rape, anal rape, rape with an object? 

But even though the federal government has now laid out a crystal clear and expansive definition of rape, several states—not just Oklahoma—still regard nonconsensual vaginal penetration with a penis differently from other, equally serious forms of forcible sex.

As Jennifer Gentile Long, CEO of AEquitas, a resource for prosecutors in cases of violence against women, told The Guardian of the Oklahoma case, “There are still gaps in the ways laws are written that allow some cases to fall through the cracks. This case seems to be one of them.”

imageThat article has other state laws similar to OK which will make you red with anger…but since I am sticking to Oklahoma right now….

This Is Why A Ruling In An Oklahoma Courtroom Disgusted Everyone Including the DA

Unconscious, where you can’t make decisions because you are not awake.

 In an Oklahoma court, a decision was made that states the law doesn’t criminalize oral sex with a victim who is completely unconscious. The ruling is, of course, sparking outrage because critics say the judicial system was engaged in victim-blaming and believing outdated notions in regards to rape.

Sexual Assault Ruling in Oklahoma Spurs Calls to Change State Laws – The New York Times

Outraged activists and prosecutors in Oklahoma called for changes to a state law on forced oral sex after a court rejected the prosecution of a teenage boy in Tulsa because his 16-year-old accuser had been intoxicated to the point of unconsciousness.

“Forcible sodomy cannot occur where a victim is so intoxicated as to be completely unconscious at the time of the sexual act of oral copulation,” the Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in the case.

image“We will not, in order to justify prosecution of a person for an offense, enlarge a statute beyond the fair meaning of its language,” it said.

Advocates for rape victims said the decision by the appeals court was not all that surprising given the patchwork inconsistency of state-by-state sexual assault laws that leave legal gray areas. But other experts said the ruling should jolt other states into examining their own laws.

Oklahoma court rules that forced oral sex is not rape if victim is unconscious from drinking

On yet another abortion front, in this war on women:

Meet the abortion doctor fighting her hospital’s ‘gag order’ | Fusion

Many women’s health advocates wear their passion on their sleeve. Diane Horvath-Cosper wears hers on her ankle, in the form of a coat hanger tattoo—a reminder to herself and others, she says, that our country is rapidly returning to the dark ages of abortion and the horrors this reality entails.

I know about Horvath-Cosper’s new tattoo because I was with her when she got it last month. After we left the tattoo parlor, she promptly Instagrammed a photo of it with the hashtag #NeverAgain, then turned to me and said, sarcastically, “My parents are going to love this.”

imageAs a fellow OBGYN and a friend of Horvath-Cosper’s, I was proud but not at all surprised when she announced, in a mic-drop moment last week, that she was taking legal action against her hospital for forbidding her to speak publicly about her work and beliefs as an abortion provider.

As The New York Times first reported, Horvath-Cosper is filing a civil rights complaint against MedStar Washington Center Hospital in Washington, D.C. for what she describes as a “gag order” that has essentially put the kibosh on her work as an abortion rights advocate. “I don’t think the way to deal with bullies is to cower and pull back,”she told the paper.

Not surprisingly, news of Horvath-Cosper’s decision temporarily broke the internet—or at least that sliver of the internet reserved for abortion news, making her an overnight feminist heroine.

Read the rest about Diane Horvath-Cosper at the link…

‘Abortion Reversal’ Is Scary, Bogus Science – The Daily Beast

Louisiana is the latest state to legislate ‘abortion reversal,’ an unproven and potentially dangerous procedure to counter medical abortion.

imageThe “abortion pill” isn’t one pill, but two pills taken in sequence. First, women visit a clinic and take mifepristone, which blocks progesterone. Then, one to two days later, the drug misoprostol can be used to induce an abortion at home. The entire process—known as medical, rather than surgical, abortion—is safe, effective, and increasingly common.

In recent years, the rise of medical abortion has led some anti-abortion activists and lawmakers to claim that the process can be reversed with an emergency treatment after the first pill. But even if they succeed at turning that myth into law, the truth is that science is not on their side.

What Part Of Your Rape Is My Problem? An Open Letter By Oklahoma Republicans | Left Wing Nation

The Latest Strategy To Prevent Women From Getting A Safe Abortion | ThinkProgress

And the rest of today’s links are on women…yes? And other things….

imageJudge accused of offering young men reduced sentences for sexual favors | www.ajc.com

A district court judge in Arkansas resigned Monday and agreed to never pursue public office again in the face of mounting evidence that he traded reduced sentences and fines for sexual favors and provocative photos of young men under the guise of “community service.”

The Arkansas Judicial and Disability Commission launched an investigation to determine whether to sanction or remove part-time Cross County District Court Judge Joseph Boeckmann from the bench after an investigator working on an elder abuse case complained that witnesses connected to Boeckmann were dropping his name and refusing to speak with her.

During the course of their investigation, the commission unearthed allegations of misconduct dating back decades.

“He’s a criminal predator who used his judicial power to feed his corrupt desires,” David Sachar, executive director of the commission, told The Associated Press. “Every minute he served as a judge was an insult to the Arkansas Judiciary.”

Boeckmann became a Cross County District Court judge on Jan. 1, 2009. However, the commission said it discovered Boeckmann was using his position to sexually prey on young men as far back as 1985, when he worked as a deputy prosecuting attorney.

 

imageReport Catholic Hospitals Denying Reproductive Care

Jailed in El Salvador after losing their pregnancies

State’s doctors join suit over Dignity Health sterilization ban – SFGate

Purity Pledges May Lead to a Higher Chance of Pregnancy and STDs | Teen Vogue

Priest banned for molesting girl gets a new job as director of teen pregnancy center

Atlanta AIDS epidemic as bad as in some developing countries | www.ajc.com

Gloria Steinem: Feminism and New Documentary – Motto

The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Says Olympic Boycott Is ‘On The Table’ | ThinkProgress

Former Australian PM Julia Gillard: Women Need to Call Out Sexism – Fortune

Study: Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, gets the most negative media coverage – Vox

FOX News Tried to Delete Their Fans’ Racism Towards Malia Obama, But We Got Screenshots

imageTrump appeals to men ‘petrified to speak to women’ | Jay Bookman

Donald Trump Promises To Appoint Anti-Abortion Justices To Supreme Court

Anti-Abortion Group Once “Disgusted” by Donald Trump Now Supports Him | Mother Jones

Two Decades After Genocide, Rwanda’s Women Have Made the Nation Thrive – The Daily Beast

Stonewall Inn First LGBTQIA National Monument | The Mary Sue

And we will end this post with Women in Unexpected Places: Lady Detectives in Fact and Fiction – Beacon Broadside: A Project of Beacon Press

Erika Janik and her new book Pistols and Petticoats: 175 Years of Lady Detectives in Fact and Fiction! Pistols and Petticoats is a lively exploration of the struggles women have faced in law enforcement and in mystery fiction since the late nineteenth century. Working in a profession considered to be strictly a man’s domain, investigating women were nearly always at odds with society. These sleuths and detectives refused to let that stop them, and paved the way to a modern professional life for women on the force and in popular culture. We caught up with Janik to ask her about the social implications of women joining the police force, “murder as entertainment,” and how the reality of policewomen compares with the stories told in the crime genre.

What made you decide to write a book on women detectives and the mystery genre?

Something that always grabs my interest is what I sometimes refer to as “women in unexpected places.” I ran across a woman in Chicago who ran her own private detection agency around the turn-of-the-twentieth century and immediately wanted to know more. That led me deep into reading about real women in law enforcement—there are some real characters in the early years!—and thinking about how that reality compared with the fictional worlds I knew from a lifetime of books, television, and movies.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, how did the role of women in detective stories differ from women’s perceived role in society? How does it differ today, if at all?

Fictional female detectives were definitely on the fringes of acceptable female behavior of the time. Women were thought to be emotional—not logical—and rational beings capable of putting the pieces of a mystery together. Women were also expected to be in the home, not out on the street tailing suspects or inspecting crime scenes for clues. At the same time, though, most of these fictional detectives were either young women or spinsters, two stages of life during which women had a bit more latitude because they didn’t have husbands or children.

Fictional detectives today are much closer to real women in that it’s not unusual for a woman to work or to be out in the city at night on her own. Fictional detectives today also tend to have more complicated personal lives. They may be divorced or from a troubled home. One thing that hasn’t changed is that fictional detectives still tend not to be married.

Pistols and PetticoatsIndustrialization and greater education opportunities in the nineteenth century gave women more time to volunteer and to work in social reform. One role borne of this charitable work was the prison matron, a role that paved the way for women on the force. How did the introduction of prison matrons in women’s correctional facilities impact the lives of female inmates and the view of women in policing?

Reformers lobbied hard for the introduction of prison matrons to help protect female inmates from abuse in prisons run by and designed for men. In some prisons, female and male inmates were housed in the same cell, while in others, women were packed together in a single room and largely ignored. Prison matrons did bring more attention to female inmates and had a better understanding of their charges. It also helped to change perceptions of female inmates among the matrons and other reformers. Where before, a woman in prison would be considered “fallen” and beyond redemption, through their work, matrons began to sympathize and understand the circumstances that often drove women to crime. They actually began to point to men as the problem and cause of women’s downfall.

Prison matrons helped ease the path for women in policing because they demonstrated that women could successfully work in a law enforcement capacity.

When women first entered the world of policing, the typical lady detective was young and unmarried or an older “spinster” to allow more time to focus on the job, as all other women were expected to be married and tending to their families. What were the societal implications when married women and mothers began to enter the police force?

Married women entering the police force faced many of the same obstacles and pressures as any married, working mother took on, though law enforcement definitely had the added potential of bodily harm or even death on the job. Fictional female detectives today still tend to be young or unmarried “spinsters,” widows, or divorcees today—that hasn’t changed. This is one area where reality strongly diverges from fiction because many real female officers had partners and children from the very beginning. For instance, Chicago detective Alice Clement was married with a daughter and still made headlines for her adventures in the 1910s.

 

Sounds like an interesting book…..

Why do you believe “murder as entertainment” as depicted in crime fiction and news reporting was such a satisfying genre for audiences in the nineteenth century? How do audiences view the genre today, and how does that affect the way we view current policewomen and female detectives?

I think that murder becomes satisfying entertainment as it becomes less common and as societies become more ordered. When you aren’t living in fear for your life every day, crime can be thrilling and fun as well as a way to play out our fears within a safe space. We also love a good story, even better if it has clear good and bad guys to cheer for and root against. I don’t think that has changed. Scandinavia is one of the safest places in the world today and yet their top literary genre is crime.

There are far more women in fictional detective settings than in real life. I think these fictional depictions of policewomen on television, in particular, have made it easier for our culture to imagine and accept a woman in that role. Unfortunately, that hasn’t necessarily translated to parity on our nation’s police forces.

Or as any of the links in today’s post show…women still are fighting for their basic rights. We have a woman running for president, dealing with a negative press like no other…women jailed for miscarriages, abortions…doctors required to lie to their patients, if only things were like fictional novels. (But even then, horror tales of Handmaids can and do become reality.)

This is an open thread.


Sunday Reads: Full Moons, Wise Cracks and Smart Asses

 


According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac:

“February’s full Moon is traditionally called the Full Snow Moon because usually the heaviest snows fall in February.”

Under normal circumstances you would have to wait until February 22nd to see that Full Snow Moon in all of its bright brilliant glory.

 

Well…luckily for you, I have found a couple of fine examples above that is available now….for your viewing pleasure. No waiting.

 

Today’s theme therefore is full of moons, wisecracks and smartasses.

 

image

We will also touch on a few other nonsense news and features that you can take without reaching for the pills and cigarettes….or whatever it is that gets you through your day.

 

image

 

Let’s begin…

 

…On a serious note.

Updates on the earthquake that hit Taiwan yesterday.

Death toll rises to 34 in southern Taiwan earthquake | Society | FOCUS TAIWAN – CNA ENGLISH NEWS

Taipei, Feb. 8 (CNA) The number of people who died in a magnitude 6.4 earthquake that struck southern Taiwan early Saturday has risen to 34 as of 9:55 p.m. Sunday, according to official figures.

Rescue works has been continuing for the 121 who were believed to be trapped in a 16-story residential building in Tainan City’s Yongkang District.

imageThe quake, centered at the Meilong district of Kaohsiung City at 03:57 a.m. Saturday, has toppled nine buildings in Tainan, injured 515 people and left 121 unaccounted.

A total of 310 have been rescued, with 100 of them rushed to hospitals for treatments.

More Than 100 Still Trapped From Taiwan Earthquake | Al Jazeera America

Dozens still trapped a day after Taiwan earthquake – CBS News

26 Dead, More Than 100 Still Trapped After Earthquake Hits Taiwan | TIME

 

imageLink to photo galleries:

 

Taiwan Quake – Deadly quake strikes Taiwan – Pictures – CBS News

 

In addition to this deadly quake, I’ve got a few other serious stories before we get to the fun. I’ll include some pictures of cracks in the earth…these are not from yesterday’s Taiwan earthquake. (Got it?)

 

Radioactive water leaks into groundwater at Indian Point – NY Daily News

Radioactive water overflowed into the groundwater at the upstate Indian Point nuclear power plant, officials said Saturday.

img_2995Gov. Cuomo said the plant’s operator, Entergy, reported “alarming levels” of radioactivity at three monitoring wells, with one well’s radioactivity increasing nearly 65,000%.

The Buchanan plant reported that the contamination did not migrate offsite and does not pose a threat to public health.

imageI don’t want to say bullshit without getting the full story….but….considering Flint, Porter Ranch, BP Gulf Spill and countless other man made environmental disasters. Cough. Cough. BULLSHIT.

If you live up in that area of NY. Be warned.

Cuomo said he was informed of the tritium-contaminated water leak Friday and asked the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health to investigate the incident.

“Our first concern is for the health and safety of the residents close to the facility and ensuring the groundwater leak does not pose a threat,” Cuomo said.

imageThe site, roughly 35 miles north of New York City, has been under increased scrutiny from Cuomo and other officials following several incidents. In December, Cuomo ordered an investigation into Indian Point after a series of unplanned shutdowns, citing potential risks to both the city and surrounding suburbs.

Highly radioactive leak discovered at Indian Point nuclear plant – CBS News

The leak occurred after a drain overflowed during a maintenance exercise while workers were transferring water, which has high levels of radioactive contamination, said Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Normally, a sump pump would take the water and filter it into another treatment system, but the pump apparently was out of service, Sheehan said. After the drain overflowed, the water seeped out of the building into the groundwater.

imageIt was unclear how much water spilled, but samples showed the water had a radioactivity level of more than 8 million picocuries per liter, a 65,000 percent increase from the average at the plant, Cuomo said. The levels are the highest regulators have seen at Indian Point, and the normal number is about 12,300 picocuries per liter, Cuomo said.

Contaminated groundwater would likely slowly make its way to the Hudson River, Sheehan said, but research has shown that water usually ends up in the middle of the river and is so diluted that the levels of radioactivity are nearly undetectable.image

“We don’t believe there’s any concern for members of the public,” Sheehan said. “First of all, this water’s not going anywhere immediately — and, again, because of the dilution factor, you wouldn’t even be able to detect it were you to take a direct sample.”

Read the rest of the snow job at the links.

BTW, update on Porter Ranch:

California Utility Faces Criminal Charges Over Ongoing Gas Leak : The Two-Way : NPR

 

image

 

On with other serious stories, but I can safely make some sarcastic wisecrack smartass remarks about them…and just barely feel guilty about it.

Did ya hear the one about a Chicago cop who shoots and kills this black teenager and 55 year old woman…then turns around and sues the kids estate for 10 million dollars. (Yes, I said 10 miiilllion dollars.)

Chicago cop who shot teen sues family for $10 million – NY Daily News

Officer Robert Rialmo has filed a $10 million suit over a shooting that left a mentally ill teen and his unsuspecting neighbor dead.

RACHAEL LEVY VIA VIMEO
Officer Robert Rialmo has filed a $10 million suit over a shooting that left a mentally ill teen and his unsuspecting neighbor dead.

imageA Chicago cop who fatally shot a mentally ill college student in December — as well as the teen’s unsuspecting neighbor — is now suing the dead teen’s family for $10 million, claiming the killings gave him “extreme emotional trauma.”

Officer Robert Rialmo filed the staggering suit Friday over his contested killing of 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier, a Northern Illinois University sophomore. The officer also accidentally killed Bettie Jones, 55, who was standing nearby, according to police.

The slain student’s family immediately slammed the suit, which comes amid the exploding scandal over deadly, racially motivated police tactics in Chicago.

image“After this coward shot a teenager in the back … he has the temerity to sue him?” LeGrier’s family attorney, Basileios Foutris told the Chicago Tribune.

“That’s a new low for the Chicago Police Department.”

No. I think the Chicago PD can go lower…anyone want to place some bets?

Rialmo shot LeGrier six times on Dec. 26 after the teen made three calls to 911, making vague but distressed remarks about an “emergency” he said needed a police response. The gunfire erupted after LeGrier rushed at the officer while swinging a baseball bat, according to police, with one shot passing through the teen and striking his neighbor.

Rialmo’s suit says LeGrier “took a full swing” with the bat at Rialmo after the officer arrived at his home, just missing the cop’s head by a few inches. After Rialmo stepped back and LeGrier refused orders to drop the bat, the teen followed the officer outside and took another swing, forcing Rialmo to act in self-defense, the suit says.

image“Rialmo reasonably believed that if he did not use deadly force against LeGrier, that LeGrier would kill him,” the suit says.

The two deaths that resulted from the fatal encounter will “continue to cause…extreme emotional trauma” to the officer, according to the suit, which asks for a “sum in excess of $10,000,000” for damages.

Yeah, that full swing “missing the cop’s head by a few inches” justified the murder of two people….I can see why Rialmo would “continue to cause…extreme emotional trauma”. Best for him to go ahead and sue the family of the kid he shot in the back for the $10,0000,000. (That is a mutha load of fukken zeros.)

imageRialmo’s suit contradicts the story given by LeGrier’s family in their wrongful death suit, which said the teen was inside his building and shot by the cop from the outside. The family’s suit also said LeGrier did nothing to threaten Rialmo or anyone else on the scene, and was not involved in any illegal activity at the time.

The suits come months into Chicago’s continuing crisis of police killing black men who are either unarmed or not presenting an immediate threat to officers. In many of the cases, including this one, the officer responsible for the death was white.

Protests over police tactics and alleged coverups led to the ousting of the Chicago’s top cop last year, and calls for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to step down. The most infamous case — the death of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager who was shot by a white officer 16 times — led to the city settling with the teen’s family for $5 million.

Rialmo’s attorney accused LeGrier’s family of trying to ride the wave of city actions against cops.

“Ever since the McDonald payoff, people are treating officer-involved confrontations like a lottery ticket and they’re waiting to cash it in,” Brodsky told the Tribune.

imageWait a minute….who is treating this officer-involved confrontation as a lottery ticket? The murdering cop Rialmo? Or LeGrier’s family? I think that Brodsky dude has to get to Ted Cruz campaign on the double…and go to work as the campaign’s lead counsel.

This next link should make all the PLUBs happy!

Y’all know what PLUB stands for….Pro-Life-Until-Birth.

After Texas stopped funding Planned Parenthood, low-income women had more babies – LA Times

Innit a wonderful headline. More former fetuses for Republican pricks to fuck off.

…state of Texas’ sustained campaign against Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics affiliated with abortion providers appears to have led to an increase in births among low-income women who lost access to affordable and effective birth control, a new study says.

imageThe analysis, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, documents a significant increase in births among women who had previously received birth control at clinics that no longer get state funding.

The researchers, from the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin, say their findings offer a sneak peek of what may happen in other states that have cut funding to Planned Parenthood.

It is just what is coming to a state near you!

Lawmakers in Arkansas, Alabama, New Hampshire, Louisiana, North Carolina and Utah have enacted policies to keep public funds out of Planned Parenthood clinics. Ohio is expected to be the next state to follow suit.

imageThese laws “definitely” had a real impact on women, said study leader Joseph Potter, a sociologist at the university. “It’s not like there is a large, over-capacity of highly qualified providers of effective contraception out there just waiting for people to show up,” he said.

More Medicaid Births Follow Planned Parenthood Ouster via Texas Observer

Comparing quarterly medical and pharmaceutical claims from 2011 to 2014, researchers with theTexas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) found that 35 percent fewer patients received highly effective intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants — known as long-acting, reversible contraception (LARC) — over the four-year period. Claims for the injectable Depo shot, which requires follow up every three months, decreased by 31 percent. Researchers found that the rate of Medicaid-covered deliveries among women in the Depo group then increased by 27 percent.

imageThe reduction in claims, said lead author Amanda Stevenson, highlights the fact that despite recent state efforts to recruit more providers, and claims of success without Planned Parenthood, patients have lost services.

“The reproductive health safety net cannot just absorb all of the demand for highly effective contraception when you remove Planned Parenthood from the network,” Stevenson told the Observer. TxPEP’s findings, she said, “directly contradict” claims “that Planned Parenthood can be removed from federally-funded healthcare programs and other providers will just step up to pick up the slack.”

imageIn 2011, Texas lawmakers voted to kick Planned Parenthood out of the Medicaid Women’s Health Program, which the federal government deemed a violation of federal law. Rather than support a program that denied patients the provider of their choosing, the feds yanked a $9-to-$1 match in funds at the end of 2012, and Texas dropped the women’s Medicaid program entirely. In 2013, Texas insteadlaunched the state-funded TWHP replacement program — without Planned Parenthood. Since then, state health officials and lawmakers have boasted that the new program has more than 4,000 providers, and claimed that others could easily fill the void.

The new TxPEP data suggests otherwise.

No shit.

imageI could do a whole post on this alone. But I move on to another story that highlights the crazy in crazy ass?

<—–That is one crazy ass if you ask me.

Anyway, check it out…Wheaton will not fire professor over Muslim worship comments, but she will leave college – The Washington Post

So the college hasn’t “fired” her…she is leaving on her own accord.

Wheaton College political science professor Larycia Hawkins has decided to part ways with the college just five days before a faculty hearing was scheduled to help decide her fate at the school, according to an email from president Philip Ryken to the campus on Saturday.

image“The Administration and Dr. Hawkins have come to a place of resolution and reconciliation,” Ryken said in his email. “With a mutual desire for God’s blessing, we have decided to part ways.”

In a separate email to the faculty, Wheaton provost Stan Jones said in an email Saturday that he has withdrawn charges for firing Hawkins and asked Hawkins for forgiveness.

“I asked Dr. Hawkins for her forgiveness for the ways I contributed to the fracture of our relationship, and to the fracture of Dr. Hawkins’ relationship with the College,” he wrote.

imageJones wrote that he apologized for his “lack of wisdom and collegiality” in his original contact with Hawkins, which was through another colleague, as opposed to through direct contact.

Hawkins was placed on administrative leave on Dec. 15 after she published a Facebook post suggesting that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. The statement set off a wave of controversy across the country amid larger debates about the role of Muslims in America.

Hey, what is a moon post without some space news.

Starting with an obit:

Astronaut Edgar Mitchell: A legacy of research and moon walking – CSMonitor.com

Edgar Mitchell, the first astronaut to have both a doctorate degree (an Sc.D. from MIT) and a track record as a successful test pilot, was the sixth human ever to walk on the moon.

Apollo astronaut Edgar Mitchell poses in front of his mission patch in an undated picture released by NASA. Mitchell, lunar module pilot on Apollo 14 and one of only 12 men to walk on the moon, passed away Thursday in West Palm Beach, Florida.

NASA/Reuters/File

NASA announced Friday that astronaut Edgar Mitchell passed away on Thursday, just one day before the 45th anniversary of his moon landing.

imageDr. Mitchell was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 14, which launched in Jan. 31, 1971. He traveled to space alongside Alan Shephard and Stuart A. Roosa.

“As a member of the Apollo 14 crew, Edgar is one of only 12 men to walk on the moon,” said NASA administrator Charles Bolden in a statement, “and he helped to change how we view our place in the universe.”

In a 1997 interview for NASA’s oral history program, Mitchell said he was committed to becoming an astronaut as soon as he heard about Sputnick.

“I set my cap toward amassing qualifications that I thought would be attractive to NASA in 1957. It took nine years, but I got a doctorate, got additional flight experience, additional jet hours, was assigned to the Manned Orbiting Laboratory Program for a while, so, getting space management experience. All of that went on for nine years till I was selected in 1966….

image“I’ve been devoted to that, to exploration, education, and discovery since my earliest years, and that’s what kept me going.”

Born in Texas during the Great Depression, he became an astronaut in 1966, after receiving an Sc.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT in 1964.

Prior to his own trip to space, Mitchell worked on several Apollo projects. He was a member of the team that worked to bring Apollo 13 home after an oxygen tank explosion damaged the space craft.

There is more to read about the man at the link but I thought this was interesting:

imageAs a researcher, Mitchell was fascinated by the idea of consciousness. During the Apollo 14 mission, Mitchell conducted his own experiments on extrasensory perception, also known as thought transference.

While the other astronauts, Shephard and Command Module pilot Stuart Roosa, were sleeping, Mitchell experimented with mind reading. He concentrated on prearranged symbols while four contacts at home attempted to guess what he was thinking about. Approximately a quarter of the guesses were correct.

imageThe experiments changed his life. In an interview with People magazine three years later, Mitchell said, “It was euphoric, one of those rare moments in life when you seemed to be able to reach out and touch the universe, when you had an intuitive flash about the real meaning of truth.”

He also felt that Nasa was covering proof that aliens had visited earth.

More at the link.

After Death Of Edgar Mitchell, Where Are The Apollo Moon Walkers Today? : SCIENCE : Tech Times

imageMore spacey linkage:

North Korean rocket puts object into space, angers neighbours, U.S. | Reuters

With its mirror complete, giant space telescope on track for 2018 launch | Ars Technica

NASA’s Computer Model Of The Sun’s Magnetic Fields Could Prevent Disaster : SCIENCE : Tech Times

NASA has built a moving computer model of the sun’s magnetic fields, aiming to help educate people on how magnetic fields work and show how those fields could result in a disaster.

Magnetic Field

 Photo : NASA Goddard | YouTube

Video at the link.

Other science-ish links:

Rare Snow Rollers Form Across Idaho | Mental Floss

10 Spectacular Geologic Formations And Events Of Ancient Earth – Listverse

imageCan Head Injury Cause Dementia? Alzheimer’s-Like Brain Plaques Seen In People With Past Traumatic Brain Injuries : LIFE : Tech Times

Modern Medicine Explains Why Your Desire To Punch Ted Cruz In The Face Is Completely Natural

Fucking I knew it!!!!! There had to be a reason the man makes me physically ill….with an overpowering urge to knock the shit out of him!!!!!

Germans call it Backpfeifengesicht. It’s a colloquialism which translated means “a face that needs to be hit.” However, you don’t need to be German to want to punch Ted Cruz in the face. While there hasn’t been any formal polling on the question, I personally would feel safe wagering money on it being over 50 percent of America. But what does this all mean? Are we a nation of unreasonable bullies for wanting this?

imageDoctor Richard Cytowic has taken some time to explain to America why they are not a nation of bad people for their burning desire to smash a knuckle sandwich into Ted Cruz’s jaw. It turns out this is all a very natural and very scientific thing we are experiencing.

While I would never actually suggest someone would do something like punch Ted Cruz in the face (I’m not suggesting they don’t either), the feeling that you want to means you are operating at a normal mental state – so just enjoy the feeling and embrace it within reason.

Dr. Cytowic explained that humans learn to read facial expressions from the day they are born. It’s one of our most rudimentary and instinctual means of communication. Our brains have had a million years of practice at reading facial expressions, generating an instant like or imagedislike of the person that they are attached to. To put it more simply, it’s an evolutionary survival trait to determine friend from foe, and our brains are extremely good at it by now.

With this in mind, it explains a lot about why practically everyone hates Ted Cruz. It isn’t just his policy. There are oodles of idiot Republicans we could hate for that same reason. Ted brings out a more visceral and emotional reaction, unlike most others. Even among his fellow Republicans nobody likes him, and that says a lot.

Dr. Cytowic goes on to describe how Cruz’s facial expressions do not shift the way normal Human expression does. He has rarely observed a normal smile from Ted Cruz. In a normal smile the corners of the mouth go up, and the muscles circling the eyes contract making them narrow and forming crow’s feet at the outside corners. When it comes to Ted, his mouth just tightens into a straight line, and on the rare occasion that it deviates from this, the corners bend downward.  The outside of his eyes bend downward as well, which is completely opposite of what is normal, as the eyebrows typically bend upwards.

imageTo put it simply, Ted Cruz has a look of disgust on his face that only gets worse when he tries to look happy and smile. It’s like he is some kind of anti-politician, because you would think that someone who has his kind of fan base would naturally be able to express themselves more pleasantly. So remember, when you see Ted on TV and you want to throw something at the screen, it means you’re ok because it’s only natural.

Next up…from Cracked Magazine:

6 Modern Day Tech Advances (That Your Grandparents Had) | Cracked.com

imageThe 5 Most Idiotic Attempts To Save A Life (That Worked) | Cracked.com

And don’t forget the Super Bowl is tonight. I don’t know, the commercials are what they used to be…

6 Terrible Super Bowl Ads You Won’t Believe Actually Ran | Cracked.com

Did you see this from last night’s SNL:

Watch SNL’s Larry David-Bernie Sanders Sketches — Vulture

Because I truly feel that Bernie is just as big of an asshole prick as Larry David…

The only one to see is this one:

Another link to assholery: The Right Celebrated Trayvon Martin’s Birthday…By Being Disgusting A-Holes (SCREENSHOTS)

And finally…some great old pictures.

Wiseguys and Tough ass punks:

Skeeters Branch Newsies: 1910 | Shorpy Historic Picture Archive

SHORPY_05319.preview

Tough Guys: 1975 | Shorpy Historic Picture Archive

SHORPY-40519u.preview

And a few beauties to swoon and moon over:

We Had Faces Then — Tyrone Power, 1930′s

Tyrone Power, 1930′s

We Had Faces Then — James Dean, Los Angeles, 1955, photo by Roy Schatt

James Dean, Los Angeles, 1955, photo by Roy Schatt

We Had Faces Then — Remembering silent film star  Ramon Novarro  on…

Remembering silent film star  Ramon Novarro  on his birthday (6 February 1899 – 30 October 1968)

 

He was a leading romantic and action star in the late 1920’s with hits such asBen-Hur,Across to Singapore (with Joan Crawford) and The Student Prince in Old Heidelburg (with Norma Shearer). I find him very effective in a speaking part as a love struck soldier in Mata Hari with Greta Garbo.

 

He struggled throughout his life as a gay man who was also a fervent Catholic. He refused MGM’s arrangement of a “lavender” marriage, preferring to live somewhat openly with journalist Herbert Howe. He was murdered in 1968 by two young hustlers who thought he had a lot of money. They beat him to death, and got away with just $20.

 

Have a great afternoon…this is an open thread.

And enjoy this slideshow of paper moons…..some images were not used in the post above.

 

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