Middling Monday Reads: Adulting in what passes for the USA these days

Good Day Sky Dancers!

There are several story lines cooking their way to the news day.  None of them are particularly uplifting which just about matches stuff I’ve been going through lately too. I wish I could give up adulting but Spring Break and Carnival  have ended not that I could truly enjoy either with this ever lingering flu.  I’m going to fill the pages today with imaginary creatures since I’ve pretty much had it with the real ones.  They are from Danish Illustrator/Artist Kay Nielsen whose primary works are illustrations for Fairy Tales and are stylistically Art Deco but many have Asian influences.  He is best known for doing the Bald Mountain Scene in Disney’s Fantasia.

Super Tuesday is tomorrow and we’re down two candidates today as Pete Buttigieg just bumped Tom Steyer out of the last man out of the race place. His race was historic no matter what you thought of his chances or his positions.  From the AP:

He opened February by sharing victory with one of the Democratic Party’s best-known figures and ended it with a humbling defeat at the hands of another. Yet Pete Buttigieg’s unlikely path over the last 30 days exceeded virtually everyone’s expectations of his presidential ambitions, except perhaps his own.

The former mayor of Indiana’s fourth largest city, an openly gay 38-year-old whose name most voters still can’t pronounce, formally suspended his White House bid Sunday night. He did so acknowledging that he no longer had a viable path to the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, even after finishing in the top four in each of the first four contests of the 2020 primary season.

“By every historical measure, we were never supposed to get anywhere at all,” Buttigieg reminded his hometown crowd, which was disappointed and hopeful at the same time. The crowd interrupted his speech with chants of “2024.”

Buttigieg began the month effectively in a first-place tie with progressive powerhouse Bernie Sanders in Iowa’s presidential caucuses. The mayor made history as the first openly gay candidate to earn a presidential delegate, never mind becoming the first to finish on top in any presidential primary contest.

And now we hear Amy’s out and gone over to the Biden side via NYT.

Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who entered the Democratic presidential race with an appeal to moderate voters and offered herself as a candidate who could win in Midwestern swing states, has decided to quit the race and endorse a rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., according to a person close to Ms. Klobuchar.

Ms. Klobuchar will appear with Mr. Biden at his rally in Dallas Monday night. The decision comes one day after former Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., departed the race, and after weeks of Democratic Party hand-wringing about a crowded field of moderate candidates splitting a finite field of centrist votes, allowing Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont to march forward unopposed among progressives and amass delegates.

 

 

No photo description available.

From the fairy tale ‘Mother Among Thorns’ Kay Nielsen Danish illustrator 1886-1957

What would year would it be without the Republicans trying to get rid of the old Republican cum American Enterprise Institute cum ChaffeyCare cum Dole cum Care/Romney care relabeled and passed as ObamaCare?  The odd thing thing about this is that it will likely kill off their most ardent Trumperz which is why they’ve got it to the Supreme Court but the Court won’t actually here it until after the Election because, well, you know that’s what the Trumpist regime requested.  I’m headed for Medicare about that time so my ObamaCare is safely in place until then but all I can say is that those of us with pre-existing conditions are evidently just supposed to die so they can get on with it.  This is the headline from WAPO: “Supreme Court will once again consider fate of Affordable Care Act”. written by Robert Barnes.  It will also be a test of Republican Court Stacking efforts since they’ve managed to get another Religious Inquisitor on their Bench.

The Supreme Court will hear a third challenge to the Affordable Care Act, this time at the request of Democratic-controlled states that are fighting a lower court decision that said the entire law must fall.

The court’s review will come in the term that begins in October, which would not leave time for a decision before the November presidential election. The law remains in effect during the legal challenges.

Democrats are eager to keep public attention on the fate of the act, sometimes called Obamacare, which has features voters value, such as required coverage for preexisting conditions. Health care is a leading concern, especially among Democratic voters, and many considered it a persuasive argument when the party won control of the House in 2018.

The House and Democratic-led states asked the court to review a decision last year by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

Hearing a challenge from Texas and other Republican-led states and backed by the Trump administration, the panel struck down the law’s mandate that individuals buy health insurance but sent back to a lower court the question of whether the rest of the statute can stand without it. The lower court had said the entire law must fall.

The House told the Supreme Court that the 5th Circuit decision “poses a severe, immediate, and ongoing threat to the orderly operation of health-care markets throughout the country, casts considerable doubt over whether millions of individuals will continue to be able to afford vitally important care, and leaves a critical sector of the nation’s economy in unacceptable limbo.”

he House and Democratic states also have been eager to get the issue before the Supreme Court because the majority that has upheld the ACA in two previous challenges remains.

Scheherazade offers to marry the Sultan, Kay Nielsen Arabian Nights

Sheherazade offers to marry the Sultan

Texas is leading the efforts in voter suppression yet again. This is from the UK Guardian: “Texas closes hundreds of polling sites, making it harder for minorities to vote.  Guardian analysis finds that places where black and Latino population is growing by the largest numbers experienced the majority of closures and could benefit Republicans” 

Long considered a Republican bastion, changing racial demographics in the state have caused leading Democrats to recast Texas as a potential swing state. Texas Democratic party official Manny Garcia has called it “the biggest battleground state in the country”.

The closures could exacerbate Texas’s already chronically low voter turnout rates, to the advantage of incumbent Republicans. Ongoing research by University of Houston political scientists Jeronimo Cortina and Brandon Rottinghaus indicates that people are less likely to vote if they have to travel farther to do so, and the effect is disproportionately greater for some groups of voters, such as Latinxs.

“The fact of the matter is that Texas is not a red state,” said Antonio Arellano of Jolt, a progressive Latino political organization. “Texas is a nonvoting state.”

On a local level, the changes can be stark. McLennan county, home to Waco, Texas, closed 44% of its polling places from 2012 to 2018, despite the fact that its population grew by more than 15,000 people during the same time period, with more than two-thirds of that growth coming from Black and Latinx residents.

In 2012, there was one polling place for every 4,000 residents. By 2018 that figure had dropped to one polling place per 7,700 residents. A 2019 paper by University of Houston political scientists found that after the county’s transition to vote centers, more voting locations were closed in Latinx neighborhoods than in non-Latinx neighborhoods, and that Latinx people had to travel farther to vote than non-Hispanic whites.

Super Tuesday is the biggest day of the Democratic primary campaign. Fourteen states will hold nominating contests to pick who they think should square off this fall against likely GOP nominee President Trump.

There are 1,357 delegates at stake, about a third of all delegates. So far, fewer than 4% of the delegates have been allocated.

People will head to the polls all across the country, from Virginia to California, Tennessee to Texas. The states and voters are diverse. Almost half have significant black populations, and Latinos figure to be an important factor in the two states with the biggest delegate hauls, California and Texas.

fine art print Kay Nielsen vintage illustration folk tale fairy tale home decor Rosanie or the Inconstant Prince 8.5x11.5 inches

Rosanie or the Inconstant Prince by Kay Nielson

And who’d have thunk it?  The Taliban have already broken their “peace” agreement signed with the Trumpist Regime on Saturday via Agence France-Presse.

A deadly blast shattered a period of relative calm in Afghanistan on Monday and the Taliban ordered fighters to resume operations against Afghan forces just two days after signing a deal to usher in peace.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack at a football ground in Khost in eastern Afghanistan, where three brothers were killed, officials told AFP.

The blast occurred around the same time the Taliban ordered fighters to recommence attacks against Afghan army and police forces, apparently ending an official “reduction in violence” that had seen a dramatic drop in bloodshed and given Afghans a welcome taste of peace.

The partial truce between the US, the insurgents and Afghan forces lasted for the week running up to the signing of the US-Taliban accord in Doha on Saturday, and was extended over the weekend.

and the entire thing under the watchful eye of this guy which doesn’t seem to know about it even though French Journalists obviously do …

Night in a Chinese Garden by Kay Nielsen

And, I want to go back to Fairy Tales again. I’m tired of this adulting stuff.  This article in The Atlantic has just about done me in: “The President Is Winning His War on American Institutions. How Trump is destroying the civil service and bending the government to his will.” by George Packer.

But a simple intuition had propelled Trump throughout his life: Human beings are weak. They have their illusions, appetites, vanities, fears. They can be cowed, corrupted, or crushed. A government is composed of human beings. This was the flaw in the brilliant design of the Framers, and Trump learned how to exploit it. The wreckage began to pile up. He needed only a few years to warp his administration into a tool for his own benefit. If he’s given a few more years, the damage to American democracy will be irreversible

This is the story of how a great republic went soft in the middle, lost the integrity of its guts and fell in on itself—told through government officials whose names under any other president would have remained unknown, who wanted no fame, and who faced existential questions when Trump set out to break them.

Read each of these stories please.  Unfortunately, they are not fairy tales.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Friday Reads: Why would a US President spout Soviet Talking Points?

Good Afternoon Sky Dancers and welcome to the New Year!

It’s been apparent to any one watching that Trump is delusional, lies, and has no grasp on reality, truth, or facts.  One of the most oft repeated personality traits you hear about him is that whoever talks to him last puts the most current words in his mouth. This raises a question for me today.  Why does Trump keep spouting old Soviet talking points and new Russian Federation ones on things like the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan?  BB and I keep wondering if he has Putin on speed dial. Where does he get this and why is he repeating it?

Here’s a bit of the back ground on that Afghanistan invasion thing and the crackpot narrative of the US President.

“The terrifying depths of Donald Trump’s ignorance, in a single quote” written by Terry Glavin for Maclean’s. ” The president’s recent claim that the Soviets were ‘right’ to invade Afghanistan is worse than idiotic—it’s downright frightening”.

It’s been two years since a reality-television mogul, billionaire real estate grifter and sleazy beauty-pageant impresario who somehow ended up on the Republican ticket in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, failed to win the popular vote but fluked his way into the White House anyhow by means of an antique back-door anomaly peculiar to the American political system known as the Electoral College.

We’re now at the half-way mark of Donald Trump’s term in the White House, and the relentless hum of his casual imbecilities, obscenities, banalities and outright fabrications has become so routine to the world’s daily dread that it is now just background noise in the ever-louder bedlam of America’s dystopian, freak-show political culture.

And yet, now and again, just when you think the president has scraped his fingers raw in the muck at the bottom of stupidity’s deep barrel, the man somehow manages to out-beclown himself. Such was the case this week, in a ramble of fatuous illiteracy that should drive home the point, to all of us, that the Office of the President of the United States of America is currently occupied by a genuinely dangerous maniac.

At a press briefing at the end of a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Trump sat at a long table with a huge faux Game of Thrones television-series poster, featuring an image of himself taking up the whole thing, splayed out on the table in front of him.

In the course of contradicting himself—or maybe not, it’s hard to say—on the matter of if and when he intends to withdraw U.S. troops from the 79-member anti-ISIS coalition (“Syria was lost long ago … we’re talking about sand and death”), Trump muttered something about Iranian forces in Syria being at liberty to do as they please. “They can do what they want there, frankly,” he said. Unsurprisingly, upon hearing the news of what certainly sounded like an abrupt and dramatic shift in U.S. policy, Israeli officials were reported to be in shock.

But then the subject turned to Afghanistan, and Trump’s fervent wish to withdraw American troops from the 39-nation military coalition there—down from 59 nations, at its height—which is currently battling a resurgent Taliban that has been emboldened by American dithering generally, and specifically by Trump’s oft-repeated intent to get shut of Afghanistan and walk away from the place altogether.

Trump mocked India—a highly-valued friend of Afghanistan and contributor of $3 billion in infrastructure and community-development funding—with a weird reference to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi “constantly telling me he built a library in Afghanistan.” Officials in Modi’s office say nobody knows what the hell Trump was talking about. Then Trump complained that Pakistan—a duplicitous enemy of Afghan sovereignty and a notoriously persistent haven-provider and incubator of Taliban terrorism—isn’t making a sufficient military commitment to Afghanistan. Which made absolutely no sense.

But then Trump went right off the deep end with a disquisition on the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and his remarks betrayed a perilous, gawping ignorance of the very reason why Afghanistan became such a lawless hellhole in the first place—which is how it came to pass that al-Qaeda found sanctuary there with the deranged Pakistani subsidiary that came to be called the Taliban, which is how al-Qaeda managed to plan and organize the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001—which is the very reason the American troops that Trump keeps saying he wants to bring home are still there at all.

Now, it’s safe to say that Trump never read anything in the news or books about the invasion but there were several movies out there that gave us all a good idea of what was going on and some of them were fairly recent.  Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts starred in “Charlie Wilson’s War” in 2007 for example. This basically outlines the Congressman’s role in funding what became the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.

Then, there was this marvelous film from 1988 titled “The Beast” about a Soviet Tank Crew that gets lost in Afghanistan.

In 1981 Afghanistan, a Soviet tank unit viciously attacks a Pashtun village harboring a group of mujahideenfighters. Following the assault, one of the tanks, commanded by the ruthless Commander Daskal (George Dzundza), gets separated from the unit and enters a blind valley. Taj (Steven Bauer) returns to discover the village destroyed, his father killed and his brother martyred by being crushed under the tank, to serve as execution for disabling and killing a Russian tank crew. As the new khan, following his brother’s death, Taj is spurred to seek revenge by his cousin, the opportunistic scavenger Mustafa – and together they lead a band of mujahideen fighters into the valley to pursue the separated tank, counting on their captured RPG-7 anti-tank weapon to destroy it.

The tank’s crew is made up of four Soviets and an Afghan communist soldier. As night falls and the crew sets up camp, the Afghan tank crewman Samad (Erick Avari) educates the tank driver, Konstantin Koverchenko (Jason Patric), about the fundamental principles of Pashtunwali, the Pashtun people‘s code of honour: milmastia(hospitality), badal (revenge), and nanawatai, which requires even an enemy to be given sanctuary if he asks. As the plot progresses, Commander Daskal (called “Tank Boy” during World War II for destroying a number of German tanks when he was a child soldier during the Battle of Stalingrad) demonstrates his ruthlessness not only to the enemy, but also to his own men. He despises Samad for his ethnic association to the enemy and, after a couple of attempts to kill him, finally gets his wish on the pretext of suspecting Samad of collaborating with the mujahadeen. After Koverchenko threatens to report Daskal for the killing, Daskal entraps him and orders Kaminski (Don Harvey) and Golikov (Stephen Baldwin) to tie him to a rock, with a grenade behind his head to serve as a booby-trap for the mujahideen. Some wild dogs come upon him and as Koverchenko tries to kick at them, the grenade rolls down the rock and explodes, killing several dogs but leaving Konstantin unhurt. A group of women from the village, who had been trailing the mujahideen to offer their support, come across Koverchenko and begin to stone him, calling for his blood as revenge (badal). As the mujahideen approach, Koverchenko recalls the term nanawatai (sanctuary) and repeats it until Taj cuts him free, and allows him to follow their procession. That night, hidden in a cave, the fighters eat and Taj asks Koverchenko in broken language if he will fix their non-functioning RPG-7, and help them destroy the tank.

As the remaining three members of the tank crew begin to realize they are trapped in the valley, a Soviet helicopter appears and offers to rescue them. Daskal, caring more for his tank than his men, refuses the offer and simply refills the vehicle’s oil and gasoline. They get their bearings from the helicopter pilot and head back into the narrow mountain pass from which they came, looking for the way out of the valley.

It’s not your typical war movie and basically has more of a cult status than anything. But, please do notice that the reason Reagan and Charlie and every one was all excited about this invasion was that the Soviets got there to prop up what was basically a Communist-style puppet regime in Afghanistan.  It was well known at the time for any one who didn’t even rely on movies for their dose of history.  Well, every one who lived through the period and was some what aware of the goings on knew the deal. But–and I refer back to the Gladin piece–Trump was either not paying attention or forget a long time ago.  Here was his bizarre comment.

“Russia used to be the Soviet Union. Afghanistan made it Russia, because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan,” Trump began. “The reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there. The problem is, it was a tough fight. And literally they went bankrupt; they went into being called Russia again, as opposed to the Soviet Union. You know, a lot of these places you’re reading about now are no longer part of Russia, because of Afghanistan.”

They were right to be there.

You’ll want to let that sink in for a moment: on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, Donald Trump endorsed a revisionist lunacy that is currently being championed by a bunch of cranks at the outermost neo-Stalinist fringe of Vladimir Putin’s ruling circle of oligarchs. They’ve already managed to cobble together a resolution in Russia’s Potemkin parliament that is to be voted on next month. It’s jointly sponsored by lawmakers from Putin’s United Russia and the still-existing Communist Party.

There are so many things wrong with those statements you really have to wonder where it came from until you actually read Russian propaganda about it.  Then, you know.  The WSJ opinion page–not exactly the bastion of liberal enlightenment–even called it “cracked”.

This mockery is a slander against every ally that has supported the U.S. effort in Afghanistan with troops who fought and often died. The United Kingdom has had more than 450 killed fighting in Afghanistan.

As reprehensible was Mr. Trump’s utterly false narrative of the Soviet Union’s involvement there in the 1980s. He said: “The reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there.”

Right to be there? We cannot recall a more absurd misstatement of history by an American President. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan with three divisions in December 1979 to prop up a fellow communist government.

The invasion was condemned throughout the non-communist world. The Soviets justified the invasion as an extension of the Brezhnev Doctrine, asserting their right to prevent countries from leaving the communist sphere. They stayed until 1989.

The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was a defining event in the Cold War, making clear to all serious people the reality of the communist Kremlin’s threat. Mr. Trump’s cracked history can’t alter that reality.

I’m old enough to remember when we all were supposed to hate Russia and Communism. WTF did Trump drink on New Year’s Eve?  Russian Koolaide?  Let’s talk again about the No Puppet! No Puppet!” thing by reading Melissa at Shakesville about Trump’s proclivities to spout Russian Propaganda at piece called: “Trump’s Strange Familiarity with Kremlin Talking Points“.

In comments, Shaker Aphra_Behn pointed to this piece at Maclean’s by Terry Glavin, in which Glavin notes [Content Note: Disablist language] that Trump’s “disquisition on the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan” is not only deeply problematic but alarmingly timed:

“Russia used to be the Soviet Union. Afghanistan made it Russia, because they went bankrupt fighting in Afghanistan,” Trump began. “The reason Russia was in Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there. The problem is, it was a tough fight. And literally they went bankrupt; they went into being called Russia again, as opposed to the Soviet Union. You know, a lot of these places you’re reading about now are no longer part of Russia, because of Afghanistan.”

They were right to be there. 

You’ll want to let that sink in for a moment: On Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019, Donald Trump endorsed a revisionist lunacy that is currently being championed by a bunch of cranks at the outermost neo-Stalinist fringe of Vladimir Putin’s ruling circle of oligarchs. They’ve already managed to cobble together a resolution in Russia’s Potemkin parliament that is to be voted on next month. It’s jointly sponsored by lawmakers from Putin’s United Russia and the still-existing Communist Party.As Aphra said: “The timing is interesting, to say the least. We all know that Trump spouts off shit that somebody has been telling him. Who’s been giving him the pro-Stalinist version of the Afghanistan invasion just as the Russian parliament is set to debate it?”

She’s not the only person wondering. On Twitter, Jamie O’Grady asked: “Where/when/how does Trump access and memorize these random Russian talking points?” He further noted that Rachel Maddow used her show last night to lay out “multiple instances — Poland supposedly invading Belarus, Montenegro a risk to start WW3, justification of Russia’s Afghanistan adventure — where Trump has parroted Putin propaganda that doesn’t (shouldn’t) exist anywhere in Trump’s normal info sources.”

Okay if they’re not in “normal info sources” where the freak did they come from and how did we get to hear them on national TV?  And better yet, WHY?  There’s a lot of strangeness to unpack here. From NPR: “NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly speaks with Seth Jones about President Trump’s claim that the Soviet Union collapsed due to its military operations in Afghanistan.”

SETH JONES: Thank you for having me on.

KELLY: So a lot to unpack there, but start with the why – why Russia invaded Afghanistan in 1979. The president, as we just heard, says it was to stop terrorists who were attacking Russia. Was that the reason?

JONES: Well, we actually have now declassified Soviet documents, so we can fact check this ourselves. And what Soviet leaders say at the time is that their primary reason for going into Afghanistan was because of concerns that the U.S. government, including the CIA, were having significant influence among Afghan leaders. We know from these documents that the Soviets were increasingly concerned, much like the Soviets had been meddling in the soft underbelly of the United States in Cuba, that the U.S. was now doing the same just south of the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.

KELLY: And again, just to be completely clear, were terrorists from Afghanistan crossing the border into Russia?

JONES: No, I mean, there were certainly mujahideen operating in Afghanistan at that point. But no, there were no major terrorist attacks. And the Soviet archives are pretty clear about this. The reason was not about terrorism. The reason was entirely about balance of power politics.

KELLY: What about another assertion to fact check here that war in Afghanistan bankrupted Moscow and caused the collapse of the Soviet Union? Do the facts support that, that it was the war in Afghanistan that broke up the USSR?

JONES: No, the facts don’t support that the war in Afghanistan broke up the USSR. The USSR had tons of problems. It had overreach globally. Its military industrial complex was way too large. Its economy was in shambles because of a state-run system, and it had numerous ethnic problems both in Central Asia and in its Eastern European flank. So the Soviet Union collapsed for a range of very complex reasons. Virtually none of them had to do with its operations in Afghanistan.

KELLY: One more piece of the president’s comments to ask you about – he asserted that the Soviet Union was right to be in Afghanistan, which is an opinion, not a fact to check per se, but – safe to say this is not a view that has ever been staked out by a U.S. president before.

JONES: Well, I think the irony of the comment is that this was entirely about great power competition with the United States. So by saying they were right to be there, either it’s a misunderstanding of why the Soviets were actually there, or you’re giving them credence to be competing with the United States at that very point and to be worried about the U.S. influence. So it’s sort of a strange interpretation.

KELLY: Do we know where the president is getting his information about history in Afghanistan and the Soviet Union?

JONES: I could not tell you on this one (laughter).

Even Afghan leaders have stepped up to this revisionists history. This is via the NYT.

The Soviet Union, Mr. Trump said, invaded Afghanistan in 1979 “because terrorists were going to Russia.”

“They were right to be there,” he added. “The problem is it was a tough fight.”

On Thursday, Afghan officials contested Mr. Trump’s account — which was also at odds with the State Department’s Office of the Historian and historians, generally.

The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979, after it fell into civil war, and occupied it until 1989, propping up “a friendly and socialist government on its border,” according to the Office of the Historian. The United States and its allies condemned the brutal, long-running war, and Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan supplied aid to Afghan insurgents fighting the Soviet Army.

In a statement on Thursday, the office of President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan recalled this era, saying, “After the invasion by the Soviet Union, all presidents of America not only denounced this invasion but remained supporters of this holy jihad of the Afghans.”

During this war, the statement said, Afghans did not threaten other countries, but rather “started a national uprising to earn liberation of their holy soil.”

Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani made similar remarks, writing on Twitter that the “Soviet occupation was a grave violation of Afghanistan’s territorial integrity” and national sovereignty. Any other depictions defy historical fact, he said.

I find these kinds of things very disturbing because it lets us know that he’s making decisions based on caca he’s gotten from who knows where at best and directly from Putin at worst. Then, it really worries me when the next morning’s headlines read:US halts cooperation with UN on potential human rights violations.”  In an Exclusive from the UK Guardian we learn that the US “State department has ceased to respond to complaints from special rapporteurs in move that sends ‘dangerous message’ to other countries” It seriously appears that tearing down the UN, NATO, and the US is high on Trump’s to do list.

The Trump administration has stopped cooperating with UN investigators over potential human rights violations occurring inside America, in a move that delivers a major blow to vulnerable US communities and sends a dangerous signal to authoritarian regimes around the world.


Winter Solstice Reads: The Cold Moon and the New Light

Yule and Solstice Greetings Sky Dancers!

Today we have the longest night, the Ursid Meteor Showers. and a Full Moon for Saturday.  Yes, Saturday is the full moon. It wasn’t yesterday but don’t tell that to the lunatic in the Oval Office.  Tomorrow is the new light. I think that’s an important symbol for those of us that are overwhelmed with the Chaos Demon dwelling in the White House.

So what’s going on with this full moon?

Our last full moon of the year will come less than a day after the solstice. Again, for those of you who love precision, it will occur on Saturday, December 22, at 17:49 Universal Time (that’s 12:49 p.m. ET), EarthSky says.

However, when you’re looking out into a clear sky on Friday night, the moon will appear full to you — and could be so bright that people with pretty good eyesight could read by it.

Over many centuries, this moon has been called several names: Cold Moon, Cold Full Moon, Long Night Moon (by some Native American tribes) or the Moon Before Yule (from the Anglo-Saxon lunar calendar).

If you’re wondering how special this Cold Moon is so close to the solstice, it will be 2029 before it happens again. So it’s not a once-in-a-lifetime event, but still, you don’t see this too often.

Now what about that meteor shower?

The annual Ursids meteor shower is expected to peak a day or two after the solstice. You might be able to see up to 10 “shooting stars” per hour depending on your location.

The website In the Sky has a great feature that helps you figure out where to watch and how many meteors you might see. For instance, people in South Florida might expect just three per hour while people in Juneau, Alaska, might expect seven per hour.

One caveat: That Cold Moon will be so bright that it could outshine some of the meteors as they streak in, making them harder to spot.

And then there’s the lunatic in the Oval Office who is ensuring the end of the year is utter chaos. From Sarah Grillo at Axios: “Pre-Christmas Trump: Rebuked, rampaging”.

The last member of an informal alliance of top Trump officials with enough swat or stature to stand up to President Trump — the Committee to Save America, as we called these officials 16 months ago — resigned in epic fashion.

The bottom line: Unlike most others, who pretended to leave on fine terms, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis bailed with a sharp, specific, stinging rebuke of Trump and his America-first worldview.

  • Mattis wrote: “My views on treating allies with respect and also being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors are strongly held.”
  • And the general drops the mic: “Because you have the right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my positions.”
  • Back when Trump first took office, he had bragged: “[M]y generals … are going to keep us so safe … If I’m doing a movie, I pick you, General Mattis.”

It was a historic letter and a historic moment capping a historic day, one you could easily see filling a full chapter of future books on the Trump presidency. The wheels felt like they were coming off the White House before Mattis quit.

  • The spiral began Wednesday when Trump saw conservative media turn on him when he appeared to be caving on funding for the border wall in order to avoid a government shutdown.
  • Trump then announced he was keeping a different campaign promise: withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria. And yesterday, word leaked that he had ordered a drawdown from Afghanistan.
  • “[T]he president was super pissed and [conservatives] have him all whipped up … [H]e is seething at the media reports of him retreating,” a Republican lobbyist emailed.
  • An outside adviser added: “What triggered Trump on Syria was giving up on the wall.”
  • By midday, the wall was back and Trump was telling congressional leaders he was prepared to allow a partial government shutdown.

The backdrop … Spooked by Trump’s actions and statements, Wall Street is on track for its worst year in a decade — since the financial crisis of 2008.

Scoop: As a sign of the mood inside, officials at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue tell us that Trump is complaining about his incoming chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, in conversations inside the West Wing and with Capitol Hill.

  • Trump asked one trusted adviser: “Did you know [Mulvaney] called me ‘a terrible human being’” back during the campaign?
  • We’re told that Trump was furious when the slight surfaced in a two-year-old video right after he promoted Mulvaney. (A spokeswoman says that was before Mulvaney met Trump.)

An outside adviser to Trump told me as the president’s “landmark day of chaos” unspooled: “He is straddling the political precipice.”

  • Why it matters: Mattis was the last to go — after outgoing White House chief of staff John Kelly, former-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and economic adviser Gary Cohn — of the officials sometimes called the “axis of adults.”
  • As captured by cable news … MSNBC: “TRUMP CHAOS” … CNN: “DEFENSE SECRETARY QUITS … AS GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN LOOMS AND FINANCIAL MARKETS TANK” … Fox News: “SHUTDOWN SHOWDOWN.”

Reality check: Trump was never going to adopt the establishment consensus that a strong U.S. military presence would be required for the foreseeable future in Afghanistan and Syria. Trump has never felt that.

It’s really difficult to document all the shit hitting the fan today.  The withdrawals from both Syria and Afghanistan are getting press play.  The equity markets are nosediving again. Then, there’s the entire debacle about keeping the government open and paying people that do things like stand watch on battle fields, process social security checks, and take eager tourists through national parks and historic sites.

Aren’t we all getting tired of budget brinkmanship?  Last night, the House sent forward the budget with KKKremlin Caligula’s $5 million wall craziness.  Many voted for it just to spite Pelosi.  Paul Ryan cannot get out of town quick enough for me.  He’s a blob with no spine, no guts, and no brains.  The Senate has the blob ball today.

GOP Hardliners are okay with a shut down.  What about the rest of the country?

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows picked up the phone early Thursday morning and dialed up a frustrated Donald Trump for yet another pep talk.

The president was agitated over suggestions in the conservative media that he was caving on his border wall campaign promise. He had just taken to Twitter to downplay the importance of securing new wall funding before Christmas and suggested he’d fight for the wall next Congress — GOP leadership’s preferred strategy to avoid a shutdown.

But Meadows, who is close with the president and was recently in the running to be his next chief of staff, urged Trump to make a stand now before Democrats took the House in January — just as he had the night before and multiple times earlier in the week. Stick to your guns, the North Carolina Republican told the president, according to a source familiar with the conversation. We conservatives will have your back. And now is the last best chance to fight.

Never mind that half the Senate had left town for the holidays having voice-voted passage of a temporary funding bill without wall money, all while Democrats sang Christmas carols on the floor. And never mind that House GOP leaders were already twisting arms in their caucus to support a proposal they thought the White House wanted.

Not four hours later, the president hauled Speaker Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other GOP leaders to the West Wing and instructed them to change course. And they did.

“I’m OK with a shutdown,” Trump told the group, according to two sources in the room.

The hard-liners had defeated leadership once again, and Washington was barreling into another crisis of its own making with no endgame in sight.

All of this has the markets dropping like it’s 1929 and the US government is disrupted. This is likely Bannon’s wetdream come true.  From the big guns and WAPO:

President Trump began Thursday under siege, listening to howls of indignation from conservatives over his border wall and thrusting the government toward a shutdown. He ended it by announcing the exit of the man U.S. allies see as the last guardrail against the president’s erratic behavior: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, whose resignation letter was a scathing rebuke of Trump’s worldview.

At perhaps the most fragile moment of his presidency — and vulnerable to convulsions on the political right — Trump single-handedly propelled the U.S. government into crisis and sent markets tumbling with his gambits this week to salvage signature campaign promises.

The president’s decisions and conduct have led to a fracturing of Trump’s coalition. Hawks condemned his sudden decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. Conservatives called him a “gutless president” and questioned whether he would ever build a wall. Political friends began privately questioning whether Trump needed to be reined in.

fter campaigning on shrinking America’s footprint in overseas wars, Trump abruptly declared Wednesday that he was withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria, a move Mattis and other advisers counseled against. And officials said Thursday that Trump is preparing to send thousands of troops home from Afghanistan, as well.

The president also issued an ultimatum to Congress to fund construction of his promised U.S.-Mexico border wall, a move poised to result in a government shutdown just before Christmas. Trump and his aides had signaled tacit support for a short-term spending compromise that would avert the shutdown, but the president abruptly changed course after absorbing a deluge of criticism from some of his most high-profile loyalists.

Leon Panetta, who served as defense secretary, CIA director and White House chief of staff for Democratic presidents, said, “We’re in a constant state of chaos right now in this country.” He added, “While it may satisfy [Trump’s] need for attention, it’s raising hell with the country.”

Putin must love these Trumpertantrums.  He already got a big gift with the Syria surrender.  All the ” adults in the room” have left the building.  The guardrails are gone.  What’s left?  None of the folks left are likely to do the 25th Amendment. This is getting stomach wrenching and this AP article describes the vestiges of those media memes.

Mattis will be the last to go, and his abrupt resignation Thursday marks the end of the “contain and control” phase of Trump’s administration — one where generals, business leaders and establishment Republicans struggled to guide the president and curb his most disruptive impulses. They were branded in Washington as the “troika of sanity,” the “axis of adults” and the “committee to save America.”

But as Trump careens toward his third year in office, their efforts are in tatters and most are out of a job.

The early consequences of the new era were already apparent at year’s end, with Trump on the verge of a government shutdown over the advice of GOP leaders and ordering the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria over Mattis’ objections. A similar pull-back in Afghanistan appeared to be in the works. The financial markets, spooked by uncertainty from a nearly yearlong trade war, tanked.

“We are headed toward a series of grave policy errors which will endanger our nation, damage our alliances & empower our adversaries,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., tweeted after Mattis’ resignation.

The shrinking circle around Trump is now increasingly dominated by a small cadre of longtime Trump loyalists and family members, ex-Fox News talent and former GOP lawmakers who were backbenchers on Capitol Hill before being elevated by the president. Attracting top flight talent will only get more difficult as more investigations envelop the White House once Democrats take over the House in January.

To some of Trump’s most ardent supporters, the exodus leaves the president with a team that is more in line with his hardline campaign promises. They viewed some of his early advisers as obstacles to enacting the unabashed nationalist agenda they believe Trump had been elected to implement.

These are really trying days but the new light is coming. Maybe that will be in an Omen. I mean this has always been the ancient symbolism of winter.  It’s long, dark, and cold wait but with some good food, friends, and fun then we can wait it out.  That’s always my question these days thought.  How long can we wait this out because things are getting super crazy out there.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?  Have a warm and snug longest night!!!


Independence Day Reads

Middleton_Manigault_-_The_Rocket_(1909)

by Middleton Manigault – The Rocket (1909)

Happy Independence Day Team USA!

Here’s how the Kennedy family is spending their 4th of July! “Kennedy family BASHES Trump over Fourth of July weekend with a pinata of The Donald at their Cape Cod compound.”  That sounds like some nice harmless fun and very politically incorrect.  The Trumpster should approve but I doubt his thick skull or thin skin will be able to take it in that spirit.

The Kennedy clan gathered at their Hyannis Port compound on Cape Cod over the weekend for their annual Fourth of July festivities, and took some time to attack Donald Trump.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s daughter Kathleen, between known as Kick, posted a photos of a pinata of The Donald from a family party over the weekend.

‘It’s yuge party!,’ wrote Kick in the caption of the Instagram post, which also showed some of her family members milling about in the background.

She later deleted the Instagram post just before 11am on Monday.

Yes, some of us are still rocking in the free world while we can!

There’s a lot of sadness today as we stop to think about Baghdad, Istanbul, and Dhaka where ISIS attacks have killed hundreds of innocent people pis4who were simply going about their day. Our hearts go out to the places that have suffered these massive tragedies.  I’m also reminded today of Colin Powell’s Pottery Barn Rule. 

Powell: What I was saying is, if you get yourself involved—if you break a government, if you cause it to come down, by invading or other means, remember that you are now the government. You have a responsibility to take care of the people of that country.

Isaacson: And it got labeled the Pottery Barn rule.

I, for one, care about these attacks.  I’ve not seen the graphics, the heartfelt “I’m with …” sloganeering, and the banal, jingoistic calls exclaiming that “it’s a war on the Western World.” That’s because it isn’t a war on the Western World.  It’s a war on modernity.

This is a fight we brought to the front door step of many countries–including Iraq–that were not to blame for anything when we invaded Iraq.

Since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, and the bungled occupation that followed, Baghdad has been the site of numerous rounds of sectarian bloodletting, al-Qaeda attacks and now the ravages of the Islamic State. Despite suffering significant defeats at the hands of the Iraqi army, including the loss of the city of Fallujah, the militant group has shown its willingness and capacity to brutalize the country’s population.

Public anger in the Iraqi capital, as my colleague Loveday Morris reports, is not being directed at foreign conspirators or even — first and foremost — at the militants, but at a much-maligned government that is failing to keep the country safe.

“The street was full of life last night,” one Karrada resident told The Washington Post, “and now the smell of death is all over the place.”

Vintage-Fireworks-Posters-and-Labels-for-The-Fourth-of-July-1Iraq is being invaded once more and Baghdad is still a shadow of itself in a country with little ability to truly defend its borders and people.

By Monday afternoon the toll in Karrada stood at 151 killed and 200 wounded, according to police and medical sources. Rescuers and families were still looking for 35 missing people.

Islamic State claimed the bombing, its deadliest in Iraq, saying it was a suicide attack. Another explosion struck in the same night, when a roadside bomb blew up in popular market of al-Shaab, a Shi’ite district in north Baghdad, killing two people.

The attacks showed Islamic State can still strike in the heart of the Iraqi capital despite recent military losses, undermining Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s declaration of victory last month when Iraqi forces dislodged the hardline Sunni insurgents from the nearby city of Falluja.

Abadi’s Shi’ite-led government ordered the offensive on Falluja in May after a series of deadly bombings in Shi’ite areas of Baghdad that it said originated from the Sunni Muslim city, about 50 km (30 miles) west of the capital.

Falluja was the first Iraqi city captured by Islamic State in 2014, six months before it declared a caliphate over parts of Iraq and Syria. Since last year the insurgents have been losing ground to U.S.-backed Iraqi government forces and Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias.

“Abadi has to have a meeting with the heads of national security, intelligence, the interior ministry and all sides responsible for security and ask them just one question: How can we infiltrate these groups?” said Abdul Kareem Khalaf, a former police Major General who advises the Netherlands-based European Centre for Counterterrorism and Intelligence Studies think tank.

He said Islamic State, or Daesh, “has supporters or members everywhere – in Baghdad, Basra and Kurdistan. All it takes is for one house to have at least one man and you have a planning base and launch site for attacks of this type.”

In a sign of public outrage at the failure of the security services, Abadi was given an angry reception on Sunday when he toured Karrada, the district where he grew up, with residents throwing stones, empty buckets and even slippers at his convoy in gestures of contempt.

He ordered new measures to protect Baghdad, starting with the withdrawal of fake bomb detectors that police have continued to use despite a scandal that broke out in 2011 about their sale to Iraq under his predecessor, Nuri al-Maliki.

4001-fireworks_in_tondabayashiSo, today our skies will light up with fireworks that we will purposefully set off to celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence and Hitts_promotional_postermoving forward with liberating our nation from British rule. It’s odd to think that the fall out from colonialism is still going on today and that the fireworks that light up many other places do not represent the symbolic act of a war of Independence but one of oppression and terror.

I’m not sure how many of you will stop by on this holiday to say hi so I’m going to just make this a brief greeting with the one bit of news.   However this is, as always, an open thread and there are other things going on including the election of the next President of the US. 

This is another thing that should give us pause as we continue to clean up the mess of the Bush Administration, and actually the mess left behind by others of his predecessors like Ronald Reagan whose adventures in South and Central American made every one in those countries a lot less safe.

If we’re unable to purse our own liberty and happiness then we can change that under our system of government.  But then, think again what it means when our actions prevent that dream for others.  My heart weeps for all of those who live in countries that we helped break.  We own it.  I think Hillary Clinton understands this.  I think Donald Trump would rather we walk away from our mess.  We broke it. We own it.  Let’s just hope the rest of the coalition of the willing hangs in there with us as we try to stop the carnage.

Have a great 4th!!!  May the fireworks near you be only the celebratory type and not the bullets from another crazed shooter or the ignition of a suicide vest!  May all beings be free from harm!!!

4627294295_283b68b83bTake a swing at a Trump pinata for me!!!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sunday Reads : “I’m just the beard…”

Aubrey Vincent Beardsley 1872-1898 Incipit Vita Nova Here begins a new life

Aubrey Vincent Beardsley 1872-1898 Incipit Vita Nova: Here begins a new life

Good Afternoon

It is crazy, when you get an idea and then spend time looking for pictures or creatures or artist to see the thought through.

That said, you will obviously guess the theme of the post as you go along…

The articles for today really do not have anything to do with beards, even tho you do need to learn how to take care of it Manly Matters style.

Anyway, this first image is an illustration from Aubrey Vincent Beardsley. I love the expression on the fetus face.  It looks like it is about to put the smack down on someones ass.

eaf1ad3e6bba2772cbecee909e1a38d1Maybe he has heard of this new app…that allows you to rate people. Wait I am not explaining it properly.

Check this out: The problem with rating people on the new app Peeple

The web is bemused and irate about an app that will let people rate other people as if they were baubles purchased on Amazon.

Its cofounders, Nicole McCullough and Julia Cordray, plan to launch the app in November. They trace its origins to a conversation about McCullough’s frustrations with finding a reliable babysitter. Although inspired by a prosaic concern, their intentions are grander. Their motto is “character is destiny,” and, in interviews, Cordray says that she wants “character to be our new form of currency.”

Aubrey Vincent BeardsleyIf legitimate, it sounds as if their app is to serve as the digital equivalent of the ancient Fates. Whereas the three Fates controlled destinies by way of the threads of life, Peeple aims to shape destinies by way of professional, personal and romantic ratings. Supposedly, employers and romantic interests will be able to search for people of good “character,” and the company plans to charge for searches beyond a single daily freebie.

Much of the response to the app is negative and ill-informed. The negativity arises because this is a platform through which we might be negatively evaluated (at best) or harassed (at worst) without any say other than to buy into their system. The confusion arises because it’s not yet released and their website was inaccessible much of Wednesday – an indication of popularity or the consequence of a denial of service attack.

01c57eda519c5d10f74ff8419c95428f6143f5141aYa know, “negative and ill-informed” I may be…but what the fuck?  Please read about this more at the link, but I wanted to put this little nugget from the creators…

McCullough and Cordray speak of personal ratings as a positive – even virtuous – undertaking. They say Peeple is a “positivity app for positive people.” In “An Ode to Courage,” a defensive note posted on Peeple’s website, the cofounders declared:

We know you are amazing, special, and unique individuals and most likely would never shout that from the rooftops. The people who know you will though…. As innovators we want to make your life better and have the opportunity to prove how great it feels to be loved by so many in a public space. We are a positivity app launching in November 2015. Whether you love us or our concept or not; we still welcome everyone to explore this online village of love and abundance for all.

Dancing Bears William Holbrook Beard

Dancing Bears William Holbrook Beard

I am Sicilian, we are a negative people…we are born that way.  But I don’t see anything positive about this website. Do you?

Okay, now…on with something positive that kicked some real ass, and was something that should be getting more attention.

High School Girls Fight Dress Code With The Scarlet Letter-Inspired Protest | The Mary Sue

girls handy book…students at Charleston County School of the Arts in North Charleston, South Carolina wore red A’s last week to protest the school’s dress code policies (which you can read here). About 100 students took part, and also shared their As with the hashtags #NotADistraction and #NotADistractionSOA.  Reese Fischer, a student at CCSOA and organizer, also started a change.org petition to protest the dress code. She emphasizes that the issue they want to combat is not dress codes themselves, but rather the ways in which they’re enforced. Junior Peyton Corder told Post and Courier that a counselor “told her that heavier girls needed to wear longer skirts.” Fischer also points out that boys wearing muscle shirts, sagging pants, and other violations rarely face consequences.

5294a70cded6d05be85fbfb856e6ec38It must be noted, the school principal seems to support this protest, at least he put out a statement:

Principle Robert Perrineau’s response seems supportive of the initiative. He states:

This is just a reminder of what was is already in place, that we need to be consistent and be equitable and be fair to everyone. We do want to make sure that we’re all giving that reminder and giving attention to any individual student situation in the same way. We want the point to be made, but we want to be respectful.

Read more at the link, including the full statement from Fischer.

Bearded Iris German Supreme Sultan

Bearded Iris German Supreme Sultan

Other social media shit, well… not “shit” but newsy shit: Margaret Cho Destroys Biblical Arguments Against Abortion With One Glorious Tweet 

Comedienne, Margaret Cho, has been very vocal on twitter in her impassioned defense of Planned Parenthood in the wake of the GOP’s relentless assault on women’s rights. Well, she has taken that a step further, and tweeted out the ultimate defense of a woman’s right to choose — with a tweet that uses the one book today’s Republican Religious Right uses to defend every one of their positions, including their rabid opposition to abortion: the Bible.

Cho tweeted out a link to a Bible verse that completely eviscerates the idea of life beginning at conception, and, further, it shows that the Religious Right’s belief that the Bible opposed abortion is beyond false, to put it mildly. Here is the tweet:

enhanced-buzz-16225-1349573027-2I guess there is a shitload of Old Testament quotes that go against the whole idea that life begins at arousal.

That’s right. Not only does the Bible not oppose abortion, it gives a how-to on how to make it happen. Further, the anti-choicers’ favorite book actually says life begins with the first breath, not conception as they would have us believe.

Ugh…

ArmchairJamesBeardThere is another bigot making headlines, this one is in Alabama: Alabama judges stop issuing marriage licenses altogether to avoid gay marriage – CSMonitor.com

As Alabama’s all-white Legislature tried to preserve racial segregation and worried about the possibility of mixed-race marriages in 1961, lawmakers rewrote state law to make it optional for counties to issue marriage licenses.

Now, some judges who oppose same-sex marriage are using the long-forgotten amendment to get out of the marriage business altogether rather than risk issuing even one wedding license to gays or lesbians. In at least nine of Alabama’s 67 counties, judges have quit issuing any marriage licenses since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex unions in June.

WalrusWhile the precise reason that lawmakers gave for making the 1961 change has been lost to time, the 54-year-old provision says probate courts “may” issue rather than “shall” issue wedding licenses.

And fuck it if the excuse is these assholes are falling back on is Religious Freedom.

Nick Williams, a Baptist minister who also serves as probate judge in Washington County, is among those who have left the marriage license business. He says issuing a license for a same-sex union would violate his Christian beliefs.

Like Davis, Williams said he would go to jail before he would approve a marriage license for a gay or lesbian.

Three of the counties near Washington County are also no longer issuing marriage licenses…for the same reason, they also have hateful bigots who won’t do their jobs.

…creating a region in southwestern Alabama where marriage licenses aren’t available for 78,000 people. As a result, Bo Keahey and fiance Hannah Detlefsen will have to spend nearly two hours on the road traveling to and from Monroe County before their November wedding because their native Clarke County has downloadquit issuing licenses.

“I pay taxes here and it’s kind of ridiculous that I can’t get a license here,” said Keahey, an attorney.

Whether it is creating a vacuum of healthcare for women…or a fuck you to anyone wanting to get married, these people really know how to make functioning in this world, actual living in this world…Romare Beardenimpossible.

Now here is the truly bad news, stuff that I have nothing to say about, except silence:

Gallery of Transgender Women Killed in 2015 (PHOTOS) – The Daily Beast

Weather related news:

Death toll rises in Guatemala landslide – Al Jazeera English

Hundreds of people are still missing but chances of survival are low after massive landslide killed at least 86 people.

Romare Bearden

Romare Bearden

French floods: 19 feared dead after storms sweep French Riviera | World news | The Guardian

Hurricane Joaquin soaks eastern US, leaves devastation in Bahamas

Life ring from missing U.S. cargo ship found adrift – NY Daily News

SALESOUT NARCH EUO 3TP

El Faro, a 735-foot cargo ship with 33 crew members aboard, went missing Thursday in the Bermuda Triangle during Hurricane Joaquin.

zz_top2crop1-e1282126491265 frank beard drums

Drummer Frank Beard…has no beard.

In related news, Climate Change:

Climate Change Literally Moves Mountains: Scientists Say Warming Temperatures Shape The Earth : SCIENCE : Tech Times

No, it isn’t love that moves mountains. Climate change does and scientists have evidence that could prove it.

Global warming has caused erratic weathers and is responsible for rising sea levels that threaten coastal communities. Now, a new study has revealed that climate change can also alter the shape of our planet.

Matthew Beard aka Stymie

Matthew Beard aka Stymie

In a five-year study published in the journal Nature on Oct. 1, Michele Koppes, from the University of British Columbia, and colleagues compared the glaciers in Patagonia and in the Antarctic Peninsula.

They found that the glaciers moved faster and caused more erosion in warmer Patagonia compared with those in Antarctica as warmer temperature and the melting of the ice contribute to the lubrication of the glacier bed.

Koppes said that the glaciers in Patagonia erode up to a thousand times faster than in

Three Birds by Jackson Beardy

Three Birds by Jackson Beardy

Antarctica but as Antarctica warms up and moves to temperatures over 0 degrees Celsius, glaciers now all start to move faster.

The researcher said that they have already seen ice sheets that start to move faster and become more erosive, which creates deeper valleys and pour more sediments into the oceans.

Read about how that affects the landscape at the link.

This next story is not good. (And that is putting it mildly.)

Artist: James henry Beard

Artist: James Henry Beard

Afghan hospital attack in Kunduz possibly criminal – UN – BBC News

Air strikes on a hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz that killed 19 people were “tragic, inexcusable and possibly even criminal”, the UN human rights chief says.

At Least 19 Dead After Us Airstrike Hits Hospital | Al Jazeera America

A U.S. airstrike in the Afghan city of Kunduz hit a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Saturday, killing at least 19 people at the medical center, the medical charity said.

In a statement, MSF said the “sustained bombing” took place at 2:10 a.m. local time and continued for 30 minutes after staff raised the alarm to U.S. and Afghan military officials. Three children are believed to be among the dead.

North Carolina Emigrants Poor White Folks By James Henry Beard

North Carolina Emigrants Poor White Folks By James Henry Beard

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said the United States still was trying to determine how the airstrike hit the hospital.  “A full investigation into the tragic incident is under way in coordination with the Afghan government,” Carter said in a statement.

Barack Obama promises full probe into suspected US airstrike on Kunduz hospital | World news | The Guardian

Airstrike Hits Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan, Killing at Least 19 People – Truthdig

Okay, now a few more stories and we are done for the day.

bearded pig

bearded pig

Scientists Identify Genes That Protect African Children From Developing Malaria : LIFE : Tech Times

Micropigs: Scientists In China To Sell Genetically-Altered Hogs For $1,600 : SCIENCE : Tech Times

If micromini-pigs aren’t your thing, maybe a firefly theme park is?

Firefly Park Is Illuminated By 10,000 Lightning Bugs | Mental Floss

The headline to this next article:

Catholic priest ‘happy to be gay’ – BBC News

Made me think of this:

Big Gay Boat Ride – Video Clip | South Park Studios

It’s Okay to Be Gay

We’re all gay, and it’s okay
‘Cause gay means happy and happy means gay.
We’re not sad anymore, cause we’re out the closet door.
It’s okay, hey, to be gay!

01bd8cd205b9c2fc8371299e16659c2350e76a102cOkay, so there is one article about beards:

World Beard and Moustache Championships’ hairy competitors – BBC News

Some weird pictures of beards there.

And now a couple of videos,  yeah they deal with beards…of the metaphorical kind. It goes one of two ways, either you are a wizard and can grow large beards with a wand or you use the top beard oils and products.

If y’all catch my meaning…

-Don’t move or I’ll blow your goddamn brains out!
-Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot! I’m just a beard.
-You’re making a mistake. He’s just a beard!
-Don’t tell me you’re the beard, you goddamn little rat.
-Run, Tina, run! He’s outta bullets!
It’s our chance! Tina! It’s our chance!
-All right, I’m coming!
-You little rat! You’re never gonna get outta here! I’ll find you.

Watch Seinfeld Online – The Beard | Hulu

At Jerry’s apartment.

Jerry: Look at you. Why don’t you use a fork? You’re no good with the sticks.

Bearded Emperor Tamarin

Bearded Emperor Tamarin

Elaine: I know. I need a lesson.

Jerry: You stink. You know you stink. What is this?

Elaine: Oh. My ballet tickets.

Jerry: Oh. Your ballet tickets.

Elaine: Hey, have you ever been to the ballet?

Jerry: No, but I’ve seen people on tiptoes.

Elaine: You know, I’m going as a beard.

Jerry: A beard?

Elaine: Yeah. This friend of a friend knows this banker guy, he’s, I don’t know, 30 years, unbelievably

enhanced-buzz-32689-1389652454-10gorgeous, of course he’s gay.

Jerry: Yes.

Elaine: So anyway his boss has a box at the Met and he invited us to see Swan Lake, which is fine, but he’s

afraid that his boss can’t handle his orientation, so I’m going along as his date.

Jerry: Why are you doing this?

Elaine: Swan Lake, at the Met.

And last video clip:

WATCH: Hillary Clinton plays ‘Val the bartender’ on SNL and nails a hilarious Trump impersonation

SNL castmember Kate McKinnon, Hillary Clinton - (NBC SNL screenshot)

Hillary Clinton made her return to Saturday Night Live and delivered a dead-on impression of GOP rival Donald Trump as she played a bartender commiserating with herself as played by Kate McKinnnon.

01a3f0186bd784d41e60690b6b5fdd7d5c39caa19aThe bit was full of self-deprecating humor, with Clinton poking fun at herself over topics like gay marriage and the Keystone pipeline.

Watch the video at the link.

I think the bit about Hillary being real nice in person was genuine. You will see what I am talking about when that part of the scene comes around in the clip.

Well, that is all folks. Have a wonderful day and please comment below.


Sunday Reads: It’s Nightmare on #DISH Network

enhanced-buzz-4452-1369640571-2Good Morning

It is all I can do to get myself out of bed lately, sleep is the thing that seems to hold me down. This is worse than usual. Yesterday Boston Boomer titled her post Extra Lazy…no way.

But the inability to lift my fat ass from the mattress of late does not owe itself to “laziness” or the fact that I am still recovering from one of the worst bouts of bronchitis…it is due to DISH induced depression.

Yes! That is it! That has to be the only explanation, because I cannot tell you just how upsetting this whole TCM blackout has been for me. This week alone I’ve missed The Innocents, The Woman in White (which is the one that hurts the most) and tonight’s Diabolique .

The thought of this ongoing DISH disaster really does have me screaming in agony and disgust…that is, when I am not in bed sulking.

So, any lawyers out there? Tell me. Can I sue Dish for causing my depression to become overwhelming and my general mental health to deteriorate?  Fuckitall.

Today’s post is the way it is…not because of laziness. Nope.

0a866403f2526e97c6c56ac0242215a4It is the way it is because of lack of giving a shit about anything else, because the Basturds at Dish Network have made it impossible for me to think about anything but Eleanor Parker appearing in the shadows as a ghostly figure dressed in white.

So, the links are out-of-order and all over the place. The images are varied and generally photos from Hollywood Horror flicks…with a few behind the scenes shots.

All that being said, here we go:

Therapists Missed Adam Lanza’s Rage As A Teenager

Really? You think?

The extent of Newtown school shooter Adam Lanza’s growing rage, isolation and delusions when he was a teenager were apparently overlooked by his mother, psychiatrists and counselors, according to a report expected to be issued next month.

eee254ee58f045eff0a1c7daf78e546bThe report found that Lanza, who gunned down 20 children and six educators at the Sandy Hook Elementary School nearly two years ago, did not have to become a violent adult, Scott Jackson, chairman of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, said on Friday.

Say that again…

It says better screening and evaluation might have helped detect earlier the 20-year-old’s potential for violence.

We’ll definitely talk more about that later on next month…

For a quick infographic: The Most Popular Words Used In Classic Books (INFOGRAPHIC)

Personally, I would have edited the thing to get rid of the little words, but I guess that is the whole point.

Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass has a reputation for championing the individual (“I am large, I contain multitudes”), so it’s surprising that the most frequently used word in the poem — “all” — applies to the collective or universal.

A word cloud generated on WordItOut.com shows that “one,” “body,” “old,” “new” and “man” — words more adherent to the 98ab01d38beed8fffe6ca5a946ec01a4contemporary conception of Whitman — are also among his favorites. The unexpected appearance of “all” reveals the less readily clear heart of the poem: that all individuals are connected by their primal, natural desires, and that upholding the importance of the individual simultaneously romanticizes the universal.

In a way, the visualization of Whitman’s language can serve as a map to understanding the underlying emotions his work is meant to evoke. “All” is a nexus around which more specific details (“sea,” “land,” “war,” “words,” “woman”) float.

Hey, look here…there may be a chance: HUFFPOLLSTER: New Polling Gives Michelle Nunn An Edge In Georgia

In other happy news: Government recognizes same sex marriages in six new states | MSNBC

The federal government will now recognize marriages between same-sex couples in six more states, Attorney General Eric Holder announced on Saturday.

Same-sex married couples in Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming will now qualify for Social Security benefits and other types of social insurance typically reserved for married couples.

1c7eef9921a262617c92e6a298826dc8“With each new state where same-sex marriages are legally recognized, our nation moves closer to achieving of full equality for all Americans,” said Holder in a Justice Department statement.

“We are acting as quickly as possible with agencies throughout the government to ensure that same-sex married couples in these states receive the fullest array of benefits allowable under federal law.” he added.

That graphic is interactive so go check it out.

Hillary…in North Carolina: Clinton: ‘Protect women’s rights’ | TheHill

“The fact that women in North Carolina still get paid less than men for the same work costs those women and their families thousands of dollars every year. Imagine what a working mom could do with the money she is owed, the better home she could rent or even buy?” she said. “This is not just a women’s issue, this is a family issue, a fairness issue.”

[..]

“Women’s rights are the canary in the mine. If you don’t protect women’s rights here at home and around the world, everybody’s rights are lost,” she said. “You have to ask yourself, do you want a senator who will always defend a woman’s right to make her own healthcare decisions and won’t ever shame or judge a woman for decisions that are complex and deeply personal, or do you want a senator who will push so-called ‘personhood’ laws that would outlaw common forms of birth control and ban abortions even in cases of rape or incest?”Psycho (1960) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock Shown: Janet Leigh (as Marion Crane)

I took out the usual snarky shitass commentary.

Over in Arizona: Arizona Law Will Allow Employers to Fire Women for Using Birth Control : US News : Latin Post

On Monday, Oct. 20, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-2 to endorse the Arizona House Bill 2625, which would allow Arizona employers to repudiate health insurance coverage for contraceptives based on religious affirmations.

This would give Arizona businesses license to request that female personnel being prescribed birth control pills verify they’re using them for intentions that are non-sexual or non-reproductive, such as acne treatment or hormone control.

91b76f15ca68dbd68da13ce02f09aaae“I believe we live in America. We don’t live in the Soviet Union,” said Majority Whip Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale, who penned the bill. Lesko also stated that said bill corresponds with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which was endorsed March 2010. “So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom and pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs.”

However, many people, like Planned Parenthood Arizona President Bryan Howard, say the Arizona House Bill 2625 would intrude on women’s rights in regards to preserving the confidentiality of their medical records. Howard also noted that zero grievances have been filed by insurance companies since 2002 when Arizona passed the Contraceptive Equity Law, which barred religious establishments from refusing its personnel contraceptives for non-sexual or non-reproductive reasons.

ce7a6bebf978a5b2d1c760e067b7c1f5And in Tennessee: Abortion Capital of Bible Belt? Tennessee Vote Tests That Idea – NYTimes.com

…abortion opponents here who believe that Tennessee has for too long been a Bible Belt outlier due to a State Supreme Court decision in 2000 that ruled that the state’s constitutional guarantee of a right to privacy includes the right to an abortion. Over the years, the ruling has served as a partial bulwark against the wave of abortion restrictions that have swept other conservatives states.

Now, anti-abortion forces are trying to change that at the ballot box by passing Amendment 1, which states that nothing in the Tennessee Constitution “secures or protects” a right to abortion.

Two other states, Colorado and North Dakota, are also trying to restrict abortion this Election Day with so called “personhood” ballot measures, which would extend extra rights and protections to the unborn. Colorado has previously voted twice against versions of the measure.

c15c87f0dc9552fc67cc794dc9a07855Here in Tennessee the ballot fight has taken center stage this political season, and abortion opponents are buoyed by the Democratic Party’s comically poor chances of recapturing the governor’s mansion. The party’s challenger to incumbent Bill Haslam, a Republican, is Charles V. Brown, a retired construction worker and political neophyte best known for his suggestion that Mr. Haslam be strapped to an electric chair.

“When there’s no real candidate to vote for, it’s hard,” said Rebecca Terrell, the executive director of Choices, a clinic in Memphis that offers abortions, in acknowledging that abortion rights forces face a hard time getting out the liberal vote.

That is beyond pathetic.

But you know…Get Real: Planned Parenthood’s sex ed is better than abstinence-only programs at getting kids to abstain.

3c678611f641a840bb2414f71d408ab4Yep: Proof That Comprehensive Sex Ed Classes Actually Help Kids Put Off Having Sex | ThinkProgress

But not that it will make any difference. Right? Supreme Court and circuit court rulings on voter ID and abortion: Poor and powerless don’t count.

The Supreme Court of the John Roberts era gets one thing very right: It’s one of the most free-speech-protective courts in modern history. There is no purveyor of semi-pornographic crush videos, no maker of rape-aspiring violent video games, no homophobic funeral protester, no anti-abortion clinic counselor, and no filthy-rich campaign contribution–seeker whose rights and privileges will not be treated by the court with the utmost reverence and solicitude.

d4347171725e080fda4e85642cc841f8This is important and vital, and one doesn’t want to slag the court for the boundless attention and care it lavishes upon the most obnoxious speakers in America. After all, the First Amendment is kind of the constitutional gateway drug, the portal to the rest of the Bill of Rights. And without securing meaningful protection for the rights to speak, assemble, worship, and publish, so many of our other rights might be illusory. Great. Stipulated.

That makes it extra weird whenever the assorted (lets call them largely “conservative”) justices of the Roberts court, and judges on lower courts across the land, turn their attention to the protection of other rights—equally crucial but perhaps less sexy—like, say, the right to vote or to obtain an abortion. That’s when the nameless, faceless rights seekers all blur into oblivion, a great unwashed mass of undifferentiated shadow people. And that is when some judges find it all too simple to bat these rights away with a stroke of the pen.

In the past few weeks, it’s been astonishing to contrast the regard afforded to individual speech rights with the cavalier dismissal of other, equally precious hallmarks of democracy.

 

5ae7ac721e9607560b0d52adfa59d29fOh yeah, sing it sister. You go and read the rest of Dahlia Lithwick’s article at the link.

One thing is certain…it all stinks like shit…or something else? Scientists say Rosetta’s comet stinks — literally – LA Times

Researchers from the University of Bern in Switzerland say that if you could take a whiff of the cloud of gas surrounding the icy nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko you would smell a pungent mix of hydrogen sulfide (rotten eggs); ammonia (horse stable); and formaldehyde.

There would also be a hint of the smell when a match is struck (sulfur dioxide) and a whiff of alcohol (methanol). Carbon disulfide would add just a touch of sweetness, the scientists say.

Rotten eggs and horse piss.

What does not smell like bullshit is these chicks who are speaking up for women’s right to choose abortion: Meet 5 kick-ass women advocating for abortion rights

edd55713aae96df4fe4c73c492b15e1eThere are a few interesting flicks coming out or already playing that have women behind the camera…or writing the checks.(I told you this post was going to be all over the place.) Weekly Update for October 24: Women Centric, Directed and | Women and Hollywood

And for those with an art history bent: Classical trends in Byzantine and Western Art in the 13th and 14th centuries Medievalist.net

Oh yeah…check this out: Vatican’s manuscripts digital archive now available online

Then again, if you want to look at one book which tracks our human history, look no further than a dictionary: New Statesman | The joy of dictionaries

Y0fa68566d1fa5bec39f7057cb0631801ou could write a history of the world just by looking at the words that got into the dictionary, and disappeared from it. You would of course have your great scientific advances: oxygen, aeroplane, penicillin, and boob job. But politics would play its part, for it was the world of politics that gave us Cold War, glasnost, ayatollah and suicide bomber. New habits make themselves known through phrases like sofa-surfing and texting. And art and music can be seen with the arrival of impressionism, ragtime, heavy metal, hip-hop, and emo. New social types arrive. Before the 1980s there was no such thing as a Sloane Ranger or a yuppie (from “Young Urban Professional”). And the 1990s gave us Britpop and ethnic cleansing.

Sometimes these words merely involve a new label applied to something that already exists. The teenager was never heard of before 1942. This doesn’t mean that the ages thirteen to nineteen didn’t exist before then. It was merely that they weren’t considered that important. You were a child and then you were a young man or woman. You played with toys, then you put those toys away and got yourself a job. The teenage phenomenon could only start when the teenagers were separated out by language. They were given a name and with it they were given an identity and very soon they were able to listen to teenage music, dress in teenage fashions, and do teenage things like dancing and sulking.

More at the link.

Those of you in LA, hopefully you can see this show: Over 800 Living Folk Artists Come Together For Massive Iboamerican Exhibition

I love this: Stephen Hawking’s First-Ever Facebook Post: ‘I Know I Will Forever Be’ | Mediaite

 

Open Thread – Old White People Complaining About Halloween? | Crooks and Liars

republican_halloween

Blue gal makes a point at that link.

 

Another interactive infographic at this link: WHO: global Ebola cases now exceed 10,000 | Ars Technica

Oh, and something more on Ebola: Ebola’s evolutionary roots more ancient than previously thought — ScienceDaily

01a57881b49e0972f77b0099072b3972Sticking with history…and cinema (of sorts.) The tragic genius of Alan Turing and The Imitation Game | Stephen Liddell

If you’re not familiar with the name Alan Turing, the chances are that you soon will be with the release of the new film, The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the starring role.   Alan Turing holds a unique place in history as being someone who not only one of the greatest minds in history who helped save his country and the free world in WW2 but one whose personal life was mired in secrecy which led to a terrible end for him and a shame to his country and a loss to the world.

The tide is turning it seems: The Shifting Politics of Cuba Policy – NYTimes.com

af5decd822bdb0952170db519b53f093There was a time, not too long ago, when any mainstream politician running for statewide or national office in Florida had to rattle off fiery rhetoric against the Cuban government and declare unquestioning faith that the embargo on the island would one day force the Castros from power.

For generations, among Cuban-Americans, once a largely monolithic voting bloc, the embargo was a symbol of defiance in exile — more gospel than policy.

That has changed dramatically in recent years as younger members of the diaspora have staked out views that are increasingly in favor of deepening engagement with the island. Cuba still looms large in Florida politics, and to an extent nationally. But it is far from the clear-cut issue it once was.

Yesterday, I saw this The View From Your Window « The Dish and thought…damn that looks familiar. Turns out it was taken just a spit away from Banjoville:

IMG_7860

Blue Ridge, Georgia, 12.22 pm

Look carefully. You may see some NRA card carrying Republicans stalking a deer in the underbrush.

2dfdbed2c0864b47a6337efc7cf27641This is a terrible story out of Gary, Indiana and it is not about the serial killer:  Indiana man shoots and kills 13-year-old neighbor for laughing at him

A Gary, Indiana man shot and killed a 13-year-old neighbor boy for laughing at him on Friday night.

According to the Gary Post-Tribune, police have not released the shooter’s name, but said that he shot Kobe Jones, 13, nine times. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene at 6:31 p.m. on Friday by the Lake County Coroner’s office.

Gary Police Lt. Thomas Pawlak told the Post-Tribune that the gunman’s home was broken into and robbed some time on Friday afternoon. The man arrived home around 5:00 p.m. and discovered the robbery and flew into a rage.

As he was having a noisy tantrum in his back yard, a crowd of neighborhood residents gathered. Jones made the mistake of laughing at his neighbor’s histrionics, which drove the man to even greater heights of rage.

a021240d11c2215d25f08e0d1730a949He produced a gun and shot Jones nine times, killing him. The shooter and his girlfriend fled the scene in a car, but returned at around 7:00 p.m. and surrendered to police.

They are both currently being held at Gary City Jail. Charges are reportedly pending.

In world news:

Afghan Mullah Who Raped Girl in His Mosque Receives 20-Year Prison Sentence – NYTimes.com

Putin accuses United States of damaging world order | Reuters

Australian Researchers build reversible tractor beam that moves objects 100 times farther than other efforts

In out of this world news:

93db2603eb0d572362eee41e072b9b14Alan Eustace Jumps From Stratosphere, Breaking Felix Baumgartner’s World Record – NYTimes.com

Y’all see the shit going on in Reality TV land?

More ‘Sons of Guns’ stars arrested: Pro-gun reality TV family charged with child abuse

This comes after: ‘Sons of Guns’ reality show star Will Hayden arrested for rape of 11-year-old child and his own daughter when she was 12 years old.

But the big story this weekend is: Mama June — Dating Man Who Molested Her Relative | TMZ.com

53-year-old Mark McDaniel. He was convicted in 2004 for aggravated child molestation. Prosecutors say he molested an 8-year-old child — forcing oral sex. June was dating McDaniel at the same time he molested the child.

[…]

d96497d0dca3851e5c587e733d7592c8McDaniel served 10 years and was released this past March. He is now a registered sex offender in the state of Georgia.

The show has since been cancelled. Turns out the 8-year-old was that shitass Mama June bitch’s little girl…

‘Honey Boo Boo’ shocker: Mama June’s daughter Anna says she was victim of mother’s child-molester boyfriend: report  – NY Daily News

In the wake of the cancellation news, June took to Facebook on Friday to deny the reports that she is romantically involved with the registered sex offender.

“The statement of me dating a sex offender is untrue,” she said to the camera in what she described as a “truth video.”

“I would not ever ever put my kids in danger I love my kids too much,” she continued. That is my past. I have not seen that person in 10 years.”

7ca93c3a52a8e5b302a98f68d85a1d7dDespite her denials, new photos of June and McDaniel continue to emerge. TMZ published pictures of the two house-hunting in Georgia on Saturday, including one photo of the two appearing to hold hands. The site reports that the photos were taken last month.

Now the reason I post all this Boo Boo Reality crap is so that this next link makes sense:

TLC Producer Wants List Of 100 Fucked-Up Families On Desk By End Of Day | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

Saying that he didn’t “give two shits” if they had to knock on the door of every trailer and halfway house in the country, TLC producer and programming director Mark Livingston reportedly told his staffers Friday that he expects to see a list of at least 100 fucked-up families on his desk by the end of the workday. “We’re up shit creek right now, so I need each one of you assholes rooting through every gutter in the goddamn Ozarks to find me a household of inbreds, addicts, or fat-as-fuck morons that we can put in primetime,” a visibly aggravated Livingston said to his staff following the cancellation of the network’s popular Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, stressing that the new families had better be “borderline brain-dead” and “messed up as all fuck.” “If they have 20 dipshit kids, that’s great. If they only have one greasy dimwit kid who can barely string a sentence together, that’ll work too. Hell, you get me some snarl-toothed family of backwoods idiots who all call their dad Papa Pig or some shit like that, and I’ll sign them immediately. Just find me some family of sewer people I can throw in front of the goddamn camera, got it?” At press time, Livingston was angrily telling his staffers that they could all find a new job wiping asses at the Disney Channel if they brought him one more suggestion for a morbidly obese teen mother.bfb36ce4eb1f47fa5cd0a83e333bfec2

Just a few more links.

Did anyone notice:

Frank Mankiewicz, Press Secretary To Sen. Robert F. Kennedy And President Of NPR, Dead At 90

Frank Mankiewicz, the press secretary who went before television cameras to announce the death of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and later served as political director for presidential candidate George McGovern, died Thursday. He was 90.

Mankiewicz died of a heart attack at George Washington University Hospital, said a family friend, journalist Adam Clymer.

Mankiewicz was a longtime Democratic political operative as well as a lawyer, journalist and author. McGovern once recalled his former campaign aide as a perceptive, straightforward political adviser.

b4a7217f5f44e748686cdd99bd79e76d“I never got any bad advice from Frank,” said McGovern, a senator from South Dakota who was the Democratic nominee for president in 1972. “I found him just fascinating to travel with during the campaign. I picked up a lot of perspective, a lot of insights and a lot of humor from Frank.”

The son and nephew of Hollywood filmmakers, Mankiewicz studied journalism and law. He worked for newspapers in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles before assuming the role of President John F. Kennedy’s Peace Corps director in Lima, Peru, in 1962 and later was a regional director in Washington. In 1966, he became press secretary to Sen. Robert Kennedy, D-N.Y., who was assassinated two years later while campaigning for the party’s presidential nomination.

97c1959d5d783f26177a7085923cba96In June 1968, Kennedy had just won the California primary and finished his victory speech at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Mankiewicz left the entourage for a moment to help the candidate’s wife, Ethel, step off a platform.

“She was at the time three months pregnant, although I don’t think anybody knew it, except the inside group,” Mankiewicz recalled on the 30th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination. “We helped her down. And then she said, ‘Go on,’ and we started to move off quickly to catch up. And that’s when we heard the shots.”

Frank Mankiewicz, 90, Press Aide to Robert Kennedy and NPR Chief, Dies – NYTimes.com

A scion of Hollywood, the son of Herman J. Mankiewicz, who wrote “Citizen Kane,” and the nephew of Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who directed “All About Eve,” Mr. Mankiewicz grew up with an Algonquin West round table in his Beverly Hills home, regaled by movie stars and famous writers.

He05fcaa7e290583164010c03f0acf5454 became a journalist and lawyer and, inspired by the Kennedys, went to Washington at the dawn of the New Frontier and took an executive position at the Peace Corps, full of idealistic hopes. What he encountered were assassinations, the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandals.

[…]

Frank Fabian Mankiewicz was born in Manhattan on May 16, 1924, one of three children of Herman and Sara Aaronson Mankiewicz. His father, early on a drama critic for The New York Times and The New Yorker, began his celebrated Hollywood career in 1926. The household was awhirl with the famous: Regulars included F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, the Marx Brothers, Greta Garbo, James Thurber, Margaret Sullavan, Joseph Cotten and Orson Welles.

e7de491b4586bebedad6f28a340e743d“They got serious about things that didn’t matter to me, such as clothes and how much money you made,” Mr. Mankiewicz said of his parents in a People magazine interview in 1982. “That kept me out of the movie business.”

He attended Haverford College in Pennsylvania for a year, then joined the Army infantry in World War II and saw combat at the Battle of the Bulge. After the war he resumed his studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, graduating in 1947, then earned a master’s degree in journalism the next year from Columbia University and found newspaper work in the Los Angeles area.

Mr. Mankiewicz married Holly Jolley in 1952 and had two sons with her. The marriage ended in divorce. In 1988, he married the novelist Patricia O’Brien.

Ms. O’Brien survives him, as do his sons, Joshua, a correspondent for NBC News, and Benjamin, a host of Turner Classic Movies; an older brother, Donald Mankiewicz, a novelist and screenwriter; four stepdaughters, Marianna, Margaret and Maureen Koval and Monica Krider; a 1-year-old granddaughter; and eight stepgrandchildren.

07d9c1a22cb3017ed1328dc807834833Round this post off with a grouping of movie links:

HullabalooSaturday Night at the Movies Fright night at the art house: A top 10 list By Dennis Hartley

moviemorlocks.com – Halloween Won’t Hurt You: Or, How My Daughter Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blob

40 Awesome Behind The Scenes Photos From Horror Movies

29 Awesome Behind-The-Scenes Photos From The Sets Of Classic Movies

Have a great day…while I go back to bed and mope about missing out on TCM…enjoy the videos below by the way!

Photos found on Pinterest.

 

 


Sunday Reads: Dairy Queen Time

D H0660Good Morning

Summer is definitely here.  Hot and lazy, with just a hint of a Dairy Queen old fashioned soft vanilla ice cream chocolate dipped cone. Do they even still make those?

Whatever, things are spinning out of control. Everywhere.

And that means that today’s links are just going to be quick flashed below…like an exhibitionist giving you a thrill for only a second. (And like that flash of skin, you are appalled, but at the same time intrigued. It’s an awful sight, but still you are curious for more.)

Isn’t that what the news is like really? They don’t call those bloody things “teasers” for nothing.

1ddae2a91048ebe2e5788fcd512ee843And Fox News is really good at it:

Qatar may prove comfortable quarters for released Guantanamo detainees | Fox News

There has been an outcry from critics of the prisoner swap, who worry that these men with blood on their hands are getting off far too easily. Qatar’s citizens are the richest in the world, per capita, but only a minority of residents here are actually citizens and the Taliban five are not among them.

We do know their families are coming here to live with the former prisoners in some sort of residential compound.

Sources here say they are likely to live in “5 star villas” along with more than a few of their compatriots who are already living in the Qatari capital at the expense of this gas-rich Emirate.

26504a3ae2bded25c5f967253cd47cc9Fox also has been quick with the wordfest on the air, look at this teaser via Mediaite: Fox’s Guilfoyle: Bergdahl ‘Lucky’ U.S. Forces Didn’t Bring Him Home in a Body Bag

Things got heated between Geraldo Rivera and Kimberly Guilfoyle Friday afternoon on Fox News’ Outnumbered as the debate over U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s release by the Taliban raged on. While Rivera maintained that as a U.S. solider, Bergdahl deserved to be brought home alive by any means necessary, Guilfoyle said he was “lucky” that U.S. forces didn’t kill him and bring him home in a body bag.

Speaking about soldiers in the field, Rivera said that “one of the things they take great security in is a absolute maxim that if anything happens to them, they’re going to be brought home, that we will not leave them behind.” He added, “I don’t care who Bergdahl is, we don’t leave him behind.” If the Army starts trying to decide which soldiers are worth saving, then he said “our armed forces will be stripped of what is absolutely the thing that makes them most secure.”

“It seems to me he’s pretty lucky that he was brought home the way he was,” Guilfoyle said, disagreeing with Rivera. “Because if those special forces had found him and encountered him — and they were looking for him — he would have come home either in a body bag or come home and gone straight to jail.” But now instead, Bergdahl is being “celebrated as a hero.”

But there was another teaser headline at Mediaite I just had to click because, well you will see:

25da1099acdd19b8fb78bb92883e6543GOP Senator Apologizes for Using the Word ‘Midget’ | Mediaite

Oh no…

GOP Senator Under Fire for Scolding ‘Midgets’ in Congress | Mediaite

Wow.  Little people get very upset. But do they call each other “midget?”

Going back to the Bergdahl shit pile for a minute more. This was an interesting link to read at Little Green Footballs: Former CENTCOM Commander Gen. Mattis: No Evidence of Bergdahl Collusion With Taliban

In an interview with the Tampa Tribune, former head of US Central Command Marine Gen. James Mattis says he has “never seen one bit of verified or confirmed evidence” that Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl collaborated with the Taliban — but he did see information that “specifically discounted” this allegation.

“I have never seen one bit of verified or confirmed evidence of that,” Mattis said in a phone interview with The Tampa Tribune. “Not one bit. You hear things and it was second- and third-hand.”

aa6247a9805dfeea9e4cbe808c036bafOther information “specifically discounted” reports that Bergdahl, captured by the Taliban in June 2009 after leaving his outpost in Afghanistan, was working with his captors, he said. Mattis declined to comment on what that information was because it remains classified.

Another interesting bit of data from this story: the shady right wing group that supplied Fox News with this BREAKING BOMBSHELL SCOOP did not even verify that their source was trustworthy.

Go and read more about the untrustworthy source.

Still no update on the condition of Tracy Morgan, however there have been charges filed.   Man charged in traffic accident that leaves comedian Tracy Morgan in critical condition

Kevin Roper, a 35-year-old Georgia resident who was driving the Wal-Mart truck that struck comedian Tracy Morgan’s limousine early Saturday morning, was charged Saturday with death by auto and assault by auto in connection with the crash, acting Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew Carey said in a statement.

8c072f74b69770567dd2125912b3ba39Roper was expected to surrender to authorities, and he will be held in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Morgan and two others remain in critical condition at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, N.J., after a vehicle the actor was traveling in was involved in a five-car accident on the New Jersey Turnpike. The accident killed James McNair, 63, a comedian better known by his stage name, Jimmy Mack, who often performed with Morgan.

The other day, while I was taking “Little Shitty” to the vet, there was a live shooting going on at the Forsyth County Courthouse, south of Banjoville in Cumming, Georgia. Turns out the man who went bang, bang, bang was a right wing gun nut. Go figure. /snark.

9cca49ccde11ac4e93d7627a7e668fd6Georgia Courthouse is shot up by Sovereign Citizen after GOP backs Bundy, Open Carry | Informed Comment

That didn’t take long. The Georgia GOP rushed into law an ‘open carry’ provision in April allowing people to tote around guns in bars and churches (apparently these are felt to be complementary institutions in Georgia) and schools (these are apparently felt to be full of expendable if short people in Georgia).

Then the national GOP and Fox Cable News (the “Josef Goebbels Commemorative Propaganda Division of the American Right Wing”) backed Cliven Bundy in his “sovereign citizen” claims that he doesn’t have to pay Federal grazing fees.

So on Saturday a sovereign citizen and former Transportation Department employee (who made his money from the Federal government he hates) showed up outside a Georgia courthouse armed to the teeth with automatic weapons and other munitions and with the clear intent of taking hostages inside the courthouse. He was open carrying, you see, and standing up against big government. Or rather standing overtop it with a gun to its head.

This was a clear act of terrorism, but since it was committed by a white person, no one brought the word up.

4e4f5cef66a062c3a0c060bddd259081Thank you Juan Cole for for saying the “T” word there. Granted…no one at FoxNews will be giving it up. But hey, a father who does not shave as a form of support while his son is held as a prisoner of war…that guy is a Muslim…code word terrorist. (via Bill O’Reilly.)

I really want you to go and read the rest of that Cole post. As someone mentioned in the comments on that link, the “shooter” had several explosives at his home too. Imagine what could have happened.

More on this shooting here:

Police: Suspect in Cumming shooting made supply list | AccessNorthGa

The man who police say staged an assault on the Forsyth County Courthouse carefully planned the weapons and supplies he would need to enter the building and harm people inside, authorities said Saturday as they sought to explain why Dennis Marx opened fire outside the building, wounding one deputy before dying in a shootout.

16360fb6eff1dd895fe298613f30f44bPolice said they found a checklist at Marx’s home in Cumming that matched the items inside the rented silver Nissan SUV used in Friday’s mid-morning attack. Marx had a number of bags and buckets holding homemade and commercial explosive devices that could be clipped to hostages; a gas mask; two handguns; zip ties and two bulletproof vests, police said. They said Marx, 48, wore one of the vests and clipped a hand grenade and wire to himself as a booby trap.

“All the items were checked off,” Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Doug Rainwater said. “So this was a very deliberate planned assault on the Forsyth County courthouse.”

Next up, another terrorist, at least in my opinion…can you believe it has been a year: ORLANDO, Fla.: One year later, where are players in George Zimmerman trial?

See, you want to click it. And yet…you don’t want to click it. Am I right?

Did y’all see the CIA is officially in the tweet business.

As sinister dealers in mass death, the CIA could at least spare us its snarky tweets | PandoDaily

Intelligence analysts at the CIA’s Open Source Center have been sifting through 5 million tweets a day since at least 2011. So it was inevitable that the agency would want to join Twitter itself.

The spooks’ first tweet, issued yesterday, on the 70th anniversary of D-Day (I can neither confirm nor deny that the timing means anything), made news for its self-aware sense of humor:

Funny, we think they are funny….funny how like they amuse us?

The CIA has joined Twitter with the best first tweet possible

Amnesty International is less amused. “The CIA’s first Tweet would be funny if it weren’t for the agency’s use of torture and extrajudicial executions,” says program director Zeke Johnson. “They should put as least as much effort into following the law as they do into social media. The full truth about the CIA torture and drone strikes should be made made public immediately and those responsible for crimes held accountable.” The agency is supposed to be close to declassifying a report on its “enhanced interrogation” program, with a release planned on or around July 4th.

a5b10e63829021f613f0bf517888ccf9Mmmm.

Here we go again. Another blatant case of Affluenza: ​Billionaire Sexually Assaults Stepdaughter, Gets Four Months in Jail

Affluenza strikes yet again.

Samuel Curtis Johnson III is the heir to the SC Johnson & Son company (a family company), you know the people that bring you brands like Ziploc, Windex, Saran, Pledge, and other standard household cleaning products, so he’s doing pretty well for himself. Well not really. At all.

In 2011, Johnson faced felony charges for sexual assault of a child, for inappropriately touching his stepdaughter, starting from when she was age 12 to when she was 15 years old. The charges arose from statements Johnson made to his therapist in Arizona, who was required by law to report child abuse. While the charge could have sent him to prison for 40 years, he was sentenced to four months and will only be serving at least 60 days and paying a fine of $6,000. See, despite confessing to his assault, the girl, could not testify against him because she and her mother refused to have her medical records released to confirm the girl reporting the abuse to the her therapist to corroborate her testimony, something that was highly disputed, ruled on, reversed, and then ruled upon again.

As Aviva Shen at Think Progress points out, sexual assault victims’ “refusal to cooperate” keeps their attackers off the hook, but a1410a5b1d2557e73630126ff8920f67circumstances are hardly cut and dry. In this situation, prosecutors pointed out that neither the girl nor the mother wanted to press charges against the billionaire tycoon (the girl, who wanted the case to be dismissed, had moved to North Carolina and fought legal efforts to make her come to Wisconsin to testify), as they could be socially and financially dependent on him. I can’t fully blame the now 17-year-old girl for simply wanting to put this behind her.

Johnson ended up pleading guilty to two misdemeanors (fourth-degree sexual assault and disorderly conduct) instead of the felony charge.

Silence. Nothing else I can say.

a3a4ab5b4d22235830b34764601ec56bDigby has a little preview of an interview Hillary is giving soon with Diane Sawyer: Hullabaloo

Via John Amato:

Diane Sawyer: And what would you say to Karl Rove about your brain?

Clinton: (laughs) That I know he was called “Bush’s Brain” in one of the books written about him, and I wish him well.

Bada-bing!

Damn. I love that woman. (Clinton.)

Now a couple last links dealing with Women and Film.

ab8efc5597a43d8293587842b7436544Why Women in Film Matter | Vivian Norris

For anyone who has spent any time in and around Hollywood, it is impossible to ignore the male-dominated industry and its sexist standards. I recently saw a great Swedish documentary on the life of actress Ann Margret, in which she says how hard Hollywood on women. Her face betrayed the reality of what are both expected and what many women must do to survive and thrive within the difficult world of female objectification. And this from an actress who is considered to be a “success,” but whom also suffered from her time in Hollywood.

Many of us know women who have encountered extreme difficulties even shamefully horrific realities of what it means to try to get one’s foot in the door based on talent alone. And when it comes to women directors, the doors have not only remain closed for the most part, they have been cruelly pushing aside even those women who should be given the chance to direct large budget features as they have proven themselves time and again that they can draw in audiences with their work.

And here, a portrait of Cathy O’Donnell by Martha Holme (original and colorized) « Kinoimages.com

Actress Cathy O’Donnell working on her poetry, 1945, photo by Martha Holme. You know her from “They Live by Night”, “Side Street” and “The Best Years of Our Lives”. Original and colorized.

Actress Cathy O’Donnell working on her poetry, 1945, photo by Martha HolmeActress Cathy O'Donnell 1945 (colourised B&W photo)

9aa660cf36adb397ada0f9160708c525For a little background on Cathy O’Donnell:

She was in Alabama until age 12, Ann Steely attended high school and college in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, then worked as a stenographer to finance a trip to Hollywood, where fortune favored her with a contract at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer under Samuel Goldwyn. Recognizing her talent and appeal through a thick Southern accent, Goldwyn arranged rigorous voice & theatrical training at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and elsewhere, gave her an Irish-sounding stage name & cast her in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). This film’s success boded well for Cathy’s career, and soon she was starred in the now-classic They Live by Night (1948).bb11f432f7d366e589a9d1bba4ef3a5f However, her rise in films was checked when, on Sunday, April 11th, 1948, at age 23, she married 48-year-old Robert Wyler, older brother of famous M-G-M director, William Wyler, with whom Goldwyn was feuding. The irate Goldwyn abruptly canceled her contract; thereafter she had no lasting association with any studio or producer.

Talk about a career being killed because she got married to the wrong man.  TCM will be having a couple of her films latter this month, be sure to check out the schedule here.

 

That is all for today. Enjoy your summer Sunday, and please share your thoughts below in the comments section.