Good Morning Sky Dancers!
I want to bring your attention to a TV documentary and a Rolling Stone Exclusive on evidence there was heavy planning on the part of Congressional Republicans in the insurrection on January 6th. I have to teach tonight, get my real ID this afternoon, and this morning a mitigation specialist comes to check out the water damage in my attic. This will be brief.
First, the documentary was shown last night on MSNBC and will be running on Peacock. It basically addresses the failures of Reconstruction after the Civil War and the deep roots of institutional racism in our country. There were compelling interviews with Southern Americans about their experience. There were professors discussing the various failures that led to the Lost Cause and a lot of where we are right now in terms of Black and White America. There were visits to historical–frequently covered up–events throughout our history like the Clinton, MS Race Massacre. There was also a visit to a Civil war museum that lifts up the contributions of black soldiers of the Union Army.
Here’s a basic description via the Chatanooga Free Times Press. “‘Civil War’ documentary, partially filmed in Chattanooga, premieres Sunday on MSNBC.”
A Civil War documentary that includes perspectives from several Chattanooga-area residents will premiere Sunday on MSNBC.
For “The Civil War (or, Who Do We Think We Are),” Emmy-nominated director Rachel Boynton visited classrooms around the nation to see how the war is taught.
Her stop in Chattanooga features Chris Carpenter’s Civil War classes at McCallie School, historian and educator LaFrederick Thirkill, the caretakers of Chattanooga Confederate Cemetery and Chattanooga Connected, a group of community leaders dedicated to intentionally breaking down racial barriers.
Franklin McCallie, a co-founder of Chattanooga Connected, said he’s proud of Boynton’s effort to shed light on “a major thorn in the side of our nation.” The film, he said, should get people talking “rationally and with the hope of healing.”
McCallie was among those who first saw the film in a screening at the Tivoli Theatre earlier this month.
“I feel this film could make a difference,” he said. “She has the liberal side, the very conservative side, and she has shown the depth of feeling of those who have not left the Confederacy behind, who have not left the Civil War behind” more than a century and a half later.
In a review, film critic Matt Zoller Seitz said the movie will be of “particular interest to students who want a lively, thoughtful presentation of basic historical subjects but aren’t going to get it in classrooms where the curriculum is approved by people who are mainly concerned with avoiding discomfort and preserving the status quo.”
This is an interview with the filmmaker.
My next offering is from Rolling Stone. You will want to read this: “EXCLUSIVE: Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated in ‘Dozens’ of Planning Meetings With Members of Congress and White House Staff. Two sources are communicating with House investigators and detailed a stunning series of allegations to Rolling Stone, including a promise of a “blanket pardon” from the Oval Office.” It was written by Hunter Walker who had access to two sources working with the ongoing investigation.
I’ll put the list of seditionists up first.
The two sources, both of whom have been granted anonymity due to the ongoing investigation, describe participating in “dozens” of planning briefings ahead of that day when Trump supporters broke into the Capitol as his election loss to President Joe Biden was being certified.
“I remember Marjorie Taylor Greene specifically,” the organizer says. “I remember talking to probably close to a dozen other members at one point or another or their staffs.”
For the sake of clarity, we will refer to one of the sources as a rally organizer and the other as a planner. Rolling Stone has confirmed that both sources were involved in organizing the main event aimed at objecting to the electoral certification, which took place at the White House Ellipse on Jan. 6. Trump spoke at that rally and encouraged his supporters to march to the Capitol. Some members of the audience at the Ellipse began walking the mile and a half to the Capitol as Trump gave his speech. The barricades were stormed minutes before the former president concluded his remarks.
These two sources also helped plan a series of demonstrations that took place in multiple states around the country in the weeks between the election and the storming of the Capitol. According to these sources, multiple people associated with the March for Trump and Stop the Steal events that took place during this period communicated with members of Congress throughout this process.
Along with Greene, the conspiratorial pro-Trump Republican from Georgia who took office earlier this year, the pair both say the members who participated in these conversations or had top staffers join in included Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.), Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).
“We would talk to Boebert’s team, Cawthorn’s team, Gosar’s team like back to back to back to back,” says the organizer.
It sounds like the chickens are coming home to roost!
In another indication members of Congress may have been involved in planning the protests against the election, Ali Alexander, who helped organize the “Wild Protest,” declared in a since-deleted livestream broadcast that Gosar, Brooks, and Biggs helped him formulate the strategy for that event.
“I was the person who came up with the Jan. 6 idea with Congressman Gosar, Congressman Mo Brooks, and Congressman Andy Biggs,” Alexander said at the time. “We four schemed up on putting maximum pressure on Congress while they were voting so that — who we couldn’t lobby — we could change the hearts and the minds of Republicans who were in that body hearing our loud roar from outside.”
Alexander led Stop the Steal, which was one of the main groups promoting efforts to dispute Trump’s loss. In December, he organized a Stop the Steal event in Phoenix, where Gosar was one the main speakers. At that demonstration, Alexander referred to Gosar as “my captain” and declared “one of the other heroes has been Congressman Andy Biggs.”
The indication is the list of acts leading up to riots and sedition is long and extensive. I think we can safely assume that these planners were likely at the hotel session prior to January 6,
I have one breaking news story from Sudan to add down here. “Sudan coup: Military dissolves civilian government and arrests leaders.” The reporting is via the BBC.
A coup is under way in Sudan, where the military has dissolved civilian rule, arrested political leaders and declared a state of emergency.
Coup leader, Gen Abdel Fattah Burhan, has blamed political infighting.
Protesters have taken to the streets of the capital, Khartoum, and there are reports of gunfire.
Military and civilian leaders have been at odds since long-time ruler Omar al-Bashir was overthrown two years ago and a transitional government set up.
Witnesses say the internet is down and that army and paramilitary troops have been deployed across the city. Khartoum airport is closed, and international flights are suspended.
Some protesters chanted “no to military rule”.
Demonstrator Sawsan Bashir told AFP news agency: “We will not leave the streets until the civilian government is back and the transition is back.”
“We are ready to give our lives for the democratic transition in Sudan,” another protester, Haitham Mohamed said.
So, that’s enough for me today. The news will likely be crazy-go-nuts today as the press secretary of the tv series The West Wing used to say.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
I think its Sunday, the first Sunday of Fall in fact.
The days have melted into a blur for me, they all seem to run together in a Lortab haze of Betadine orange stained gauze and purple cast bandages, the smell of jasmine tea and rubber arm pads of the crutches…the clanking sounds those same crutches make across the oak floor…or the calling “Mama” from my daughter’s room
late at night early, early in the morning. (The Lortab haze being my daughter’s not mine! My haze is due to lack of sleep, LOL.)
Honestly, I don’t know what the hell is going on outside the confines of my house, so the links for this morning are a some I found about Facebook when I had a few minutes to get online.
I don’t know but this first bit of news is crazy: Virginia State Law Prohibited Navy Yard Shooter Aaron Alexis From Buying Ninja Stars How the hell is that even possible?
That link is from Mediate, Tommy Christopher wrote the article and it goes on about whether or not Alexis tried to purchase an AR-15 or not before the mass shooting…but the point I want to highlight is this:
In any case, Mr. Alexis did pass a federal background check, and given the proper ID and lead-time, could have purchased all of the AR-15s and handguns and extended magazines he wanted. However you feel about that, whether it’s a frightening fact of American life, or a shining example of liberty, how does it make sense that Virginia doesn’t ban those weapons, but it does ban the sale and possession of Ninja throwing stars?
If any person sells or barters, or exhibits for sale or for barter, or gives or furnishes, or causes to be sold, bartered, given or furnished, or has in his possession, or under his control, with the intent of selling, bartering, giving or furnishing, any blackjack, brass or metal knucks, any disc of whatever configuration having at least two points or pointed blades which is designed to be thrown or propelled and which may be known as a throwing star or oriental dart, switchblade knife, ballistic knife as defined in § 18.2-307.1, or like weapons, such person is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. The having in one’s possession of any such weapon shall be prima facie evidence, except in the case of a conservator of the peace, of his intent to sell, barter, give or furnish the same.
As far as I can tell, no one has ever been killed by a Ninja star, a task for which they are apparently ill-suited. They did take a brief toll on late Apple CEO Steve Jobs‘ relationship with Japan’s tourism industry, but that’s about it. How is it that we are able to ban a weapon that kills no one, but we are completely unable to regulate weapons that kill tens of thousands each year?
According to the FBI, knives and stabbing weapons are used to kill about five times fewer people each year than guns, none of which appear to be Ninja stars. Why does the Second Amendment not cover Ninja stars? Why are Second Amendment advocates not up in arms about this?
On the bright side, the ban appears to be working. There have been a total of zero mass Ninja-starrings this year.
That is fucked up.
Okay, another link from Mediate. (I’m telling you, these are links I found real quick like!) Matthews Gets in Shoutfest with GOP Rep. Over Birtherism Now, the only reason I am putting this link here is for the picture of the GOP Rep in the “shoutfest,” this is a dude who looks like he should be the punchline to one of those redneck jokes. Seriously. Check this out:
Chris Matthews tried to engage Texas Republican congressman Blake Farenthold in a debate over defunding Obamacare, but as soon as Farenthold noted Ted Cruz‘s presidential aspirations, Matthews dragged the interview off-course to ask if Cruz is qualified, which led to Matthews yelling at Farenthold to just say for the record that President Obama is the legitimately elected leader of the United States.
Matthews said as far as he’s concerned, having an American mother qualifies a person for the presidency, but when Farenthold didn’t reply with a yes or no answer, he asked, “Is this too complicated?” Farenthold answered, “He’s as eligible as Obama is.”
…when Matthews asked about whether Obama’s eligibility, Farenthold refused to give a direct answer. Matthews shouted, “Can’t you project an inch mentally? Just an inch?!” Farenthold refused to say the words “Obama is the legitimately elected president,” saying he wasn’t in Congress to make that determination and that Matthews is just “nit-picking.”
Okay, it is 2013 dude…you must have some money right? I mean ya got free health care, I am sure that includes dental. WTF, get a damn cap for that missing tooth. Or do you find that if you look like your constituents, as well as exude the dumb as dirt mentality, it helps with the polls? If you want to see the video, go ahead.
Sticking with the color Red: University of Alabama confronts racial divide: ‘It’s time to evolve past this’
At the University of Alabama, a turbulent week of allegations of racial discrimination, campus protests and promises of change culminated with at least six minority women accepting bids into traditionally white sororities. Campus groups, however, expressed doubts that changing the sororities would result in progress tackling long-standing racial biases on the southern campus.
School president Judy L Bonner announced the sorority bids in a video posted online on Friday.
“I am confident that we will achieve our objective of a greek system that is inclusive, accessible and welcoming to students of all races and ethnicities,” Bonner said. “We will not tolerate anything less.”
Bonner’s announcement came nearly two weeks after the Crimson White, UA’s student newspaper, reported that at least two black women were barred from sorority recruitment because of their race. With 28% of students involved in greek life – and deep alumni roots infiltrating the exclusive social clubs – sororities and fraternities have a powerful role in day-to-day campus life.
After national news organizations picked up the story, students, faculty and administrators began moving to enact change. Hundreds of students marched on campus this week to protest the segregated sororities.
The Crimson White? The name alone is enough to make you wonder.
Got another article from the Guardian: George Clooney’s satellite spies reveal secrets of Sudan’s bloody army
George Clooney on a visit to the Zamzam refugee camp in north Darfur in 2008. Photograph: Sherren Zorba/AP
Nathaniel Raymond is the first to admit that he has an unusual job description. “I count tanks from space for George Clooney,” said the tall, easygoing Massachusetts native as he sat in a conference room in front of a map of the Sudanese region of South Kordofan.
Close by, pins and ink scrawlings on the map detail the positions of Sudanese army forces and refugee populations in the troubled oil-producing province, where the Sudanese army is carrying out a brutal crackdown.
The wall next to Raymond has a series of satellite images projected on it. At the flick of a mouse, tiny images of tanks and military vehicles hove into view, caught by a satellite hundreds of miles above.
Raymond is director of the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP), which aims to use advanced satellite imagery to monitor potential human rights abuses in Sudan. And it was all Clooney’s idea, turning him from just another Hollywood liberal with a pet cause to a genuine expert and campaigner on Sudan. Together with John Prendergast, another campaigner, Clooney has sneaked repeatedly into the country to document the random bombing of civilians and other atrocities.
After a trip last month to the Nuba mountains, Clooney dodged rockets to return with grisly footage of corpses, children with missing hands and entire villages forced to live in caves. He showed the film to the Senate foreign relations committee in Washington DC – to great praise from the assembled politicians – then got arrested at a protest outside the Sudanese embassy.
Images of Clooney being taken away in handcuffs appeared in newspapers and on blogs around the world. But it is in the day-to-day work of the Satellite Sentinel Project that Clooney’s impact is really being felt. He came up with the idea, and spoke to Google and the satellite company DigitalGlobe to help set it up, and he donates hefty speaking fees to keep it funded. It has been up and running now for 15 months.
Read the rest of that article, please….
The next two links are from the New York Daily News:
Florida ‘Hiccup Girl’ found guilty of first-degree murder, will serve life in prison Remember this girl? Well, she did not even pull the trigger….and this from the same state that gave acquittals to Zimmerman and Anthony.
The verdict and five-day trial was a sad end to a chapter in Mee’s short and sad life. Her attorneys said she suffered from schizophrenia and Tourette’s Syndrome, and a court psychiatrist said Mee’s intelligence was “low normal.”
Mee’s co-defendant, LaRon Raiford, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in August. Lamont Newton, the other co-defendant who was also Mee’s boyfriend at the time of the crime, has not yet gone to trial.
Trevena said his client did not orchestrate the robbery and that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict her. But prosecutors said Mee did set everything up, and used police interviews and a taped jailhouse phone call between Mee and her mother as evidence.
During the call, she told her mother that she did not pull the trigger of the gun that killed Griffin, but that she was charged with murder.
“Because I set everything up,” Mee explained during the call that was played for the jury. “It all went wrong, Mom. It just went downhill.”
I don’t know. It all seems sad, like twisted and manipulated and unjust.
Here is the real reason I went to the Daily News, this story on the moon: NASA’s rotating Moon video reveals never-seen views of celestial body
The dark side of the moon never shined so bright!
NASA pieced together the first-ever video of the moon rotating with mapping data compiled over four years.
“It shows every surface of the moon being full,” NASA lunar geologist Noah Petro told the Daily News. “It’s a physically impossible view of the moon but it’s wonderful.”
It is very cool…and beautiful.
Now just two quick links:
If you’ve ever spent time trying to discuss politics with a Republican you’ve probably noticed that there are several different types of Republicans, all with their own unique debating style. In this article I’m going to attempt to break down the seven types of Republicans, what’s wrong with their views, and how you should debate them. I’ll start with the most intelligent, and work my way down.
Uh….after Intelligent Republicans, Desmond tackles: Fox News and Conservative Talk Radio Republicans, Christian Republicans, Tea Party Republicans, Birther Republicans, Racist Republicans, Extremely Uneducated Republicans.
This last link is something fun. MAPS: What Your State Is Good At, And What It’s Lame At Click the image to see the maps larger!
I think the funniest state on this list is Tennessee…Most Caves….in the excel category and Most Sewer Overflows in the not excel category…yup…they got politicians with some of the biggest mouths and they are full of shit!
Well, that’s it…think of this as an open thread.
One last thing, for Ralph…hope you are doing fine and recovering from your surgery…here is a funny movie you will enjoy while you try to relax.
I love the line…I don’t know what you’re waiting for, her 18th birthday?
Well, after having a good evening, watching a couple of Italian films last night, Life is Beautiful and Miracle on Madonna Street, I have a few links for you this morning.
The New York Post has an article about the battles being fought in Africa: A Trail of Bullet Casings Leads From Africa’s Wars to Iran
The first clues appeared in Kenya, Uganda and what is now South Sudan. A British arms researcher surveying ammunition used by government forces and civilian militias in 2006 found Kalashnikov rifle cartridges he had not seen before. The ammunition bore no factory code, suggesting that its manufacturer hoped to avoid detection.
Within two years other researchers were finding identical cartridges circulating through the ethnic violence in Darfur. Similar ammunition then turned up in 2009 in a stadium in Conakry, Guinea, where soldiers had fired on antigovernment protesters, killing more than 150.
For six years, a group of independent arms-trafficking researchers worked to pin down the source of the mystery cartridges. Exchanging information from four continents, they concluded that someone had been quietly funneling rifle and machine-gun ammunition into regions of protracted conflict, and had managed to elude exposure for years. Their only goal was to solve the mystery, not implicate any specific nation.
When the investigators’ breakthrough came, it carried a surprise. The manufacturer was not one of Africa’s usual suspects. It was Iran.
Read the rest at the link, it is a long article.
In other news, this time out of Brazil: Fast New Test Could Find Leprosy Before Damage Is Lasting
A simple, fast and inexpensive new test for leprosy offers hope that, even in the poorest countries, victims can be found and cured before they become permanently disabled or disfigured like the shunned lepers of yore.
American researchers developed the test, and Brazil’s drug-regulatory agency registered it last month. A Brazilian diagnostics company, OrangeLife, will manufacture it on the understanding that the price will be $1 or less.
“This will bring leprosy management out of the Dark Ages,” said Dr. William Levis, who has treated leprosy patients at a Bellevue Hospital outpatient clinic for 30 years.
Even more important, he said, it is expected to detect infections as much as a year before symptoms appear. And the earlier treatment begins, the better the outcome. Leprosy is caused by a bacterium, Mycobacterium leprae, related to the one that causes tuberculosis, but reproducing so slowly that symptoms often take seven years to appear.
This new test requires just a drop of blood and the results are given after only ten minutes.
The disease has historically been hard to diagnose, despite the popular, but inaccurate, image of fingers and toes dropping off victims. As the bacteria kill nerves, muscles atrophy and those digits curl into claws. After disuse and repeated injuries, the body reacts protectively by absorbing the bone calcium in the bones, shrinking the digits.
For centuries, some observant doctors have noticed early signs: the numb skin patches, missing eyebrows, drooping earlobes, bulging neck nerves, the flat “lion face” caused by nasal cartilage dissolving.
Since nothing could be done for them before the age of antibiotics, victims lost the use of their hands and had to beg. Some also went blind as the blinking muscles degenerated and their eyes dried out. In the Middle Ages, some towns banned lepers, while others required them to ring bells to warn of their approach. Religious charities created “leper colonies.”
And they still exist, even in the United States. A few elderly residents have chosen to stay on in Carville, La., and Kalaupapa, Hawaii, despite having been cured. Several thousand live at one in northeast Brazil, said John S. Spencer, a leprosy researcher at Colorado State University who has worked there. “People say things like ‘People outside won’t understand what’s wrong with my face,’ ” he said.
Nowadays, he said, most patients are cured before their faces are severely disfigured. Still, he said, he had read a survey in which health experts asked Brazilians whether they would rather have the human immunodeficiency virus or leprosy. Most chose H.I.V. — even though leprosy does not kill, can be cured, and does not make a victim risky to have sex with. “The stigma is that strong,” he said.
Wow. Dr Lewis says he hopes the Brazilian test becomes available in the US so he can test the families of his patients. It takes many antibiotics given over 6 months to a year to cure the disease…these new test provide doctors with more time to could help diagnosis leprosy before permanent nerve damage is done.
I guess my PAD is getting the best of me, I just don’t have the energy to give you more than these…and instead of posting links to more of the same news, give a look at some of the artsy reads below.
With the Academy Awards later tonight, I have two links about film and films.
Hollywood is getting ready to hand out the industry’s most prestigious film awards: the Oscars.
Among the contenders for best documentary is a film directed by an Israeli, and another by a Palestinian.
Both the Israeli The Gatekeepers and Palestinian 5 Broken Cameras tell the same story, but from two quite different perspectives.
Video at the link, and…
Digital is taking over Hollywood, but celluloid’s fans intend to fight on
They are some of the most powerful people in one of the most powerful entertainment industries in the world. And when Hollywood’s grandest gather at tonight’s Oscars there will be no end of smiles and handshakes. But they are also fans, and like all fans, they are given to apparently arcane squabbles. The latest is whether films should be shot on, well, film.
Some of the most successful directors, such as James Cameron and George Lucas, are so obsessed with having the best special effects that they have spent millions embracing computer-generated imagery and abandoned 35mm film. Others, such as Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan, are wedded to traditional celluloid, which is becoming the film equivalent of the vinyl record.
Epics such as Les Misérables and Lincoln – both shot on 35mm – and digital creations such as Life of Pi have all made millions at the box office. While film buffs may talk about the “feel” of film, with all its subtleties, the reality is that pixilated perfection is winning – the whirring of 35mm film projectors silenced by the hum of digital machines.
Just take a look at the films nominated for best picture:
Although many love a sharp, digital picture with high definition, others prefer something a bit less “real”. The split among directors is highlighted in the nominations for Best Picture. Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Silver Linings Playbook and Lincoln were shot on film. While Argo, Amour, Life of Pi and Zero Dark Thirty were shot on digital. As was The Hobbit nominated in three technical Oscar categories.
David O Russell, director of Silver Linings Playbook, said: “Maybe I’m old-fashioned, maybe I’m superstitious, maybe I’m romantic – I love film and it has a magic quality, it has a warmth. I may use digital cameras in a pinch because they are small and fast but I like film for its humaneness.” He is one of a number of directors determined to continue shooting on 35mm. Another is Nolan, who made the Dark Knight trilogy: “I am now constantly asked to justify why I want to shoot a film on film,” he said. Nolan likens digital to an “amazing” cookie until you realise “this is some horrible chemical crap that’s giving you this bad illusion that fools you at first.”
You can read more about what actors, cinematographers and directors think about digital vs film at the link up top. I tend to agree with the folks who love film…and think that digital sucks.
Another archaic form of technology that gets lost in this day in age is the typewriter. Take this woman’s use of the typewriter:
As romantic as the idea of working on a typewriter now seems, in reality they’re rather clunky and temperamental things. Writing with one would probably take us an age – and if we made a mistake? Well, forget it.
So imagine trying to draw with one.
London based artist Keira Rathbone, originally from Dorset, does exactly that; clustering together marks made by letters, numbers and symbols, to make brilliant, one-off images.
The English artist clusters letters, numbers and symbols from a typewriter keyboard to composite images; from portraits of friends and celebrities to landscapes and still life. A closer look at what looks like a sketch of Wimborne Minster, a church in East Dorset, England, reveals swirls of ampersands and the ticks of quotations marks.
Watch the video below to see the artist at work, and click through the slideshow to see examples of her typewriter art. Visit keirarathbone.com for more examples of her work.
Be sure to take a look at the pictures, Rathone’s art is impressive…
Another obsolete form of technology is shown below…Keypunch Orchestra: 1937 | Shorpy Historical Photo Archive
June 1937. “Baltimore, Maryland. For every Social Security account number issued an ’employee master card’ is made in the Social Security board records office. Testifying data, given on the application blank form SS-5, is transferred to this master card in the form of upended quadrangular holes, punched by key punch machines, which have a keyboard like a typewriter. Each key struck by an operator causes a hole to be punched in the card. The position of a hole determines the letter or number other machines will reproduce from the master card. From this master card is made an actuarial card, to be used later for statistical purposes. The master card also is used in other machines which sort them numerically, according to account numbers, alphabetically according to the name code, translate the holes into numbers and letters, and print the data on individual ledger sheets, indexes, registry of accounts and other uses. The photograph above shows records office workers punching master cards on key punch machines.” Whew. Longest caption ever? Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative.
That is all I have for you this morning. Hope you all enjoy your Sunday, see ya later on tonight…should be quite a show.
So what are you all reading and blogging about today?
Then last night we had a candlelight vigil for my friend Derrick, who was killed last year. That was both upsetting and emotional…
So I’m writing this post blind, and hope that these links are not repeats for ya.
The latest news out of Chicago: Thousands Gather in Support of Chicago Teachers
the first teacher strike this city has seen in 25 years, a rally — not quite victory party, not quite vitriolic protest — was roaring just miles away.
Thousands of people, the largest celebration of union force since the strike began nearly a week ago, shook homemade protest signs in the air and wore the signature red T-shirts of the Chicago Teachers Union as they descended on Union Park, just west of downtown. The city skyline rose behind a stage from which a lineup of politicians, teachers, students and activists spoke about union strength and the need for better school conditions in the city.
They may be close to an agreement, or at least getting down to the nitty gritty, according to the Chicago Tribune: Teacher rally as lawyers labor over details
Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis becomes emotional Saturday as she greets supporters at a rally at Union Park. (Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune / September 15, 2012)
Thousands of teachers from Chicago and beyond rallied at a Near West Side park Saturday as lawyers labored into the night at a Loop office to turn a framework for a new contract into finer points that can become a deal.
Parents can expect to wait until Sunday afternoon or later to find out whether their children will return to class Monday morning after missing a week of school because of the Chicago Teachers Union strike. Hundreds of union leaders are supposed to meet Sunday for a potential vote that could end the walkout.
While attorneys talked terms in private, the Saturday afternoon rally was filled with very public symbolism. Out-of-state teachers traveled to Union Park in solidarity with a city teachers union that has attracted national attention as organized labor looks for lessons in a fight with cash-strapped government.
After last night’s vigil, we went to eat at one of the local chicken joints…and Fox news was blazing away on the big screens. By the looks of all those “Fox News alerts” something big was going on. Via HuffPo US orders some diplomats out of Sudan, Tunisia
The State Department on Saturday ordered the departure of all family members and non-essential U.S. government personnel from its embassies in Sudan and Tunisia and warned U.S. citizens against any travel to the two countries due to security concerns over rising anti-American violence.
“Given the security situation in Tunis and Khartoum, the State Department has ordered the departure of all family members and non-emergency personnel from both posts, and issued parallel travel warnings to American citizens,” said department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
In Tunisia, the warning advised Americans that the international airport in Tunis is open and encouraged all U.S. citizens to depart on commercial flights. It said Americans who chose to remain in Tunisia should use extreme caution and avoid demonstrations. On Friday, protesters climbed the walls into the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, torching cars in the parking lot, trashing the entrance building and setting fire to a gym and a neighboring American school that is now unusable.
In Sudan, the warning said that while the Sudanese government has taken steps to limit the activities of terrorist groups, some remain and have threatened to attack Western interests. The terrorist threat level remains “critical” throughout Sudan, the department said. It noted that U.S. officials are already required to travel in armored vehicles and to get permission to travel outside Khartoum, where crowds torched part of the German Embassy and tried to storm the U.S. Embassy on Friday.
They are reporting some holdup in deploying the Marines because of the Sudan Government.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton worked the phones on Saturday, calling top officials from seven countries to discuss the situation following a wave of protest and violence over an anti-Muslim film that has swept across the Middle East and elsewhere in recent days. An obscure, amateurish movie called “Innocence of Muslims” that depicts Muhammad as a fraud, a womanizer and a pedophile sparked the outrage.
I will post some updates in the comments below, it seems things are not cooling off any time soon.
The rest of today’s links will be on the human interest side. Mars has been in the news a lot this week, check it out, from Geekosystem:
While Curiosity has been getting a lot of well-deserved attention lately, it’s worth remembering that everyone’s favorite rover isn’t the only one doing cool stuff with Mars. When it’s not getting some glamour shots of its ground-based cousin, the Mars Reconaissance Orbiter (MRO) is still finding out all sorts of neat things about our nearest sibling in the solar system, like confirming the suspicion that Mars has instances in which it snows dry ice — carbon dioxide that has frozen at temperatures below -193 degrees Fahrenheit.
The super-cold snowfall takes place at the Martian poles, where solid dry ice has been known to exist for some time. It has never been observed as falling snow, though, so its origins, though suspected, remained uncertain. Not anymore, though. Analysis of clouds of CO2 imaged by the MRO in the Martian winter of 2006-2007 demonstrates that in addition to familiar, hydrogen dioxide snow, which was seen on the planet in 2008 by the Phoenix lander, the red planet gets snowstorms of frozen carbon dioxide.
Also, from Mars, this time from the Opportunity Rover:
The above picture may not look like much, but it could be a huge deal. The photograph, taken by the Opportunity Rover at Mars’ Cape York site, shows iron spherules that researchers commonly refer to as “blueberries.” Similar formations are found here on Earth. The catch is that, here, they are formed with help from microbial organisms, suggesting that these unassuming iron marbles could be a telltale sign of ancient life on the red planet.
Typically just a couple millimeters across, iron blueberries are a pretty standard part of the Martian landscape, found on the ground of the Cape York site where Opportunity is doing its research or embedded in rock. They bear a distinct resemblance to the “Moqui marbles” found around the American southwest. Ranging in size rom BB pellets to cannonballs, Moqui marbles are not unlike geological M&Ms, consisting of a thin iron shell filled will sand.
A study published earlier this month in the journal Geology found strong evidence that the marbles are not a purely geological oddity, but were formed with an assist from microbes. That finding is a strong suggestion that the Moqui marbles’ Martian cousins may be a good candidate for indicators that Mars once sustained microbial life.
It looks like coral to me. 😉
This next history, archeology, science link is really interesting…King Tut Death: Epilepsy Killed Boy King Tutankhamun, New Theory Suggests Wow, as someone who suffers from epilepsy, it is strange to see how they have developed this new theory.
A British surgeon is touting a new theory regarding what killed King Tut, the Egyptian pharaoh who died at 19 and whose life and death have fascinated the public since his tomb was discovered in 1922.
People have attributed the cause of death to murder, a fall from a chariot that led to a fractured leg and even a hippopotamus attack. But according to Hutan Ashrafian, a surgeon at Imperial College London, Tut suffered from a hereditary form of epilepsy, the Washington Post reports.
Ashrafian said Tut’s supposed feminine features — the king has been depicted in statues and renderings as having had breasts and wide hips — are signs that he had a form of epilepsy that affects the temporal lobe, which is known to be involved with hormone release. The disease might be to blame for Tut’s death in addition to the deaths of several of his predecessors who died at young ages, Ashrafian claims.
Ashrafian also points to King Tut’s broken thigh bone, which he argues may have come from a fall during a seizure. The religious hallucinations Tut and his predecessors reportedly experienced were further evidence of the disease, Ashrafian told the Post, citing that seizures starting in the temporal lobe can result in such visions after sunlight exposure. The doctor reportedly came to these conclusions after reviewing family history of the king.
DNA studies have show that Tut suffered from malaria and a bone disorder that comes from inbreeding. (I could make a comment out Banjoville, but I won’t.)
Since the chests of both Tut and his father were missing, the researchers couldn’t definitively say whether or not Tut and his father had feminine features, which could suggest the presence of a genetic disorder.
However, the scientists noted that the mummies didn’t have signs of gynecomastia or Marfan syndrome, conditions that would result in the development of breasts in males. Some researchers theorized that representations of Tut and his father with breasts could reflect the belief that gods were androgynous.
According to Discovery News, however, German researchers later disputed the conclusions, instead suggesting that abnormalities in Tut’s foot were indicative of sickle-cell disease.
In 2005, researchers ruled out the murder theory after conducting CAT scans. They concluded that a bone fragment found Tut’s skull was from the mummification process rather than a blow to the head.
With the conclusion of that article I have to post this:
Yes, it is a link to Steve Martin’s performance on SNL back in the seventies….
On to another cool dude, this time he is not wearing “jammies” he is sporting a bow tie, I am talking of course about Dr. Who…this American Prospect article by Amanda Marcotte discusses women on the new Dr. Who series: Bowties Are Cool, but So Are Kickass Female Characters
(AP Photo/ Donald Traill)
Actors Matt Smith and Karen Gillian are seen on location filming “Doctor Who” in New York on Wednesday, April 11, 2012.
For fans of the BBC’s reboot of the long-running sci-fi series Doctor Who, the beginning of season seven this September has a lot on offer so far: The Doctor in full badass hero form, a new potential sexy genius Companion, dinosaurs on spaceships, and Daleks, the villains that have been fan favorites since nearly the beginning of the series.
I wasn’t so crazy about the last remake, that doctor was too good looking and not “geeky” enough. I guess that is why I like the BBC’s latest version. But as Marcotte points out, the role of women on the show is stereotypical female. The show is getting pushed into a new direction from Steven Moffat who took over the show this season.
has doubled down on tinkering with the show to make it more appealing to mainstream audiences. To do so, he decided to turn down the volume on sci-fi cheese and inject more story lines about love, family, and romance. While this idea appeals in the abstract to many feminists who want the world of sci-fi and fantasy to stop being so decidedly dudely, many feminists have strong objections to how Moffat went about it. His strategy was to take the Doctor’s new companion, a character role on the show that is traditionally all about wide-eyed curiosity and boundless courage, and turn her story line into one about getting married and having babies.
Ever since Amy Pond first set foot onscreen, feminist fans have complained that Moffat created a fun character, gave the role to off-the-charts charming actress Karen Gillan, and then turned her into a passive object whose main job is to be married off to her simpering boyfriend Rory Williams. To make it worse, the relationship fits neatly into what feminists have deemed the “nice guy” narrative: That if a man hangs in long enough and shows enough devotion, a woman is pretty much obliged to be with him, even if her heart isn’t in it. Last year, Sady Doyle wrote the definitive piece detailing feminist objections to any and all stories about the Pond marriage:
The moment the Doctor found out about Rory, the importance of time-traveling adventures decreased radically. Instead, the Doctor became a matchmaker and alien fairy godmother, single-mindedly devoted to making sure that Amy overcame her ambivalence about Rory and married him straight away. He referred to this process as “getting [Amy] sorted out.” From henceforth, both the Doctor and the show have been cramming every bony, whiny inch of Rory down our throats, in a doomed attempt to convince us that he is awesome.
Read the rest if you are a Dr. fan…or not. There needs to be some more kickass roles out there for women, obviously…no question about that, but I think you may find Marcotte’s take on the new female character interesting.
Finally, I hate spiders and snakes: Alien Snakes Help Spiders Overrun Guam
Yuk, this island is full of both!
he jungles of Guam have up to 40 times more spiders than do the forested areas of nearby Pacific islands thanks in part to the brown tree snake, according to a study published this week in the journal PLoS One.
The bird-devouring snake from northern Australia and nearby islands was introduced to Guam in the 1940s. The ravenous reptile became the dominant predator; bird numbers plummeted. By the 1980s, 10 of 12 native bird species had been wiped out, and the last two survive only in small areas, protected by intense snake-trapping.
Small-scale experiments show that areas without birds have more spiders – which makes sense, because birds eat spiders and the insects upon which spiders feed. But the sheer numbers of spiders found in Guam’s jungles were much greater than predicted by these small studies, suggesting the removal of birds from an entire forest can have unforeseen — and creepy — effects.
You can guess what those are, yes?
Study author Haldre Rogers, a researcher at Rice University in Houston, counted spiders throughout Guam’s jungles by counting spider webs (which correlate with spider population and are commonly used as a stand-in measurement).
The difference between the number of spiders Rogers and her colleagues counted on Guam and three nearby islands that still have birds “was far more dramatic than what any small-scale experiments had previously found,” she said in a statement from Rice.
“Anytime you have a reduction in insectivorous birds, the system will probably respond with an increase in spiders,” Rogers said. And she thinks this may be true elsewhere. “With insectivorous birds in decline in many places in the world, I suspect there has been a concurrent increase in spiders.”
That creeps me out, but it does lead me to the title of today’s post.
So y’all have a wonderful day, and please share what you are reading and thinking about this morning.
Good evening y’all, I got some good stuff for you today…with all the debt ceiling talk going on…I am going to highlight some news you may have missed.
Okay, first things first…check out this narrative of a college student and the problems she is having now that Planned Parenthood in her state has been defunded. The State War On Planned Parenthood Heats Up
Martel, who is uninsured and makes less than $1000 a month at her part-time job, said she can’t afford to go to a regular gynecologist to get her prescription adjusted, so she asked her new Indianapolis Planned Parenthood clinic about their sliding-pay scale for low-income patients this past June.
The clinic told Martel she would have to pay full price to meet with a physician because they had just been defunded by the state government, so she decided to wait until she returned to her home-state New Hampshire last week to have a doctor’s appointment. Not only had Planned Parenthood been defunded there as well, she found out, but their license to dispense birth control and antibiotics had also been taken away.
“I was shocked to learn that they were no longer able to dispense medication on-site, and enraged when I realized this meant that I would have to pay triple the cost to get it filled at a pharmacy,” she told HuffPost in an email.
Martel had paid $12 for a month’s worth of birth control pills at Planned Parenthood. She now has to pay $33 a month at the regular pharmacy, which she said really starts to add up.
Hey, going from 12 bucks to 33 bucks a month can be a difficult thing to deal with, especially if you are living on Raman noodles and peanut butter.
We all know who is making this war on women…but here is a good quote from a Connecticut Democrat Representative Rosa DeLauro.
GOP lawmakers in four states so far — Indiana, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Kansas — have defunded Planned Parenthood in their 2011 legislative sessions because some of the organization’s clinics provide abortions. A council of five men in New Hampshire voted to stop the flow of Title X family planning funds to Planned Parenthood and cancel a state contract that allowed it to dispense low-cost birth control and antibiotics on site. Texas passed a bill that puts Planned Parenthood at the bottom of the priority list for state funds, and an Ohio lawmaker floated a “Dear Colleague” letter on Wednesday announcing his intention to defund the health provider.
“The real purpose here, as I’ve come to view it, is to impose a traditional view of a women’s role,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) told HuffPost. “Republicans don’t really care what the benefits of Title X funding are in terms of women’s health, so women’s health is held hostage. Planned Parenthood can prevent 4,000 women a year from dying of cervical cancer with screenings and vaccines, but that is not of interest to them because of a personal and philosophical agenda.”
Damn straight! Now on to crimes against humanity. Attacks in Sudan Could Amount to War Crimes, U.N. Report Says – NYTimes.com
An unpublished report from the United Nations peacekeeping force in southern Sudan gives details of violence that has erupted in an important border state, including widespread aerial bombardments that kill civilians, executions, possible mass graves and attacks on churches.
The report emerged as the newly minted Republic of South Sudan, which officially seceded from the northern part of the country on July 9, was admitted to the United Nations on Thursday. Its designated ambassador, Ezekiel Gatkuoth, broke out a few jubilant dance moves as the new country’s striped flag, with its distinctive yellow star, rose alongside those of the other 192 member states.
What is upsetting here is that it appears certain ethnic/religious groups of people are being targeted.
Yet the United Nations report suggests that in its effort to stamp out any lingering rebellion in the state, South Kordofan, which borders South Sudan but will remain entirely in the territory of Sudan, the northern government based in Khartoum has carried out widespread human rights violations that could amount to war crimes.
Much of the violence is focused on the Nuba people, a mostly Christian minority that fought alongside the south during many of the decades of its 50-year independence struggle.
I am still working my way through the book Dancing in the Glory of Monsters, by Jason K. Stearns, and I have to say that targeting a group of people because of their ethnic or religious background seems to be a common practice in Africa. (Actually all over the world, but you all know that already.) The thing about this kind of violent discrimination is that it is supported and enforced by the military…who train young children soldiers (ages 11 or 12 and up) to kill and rape these people as if it was second nature. The book continues to show in interviews how natural and matter of fact many of these former soldiers from Rwanda and Congo discuss the violence they committed.
The latest on the News Corp hacking…FBI Launches Investigation Into News Corp. 9/11 Hacking Allegations | Reuters
The Federal Bureau of Investigation opened a preliminary investigation Thursday regarding allegations that News Corp. journalists attempted to hack the phones of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal are reporting.
The decision comes a day after Rep. Peter T. King, a Republican from New York, sent a letter to FBI director Robert Mueller insisting the bureau open such an investigation. The FBI told TheWrap its policy is to neither confirm nor deny reports of investigations.
I think the shit is really hitting the fan for Murdock over in Great Britain…
Just two more links for you this evening.
First the EPA got kicked in the ass today…Steve Fleischli: House Votes to Roll Back Clean Water Act
In a 239 to 184 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives voted today to roll back key provisions of the federal Clean Water Act by passing H.R. 2018, formally known as the “Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011.” We call it the “Dirty Water Act.”
As my colleagues and I have pointed out (here, here and here), this bill creates disastrous consequences for water quality across the country. “Shortsighted” and “reckless” are words that immediately come to mind. As EPA has warned, H.R. 2018 “overturn[s] almost 40 years of federal legislation by preventing EPA from protecting public health and water quality.”
In essence, the bill takes the “federal” out of the federal Clean Water Act by allowing states to veto EPA water quality decisions even when a waterway is severely polluted. The bill also limits EPA’s ability to effectively make improvements to state water quality standards to deal with modern pollution challenges (like toxic pollutants). By hamstringing EPA in these ways, H.R. 2018 removes a national safety net that guarantees everyone in this country a minimum level of water quality protection no matter where you live.
So, all you folks that live in places where the EPA has found high concentrations of toxic crap in your water, take notice. Honestly, these GOP politicians want to do the population in. Can you guess who is usually more affected by polluted toxic chemicals in water? Children are always more susceptible because as they grow they covert these toxins in a different and more dangerous way then grown adults. But kids are worthless to these people.
And, on to another worthless creature. I love this picture, he looks like my English Bulldog…and what a sceptical expression in those little eyes. The Maddow Blog – Manatee mayhem: This aggression will not stand!
Just look at him. Roaming OUR waters like he owns the place. Twelve hundred pounds of soft, smug entitlement. Manatees. Face it, it’s us …or them.
Luckily, some tea partiers in Florida are making a stand against these freeloading punks. Reports the St. Petersburg Times:
“A Citrus County tea party group has announced that it’s fighting new restrictions on boating and other human activities in Kings Bay that have been proposed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”
Fumed Edna Mattos, 63, leader of the Citrus County Tea Party Patriots, “We cannot elevate nature above people, That’s against the Bible and the Bill of Rights.”
Hell yeah, these manatees are coming right for us, we got to protect ourselves against these ferocious monsters.
And before any bleeding hearts start whining, oh, but manatees are endangered, here are five solid reasons to shut down this sea cow scurge, stat!
- Technically manatees are illegals living off the grid. Just wait, they’ll want to vote soon.
- They’re totally nude. Get a caftan, dude, that’s half a ton of wrinkly wrong right there.
- As for their swimming, you say slow, I say passive aggressive. They can swim 50 miles an hour…if they WANTED to. Tick tock, tick tock!!
- Thomas Jefferson had a speedboat, and trust me, manatees back then got the hell out of HIS way.
- Manatees have no natural enemies. News flash, genius, you’ve got some now!
That’s it for me, y’all have a good evening.