Posted: February 4, 2018 Filed under: Donald Trump, Greece, History, immigration, Migrant and Refugee Crisis in Europe and Mediterranean, morning reads, open thread, racism, Refugees, right wing hate grouups, Russian Trump Investigation, the GOP, U.S. Politics, white nationalists | Tags: Amtrak crash, Carter Page, Russia Doomsday Machine, South Carolina Train Wreck, Status 6
Yesterday evening Time Magazine broke a news story about Carter Page. Carter Page Touted Russia Contacts in 2013 Letter | Time
Apparently Page had written a book on his “academic” views of Russia, and in trying to get the book published…actually bragged about being a spy. However, in the last paragraph of the article, the editor who has remained anonymous summed up his opinion of Carter in very much the same way that most people view Carter:
“I just came to see him as a kook”
Yeah, I think that we all can agree about that…
From the link above:
Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page bragged that he was an adviser to the Kremlin in a letter obtained by TIME that raises new questions about the extent of Page’s contacts with the Russian government over the years.
The letter, dated Aug. 25, 2013, was sent by Page to an academic press during a dispute over edits to an unpublished manuscript he had submitted for publication, according to an editor who worked with Page.
“Over the past half year, I have had the privilege to serve as an informal advisor to the staff of the Kremlin in preparation for their Presidency of the G-20 Summit next month, where energy issues will be a prominent point on the agenda,” the letter reads.
As anyone reading or watching the goings on with Page, it doesn’t take much to see how bumbling a fool he was…maybe that was the main attraction for the Russians? (That is my own question to ponder, as you know Putin wants to create chaos.)
As this excerpt from the book COLLUSION by Luke Harding in Politico describes…the two Russian spies who recruited Page described him as an “idiot”:
Why Carter Page Was Worth Watching – POLITICO Magazine
As FBI wiretaps showed, the techniques for meeting with Buryakov were distinctly old-school. Typically, Sporyshev would ring Buryakov and tell him he had to give him “something”—a ticket, a book, a hat, an umbrella. The two would meet outdoors. This sometimes happened outside Buryakov’s bank office on Third Avenue—an inconspicuous brown tower with a 1960s abstract sculpture at street level opposite the foyer. They would exchange documents.
Sporyshev’s biggest headache was finding Americans willing to become intelligence sources for Russia. This was tough. He had approached two young women working in financial consultancy who had recently graduated from a New York university. Sporyshev told Podobnyy he was skeptical anything would come of it. Or, as he put it in chauvinist terms: “In order to be close you need to either fuck them or use other levers to execute my requests.”
The Russian spies, however, had one promising lead. This was a guy—an energy consultant based in New York City. Unlike the women, he was eager to help. And, it appeared, keen to make money in Moscow. There was a drawback: The source—whom the FBI called “Male-1”—was something of a dimwit.
The FBI intercepts record:
PODOBNYY: [Male-1] wrote that he is sorry, he went to Moscow and forgot to check his inbox, but he wants to meet when he gets back. I think he is an idiot and forgot who I am. Plus he writes to me in Russian [to] practise the language. He flies to Moscow more often than I do. He got hooked on [the Russian state energy company] Gazprom, thinking that if they have a project, he could rise up. Maybe he can. I don’t know, but it’s obvious he wants to earn loads of money.
SPORYSHEV: Without a doubt.
On a little more about Page:
In a blog post for Global Policy, an online journal, he wrote that Putin wasn’t to blame for the 2014 Ukraine conflict. The White House’s superior “smack-down” approach had “started the crisis in the first place,” he wrote.
Page’s rampant pro-Moscow views were at odds with the US State Department under Clinton and with almost all American scholars of Russia. After all, it was Putin who had smuggled tanks across the border into eastern Ukraine. Not that Page’s opinions counted for much. Global Policy had a small circulation. It was edited out of Durham University in the north of England.
His relationship with the journal fizzled out when he wrote an opinion piece lavishly praising a pro-Russian candidate ahead of the U.S. presidential election—Trump.
And then something odd happened.
In March 2016 candidate Trump met with the Washington Post’s editorial board. At this point it seemed likely that Trump would clinch the Republican nomination. Foreign affairs came up. Who were the candidate’s foreign policy advisers? Trump read five names. The second was “Carter Page, PhD.” Given Trump’s obvious lack of experience of world affairs, this was a pivotal job.
One former Eurasia Group colleague said he was stunned when he discovered Page had mysteriously become one of Trump’s foreign policy advisers. “I nearly dropped my coffee,” he told me. The colleague added: “We had wanted people who could engage in critical analysis of what’s going on. This is a guy who has no critical insight into the situation. He wasn’t a smart person.”
Read more at the link…some insight as to what Page spoke of while he was in Russia, and how
Page’s loyalty to the SVR was breathtaking. Podobnyy wasn’t an “imagined bogeyman” but a career operative working against the interests of the United States. And, moreover, one who had bad-mouthed Page behind his back, calling him “a bit of an idiot”.
Whatever Page’s motives were for helping Russian intelligence—greed, naivety, stupidity—his actions surely justified the FBI’s interest in him. There was a simple way of avoiding U.S. surveillance and a FISA court warrant. It could be summed up like this: Don’t hang out with Russian spies.
All this talk of Russia, it may be a good time to watch Stanley Kubrick’s classic, Dr. Strangelove….
Buried In Trump’s Nuclear Report: A Russian Doomsday Weapon : Parallels : NPR
The Trump administration released a report on the state of America’s nuclear weaponry on Friday. The assessment, known as a Nuclear Posture Review, mainly concerns U.S. nukes and missiles.
But buried in the plan is a mention of a mysterious Russian weapon called “Status-6.” On paper, at least, Status-6 appears to be a kind of doomsday device. The report refers to it as “a new intercontinental, nuclear-armed, nuclear-powered, undersea autonomous torpedo.”
“The radius of total or near-total destruction is the size of a pretty large metropolitan area, actually,” says Edward Geist, a Russia specialist at the Rand Corp. who has spent time looking at the weapon. “It’s difficult to imagine in normal terms.”
If it sounds somewhat familiar…the Status-6 has made an appearance before…
Status-6 made its first public appearance in 2015, while Russian President Vladimir Putin was visiting with his generals in the city of Sochi.
Russia state television reported on the visit. The camera shows Putin seated at a long table. Then it cuts to a shot over one of the general’s shoulders. He is looking at what appears to be a drawing of a new nuclear weapon called the Oceanic Multipurpose System Status-6.
Here is the main point:
Status-6 would launch from beneath a Russian submarine. It would shoot at a depth too deep to be intercepted and travel for thousands of miles. Upon reaching its target along the U.S. coastline, it would detonate, swallowing up whatever city happened to be nearby.
“The only possible U.S. targets are large port cities,” says Mark Schneider, a senior analyst with the National Institute for Public Policy, wrote in an e-mail. “The detonation of Status-6 in any of them would essentially wipe out their population into the far suburbs.”
“The detonation would cause a very large amount of radioactive fallout,” adds Pavel Podvig, an arms control expert who runs a blog called Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces. Podvig believes the weapon could potentially bathe the entire Northeast Corridor in radioactive soot.
Status-6 would probably be used as a “third-strike” weapon of last resort. If Russia fell under attack from the U.S. and couldn’t retaliate with its missiles, it might trigger Status-6: a doomsday machine. Or at least a doomsday-ish machine.
Did you all see the tweet from Paul Ryan before he deleted it yesterday?
Via Reuters: House Speaker Ryan deletes tweet praising $1.50 pay increase
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan deleted a tweet on Saturday cheering a $1.50 increase to a Pennsylvania school secretary’s weekly pay because of a $1.5 trillion tax cut after it drew criticism that he was out of touch with ordinary Americans.
Ha, no shit!
The Trump administration and Republicans have cast the massive tax cuts, which came into effect in January as creating jobs and boosting economic growth. But critics have argued that they benefited the rich and would blow up the national debt.
Some social media users accused Ryan of being out of touch, with California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom posting on Twitter that “Guess someone told Paul Ryan you shouldn’t go around praising yourself for giving a working person an extra $1.50 a week — because he deleted this tweet.”
Paul Ryan Removes Tweet Bragging About GOP Tax Bill After Widespread Mockery | Mediaite
On Saturday, Ryan tweeted a link to an Associated Press story with a summary that said, “A secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, PA, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week … she said [that] will more than cover her Costco membership for the year.”
Immediately after Ryan tweeted the story, many left-of-center critics pounced on the speaker for praising the minuscule raise — given that annual Costco membership are only $60 — while many corporate higher-ups have gained a much more substantial amount from the GOP tax bill. The Wisconsin Republican was then pressured to delete the tweet.
Specifically, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi slammed Ryan for the tweet. “Paul Ryan deleted his embarrassing tweet of a blatant admission because he and Republicans don’t want you to know the truth: the #GOPTaxScam is a gift to corporate America and the top 1% at your expense.
He also doesn’t want you to know he got $500.000.00 from the Koch family,” tweeted Pelosi.
There was a horrible racist attack in Italy: At least 6 people injured by far-right shooter in Italy – Axios
It comes as more ultra-right only white political parties become more popular in Europe.
Can Europe’s new xenophobes reshape the continent? | World news | The Guardian
Tensions high in Athens ahead of nationalist rally | Greece News | Al Jazeera
And for the last of today’s post, updates on the latest train wreck:
CBS News is reporting that the Amtrak train was on the wrong tracks….
Amtrak train crash today in South Carolina leaves 2 dead, 116 injured – live updates – CBS News
At least two people were killed and 116 others injured when a train traveling from New York to Miami struck a freight train Sunday morning, authorities said. The crash left thousands of gallons of oil spilled at the scene near Columbia, South Carolina.
The collision occurred in Cayce around 2:45 a.m. Sunday, Lexington County spokesperson Harrison Cahill said. He said the injuries ranged from scratches to broken bones.
The two people killed were later identified as Amtrak personnel, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster said in a news conference Sunday. McMaster said the CSX freight train was on the right loading side track “where it was supposed to be” before the collision and the Amtrak train was “on the wrong side.” He did not elaborate.
There were approximately 148 people aboard the train, including 139 passengers and 8 personnel.
Amtrak Train Collision in South Carolina Kills at Least 2 and Injures 116 – The New York Times
The CSX train was stationary, Mr. McMaster said, and appeared to be on the correct track. “It appears that Amtrak was on the wrong track,” he said.
The first engine of the freight train was torn up, he said, and the engine of the Amtrak train, Train 91, was “barely recognizable.”
“It’s a horrible thing to see — to understand the force that this involved,” Mr. McMaster said.
In a statement earlier Sunday morning, Amtrak said the lead engine and some of the passenger cars had derailed.
It was the second major crash involving an Amtrak train in less than a week. On Wednesday, a train carrying Republican members of Congress to a retreat in West Virginia hit a garbage truck in rural Virginia, killing a passenger in the truck.
More updates on the train crash in the comments below…this is an open thread.
Posted: November 15, 2015 Filed under: 2016 elections, A My Pet Goat Moment, abortion rights, Foreign Affairs, France, Greece, Hillary Clinton, Human Rights, immigration, Migrant and Refugee Crisis in Europe and Mediterranean, morning reads, Myanmar, religious extremists, Syria, Turkey, U.S. Politics, Women's Rights, worker rights | Tags: #DEMDEBATE, Paris, T1D, Type 1 Diabetes
The Eiffel Tower was darkened last night in honor of those killed during Friday’s attacks on Paris.
As you can see, many countries and cities throughout the world took up the cause and brought Paris, city of lights…into their own, by setting their landmarks, arenas, buildings, etc., alight in three colors of “liberté fraternité et égalité.” Showing support of a city that has been hit by extremist, bloodthirsty, murdering terrorist.
Images from this thread:
People Around the Globe Show Their Solidarity With Paris – NBC News
Good Late Morning/Early Afternoon
Let us start this post with the current updates on France, in quick link fashion:
Two attackers killed in Paris were Frenchmen who lived in Brussels: prosecutor | French News | Expatica France
Two assailants who died in the Paris attacks were Frenchmen who had lived in Brussels, Belgian prosecutors said Sunday.
The Belgian authorities are holding seven people for questioning in connection with the attacks, and investigators have found that two cars used in the operation were rented in Belgium, they added.
“It appears that two French nationals, who lived in Brussels …, were identified as among the attackers who died on the spot,” the federal prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
“In addition, two cars registered in Belgium were found in Paris, one near the Bataclan and the other near Pere Lachaise,” the statement said.
The Bataclan concert hall is where 89 people were killed, while Pere Lachaise, known for the cemetery where leading literary and other figures are buried, is nearby.
“The investigation shows that the two vehicles were rented at the beginning of the week in the Brussels area,” the statement added.
It said that a total of seven people had been detained for questioning.
French officials: Manhunt in Europe for at least 1 suspect ‘directly involved’ in Paris attacks – The Washington Post
Authorities were scouring Europe on Sunday for at least one other suspect, and possibly two, who were “directly involved” in Friday night’s attacks in Paris, as investigators tried to ascertain whether they were among a number of people arrested over the last 48 hours in Belgium, according to two French officials familiar with the case.
But police continued searching for at least one other participant in the attacks. French officials and the Islamic State both initially claimed that eight men carried out the attacks. Police said seven attackers died, six of them by detonating suicide vests and one in police gunfire.
There is more at the links of all of these articles…
The Latest: Sunny Skies in Paris; Hearts Full of Grief – The New York Times
PARIS — The latest on the deadly attacks in Paris. (All times local)
The Latest: Officials track passport found by bomber’s body – Houston Chronicle
Balkan authorities are tracking the travels of the owner of a Syrian passport that was found next to a suicide bomber’s body at France’s national stadium on Friday night.
Officials in Greece say the passport’s owner entered the country Oct. 3 through Leros, one of the eastern Aegean islands that tens of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty have been using as a gateway into the 28-nation European Union.
Serbian police say he registered at its border entry with Macedonia on Oct. 7.
Croatian police say he was checked at a refugee center on Oct. 8. Police spokeswoman Helena Biocic said Sunday the man was not flagged as suspicious and continued his journey toward Hungary and Austria.
It is still not yet clear whether the Syrian passport is fake or real, or whether it belonged to the dead bomber. European officials say there is a brisk trade in fake Syrian passports to help people get refugee status in the EU.
I think I will refrain from comment on the passport thing until all the facts are in. Because the news on this is very fluid:
Two men linked to Paris attacks registered as migrants in Greece: police | French News | Expatica France
Two men who French police are seeking to identify in connection with the Paris attacks registered as migrants with Greek authorities earlier this year, the Greek police confirmed on Saturday.
French authorities had asked their Greek counterparts to check a passport and fingerprints of one man who died in the attacks and the fingerprints of another.
Both were thought to have registered in Greece, the main entry point into Europe for Syrian refugees.
At least one Syrian passport was found at the scene of the Stade de France attack.
The Greek minister for citizen protection, Nikos Toskas, said in a statement that one of the men had been registered on the Greek island of Leros in October.
“We confirm that the (Syrian) passport holder came through the Greek island of Leros on October 3 where he was registered under EU rules,” said a statement issued by Toskas.
French police said the passport was found “near the body of one of the attackers” during the investigation into the main attack of Friday’s carnage, at the Bataclan concert hall, where 82 people were killed.
The authenticity of the passport was being checked, but its discovery indicates a possible Syrian connection which has been a working hypothesis for investigators after assailants hit six separate locations in Paris late Friday.
A Greek police source said the second man had also registered in Greece, with TV station Mega adding this was also on Leros in August.
European security officials had long feared that jihadists could take advantage of the mass migration influx, mainly from war-torn Syria, that Europe has been experiencing since the beginning of the year.
“It is clear now that together with the victims of Islamo-fascism in the Middle East that come as refugees, extreme elements are crossing to Europe,” Defence Minister Panos Kammenos after an emergency meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
Greek police are not ruling out that the Syrian passport changed hands before the attacks.
However, a European security expert on Saturday argued: “The most logical assumption is that it’s the same person, sent on a mission to Europe.”
– ‘Unequalled challenge’ –
“If this is established, it would be the first such case. In any event, this proves that the unchecked flow poses an unequalled challenge for European security. We simply don’t know who is coming through,” the expert added.
Greece’s junior minister for migration Yiannis Mouzalas had admitted in September that it would be “foolish” to completely discount the possibility of jihadists sneaking into Europe among the refugee wave.
Over 800,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe this year, with over 3,400 dying in the process.
But Mouzalas noted that the number of Europeans joining extremist groups in the Middle East was far higher.
The important part to remember here is this…the people, refugees, are fleeing this kind of treatment in their own country.
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Saturday insisted that the refugees fleeing Syria “are hunted by the same terrorists” that struck in Paris on Friday.
“We must find solutions to the drama of the people who leave their homes, hunted by the same terrorists, and drown in the Mediterranean,” Tsipras said in a televised address, after conferring with his police, migration and intelligence chiefs.
But back to the passport thing:
Holder of Syrian passport found in Paris attack was asylum seeker | Reuters
The holder of a Syrian passport found near the body of one of the gunmen who died in Friday night’s attacks in Paris was registered as a refugee in several European countries last month, authorities said.
The man, identified by Serbian authorities only by his initials A.A., came into Europe through the Greek island of Leros, where he was processed on Oct. 3, Greek officials said on Saturday. He was among 70 refugees who arrived on a small vessel from Turkey.
Serbian authorities said on Sunday the same man had been registered at a border crossing from Macedonia into Serbia a few days later.
The information is significant because if one or more of the Paris gunmen turned out to have come into Europe among refugees and migrants fleeing war-torn countries, this could change the political debate about accepting refugees.
“One of the suspected terrorists, A.A., who is of interest to the French security agencies, was registered on the Presevo border crossing on October 7 this year, where he formally sought asylum,” the Serbian interior ministry said in a statement.
“Checks have confirmed that his details match those of the person who on October 3 was identified in Greece. There was no Interpol warrant issued against this person.”
A spokeswoman for the Croatian interior ministry said the man was registered in the country’s Opatovac refugee camp on Oct. 8 and from there he crossed into Hungary and then Austria.
“There was no (police) record about him at the time of registration and there was no reason for us to stop him in any way,” she said.
Austrian Interior Ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundboeck said however the assertion that the suspect attacker had passed through Austria had “no concrete basis.”
“According to the latest information available, that is no more than conjecture and speculation,” he said.
Any identity documents and fingerprint records would have to be matched with the remains of the attackers to establish whether they passed through various countries posing as refugees, or perhaps bought or stole passports along the way.
Greek government sources said a second suspect attacker was also likely to have passed through Greece.
Following the Paris bloodshed, populist leaders around Europe have rushed to demand a halt to an influx of refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa. Poland said it could not accept migrants under EU quotas without security guarantees.
Human Rights Watch’s Emergency Director Peter Bouckaert said on Twitter the Syrian passport found may have been fake, adding such fake documents are widely available for sale in Turkey.
“The answer to the Paris attacks and the possibility that one of the attackers came by rubber dinghy to Greece… is not to shut the door on those desperately fleeing war,” he said, calling for Europe to put in place a coherent asylum policy that would both help those on need and address security concerns raised by uncontrolled flows.
“People fleeing war need refuge. And trying to build fences and stopping them at sea only drives them deeper into the hands of criminal gangs, and drives them underground where there is no control over who comes and goes.”
Paris Attacks: What We Know and Don’t Know – The New York Times
Paris attacks highlight France’s gun control problems | World news | The Guardian
No credible threats found in US after Paris attacks as cities step up security | World news | The Guardian
No credible threats found in US after Paris attacks as cities step up security | World news | The Guardian
ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES: Paris. First Thoughts
Paris. First Thoughts.
Paris bleeds because it is part of a river of blood: The Russian plane dying in the skies over Egypt, the Hazaras of Afghanistanbeing relieved of their heads, the suicide bombings in a Shiite neighborhood of Beirut, Libanon.Or so the propagandists of Daesh or ISIS or ISIL tell us. Some of those rivers of blood may be from old rivulets, sourced from old racial hatreds (the Hazara massacre), old religious schisms (the Shias vs. the Sunnis, the Muslims vs. the Christians). But the Daesh river of blood is real and has not yet been dammed.
And its sources are many. I read my Twitter feed and was told that everything the deranged god-soldiers of ISIS did was caused by American oil politics and Western colonialism, as if those neo-Salafist clerics who designed ISIS had no agency, no way of choosing another form of rebellion but an extreme life-denying religious one, as if the religion they had created for themselves* from what the Saudi Wahhabism supports and funds in this world** has played no role. Instead, millions and millions of westerners are equally to blame, for genetic or historical reasons or at least for not voting various politicians out of power.
I read my Twitter feed and was told that everything the deranged god-soldiers of ISIS did was caused by their religion, that every single of hundreds of millions of Muslims is just waiting to behead the first infidel they come across. Once again, as if those neo-Salafist clerics who designed ISIS had no agency, as if millions and millions of Muslims are equally to blame, just because ISIS calls its religion theirs.
And I read my Twitter feed and was told that everything the deranged god-soldiers of ISIS did was caused by western discrimination and racism or by old religious discrimination in various Middle Eastern countries, as if those neo-Salafist clerics who designed ISIS had no agency at all.
Puppets. ISIS consists of nothing but puppets. Who holds the strings depends on the tweeter’s own prior beliefs, on whom he or she would wish to blame. There are even some who believe that US has created ISIS on purpose and funds it!
And what was tweeted on Friday night and later, truly reflected the hobby-horses of various tweeters. Frank Bruni writes and I concur:
Can’t we wait until we’ve resolved the body count? Until the identities of all of the victims have been determined and their families informed? Until the sirens stop wailing? Until the blood is dry?
Or must we instantly bootstrap obliquely related agendas and utterly unconnected grievances to the carnage in Paris, responding to it with an unsavory opportunism instead of a respectful grief?
Is this the famous death of empathy possibly caused by staring at an inanimate screen while talking to real people? Is it the masks we wear in cyberspace which allow us to act as if we have mislaid our hearts altogether, as if all that matters is the well-being of whichever group or theory we hold most dearly? And in counterpoint, is empty sentimentalism or patriotism the answer we assume if then accused of heartlessness?
It’s as if many in social media forgot about the ones who lost the most in those terrorist attacks, whose lives were prematurely discarded, whose pain served a political function, whose personalities were erased, whose families were left with bleeding wounds, perhaps never to close. In that they appear in agreement with the Daesh who also regarded the victims as less than nothing: a bit of filth to be sucked up by the divine vacuum cleaner.
The old customs about the immediate aftermath of death serve a function: Spend some time thinking about the deceased, give support to the family who is bereaved, sit in silence for a while, offer a cooked dish and offer help.
We don’t really have a cyberspace version of that respect for the individual. But surely all the different commentators with their pet issues could wait a day or two before forgetting all about the actual human lives which were ended or permanently mutilated by the terrorists?
And from Tom Sullivan at Hullabaloo.
Meanwhile in news outside of Paris:
U.S., allies conduct 18 strikes in Syria, Iraq: military | Reuters
Turkey: Suicide bomber wounds 5 Turkish police during raid | Miami Herald The Police were raiding a suspected Isis safe house.
Labour may back action against Syria without UN approval – Lord Falconer | Politics | The Guardian
This next one is good: Reality check: Number of displaced Syrians in Europe – Al Jazeera English
And again it must be said: Here are 10 of the worst domestic terror attacks by extreme Christians and right-wing white men
What about the debate last night? Here is a series of links that discuss just that:
Who Won the Democratic Presidential Debate in Des Moines? – The Atlantic
The Daily 202: A defensive Hillary Clinton lost last night’s debate – The Washington Post
If you missed the debate last night, Election 2016: Democratic debate transcript: Clinton, Sanders, O’Malley in Iowa – CBS News
The Second Democratic Debate: What the Candidates Said About Paris and ISIS – The Atlantic
Huckabee: Dems More Interested in Protecting Islam’s Image Than Protecting Americans | Mediaite
I hate Huckabee.
CNN’s take of course: Hillary Clinton doesn’t capitalize on resume at debate – CNNPolitics.com
And this last batch of links are about other things in general…
Disturbing as hell: CIA Director Documentary: ‘The Attacks Will Be Spectacular’ – POLITICO Magazine
From prison to power: Aung San Suu Kyi, Mandela and others… – BBC News
Baltimore homicides top 300 for year, worst since 1999 | Reuters
Contract calls for anti-abortion group to line up counseling | WISH-TV
Yemen: Travel Ban on Women’s Rights Advocate | Human Rights Watch
Republicans Look for Votes to Defund Planned Parenthood, Repeal Parts of Health Law – WSJ
‘Poverty Pay’ Leads Wal-Mart Employees to Steal Lunches From Co-Workers – Truthdig
And lastly, a link dump about T1D:
Type 1 Diabetes: An Unrelenting Disease – US News
14 realities of having type 1 diabetes in your 20s | BreakingNews.ie
Call For Healthy Eating And Exercise On World Diabetes Day Neglects Innocent Type 1 Patients
So what are you reading about today?
I realize this is a lot of links….take it one at a time. 😉
Posted: September 6, 2015 Filed under: 2016 elections, Economy, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, History, Migrant and Refugee Crisis in Europe and Mediterranean, morning reads, Planned Parenthood, right wing hate grouups, Russia, science, the GOP, U.S. Politics, Women's Rights | Tags: abortion, Climate change, FBI, Hillary Clinton, open thread
We have a variety of links for you today. Typical of an average Sunday…unfortunately, I could not muster up the creativity and string a theme together. So the images will have to do, they are from the website BluntCard.com. (I think some of them are funny…hope you do too.)
Anyway, let’s get this shit rolling.
Whether Jewish Refugees in ’30s or Syrians today, USA Falls Short of own Ideals | Informed Comment
22-year-old anti-Nazi song rises to the top of German charts to show support for refugees – Europe – World – The Independent
‘Spurred on by the Fear of Death’: Refugees and Displaced Populations during the Mongol Invasion of Hungar – Medievalists.net
Sensitized by the grim headlines which daily announce the appalling plight of twentieth-century refugees in eastern Europe, I was motivated to investigate the behavior and conditions of medieval refugees fleeing the Mongols. In reviewing the sources I was struck by the abundance and vividness of the surviving evidence. My original plan was to study the Hungarian situation in comparison with similar experiences of other peoples who had been invaded by the Mongols, then to follow this with a comparative treatment of Hungarian refugees with parallels elsewhere in medieval Europe. This had to be discarded when I learned that the presumed secondary literature on this topic meager and peripheral. The systematic historical study of medieval refugees is yet to be written. The question of what where the experiences of medieval refugees appears seldom to have been raised and even less often answered.
Click here to read this article from De Re Militari
Okay enough on that…up next, a big ass hole: Crater in Russia triples in size in ten months to become 120m wide sinkhole – Asia – World – The Independent
The latest images taken by helicopters shows that earlier reassurance from an expert inspecting the site in April that the hole was “more or less stable” was incorrect, the Siberian Times reports.
The images show the nearby homes are now at risk of collapsing into the hole but local officials have said that no one is in physical danger.
The hole was caused by flood erosion in a underground mine…maybe this is what that sinkhole in Louisiana looks like under all that water?
Let’s look at another hole: Greece crisis: Cancer patients suffer as health system fails – BBC News
As Greece careers towards another election later this month, the country’s healthcare system is continuing to crumble.
Funding for state-run hospitals has been cut by more than 50% since the debt crisis started in 2009.
They suffer from severe shortages in everything, from sheets, gauzes and syringes, to doctors and nurses.
Take a look at that article it is really good.
Skyscrapers correlated with economic doom – Business Insider
Nothing suggests the height of human achievement and economic prowess quite like a skyscraper.
The newly completed 2,073-foot-tall Shanghai Tower is officially the second-tallest building in the world (behind Dubai’s Burj Khalifa) and the tallest in China.
And taller skyscrapers are planned, such as China’s Sky City and Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Tower.
But as “cool” as all of these buildings are, glitzy construction booms have historically coincided with the beginnings of economic downturns, according to Barclays’ “Skyscraper Index.” (For all you economics wonks out there, basically, skyscrapers can be considered a sentiment indicator.)
Using Barclays’ index, we pulled together 10 skyscrapers whose constructions overlapped with financial crises.
From Lawyers Guns and Money:
This Francisco Goldman article in The New Yorker is a good run-down of what is going on in Guatemala.Citizens finally came together to stand up to the kleptocracy that has run the country since the end of the civil war of the 80s. Protests have brought down Otto Pérez Molina after already taking out most of his administration. This is a great moment of democratic protest in a nation where political violence has been endemic for a very long time.
Book Review: Adam Rothman: Beyond Freedom’s Reach: A Kidnapping in the Twilight of Slavery
…we are in a renaissance of excellent historical writing for a general public that wants to read something more than hagiographic narratives. Add Adam Rothman’s Beyond Freedom’s Reach to the list. Rothman tells the story of Rose Herera, a New Orleans slave whose children were spirited away to Cuba by her master during the Civil War. Centering kidnapping in the slave experience, Rothman takes what could be a fairly slender story based upon a relative paucity of evidence to build a tale of great bravery and persistence within a rapidly changing world where African-Americans had relatively little power even in the immediate aftermath of the war.
Quick look around the US political scene:
Imagine If Hillary Clinton’s Security Detail Had Done This | Crooks and Liars
Fetid Jackass Open Thread: Your Modern GOP » Balloon Juice
Foxified: CNN Taps Sarah Palin And Hugh Hewitt For 2016 Campaign Coverage | News Corpse
A White Supremacist Holds an Entire American City Hostage – The Daily Beast
Feds will investigate after Planned Parenthood clinic in Washington state is hit by arson
An update on a story from a while back….Cops Who Killed Man with Down Syndrome Over a Movie Ticket Blame Paramedics Who Tried to Save Him | Alternet
…the case of Ethan Saylor.
Saylor, a 26-year-old with Down syndrome, was at a movie theater with a health care aide watching “Zero Dark Thirty.” The movie had finished, but Ethan didn’t want to leave the theater after the film ended, hoping to watch it again.
The cinema manager, angry that the mentally-handicapped man didn’t quite understand that one ticket is only good for one viewing, called three off-duty-deputies who were moonlighting as security guards. The cops decided to forcibly evict Saylor from the theater, refusing to listen to his aide, who had already contacted Saylor’s mother in an effort to defuse the situation.
You must remember this story….
Instead, as is all too common the case, the cops got violent, taking Saylor to the ground and piling on top of him as they attempted to handcuff him. In the process, this young man’s trachea was fractured, and he died of asphyxiation.
The autopsy report indicated that Saylor died from asphyxiation, and had sustained a fracture to his larynx, with the coroner listing his cause of death as homicide.
While Saylor’s death was ruled a homicide, an internal “investigation” cleared the three officers, Lt. Scott Jewell, Sgt. Rich Rochford and Deputy First Class James Harris, of any wrongdoing. No charges were brought against any of the officers involved in his death.
Much to the dismay of almost everyone involved in the case, a Frederick County grand jury declined to indict the deputies after their review of the case.
After the failure of the state to hold these officers criminally accountable for Saylor death, as is often the case when law enforcement kills a citizen, the family filed a wrongful-death suit against the deputies.
As you would expect, that suit is not going very well…
According to a report in The Frederick News Post:
In the initial complaint, filed in October 2013, Saylor’s family alleged violations of his civil rights and of the Americans with Disabilities Act by the state, county sheriff’s deputies and the companies that employed the men as security guards at the Regal Cinemas Westview Stadium 16 theater.
A year later, a federal judge dismissed all of the claims against the theater company, and also dismissed a simple negligence claim against the deputies and a wrongful-death claim against the state.
Claims that the deputies — Richard Rochford, Scott Jewell and James Harris — were grossly negligent and that the state failed to train them were allowed to go forward.
While the family is certain that the fractured larynx was a result of the violent altercation, defense attorneys for the cops claimed in their latest court filings that the injuries found on Saylor were from the paramedic’s efforts to save his life, and not their brutal attack.
One of the experts identified by the defense was Dr. Jeffrey Fillmore, the emergency department physician who treated Saylor at Frederick Memorial Hospital. According to court filing by the defense, Fillmore would testify that the autopsy and other evidence are not consistent with asphyxia as the cause of Saylor’s death.
On Tuesday, attorney for Saylor’s family, Joseph Espo, told the AP that his expert witnesses disagree with almost everything in the filing by the deputies’ attorneys. Records indicate that those witnesses include a disabilities expert, a police liabilities expert, a pathologist and another medical doctor.
Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking aspects of this case is the fact that Saylor was an avid fan of law enforcement and was reportedly fascinated by police. Some may argue that the cops did not intend to kill Ethan, but the fact that they couldn’t de-escalate a simple situation over a movie ticket, and instead resorted to deadly violence speaks to the corrupting sickness that is prevalent in policing today.
It is disgusting.
More crazy in the judicial system:
Jailed at 17 for a drug crime in 1988, Rick Wershe Jr is still behind bars. Why? | US news | The Guardian
A Surreptitious Courtroom Video Prompts Changes in a Georgia Town – NYTimes.com
An explosion of cellphone videos has brought renewed attention to police practices, provoking criticism, indictments and talk of criminal justice overhaul. Courtroom videos of judges in action, however, are far rarer.
But one surreptitious video in a small-town Georgia court has led to an overhaul of court practices there. The video showed the judge threatening to jail traffic violators who could not come up with an immediate payment toward their fines.
Next grouping, science-ish links:
Here’s What the Earth Will Look Like After All the Ice Melts | Mother Jones
Supermoon And Lunar Eclipse Will Wow Skywatchers On Sept. 27: What Time To Look Up : SCIENCE : Tech Times
UFO Watchers Abuzz Over ‘Ships’ In Orbit Around The Sun : SCIENCE : Tech Times
Life with HIV has changed enormously. It’s time public perception followed suit | Tom Hayes | Comment is free | The Guardian
On with some reviews of movies that look like something we all would find interesting:
The Resonance and Relevance of ‘Suffragette’ | Women and Hollywood
Each September brings severe disappointment for those of us interested in seeing women taken seriously in the Oscar race. And by that, I mean women on screen and behind the scenes. It seems that the conversation for some time has been about important men doing important historical things and changing the world, while the contributions of women were made as wives and assistants. They weren’t the center of the action. It is worth noting that, last year, none of the best-picture nominees had a female protagonist and only one had a female director.
“Suffragette” bursts onto the screen and shows the power and presence of women in history. AND it is written, directed and produced by women. It is a movie that shows us a struggle that few know anything about — the women’s battle for the vote in the UK — but that is resonant today, in this country, because of the assault to voting rights going on right now. It is a reminder that, not too long ago, women had no power, no access to money and were thought to lack the brains to participate in issues related to governance. We still have much to do on the issue of women’s rights. Girls around the world are not being educated because they are girls. Girls are sold into marriage. Women are not allowed to leave their homes in places, women are still raped and assaulted everywhere and we are not paid equally.
Telluride film festival day two: Suffragette, He Named Me Malala and Anomalisa – video reviews | Film | The Guardian
‘Suffragette’ Review: Carey Mulligan Fights for Women’s Rights | Variety
Black Mass review – compelling true crime drama is mighty comeback for Johnny Depp | Film | The Guardian
I don’t know how to end this post, so just consider it an open thread.
Posted: August 18, 2013 Filed under: Barack Obama, child sexual abuse, children, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, court rulings, Crime, Foreign Affairs, Fox News, GLBT Rights, Great Britain, Greece, History, homophobia, Italy, morning reads, psychology, racism, Violence against women | Tags: anti-vaccination twits, anti-vaxxers, badgers, child brides, dead people, family killers, Georgia state parks, mae west, medieval graves, Rodeo clowns
Since Peej has the Happiness front covered, I will take care of the down and out blues department….
▶ Ruth Brown, If I can’t sell it, I’ll sit on it
Yeah, it’s one hell of a blues song…but it sure is a sad song too…and I mean what else can you say about being so down and out and blue you need to turn to prostitution? The Blues…You know that also includes the dark, depressing and disturbing stuff too.
So this post will focus on dark things…
Starting with this little update on the rodeo clown that caused Fox News, Glenn Beck and Hannity to have a conniption, not because of the disgusting racist “mockery” displayed at a state funded event…but because rodeo clowns always make fun of sitting presidents. Cough, cough. Tommy Christopher has this to say: You Would Not Believe How Common Rodeo Clown Mockery of Presidents Is
For days, conservatives in the media have been calling out Republicans in Missouri for denouncing a rodeo clown’s performance at the Missouri State Fair, although they keep referring to those Republicans as “liberals,” for some reason. However, conservative media watchdog Newsbusters has now swooped in with a welcome dose of cold, hard truthiness to let the Republicans, Democrats, and other decent people who were offended by the rodeo’s mockery of President Obama, know that this exact thing happens all the time! In fact, you wouldn’t believe how often!
Guess you can see where this is going:
Despite conservative media attempts to frame reaction to this incident as liberal over-sensitivity, the performance drew immediate, harsh rebukes from Republicans and Democrats in Missouri, and resulted in a lifetime ban for the rodeo clown.
Newsbusters‘ Noel Sheppard, however, wants to make sure that the mainstream media reports that “these things aren’t that unusual at such events,” and he’s got ironclad proof that sitting presidents are mocked by rodeo clowns at publicly-sponsored events all the time:
Maybe these folks should report that these things aren’t that unusual at such events, and that in 1994, a bull attacked a dummy wearing a George H.W. Bush mask without the world coming to an end, anybody being fired, or any press outrage.
1994? I guess that counts as frequent if you’re a cicada. Sheppard cites this passage from a 1994 Philadelphia Inquirer piece:
The big white gate flew open. The bull came out bucking. The rider flopped from side to side and the bullfighters held back, letting the bull make his moves until the rider dropped off. Licciardello crouched in a heavily padded barrel, a human target should the bull decide to charge. Hawkins waited near the barrel, holding his big inner tube. A dummy with a George Bush mask stood beside the clown, propped up by a broomstick. […]
T.J. Hawkins rolled out the big inner tube, and the bull lowered his head, shot forward and launched into the tube, sending it bounding down the center of the arena. The crowd cheered. Then the bull saw the George Bush dummy. He tore into it, sending the rubber mask flying halfway across the sand as he turned toward the fence, sending cowboys scrambling up the fence rails, hooking one with his horn and tossing him off the fence.
Okay, fine, it wasn’t a sitting president, it was 20 years ago, and it wasn’t even a rodeo clown wearing a mask, but still, why was there no media outrage at this taxpayer-funded effigy eff-up? Well, it turns out the Philly Inquirer was doing a feature on Jimmy Lee Walker, and the Bush bit was just a bit of color thrown in to give readers a Proustian grasp of New Jersey’s Cowtown Rodeo, which is not a state fair, is not funded by tax dollars, and happens every week… in New Jersey. It’s like asking why ESPN is ignoring the prevalence of steroids in Wiffle Ball.
More stories from the dark side: The Inevitable Darth Vader/Breaking Bad Mashup Has Arrived and It Is Glorious
He was responsible for the Death Star. Two of them bitches.
Sure, as Heisenberg, Walter White strikes fear into the hearts of drug dealers everywhere. But take away the black headgear and he’s really just a sad old white dude with a bald head and a lung problem.
…illustrator PJ McQuade, who calls the above work “Darth Heisenberg.” That’s got a real nice ring to it, actually. And he’s not wrong — White is definitely in the empire business for sure. Though I’m kind of hoping that Walt doesn’t get a redemptive moment at the end of his story like Darth Vader did. Die in a million fires, Mr. White.
Hey, that is the Dark Side of The Force, no question about that. What about a Dark Religion? Or what some of the geezus freaks would have you believe was the deep dark devil side….
Well, here is an update on Georgia placing Bibles in the State Parks. You remember the deal Gov. Deal made a few months ago? That he would allow other religious material to be placed in the cabins located on state park property. Atheist books delivered to Georgia state park
Ed Buckner, a former president of American Atheists Inc., said he brought two atheist books for each cottage at Red Top Mountain State Park in Cartersville. The Cranford, N.J.-based organization had said it would supply atheist texts for lodging in Georgia state parks after the governor said in May any religious group could donate literature.
Bibles were temporarily removed earlier this year after Buckner complained about finding them in a cabin he rented at Amicalola Falls State Park. They were returned after the state attorney general said the books were permissible since the state hadn’t paid for them. In May, Gov. Nathan Deal ordered the Bibles returned to state park cabins and said any religious group could donate books.
“American Atheists does not believe the state of Georgia should be placing Bibles or atheist books in state park cabins; however, if the state is going to allow such distribution, we will happily provide our materials,” group president David Silverman said in a statement.
Buckner said Wednesday he was told by officials at Red Top Mountain State Park that the books he dropped off “The Skeptics Annotated Bible” by Steve Wells and “Fear, Faith, Fact, Fantasy” by Dr. John A. Henderson wouldn’t be immediately put in cottages at Red Top Mountain because the manager would have to make sure they complied with regulations.
Let’s see if those books really get to live next to the bibles in the cabin’s bedside table’s drawers…place your bets.
Okay, move on to the blackness and darkness of the criminal mind? The Killer Mind? Criminologists identify family killer characteristics
Men who kill their families can be separated into four distinct types.
British criminologists have made the assessment after studying newspaper records of “family annihilator” events over the period from 1980 to 2012.
A family break-up was the most common trigger, followed by financial difficulties and honour killings.
Writing in the Howard Journal of Criminal Justice, the team lists the four types as self-righteous, anomic, disappointed, and paranoid.
Each category has slightly different motivations and many cases also have a hidden history of domestic abuse. In four out of five cases the murderers went on to kill themselves or attempted to do so.
The research revealed the most frequent month for the crime was in August, when fathers were likely to be with their children more often because of school holidays.
Four types, ready?
- Self-righteous: Killer seeks to locate blame for his crimes upon the mother who he holds responsible for the breakdown of the family. For these men, their breadwinner status is central to their idea of the ideal family. (case study: Brian Philcox)
- Anomic: The family has become firmly linked to the economy in the mind of the killer. The father sees his family as the result of his economic success, allowing him to display his achievements. However, if the father becomes an economic failure, he sees the family as no longer serving this function. (case study: Chris Foster)
- Disappointed: This killer believes his family has let him down or has acted in ways to undermine or destroy his vision of ideal family life. An example may be disappointment that children are not following the traditional religious or cultural customs of the father. (case study: Mohammed Riaz)
- Paranoid: Those who perceive an external threat to the family. This is often social services or the legal system, which the father fears will side against him and take away the children. Here, the murder is motivated by a twisted desire to protect the family. (case study: Graham Anderson)
Be sure to read the whole article and then go back to read the case studies.
Have y’all seen the guest writer over at Charles Pierce? Esquire Civil War Reenactment: Robert E. Lee and What an Oath Means – Lt. Col. Robert Bateman
Take a look at his latest post and then check out the others he has written: Daily Politics Blog – Posts By Lt. Col. Robert Bateman – Charles P. Pierce – Political Blogging – Esquire
Op/Ed by Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz: Obama Suspends the Law. What Would Lincoln Say? – WSJ.com
Over in England, spoons are saving the lives of young girls being sent into underage marriages: Spoon in underwear saving youths from forced marriage | The Raw Story
As Britain puts airport staff on alert to spot potential victims of forced marriage, one campaigning group says the trick of putting a spoon in their underwear has saved some youngsters from a forced union in their South Asian ancestral homelands.
The concealed spoon sets off the metal detector at the airport in Britain and the teenagers can be taken away from their parents to be searched — a last chance to escape a largely hidden practice wrecking the lives of unknown thousands of British youths.
The British school summer holidays, now well under way, mark a peak in reports of young people — typically girls aged 15 and 16 — being taken abroad on “holiday”, for a marriage without consent, the government says.
The bleep at airport security may be the last chance they get to escape a marriage to someone they have never met in a country they have never seen.
The spoon trick is the brainchild of the Karma Nirvana charity, which supports victims and survivors of forced marriage and honour-based abuse.
Based in Derby, central England, it fields 6,500 calls per year from around Britain but has almost reached that point so far in 2013 as awareness of the issue grows.
When petrified youngsters ring, “if they don’t know exactly when it may happen or if it’s going to happen, we advise them to put a spoon in their underwear,” said Natasha Rattu, Karma Nirvana’s operations manager.
“When they go though security, it will highlight this object in a private area and, if 16 or over, they will be taken to a safe space where they have that one last opportunity to disclose they’re being forced to marry,” she told AFP.
I guess that is a bright turn on a black horror story of abuse, but for something more disturbing…look at this old advertisement for Cellophane I found on Pinterest:
That is fucked up!
Some dark homophobic links:
The new pro-gay agenda over at Fox News | Political Insider | www.ajc.com
Elisa Chan reveals homophobic views in secret recording – San Antonio Express-News
And another WTF story out of Texas: Texas Deputy Sues Woman for ‘Mental Anguish’ After He Kills Her Son-in-Law | Video Cafe
You want a legitimate lawsuit? Sue the stupid asshole parents who won’t vaccinate their kids! Anti-vaxxers: Why parents who don’t vaccinate their kids should be sued or criminally charged. – Slate Magazine
I got that link from a post at LG&M: Upper-Class Twits Put Your Kids At Risk
The world in which 1)Jenny McCarthy can get a highly compensated talk show gig and 2)inequality is increasing leads to some grim results:
Why is anti-vaccination sentiment associated with the economic elite? Alex Seitz-Wald examines the question in Salon, in light of an uptick in parents refusing to vaccinate their kids.* But not just any parents. As Seitz-Wald explains, the unvaccinated kids are clustered in some of the wealthiest schools and neighborhoods, particularly in California, where some extremely expensive private schools have vaccination compliance rates as low as 20 percent. Anti-vaccination sentiment has been stereotyped as a mindless lefty cause, but in reality, Republicans are slightly more likely to oppose vaccination than Democrats. The real correlation is between having a lot of money and class privilege and opposing vaccination.
And, yes, I’m a big fan of making anti-vaxxer cranks legally liable for the injuries they inflict on others, although I’d definitely favor civil rather than criminal remedies.
I don’t know, by sister-in-law is an anti-vaxxer and she is a far left-la-leches-legue-natzi…who lives in the college town around Cornell. These crazy nuts are putting other children at risk…they should be held legally liable. And the government should do more to get these kids vaccinated…if it means fines or some kind of other actions taken against the parents/guardians.
More here: With fewer vaccinations, is your child’s school safe? Too many parents are seeking exemption from California’s vaccination law.- latimes.com
And here: What’s with rich people hating vaccines? It’s not just Jenny McCarthy. Data shows the anti-vaccination movement spreading to places like Malibu and Boulder- Salon.com
So…since we are on the topic of diseases…How about a story of death caused by disease? ‘Typhoid Mary’ Mystery May Have Been Solved At Last, Scientists Say
And say, do you want more stories on dead people?
Medieval tomb discovered by a… badger
Was that a large wooden badger?
A badger has reportedly proved to be a talented archaeologist after helping to discover the tombs of two medieval lords in Germany.
The 12th century burial site, which has been hailed as a “significant find” contains a sword, bronze bowls, a belt buckle and skeletal remains of two Slavic lords, according to Germany’s Der Spiegel Online.
The animal had made its underground home on a farm in the town of Stolpe in the eastern state of Brandenburg.
Two sculptors who also happen to be hobby archaeologists Lars Wilhelm and Hendrikje Ring, live on the farm and had planned to exhibit their art near the badger’s sett.
The pair were made aware of the artefacts when they found a human pelvic bone that had been dug up, prompting them to place a camera into the badger’s sett. Photographs taken with the device revealed pieces of jewellery, which the two then retrieved before notifying authorities.
Commenting on the discovery, Ring told the website,“It wasn’t exactly surprising to us because a whole field of ancient graves had been found on the other side of the road in the 1960s.”
More at the link.
Another story about an ancient grave…well not really ancient, just real old: New study reveals final days of a child, 800 years ago | Human World | EarthSky
The researchers examined burial soil, at spots where the child’s major organs would have been situated, to understand the child’s final days.
In medieval Denmark, a pre-teen child passed away, and was buried in the town of Ribe. Eight hundred years later, chemists have learned more about this child’s final days by analyzing soil samples in burial remains. Their research uncovered evidence that the child had been seriously ill and received a large dose of medicine in the form of mercury, in a desperate attempt to save his or her life.
Professor Kaare Lund Rasmussen, a chemist at the University of Southern Denmark, and his colleagues, reported on a novel technique to detect non-local chemical traces in ancient graves that could shed light on the final days of a long-deceased person. They published their findings about the Ribe child in the journal Heritage Science and announced the results in an August 9, 2013 press release, in which Rasmussen said:
I cannot say which diseases the child had contracted. But I can say that it was exposed to a large dose of mercury a couple of months before its death and again a day or two prior to death. You can imagine what happened: that the family for a while tried to cure the child with mercury containing medicine which may or may not have worked, but that the child’s condition suddenly worsened and that it was administered a large dose of mercury which was, however, not able to save its life.
Scientists are able to study the earth samples around the bones at the burial site to check for chemicals used as medicine during the middle ages.
Mercury, which is rarely found naturally in soil, is of particular interest to Rasmussen. It was used in some ancient cultures for various purposes, including medicine. While it’s possible to analyze ancient bones for the presence of mercury, bones only provide evidence of exposure for three to 10 years before death.
Organs, however, hold on to mercury over shorter intervals; in the lungs, for instance, mercury is excreted quickly. Rasmussen and his team were able to determine the amounts of mercury in the soil where major organs would have been situated. In that way, they could determine how long before death, on a timescale of days, the dose had been administered.
There is more detailed explanations at the link above.
And a link on searching for dead ancestors: Digging Up Family Roots in Sicily by Russell Shorto
As a writer I’ve always tended to seek out origins. My first book, about the search for the historical Jesus, was an attempt to get at the “real” story behind my Catholic upbringing. After living in Manhattan for several years, I wrote “The Island at the Center of the World,” a book about the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam, the seed from which New York City grew.
Recently I began considering my family. Among its manifold curiosities is our last name. People always ask me about the derivation of “Shorto.” The story I’d heard as a child was that after my illiterate Sicilian great-grandparents settled in my hometown of Johnstown, Pa., they enrolled their children in school and said the name aloud: Sciotto. And the administrator wrote it as he or she heard it.
Anecdotes like that were good enough before, but once I began to take a serious interest in my roots they felt soft. I wanted a better sense of who we were and where we had come from. I’d grown up with some of the atmosphere of the Old Country — the primal aroma of frying meatballs, the smothering embraces of old relatives, whispers of Mafia shenanigans, funny traditions like taping a silver dollar to the bellybutton of a newborn. But really it was an American childhood. There was almost no information about how it all began, about the generation that had emigrated at the start of the 20th century. It wasn’t even clear where in Sicily the family hailed from.
It is better than your usually travel piece. Take a look at it.
One last link for you, about that Greek Island we talk about so often: 9 top Greek islands I’m thinking Koufonisia or Naxos….
Today I am making the spaghetti sauce with meatballs, about 10 pounds of meatballs and a whole bunch of sauce too, so I will be very busy most of the afternoon. Anyway…one last dark image before I go.
I will end this with a picture of Mae West dressed as a bat…found this image on Pinterest.
What a dame!
Have a dark day, full of darkness! Post a comment if you have the inclination to do so…I think I need a vacation. See y’all later, Ciao!
Posted: July 28, 2013 Filed under: Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, court rulings, Environmental Protection, Greece, morning reads, SCOTUS, Violence against women, Women's Rights | Tags: orange is the new black, rape culture, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, sexual assault, University of Pennsylvania, voting rights, VRA
From Veronica goes to Petunia’s farm written and illustrated by Roger Duvoisin
It’s the last Sunday in July, can you believe it?
I’ve got a variety of links for you this morning, several of them are rather long so you will need to go and read them in full because the articles are very good and should not be missed.
To start, let’s look at some headlines this morning:
The violence in Egypt is escalating: With dozens dead, U.S. tells Egypt to pull ‘back from the brink’ | Reuters
Yesterday the news out of Anthony Weiner’s campaign was yet another chance for Drudge to use the phrase “pulls out” in a headline, as in Weiner’s Campaign Manager Pulls Out: Weiner’s Campaign Manager Quits After Latest Revelations – NYTimes.com
Did you see this story out of Italy? Damn, it is disgusting…and is relavent to some of the other links I have for you today. Bananas Thrown At Black Italian Minister, Cecile Kyenge, During Speech
Italy’s first black minister, a target of racist slurs since her appointment in April, has condemned a spectator who threw bananas towards her while she was making a speech at a party rally.
Integration minister Cecile Kyenge, who was born in Democratic Republic of Congo, has angered far-right groups with her campaign to make it easier for immigrants to gain Italian citizenship.
Shortly before the incident on Friday, members of the right-wing Forza Nuova group left mannequins covered in fake blood at the site of the rally in Cervia, central Italy, in protest against Kyenge’s proposal to make anyone born on Italian soil a citizen.
“Immigration kills,” was written on leaflets accompanying the dummies – a slogan Forza Nuova has previously used when referring to murders committed by immigrants in Italy.
Although the bananas missed the stage where Kyenge was speaking, she responded to the gesture on Twitter, calling it “sad” and a waste of food, considering the economic crisis.
“The courage and optimism to change things has to come above all from the bottom up to reach the institutions,” she added.
There was also a new Op/Ed in the New York Times, A New Defense of Voting Rights
On Thursday, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. took an important step toward repairing the damage from last month’s Supreme Court ruling striking down a central element of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He is right to adopt an aggressive approach to defending the most fundamental right in our democracy.
In a federal lawsuit first brought by black and Hispanic voters against Texas over its redistricting maps, the Justice Department relied on a rarely used provision of the act, Section 3, to ask a federal court to require Texas to get permission before making any voting changes in the state.
Until last month, Texas already had to get such permission under the act’s “preclearance” process. This process had long been the most effective means of preventing racial bias in voting laws in states with histories of discrimination. It required state and local governments that wanted to change the laws to first show there would be no discriminatory effect. In Shelby County v. Holder, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the act as unconstitutional; that provision laid out the formula that determined which jurisdictions had to get permission.
This is something that Ralph has been posting articles about in the comment section for quiet a while now…go to the link up top to read the rest of the op/ed. No disagreement with it from me…but I post it here along with the banana incident and this interview with Justice Ginsberg from last week, where she discusses the ramifications of SCOTUS decision on the Voting Rights Amendment: Ginsburg says push for voter ID laws predictable
Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg poses for a photo in her chambers at the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, July 24, 2013, before an interview with the Associated Press. Ginsburg said during the interview that it was easy to foresee that Southern states would push ahead with tougher voter identification laws and other measures once the Supreme Court freed them from strict federal oversight of their elections. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she’s not surprised that Southern states have pushed ahead with tough voter identification laws and other measures since the Supreme Court freed them from strict federal oversight of their elections.Ginsburg said in an interview with The Associated Press that Texas’ decision to implement its voter ID law hours after the court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act last month was powerful evidence of an ongoing need to keep states with a history of voting discrimination from making changes in the way they hold elections without getting advance approval from Washington.
“The notion that because the Voting Rights Act had been so tremendously effective we had to stop it didn’t make any sense to me,” Ginsburg said in a wide-ranging interview late Wednesday in her office at the court. “And one really could have predicted what was going to happen.”The 80-year-old justice dissented from the 5-4 decision on the voting law. Ginsburg said in her dissent that discarding the law was “like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”
Just a month removed from the decision, she said, “I didn’t want to be right, but sadly I am.”
Damn, her voice states the truth of this decision…and down here in the South…we are in an awfully wet monsoon.
Roberts relied heavily on another decision from 2009 in which the justices essentially left the law alone while warning Congress about serious problems with the data and urging lawmakers to do something about it. They didn’t.
In that case, Ginsburg joined Roberts and every justice but Clarence Thomas to leave prior approval in place.
Ginsburg said she probably shouldn’t have done that. “I think in the first voting rights case, there was a strong impetus to come down with a unanimous decision with the thought that maybe Congress would do something about it before we had to deal with it again,” she said. “But I suppose with the benefit of hindsight, I might have taken a different view.”
As I said up top, this is one of those articles you need to follow the link to read the rest of the interview, where she discusses affirmative action and other items like Scalia and his vocal position on gay marriage.
The next three articles are dealing with college campuses, and the rape culture mindset. I know that Boston Boomer and Mona have written about this recently, and you have probably already read a couple of the articles but I just thought I’d bring them up again.
From the New York Times: Sex on Campus – She Can Play That Game, Too
At 11 on a weeknight earlier this year, her work finished, a slim, pretty junior at the University of Pennsylvania did what she often does when she has a little free time. She texted her regular hookup — the guy she is sleeping with but not dating. What was he up to? He texted back: Come over. So she did. They watched a little TV, had sex and went to sleep.
Their relationship, she noted, is not about the meeting of two souls.
“We don’t really like each other in person, sober,” she said, adding that “we literally can’t sit down and have coffee.”
Ask her why she hasn’t had a relationship at Penn, and she won’t complain about the death of courtship or men who won’t commit. Instead, she’ll talk about “cost-benefit” analyses and the “low risk and low investment costs” of hooking up.
“I positioned myself in college in such a way that I can’t have a meaningful romantic relationship, because I’m always busy and the people that I am interested in are always busy, too,” she said.
“And I know everyone says, ‘Make time, make time,’ ” said the woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity but agreed to be identified by her middle initial, which is A. “But there are so many other things going on in my life that I find so important that I just, like, can’t make time, and I don’t want to make time.”
That is enough of that.
Here is one response, via The Guardian: End the rape culture at university | Alexandra Brodsky
When someone attempted to rape me my freshman year, I asked my college, Yale University, for help, but instead I was basically advised to keep quiet. I shouldn’t formally report the assault, I was told. Despite my clear and repeated “no”, school administrators cast the whole event as a misunderstanding among friends.
In short, I was told to be a good girl. And for four years, I listened.
Women everywhere are used to being told to accommodate those who wrong us. With family, friends, bosses, and partners, we must always be understanding and flexible, ready to dig deep into our well of second chances and generosity. We must never complain or make trouble.
Our devotion to this image of the good girl particularly infects our responses to survivors of sexual violence. As the media coverage of the Steubenville trial showed, those who seek justice are blamed for overreacting and “ruining the lives” of their rapists. Because of our insistence on the femininity of victims, even male and genderqueer survivors are held to the good girl standard.
And this link here is to a response from earlier this week, and I actually read the article shortly after it was published in the Guardian…so I got to see some of the offensive comments before they were omitted by the Guardian staff. I obviously don’t need to tell you what the jest of the statements were…you already are familiar with that sort of shit talk.
College culture? An alcohol-fueled frenzy of sexual harassment | Raya Jalabi
Frat party in full swing. Photograph: Chuck Savage/Corbis
It’s freshman year. I’m at a new student orientation party at the University of Pennsylvania, wondering what exactly is in my cup. “Jungle juice”, I’m told, as if that should explain things. I make out the words “everclear” and “blackout drunk” over the din of awful house music blasting from the expensive-looking speakers in some fraternity house. I have no idea what’s going on, and neither do many of my fellow classmates, which doesn’t stop them from passing out drunk.
I stayed for an hour or so – enough time to get asked, in the tradition of great cliches, if I were a lesbian, a prude, or a slut. Enough time to see multiple strangers pair off in dark corners, trying and failing to stand up straight.
From expensive bottles of vodka to nonexistent conversation, to black lights and vomit, this was an idea of fun that I hoped wouldn’t cross over to all sectors of campus life – though I eventually found out that it did. Swap out vodka for beer, or cheap nameless grain liquor, fraternity houses for bars or clubs, and this scene was replicated over and over for four years.
For an elite few at Penn, that night was fairly typical, including the confusion felt. A friend I wouldn’t meet for another three years was raped that night, at that party, probably in the room I stood in for all of 60 minutes. That was not too unusual an occurrence either.
There’s been much said about a recent New York Times article on women having sex at American colleges.
“It’s not representative!” “It’s too accurate!” “It’s not news!” “It’s old news!”
Well, this next bit is the part of Jalabi response that I want to highlight…
The reporter chose my alma mater for her exploration of college-age women’s sexuality, and her findings indicate that women were leaning into their careers and opting out of long-term romantic entanglements, for which they didn’t have the time, in favor of fleeting sexual encounters. In short, they were “hooking up”.
I have since graduated, but some of the observations made in Kate Taylor’s article rang an unfortunate bell, one I hear loudly tolling – even 100 miles and two years away from campus. That hook-up culture is now rampant is no surprise to me or anyone else who’s graduated from college in the last 25 years. But women, Taylor tells us, are the driving force behind hooking up in 2013, a product of a generation of women facing “broader opportunities” than ever before.
But this assertion of women’s agency in sexual encounters doesn’t sound quite right. How are we to interpret the fact that, despite their insistence on being sexually liberated, the women Taylor featured wouldn’t let their names (or number of sexual partners) be printed? Evidently, they still feared unwelcome repercussions from their touted sexual liberation.
…sentences such as: “Women said universally that hook-ups could not exist without alcohol, because they were for the most part too uncomfortable to pair off with men they did not know well without being drunk,” or “In general, she said, she thought that guys at Penn controlled the hook-up culture” sound more like the university life I knew.
So-called “hook-up culture” never was about women taking control. Instead, it always seemed to me a by-product of an institutionally destructive “college culture”, one that hurts women and whose effects can still be felt years after graduation.
College culture is a nebulous term, one defined divergently along racial, socio-economic, religious and geographic lines – lines that, on a campus like Penn’s, still hold incredible sway. I’m aware that my experiences are not necessarily representative of 8,000 other undergraduates’, but anecdotally, looking back, I can’t think of a single woman who spoke of exclusively positive experiences on campus.
From my friend who was raped at that “typical” Penn party, to the myriad others who were similarly subjected to sexual violence; to respected professors dismissing shared thoughts with a casual “thanks for that, sweetheart” in a room full of male peers; to grievous double standards when it came to sororities’ and fraternities’ respective rights and privileges; to disillusionment with our female university president’s indifference to women’s efforts on campus; to being labeled a lesbian-prude-slut for not hooking up … every female student had a story, and most of them weren’t pretty.
Through various women’s groups I was involved with on campus, I interacted with hundreds of different women: gay, straight, Catholic, black, poor, wealthy, white and more. And in our conversations, whether structured or informal, we kept coming back to the same issue: women rarely felt “safe” on campus – safe from familial, academic and peer pressures, safe walking home alone from a party at the other end of campus, safe from the dreaded email circular with an unflattering and compromising image, safe from friends’ judgment. Statistically, one in four college women will survive rape or attempted rape. This is the “culture” we should be looking at more closely.
Wow, powerful stuff…go. Read the rest of her article. Now.
In fact, I will take this opportunity to pause a moment…more reads after the jump.
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