Sunday Reads: Time to take Earl on a picnic…again.

You all remember this song and video from the Dixie Chicks? I have the video posted down below, with the lyrics.

I bring old Earl up again because the latest school shooting is another example of this Earl problem that we see every fucking day:

It is that Toxic Masculinity problem I want to address.

Have y’all taken note of this key point…that doesn’t seem to be getting a lot of press:

There is always a girl, innit?

Fucking hell.

Mother of victim says alleged Texas school shooter asked her daughter on date – CNN

Sadie Baze says she keeps expecting her daughter to walk into the house, but Shana Fisher was killed Friday, one of 10 people gunned down at her high school.

“She’s never going to walk through the front door again,” Baze said.
Baze told CNN that the alleged shooter, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, had been making advances toward Shana, who just turned 16, for the past four months, asking her to date him.
A week ago, during class, Shana stood up and told Pagourtzis she wouldn’t go out with him, the mother said.
Baze said Pagourtzis previously dated Fisher’s best friend and she had told told her daughter “you don’t date your friend’s exes.”
See, you don’t date your friend’s exes and you wind up getting killed by them…it is devastating. Why is there always some type of domineering asshole male shit behind these violent murders.
The family of 17-year-old Pagourtzis, accused of killing 10 people and wounding 13 others at the Texas high school Friday, issued a statement expressing condolences to the victims.
The family members said they are “as shocked and confused as anyone by these events that occurred.”
Pagourtzis is a “smart, quiet, sweet boy,” they said.
The statement, issued through a law firm, says the family is cooperating with investigators and will make no other public comments until the fact-finding stage is completed.
“While we remain mostly in the dark about the specifics of yesterday’s tragedy, what we have learned from media reports seems incompatible with the boy we love,” they said.
Pagourtzis is being held without bail and is accused of capital murder of multiple people and aggravated assault on a public servant. He has not entered a plea.
Robert Barfield, the attorney for Pagourtzis, said his client is “not doing well” and is “confused.”
The suspect won’t face the death penalty if he is convicted. Under Texas law, offenders who are under age 18 and charged with a capital offense face a maximum punishment of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years, according to Robert Dunham of the Death Penalty Information Center.
Your know what would be my kind of punishment? Pagourtzis getting his balls sliced off with a razor and have them handed to him in a Dixie Cup…let the fucker bleed for a long while.

He is not doing well? Tough shit. Confused? No…he knew what he was doing.

Yesterday, officials identified those killed as teachers Glenda Perkins and Cynthia Tisdale, and students Jared Black, Shana Fisher, Christian Riley Garcia, Aaron Kyle McLeod, Angelique Ramirez, Sabika Sheikh, Christopher Jake Stone and Kimberly Vaughan. Here is some information on the people who were killed:

Victims of Santa Fe High School shooting in Texas identified today – CBS News

Sabika Sheikh 

sabika-sheikh-santa-fe-high-school-shooting-2018-05-18.jpg
 PAKISTAN ASSOCIATION OF GREATER HOUSTON/FACEBOOK

The Pakistani Embassy in Washington, D.C., confirmed that exchange student Sabika Sheikh was killed in the shooting. Sabika was an exchange student with YES, which is funded by the U.S. State Department. It provides scholarships for secondary school students from countries with significant Muslim populations to spend one academic year in the U.S.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sent his “deepest condolences” to her friends and family in a statement Saturday.

“Sabika’s death and that of the other victims is heartbreaking and will be mourned deeply both here in the United States, and in Pakistan,” Pompeo said.

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Shana Fisher’s aunt posted on Twitter that Shana was in the art room at the time of the shooting. She announced her death on Twitter.

Please go to the article to read about the rest of the victims, and remember…the killer said he did not shoot anyone he “liked”…Texas school shooting: 10 killed in Santa Fe High School massacre – The Washington Post

The affidavit states that the 17-year-old told police that “he did not shoot students he did like so he could have his story told.”

Yup, he knew exactly what he was doing. And if an ex-girlfriend was on the victim list, or some girl who did not treat him with the kind of attention he felt was “owed” to him…it would only be appropriate to add Pagourtzis name to the list of mass murderers who killed because they felt their women victims were entitled to them.

So it appears, this ex-girfriend and the girl who was being harassed by Pagourtzis may be the same person?

Texas school shooter taunted victims during rampage: witnesses

By reading this NY Post article, it doesn’t seem to me that this “kid” had any confusion during the murdering part of his shooting spree…

“My friend Trent was in the classroom and said after [Pagourtzis] would shoot a student he would sing, ‘Another one bites the dust!’” Sante Fe High School sophomore Kole Dixon, 16, told The Post of a classmate, whose last name he asked not be printed.

“He also kept playing a kamikaze song over and over as loud as he could,” on his cellphone, Dixon said of the shooter.

Pagourtzis had the same kamikaze military anthem on his now-deleted YouTube page, Dixon said.

Pagourtzis had earlier bragged of wearing a “Rising Sun” insignia on his black trench coat, explaining it signified “Kamikaze Tactics,” according to a photo and text posted on his also-deleted Facebook page.

New details of the 17-year-old’s sick sense of humor went well beyond the previously reported “Born to Kill” T-shirt he wore, and his taunt of “Surprise!” as he blasted through the walls of an art class supply closet.

“They hear the gunman in the classroom next door yelling Woo Hoo! and firing more shots,” mom Deedra Van Ness said in a Facebook post Friday night, recounting details from her by her daughter Isabelle, who survived unscathed but was covered in blood.

“Surprise, motherf–ker!” the shooter hollered as he fired into the closet wall, instantly killing two of the half-dozen students who had barricaded themselves inside with Isabelle, Van Ness said her daughter told her.

“Are you dead?” he later asked from the other side of the closet.

“Do you think it’s for you?” he also joked, as cell phones left behind in the classroom rang unanswered.

I mean, what else should we expect right?

The main stream media gives these assholes a pass, continuously, just take a look at this article from the NYTs:

This is as “tough” as the thing gets:

Recently, a young man named Alek Minassian drove through Toronto trying to kill people with his van. Ten were killed, and he has been charged with first-degree murder for their deaths, and with attempted murder for 16 people who were injured. Mr. Minassian declared himself to be part of a misogynist group whose members call themselves incels. The term is short for “involuntary celibates,” though the group has evolved into a male supremacist movement made up of people — some celibate, some not — who believe that women should be treated as sexual objects with few rights. Some believe in forced “sexual redistribution,” in which a governing body would intervene in women’s lives to force them into sexual relationships.

Violent attacks are what happens when men do not have partners, Mr. Peterson says, and society needs to work to make sure those men are married.

“He was angry at God because women were rejecting him,” Mr. Peterson says of the Toronto killer. “The cure for that is enforced monogamy. That’s actually why monogamy emerges.”

Mr. Peterson does not pause when he says this. Enforced monogamy is, to him, simply a rational solution. Otherwise women will all only go for the most high-status men, he explains, and that couldn’t make either gender happy in the end.

“Half the men fail,” he says, meaning that they don’t procreate. “And no one cares about the men who fail.”

I laugh, because it is absurd.

“You’re laughing about them,” he says, giving me a disappointed look. “That’s because you’re female.”

But aside from interventions that would redistribute sex, Mr. Peterson is staunchly against what he calls “equality of outcomes,” or efforts to equalize society. He usually calls them pathological or evil.

He agrees that this is inconsistent. But preventing hordes of single men from violence, he believes, is necessary for the stability of society. Enforced monogamy helps neutralize that.

In situations where there is too much mate choice, “a small percentage of the guys have hyper-access to women, and so they don’t form relationships with women,” he said. “And the women hate that.”

Emphasis is mine, of course, but read the whole article and tell me if it isn’t soft on this fucker.

(Take a look at the “Times Picks” comments…they are somewhat forgiving, and not from the feminist POV at all.)

(But that is the New York Times….)

Fuck you New York Times:

Back to the Peterson thing real quick…

Fucking Toxic Predatory Men… and their “enforced monogamy.”

I saw this tweet from Mona Eltahawy after I wrote my post above. I am glad I am not the only one who saw the connection.

Those with toxic masculinity …are they stupid dicks or what?

So take a look at that thread…it sounds familiar. I am sure that Dak or Boston Boomer may have brought it up back when the shooting/killing/slaughter occurred. If that is the case it is nothing new…but for those of us who have memories that last as long as a dog’s farts, or say a horse’s fart… it is a reminder. That these domineering men are also crazy assholes.

Let us feed them some black-eyed peas….yeah.

Mary Anne and Wanda were the best of friends
All through their high school days
Both members of the 4H club, both active in the FFA
After graduation
Mary Anne went out lookin’ for a bright new world
Wanda looked all around this town and all she found was Earl
Well, it wasn’t two weeks after she got married that
Wanda started gettin’ abused
She’d put on dark glasses or long sleeved blouses
Or make-up to cover a bruise
Well she finally got the nerve to file for divorce
And she let the law take it from there
But Earl walked right through that restraining order
And put her in intensive care
Right away Mary Anne flew in from Atlanta
On a red eye midnight flight
She held Wanda’s hand as they worked out a plan
And it didn’t take ’em long to decide
That Earl had to die, goodbye Earl
Those black-eyed peas, they tasted alright to me, Earl
You’re feelin’ weak? Why don’t you lay down and sleep, Earl
Ain’t it dark wrapped up in that tarp, Earl
The cops came by to bring Earl in
They searched the house high and low
Then they tipped their hats and said, thank you ladies
If you hear from him let us know
Well, the weeks went by and spring turned to summer
And summer faded into fall
And it turns out he was a missing person who nobody missed at all
So the girls bought some land and a roadside stand
Out on highway 109
They sell Tennessee ham and strawberry jam
And they don’t lose any sleep at night, ’cause
Earl had to die, goodbye Earl
We need a break, let’s go out to the lake, Earl
We’ll pack a lunch, and stuff you in the trunk, Earl
Is that alright? Good! Let’s go for a ride, Earl, hey!
Ooh hey hey hey, ummm hey hey hey, hey hey hey

Songwriters: Dennis Linde
Goodbye Earl lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

So let us get on with the picnic shall we?

Here is the wedding sermon from yesterday, if you have not heard or seen it….

Subversive? Uh…I don’t know. It all seemed like a big fuck you from Harry to the Royals, if you asked me. I still feel the sermon was important, which is why I posted it here. There was a lot of talk about how culturally inclusive the Royal Wedding was, which I think this next tweet touches on perfectly.

And remember:

But back to the Royal Wedding, a few funny tweets:

Just a few more things before we go…

"When you’re trying to end a human rights abuse, it’s illogical to carve out an exception for the people most likely to be affected" – Our #FraidyReiss tells @nytimes why bills to #endchildmarriage must set the marriage age at 18, not 16 or 17. Link to story in bio.

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But not every girl knows this – that’s why empowering and educating girls is so crucial to ending child marriage! Tag a friend who agrees that #GirlsRightsAreHumanRights. #EndChildMarriage . . #empoweringgirls #empoweringwomen #metoo #metoomovement #womensmarch #genderequality #childrensrights #girlsrights #bethechange #makeadifference #girlcrew #girls #educateagirl #femaleempowerment #becauseiamagirl #plancanada #itsagirl #childmarriage #feminist #feminism #womenandgirls #unwomen

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Empower Girls : Empower the World #vikalpsansthan #equality #endvaw #endchildmarriage #youth4equality #genderjustice #TogetherWeCanEndvaw

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I love that phrase…Empower Girls…Empower Women…Empower Daughters.

My friend Rachana Sunar over in Nepal has been working on building a Kindergarten for disadvantaged children and a center for mothers. With some funds from a Norway free church women’s group. They have a new building with five rooms…she sent me these pictures that I want to share with you:

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This is what she says to me in her email:

Dearest JJ

Our vision is to empower young mothers who have married as a child brides.  Our aim is to teach them life skills and vocational education, parenting skills and give them income opportunity.
So we have got 15 mothers for this year.
We meet them every Saturday to discuss in women righs.
They are so excited to learn.
Hope one day we can have you here taking some classes.
Rachana says the children have been selected with prior home visits, so they are “needy children.”
It is wonderful to see this program building from the ground up. I am working to send some donations her way…one day I would love to take a trip out there and visit. We communicate about once a week and it is extraordinary to have a connection with a woman who is strong and such a positive influence within her community.
That is all for me today, this is an open thread.
BTW, I know we have some non-toxic males who read this blog…and I gotta say…no black-eyed peas for you!
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Sunday Reads: Happy Motherhood is a Pre-existing Condition Day!

Happy Mother’s Day….

Or as one person in the Twitterverse puts it:

 

(If you aren’t following @OhNoSheTwitnt you should…)

 

 

It is a strange Mother’s Day for me, I am not sure how to approach the day. My mom’s results from her latest CT scan were not good. The chemo treatment has not been working, there is new tumor and it looks like she has run out of options. So today, on this Mother’s Day, I am faced with the reality that eventually I will be spending a Mother’s Day without my Mama. I don’t want that. And this sense of eminent loss is so overwhelming, that my days are becoming a cycle of playbacks. When she is up, I want to watch a movie with her…whatever she wants to watch. I want to spend that time laughing at funny scenes, or enjoying a film that we both appreciate. It is the same thing daily, and believe me…we have seen some of these films many times, but I want to capture those feelings once more. I don’t want to lose them. That is what it comes down to this Mother’s Day. Grasping those hours so that I can recycle them later…it is all I can do.

So, with all that being said, the disasters of the day seem to pass by me…until I watch Maddow, then I am back into my mood where I am unable to focus on anything. Here are some news stories for you this morning, my commentary on them will be minimal at best. Basically, the shit has gone beyond my comprehension of what kind of corruption and scandal it takes to bring a politician down. tRump could kill someone on Fifth Avenue, and get away with it…and still remain in the White House as President. I don’t think anything is going to happen, it is over. We are all fucked.

Now for the news:

 

Take a look at this thread on twitter:

 

 

 

Now, check this out:

Trump Compared to Cyrus the Great – Talking Points Memo

Fox Host Jeanine Pirro says Donald Trump fulfilled biblical prophecy by moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Full video at the link.

Here is the quote:

Trump fulfilling ‘Biblical prophecy’ by moving embassy to Jerusalem says Judge Jeanine Pirro in bonkers rant

The move, she said, “Sent a huge signal to Iran, and Shiite Muslims, that we stood with the more moderate Sunnis.” (ISIS and Al Qaida are both Sunni; there has never been a major terrorist attack on the United States led by a Shiite group.)

“Trump has assured the world that his word is worth more than any former U.S. president,” she said. “His word is more than any treaty, and stronger than any UN resolution.”

And then she got Biblical.

“Jerusalem is the one and only capital of Israel,” she said. “By Trump putting his impermada on what has been history for the last 3,000 years—and that’s it has been the people’s capital of one people’s country or one kingdom. That people is the Jews and that country is Israel.”

She said that Israel is the foundation of our Judeo-Christian nation.

“Donald Trump recognized history, he like King Cyrus before him, fulfilled the Biblical prophecy of the God worshipped by Jews, Christians and, yes, Muslims, that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state and that the Jewish people finally deserve a righteous, free and sovereign Israel.”

With Fox peddling these “coins” that have the tRump is King Cyrus symbolism propoganda…it adds to the rest of the big picture.

 

Former Trump campaign aide is helping Russian firm shed sanctions – CNNPolitics

A former senior campaign and transition aide to President Donald Trump recently inked a deal to help a Russian oligarch’s conglomerate shed sanctions the Trump administration slapped on them last month.

Bryan Lanza, who is in regular contact with White House officials, is lobbying on behalf of the chairman of EN+ Group, an energy and aluminum firm presently controlled by Oleg Deripaska, according to several sources. Deripaska is a billionaire who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and was the target of US sanctions imposed last month. Lanza is also a CNN contributor.
Lanza is representing the chairman of EN+ Group, but not Deripaska directly. The company is seeking to reduce Deripaska’s ownership in the company enough to be freed from US sanctions. Deripaska is expected to maintain a substantial stake in the company.

You can read about more tRump lobby connections at the link. Names like Corey Lewandowski, Brian Ballard, Jason Miller have all opened up their own DC firms. All the while, keep in mind:

 

 

 

But…it is all just a normal day in Washington:

Oh, this also happened on the quiet:

Perry Halts Nuclear Arms-Into-Fuel Project

Energy Secretary Rick Perry has formally ended construction of a facility meant to reprocess weapons-grade plutonium and uranium into fuel for reactors, a key element of the nation’s commitment to containing the global nuclear threat.

Perry executed a waiver Thursday to terminate construction of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.

A day earlier, Perry called it a “historically questionable” expenditure in testimony before Congress about the Trump administration’s 2019 budget proposal, which includes $220 million toward closing the project, and $59 million toward replacing it with a so-called “dilute and dispose” approach to surplus nuclear material.

Yeah, King Cyprus…I mean tRump is gonna need all those nukes to “dilute and dispose” of over there in Iran…right?

Iran nuclear deal: Iranians worry about impact of US sanctions | Iran News | Al Jazeera

Iran’s parliament is expected to debate emergency legislation, after US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull America out of the nuclear deal.

Meanwhile, Iran’s foreign minister is in China as part of a whirlwind diplomatic tour, to rescue the agreement.

Inside Iran, people are bracing themselves for the possibility of more hardship from sanctions.

Video report at the link.

 

Just one more thought on hardship…and motherhood…

 

John Kelly’s ‘Family Separation’ Recalls Slave Era Practice of Selling Parents Down the River – Truthdig

John Kelly, White House chief of staff, is an immigrant-hating bigot, as demonstrated by a long series of Draconian statements and measures that would have embarrassed most normal people into a lifetime vow of silence in their wake.

Kelly bizarrely defended Confederate slave drivers of the 1860s as having lived at a time before the evils of slavery were apparent to moral people. Haiti abolished slavery in 1804, Mexico in 1824 and Tunisia in 1846. But Kelly’s assertion becomes a little more understandable in view of his NPR interview on May 11.

On undocumented immigration, Kelly’s interview went like this:

Kelly: “But a big name of the game is deterrence.

NPR: “Family separation stands as a pretty tough deterrent.”

Kelly: “It could be a tough deterrent — would be a tough deterrent. A much faster turnaround on asylum seekers.

NPR: “Even though people say that’s cruel and heartless to take a mother away from her children?”

Kelly: “I wouldn’t put it quite that way. The children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever. But the big point is they elected to come illegally into the United States and this is a technique that no one hopes will be used extensively or for very long.

Kelly’s doctrine of “deterrence” of undocumented immigration into the US through family separation is undergirded by a special kind of sadism and ignorance combined. First of all, villagers in Honduras are not going to know about Kelly’s policy. Second, they are so desperate that many will take the risk anyway. Third, it is wrong to pounce and take US citizen children away from their mothers and fathers all of a sudden, giving them no time to make alternate arrangements. As for foster homes, with all due respect to the dedicated people who often run them, social science has proven that they are the biggest producer of a criminal class in the US. Children growing up without strong parental role models have a much greater chance of ending up in prison. Yes, that’s right. Social science says that if you want a safe society, don’t deport the parents of US citizen children.

Under Trump, ICE (which was only created recently and should be decommissioned) has been routinely doing things like traumatizing families by arresting undocumented parents when they come to pick up their children at school, in front of the eyes of the children, and leaving the latter unattended. The agents are not wrong to enforce the law, but this sort of tactic is clearly the result of instructions from Kelly and his successor, and is deliberate psychological warfare on American citizens.

Kelly’s self-satisfaction with getting rid of unwanted adults and putting their children, our fellow US citizens, in “foster care or whatever” (!!!) can only be compared to one phenomenon in American history.

Back in the days of slavery, white slave owners in the mid-Atlantic states like Kentucky used to separate fathers and sometimes mothers from their children and “sell them down the river” to the big plantation owners of the deep south.

Brown and black slaves were, like undocumented immigrants, not citizens and so they were not conceived by white elites as fully human persons. Hence, their families could be divided at will and parents could be sent far away, never to see their children again. They were treated like thoroughbred animals.

Kelly went on to slam these immigrants for not knowing English and for being unassimilable and having no skills. In fact, as conservative godfather Milton Friedman argued, they wouldn’t come here if they weren’t finding jobs that locals would not or could not fill. As for language and assimilation, Kelly’s own Italian-American side of the family came without English and remained here without citizenship for decades.

Cole then proceeds to quote the tweets showing Kelly’s own family background, which proves John Kelly’s own family members is one of those “illiterate” immigrants “and could not speak English 10 years after arrival.”  Yeah, these people…wtf is it with them?

And while all that is sinking in…this tweet should really be the icing on the Mother’s Day cake:

I don’t want to end on a bad note…

So, I have pictures.

First some fun ones:

DragCon is happening this weekend:

Those kick ass heels…a bit of marginalia to ring in the occasion? Quinn Cummings has been posting some awesome pictures on her Instagram feed:

@bufffaye #dragcon2018

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So please click the link up top and enjoy!

Sticking with the Medieval times a bit:

Elvis…he was a style icon…before he became a style icon!

 

Smooth huh?

 

And lastly, I wanted to share a few pictures from my daughter’s wedding, they are in a slideshow below.

 

Have a good day, Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!

This is an open thread.

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Sunday Reads: View from the Photo Booth

Good Morning

Once again…today’s thread will be a short one. Springing ahead…time change, is always a difficult one for me to handle. I wish Georgia would take a leap from Florida and make this latest time spring forward…the last.

Florida lawmakers vote to stay in Daylight Saving Time all year long – CNN

Lawmakers in Florida are tired of the whole “fall back” and “spring forward” rigamarole. So they’ve approved a bill to keep Daylight Saving Time going throughout the year in their state.

It took the state Senate less than a minute Tuesday to pass the “Sunshine Protection Act.” There were only two dissenters. (The House passed it 103-11 on February 14.)
The bill now goes to the desk of Gov. Rick Scott — but it’s far from a done deal after that,
Even if the governor approves, a change like this will literally take an act of Congress.
But if all is approved, Floridians — who’ll set their clocks ahead one hour this Sunday when Daylight Saving Time begins — won’t have to mess with it ever again.

Act of Congress or not…Scott signed a bill last week bringing the legal age to buy a rifle  in Florida up from 18 to 21. And now the NRA is suing.

Florida shooting: NRA sues as Florida enacts gun-control law – BBC News

The National Rifle Association (NRA) is suing Florida after it passed a gun control law in the wake of a school shooting that left 17 people dead.

Governor Rick Scott, a staunch ally of the gun lobby, enacted the bill, which the NRA says violates the constitution.

The law raises the legal age for buying rifles in Florida, but also allows the training and arming of school staff.

It does not ban semi-automatic rifles like the one used in the 14 February massacre in Parkland.

But it does introduce a three-day waiting period on all gun sales and a ban on bump stocks, a device that enables semi-automatic rifles to fire hundreds of rounds a minute.

[…]

What’s in the new law?

  • It raises the minimum age for buying rifles from 18 to 21 in the state – although 18, 19 and 20-year-old police officers and members of the security forces will still be able to buy rifles and shotguns
  • It bans bump stocks – devices that raise the firing speed of semi-automatic rifles
  • It introduces a three-day waiting period on all gun purchases (previously this only applied when people bought handguns)
  • It makes it easier for police to confiscate weapons and ammunition from people who are deemed to pose a threat of violent behaviour (a measure that has been proposed by five other states in the last month, according to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence)
  • It allows school staff to carry guns, with the agreement of their school district authorities and sheriff’s department. This is already allowed in the states of Wyoming, South Dakota, Tennessee, Georgia, Kansas and Texas

NRA filed a lawsuit within an hour from Scott signing the new law…you would think that the bloody bloodthirsty gun lobby would be ecstatic about that last part of the new legislation. The bit about school staff being able to carry and lock and load.

 

According to this article from The Tampa Bay Times, school districts are too big on arming their staff: Florida’s biggest school districts may skip out on armed ‘guardians’ program, even if Rick Scott signs it | Tampa Bay Times

“I believe the people carrying weapons should be law enforcement officers and not our employees,” said Seminole County school superintendent Walt Griffin, echoing comments of his large-district peers.

The Legislature’s new plan to arm school employees as a last line of defense to an active shooter might never get tested in Florida’s biggest school districts.

Officials in 10 of the state’s largest systems, which educate nearly 60 percent of all Florida school children, said they have no intention of giving teachers or other staff guns to carry into classrooms.

“I believe the people carrying weapons should be law enforcement officers and not our employees,” said Seminole County school superintendent Walt Griffin, echoing comments of his large-district peers. “I do not support our hard-working teachers having the responsibility of carrying a weapon.”

The Broward, Duval and Hillsborough county school boards adopted formal statements Tuesday opposing the idea of arming school personnel, and calling for adequate funding to support sworn officers in the schools instead. A day earlier, Miami-Dade superintendent Alberto Carvalho made clear his district’s position, saying anyone who thinks arming educators is a solution is “absolutely out of their mind.”

Also this week, a majority of Pasco County board members have signaled their dissent, as have officials in Pinellas County.

“What’s the liability on that?” Pinellas board chairwoman Renee Flowers asked in an interview. “We’re here to educate our students. Everyone has their own area of expertise. Cafeteria workers, maintenance people, librarians. … That’s not what they were hired for.”

This is good to hear…I am glad that question on liability is being brought up.

Remember this victim of gun violence, from Alabama?

That “accidental” shooting?

 

Teen Charged With Manslaughter in Alabama School Shooting via Voice of America

A 17-year-old high school junior was charged Friday with manslaughter and illegal firearms possession in a classroom shooting that killed a fellow student at an Alabama high school.

This photo provided by the Birmingham Police Department shows Michael Jerome Barber, a high school student who was charged March 9, 2018, with manslaughter and illegal firearms possession in a classroom shooting that killed a fellow student.
This photo provided by the Birmingham Police Department shows Michael Jerome Barber, a high school student who was charged March 9, 2018, with manslaughter and illegal firearms possession in a classroom shooting that killed a fellow student.

The charges against Michael Jerome Barber were announced after authorities interviewed witnesses and reviewed video in connection with the shooting at Huffman High School in Birmingham. Courtlin Arrington, 17, a senior who had dreams of becoming a nurse, was killed in the shooting.

Barber recklessly caused Arrington’s death after bringing a gun to school, prosecutors said. They did not release details of the shooting.

“Our hearts go out to the family of Ms. Arrington, all of her friends, and those whose lives would have been changed through her nursing dreams had this event not occurred. This is a parent’s worst nightmare,” Jefferson County District Attorney Mike Anderton said in a statement.

The shooting took place Wednesday as school was dismissing for the day. Police initially said it was possible the shooting was accidental.

It is so disturbing…

Arrington’s mother, Tynesha Tatum, was quoted by al.com as saying that she told her daughter she loved her and to have a “blessed day” as she left for school that morning. The next time she saw her was to identify her body at a Birmingham hospital.

Arrington was a caring and fashion-conscious teen who was determined to become a nurse, her mother said.

“Whatever she put her mind to, that’s what she was going to do,” she told the newspaper.

Her funeral will be held the same weekend as what would have been her senior prom.

Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Lisa Herring this week described Arrington as a bright student “lost to senseless gun violence.”

“She was friendly, energetic and well-liked by peers and teachers alike,” Herring said.

Barber is a junior who plays on Huffman’s football team and has posted recruiting videos online. Court records were not immediately available to show whether Barber had a lawyer to speak for him.

Huffman High School has metal detectors but they were not in use on the day of the shooting, school officials said.

Herring said the school has increased security and is reviewing safety procedures and protocols.

More on Courtlin Arrington here: Mom, family heartbroken after daughter’s promising life ended in shooting at Huffman High | AL.com

 

What a beautiful young woman, such a tragedy.

I am so glad that the students are standing up to the NRA and gun lobby lovers…

The NRA May Underestimate Young People. But We Don’t. – Rewire.News

The survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Florida, have inspired us with their determination, grit, and relentless courage. We owe those brave students more than awe and admiration; this moment of national outrage must become a moment of national action. Right now, powerful special interests are betting against them and cynically speculating that the urgency will pass and America will return to business as usual. The National Rifle Association (NRA) underestimates the power of young people. In doing so, they are fools.

There is a new “old” language afoot….it is taking some fucked up folks by storm…I should say “stormfront.” Check this article out, By Ryan Lenz at Southern Poverty Law Center: White Nationalists Are Pushing for a ‘Blue-Eyed’ English | Alternet

They call it Anglish.

White nationalists have gone looking for a mothertung. No, that isn’t a misspelling; rather, it’s how the word would look for white nationalists obsessed with seeing Anglish in widespread use.

Anglish? I must mean English, right? Nope.

Derived from “linguistic purism,” an idea that dates to the 16th and 17th centuries, Anglish is the English language either expunged of words with Latinate or Greek origins, or with those words completely reimagined with deference to Germanic roots. In the 19th century, writers such as Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy favored the style, even introducing words like “birdlore” instead of ornithology and “bendsome” in place of flexible.

But in the last year, as the so-called “alt-right” has moved further into the mainstream, this old idea has seen some newfound enthusiasm. (Maybe racists have come to realize that if a white ethnostate can’t be built on a gene pool, grammar will do.)

As early as 2010, Anglish was casually discussed in places such as Stormfront, once the largest white supremacist website in the world. Last summer, someone with the username Hail Britain, lauded Anglish after someone posted a YouTube video exploring the question, “What if English were 100 percent Germanic.”

“Good to see this sort of thing circulating,” a user named Branmakmorn wrote. “Hopefully it’ll spur a few normies to start asking more questions about their white identity.”

More recently, last November, an author revisited the idea of Anglish in the Renegade Tribune, an online anti-Semitic newspaper that has dabbled in Holocaust denial and featured headlines such as, “The jewish [sic] Plans for 2018: Immigrant Invasion, Miscegenation, and White Genocide.”

“How is that White countries with languages derived from Latin fell easier to Jewish universalism than Germany? Of course language is not the main reason but it is certainly related to it, and it had its own contribution,” an author last opined last November for the Renegade Tribune.

He added, in a comment to his own post: “Latin is a slave language because it is intended to be universal, to facilitate the breeding together of different humans.”

While the idea is bizarre, there have been discussions about pushing Anglish into the mainstream on Reddit and online forums elsewhere dedicated to Anglish.

Read the rest at the link above…I doubt the new “anguage???” will take hold…as it is way too difficult for these racist shitasses to learn something new.

Here is something to ponder: Colombia’s Farc: Choosing the ballot box over violence – BBC News

In the Colombian town of Fusagasugá, about two hours from the capital, Bogotá, Senate hopeful Julián Gallo Cubillos is on stage for the close of his campaign.

It is pouring down with rain but for a man used to living in the jungle, it is hardly a problem.

Better known by his nom de guerre, Carlos Antonio Lozada, he fought for three decades with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the left-wing rebel group better known as Farc.

I remember Farc, and Colombia and all the shit that was going down when I was in high school in 85/88 and college in the end of the 80’s and early 90’s and when I was getting my second degree in the mid 90’s.  If any of you have seen the series Narcos…I am sure it will be fresh in your minds.

The Farc started life in the 1960s as a Marxist-inspired rebel group demanding land reform.

The guerrillas soon became a key player in a conflict involving the government, right-wing paramilitaries and other armed groups, which left an estimated 220,000 dead and millions displaced over five decades.

The turning point was the peace agreement signed between the government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Farc in 2016.

As part of the deal, the Farc were given 10 seats in Congress up until 2026, regardless of how many votes they received.

Same name, different game

After the Farc rebels disarmed last year, the group announced its new party. It kept the acronym Farc but changed what the letters stand for to the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force.

A man holds up a banner urging to vote for the Farc

“We had to maintain our name because it’s linked to our history of struggle and resistance,” explains Mr Lozada.

“It wouldn’t have been ethical to hide behind any other acronym.”

But the new political party is having trouble convincing the general public of its new role.

“How are we going to pardon a group who has spilt so much blood and is now expecting us to put them in power?” asked Alejandro Castañeda, who was walking through Bogotá’s main square, Plaza Bolívar.

It seems there aremany who feel this same way, but to them I would ask…how many deaths can be linked to a corrupt government that continued to propel a drug war and its devastating violence.

Colombians are not against the idea of peace but they are divided about how to go about it.

And for many, it is hard to forget the crimes the Farc committed during more than five decades of armed conflict.

One of the biggest criticisms of the deal was allowing Farc members to run for office without having to serve prison time first.

“They get seats with no votes and they aren’t facing justice,’ says 24-year-old Nicolás Ordoñez Ruiz, who is part of Colombia’s main opposition party, Democratic Centre. “It’s an irresponsible message. It will create more violence in the future.”

That, says conflict expert Jorge Restrepo, will be reflected on voting day. “People won’t want to vote for them because they were not punished,” he says.

“That lack of justice, that need for revengeful justice, has not been satisfied in Colombia.”

More at the link…I don’t know, I just find it all very fascinating.

Coming up to the end of the thread…just a few more links.

These next two video embeds are from Facebook. If you cannot see them, just click the links I’ve provided:

 

She’s a 91-year-old practicing physician, granddaughter of a slave, and one of the first doctors to treat women with opioid addiction. #InternationalWomensDay

 

 

Activist Fraidy Reiss On Ending Forced Marriage In AmericaChild marriage is still legal in all 50 states — but this activist doesn’t want any girl to go through what she experienced

 

 

 

Speaking of Child Marriage. I wanted to share this letter/email I received from Rachana this past week. I am so honored to be connected to this woman. The plans are shaping up for her school for girls…and now they are getting down to the point where they can begin the fund raising.

Dearest JJ

I wish you a happiest day on this beautiful occasion of international women’s day. I wouldn’t lose this moment to think of women whose are special to me and who have potential to change the world. I’m blessed to be in touch with such an amazing, bold, creative, generous women over seas.
I’m very grateful for what I have got and very optimistic for the future that will bring us together to fix things and fight for human rights.
It’s been a long time I was trying to reach you out since my sister in law was in the hospital plans got changed.finally I managed to tell the things i was keeping in my heart.
Hope you’re having good time there.
Here i have a good news to share.
Last week our team members have planed to open a kindergarten in Surkhet from May.
The idea behind of opening a kindergarten
1: provide childcare, good education
2: to raise children in respectful, peaceful and in friendly environment.
3: to generate young mothers, give them life skills, training, parenting skills and income opportunity
4: to make healthy and happy livelihood
5: to give second opportunity to child bride to continue their school and free time to set their carrier.
6: to end violence against women and children.
These are our goals to achieve from the small step towards changing the bad train by educating children and women.
What do you think of It?
I would like to invite you to Nepal someday to help in our plan. We need people to bring different ideas, methodology and strategies.
For this difficult but beautiful missions we need money
• To build the house
• rent for the land
• For furniture
•For teaching materials
• playing toys and children books
• food and nutrition
We also need fund for organizing different events and activities for young mothers.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you think can we make this mission as our mission? Can we be a part of this dream project? I feel there is something really connected with you. I get good vibes when I think of you.
Could it be possible to donate us to make our dream come true?
I’m passing this email holding my heart with big hope.
I believe investing in education today will empower our next generation tomorrow.
I wait for your response
Once again happy women’s day.
Cheers for us.😊😍
Warmest thanks regards

 

 

It is thrilling to be a part of this movement in Nepal. I feel like this can be a chance to actually do some good and see it come to fruition. In a small village…for a small group of young girls, women and mothers. It will be an opportunity to give aid and watch the empowerment work through the daughters of this amazing corner in our world.

Photo by Rachana Sunar

This is an open thread.


Sunday Reads: The “Twits” are strong with this “Orange” dickhead.

 

The image above is from the Instagram of one of the survivors from the Valentine’s Day murders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. It is just one of the victim reactions to the killings…another has been the vocal call outs and public outcries from many MSDHS students. They are not taking the “thoughts and prayers” bullshit. They want action. Take a look at what these brave student survivors are doing to stand up for their murdered friends and fellow children nationwide.

 

As many have pointed out, the out spoken nature of this reaction is different from the mass murders of before. Perhaps because the media is actually paying attention to them?

I don’t know. But as you can see, tRump has been busy this morning:

Fucking hell…

 

Parkland students are fighting back…

I only want you to realize that this is the world we live in….

 

And this is the pretender to the throne, the president that we have to serve as protector in chief:

 

 

This is an open thread…


Monday Reads: The Wheedle and the Damage Done

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

I continue to believe that a huge number of Christians in this country actually make this the least Christian country on the planet.  After all, white evangelicals were the biggest chunk of voters that made way for Russia’s attack on our form of government and brought an insane man into the White House.  What type of people fall for cons? What type of people actually will damage themselves and their neighbors to feel smug and safe in their whiteness?  Better yet, what will the recently installed Pope say to President Swiss Cheese for Brains and the Gingrichs who play the pious game of “maybe for thee but not for me” with all the Jesus teachings.

You can have as many bible studies and prayer breakfasts as you want in this administration and the actions will never overtake the words passed into law.  What we continue to see is the rich and powerful destroying the lives of the weakest among us to provide lavish tax cuts that basically accrue value to no one but the person who receives them.

With that lecture, I give you the Republican and Trump Agenda.  We are seeing the proposals that will send many to their graves.  Paul Ryan is not nicknamed the Granny Starver for nothing.  Please don’t watch the Trumpical Clusterfuck Tour. Read what’s going on with the Budget and with the Department of Re-Education.

President Trump’s first major budget proposal on Tuesday will include massive cuts to Medicaid and call for changes to anti-poverty programs that would give states new power to limit a range of benefits, people familiar with the planning said, despite growing unease in Congress about cutting the safety net.

For Medicaid, the state-federal program that provides health care to low-income Americans, Trump’s budget plan would follow through on a bill passed by House Republicans to cut more than $800 billion over 10 years. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that this could cut off Medicaid benefits for about 10 million people over the next decade.

The White House also will call for giving states more flexibility to impose work requirements for people in different kinds of anti-poverty programs, people familiar with the budget plan said, potentially leading to a flood of changes in states led by conservative governors. Many anti-poverty programs have elements that are run by both the states and federal government, and a federal order allowing states to stiffen work requirements “for able-bodied Americans” could have a broad impact in terms of limiting who can access anti-poverty payments — and for how long.

Numerous social-welfare programs grew after the financial crisis, leading to complaints from many Republicans that more should be done to shift people out of these programs and back into the workforce. Shortly after he was sworn in, Trump said, “We want to get our people off welfare and back to work. . . . It’s out of control.”

Trump’s decision to include the Medicaid cuts is significant because it shows he is rejecting calls from a number of Senate Republicans not to reverse the expansion of Medicaid that President Barack Obama achieved as part of the Affordable Care Act. The House has voted to cut the Medicaid funding, but Senate Republicans have signaled they are likely to start from scratch.

As usual, children and the sick get the worst treatment. I suppose it’s only time that we see an end to child labor laws and poor farms established.  Either that, or we funnel every one to private jails.

But Tuesday’s budget will be more significant, because it will seek changes to entitlements — programs that are essentially on auto­pilot and don’t need annual authorization from Congress. The people describing the proposals spoke on the condition of anonymity because the budget had not been released publicly and the White House is closely guarding details.

The proposed changes include the big cuts to Medicaid. The White House also is expected to propose changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, though precise details couldn’t be learned. SNAP is the modern version of food stamps, and it swelled following the financial crisis as the Obama administration eased policies to make it easier for people to qualify for benefits. As the economy has improved, enrollment in the program hasn’t changed as much as many had forecast.

And they’re still after a the Affordable Health Care Act.  This amounts to a death by a million paper cuts.  You’ll notice most of this isn’t being rolled out with the same gusto as the Saudis welcomed Kremlin Caligula.

The Trump administration Monday plans to ask a federal court for another 90-day delay in a lawsuit over Obamacare insurance subsidies, according to two administration sources, leaving the future of the health care marketplaces in limbo through late August.

The suit, House v. Price, centers on Obamacare’s cost-sharing program, which reimburses health insurers to help low-income people make co-payments at the doctor or hospital. The legal motion in a case that was brought by House Republicans during the Obama administration is expected to be filed later Monday.

President Donald Trump has argued that the markets are fatally flawed and will collapse no matter what his administration does. He also suggested that the ensuing chaos could entice Democrats to come to the bargaining table and help craft a health care overhaul. But administration officials have said the payments would continue while the lawsuit is pending.

While another delay would stop short of imploding the markets, it still undermines the exchanges, by continuing uncertainty as insurers decide where to offer coverage and how to price it.

House Republicans charged the cost-sharing program was never legally funded in Obamacare. A federal district court judge ruled in 2016 that the Obama administration was illegally funding the program. The Obama administration appealed that decision but the issue was unresolved before Trump took office.

September 16, 2016

Meanwhile, Betsy DeVos is already steamrolling along. The plan that has completely failed in Louisiana is about to go National with this nut job in charge of the Department of Re-Education.  School choice is another term for segregated schools and public funding of religious atrocities foisted on innocent children.

Before she was picked by President Trump to head up the U.S. Department of Education, Betsy DeVos was the chairwoman of the American Federal for Children, a pro-school choice lobbying group.

When she visits Indianapolis Monday night, Secretary DeVos will address a sea of friendly and familiar faces at the AFC’s National Policy Summit at the Weston Hotel.

It’s expected DeVos will roll out a Trump administration plan to provide tax credits to corporations and individuals who donate money to groups and schools that provide school choice scholarships to students and parents.

“We see that this is a really significant opportunity for her to lay out a vision for what she sees as educational choice going into the future for all fifty states,” said AFC Spokesman Tommy Schultz. “I think Indianapolis and Indiana are great places to do it where Indiana has one of the fastest growing choice programs in the entire country.”

More than 33,000 Hoosier students attend classes in a private or charter school under Indiana’s expanded choice program.

“So a federal tax credit scholarship program would be a really great way to facilitate getting more families educational options for their child. We expect something like that to be potentially rolled out later this year,” said Schultz. “It’s purely folks giving charitable contributions to education scholarship organizations and then therefore they’ll get a credit for that.”

Indiana’s public school teachers fear the DeVos speech will be one more attack on the system that educates a majority of America’s children, many of them in struggling urban school districts.

“We are concerned that her speech is going to be about changes to the proposed federal budget and how that’s going to impact our students,” said Theresa Merideth, president of the Indiana State Teachers Association. “What we have is a voucher system now that funds kids who are already going, by and large, to private schools anyway, and there is no data that is showing they are doing any better that public school counterparts.”

Meredith said before- and after-school programs, and services aimed at special education youngsters, will be at risk from proposed Trump administration cuts to the federal education budget.

Make American White, Fascist, and Nutty Religious folks!  I really think their slogan should be Greed and Grifting is Good!  In that vein, the White House is trying to block ethics investigations of ex lobbyists now working in Federal Agencies and the West Wing.

The Trump administration, in a significant escalation of its clash with the government’s top ethics watchdog, has moved to block an effort to disclose any ethics waivers granted to former lobbyists who now work in the White House or federal agencies.

The latest conflict came in recent days when the White House, in a highly unusual move, sent a letter to Walter M. Shaub Jr., the head of the Office of Government Ethics, asking him to withdraw a request he had sent to every federal agency for copies of the waivers. In the letter, the administration challenged his legal authority to demand the information.

Dozens of former lobbyists and industry lawyers are working in the Trump administration, which has hired them at a much higher rate than the previous administration. Keeping the waivers confidential would make it impossible to know whether any such officials are violating federal ethics rules or have been given a pass to ignore them.

Mr. Shaub, who is in the final year of a five-year term after being appointed by President Barack Obama, said he had no intention of backing down. “It is an extraordinary thing,” Mr. Shaub said of the White House request. “I have never seen anything like it.”

There is some good news.  The Court System appears to be working as a system of checks and balances on all the crazies that have invaded the executive branches and legislative branches throughout the Country and in the District.  SCOTUS just told North Carolina its gerrymandering smacked of racism and rejected its proposed Congressional Districts.  Thomas sided with the majority and Gorsuch sat out so I’m no sure we can divine any future trends from this.

A divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled that North Carolina Republicans relied too heavily on race when they drew two bizarrely shaped congressional voting districts that were used until the 2014 election.

The ruling upholds a lower court decision that rejected the two majority-black districts and ordered a new map for the 2016 election. Even with the new lines, Republicans maintained their hold on 10 of the state’s 13 districts.

Writing for the court, Justice Elena Kagan said a three-judge panel had sufficient grounds for concluding that race, and not politics, was the driving factor in setting out the lines. She also backed the lower court’s conclusion that the district lines weren’t needed to comply with a federal voting-rights law.

“A state may not use race as the predominant factor in drawing district lines unless it has a compelling reason,” Kagan wrote.

The case produced an unusual split. Justice Clarence Thomas, perhaps the most conservative justice, joined the court’s four liberals in the majority. Thomas is a staunch opponent of the use of race in drawing district lines, no matter which side benefits.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito and Anthony Kennedy issued a partial dissent saying they would have upheld one of the districts. Justice Neil Gorsuch didn’t take part in the case, which was argued before he joined the court.

The contested districts were both held by black Democrats. Critics said the goal was to dilute minority voting strength outside of those two districts and preserve the power of neighboring white Republicans.

North Carolina officials said they were trying to preserve black majorities and comply with the Voting Rights Act, the landmark 1965 law designed to protect racial minorities. North Carolina also contended that, with regard to one of its disputed districts, map-drawers were legitimately motivated by politics.

One of the disputed districts — the 12th District, held by Representative Alma Adams — was 120 miles long, snaking from Charlotte to Greensboro and roughly tracking Interstate 85. The other — the 1st District, held by Representative G.K. Butterfield — was in the northeastern part of the state, with tendrils that captured black areas further south and west.

The 12th District has been the subject of repeated court challenges over the years. The latest case represented the fifth time the Supreme Court had examined the district.

Flynn will be evoking the Fifth Amendment.   They probably have enough on him that it won’t mean much.

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn will invoke his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination on Monday as he notifies the Senate Intelligence committee that he will not comply with a subpoena seeking documents.

That’s according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private interactions between Flynn and the committee.

Flynn’s decision comes less than two weeks after the committee issued a subpoena for Flynn’s documents as part of the panel’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.

Legal experts have said Flynn was unlikely to turn over the personal documents without immunity because he would be waiving some of his constitutional protections by doing so. Flynn has previously sought immunity from “unfair prosecution” to cooperate with the committee.

Simon Maloy argues that the Trump White House is collapsing in an op ed for The Week.

Just as Air Force One was lifting off to ferry Trump to Riyadh, The New York Times and The Washington Post each published seismically significant pieces on the White House’s ever-expanding Russia scandal. The Timesreported that Trump, during an Oval Office meeting the day after he fired FBI Director James Comey, told high-level Russian officials that Comey was a “nut job” and firing him had relieved the “great pressure” Trump felt “because of Russia.” The Post, meanwhile, reported that the Justice Department’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s links to Russia has identified a senior White House official as “a significant person of interest.”

Shortly after the Times and Post stories hit, CNN came through with another big scoop, reporting that Russian officials had boasted during the 2016 campaign that they could use former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to influence Trump and his associates.

The Times piece in particular is brutal for Trump. At the time the president divulged to the Russians his motivation for firing his FBI director, the administration was still sticking to its ridiculous story that Comey lost his job because he botched the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. That means officials from an adversarial government knew the White House wasn’t being honest about a politically explosive subject.

On top of that, Trump’s comments to the Russians could become the focus of an obstruction of justice inquiry by special counsel Robert Mueller, who was tapped to assume control of the Russia investigation following Comey’s dismissal. Trump had already told NBC’s Lester Holt that the Russia investigation factored into his decision to fire Comey, and the Times report adds significant weight to the idea that Trump’s primary motivation in sacking Comey was to neutralize an issue that was damaging him politically.

The Post report, meanwhile, feels like the first strong indication that the Russia investigation has the potential to cut deeply. The fact that a senior White House official is coming under scrutiny is obviously a problem for Trump, but the Post also reported that the FBI inquiry now “also includes determining whether any financial crimes were committed by people close to the president.”

Financial Crimes is an interesting take given the Russian hacking of the US election and White House.  But, it’s a serious way to take down the Trump Criminal Syndicate.  This is from Josh Marshall writing for TPM.

We know – and this article confirms – that Paul Manafort is a significant focus of the probe. Even apart from his political work in Ukraine, Manafort appears to have a series of real estate deals, loans, etc. that investigators are looking at. So perhaps it’s something as mundane as stumbling across some kind of crooked, small-bore real estate ventures Manafort participated in while examining his business ties to people in Ukraine.

But my hunch is that it’s a bit more than that.

As you’ve seen, what I’ve been focused on in recent months are a series of business ventures over the last couple decades – either involving President Trump or his close associates – which seemed to rely on capital from people from the former Soviet Union or recent emigres from those countries. Trump himself, Felix Sater, Michael Cohen and many others figure into this as well as Manafort, Trump’s children, the Kushners and still others. My interest of course is to understand the roots of Trump’s affinity with the post-Soviet oligarch world and whatever financial ties or dependence he has on it. But even if you take the Russia/former Soviet Union connection with its geopolitical dynamics out of the equation, you simply can’t read over these deals and not see that Trump and his crew just play way out on the outer fringe of legality at best. At best. People who have done or subsequently did time in the US or other countries repeatedly appear in the picture. So do people from organized crime. A lot.

One thing you find looking through Trump’s history is that after his fall from financial grace a quarter century ago this pattern seemed to become part of the business model. Cut off from capital from the big banks and most people interested in not losing their money, he had to do business with people with decidedly sketchier reputations. Those people, often looking for places to park wealth in real estate, had to accept much higher levels of risk than people with clean reputations. That seemed to lead them to Trump.

Then there’s another level of it. Even apart from big bad acts and corrupt deals, look at the stuff David Fahrenthold dug up on the Trump Foundation and his Potemkin charitable giving. Beyond issues of possible illegality, the big takeaway there was that Trump operates with a seemingly almost total disregard for rule-following or even a lot of elementary record keeping. So on top of substantively shady deals things are executed in really slapdash and hazard ways. In other words, the Trump Organization sounds a lot like the Trump White House. Only it’s a private company, surrounded by a moat of NDAs, all examined by little more than the thin scrutiny of the New York tabloids.

Here are just a couple examples of some color from the kinds of associations and business dealings I’m talking about: one and two.

Follow those links.

So, I’ve just filled the page with over 3100 words and counting.  I think I’ll leave the rest to you this morning.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Blue Blue Monday Reads and Yes! Let’s politicize homophobia and gun fetishists!

Good Afternoon!

Once again we see the results of toxic religious zealotry and resentment whipped up to the point that some nutter feels compelled to kill in the case of the Orlando massacre.  This occurs all too frequently in this country.  You may recall the images (14)Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting where we saw Robert Dear go on a shooting spree with the same deadly combination of anger whipped up by right wing politicians and preachers, mental illness, and easy access to weapons.  One claimed ISIS inspiration and Islamofascism.  The other was inspired by Christofascists in the US that bring you terror in the name of Fetus Fetishism.

We still haven’t heard about the motives of the Indiana man–a 20 year old white guy–in terms of why he was going after participants and viewers of a California Gay Pride parade.  Suffice it to say, the politicization of the private lives of the GLBT community by Republicans, their presidential candidate, and the various religious whackos that they court likely will come into play at some point.

Harassing and encouraging anger is just one political tool used regularly by Republicans these days.  I have noticed that the silence is deafening right now on James Wesley Howell.  The press can is clearly focused on the bloodbath and the sensational background of the Pulse Shooter rather than wondering why we manage to get bigger and badder displays of hatred and anger these days.  I’m not sure that most people realize that any Abrahamic-based religion is going to beget violence in some folks.  It goes with territory.  A few of them take retribution and strict commandments from their angry sky fairy way too seriously. This is especially the case if they have some kind of severe emotional or mental disorder.

(Spoiler Alert)  It’s the easy access to guns of all kinds in this country. The irresponsible and cynical use of anger and outrage to gain power and money is out of control.  Religion is just another vehicle to whip up the anger and the outrage and it frequently turns deadly.

obama1-703x406The weapon of choice for mass shooters is the AR-15 rifle.  This is one of the weapons that was included in the assault weapons ban signed by Bill Clinton in 1994 that expired in 2004.  The rifle was used in Orlando, Aurora,  Newton, and San Bernadino. It’s easily obtainable and the latest shooter–who had a history of Domestic Violence and was under the eye of the FBI for terrorist rantings–had a license to carry it and to obtain it legally.  Let that sink in.

There were calls to ban the weapon after the Newtown shootings, which led to a spike in sales. Gun manufacturers have called the AR-15 one of the most popular weapons in the U.S., with more than 3 million estimated to be in circulation.

“It was designed for the United States military to do to enemies of war exactly what it did this morning: kill mass numbers of people with maximum efficiency and ease,” lawyer Josh Koskoff, who’s representing Newtown families in their lawsuit against the gun industry, said Sunday.

Regulations on magazine capacity for the weapon vary from state to state, but it can fire 45 rounds a minute.

Most forms of the gun had been prohibited under the 1994 federal assault weapons ban that was allowed to expire in 2004, following ferocious lobbying by the National Rifle Association.

The NRA has used its lobbying might in the years since to bury attempts to revive the ban.

“During the decade of the ban, there were half as many casualties in mass shootings as the decade before, and a third as many casualties in mass shootings as the decade after,” said Richard Aborn of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City, a strategist involved in the original legislation.

920x920 (1)Hillary Clinton has called for a renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban that her husband signed in his first term.  This is one of the reasons that I am so happy she is the nominee.  Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has some extremely neoconfederate views of gun control that he reiterated yesterday.  He believes it is a state and local issue, voted against the Brady Bill many many times, and has supported relieving gun manufacturers and stores of any liability for the damage done by their product.

Hillary Clinton has called for the reinstatement of the assault weapons ban in the wake of the worst mass shooting in American history that left 49 people and the gunman dead at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

In forthright comments a day after the massacre at the Pulse Club, the presumptive presidential nominee for the Democratic party issued a call for a return to “commonsense gun safety reform” and lambasted the Republican-controlled Congress for what she called a “totally incomprehensible” refusal to address the country’s lax gun laws.

“We can’t fall into the trap set up by the gun lobby that says if you cannot stop every shooting you shouldn’t try to stop any,” she said.

Clinton’s tough stance on gun control sets up a torrid fight with her Republican rival for the White House Donald Trump, who has positioned himself as a champion of the second amendment and dismissed any calls for greater gun controls as weakness. She insisted that while she did believe that law-abiding American citizens have the right to own guns, it was also possible to see that “reasonable, commonsense measures” could be taken that would make people more safe from guns.

One of the things that stuns me is the ease with which a guy on the FBI threat radar could get a permit to carry and purchase a rifle that no civilian should own.

A day after the deadliest mass shooting in US history, questions are mounting over why the shooter Omar Mateen was legally able to buy an assault rifle and handgun despite having been investigated twice by the FBI for suspected terrorist sympathies.

Mateen, 29, launched his attack on Pulse club, an LGBT venue in downtown Orlando celebrating its popular Latin dance night, at 2.02am on Sunday morning.

Twenty minutes into the spree he took the bizarre step of making a 911 call in which he reportedly referred both to Islamic State and the Tsarnaevs, the brothers who carried out the Boston Marathon bombings in April 2013.

Sunday’s attack – which left 49 clubgoers dead and 53 injured – was launched by Mateen using a .223-caliber assault rifle and 9mm semi-automatic pistol with multiple rounds of ammunition that had been purchased quite lawfully in the week before the rampage using Mateen’s firearms license. Mateen was shot dead by police.

He also held a permit to work as a security guard, which he did at a courthouse in Port St Lucie, Florida, even though he was interviewed three times by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 following separate reports of extremist behavior and connections to terrorism that were in the end deemed insubstantial.

Mateen was released because no evidence of wrongdoing was found by the FBI.  He’s a natural born American so that provides him the usual 4816protections.  This is something that appears to have blown completely pass Donald Trump whose rhetoric and bragging were dialed up to 11 yesterday. He revisited his call to ban all Muslims from entering the country despite the fact that all three of the shooters claiming support for Islamofascim–Nidal Hassn (Fort Hood),Syed Rizwan Farook, (San Bernardino) , and Mateen (Orlando)–were American citizens. Only Farook’s wife–Tashfeen Malik–was foreign born.

The presumptive Republican nominee pulled no punches in a lengthy statement yesterday, going so far as to call for Barack Obama to resign and reiterating his call for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States (despite the fact that the shooter was born in New York).

“In his remarks today, President Obama disgracefully refused to even say the words ‘Radical Islam’. For that reason alone, he should step down,” Trump said in his press release. “If Hillary Clinton, after this attack, still cannot say the two words ‘Radical Islam’ she should get out of this race for the Presidency. If we do not get tough and smart real fast, we are not going to have a country anymore. Because our leaders are weak, I said this was going to happen – and it is only going to get worse. I am trying to save lives and prevent the next terrorist attack. We can’t afford to be politically correct anymore.”

“We admit more than 100,000 lifetime migrants from the Middle East each year. Since 9/11, hundreds of migrants and their children have been implicated in terrorism in the United States,” Trump added. “Hillary Clinton wants to dramatically increase admissions from the Middle East, bringing in many hundreds of thousands during a first term – and we will have no way to screen them, pay for them, or prevent the second generation from radicalizing.” (To be fair, this mischaracterizes Clinton’s position.)

The statement followed a stream of self-congratulatory tweets.

Clinton  has decided to adopt the use of radical Islam.  Let’s hope she will also be brave enough to point out radical Christians like Ted Cruz’s “Kill the 1024x1024Gays” pastor or the horrid group at Westborough Baptist Church.   She used the term on several morning news shows today.

Hillary Clinton on Monday broke from President Barack Obama in referring to the terrorist attack as “radical Islamism,” countering Donald Trump’s accusations that both she and Obama are weak on tackling terrorist threats.

In an interview with NBC’s “Today” on Monday morning, Clinton said words matter less than actions, but that she didn’t have a problem using the term.

“And from my perspective, it matters what we do, not what we say. It matters that we got Bin Laden, not what name we called him,” Clinton said. “But if he is somehow suggesting I don’t call this for what it is, he hasn’t been listening. I have clearly said we face terrorist enemies who use Islam to justify slaughtering people. We have to stop them and we will. We have to defeat radical jihadist terrorism, and we will.”

Both terms “mean the same thing,” Clinton continued, adding, “And to me, radical jihadism, radical Islamism, I think they mean the same thing. I’m happy to say either, but that’s not the point.”

“I have clearly said many, many times we face terrorist enemies who use Islam to justify slaughtering innocent people. We have to stop them and we will. We have to defeat radical jihadist terrorism or radical Islamism, whatever you call it,” Clinton said later on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” reiterating, “it’s the same.”

The U.S. cannot, on the other hand, she added, “demonize, demagogue and declare war on an entire religion.” Clinton also said she could assure Americans that she is equally committed to fighting Islamic extremism as well as protecting law-abiding Muslims.

The President spoke on the radicalization of Mateen several hours ago.

President Obama said Monday that the Orlando mass murder was “inspired” by violent extremist propaganda on the internet and there’s no evidence the killing spree was ordered by ISIS.

“We see no clear evidence that he was directed externally,” Obama said from the Oval Office, using another name from the Islamic State terror group. “It does appear that at the last minute he announced allegiance to ISIL.”

Obama said investigators are tracing Omar Mateen’s “pathway” to murder by reviewing his internet searches and other materials.

“It appears that the shooter was inspired by various extremist information that was disseminated over the internet,” Obama said.

“All those materials are currently being searched … so we will have a better sense of pathway that the killer took in the making a decision to launch this attack.”

Obama made the brief remarks after meeting with FBI Director James Comey, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and other security officials.

131204143041-dc-gun-control-rally-file-gi-story-top

The Orlando shooting and the shooting that might have been in California both are rooted in hate and easy access to guns. Both shooter and potential shooter had histories of mental illness. The Orlando shooter had a history of Domestic violence which in many states would stop him from getting access to any gun. Clearly, we have a problem in this country with hate and guns turned on the hapless population. One of our political parties has weaponized hatred and bigotry then enabled shooters by catering to all the whims of the most radical elements of the NRA gun lobby.

Clinton is right. This has to end on all accounts.

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.