Sunday Reads: Fair Pay in Texas? Hell No. Have a Merry Christmas, Texan Style? You bet your…

Jenny on the Job plays it safe with low heels. New in WWII Posters collection. (via Jenny on the Job Steps Ahead with Low Heals | Vintagraph)

Jenny on the Job plays it safe with low heels. New in WWII Posters collection. (via Jenny on the Job Steps Ahead with Low Heals | Vintagraph)

Good Morning

Well, I guess you can tell from the title of the post, we will start this morning by talking about the big ol’ state of Texas.

This is the first link from Addicting Info, I have a few links from the AI blog today…anyway, here is the latest strike down in Governor GoodHair’s War on Women,  Rick Perry Vetoes Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay – Senfronia Thompson Reacts

On Friday, June 14, Texas Governor Rick Perry vetoed House Bill 950 (HB 950). HB 950 would have brought Texas into compliance with the federal Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 signed by President Barack Obama. The bill makes it easier for women to sue employers over wage discrimination between their male counterparts.

You can find a video  interview at the link with,

Texas District 141 Representative, and Chair of the Local and Consent Calendars, Senfronia Thompson, the author of HB 950. She states that she was shocked and disappointed that Texas Governor Rick Perry vetoed the bill. She said she meticulously worked with Republicans to formulate a bill that could garner support in from both parties in both chambers of the legislature.

The bill was passed in the Texas House on April 25, 2013. It passed the Texas Senate on May 22, 2013. The bill was passed by a bipartisan legislature that is dominated by Republicans.

So, Perry even vetoed a bill that was passed by a bunch of Republicans. Sigh. But don’t you worry, at least one thing is safe in Texas, thanks to Perry…because on the same day he vetoed the Fair Pay bill, he signed the “Merry Christmas” bill. Texas Gov. Perry signs ‘Merry Christmas’ bill into law

Surrounded by sleigh bell-ringing Santa Claus impersonators, Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday signed a law protecting Christmas and other holiday celebrations in Texas public schools from legal challenges – but also stressed that freedom of religion is not the same thing as freedom from religion.

It was a serious tone for an otherwise fun bill-signing and should bolster the governor’s Christian conservative credentials before he travels to Washington for the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference with the likes of tea party darlings and U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida, Kentucky’s Rand Paul and fellow Texan Ted Cruz.

Dubbed the “Merry Christmas” bill, the bipartisan measure sailed through the state House and Senate to reach Perry’s desk.

It removes legal risks of saying “Merry Christmas” in schools while also protecting traditional holiday symbols, such as a menorah or nativity scene, so long as more than one religion and a secular symbol are also reflected.

Oh, may the Gawds be praised!  At least they have the token secular symbol and “other” religious holiday symbol as a requirement. Believe me, this Merry Christmas bill is still going to piss off some people, cough…. Gretchen Carlson.  Anyway, the sponsor of the bill Republican Rep. Dwayne Bohac of Houston said:

…of Perry: “This is not a governor that shirks away from the tough issues. And this should not be a tough issue, which is what’s even amazing about all this. But this is just political correctness that’s run a-muck and our brains have been completely fallen out as a result.”

tumblr_mkfcaj3xKd1s4c1kfo2_r1_500Funny, it seems like he sure as hell shirked that big “tough” issue of fair pay.

I am going to move on to another “tough” issue, this link is also from Addicting Info, it is a very good post,   Navy Judge Rules Rapists Shouldn’t Be Discharged (VIDEO)

Is the military just completely tone-deaf on the issue of sexual assault and rape in its ranks? Are those who’ve deigned themselves mouthpieces of the military just as clueless in their defense of this heinous situation? It would certainly seem so. Not only are the numbers staggering and inexplicable, but we’ve got idiotic conservatives blaming military rape on pornography, hyper-sensitive feminists, and “hormone level created by nature,” illustrating not only their profound cluelessness about the pathology of rapists, but the reasons why so many rapes and assaults go unreported. In fact, in a recent high-profile case where a victim did speak up and go to trial, the commander overturned the jury verdict to allow a rapist the freedom to advance in the ranks while his victim was stigmatized out of the service.

It’s entrenched, systemic corruption within what has been a very macho, male-dominated culture and it doesn’t appear the powers-that-be intend to take appropriate responsibility for the disturbed, entitled, misogynist criminals under its jurisdiction who are acting out with impunity and, in too many circumstances, to few consequences.

Okay, now get ready for it…

Latest case in point: Navy Judge Commander Marcus Fulton has just ruled that comments made by the President regarding military rape “would unduly influence” any potential sentencing in the cases of two defendants in military sexual assault cases, U.S. vs. Johnson and U.S. vs. Fuentes. Stars and Stripes reports that, per the judge’s ruling, should the two men be found guilty, they cannot be punitively discharged because of “unlawful command influence,” meaning, because of what President Obama, as the Commander in Chief, said. Would you like to know what incendiary, unduly prejudicial, trial-influencing comments the president made, so inflammatory that if two servicemen are actually found guilty of violently raping they should not be punished?

“The bottom line is: I have no tolerance for this,” Obama said, according to an NBC News story submitted as evidence by defense attorneys in the sexual assault cases.

‘I expect consequences,” Obama added. “So I don’t just want more speeches or awareness programs or training, but ultimately folks look the other way. If we find out somebody’s engaging in this, they’ve got to be held accountable — prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged. Period.”

Do I hear the deafening roar of incredulity at the notion that these comments could possibly be framed as cause to excuse two rapists from punishment? Maybe that roar is just in my head, but damn, it is loud.

No, it the roar is in my head too.  I will continue to post more of this article written by because I have to…

As a woman, a human being; an American, I’m writing this with a knot of rage in my stomach, rage at the notion that a Navy judge could take these firm but generic comments of appropriate anger, comments that are not only justified but, if anything, not strong enough, and use them as justification for NOT PUNISHING RAPISTS. It is unconscionable, amoral, certainly indefensible. But the judge not only stands by his ruling, he seems to think “members of the public” would be incapable of reading Obama’s anger at the horrific, systemic rape of both male and female service members as anything other than a direct command from him… a hypnotic order that would supercede any ability on their part to make judicious decisions about each individual case at hand. Sheep, listening and following the cult leader. Dear God. But here are his own words:

“A member of the public would not hear the President’s statement to be a simple admonition to hold members accountable,” Fulton stated. “A member of the public would draw the connection between the ‘dishonorable discharge’ required by the President and a punitive discharge approved by the convening authority.

“The strain on the system created by asking a convening authority to disregard [Obama’s] statement in this environment would be too much to sustain public confidence.”

And guess what follows this logic? Defense attorneys gleefully grabbing the ruling to use as a “way out” for their rapist (alleged…. I know) clients.

“I think that as a defense attorney, I would raise this argument in virtually any [sexual assault] case I had,” said Victor Hansen, vice president of the National Institute of Military Justice and former instructor at the Army’s JAG school.

However, in recent months there has been a lot more said — and in overly specific terms — about sexual assault by military and political leaders, Hansen noted. Obama’s call for dishonorable discharges is an example of such specificity, which begins to sound to military juries like a direct order from the commander in chief.

“This is bad lawyering on [Obama’s] advisor’s part,” Hansen said. “It’s certainly not a problem to say that sexual assault is a bad thing and we need to weed it out … that’s innocuous. It’s when they get very pointed that it’s problematic.”

So there you go; Obama’s verbiage was parsed as “too pointed” – daring to suggest consequences –  and those who would go to any lengths to get military rapists off, excluded from commensurate punishment and consequence, are now licking their chops at the convenience of the judge’s ruling and how it will positively affect their own cases.

So far no one in the Navy judicial branch, JAG, is willing to address the ruling or its subsequent impact, though they did confirm its authenticity. Nor has the White House yet addressed the issue. But the 26,000 military rape and sexual assault victims of the past year, both male and female, are surely feeling, once again, victimized by a system that seems hellbent on doing everything to protect criminals within its ranks and little or nothing to defend, support and find justice for those who’ve been assaulted, raped, hurt, traumatized and, in many cases, pressured out of the military.

WHEN WILL THIS CHANGE?

tumblr_mkbpf5FC5T1s4c1kfo2_r1_500Sickening.

You know, when the Newtown Shooting happened, my dad said that was the turning point…he said that was so horrible that people would demand tighter gun laws…he said the outrage would bring about change. At the time I told him no, there would be no changes made, sure we would have people talking about it, and laws would get proposed but nothing would change.

I know that there is plenty of attention, well let’s just say temporary attention lately on the military’s “culture” toward sexual assault. And honestly, like the gun control laws…and the equal pay bills, I just feel that there are some things which will never change. At least in my lifetime. Because it seems that they didn’t changed in my grandmother’s lifetime…they are definitely not going to in my mom’s lifetime…and I highly doubt they will in mine.

Boy, I seem to sound like a Cassandra don’t I?

Okay, like I said in the beginning of this post, there is one more link from Addicting Info, this one goes hand in hand with a link I saw on Susie Madrak’s blog. Y’all know the horrible time my family had with Bank of America, and the many times we sent our modification papers in, only to get another letter saying we have to send the same documents once again.

Well, check this shit out. As Susie puts it: BoA gave cash bonuses for HAMP foreclosures

No, it wasn’t just bad luck when that Bank of America rep kept telling you they “never got the paperwork.” We’ve been hearing these disgusting stories for a long time. Glad to hear they’re making their way into court, where there’s at least a chance that Bank of America might actually pay for some of their sins:

Bank of America Corp. (BAC), the second-biggest U.S. lender, rewarded staff with cash bonuses and gift cards for meeting quotas tied to sending distressed homeowners into foreclosure, former employees said in court documents.

Mortgage workers falsified records and were told to delay U.S. loan-assistance applications by requesting paperwork that the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank had already received, according to statements from ex-employees filed last week in federal court in Boston. The lender improperly disqualified applicants to the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, according to a May 23 statement from Simone Gordon, a loss-mitigation specialist who left the company in 2012.

Bank of America Corp. is being sued by homeowners who didn’t receive permanent loan modifications after making payments under trial programs, according to court papers.

“We were regularly drilled that it was our job to maximize fees for the bank by fostering and extending delay of the HAMP modification process by any means we could,” Gordon said. Managers instructed staff to “delay modifications by telling homeowners who called in that their documents were ‘under review,’ when in fact, there had been no review,” she said.

Bank of America, which has spent more than $45 billion to settle claims tied to its 2008 takeover of Countrywide Financial Corp., is being sued by homeowners who didn’t receive permanent loan modifications after making payments under trial programs, according to court papers. Statements from seven former loan employees were included in a filing last week as part of plaintiffs’ attempt to gain class-action status. The lender has denied the allegations.

Bank Of America Will Give You $500 For Kicking Someone Out Of Their House – Addicting Infotumblr_mk7za8CRL61s4c1kfo2_r1_500

Bank of America has managed to make the news yet again, but not for the right reasons. According to several ex-employees, Bank of America systematically declined homeowners the ability to modify their loans under the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP. Bank of America rewarded staff with various perks, including cash bonuses and gift cards, for meeting quotas by sending homeowners seeking loan modifications into foreclosure. With these new explosive allegations, a new lawsuit is being brought against Bank of America. The former employees’ testimonies and revelations will strengthen the lawsuit, which is a consolidation of 29 separate suits against the bank from across the United States and is seeking class action certification. According to court documents, the lawsuit is being brought by homeowners who didn’t receive permanent loan modifications after meeting their obligations under the trail programs.

I knew those BoA basturds were doing this kind of crap.  I wonder what kind of slap on the wrist they will get for this shit.

This post is getting rather long so here are the rest of the morning’s links, real quick like.

There is a lot of news out of the Middle East this weekend, so I have some articles for you to look at:

Heavy Pressure Led to Decision by Obama on Syrian Arms – NYTimes.com

For two years, President Obama has resisted being drawn deeper into the civil war in Syria. It was a miserable problem, he told aides, and not one he thought he could solve. At most, it could be managed. And besides, he wanted to be remembered for getting out of Middle East wars, not embarking on new ones.

So when Mr. Obama agreed this week for the first time to send small arms and ammunition to Syrian rebel forces, he had to be almost dragged into the decision at a time when critics, some advisers and even Bill Clinton were pressing for more action. Coming so late into the conflict, Mr. Obama expressed no confidence it would change the outcome, but privately expressed hope it might buy time to bring about a negotiated settlement.

You can read the rest of the article and speculation about the meaning behind how the aid to Syrian rebels was announced at the link.

Juan Cole: An Outbreak of Reasonableness in Tehran: Top Ten Conclusions from Iran’s Early Election Returns | Informed Comment

Update: Centrist Hassan Rouhani is Iran’s new president, having won a massive victory in a field of 6 candidates. 13:19 ET, 6/15/13

Early election returns in Iran suggest that former National Security adviser and nuclear negotiator Hassan Rouhani may have won over 50% of the vote, in which case he will have won without needing to go to a second round. Too early to tell if that is so. While it is true that the president in Iran is more like the typical US vice president and is relatively powerless, he can nevertheless set a tone and initiate policies slightly different from those of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Iran is not yet a totalitarian dictatorship, and Khamenei himself has sometimes been forced to tack with the wind. Any change will be slow and at the margins, but it could nevertheless be significant in a very polarized world.

U.S. Considers Military Plan for No-Fly Zone in Syria – Wall Street Journal – WSJ.com

Syria lashes out at Egypt decision to sever ties- Newsday

String of Car Bombs Kill Dozens in Iraq – NYTimes.com

Large Risks in Erdogan’s Harsh Stand – NYTimes.com

tumblr_mk9uqjdSgp1s4c1kfo2_r1_500In the US….and stuff:

Rain, Cooler Weather Slow Colorado Fire | WNIJ and WNIU

NYC dispatcher spent almost 8 hours on stroke call | Fox News

Exclusive – Wal-Mart’s everyday hiring strategy: Add more temps | Reuters –No surprises there.

What’s Really on Trial in George Zimmerman’s Case? | Black Agenda Report

Menopause: An Evolutionary Response To Men Chasing Younger Women?

Osteoporosis drug stops growth of breast cancer cells, even in resistant tumors, study suggests

Digby: Sometimes a tweet is just a tweet: Queen of the Village holds forth on Hillary. Again.

Cheetahs’ Secret Weapon – A Tight Turning Radius – NYTimes.com

One more link for you, it is really just a picture, I realize this is one of the first Sunday reads I have written without a history link…so in lieu of a long historic read, I will give you this…a medieval knight…guinea pig style, talk about “your mother being a hamster…”Anyway, enjoy:

Keep your guinea pig protected with a rodent-sized suit of armor

Keep your guinea pig protected with a rodent-sized suit of armor

If your guinea pig routinely dashes off into armed combat (or just likes the look of scale mail), you might want to outfit him or her in this handsome suit of armor, perfect for rolly-polly rodents.

After Lucky, the original owner of the armor and model for these photos, passed away, eBay seller mightys0x decided to auction off Lucky’s armor. All of the proceeds from the auction will go to Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue in Virginia, the organization that rescued and adopted out Lucky. Lucky’s owner made the scale mail and purchased the tiny helmet. The auction ends on June 21st.

Hand-made Guinea Pig Scale-Mail and Helmet (Armor) [eBay via David Willis]

Anyone with a friend who has a guinea pig, and is fond of Monty Python?

And finally, I know that today is Father’s Day, so for all those Daddy’s out there:

Father’s Day by Political Cartoonist Kap

133119 600 Fathers Day cartoons

Have a wonderful day, and if you are around, let us know what you are thinking and reading about today.


Sunday Reads: Cuba, Castro, and the Idiots at CNN

ad24_3Good Morning

We have come to the end of spring break, it is amazing to me how fast time flies by…I have some interesting links for you, some of them I have saved for a little while, you may just want to come back to them during the day.

By the way, later tonight is the season premiere of Mad Men, I don’t know about you…but I sure am looking forward to it. 😉

Y’all know that CNN made the huge mistake of sacking Soledad O’Brien last month. The Guardian had an article about her last appearance on the network:

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien signs off with call for ‘tough conversations’

CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien at belated 60th birthday celebrations for Chaka Khan. Photograph: Startraks Photo / Rex Features

CNN host Soledad O’Brien signed off on Friday with a call for the network not to back away from “tough and honest conversations”.

O’Brien, who has built a reputation for hard-hitting interviews, said on the last edition of her morning show, Starting Point, that “facts matter”.

The new CNN boss, Jeff Zucker, cancelled O’Brien’s show, which has performed poorly in the ratings, and announced on Thursday that it will be replaced by a new show hosted by Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan.

In a short closing monologue on Friday, O’Brien said CNN had given her the chance to cover some of the biggest stories of our time and said she would continue to focus on “good journalism”.

She said: “My tenure at the helm of this show ends today, and I’m not going to be covering daily news at CNN after today. Over the last decade at CNN I’ve had a really great chance to cover some of the biggest stories, I think it’s fair to say, of our time.”

O’Brien recalled when she and a CNN team received a standing ovation at the airport in New Orleans after covering hurricane Katrina.

“So I think if I’ve learned anything over the past year it’s that facts matter,” she continued. “And we shouldn’t be afraid to have tough and honest conversations and maybe even argue a little bit when there’s a lot at stake, and yes, Governor Sununu, I am talking to you.”

You remember that interview don’t you? Soladad kicked Sununu’s ass! O’Brien told the Guardian that CNN did not provide a lot of support for her show Starting Point. They did not get a lot of promotion and were not fully staffed. No wonder, with CNN going down the shit bucket of news. In fact, you need to see this bit Jon Stewart did this past week:

Jon Stewart Tears Apart CNN: Neither Left Nor Right, But On A ‘Steady Spiral Downward’

Stewart then turned to CNN, a network that is neither leaning left nor right, but is instead on a “steady spiral downward.” He took on the new approach of CNN executive Jeff Zucker to the news, mockingly saying things like “I love brunch! Who doesn’t love brunch? That’s news!”

Stewart brought up some graphic faux pas of CNN, including (for some reason) a CNN personality standing in the middle of a virtual field of goats. And most egregiously of all, CNN showed off a live recreation of the Jodi Arias crime scene, complete with dead boyfriend in a pool of blood on the floor.

Of course, new changes don’t come without new show experiments, and following the success of The Five and The Cycle, CNN is testing out a new primetime show called (Get To) The Point. Stewart figured CNN must have “mistook what people are constantly yelling” at the screen for a show pitch. He showed clips of the show’s hosts talking about important subjects like lizard people and vegetarians who eat bacon.

What Stewart loved the most about the show was that when promos for this new program appear on the screen during other CNN shows, it looks like a subtle jab at whoever’s talking to get to the damn point already.

Go watch the video clips…my gawd, what shit CNN is pulling out their ass now a days!

Now, this next article is something I also saved from a while back, funny how it has caused quite a controversy of late….anyway, you know that my father’s family came from Cuba back in the late 1800’s. Here is a photograph of the town Marti City, in Ocala, Florida where my great-great grandfather had one of his cigar factories. In 1890s, cigar industry flourished, died in Ocala

A horse-drawn trolley, shown in Marti City, ran south from Ocala’s railroad station along North Magnolia to Broadway, turned west and followed Broadway to haul passengers and freight to the cigar factories at Marti City.

Well, I usually share links about Cuba with you all, and this article was one I was looking forward to sharing. For Blacks in Cuba, the Revolution Hasn’t Begun by Roberto Zurbano

Alex Webb/Magnum Photos

“Havana, 2013” More Photos »

CHANGE is the latest news to come out of Cuba, though for Afro-Cubans like myself, this is more dream than reality. Over the last decade, scores of ridiculous prohibitions for Cubans living on the island have been eliminated, among them sleeping at a hotel, buying a cellphone, selling a house or car and traveling abroad. These gestures have been celebrated as signs of openness and reform, though they are really nothing more than efforts to make life more normal. And the reality is that in Cuba, your experience of these changes depends on your skin color.

Please, before you do anything else go and read that editorial…because it was written by a man who was fired for saying what he felt was true. Check it out: Writer of Times Op-Ed on Racism in Cuba Loses Job

The editor of a publishing house in Cuba who wrote a critical article in The New York Times opinion section about persistent racial inequality on the island, something revolutionaries proudly say has lessened, has been removed from his post, associates said on Friday.

The author, Roberto Zurbano, in an article published March 23, described a long history of racial discrimination against blacks on the island and said “racial exclusion continued after Cuba became independent in 1902, and a half century of revolution since 1959 has been unable to overcome it.”

On Friday, The Havana Times blog reported that Mr. Zurbano had told a gathering of Afro-Cuban advocates that he had been dismissed from his post at the publishing house of the Casa de las Americas cultural center, leaving the implication that the dismissal was connected to the article. Other associates said Mr. Zurbano told them he had been removed but would continue working there.

There is a lot more to it than there appears to be…

Reached by telephone in Havana, Mr. Zurbano would not comment on his employment. “What is The New York Times going to do about it?” he asked. He angrily condemned the editors of the opinion section for a change in the headline that he felt had distorted his theme.

The article’s headline, which was translated from Spanish, was “For Blacks in Cuba, the Revolution Hasn’t Begun,” but Mr. Zurbano said that in his version it had been “Not Yet Finished.”

“They changed the headline without consulting me,” he said. “It was a huge failure of ethics and of professionalism.”

Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for The Times, said the editor stood by the article’s preparation.

“We worked very hard to ensure that the wording in the piece was translated properly and accurately reflected the writer’s point of view,” she said in a statement. “There were numerous versions of the piece sent back and forth, and in the end, Mr. Zurbano and our contact for him (who speaks fluent English) signed off on the final version.”

“We knew,” she added, “that Mr. Zurbano was in a sensitive situation, and we are saddened if he has indeed been fired or otherwise faced persecution, but we stand by our translation and editing, which was entirely along normal channels.”

Believe me, there is an underlying racism within the Cuban community and to say there isn’t is bullshit. Yes, it is taboo to speak of it too. However, there is a history in a little town in Florida of Cuban whites and blacks coming together to fight for labor rights.

Restaurant in Havana, note the Albinos allowed sign.

Restaurant in Havana, note the Albinos allowed sign.

My great-great grandfather Nicholas Santana owned a cigar factory and was partners with a black-Cuban named Sorondo who had connections with Jose Marti.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of 1895, Ocala FL, Marti City. My great-great grandfather's cigar factory is on the bottom left corner.

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of 1895, Ocala FL, Marti City. My great-great grandfather’s cigar factory, Santana, Sorondo & CO., is located on the bottom left corner.

In Ybor City, Florida…you could find a small pocket of intelligence within the Southern land of Jim Crow, for racism was not prevalent in that little area of Italian, Spanish, Black, White immigrants who mostly worked for the many cigar factories.  There were many Afro-Cubans, both women and men, involved in the cigar factory labor strikes in Tampa, Florida, many years ago…they were fighting with their white brothers and sisters for workers rights.

Revolution is part of the Cuban culture, and I do believe that it is fair to say that for the Black-Cuban, the revolution is not finished. It just barely started and has been put on hold, it needs to get back in gear. Racism is alive in Cuba, there is no doubt about that. And the fact that Zurbano was fired says a lot about how things are handled in Cuba.

Speaking of Cuba, there was this bit of celebrity down there: Useful Idiots: Beyoncé And Jay-Z Ignore Cuba’s Racism With Havana Trip

This week, superstars Beyoncé and Jay-Z celebrated their 5th wedding anniversary with a trip to Cuba or, as the informed refer to it, “the island prison.”

While dining, partying, and enjoying the best Havana has to offer, Beyoncé and Jay-Z not only legitimize and support the repressive regime, with both their presence and their cash, but turn a blind eye, cruelly, to the perils and languishing of the Cuban people.

Both stars are proud African-Americans — yet, curiously, chose to vacation in a country notorious for relegating its black population to second-class status, or worse.

It is no surprise that many of Cuba’s top dissidents are Afro-Cubans. Did Sasha Fierce and Jigga Man find time to meet with these brave souls, or with their families? Did they mention them? Did they even think of them?

Of course not! This was not a trip to discover truth…or to learn about history or even music. Take a look at the link for a list of Afro-Cubans advocates who have either been imprisoned or killed for speaking out against the racism.

But why stop Cuba’s racism, and its atrocious human rights record, from getting in the way of a good time? After all, Jay-Z is the ‘artist’ who famously raps: “Welcome to Havana, smoking cubanos with Castro in cabanas!”

All Jay and “B,” useful idiots extraordinaire, seem to hear when visiting Cuba is: “Extra sugar on that mojito, señor?” Never mind the life-long plight of the Afro-Cuban waiter serving that drink, who casts a longing, hopeful look in their direction, only to be met with an aloof, distant smile from the two callous multi-millionaires who, while sharing his skin color, could not care less about his plight.

The photo-journalism report that went with the Zurbano op/ed can be seen here: The Ambiguous Island – Slide Show – NYTimes.com Again, I urge you to go take a look at those images.

Now, one more link out of that little Island nation down south…this made me laugh a little, Fidel Castro to North Korea: Chill

Cuba’s seemingly immortal former leader Fidel Castro, who knows a thing or two about threats of nuclear destruction, is asking both Kim Jong-un and Barack Obama to think before they do anything stupid. “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was always friendly with Cuba, as Cuba always has been and will continue to be with her,” Castro wrote in his first state media op-ed in almost nine months, but “this is one of the gravest risks of nuclear war since the October Crisis in 1962 involving Cuba, 50 years ago.”

“Now that it has demonstrated its technical and scientific advances, we remind it of its duties to other countries who have been great friends and that it would not be just to forget that such a war would affect in a special way more than 70 percent of the world’s population,” wrote Castro, who’s apparently gone soft in his old age.

While the situation in the Koreas is “incredible and absurd,” he added, he warned Obama that if bombing breaks out, he “would be buried by a flood of images that would present him as the most sinister figure in U.S. history. The duty to avoid [war)]also belongs to him and the people of the United States.”

It seems like some sort of SNL skit, doesn’t it? Castro calling North Korea “incredible and absurd.”

Okay, you want real absurd? In Tennessee some asshole is putting forward a law that makes welfare payments dependent upon the student’s grades. Tennessee Gets Closer to Passing Bill That Ties Welfare to School Grades

A Tennessee bill that would cut welfare benefits of parents with children performing poorly in school cleared committees of both the House and Senate last week.

The measure takes “a carrot and stick approach,” one of the sponsors of the bill, Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah, told the Knoxville News and Sentinel.

Seth Freed Wessler summarized the bill last month on Colorlines.com:

A Tennessee lawmaker introduced legislation last week to stop welfare payments to parents if their kids get bad grades in school. The sponsor, State Senator Stacy Campfield said, “One of the top tickets to break the chain of poverty is education.” But he added, “We have done little to hold [parents] accountable for their child’s performance.”

The bill would chop nearly a third of family’s Temporary Aid for Needy Families benefits, already a pittance, if their child fails to pass state competency tests or get’s held back. How exactly the threat to make poor people poorer will improve educational outcomes isn’t at all clear.

The bill is sponsored by Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, and Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah. It calls for a 30 percent reduction in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits to parents whose children are not making satisfactory progress in school, the Knoxville News and Sentinel reported.

You know what? My kids are not from a “broken” home, and both their parents and grandparents are college graduates…and they struggle in school. They do not get A’s and B’s…so this would be a disaster in terms of assistance if we were a “needy” family. I mention my kids performance at school because even with positive backgrounds and no worries about food and a place to sleep, a kid can be a disappointment when it comes to their grades. This is a horrible law…damn these GOP assholes.

In another education link: Can Computers Teach Students to Write Better?

Bet you can guess the answer to that.

Alright, moving on…Juan Cole had an excellent post this past week: Congress Obsessed with American Muslims, Neglects real threat of White Supremacists | Informed Comment

The shooting of Kaufman, Texas district attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia remains a mystery. But investigators are increasingly looking into a cell of extremist white terrorists as the suspects. Two months ago, a county assistant district attorney, Mark Hasse, was murdered not far from his office at the court. (I used the term extremist white terrorists because that is what they are, but usually the American press only describes foreigners and Muslims as terrorists, while calling whites “extremists.”)

Likewise, a gang of white terrorists is suspected in the recent slaying of the head of Colorado’s prison system.

Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and other Islamophobes in Congress, seeking to look good to campaign donors who hate Muslims, has conducted several hearings on the alleged increased radicalization of American Muslims. Sociologists don’t find evidence of such a thing; American Muslims on the whole are relatively well-integrated into US society and are disproportionately well off and pillars of the society. The hearings are a form of McCarthyism.

No one was killed or injured in the US in 2012 by terrorists of Muslim heritage, and only 14 Americans of Muslim heritage were even indicted for violent plots. Only one act of violence was traced to such a group, which produced no casualties.

Rep. Peter King is a big supporter of the old 1980s Irish Republican Army, which killed two Americans in a bombing at Harrod’s department store in London. The man’s feet won’t touch the ground when he walks because of the rivers of hypocrisy exuding from between his toes.

Read the rest at the link.

Like I said at the beginning of this morning’s reads, lots of links for you today. More after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »


Sunday Reads: Who says no to women? The Bears….

Good Morning!

I am using a new blog editor for this post, so hopefully it formats properly…

Ooooo, do I have some interesting links for you this morning. And since there are so many, let’s start and finish with animal stories.

First we turn to the Bears…and the title of today”s post is a hint:

Owners of Chicago Bears Gin Up Fear About Access to Contraception as a Religious Freedom Issue

On Sunday, the owners of the Chicago Bears hosted a meeting at the team’s practice facility where religious leaders and politicians (bad combo) pounced all over the “Obamacare” requirement that contraception be covered by employer insurance plans.

According to the Chicago Tribune, speakers lamented the “eroding freedom to speak in the language of faith in the public square.” How denying women contraception the same women pay for through their own insurance premiums equals “freedom of speech” is anyone’s guess.

And this:

“Some speakers cited evidence of religious persecution in abortion laws, gay marriage, and efforts to characterize opponents of the contraception mandate as anti-women.”

So let me get this straight: If a woman makes the extraordinarily personal decision to end a pregnancy, everyone who disagrees with that decision is being religiously persecuted? How do my reproductive decisions affect your religious faith or freedom in the slightest?

Trick question! They don’t.

Apparently, the team’s senior director of special projects serenaded the crowd with a “religious liberty-themed rendition of ‘Bear Down, Chicago Bears,’” which sounds absolutely hideous and should qualify as “religious persecution” itself, if we’re going by the Bears’ event speakers’ standards.

Sounds like torture to me.

I don’t understand it…and I know, you know, that it pisses me off, so what else can I say.

I have a few more women’s issue links for you:

This first one is no surprise, Abortion may be legal, but very difficult in many states; in past 2 years, 41 set new limits – The Washington Post

We have been talking about the measures the GOP is taking to stick it to women. War on Women? You bet your ass there is a war on women!

From the Topeka Capital Journal: GOP: Women’s Rights and Equal Pay are “Small Things”

This is another review of articles and memes but it is good to see it getting some attention in these newspapers, at least.

Add the Miami Archdiocese to the list of plaintiffs against the ACA mandatory birth control coverage: Miami Archdiocese sues over birth control mandate

One thing we have not mentioned here is the release of names from the Boy Scout files. There is a database here: Database: Search the Boy Scout ‘Perversion’ Files where you can search these files, and seeing all the names of pedophiles is very disturbing. Pages and pages of names!

Damn, I gotta lighten the mood, all these stories are depressing me. How about a birth control story that is funny? Giants rookie David Wilson compares himself to birth control, thinks he’ll be a Hall of Famer

In his first NFL game, New York Giants rookie running back David Wilson found himself in Tom Coughlin’s doghouse after fumbling on just his second rushing attempt of his career, a costly fumble that derailed a possible scoring drive. That fumble may have contributed to Wilson receiving just four rushing attempts over the following three weeks, but it hasn’t affected his confidence.

According to Bob Glauber of Newsday, Wilson just thinks the team needs to believe in him and he’ll get the job done when called upon.

“I’m like birth control. You have to believe in me. Like birth control, 99.9 percent of the time I’m going to come through for you,” Wilson said.

“I never know when that opportunity is coming, and that’s why you have to stay prepared. But when I do get that opportunity, I’m going to get lost in the moment and keep it going. Once I get my chance to go out there and play football and do what I do, I’m not going to want to let go of that.”

I’m like birth control…. I’m gonna come through for you, 99.9 percent of the time. Sounds like a Obama t-shirt to me!

I guess you all may have seen the move Murdoch is making here in the US, rumor has it he is looking to buy Chicago Tribune and the LA Times.

Here is a quick read for you on the GOP agenda: An Excerpt From “How to Rig an Election: The G.O.P. aims to paint the country red”—By Victoria Collier (Harper’s Magazine)

I saved this next article from last week, it was very interesting to read and watch these videos. Check it out: ReConstitution 2012: Visualizing of the Language of the Debates in Real Time

“We wanted to offer a tool for people to objectively look at the debates, as opposed to deal with pundits, who come on immediately after and with no data tell you who won or lost the debate,” John Rothenberg explains in this short video from the Creators Project. His emphasis — “with no data!” — is indignant. Rothenberg and the rest of the team at Sosolimited, an art and technology studio founded by a group of MIT grads, decided to build an interactive web app to provide a radically different perspective on the debates.

ReConstitution 2012 is a dizzying display of animated typography, color-coded words splashing across a web page as the debate progresses. You can follow the first debate in real time, fast forward (x2) or super fast forward (x10). The program runs a statistical analysis of Obama and Romney’s words to highlight those associated with positive and negative emotions, or even lying. Click on “stats” to compare the candidates on “positivity” or “shit they repeat” — words like “tax” and “small business,” of course. The candidates are also placed on a sliding scale from “truthy” to “deceptive,” based on how much their language patterns match those statistically associated with lying or telling the truth. Using “we” instead of “I,” for example, is supposedly a sign of deception.

Bloomberg has some bones to pick with Obama and Romney: Bloomberg Has Tough Criticism for Obama and Romney

For Mr. Romney: “I do think that Romney’s business experience would be valuable, but I don’t know that running Bain Capital gives you the experience to run the country.”

For Mr. Obama: “This business of ‘Well, they can afford it; they should pay their fair share?’ Who are you to say ‘Somebody else’s fair share?’ ”

For both: “Their economic plans are not real. I think that’s clear.”

Asshole! But…if that comment about fair share is all he is critical of, sounds a bit like sour grapes from a man who is going to be hit with Obama’s kind of fair share.

The latest on the poll watch, well as of midnight, via Nate Silver: Oct. 20: Calm Day in Forecast, but Volatility Ahead

Ohio’s largest newspaper endorses Obama. Ohio newspaper again backs Obama, though with ‘less enthusiasm or optimism’

Less enthusiasm? That is an understatement.

Drudge has tweeted some surprise crap about Gloria Allred, and Joe Cannon takes a look at it here: CannonfireThe new October surprise (update) Supposedly, Gloria Allred has a game-changing October Surprise ready to go.

Joseph thinks it has something to do with a Democrat, but Radar thinks the dirt is on it is Mitt himself.

Emptywheel thinks the “October Surprise” has to do with Iran, and that Hillary is involved…Hint: If Hillary’s Involved with Negotiations, They’ve Started Already

Have you noticed how items at the grocery store seem to have the same size packaging but less product? Supermarkets Find that Less Inventory Means More Money (and Less Waste): Scientific American

We think we want more. We actually want less: less variety, less confusion, less options. This counterintuitive Paradox of Choice (watch the TED talk by Swarthmore College psychologist Barry Schwartz to understand how this works) is driving a new movement by supermarkets, restaurants, and others to slash some of the billions of dollars in food waste every year, and save hundreds of millions of dollars, by doing something simple: offering less.

Whoa there! That ain’t right!

The memo sent to officers and civilian staff on Monday made clear they must not get any more visible tattoos and declare all those they currently have within a month, or face a disciplinary hearing.

The Met’s official statement said: “The standard of appearance required from serving police officers and staff has recently been reviewed to promote consistency.”

It also said applicants wanting to join the police service were already to declare tattoos.

Mr Tully said it seemed rather a harsh policy and questioned the need to use misconduct procedures over tattoos.

“Clearly anything that is overtly offensive shouldn’t be allowed but I think using the sledgehammer, which the commissioner seems to want to use for gross misconduct under our discipline procedures, for anyone who has these or doesn’t declare them is a bit heavy handed.”

Damn, taking it too far in my opinion.

I know I started this post about animal stories, well…take a look at these images from a 15th  century manuscript…beasties and hunting drawings:

BibliOdyssey: The Time of the Hunt

15th century illuminated manuscript miniature: Henri de Ferrières, Les Livres du roy Modus et de la royne Ratio 91

Traps for squirrels:

15th century illuminated manuscript miniature: Henri de Ferrières, Les Livres du roy Modus et de la royne Ratio 124

And some kind of Quado horror creature, this dude has a face in his gut:

 

Personally, I like the image with the midget in a basket…but you can go look for it yourself at the link.

This video is amazing: Kind of Incredible | TPM Editors Blog

And finally one more animal story I am sure you will like: A Gorilla Is Born at Lincoln Park Zoo

They have not yet determined the sex of baby but it looks like everyone is doing fine.

Hope you all enjoy your Sunday, and we will see you around the blog later!


Wednesday: Did you hear that?

It was a collective sigh from all the people who were relieved to see Obama giving it to Romney last night.

Good Morning!

I plumb forgot that I had to write this post. Guess I was enjoying the commentary from all you sky dancers last night.  I’m still worried about what could happen on November 6th…but as least Obama did a better job of it this time around. And kudos to Candy Crowley, she did a fantastic job as moderator….

Full debate transcript here.

I think the photo above is very telling…Romney did not have his jerk ass smirk on, nope…he sure didn’t.  And I also feel that Obama was truly offended by Romney’s politicizing the deaths of our Embassy staff in Libya and it showed when Obama gave the best answer of the night to the question about Benghazi…

Josh Marshall agrees this was a stand out moment:

I’m not sure it’s the most significant. But in some ways a stand out moment for me was the exchange on Libya when Romney clearly thought he’d caught Obama in a gotcha moment (saying he referred to attack as “terrorism” the day after it happened). But if you’ve been paying attention you know that’s exactly the word he used. Whatever else you can say happened — and must is total baloney from the Romney camp — that’s the word he used. But somehow Romney hadn’t been prepped or briefed on that. And even Crowley had to factcheck him in real time. Here’s the video.

Here are a few take-aways from last night’s debate.

First I will point to Andrew Sullivan, who will not be jumping from the George Washington bridge…. Town Hall Debate: Blog Reax  He has put together many of the pundits comments in this one post.  So give that link a look-see.

These are just a few more observations…in link dump fashion…

Obama regains the initiative to win second presidential debate | World news | guardian.co.uk

Obama Ekes Out a Win in Post-Debate Polls – NationalJournal.com

DEBATE 2: THE RE-DEBATENING | Gin and Tacos

Obama and Romney Turn Up the Temperature at Their Second Debate – NYTimes.com

Obama turns it around – The Plum Line – The Washington Post

Taegan Goddard- Reaction to the Second Presidential Debate

Last Night’s Debate – Charles P. Pierce at the Presidential Debate – Esquire

Obama Wins Debate. Rude Romney Loses. Round-Up.Tennessee Guerilla Women

#Debates: RomneyShambles, Fair Pay, and Binders Full of Women | Angry Black Lady Chronicles

Obama Strikes Back | Mother Jones

Obama’s Triumph – Robert Wright – The Atlantic

Everything You Need to Know About the Debate Exchange on Libya – Conor Friedersdorf – The Atlantic

George Will: ‘This Was Immeasurably The Best Debate’ I Have Ever Seen | Mediaite

Game, Set, Obama -Robert Kuttner

Romney menaces, but Obama emerges as the alpha male in 2nd presidential debate | theGrio

“I Am Bloody Elated” – The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan – The Daily Beast

(CNN) – Who was telling the truth in last night’s debate? Check out a slate of CNN Fact Checks below.

CNN Fact Check: A day after Libya attack, Obama described it as ‘acts of terror’

CNN Fact Check: Obama’s student aid boast on the mark

CNN Fact Check: Candidates positions on contraception?

CNN Fact Check: Romney, women and jobs

The Picture That Encapsulates the Debate – James Fallows – The Atlantic

1) The Obama team had clearly thought about one long-term tic in Mitt Romney’s debate demeanor: His apparently uncontrollable vulnerability to being flustered if he thinks the “rules” are not being enforced. “I’m speaking … it’s my turn.” Thus pictures like this, with Romney in a “teacher! teacher!” mode. This is the counterpart to the iconic picture of the first debate, which was Obama looking downcast and downward with a scowl. If I had more time I’d dig up one of those pics.

the1debatepic.banner.getty.jpg

Getty Images

2) To spell it out, I agree with my Atlantic colleagues Ta-Nehisi Coates and also Robert Wright on the general flow of this one, and disagree with our National Journal colleague Ron Fournier, who considered it a no-winner squabble that left everyone worse off. Certainly there were pitched disagreements — but to me they did not amount to squabbling but rather to the expression of actual differences, on issues from Libya to taxes. Unfortunately not on the automatic-weapons question, but that’s a different topic.

I still think that picture I put up top is better…

And… Fox Doesn’t Declare Debate Winner, Focuses On ‘Aggressive’ Obama, Romney’s Botched Libya Response (Well, no surprise there.)

One of the trends from the debate was taken from a comment Mitt made about binders full of women. In fact, I thought that whole comment of his about hiring women for his cabinet was condescending crap! You know what? Fuck you Mitt! According to this link, (h/t Boston Boomer) it was not a true story : Mind The Binder – Talking Politics

What actually happened was that in 2002 — prior to the election, not even knowing yet whether it would be a Republican or Democratic administration — a bipartisan group of women in Massachusetts formed MassGAP to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved with the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus (also bipartisan) as the lead sponsor.

They did the research and put together the binder full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented this binder to Governor Romney when he was elected.

I have written about this before, in various contexts; tonight I’ve checked with several people directly involved in the MassGAP effort who confirm that this history as I’ve just presented it is correct — and that Romney’s claim tonight, that he asked for such a study, is false.

I will write more about this later, but for tonight let me just make a few quick additional points. First of all, according to MassGAP and MWPC, Romney did appoint 14 women out of his first 33 senior-level appointments, which is a reasonably impressive 42 percent. However, as I have reported before, those were almost all to head departments and agencies that he didn’t care about — and in some cases, that he quite specifically wanted to not really do anything. None of the senior positions Romney cared about — budget, business development, etc. — went to women.

Secondly, a UMass-Boston study found that the percentage of senior-level appointed positions held by women actually declined throughout the Romney administration, from 30.0% prior to his taking office, to 29.7% in July 2004, to 27.6% near the end of his term in November 2006. (It then began rapidly rising when Deval Patrick took office.)

Third, note that in Romney’s story as he tells it, this man who had led and consulted for businesses for 25 years didn’t know any qualified women, or know where to find any qualified women. So what does that say?

We will keep up with this story…of course.

Anyway,  TRENDING: ‘Binders full of women’ raises brows – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs

Did Mitt Romney really request that as governor of Massachusetts, he be brought “whole binders full of women?” It was his response to a question – on gender pay inequality – which turned heads and started fingers tapping on keyboards. Before the debate was over, there was a Twitter hashtag, a blog, a series of memes, and a Facebook page with over 100,000 fans. The phrase was the third-fastest rising search on Google during the debate.

These are good:

It prompted memes, such as Hugh Heffner in what appears to be a library: “Binders full of women? Oh sure, I’ve got hundreds of them.”

Referencing an investment by Romney’s former company, Robert Drakes asked on Facebook, “Do they sell #BindersFullOfWomen at Staples?”

Others, such as Joi Jamison’s post to Facebook, get at the heart of the matter: “Binders full of women cost 77 cents, while binders full of men cost $1.”

The Obama campaign was in on it as well: a paid post from President Barack Obama’s official campaign account appeared atop searches for “binders full of women” on Twitter.

In the second question of the night, voter Katherine Fenton queried Obama: “In what new ways to you intend to rectify the inequalities in the workplace, specifically regarding females making only 72 percent of what their male counterparts earn?”

The incumbent cited the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which was the first piece of legislation he signed into law.

Romney, who worked in business, then served as governor of Massachusetts, said he “learned a great deal” about the inequalities between men and women in the workplace when chief executive of his state.

“I had the chance to pull together a cabinet and all the applicants seemed to be men,” Romney said. And I – and I went to my staff, and I said, ‘How come all the people for these jobs are – are all men?’ They said, “Well, these are the people that have the qualifications.’ ”

Romney said he requested “a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet.”

Then, the sound bite which drove the online chatter.

“I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks,’ and they brought us whole binders full of women,” Romney said.

The tweets and posts quickly stacked up.

You can read lots of tweets here at hastag.org…#BindersFullOfWomen

Or, check out this tumblr: Binders Full Of Women

Binders full of women.

That is a great way to end this post…so what’s going on in your part of the world?

 


Evening…Thursday…Reads

Good Evening

I just could not help myself, that cartoon was too dang funny.

I have some photo galleries to share with you in a bit, first let’s take a look at one of the news items from earlier today.

Rising star of Hungarian anti-Semitic party forced to resign after he discovers his Jewish heritage

He was a rising star in Hungary’s far-right Jobbik Party, and was notorious for his incendiary anti-semitic comments – including attacks on the ‘Jewishness’ of the political elite; but Csanad Szegedi’s career as an ultra-nationalist standard bearer now looks to be over after the revelation that he is in fact Jewish.

Szegedi, who had in the past accused Jews of ‘buying up the country’, faced weeks of Internet rumours about his ancestry before acknowledging in June that his grandparents on his mother’s side were Jews.

It emerged that his grandfather was a forced labour camp veteran and that his grandmother was a survivor of the Auschwitz death camp.

Following the revelation the 30-year-old has been politically exiled from Jobbik, and his career has been left in ruins. He resigned from the party last month after concerted pressure.

Anyone who tells you that the Holocaust can never happen again is wrong.

After resigning from the Jobbik party last month Szegedi now faces pressure to give up his seat in the European Parliament as well.

Jobbik claims its issue with Szegedi is the alleged bribery, rather than his Jewish roots.

Szegedi came to prominence as a founder member of the Hungarian Guard. The group formed in 2007 wore black uniforms and striped flags recalling the Arrow Cross, a pro-Nazi party which governed Hungary at the end of World War II and killed thousands of Jews.

In all, 550,000 Hungarian Jews were killed during the Holocaust, most of them after being sent in trains to death camps like Auschwitz.

The Hungarian Guard was banned by the courts in 2009 but Szegedi had allegedly already joined Jobbik party, which was launched in 2003. Jobbik quickly rose to become the biggest far-right political force in Hungary.

And to think this kind of stuff is going on here in the US as well. It isn’t just Jews, but any ethnic or cultural group, LGBTs or Women, or non-christian religion, that the far right wing can manipulate to their kind of anti platform.

Case in point:

Arizona Won’t Grant Licenses to Immigrants in Obama Program – SFGate

Challengers of Pa. Voter Photo ID Law File Appeal – ABC News

Dispatches From The War On Women: Meet Paul Ryan | Care2 Causes

Paul Ryan Sponsored a Bill that Would Allow Rapists to Stop their Victims from Aborting

Bachmann, Gaffney, and the GOP’s Anti-Muslim Culture of Conspiracy – The Daily Beast

Romney Holds Meeting With Supporters Of Bachmann’s Anti-Muslim Witch Hunt | ThinkProgress

Westboro Baptist Church Plans Protest At GaymerCon, 2013’s LGBT Geek And Gaming Convention

Well, you get where I’m coming from….

There is a quote from the book Origins of Totalitarianism, written by Hannah Arendt that I want to bring into the discussion. I would like your view on it…*

Friedrich Engels once remarked that the protagonist of the antisemitic movement of his him were noblemen, and its chorus the howling mob of the petty bourgeoisie. This is true not only for Germany, but also for Austria’s Christian Socialism and France’s Anti-Dreyfusards. In all these cases, the aristocracy, in a desperate last struggle, tried to ally itself with the conservative forces of the churches-the Catholic Church in Austria and France, the Protestant Church in Germany-under the pretext of fighting liberalism with the weapons of Christianity. The mob was only a means to strengthen their position, to give their voices a greater resonance. Obviously they neither could nor wanted to organize the mob, and would dismiss it once their aim was achieved. But they discovered that antisemitic slogans were highly effective in mobilizing large strata of the population.

Now, think about that for a minute, and then take a look at these pictures:

BBC News – Gorilla brothers Kesho and Alf ‘joy’ at Longleat reunion

They sure look happy to see each other don’t they?

Well, at least we ended this post on a loving note.  Love Your Brother? Yes….I think we should.

*Arendt, Hannah, Origins of Totalitarianism The Nation-State; The birth of Antisemitism, Harcourt Books, 1994. Original Published 1951. (37–38)


Mega Friday Nite Lite: Open Thread

Good Evening!

Tonight is my last post before I head to the swamp…by that I mean Washington, D.C.  I was eleven the last time I went to DC…let’s see if the Hall of Dinosaurs is closed like it was way back then. One thing is for damn sure, my dad will not be able to lift my fatass this time so I can look through the little window on the exhibit’s locked doors.

Anyway, it is also exciting because while we are in DC, I am getting my tattoo done, the one that Tashi designed for me. So…my family is in for a good time and I cannot wait.

With all that being said, here is your Friday Nite Lite post, enjoy!

Syria has been one of those stories that seems to be never-ending. So let’s start by taking a look at some editorial cartoons on the Russian Connection.

Russian Helicopter

Russian Helicopter © Cardow,The Ottawa Citizen,Russia,syria,helicopter,uprising,rebels,civilians,war,civil,death,putin

For another take…

And just one more:

Oh boy, now we head to the states, first let’s start with my Banjoville State of Georgia:

Florida, you’re up next…here we go!

Oooweee! Let’s hear it for Wisconsin, Hoot…Hoot!

That one about Wisconsin is a good segue into the next cartoon…on corporate money:

And with that we come to the GOP section of this political editorial mega post.

This one is by Deb Milbrath, freelance artist, and she has some real good ones. Be sure to check her other cartoons out: GOP GUTS – Political Cartoon by Deb Milbrath, Freelance – 06/12/2012

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - GOP GUTS

And no, Obama can’t be the puck…

What about those few Republicans who are coming out of the Norquist closet?

I have to laugh at the look on that elephant’s face, it really does look like one of those guys who should be in a GOP Asshole Men of the Month Calendar. Can you imagine it? With Red Letter days for various legislative anniversaries that celebrate the GOP’s War on Women…including a handy pack of “period” stamps…little stickers that look like menstrual pads so that women can keep track of their periods, and since life begins at ovulation, a little fetus sticker to remind these women what their only reason for “living” should be….being an incubator for the PLUBs (Pro-Life-Until-Birth). Oh but wait, maybe those little stickers are a bit too offensive and “disruptive” for mixed company!

Now, this next cartoon is fantastic!

Cartoon by John Cole -

I love the way John Cole has drawn Mitt doing a Rodney Dangerfield thing with his collar…

Speaking of Mitt:

There should be a blade listed as LGBT Rights and Women’s reproductive health in that one!

As far as a comment on the economy…

The woman in that cartoon looks exactly how I feel…

Did you all hear about the Bacon Sundae over at Burger King?

Yuk!

One thing I don’t get is that there is so much outrage from the right-wing about all those “brown” immigrants picking tomatoes, yet WTF was that crap they call a “Congressional Hearing” yesterday when Jamie Dimon got the gratuitous ass kissing treatment.

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Nick Anderson, Houston Chronicle – 06/15/2012

Cartoon by Nick Anderson -

And about that ass kissing!

Senators Swoon Over JP Morgan Chief Jamie Dimon © RJ Matson,The St. Louis Post Dispatch,Senators Swoon Over JP Morgan Chief Jamie Dimon, US Senate, Wall Street, JP Morgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, Regulation, Banks, Risk, Hedge, Senator

Which reminds of a skit on Dave Chappelle:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

White Collar Crime…”Law and Order” Very funny…check it out!

And, I have saved the best for last, this time it is a double dose of good stuff. First from Mike Luckovich: 6/15 Mike Luckovich cartoon: Cracking down | Mike Luckovich

mike061512

Oh yeah!

And then finally this one:

AAEC – Political Cartoon by Chan Lowe, Sun-Sentinel – 06/15/2012

Cartoon by Chan Lowe -

Have a wonderful weekend, and hopefully I can post some pictures and thoughts as I tour our Nation’s Capital…Otherwise…this sister will be sticking a sock in it until June 27th…catch y’all later in a couple of weeks!


Monday Reads: By the Numbers

Good Morning!

I’m really glad that some people are focusing on the Plutocrats behind the SuperPacs.  We should at least know who they are and what they want of their the overlords of our politicians.  Jim Hightower writes on 7 of the billionaires that are bankrolling the GOP.  Read the link at Alternet to learn more about the Super Seven and what they want.

As of May 4, this corporate clique had poured an unprecedented $94 million into the SuperPACs of the leading five GOP contenders (with $52 million of that going to Renew Our Future, Romney’s money funnel). This firepower was all the more potent because it was targeted at only the few thousand voters in each state who participated in the caucuses and primaries. And it bought just what the moneybags wanted–the lockstep commitment by all contenders that–no matter how they might differ on abortion, gay-bashing, and such–they would govern according to the Holy Kochian vision of a regulation-free, union-free, tax-free America. Thus, no matter which horse any of the multimillionaires and billionaires bet on, they would cash-in as winners, for this tiny group now owns one of America’s two major parties (and, yes, often rents the other).

Bobby Jindal is radically transforming the state of Louisiana and there’s no real Democratic party to organize and stop him.  I’ve written before about his take down of public schools.  Here’s “5 Ways Louisiana’s New Voucher Program Spells Disaster for Louisiana”.  Did you notice he’s been up in Wisconsin and Illinois campaigning again?  Look out!  The man is a menace to civilization!

This latest pet project of popular Republican Governor Bobby Jindal, called Louisiana Believes, is now regarded as the most extensive voucher system in the United States — out-privatizing even the state of Indiana, where nearly 60 percent of the state’s students are eligible for vouchers. By eroding caps on family income levels, and thereby providing voucher assistance to both low- and middle-income families, Indiana’s plan aimed to remake public education in the state more extensively than any voucher system in US history – until now.

Like Indiana’s program, Louisiana’s new voucher plan is so wide in scope that it could eventually cut the state’s public education funding in half. But in a number of crucial ways, the Louisiana model works even harder to destroy public education than Indiana’s program does. Already approved by the Louisiana state legislature, the program sets an alarming precedent for undermining public education in other states.

Suevon Lee of Pro Publica writes about 5 ‘Stand your Ground’ Cases that are important. Damn!  Louisiana’s on the shit list again!

But as a recent Tampa Bay Times investigation indicates, the Martin incident is far from the only example of the law’s reach in Florida. The paper identified nearly 200 instances since 2005 where the state’s Stand Your Ground law has played a factor in prosecutors’ decisions, jury acquittals or a judge’s call to throw out the charges. (Not all the cases involved killings. Some involved assaults where the person didn’t die.)

The law removes a person’s duty to retreat before using deadly force against another in any place he has the legal right to be 2013 so long as he reasonably believed he or someone else faced imminent death or great bodily harm. Among the Stand Your Ground cases identified by the paper, defendants went free nearly 70 percent of the time.

Although Florida was the first to enact a Stand Your Ground law, 24 other states enforce similar versions. Using the Tampa Bay findings and others, we’ve highlighted some of the most notable cases where a version of the Stand Your Ground law has led to freedom from criminal prosecution:

· In November 2007, a Houston-area man pulled out a shotgun and killed two men whom he suspected of burglarizing his neighbor’s home. Joe Horn, a 61-year-old retiree, called 911 and urged the operator to ” 2018Catch these guys, will you? Cause, I ain’t going to let them go.’ ” Despite being warned to remain inside his home, Horn stated he would shoot, telling the operator, ” 2018I have a right to protect myself too, sir. The laws have been changed in this country since September the first, and you know it.’ “

Two months earlier, the Texas Legislature passed a Stand Your Ground law removing a citizen’s duty to retreat while in public places before using deadly force. In July 2008, a Harris County grand jury declined to indict Horn of any criminal charges.

· In Louisiana early this year, a grand jury cleared 21-year-old Byron Thomas after he fired into an SUV filled with teenagers after an alleged marijuana transaction went sour. One of the bullets struck and killed 15-year-old Jamonta Miles. Although the SUV was allegedly driving away when Thomas opened fire, Lafourche Parish Sheriff Craig Webre said to local media that as far as Thomas knew, someone could have jumped out of the vehicle with a gun. Thomas, said the sheriff, had “decided to stand his ground.”

Louisiana’s Stand Your Ground law was enacted just a year after Florida introduced its law.

William Cohan believes that Congress wants a 2nd economic meltdown due to bad bank behavior and points to a Taibbi article listing 9 obscure pieces of legislation introduced by Congress to tank Dodd-Frank.

A sad truth remains: Despite all the public hand-wringing about the need to finally nail down the details of the regulations that will govern risk-taking at big banks, Wall Street’s well-paid army of lawyers and lobbyists continues to make a mockery of the whole re-regulation process.

It seems increasingly likely that, by the time the charade is over, the American people will end up with fewer substantive rules and limitations on the crazy risks Wall Street can take than we have now. By some counts — including that of Matt Taibbi, at Rolling Stone — there are nine obscure pieces of legislation introduced in Congress this year that are designed to in one way or another weaken the already weak provisions of the Dodd-Frank law, passed in July 2010.

Most of the legislation is intended to do little more than waste time, and hold off real accountability until the public has lost interest. Other laws are more pernicious. Consider H.R. 3336, the so-called Small Business Credit Availability bill. Under the guise of helping community lenders, it would limit who is considered a “swap dealer” under the provisions of Dodd- Frank, allowing more and more swaps to be written with less and less oversight. It passed the House in April.

 

Lastly, I’d like to point to this article in The Economist that basically says exactly what I feel about the sinking of the Paycheck Fairness Act last week.  This also applies to getting rid of DOMA type laws. “Protecting individual rights is not Stalinist.

THIS week Republicans in the Senate once again blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would take further steps to guarantee access to the legal system for women who charge they’ve been paid less than men for doing the same job. (That’s illegal, in case anyone was thinking of trying it.) Justifying his vote against the act, Rand Paul compared it to Soviet communism. This is sort of a dog bites man story; on a given day, Rand Paul probably compares several dozen things to Soviet communism. But here, for what it’s worth, is why he thinks legislation to make it easier for women to sue when they’ve been paid less than men for doing the same job is just like Soviet communism:

“Three hundred million people get to vote everyday on what you should be paid or what the price of goods are,” Paul told reporters on Capitol Hill. “In the Soviet Union, the Politburo decided the price of bread, and they either had no bread or too much bread. So setting prices or wages by the government is always a bad idea.”

Mr Paul does not appear to understand either the law which he has just voted against, or the class of economic transaction about which he is speaking. If a woman sues because she has been paid less than a man for doing the same work, and a judge rules in her favour, that is not an instance of “setting prices or wages by the government”. The wage in question was set by the employer. What the judge has ruled is that the employer cannot offer different wages to different employees based on their sex. Why might such a hypothetical judge make such a ruling? Because, as noted above, offering different wages to different employees based on their sex is against the law, and has been so since 1963.

Senator Aqua Buddha obviously has a room temperature IQ.

We’re all in the Village now. That’s my contribution today.  What’s on your reading and blogging list?