Wednesday Hump Day Cartoons: A Fleeing Humanity 

 

That vintage cartoon panel sure would have made me laugh a year ago…I would have used it in one of my cartoon mash-ups, depicting the populous fleeing a GOP debate. Now I can only think how prophetic that little drawn rectangle frame could be. If I had a way, I’d be gone. Wouldn’t you?

So, soon Comey is supposed to come out and speak.

 

Before I get to the political cartoons, let me put a couple more tweets here:

Below is the copy of that above link, via TwitLonger:

TwitLonger — When you talk too much for Twitter

 

Now the cartoons.

The one thing I love about the cartoonist Pat Bagley, if you follow his twitter…he will post many comments and statements aside from his wonderful cartoons.

Here is a link to the past 10 cartoons by Pat Bagley:

 

Follow him.

Cartoons continued:

 

 

That’s all, because it is 1pm…go time?

 


Friday Reads: At Last

Good Afternoon!

I would like to say that the primary season is totally over and that we can move on to more important things like destroying Donald Trump’s chances for getting near the White House but, not so fast.  Bernie Sanders just will not concede to Hillary Clinton.  The media opened up a a window for him to “address his supporters” hoping he’d go quietly into that great night.  Once again, we got his stump speech.  There was one big difference.  The media cut him off after it was clear it was the same old stuff and the same old Bernie.  He didn’t drop out but the media dropped him.  THUD!

In his 30-minute speech live-streamed to his supporters and also shown on cable news channels, Sanders slammed Democratic leadership but said defeating Donald Trump in November was his top concern. The senator also said he would be announcing how he would be participating in the general election “at some point very soon.” This marked the point at which the news nets began to tune out.

The Democratic Party’s convention will be held in Philadelphia from July 25-28. The Obama- and Biden-endorsed Clinton is expected on the first ballot to be the first woman nominated by a major American party for President.

Sanders’ speech comes on a day that saw the President and Vice-President in Orlando meeting with victims of the fatal shooting at the Pulse nightclub saw 49 people killed. The speech also comes as the NBA Finals gets down to the near-wire with the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers facing off in what could be a clinching Game 6 for the defending champions.

The Sanders speech was short for him, and he reiterated the issues his campaign has long been focused on and urged supporters to keep fighting until the convention.

Clinton has been the presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee since winning the California primary on June 7. At the time, Sanders vowed to keep campaigning to force a contested convention. As part of that, the Vermont senator played hard to voters in Washington, D.C. in advance of the final Democratic primary held there Tuesday, coming out in support of statehood for the U.S. capital. Clinton still decisively won the D.C. primary.

figure-7At last, the bloom is off the rose.  I’d like to share this Harvard study with you that was released this week by the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy.  It basically proves what we’ve known all along.  The angry white dudes were beloved by the media.  They picked on the girl.

A new report from Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy analyzes news coverage of the 2016 presidential candidates in the year leading up to the primaries. This crucial period, labeled “the invisible primary” by political scientists, is when candidates try to lay the groundwork for a winning campaign—with media exposure often playing a make or break role.

The report shows that during the year 2015, major news outlets covered Donald Trump in a way that was unusual given his low initial polling numbers—a high volume of media coverage preceded Trump’s rise in the polls. Trump’s coverage was positive in tone—he received far more “good press” than “bad press.” The volume and tone of the coverage helped propel Trump to the top of Republican polls.

The Democratic race in 2015 received less than half the coverage of the Republican race. Bernie Sanders’ campaign was largely ignored in the early months but, as it began to get coverage, it was overwhelmingly positive in tone. Sanders’ coverage in 2015 was the most favorable of any of the top candidates, Republican or Democratic. For her part, Hillary Clinton had by far the most negative coverage of any candidate. In 11 of the 12 months, her “bad news” outpaced her “good news,” usually by a wide margin, contributing to the increase in her unfavorable poll ratings in 2015.

The Shorenstein Center study is based on an analysis of thousands of news statements by CBS, Fox, the Los Angeles Times, NBC, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. The study’s data were provided by Media Tenor, a firm that specializes in the content analysis of news coverage.

The study has a lot of interesting bits of wonky data and some good analysis.  Here’s one covered in the conclusion.figure-2

The invisible primary is the stage of the campaign where journalists have the most latitude in deciding what and who to cover. It’s also the stage where the press forges its “metanarratives”—its dominant personal narratives of the leading contenders. The term was devised by former journalists Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel to describe what they saw as the tendency of reporters in the 2000 campaign to portray the party nominees in simplified terms—“Bush is dumb,” “Gore is a liar.” They deplored the tendency, arguing that, once a metanarrative is in place, it’s hard for journalists to argue to the contrary and equally hard for them not to play up trivial developments that align with the stereotype.[43]

Even if metanarratives are not as self-fulfilling as Kovach and Rosenstiel suggest, there is no question that journalists create and apply them as a shorthand way to describe presidential candidates. In 2008, for example, journalists early on embraced the idea that Barack Obama represented hope and change and could deliver it through his charismatic leadership and communication skill.[44] It was a narrative that carried all the way to the November election.

Whether the metanarratives that emerged during the 2016 invisible primary will persist is a yet unanswered question but the outlines of these early narratives was unmistakable. Trump was the shoot-from-the-lip bully, given to braggadocio and insulting and outrageous comments. Yet, he also had a finger on the anger felt by many middle- and lower-class white voters. As regards Clinton, she was the candidate best prepared for the presidency as a result of her experience and detailed knowledge of policy issues. But this positive metanarrative competed with more frequently employed negative ones—that she was difficult to like, overly calculating, and hard to trust. As for Sanders, the storyline was that he means what he says—that he speaks, not from what the polls say is expedient, but from what he believes.

The candidates’ metanarratives, along with the contours of the news media’s 2016 election coverage, will be the subject of subsequent Shorenstein Center reports.

Notice the graphic showing Trump’s positive coverage by the media including WAPO which Trump says covered him unfavorably right before he removed their credentials.  Even Paul Ryan thought that was an over the top reaction.gala14-art-bok-NEW-cropped-200x165

In a news conference Thursday morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was asked about presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s move to deny press credentials to The Post. His immediate answer was unspectacular: “Don’t think I’ve ever heard about it before. I think that’s a new one. I don’t know a whole lot about it. I hope and assume this will get worked out.”

Then he did something that tells us what he really thinks about Trump and The Post. “Who’s with The Post here, by the way? Is [Mike] DeBonis here? [Paul] Kane’s here. Okay, last question.”

DeBonis proceeded to press Ryan on . . . Donald Trump: “This morning, Mr. Speaker, you rolled out your plan to . . . rein in executive power. Mr. Trump yesterday said this, addressing congressional leaders like yourself — ‘Be quiet. Just please be quiet. Don’t talk.’ What is your reaction to that and . . . how do you have any confidence that this is a guy who’s gonna have respect for separation of powers.”

“You can’t make this up sometimes,” responded Ryan, in part. He left the podium after riffing on the importance of “government by consent” and advising the press corps to call their fathers this weekend.

Point made: Ryan isn’t blacklisting The Post or any other media outlets. Since Trump clinched his status as presumptive nominee, his relationship with the House speaker has seesawed. For weeks, Ryan held off on endorsing Trump, only to declare that he’d vote for the longtime real-estate mogul. Following Trump’s comments doubting the ability of federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel — born in Indiana and of Mexican heritage — to adjudicate lawsuits affecting Trump University, Ryan blasted away, saying Trump had made the “textbook definition of a racist comment,” while still affirming his support of Trump over Hillary Clinton. Now we have Ryan repudiating Trump on The Post thing, not with his words, but with his actions.

The moment on Capitol Hill provides a good opportunity to check in on how Trump’s action against The Post is working. As the Trump campaign made clear on its website: “We no longer feel compelled to work with a publication which has put its need for ‘clicks’ above journalistic integrity.” That meant that the Trump people had, in effect, pulled the newspaper’s rally badge

vox-media-hillaryThe role of the media in this election has been as perplexing as the look on their faces and the words from the keyboards over the last year.  We’ve got a serial liar as a major party candidate that no one even took seriously last year. We’ve got another one that has lost by every meaning of the word and will not concede.  We’ve got right wing conspiracy theories flying around in the main stream press as if they’re as serious as our real issues.  Here’s some further analysis by Carter Maness.

Though 28 percent of Clinton’s coverage was about issues, 84 percent of those stories were negative in tone. To compare, Trump only notched 12 percent on issues, with 43 percent negative in tone. That’s much heavier accountability for the Democratic nominee in a race that received less than half the coverage of the Republican contest. But, for Clinton, it’s easy to see the negative trend reversing as we enter the general election.

The tide may be shifting as the campaign focuses on Clinton vs. Trump and she takes advantage of the focus and the contrast to strike a more ‘presidential’ tone,” said Frank Sesno, director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University. “If the recent Bloomberg poll is substantiated elsewhere, the narrative will likely shift to Hillary as frontrunner, which will produce some more sharp coverage—and Trump will never let up in his attacks—but also more positive coverage that reflects the shifting sands.”

Given that poll, which found Clinton with a commanding 12-point lead in the general election, the frontrunner scrutiny won’t let up. But increasingly negative coverage of Trump, whose private jet might finally be plummeting back to earth, will likely become a big positive for Clinton.

Her greatest asset as a candidate will be her opponent. Trump’s recent slate of controversies—from lambasting a federal judge’s Mexican heritage to his tonedeaf reaction to the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando—has kept his name on front pages, but the stories are much harsher in tone than when he was battling Ted Cruz for the nomination. Media coverage is becoming more concerted in its effort to debunk Trump’s lies and question his more outrageous statements.

Bill Jasso, professor of practice at the Newhouse School of Public Relations at Syracuse University, believes the media will start holding candidates to higher standards. “The most significant societal question for me is: Will the American news media—both traditional and new digital—hold the candidates accountable for the veracity of their statements and positions, or will they continue to cover the presidential campaign like it was a UFC cage match? I have faith that most journalists realize ‘the fun’s over’ and are ready to embark on the hard work of reporting on substantive issues and real-world solutions.”

A focus on real solutions should benefit Clinton, as should the competition in unfavorability ratings. Trump is currently receiving yet another round of negative coverage from a new ABC/Washington Post poll which shows he is disliked by 94 percent of African-Americans, 89 percent of Hispanics, 77 percent of women, and a whopping 70 percent of all adults. For at least the time being, nobody is talking about Hillary Clinton, which, for her, is positive coverage.

That study actually just verifies some earlier analysis done by a socia media software analytics company and covered by Vox and Media Matters.  Clinton received the most negative stories.

A newly released media analysis found that the “biggest news outlets have published more negative stories about Hillary Clinton than any other presidential candidate — including Donald Trump — since January 2015.” The study, conducted by social media software analytics company Crimson Hexagon, also found that “the media also wrote the smallest proportion of positive stories about her.”

As Media Matters has noted throughout the primary campaign, the coverage of Hillary Clinton has tended to focus on fake scandals such as her use of a private email server while her Republican counterparts have enjoyed more positive characterizations. This criticism has been backed up by a former New York Times editor who agreed that the publication has given the Clinton’s “an unfair ‘level of scrutiny.’”

Crimson Hexagon’s analysis, reported by Vox’s Jeff Stein, “shows that the media has battered Clinton more than any other candidate, perhaps because of the ongoing controversy over her emails.” Accusations of “the media being in the tank for Clinton,” Stein notes, simply “may not square with reality.” Crimson Hexagon’s analysis — which examined reporting from The Washington PostPolitico, Fox News, the Huffington Post, and CNN — ultimately found that more “negative stories” were published about Clinton than any other presidential candidate, and that Clinton herself received “the smallest proportion of positive stories.”

I’ve been hoping some of this will turn around now that we know that Bernie is delusional and Trump suffers from what appears to be a major Personality Disorder or three. However, BostonBoomer pointed out to me yesterday that Howard Kurtz and other pundits continue their sexist and misogynistic coverage of Clinton. Again, this is from a last month’s analysis done by Media Matters that points out Kurtz and his use of sexist tropes.

Gender bias and sensationalism in the media is something political figures like Hillary Clinton simply need to “deal with,” according to Fox News media critic Howard Kurtz.

In a May 28 column, Kurtz highlighted a newly released excerpt from Hillary Clinton’s upcoming book, Hard Choices, in an attempt to analyze Clinton’s purported wariness of the press. He gave particular attention to aNew Yorker article, published the same day as the book excerpt, which detailed the media’s obsessive focus on Clinton. While the New Yorker noted that Clinton supporters attribute “some of the negative” coverage she has faced to sexism, Kurtz offered an alternate take:

My take is this: Let’s say Hillary’s people are right and that the press is petty, sensationalist, often unfair and sometimes mean to women? Deal with it. It’s like complaining about bad weather. Every candidate has to cope with an adversarial media, and Democrats usually get a break at least on social issues.

Clinton has had to “deal with” an inordinate amount of these baseless attacks in the media for years, sexist coverage that imparts a serious impact on women in politics.

Media coverage of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 campaign was a gender debacle. Press featured “news” segmentson Hillary’s hair style, examinations of the Clinton “cackle,” and even a 750-word rumination on the “startling” amount of cleavage then-Sen. Clinton “displayed” on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

In recent months, right-wing media have worked overtime to stir up concern about Clinton’s age, an effort led in part by conservative strategist and Fox contributor Karl Rove in anticipation of a possible 2016 presidential run. The conservative bubbled first encouraged the media to revive old conspiracy theories about Clinton’s health,relentlessly hyped their own attack, and then demanded that Clinton respond with evidence to their specious claims. Far from subtle, as recently as May 27 Fox News painted Clinton “old and stale,” amplifying an affront first used by Rove.

Clinton’s age has long been a focus of right-wing media’s ire. Last year The Washington Times claimed that Clinton’s age by 2016 is “not particularly old for a man,” though at her age “a woman in public life is getting past her sell-by date.” Fox’s Erick Erickson asserted that by 2016, “I don’t know how far back they can pull her face.”

Gender bias is definitely at play here as is general CDS as stoked by the right.  However, the unMerry Band of Bernie and his Dead-Enders continue to sally forth with less media hooplah than before.

SANDERS WILL JOIN EFFORT TO DEFEAT TRUMP IN A ‘VERY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME:’Bernie Sanders did not formally concede or back his primary rival Hillary Clinton during a live online address to his fans last night, despite Clinton last week securing enough delegates to become the Democratic Party’s nominee. Sanders did, however, promise to join her and the Democratic party in a more active role in their effort to defeat Donald Trump. “The major political task that together we face in the next five months is to make certain that Donald Trump is defeated and defeated badly, and I personally intend to begin my role in that process in a very short period of time,” he said in his remarks, which he filmed in a television studio in his hometown and read off of a teleprompter. ABC’s MARYALICE PARKS has more.http://abcn.ws/1Uz6NOh

What the hell does join the effort mean to Sanders?  That’s wtf I would like to know. He’s weakening every position he may have had with the Democratic Party. Exactly what kind of leverage does he have other than threatening to turn the Dead-Enders into violence Zombies at the convention ala Trumpsters?  Dudes, you lost!!  You’re LOSERS!!!

Leverage: it’s the one thing Bernie Sanders’ advisors and aides consistently point to when asked why, exactly, he’s formally staying in the Democratic primary race that he’s lost to Hillary Clinton.

But it’s the one thing he’s been bleeding every day ever since he dropped California’s primary by a much wider-than-expected margin last week. Sanders’ summer was supposed to be all about building leverage for the Democratic convention, providing him with a better hand to play as he presses Clinton to accept his policy positions and party reform suggestions. Now, the people closest to him aren’t sure how exactly to get it back.

His first and most prominent endorsers have jumped off the bandwagon, congratulating and in some cases endorsing Clinton — from Sen. Jeff Merkley to Rep. Raul Grijalva, and from the Communications Workers of America to MoveOn.org.Each of the big-name Democrats and groups who steadfastly remained neutral in the primary have flocked to Clinton over the past week, from President Barack Obama to Sen. Elizabeth Warren to the AFL-CIO. Even Sanders’ highest-profile congressional endorsee, Nevada’s Lucy Flores, lost her primary bid on Tuesday despite his cash injection into her campaign.

Yet on Thursday night, speaking to over 200,000 viewers who tuned into his live-streamed video address, Sanders vowed to press on — pledging to fight to defeat Donald Trump but refusing to formally back Clinton and insisting his army of supporters isn’t going anywhere.

“We must continue our grassroots efforts to create the America that we know we can become,” he said, nearly acknowledging defeat but making a point not to concede while reading from a prompter in a cramped television studio deep in his hometown. “And we must take that energy into the Democratic National Convention on July 25 in Philadelphia where we will have more than 1,900 delegates.”

139_179544I’ve been told that we still have to pay attention to the Bernmeister because he got so many passionate voters.  Trump has passionate voters too.  Lots more of them.  Whose crazy, delusional base deserves more coddling these days?  I’m sure Hillary’s Veep pick and her general election strategy to include her recent ad buys are finding tranches of voters that outnumber BernieBros easily.  I mean Utah is in play.  FUCKING UTAH!

I can’t imagine most of the journalists in this country are big Trump fans.  I’m pretty sure the ones that were slobbering all over Bernie have gotten sober.  But, I’m certain that will see the gender bias, the sexism, the misogyny and the CDS carry on in media outlets beyond Fox.  As long as Maureeen Dowd and Howard Kurtz can still get jobs, we’re in for a long summer and fall.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 

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Wednesday Reads: Clowns, Rainbows and Pandas

1ccca3098165d541a0f317a49e6fa02aGood Morning

What a fabulous week it has been for those of us with GLBT family and friends. It does feel good to know that my 7926e78cc651b090851ec2da26316142uncle…my friends here on the blog, my good friends from high school…my daughter’s best buddies, my son’s friends too…can legally gain the rights, respect and dignity that they deserve…as human beings.

This is the point of all these rainbows innit? And here we are days after the ruling, and still people are posting hateful shit on social media. They don’t get it.

I want to share something with you, written by one of my daughter’s very good friends…Her name is Jemha, it was written last week but it still does make a huge point:

Jemha

 

Smart cookie isn’t she.

10999985_966134726743787_4490115553396602658_n

And what about all the fuss doing with flags, black ones with dildos…confederate ones? This is another point that bothers me, as I look around at social media (Facebook) because this is where my “friends” are mostly found hanging out.

13d9e92cb0f60a7ffc5deb268f88d52dAgain, I am amazed at how many people don’t “get it” but I will use Jemha again as an example…she is half-black, half-Haitian. When my daughter is enjoying a Blizzard in a Blue Ridge Dairy Queen with Jemha, and they actually feel so intimidated…they are all afraid, because of the racist assholes glares and scowls and threatening looks…with the confederate flag on display everywhere. This is Hate. And it is directed at both girls.

That is a reality, that is what so many don’t understand, and it is so frustrating for me that many of my friends who are very intelligent…don’t get it. Yes, freedom of speech is one thing. But there is a line that is crossed when freedom of speech becomes: hate motivated intimidation, terroristic threats, hate crimes, etc.

The actions and statements made by assclown right-wing religious racist bigots of late hurt my family and friends. And I do not like to see my people treated unfairly, unkindly or disrespected.

Am I going to stand up for my friends and family? You bet your fucking ass I will…

be7c9dc5f379c77a754ef804c2dfcc46I am so sick of folks using religion as an excuse to discriminate and spread their hate and racist agenda against people of color (Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, Green, whatever.) And….when they plead religious freedom as an excuse to manipulate and control women and deny us reproductive healthcare, or scream religious liberty against GLBTs to avoid following the law of the land….this is not what the Constitution is all about.

They preach their righteousness and pass judgement when hypocrisy is the cornerstone of everything they stand for….This does not sit well with me. Whatever the religious folks want to do in their own private lives within their own house is their business….but do not come and force their version of religion liberty upon everyone else, by taking away the liberty of those they hate and despise.

Anyway, that isn’t anything new for you all to read. Boston Boomer said the same thing last week. Now, here are your links for today.

3d7eac43e8de493cb1314cbc88b8ce3eA Southern Black Church fire raged overnight, this makes 8 in the last 10 days. 

Another Black Church Burns in the South, the Eighth in 10 Days | TIME

Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, a prominent African-American church in Greeleyville, S.C., caught fire late Tuesday. It is the eighth black church in the southern U.S.A. to burn in 10 days.

[…]

Mount Zion was burned to the ground by the KKK in 1995, part of a string of 30 fires in black churches that spanned two years.

An investigation into the fire’s cause will begin after it is safely extinguished, chief of the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division Mark Keel told the Post and Courier. He noted that that the thunderstorm that pounded the town of 375 Tuesday evening could have ignited the church. Meteorologist Pete Mohlin of the National Weather Service told the paper there was a lot of lightning in the area around 7 p.m. but he could not say if it had caused the fire.

Parishioners across the south are surveying the damage a string of similar fires has caused this week, the Southern Poverty Law Center reports, starting in Knoxville, Tenn. on June 21 and moving to Macon, Ga and Gibson County, Tenn on June 23; Charlotte, N.C. on June 24; Elyria, Ohio on June 25; and Tallahassee, Fla. and Warrenville, S.C on June 26.

413d202e8248e164760965ca1ddb8178Three of those fires have been ruled arson, one was determined to be caused by a falling branch and faulty wiring, and the others remain under investigation. Several have been blamed preliminarily on lightning; weather in the south this week has been turbulent.

“Lightning?”

FBI Investigates Southern Church Fires 

The Rev. Nelson Rivers said Tuesday night that he worked closely with ATF while they investigated a string of arsons at black churches in the 1990s.

“My prayer is that we’re not having a repeat,” Rivers told ABC News 4. “But we’re not going to take chances and we are plotting where the churches have burned so far, reaching out to the pastors and the congregations, and also talking to the authorities in those areas to see what they think.”

A federal law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity said a Friday fire at a church in Aiken County does not appear to have been intentionally set. The official had direct knowledge of the investigations but spoke on condition of anonymity Monday because the official was not authorized to discuss them publicly.

Tfdbba6534f4afe1dab9c84c7fa784bcfhe official said another fire Wednesday at a Charlotte, North Carolina, church appeared to be set by vandals, and investigators have found no graffiti or other evidence that it was racially motivated.

In Georgia, FBI Special Agent in Charge Britt Johnson said Monday that authorities are also looking into whether a June 23 fire could be a hate crime, which is common practice for fires at houses of worship.

“Opening a preliminary inquiry doesn’t suggest that a hate crime has occurred, but rather ensures that it is getting additional scrutiny for hate crime potential,” Johnson said in a statement.

6feee645c8b7de2354c807def2c12eb7Another fire was reported at the College Hill Seventh Day Adventist church in Knoxville,Tennessee, a predominantly black congregation. Knoxville Police spokesman Darrell DeBusk had said previously that the fire was not being investigated as a hate crime. Authorities have said bales of hay outside the church were set on fire, and a church van was damaged in the blaze.

Federal investigators are tracking the Knoxville blaze and several others in an arson database to determine whether there are any trends or similarities, but none of the fires appear to be related, said Michael Knight, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Tennessee.

In Elyria, Ohio, arson has been ruled out in the burning of the College Heights Baptist Church, fire Chief Richard Benton told The Chronicle Telegram newspaper.

98b6042b0a1d32264e7f569aefbcc382Okay, when “vandals” are burning down black churches in the South, after the murders of 9 black people, inside a Southern black church…when the confederate flag is under threat of being banned…to say that there is no evidence of racial motivation. Or…that lightning is the cause of eight black churches burning down?  Come on…seriously.

More links on this story:

Mt. Zion AME church burns in South Carolina

Rash of fires at African-American churches continues: Blaze at South Carolina church

Feds notified of fire at African-American church in South..

BREAKING: African American Church In South Carolina, Previously Burned Down By The KKK, Is On Fire | ThinkProgress

Just a few more links on white supremacist.

a319b13562f8901d35401ee1500d5745White supremacists want a race war. They must not fight America’s wars | Matt Kennard | Comment is free | The Guardian

After the horrific massacre at Charleston’s historic black church, Americans are slowly realizing the threat posed by white supremacist and neo-Nazimovements. But few know that their presence has grown within one of the most powerful institutions in America: the US military.

According to the FBI, there are hundreds of white supremacists in the US army or in the veteran community. Some analysts even estimate the number is in the thousands. In America, 203 white supremacist “extremist cases” investigated by the Bureau from 2001 to 2008 involved veterans. The problem hasn’t gone away. Neo-Nazi veteran Wade Michael Page attacked six worshippers at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, in 2012.

f5abd9516a7b695d8be8d05a35bf5dcdI spent a number of years investigating how neo-Nazis and white supremacists had infiltrated the US military, with very little push back from the Pentagon, which was desperate to keep the supply of troops flowing for the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.

As part of my research, I spoke to veterans who had become white supremacists before service and joined to gain access to weapons and training, as well as veterans who had been radicalized after returning from the war.

Charles Wilson, spokesman for the National Socialist Movement, one of the top neo-Nazi groups in America, was frank about his attempts to populate the US armed forces with extremists: 76779a38c3c8eb34fc32c9ce0520e9b0“We do encourage [our members] to sign up for the military. We can use the training to secure the resistance to our government. Every one of them takes a pact of secrecy … Our military doesn’t agree with our political beliefs, they are not supposed to be in the military, but they’re there, in ever greater numbers.” He claimed to have 190 members serving.

Read the rest at the link, it is fucking scary.

And then think about how many former military are in the police force…

Map: The United States of Confederate-flag shopping – The Washington Post

This map by Jody Sieradzki of Dadaviz shows which flag people in different states searched more on Google Shopping between January 2008 and June 2015: the U.S. flag or the Confederate flag. The states in black — most of them — shopped more for the American flag. The states in red — Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Illinois and Texas — searched more often for the Confederate flag.

Hmmmmm, notice that one state there in the middle, near the one of the Great Lakes?

Illinois?

Yes? Yeah….and what would be in Illinois that would make confederate flags so fucking popular?

Illinois Nazis.

This next link is a couple of days old, but: KKK plans SC Statehouse rally, says Dylann Roof ‘was heading in the right direction’

3f1566f9577e3cbf8b2eea495ca792b1North Carolina-based Ku Klux Klan group announced plans to hold a rally in front of the South Carolina Statehouse on July 18, the Charleston Post and Courierreported on Monday.

State officials confirmed that the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, which calls itself the “largest Klan in America,” filed a permit saying they expected between 100 and 200 people to attend the event on the north side of the building, where the Confederate battle flag is currently being flown. If the permit is approved, the event would be held between 3 and 5 p.m. on July 18.

The South Carolina Budget and Control Board approved the application Monday, and spokesman Brian Gaines explained that space to demonstrate was provided at the site when not already reserved.

“This is our state, and they are not welcome,” Gov. Nikki Haley said in a statement. Haley called for the flag to be removed from outside the building in the wake of the terrorist attack committed by 21-year-old Dylann Roof earlier this month. Lawmakers will discuss removing the flag on July 6.

ecca12bb9a91947f629be051a3b5e172While Roof faces nine counts of murder in connection with the attack, the group’s leader, Robert Jones, expressed support for him.

“He was heading in the right direction; wrong target,” Jones told the Post and Courier.“He should have actually aimed at the African-American gang-bangers, the ones who are selling the drugs to white youth, the ones who are robbing and raping every chance they get.”

You can see more about how the history books are mistreating the KKK and Confederacy at the link…if you like.

9d3fdba07590d2443cebf0328ca45633About this rally in South Carolina: South Carolina approves KKK’s pro-Confederate flag rally at capitol | New York Post

But according to the newspaper, the South Carolina Budget and Control Board approved an application filed by the “Loyal White Knights” chapter of the Ku Klux Klan for a July 18 rally in favor of the flag.

Budget and Control Board spokesman Brian Gaines told the newspaper that space to demonstrate was provided at the site when not already reserved.

Ugh.

And this…which has nothing to do with white supremacist. It does deal with Jeezus freaks, but how one preacher is reacting in a positive way: Read what this Christian pastor promises to do if his children are gay | Gay Star News

It is a long open letter, just go and take a look. It is no way a blanket acceptance of all religious actions, but it is a good response, one that illustrates how the mass christian right should act.

The rest of the links in dump format:

Boy had been on park swing two days when he was found dead, officials say – The Washington Post

That is a sad situation, and it looks like it will only get worse as the story develops.

Woman gives birth, fights off bees, starts wildfire in Northern California – LA Times

A woman fought off bees, started a fire and survived on apples — all after giving birth in a lonely stretch of Northern California forest, she told a Bay Area TV station.

The woman, Amber Pangborn, 35, of Oroville, made a hasty decision to take an unfamiliar shortcut while driving to her parents’ house after going into labor Thursday.

Instead, she got lost.

“I thought we were going to die,” she told KCRA-TV. “And there was no cell service, there was no … there was nothing.”

But Pangborn’s baby wouldn’t wait and she had no choice but to give birth alone. She named her daughter Marisa.

I think it is ironic that the woman’s name is Pangborn…which is the Norse/Celtic term for labor pains…in childbirth.

This will probably be big news today: Greece, Missing I.M.F. Payment, Is Called Effectively in Default – The New York Times

Along with this: The U.S. roars into World Cup final with fierce win over Germany | For The Win

And if you want proof of PLUBs Pro-Life-Until-Birth…especially for those GOP ultra conservatives in the South:

Addicting Info – One Simple Infographic Shows How Bloodthirsty The ‘Pro-Life’ South Really Is

state by state executions death penalty texas

 

 

This next story is amazing news, and at the same time…puts things in perspective:

c72a7501098a3990a6ba02e4cb9c7ea9Cuba Is The First Country To Eliminate Mother-Baby HIV And Syphilis Transmission

 

The World Health Organization on Tuesday declared Cuba the first country in the world to eliminate the transmission of HIV and syphilis from mother to child.

The WHO said in a statement that an international delegation that it and the Pan American Health Organization sent to Cuba in March determined the country met the criteria for the designation. In 2013, only two children in Cuba were born with HIV and five with syphilis, the statement said.

“Cuba’s success demonstrates that universal access and universal health coverage are feasible and indeed are the key to success, even against challenges as daunting as HIV,” PAHO Director Carissa Etienne said in the statement.

Also, U.S. and Cuba agree to open embassies and restore diplomatic relations – LA Times

In other news: U.S. now home to more Spanish speakers than Spain: study – NY Daily News

Shit that should scare the hell out of the GOP.

Last few links for you:

58331bd183f2c64adacc94b5957f8f15An interesting read: The Moment I Knew I Had To Break Up With My Best Friend especially with all the back and forth and disagreements on Facebook…over gay marriage rights.

And last Sunday I posted a link to a story about Misty Copeland, the first African American lead in Swan Lake in ABT history…well, check it out:

Misty Copeland Promotion Part of A New Era at American Ballet Theatre – WSJ

Misty Copeland made history Tuesday, becoming the first African-American woman to reach the top rank of principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre.

Her promotion, announced by Ballet Theatre Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie, marks a significant milestone for diversity in ballet.

“So many young dancers of color stop dancing at an early age because they don’t think there will be a path for them,” Ms. Copeland said at a news conference following the announcement. “I hope this will change that.”

She had said this was a dream for her…to become a principal dancer.

Misty Copeland leaps past racial barrier in U.S. ballet | Reuters

Copeland, the author of a best-selling memoir, “Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina” and the subject of a documentary film, “A Ballerina’s Tale,” has been a supporter of diversity in ballet. She had also been open about her goal to be lead dancer with American Ballet Theatre (ABT).

“My dream has been ABT since I was 13,” she said fighting back tears. “I’m excited to continue to grow as an artist and hopefully see more brown dancers come into the company in my lifetime.”

Copeland has already been credited for being an inspiration for younger dancers and for bringing in more diverse audiences to ballet. In her best-selling memoir, she recounted how weird it was for minorities just to buy tickets to the ballet.

Copeland has also appeared on the cover of Time magazine. Earlier this year she took on the lead role in the American Ballet Theatre production of “Swan Lake.”

“It’s been a long journey but it is just the beginning,” she added.

Misty Copeland Is Promoted to Principal Dancer at American Ballet Theater – The New York Times

Misty Copeland was fast becoming the most famous ballerina in the United States — making the cover of Time magazine, being profiled by “60 Minutes,” growing into a social media sensation and dancing ballet’s biggest roles on some of its grandest stages. But another role eluded her: She was still not a principal dancer.

Until Tuesday, when Ms. Copeland became the first African-American woman to be named a principal in the 75-year history of American Ballet Theater.

[…]

“I had moments of doubting myself, and wanting to quit, because I didn’t know that there would be a future for an African-American woman to make it to this level,” Ms. Copeland said at a news conference at the Metropolitan Opera House on Tuesday afternoon. “At the same time, it made me so hungry to push through, to carry the next generation. So it’s not me up here — and I’m constantly saying that — it’s everyone that came before me that got me to this position.”

da2111baf115692d55262ffae5ec9cb7Fittingly, the moment of her promotion was captured on video andshared on Instagram. “Misty, take a bow,” Kevin McKenzie, Ballet Theater’s artistic director, could be seen saying, before colleagues congratulated Ms. Copeland, who seemed to be fighting back tears. Her promotion was lauded on social media by, among others, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Prince, who had featured her in a video.

Over the past year, whenever Ms. Copeland, 32, danced leading roles with Ballet Theater, her performances became events, drawing large, diverse, enthusiastic crowds to cheer her on at the Metropolitan Opera House, the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center. After she starred in “Swan Lake” with Ballet Theater last week — becoming the first African-American to do so with the company at the Met — the crowd of autograph-seekers was so large that it had to be moved away from the cramped area outside the stage door.

Read more at the links, there are videos too…she is an amazing artist…and now Principal Dancer of ABT! I think it is about damn time!

Have a great Wednesday, and share your thoughts with us. What are you finding interesting today?


Sunday Reads: Time Lapses

71d3459140005b43af4c275172f1a4d9Good Morning

Time lapse photography is something that fascinates me, I think we can look at a picture of a time lapse image and see a metaphor for life. Movement, continuous and repetitive.

There are a couple of types of time lapse photography….the short exposure kind which 63c58031b4a2abf282b982963ab1e3dbtakes a normal exposure of sequential pictures over many hours or even days and edit them into one photograph.

<——————————–

(Like the sunset images you see by artist, Matt Molloy. )

 

Time lapse of moths in the porchlight - photographed by Steve Irvine for National Geographic

Time lapse of moths in the porchlight – photographed by Steve Irvine for National Geographic

Or the long exposure method, where the camera shutter remains open for a long period of time and exposes the film to the image it is photographing.

——————————->

These particular long exposed photos are blurred in appearance.  Creating a glowing, disoriented, disturbed, ghostlike, or drugged feeling when you look at them.

It seems as if we are living in a time lapsed state of mind, as you have been reading the Boston Boomer’s and Dak’s coverage of late, the mess in Missouri is just the result of what has been building over time. Like the images you will see below throughout the post…the same scenarios have been played out all over the US. The actual persons involved may be different, but the general characteristics are the same. When we see the reports of racial violence play out on the news, we feel that repetition. Like the time lapsed images, the scenes become blurred. Yet we know what happens at the end of the shot. There is a good example of the differences in media treatment of violence here by the way: When The Media Treats White Suspects And Killers Better Than Black Victims be sure to look at that….No need to belabor the point, I will just let this op/ed by Farai Chideya from the Guardian do that for me.

Waiting in Grand Central Station by James Maher, time-lapse picture. Prints available on his website.

Waiting in Grand Central Station by James Maher, time-lapse picture. Prints available on his website.

(One note however, it makes a uncomfortable point when Rand Paul gets a pat on the back from a black woman…considering the neocon racist misogynistic shit he usually spews…but you’ll get the point the author is making.) On race, America has far to go. Ferguson won’t be the last flash point

 

I spent my very early years in New York, living a very multiracial Sesame Street life, a big swinging bellbottom of a childhood. And then our family moved to Baltimore and the iron curtain of the “colour line” fell. I felt that I had moved from the 1970s through a time warp where black and white were the only two colours and never the twain shall socially meet.

 

I grew to understand what the 50s were actually like in Baltimore, when my mother, for example, was permitted to buy clothes from the major department store but not try them on. (Heaven forfend some black lady should be in the dressing room, right? You know they leave a residue of blackness on the clothes.)

4cadbc8a7518db67eab58c6dd7091105

America has never had one racial reality, but a series of them strung together from San Antonio to Pittsburgh to Appalachia. What we are seeing in Ferguson, Missouri, is the result of life in a specific type of heavily racialised zone. Yes, a city such as New York, where a black man was recently choked to death by police officers, has its own very clear forms of racialisation and it’s a national issue. But the police killing, last week, of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen in Ferguson has sparked national protests because it represents a specific type of racialisation. This is of the majority black city, big or small, with a white economic and political power structure.

Read the whole opinion piece. This is the part about Rand Paul though, it comes in comparison to Obama’s reactions to Ferguson’s Police Departments militarization:

After the killing of another black youth, Trayvon Martin, Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote a seminal piece for Atlantic magazine called “Fear of a Black President”, describing President Obama as “conservative… in the very sphere where he holds singular gravity – race.”

Two years later, with Ferguson, the president still holds tight to that caution about addressing racial inequality. In terms of day-to-day Washington governance, there is no fear of a black president. Congress fears him not, certainly not the Republicans and not even some members of his own party. And now, with a particularly tepid and circular statement on Ferguson, the president has gone even further.

He seems obsessed with convincing white Americans he is not some goblin come to take their privilege away, rather than recognising that, pragmatically, America still has enough deeply held racial biases that he will be perceived as a race man by some, no matter what he does. (Black Americans learned his political strategy on race early in his first term, as a group of leaders of African American organisations came to ask for more White House focus on jobs in black communities and were rebuffed. They held their televised press conference outside the White House in a snowstorm, a nature-made bathetic fallacy.)

L2e1618565958e4f6a151a0d71c18debeast week, the president delivered a speech that seemed to weigh police intimidation and harassment of protesters and press with acts of vandalism almost equally. “Put simply, we all need to hold ourselves to a high standard, particularly those of us in positions of authority,” he said. “Let’s remember that we’re all part of one American family.”

In this diffuse speech, the president could have spoken out more forcefully against the militarisation of local police forces, as Republican Rand Paul has done. He could have tackled the unacceptable level and variety of unwarranted stops, searches and frisking of black men in particular. For bonus points, he could have gotten into black incarceration rates or, as author Michelle Alexander puts it, the “New Jim Crow”.

You can read the rest at the link.  That is something…when an asshole like Rand gets kudos from a black woman who has the phrase “New Jim Crow” in the same paragraph.  But I think I get her point….yes? I don’t know. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with her, but she could have pick a different politician to highlight…am I right? Let’s not forget that Paul is the dude who didn’t support the Civil Rights Act…no matter what shit he says now: Wash. Post Recasts Rand Paul As Civil Rights Ally, Forgetting Their Own Reporting | Blog | Media Matters for America

Anyway…I need to move on.

In another Op/Ed, this one from the Sprinfield News-Leader, which is quoted as, “This editorial is the view of the News-Leader Editorial Board, Linda Ramey-Greiwe, President and Publisher, Paul Berry, Executive Director, Cheryl Whitsitt, Managing Editor.” Our Voice: Rights lost in Ferguson riots

It is very good, and I feel it is too important not to quote the entire thing:

On Aug. 9, unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson at 12:01 p.m. in Ferguson. A vigil on Aug. 10 turned violent.

The situation deteriorated from there.

10a05408d491d190dbe05b7c71e4d0bdRiots and arrests. Tear gas and rubber bullets. Real bullets, riot gear and military-grade displays of force. Injuries to both protesters and police. Looting and needless destruction of property. For four straight nights, the clashes escalated, the national media descended, and still, no clear information was put forth about the death of a young, unarmed black man. After a day of relative calm gave hope that the situation was beginning to defuse, tempers flared again Friday.

As unrest continues, the blame game is already underway. At this point, it would be easy to join in on the finger-pointing based on half-truths.

It would be easy join the chorus of voices calling out our elected leaders, Gov. Nixon, U.S. Sens. McCaskill and Blunt and President Obama, for waiting so long to intervene.

It would be easy to place blame on the protesters for turning violent and rioting, citing the need for peaceful assembly.

It would be easy to hoist the burden of responsibility onto local authorities in Ferguson for their poor handling of the situation, inciting protesters to riot rather than bringing calm.

It would be easy to join in blaming the media for stirring up the situation by giving attention to it.

It would be easy to, as some are now doing, blame the young man himself for allegedly participating in a theft prior to his altercation with the police.

But there is nothing easy about the situation in Ferguson. A solution for the community will take doing the hard work.

Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol is doing the hard work. Rather than waging a battle, Johnson is working to open the lines of communication and erase the artificial boundaries between authorities and protesters.

State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal and St. Louis alderman Antonio French are doing the hard work. Providing on-the-ground leadership, standing up to rioters, calling for peaceful protests and documenting events on Twitter, their work is reason to hope that the community will make it through this crisis.

There is no shortage of people being thrust forward to take the blame for what has happened in Ferguson. But at this moment, as the nation watches a community teetering on the edge of chaos, we must take the time to examine exactly what we are losing.

1d1f05280a72b879b2cde8a62e3a0275An unarmed young man was shot and killed by police. His right to due process was violated, which demands an explanation. With an investigation underway, it is our duty as citizens to care as much about the process and outcome of the investigations by the FBI and Department of Justice as we do the riots.

As the black community in Ferguson protested, it was met with aggression, intimidation and eventual force from authorities. Some people rioted, which cannot be condoned in our society and should be dealt with. But many assembled peacefully, and were met with the same treatment. Peacefully assembled crowds had their rights violated as well. We must seek answers as to why.

Two reporters, Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post and Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post, were taken into custody as they tried to follow police orders to leave a McDonald’s restaurant, where they were working. Other journalists were specifically told to stop reporting what was happening. Again, rights were violated, this time in an attempt to silence the press that is promised to remain free.

Blame is as easy to assign as it is to dodge. At some point, someone will “take responsibility” for what happened. Over the past several years, this has come to mean little more than an acceptance that people will think poorly of the person for a few weeks.

5723b558462f2f1cacf666aeb4593696Or until the next big outrage comes along to distract us.

As Americans and Missourians thankful for the rights afforded to us by our Constitution, we must not lose interest in these events because the spectacle stops. Now is the time to wade through the rhetoric in order to hold our government and society accountable for what is happening in Ferguson.

It’s the only way we’ll manage to restore those rights.

Good for the Springfield News-Leader! Damn glad there is a press out there near the heart of the situation that is keeping check on things.  The News-Leader is a Gannett newspaper…

As I was getting ready to shut down the laptop, these headlines caught my attention:

It’s around 4:00 AM btw.

Ferguson On Edge On First Night With Curfew Huffington Post

Clusters of Protesters Defy Night Curfew in Ferguson – NYTimes.com

Police enforce curfew against protesters in Ferguson, Missouri | Reuters

Police deploy tear gas to impose Ferguson curfew – Nation – Boston.com

 

Okay. Next up, another op/ed, a link from last week: Rekha Basu: Iowa summit serves reminder of why religion, politics don’t mix | Opinion | McClatchy DC

Of everything coming out of this year’s Iowa Family Leadership Summit, the fear factor is what stayed with me.

It was a constant, discomfiting undercurrent, like a loose nail poking up in your shoe. It was organization President Bob Vander Plaats declaring this a time of “spiritual warfare,” and speaker Joel Rosenberg announcing America is “on the road to collapse” and “implosion,” and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, warning grimly, “We are living in some very dangerous times.”

The third year of the event sponsored by the self-described Christ-centered organization that seeks to influence policy and elections, brought big name politicians Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz and Rick Perry to Ames, Iowa, this past weekend. They were there to rally the Republican base in the lead-off caucus state. But the upbeat, love-God-and-country tone of previous events appeared at times to have been replaced by a somber, calamitous note of foreboding. Even Satan got a few mentions.

2535da149fb4be80aa512412356bb63dProjected onto a giant screen to punctuate Vander Plaats’ remarks was a video filled with haunting images of Osama bin Laden, Adam Lanza and the Boston marathon bombings. It depicted a rising national debt, marijuana, Boys Scouts, gay rainbow flag and a woman holding up a “Keep abortion legal” sign. It ended with someone yelling, “God is dead. Hail Satan!”

Sponsors and speakers still exalted matrimony and procreation in heterosexual relationships, called for putting God back in the classroom and government, and called abortion murder. But this year’s message was: The nation is in moral decline. Ignore it at your own peril. That was even carried into foreign policy.

 

I am telling you all, I live in the bible belt. I see these assholes everyday. They are powerful. And they vote.

Rosenberg, an evangelical Christian born to a Jewish father, said the United States must not support a two-state solution in Israel because a sovereign Palestinian state “defies the biblical mandate.” Interesting that a Christian American would presume to tell Palestinian Muslims they don’t deserve a homeland because of what the Bible says. This follows an evangelical belief that Jews from around the world will gather in Israel, where the second coming of Christ will occur and – though Rosenberg didn’t spell this out – be converted to Christianity.

“God loves you but if we don’t receive Christ, there are consequences,” Rosenberg warned.

e90122b747c138a358eb49854f70d5b8Is fear a new strategy for the Family Leader and its affiliated Family Research Council and Focus on the Family? Is it a response to flagging interest and political losses? Organizers said there were 1,200 attendees, and that there has been steady growth in three years. But many seats were empty. Is it a concession they’re losing the battle over abortion and gay rights? Abortion has not been completely outlawed, even under a conservative U.S. Supreme Court majority. Having succeeded in getting three justices of the Iowa Supreme Court voted out over same-sex marriage, a few years ago, the Family Leader failed in its more recent campaign against a fourth. Same-sex couples are celebrating wedding anniversaries with children and grandchildren, and the planet has survived.

What the planet might not ultimately survive – global warming – wasn’t on the agenda. In fact, if this were a true gathering of faith leaders, one might have expected some commitment to keeping the environment healthy, some compassion for the poor and immigrants. There were calls for abolishing the entire tax system that sustains the poor in times of need. There were calls for boosting border patrols to turn back young asylum seekers before their cases are heard. Iowa’s governor, Terry Branstad, boasted of having cut 1,400 state employees and cut property taxes, which fund education, more than ever in Iowa history.

b31a8821deca5cc1cf34fe447a61cb1eBut if it were a political forum to vet candidates, a Jewish, Muslim, agnostic or atheist one would have had no place there. In one video, Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, said, “The only place you get right with God is at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ.”

 

As with the other links, I urge you to read it all. That blurred scene that distorts and disturbs….you can feel it!

On the ridiculous notion, I must say this could have been me: South Carolina Mom Arrested For Cursing In Front Of Her Kids

Parents, it looks like it’s time to be ever-vigilant about your choice of words. Dropping an F-bomb in front of your kids can land you in jail.

Mom Danielle Wolf was grocery shopping at a Kroger store in North Augusta, South Carolina when she was arrested for disorderly conduct after cursing in the presence of her two daughters, WJBF News Channel 6 reports.

According to the incident report from the North Augusta Department Of Public Safety, Wolf yelled at her children, told them to “stop squishing the f*cking bread,” and used “similar phrases multiple times.” Another woman at the store then approached the mother and asked her to stop using that language with her children.

 

7b0dd5e4b1f9666ab1d32a8c1f72e475But Wolf insists this is not what happened. “She’s like, ‘you told that they were smashing the bread’, and I said ‘no’ I said that to my husband, that he was smashing the bread by throwing the frozen pizzas on top of it,” she told WJBF.

But the woman, who was referred to “Ms. Smith” in the police report and later identified as “Michelle” by NBC affiliate WAGT, reported Wolf to the authorities, leading to the mother’s arrest for disorderly conduct.

“He was like, ‘You’re under arrest’… right in front of kids, in front of my husband, in front of customers,” Wolf told WJBF of the officer who approached her in the store. She added, “I didn’t harm nobody. I didn’t hurt nobody. The lady said she was having a bad day. So, because you’re having a bad day you’re going to ruin somebody’s life.”

Well, fuckadoodledoo!

Perhaps arresting the mother in front of her kids was more traumatic than telling the dumbass husband to stop “squishing the fucking bread.”

In the world of Amazon and the Washington Post, a buck is a buck: Bezos-owned Washington Post now inserting gross Amazon affiliate links into news articles | PandoDaily

Six paragraphs into the story, we find this…

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 6.32.53 PM

…a “buy it now” button, wedged into editorial copy and linked to an affiliate account of Amazon.

1eaa186b6b4ccd5bd8c7bca64ace6628A quick skim around the WaPost site suggests this is something the Post is doing with all of its book reviews now, as well as on news items and even letters to the editor. The link to the Roald Dahl book links to the Amazon affiliate ID “slatmaga-20″ (presumably short for Slate Magazine, per the Post’s ties with that publication). That ID can also be found in a link within this letter to the editor. Meanwhile, this music book review links to the Amazon affiliate ID “thewaspost-03″.

Despite the various IDs being used, one thing is very clear: The Washington Post now sees reviews of books, and even news reports about books, as fair game for selling those same to readers, editorial independence be dammed.

Shit. What do you think will come next?  Brought to you by Carl’s Jr. 

(Hope you get that commercial reference.)

 

This post is getting real…real…real long so let’s just link dump for a bit. After the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »


Sunday Reads: Long Weekend Links

a3a3e6f30133aeca10870f6e8c25cad0Good Morning

Plenty of links for you this morning, so let us just get down to it…

In the New York Times this weekend, more information was reported about the DOJ investigation into Fox News reporter James Rosen, as well as other DOJ press investigations during the Obama administration: Leaks Inquiries Show How Wide a Net Is Cast

Even before the F.B.I. conducted 550 interviews of officials and seized the phone records of Associated Press reporters in a leak investigation connected to a 2012 article about a Yemen bomb plot, agents had sought the same reporters’ sources for two other articles about terrorism.

[…]

The emerging details of these and other cases show just how wide a net the Obama administration has cast in its investigations into disclosures of government secrets, querying hundreds of officials across the federal government and even some of their foreign counterparts.

The result has been an unprecedented six prosecutions and many more inquiries using aggressive legal and technical tactics. A vast majority of those questioned were cleared of any leaking.

You can read the rest of the article at that link, it is rather a long read.

There is one thing about all this Rosen stuff I do find interesting, this little tidbit reported by Tommy Christopher at Mediaite: DOJ Document Reveals Fox News Reporter James Rosen Wanted To Impact U.S. Foreign Policy

The emails revealed in the government’s affidavit appear to show, however, that James Rosen’s solicitation of government secrets wasn’t nearly so narrow. The affadavit describes how Rosen assigned himself the codename “Alex,” and Mr. Kim the moniker “Leo,” and in their early contacts, explained the noble aims of their prospective relationship:

Thanks Leo. What I am interested in, as you might expect, is breaking new ahead of my competitors.

Sure, that sounds bad, as if James Rosen would jeopardize America’s contacts in a hostile foreign government just to get some eyeballs away from his competition, but surely, every reporter has this competitive urge. Although it was the first thing Rosen mentioned, there was another consideration. After outlining the kinds of secret information he hoped to get from “Leo,” Rosen summed up his intention to… report the news objectively? To serve the public?

Let’s break some new, and expose muddle-headed policy when we see it – or force the administration’s hand to go in the right direction, if possible.

Wait, what? Is that what a News reporter is supposed to do, force the administration’s hand to guide American foreign policy to the reporter’s whim? Separate and apart from the DOJ investigation, this email seems to indicate that James Rosen is not just a News reporter, but an activist intent on pushing his own agenda, with the stated goal of manipulating U.S. foreign policy.

Enough on that, check out the latest legislation getting passed in Dakinikat’s state: The Volokh Conspiracy » Louisiana Set to Criminalize Publishing That Someone Has a Concealed Carry Permit

The bill is HB8, though there’s a Senate amendment; apparently, the Legislature plans to enact the bill as amended. The bill bars the government from releasing information about who has applied for or gotten a concealed carry permit, and the Legislature certainly can impose such restrictions on the government itself. But then it also criminalizes speech by everyone else (I merge the House Bill and the adopted Senate amendment):

Absent a valid court order requiring the release of information or unless a recipient of a concealed handgun permit is charged with a felony offense involving the use of a handgun, it shall be [a misdemeanor] … to release, disseminate, or make public in any manner any information contained in an application for a concealed handgun permit or any information regarding the identity of any person who applied for or received a concealed handgun permit issued pursuant to this Section.

So blogging that you happen to know that a gun control advocate actually has a concealed carry permit himself would be a crime. Or say that you know someone has a concealed carry permit, and that person is sued for supposedly making death threats, or is criminally prosecuted for a felony offense involving a shotgun, or otherwise seems dangerous and unstable — mentioning the permit in publicly discussing the situation would be a crime. Mentioning applicants’ names in giving examples of cases where you think a concealed handgun permit was wrongly issued, or wrongly denied, would be a crime, too. So would talking about a person’s concealed carry permit in a biography of the person, or in a newspaper or magazine story that is trying to give a sense of the kind of person he is.

There is more analysis at the link.

That bridge collapse in Washington could have been a lot worse, at least there were no fatalities. Click here on this link for a infographic on bridges in the US: Bridge Collapses And Structurally Deficient Bridges Across The Country (INFOGRAPHIC)

In his State of the Union address this year, President Obama urged repairs of “the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country.” He proposed a plan called “Fix it First,” which would have invested $50 billion in repairing transportation infrastructure, starting with the most urgent repairs.

Instead, Congress failed to avoid the sequester and transportation repair spending faces a $1.9 billion cut.

The collapse of the Interstate 5 Bridge over the Skagit River in Washington State on Thursday once again sounded alarms over our nation’s aging infrastructure. While this incident had no fatalities, there are hundreds of other bridges in Washington with worse sufficiency scores and more than 150,000 structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges across the nation.

And when this bridge collapsed, there was another article that caught my attention as reported by a local Seattle news station: 911 Dispatcher Tells Woman About To Be Sexually Assaulted There Are No Cops To Help Her Due To Budget Cuts « CBS Seattle

An Oregon woman was told by a 911 dispatcher that authorities wouldn’t be able be able to help her as her ex-boyfriend broke into her place because of budget cuts.

Oregon Public Radio reports that an unidentified woman called 911 during a weekend in August 2012 while Michael Bellah was breaking into her place. Her call was forwarded to Oregon State Police because of lay-offs at the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office only allows the department to be open Monday through Friday.

“Uh, I don’t have anybody to send out there,” the 911 dispatcher told the woman. “You know, obviously, if he comes inside the residence and assaults you, can you ask him to go away? Do you know if he’s intoxicated or anything?”

The woman told the dispatcher that Bellah previously attacked her and left her hospitalized a few weeks prior to the latest incident. The dispatcher stayed on the phone with the woman for more than 10 minutes before the sexual assault took place.

“Once again it’s unfortunate you guys don’t have any law enforcement out there,” the dispatcher said, according to Oregon Public Radio.

The woman responded: “Yeah, it doesn’t matter, if he gets in the house I’m done.”

Police say Bellah choked the woman and sexually assaulted her. He was arrested by Oregon State Police following the incident.

“There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t have another victim,” Josephine County Sheriff Gil Gilberson told Oregon Public Radio. “If you don’t pay the bill, you don’t get the service.”

The sheriff’s department had to cut 23 deputies and the entire major crimes unit after it lost a multi-million dollar federal subsidy, according to Oregon Public Radio. There are now only six deputies left.

The sheriff’s department even put out a press release warning domestic violence victims to “consider relocating to an area with adequate law enforcement services.”

Sickening. Disgusting.

You can read more about this and hear the 911 calls at the OPB report quoted by the CBS article:  Josephine County Tax Levy Would Add Deputies, Fund The Jail » News » OPB

Meanwhile, in Oklahoma…look what got defunded on the quiet:  Oklahoma Senate Votes To Defund Planned Parenthood Two Days After Tornado

In the wake of one of the most destructive tornadoes in history, Oklahoma state senators passed a bill on Wednesday that would effectively defund Planned Parenthood.

Senate Bill 900, which re-allocates family planning funds to public providers and hospitals instead of private providers like Planned Parenthood, passed by a vote of 33 to 8. The state Senate was able to pass the bill somewhat under the radar because it was not posted on Wednesday’s legislative agenda.

Planned Parenthood operates five clinics in Oklahoma and serves about 8,400 men and women there a year. The family planning provider has faced scrutiny from Republicans in recent years because it provides abortions, even though it cannot use public family planning funding to pay for abortion services.

State Rep. Doug Cox (R), a family physician, said he will vote against the legislation when the House takes it up on Thursday. “To defund a program like Planned Parenthood would be a mistake,” he told The Huffington Post in a phone interview. “They perform a valuable service as far as breast cancer screenings, cervical cancer screenings, parenting classes, many things that benefit our state that we’re sorely in need of.”

Cox said he believes that some of his Republican colleagues in the House also support Planned Parenthood, but they still feel pressured to vote for bills that would defund it. “I have people who tell me they feel the way I do, but are afraid to vote the way I do,” he said.

That is a real shame, too bad those GOP Reps don’t have the cahones to stand up to the PLUBs who got them into office.

On with the rest of the morning’s post after the jump…

Read the rest of this entry »


Endless Questions

It’s always difficult to report that some one young has died.  It’s even worse when the circumstances of death seem beyond explanation as always aaron swartzseems to be the case with suicides.  The story of online activist Aaron Swartz is filled with glimpses into a brilliant mind, a passionate advocate for access to knowledge, a search for justice against suppression and censorship and our government who seem intent on prosecuting the wrong people these days for the wrong reasons.

Aaron Swartz, the Internet political activist who co-wrote the initial specification for RSS, has committed suicide, a relative told CNN Saturday. He was 26.

“Great minds carry heavy burdens,” wrote one user on Reddit, a popular social media website that Swartz helped develop and popularize following a merger in 2006.

Swartz also co-founded Demand Progress, a political action group that campaigns against Internet censorship.

A young prodigy, his passion pushed limits and landed him in legal troubles in recent years.

In 2011, he was arrested in Boston for alleged computer fraud and illegally obtaining documents from protected computers. He was later indicted from an incident in which he allegedly stole millions of online documents from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He pleaded not guilty in September, according to MIT’s “The Tech” newspaper.

Yes.  Swartz helped develop Reddit and RSS feed.  He will now be best known as a victim of  government prosecution overkill.  It’s an odd story in the endless one where big businesses and government work hard to make sure that anything slightly worth knowing must be associated with some one’s exorbitant profit and a form of ownership.

Congress passed the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) in 1986 to deal with the then-new problem of malicious computer hacking. Because the law was passed when the Internet was still in its infancy, the exact scope of its provisions remains murky today. For example, there have been cases of employers suing employees under the CFAA for using their employer-provided credentials to access information on the corporate intranet that wasn’t intended for them.

In 2008, the government prosecuted a woman under the CFAA after her “cyber-bullying” of a teenager contributed to her suicide. The government argued that the woman’s actions violated the MySpace user agreement, and therefore constituted unauthorized access to MySpace servers. The woman was convicted, but her conviction was later thrown out by an appeals court.

The government seems to be making a similar argument in the Swartz case. It says he violated the CFAA when he “intentionally accessed computers belonging to MIT and JSTOR without authorization, and thereby obtained from protected computers information whose value exceeded $5,000—namely, digitized journal articles from JSTOR’s archive.” By breaking Swartz’s actions up into five different date ranges and charging him under two different sections of the CFAA for each, the government has ginned up a total of 10 counts, each of which is theoretically punishable by five years in prison. For good measure, they also charged Swartz with one count of “recklessly damaging” a computer under the CFAA and two counts of wire fraud.

It’s a stretch to say that Swartz gained unauthorized access to JSTOR’s servers. Initially, he did have authorization to access both the network and the JSTOR website. But according to the indictment, “each user must agree and acknowledge that they cannot download or export contents from JSTOR’s computer servers with automated computer programs such as Web robots, spiders, or scrapers.” The government seems to believe that once Swartz ran afoul of this contractual requirement, he became an unauthorized user and therefore a felon under the CFAA.

But treating the violation of such use restrictions, or the evasion of efforts to enforce them, as a felony is overkill. Automated crawling of websites is an extremely common activity that can have social benefits. While crawling a public (or, in the case of JSTOR semi-public) website against the wishes of its owner is generally bad manners, it’s hardly comparable to hacking into someone’s computer to access private information.

Websites have been known to use their terms of use for anti-competitive purposes.

I have a major soft spot for hacktivists like Swartz.   Not only is it a matter of being awed by their brilliance, but by what appears to be an ethos 250px-Aaron_Swartz_profilebased on just getting knowledge for the sake of knowledge.  There’s a basic underlying democratic principle in the idea that human knowledge belongs to all of us.  Evidently, JSTOR must’ve agreed with him.

Swartz’s subsequent struggle for money to offset legal fees to fight the Department of Justice and stay afloat was no secret.

After the September charges came down, the wife of Creative Commons founder Larry Lessig – social justice lawyer Bettina Neuefeind – established and organized the site free.aaronsw.com to raise money for his defense.

Demand Progress – itself an organization focused on online campaigns dedicated to fighting for civil liberties, civil rights, and progressive government reform – compared The Justice Department’s indictment of Swartz to “trying to put someone in jail for allegedly checking too many books out of the library.”

Swartz’s suicide came two days after JSTOR announced it is releasing “more than 4.5 million articles” to the public.

So, this isn’t the most political or strategic post we’ve ever put on the blog.  Aaron’s passing isn’t one of those newsy obits that will get played at the end of the year in some tribute gala.  I think, however, we need to notice his tragic death, his brilliant short, life and his commitment to an open internet with accessible content.  His story is really one about our freedom to know which is really the final frontier of our humanity.


Sunday Reads: Hoods in the Hood…

Good morning…

I am just too disgusted to write much this morning. The KKK was in town yesterday, and of course it created a scene in my home. Sorry, but I am very vocal about things…and like many of you know, I get very passionate about what I think is right.  The same goes for what I think is wrong. And hate, bigotry, racism and intolerance are wrong. Especially when they come under the cowardice of a white hood. So I will speak my mind, and if it upsets anyone, so be it.

The KKK in Union County Georgia…Blairsville.

This image is not, LOL funny. And  to see it being “liked” by my kid’s school friends is too disturbing for me to let pass without making a comment on what these hoods represent.  I should not have to apologize for simply putting a link on a facebook photo to educate these kids as to what the KKK stands for.   If you sit back and ignore it, simply because it does not affect you personally, then you are complacent in the hateful actions this group participates and supports.

So, with that said…here are your morning links.

Let us start of with a bit of history. Annals of Settler Colonialism: British Atrocities in Post-War Kenya | Informed Comment

The anti-colonial movement in Kenya of the 1950s was mythologized by the British as a shadowy ‘Mau-Mau,’ an irrational outbreak of aimless hatred.

In fact, the movement was protesting the confinement of Kenyans to ‘reserves,’ their crowding into urban slums, the privileged position of white British settlers, and the latters’ plan to go on ruling over 6 million Africans with an iron fist.

From colonial Kenya to the Viking explorations: Explaining Viking Expansion

Abstract: Current scholarship regarding Scandinavia has neglected to give all but a cursory glance at the factors involved in Viking expansion. This thesis studies and explains employment opportunities, political motives, and societal norms as separate, individual motives that perpetuated Scandinavian migration, conquest, and adventure from the eighth through the eleventh centuries AD. Afterwards, these investigations are used to describe the various and sometimes conflicting forces of expansion that led to the formation of the Danelaw in England circa AD 870. Over time, the eventual adoption of Christianity and feudal relationships within Scandinavia would bring expansion as well as the Viking Age to a close.

In another section of Medieval History, this time The Fall of the Angevin Empire

https://i0.wp.com/www.medievalists.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/King-John-of-England.jpg

On July 30th, 1202, King John was at Le Mans when a messenger arrived bearing desperate news. His mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, the grand old lady of twelfth-century politics, had been trapped at Mirebeau and was on the point of falling into the hands of his enemies, headed by his nephew, Arthur of Brittany. Between Le Mans and Mirebeau in Poitou lay nearly 100 miles of twelfth-century roads. Forty-eight hours later, at dawn on August 1st, Arthur and his followers, having forced their way into the castle and driven Eleanor back into the keep, the last refuge, were enjoying a relaxed breakfast – pigeons were on the menu that day- secure in the belief that John was still far away, when their quiet meal was rudely interrupted by the sudden arrival of Eleanor’s royal son. They went for their weapons and did their best to put up some show of resistance. But it was too late. The cat was already among the pigeons.

By thinking and acting faster than they had imagined possible, John had turned the tables on his enemies. Now it was they who were in the trap and not one of them escaped. More than 200 knights were captured, half a dozen barons and, best of all, Arthur himself. John Lackland, once the runt of the Plantagenet litter, had defeated his enemies more decisively than ever his father or even his warrior brother, Richard the Lionheart, had been able to do. It was a magnificent victory. ‘God be praised for our happy success’, he wrote in exultation.

Click here to read this article from History Today

In Russia, an 11-year-old  boy stumbles upon woolly mammoth find of the century:

A handout photo provided by the International Mammoth Committee shows the remains of mammoth found a few kilometers away from the Sopkarga polar station in the Taimyr Peninsula.  (AFP Photo)

An 11-year-old boy from Russia’s north has stumbled upon a well-preserved woolly mammoth, in what scientists describe as the best such discovery since 1901.

Yevgeny Salinder, whose family lives near a polar station in the northern Taimyr Peninsula, discovered the frozen animal when he was strolling along the banks of the Yenisei River in late August.

“He sensed an unpleasant odour and saw something sticking out of the ground — it was the mammoth’s heels,” said Alexei Tikhonov, director of the Saint Petersburg-based Zoological Museum, who rushed to the tundra after the boy’s family had notified scientists of the historic find.

Tikhonov said the mammoth had died aged 15-16 around 30,000 years ago, adding his tusk, skin, an eye and an ear were clearly visible.

“His one-metre-long penis is also intact so we can conclude that this was a male,” Tikhonov told AFP.

Tikhonov said it was the best preserved adult mammoth discovered in more than 100 years.

“So far we can say it is the mammoth of the century,” Tikhonov said.

I am so upset about this KKK thing that I can’t even make a joke about a 3-foot long penis.

This next link is particularly interesting, because it deals with film and fashion. The Victoria and Albert Museum: The Fantasy and Frippery Inside the World’s Greatest Wardrobe

V&A Costumes
From the exhibition “Hollywood Costume,” at the Victoria and Albert Museum: Cate Blanchett’s regalia from Elizabeth, Charlie Chaplin’s getup from The Tramp, Kate Winslet’s ship-boarding ensemble from Titanic, Christian Bale’s Batman suit from The Dark Knight Rises, Meryl Streep’s coat from Out of Africa, Brad Pitt’s Fight Club outfit, Ginger Rogers’s dress from Lady in the Dark, Marilyn Monroe’s fur stole and sequined shift from Some Like It Hot, Judy Garland’s “Dorothy” dress from The Wizard of Oz, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s Elizabethan frock from Shakespeare in Love.

‘You can’t have a great movie without the costumes’ being great,” declares costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis, the senior guest curator of the exhibition “Hollywood Costume,” which opens this month at the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London. Landis and her team have spent more than five years searching out and gathering together 130 of the most unforgettable costumes designed for characters over a century of filmmaking. “Hollywood Costume” explores what an essential tool costume is in cinema storytelling and how intricate the relationship is between designer, actor, and director from script to screen.

“We most succeed when we’re most invisible,” explains Landis. “I want the audience to be fully immersed in the movie. I’m so not interested in the clothes—they’re so surface. I only care about the characters.” The exhibition will unite classics from the golden age, including iconic looks such as Scarlett O’Hara’s green velvet “curtain” dress from Gone with the Wind and Dorothy’s blue-and-white gingham pinafore from The Wizard of Oz, designed by Adrian (and made on a treadle sewing machine, as if by Auntie Em).

Read more and watch a video of the exhibit at the link.

One more, this is an update on the Voyager 1 probe, by Eric Berger SciGuy » More evidence that Voyager has exited the solar system

Something very, very interesting is happening with Voyager 1, the human probe that’s the very farthest from Earth.

New data from the spacecraft, which I will discuss below, indicate Voyager 1 may have exited the solar system for good. If true, this would mark a truly historic moment for the human race — sending a spacecraft beyond the edge of our home solar system.

The visual graphs on this article are amazing…check it out:

there has been a dramatic and sustained drop in charged particles (principally protons) originating from the Sun that have struck the spacecraft.

And by dramatic, I mean dramatic. Here’s how it looks:

Rate at which Voyager 1 is being bombarded by particles such as protons. (NASA)

See what I mean, isn’t that impressive. The graph even looks like a barrier of some sort. Please, go to the link and look at more information and possible proof that Voyager has moved on out of our solar system.

Just a side note… the link was picked up by Drudge, and it is unfortunate that these right-wing assholes have to make they typical comments.  You can see how the discussion is ruined by these people ugh…anyway…

I will try and post some morning news links in the comments. Maybe I will be more calm and collected in the morning when I wake up…but I am not guaranteeing it.

Well, it is almost 6 a.m. and I still feel grumpy. However, there is hope because I found something to laugh at.  SNL had a couple of good skits last night. I have to post this one with Big Bird, Big Bird Responds To Mitt Romney On SNL video at the link.

And this promo for the special Bond disk set, including  Highlights Some Of The Lesser Known Bond Girls.

Penny Marshall in Quantum of Leap, “I’ve been waiting all afternoon for you…Unzip my fly and go to town.”