Wednesday Reads: Mistletoe this!

 

Mistletoe this!

Christmastime sucks….if you don’t agree? Then you can just, “Mistletoe my ass!”

 

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Well, it is the Eve of Christmas Eve…and I cannot bear to write about the shit that is going on lately (other horrible stuff too)…so I am going to focus on more lighter sources of entertainment today.

They won’t be necessarily “light” reading, believe me…some require more thought waves than my brain can produce at this point in time, but I am sure you all will do just fine.

First I want to start with a link shared by Suzie Madrak: 80 books no woman should read

Suzie says….

 

I really like this article. As a female writer, I am still thoroughly flabbergasted at the notion that there is “manly” writing (i.e. “worthy” writing) and the lesser “womens” writing. I think there is good writing, and bad writing, and I’m not always reluctant to read the bad stuff if it has zing.

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And it has always been a personal rule of mine to never, ever date a man who speaks highly of Charles Bukowski. (Because, you know, he’s so manly, goddamn it.)

Rebecca Stolnit:

There are good and great books on the Esquire list, though even Moby-Dick, which I love, reminds me that a book without women is often said to be about humanity but a book with women in the foreground is a woman’s book.

And that list would have you learn about women from James M. Cain and Philip Roth, who just aren’t the experts you should go to, not when the great oeuvres of Doris Lessing and Louise Erdrich and Elena Ferrante exist. I look over at my hero shelf and see Philip Levine, Rainer Maria Rilke, Virginia Woolf, Shunryu Suzuki, Adrienne Rich, Pablo Neruda, Subcomandante Marcos, Eduardo Galeano, Li Young Lee, Gary Snyder, James Baldwin, Annie Dillard, Barry Lopez.

These books are, if they are instructions at all, instructions in extending our identities out into the world, human and nonhuman, in imagination as a great act of empathy that lifts you out of yourself, not locks you down into your gender.

I love Doris Lessing. The Golden Notebook is one of my favorites. But…I also must say, Hemingway (which is on the list by the way) is very dear to me, both my kids are named after The Sun Also Rises…Jake and Brett. And there is something very important about that work in many ways, as a feeling…yes like that paragraph states…it lifted me out of myself.

Anyway. Susie is talking about this article here, 80 Books No Woman Should Read | Literary Hub. In this post author Rebecca Solnit references an article from Esquire that I mentioned years back called, 80 Best Books of All Time – The Greatest Books Ever Written. Back then I was more likely excited about A Confederacy of Dunces being on the list! (Y’all know that is my all time favorite book.) Here is what Solnit says about the list:

 

A few years ago, Esquire put together a list that keeps rising from the dead like a zombie to haunt the Internet. It embodies the whole mission of that magazine so far as I can tell. The magazine’s monthly instructions are not aimed at me, so I know the magazine mostly by the taglines and tarted-up ladies on on its cover. But I did just read Esquire’s list of “The 80 Best Books Every Man Should Read” when it popped up on my Facebook feed. The list is a reminder that the magazine is for men, and that if many young people now disavow the “binaries” of gender, they are revolting against much more established people building up gender like an Iron Curtain across humanity. Of course, “women’s magazines” like Cosmopolitan have provided decades of equally troubling instructions on how to be a woman. Maybe it says a lot about the fragility of gender that instructions on being the two main ones have been issued monthly for so long.

Should men read different books than women? In this list they shouldn’t even read booksby women, except for one by Flannery O’Connor among 79 books by men. The author annotates A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories with a quote: “She would of been a good woman… if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.” Shoot her. Which goes nicely with the comment for John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath: “Because it’s all about the titty.” In other words, books are instructions, you read them to be a man, and that’s why men need their own list. And what is a man? The comment on Jack London’s Call of the Wild tells us “A book about dogs is equally a book about men.” Bitches be crazy men, I guess.

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I will say that the one thing that stays with me about Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, is that Rose of Sharon delivers a dead baby, more than likely due to the poverty and poor conditions she has suffered through…only to keep a starving old man from dying, by helping him to suckle at her breast at the end of the book…call it what you want, it is a vivid image for me. She has given birth to what was throughout the book…seen as both hope and dread, the baby…she lost one life, but is able to give some hope of what remains to someone in need…ah whatever.

Solnit goes on to say:

Scanning the list, which is full of all the manliest books ever, lots of war books, only one book by an out gay man, I was reminded that though it’s hard to be a woman it’s harder in many ways to be a man, that gender that’s supposed to be incessantly defended and demonstrated through acts of manliness. I looked at that list and all unbidden the thought arose, no wonder there are so many mass murders. Which are the extreme expression of being a man when the job is framed this way, though happily many men have more graceful, empathic ways of being in the world.

The list made me think there should be another, with some of the same books, called 80 Books No Woman Should Read, though of course I believe everyone should read anything they want. I just think some books are instructions on why women are dirt or hardly exist at all except as accessories or are inherently evil and empty. Or they’re instructions in the version of masculinity that means being unkind and unaware, that set of values that expands out into violence at home, in war, and by economic means. Let me prove that I’m not a misandrist by starting with Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, because any book Paul Ryan loves that much bears some responsibility for the misery he’s dying to create.

She goes on…

Speaking of instructions on women as nonpersons, when I first read On the Road (which isn’t on this list, though The Dharma Bums is), I realized that the book assumed you identified with the protagonist who is so convinced he’s sensitive and deep even as he leaves the young Latina farmworker he got involved with to whatever trouble he’s created. It assumes that you do not identify with the woman herself, who is not on the road and not treated very much like anything other than a discardable depository. Of course I identified with her, as I did with Lolita (and Lolita, that masterpiece of Humbert Humbert’s failure of empathy, is on the Esquire list with a coy description). I forgave Kerouac eventually, just as I forgave Jim Harrison his lecherousness on the page, because they have redeeming qualities. And there’s a wholesome midwesterness about his lechery, unlike Charles Bukowski and Henry Miller’s.

Of course all three are on the Esquire list. As Dayna Tortorici said, “I will never forget reading Bukowski’s Post Office and feeling so horrible, the way that the narrator describes the thickness of ugly women’s legs. I think it was the first time I felt like a book that I was trying to identify with rejected me. Though I did absorb it, and of course it made me hate my body or whatever.” Writer Emily Gould described Bellow, Roth, Updike, Mailer as the “midcentury misogynists” a few years back, and it’s a handy term for those four guys on the Esquire list.

Ernest Hemingway is also in my no-read zone, because if you get the model for your art from Gertrude Stein you shouldn’t be a homophobic antisemitic misognynist, and because shooting large animals should never be equated with masculinity. The gun-penis-death thing is so sad as well as ugly. And because the terse, repressed prose style is, in his hands, mannered and pretentious and sentimental. Manly sentimental is the worst kind of sentimental, because it’s deluded about itself in a way that, say, honestly emotional Dickens never was.

More on Hemingway and others at the link, please go and read the rest of the post there.

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As I said above, Hemingway is special to me for The Sun Also Rises. I can agree with her on some of the points above…but there is something so simple and beautiful in the words…

“Oh, Jake,” Brett said, “we could have had such a damned good time together.”
Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly pressing Brett against me.
“Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

Okay, moving on.

While on the subject of books and Dunces…Cooking for ‘Dunces’ – NYTimes.com

In his rave for John Kennedy Toole’s “A Confederacy of Dunces” in the Book Review in 1980, Alan Friedman said the comic romp “generates the city of New Orleans in hot, sharp, solid, ethnic detail.” Much of that detail had to do with food. In the recently published “ ‘A Confederacy of Dunces’ Cookbook,” Cynthia LeJeune Nobles writes that its scenes “unfold through clouds of doughnut sugar, rivers of Dixie 45 beer, tangles of spaghetti and mounds of empty erster (oyster) shells.”

The endless appetite of the Falstaffian protagonist Ignatius J. Reilly inspires dozens of recipes here, from Miss Trixie’s Orange-and-Bourbon-Glazed Ham to the Bourbon Street Messy Dog, which involves French bread and chicken gravy. The book’s index is a culinary exploration in itself. A sampling of its entries: “alligator hunting,” “bacon grease,” “hog jowls,” “Wonder Bread.”

Nobles’s book is also a tour of the novel’s locales and a history of its food references. Paradise Vendors, for instance, which operates a fleet of hot-dog carts in the book, is based on Lucky Dogs, a French Quarter fixture that has moved more than 20 million hot dogs since 1947, according to Nobles. The cookbook is careful to point out discrepancies between the reputable Lucky Dogs and Toole’s inventive flights. In the novel, Ignatius asks the man who hires him to name the elements of the hot dogs. “Rubber, cereal, tripe. Who knows?” comes the answer. Ignatius replies, while chewing on his first of four: “They’re curiously appealing.”

I haven’t read that book this year, strange since Iggy is something I turn to often…I must remedy that.

Oh and speaking of New Orleans: Racists And History Nerds Join Forces To Save New Orleans Confederate Treasures | Wonkette

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Many more Bookish links for you:

What Do Jane Austen’s Novels Have to Tell Us About Love and Life Today? – NYTimes.com

Each week in Bookends, two writers take on questions about the world of books. This week, Adam Kirsch and Anna Holmes discuss what Austen’s work says now, 200 years after “Emma” was published.

By Adam Kirsch

“Emma” is a comedy — a story in which the world finally gives everyone what he or she deserves.

By Anna Holmes

I’m not convinced that modern methods of human interaction are any better than the epistolary intrigues of the early 19th century.

Give that link a click…hopefully you will be able to read the two thoughts on the matter.

Let us take a look at another work written years back, this poem from Rudyard Kipling: Iffy by Austin Allen

Behind the mask of Rudyard Kipling’s confidence.

It’s easy to imagine “If—” as a great modernist title. Terse, mysterious, hesitant, it could have introduced a Williams fragment full of precarious gaps and leaps, or anAuden riff on the As You Like It line about evasive speech: “Much virtue in If.” Instead the title belongs to Rudyard Kipling, to the year 1910, and to a didactic poem that remains a classic of righteous certitude.

If you can keep your head when all about you
     Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
     And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

Meanwhile, Kipling himself remains an icon of obnoxious wrongness. George Orwell’s 1942 disclaimer has been widely quoted: “It is no use pretending that Kipling’s view of life, as a whole, can be accepted or even forgiven by any civilized person.” Imperialist racist, aggressive militarist: Kipling was this and more, and very publicly. Even in his least controversial work, the outlook Orwell called “morally insensitive and aesthetically disgusting” bleeds in at the margins. Read “If—” beside Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden,” and the line “Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it” starts to smell like colonialist arrogance—or “jingoistic nonsense,” as one British paper put it in 1995, after Britain had voted “If—” its all-time favorite poem.

And therein lies the reason for issuing disclaimers at all: Kipling has lasted. For decades, Orwell wrote, “every enlightened person has despised him, and at the end of that time nine-tenths of those enlightened persons are forgotten and Kipling is in some sense still there.” In his 1939 elegy for W.B. Yeats, Auden judged that time had “Pardoned Kipling” by separating his writing talent from his bigotry. Auden dropped that stanza from later versions of the poem, but global culture has never dropped Kipling.

Check that article out…interesting.

I know that Sylvia Plath is one of Mona’s favorites…This article is focused on the Plath’s husband, Ted Hughes…a poet that has a prolific life’s work behind him…Getting Over Sylvia Plath – The Atlantic

 

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And the last bookish link today: She Played Hard with Happiness by Colm Tóibín | The New York Review of Books

This seem like one hell of a collection of short stories.

The Complete Stories

by Clarice Lispector, translated from the Portuguese by Katrina Dodson, edited and with an introduction by Benjamin Moser
New Directions, 645 pp., $28.95
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Clarice Lispector; drawing by Pancho

In Chapter Six of his novel Murphy, Samuel Beckett considered what he called “Murphy’s mind”:

Murphy’s mind pictured itself as a large hollow sphere, hermetically closed to the universe without. This was not an impoverishment, for it excluded nothing that it did not itself contain. Nothing ever had been, was or would be in the universe outside it but was already present as virtual, or actual, or virtual rising into actual, or actual falling into virtual, in the universe inside it.

In Beckett’s fiction, there is a sense that the spirit of his characters is elsewhere, hidden from their bodies. They may know how to think, but the notion that this leads them therefore to exist is a sour joke. The word “therefore” in the Cartesian equation has been somehow mislaid. Their bodies, in all their frailty and levels of discomfort, tell his characters that they are alive. This knowledge is made more comic and tragic and indeed banal by the darting quality of the minds of many of Beckett’s characters, by the amount of nonsense going on in their heads. They are like hens pecking at memory and experience.

Hens are dear to the strange, bitter heart of the Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector. Their general helplessness combined with their persistence, their constant pecking and mindless squawking, seemed to animate something in her spirit. During her childhood in the north of Brazil, according to her biographer Benjamin Moser, “she spent hours with the chickens and hens in the yard.” “I understand a hen, perfectly,” she told an interviewer. “I mean, the intimate life of a hen. I know how it is.” One of her finest stories is “A Chicken,” three pages long, which tells of a bird trapped in a kitchen waiting to be sacrificed for Sunday lunch who decides to make a brief, defiant flight, only to be chased by the man of the house. “From rooftop to rooftop they covered more than a block. Ill-adapted to a wilder struggle for life, the chicken had to decide for herself which way to go, without any help from her race.”

The day is saved, or at least the chicken is, when she lays an egg and it is decided not to cook her, but instead to include her in the household. Thus

whenever everyone in the house was quiet and seemed to have forgotten her, she would fill up with a little courage, vestiges of the great escape—and roam around the tiled patio, her body following her head, pausing as if in a field, though her little head gave her away: vibratory and bobbing rapidly, the ancient fright of her species long since turned mechanical.

Lispector, however, has no interest in allowing this triumph to be more than brief. In a brisk and sudden final sentence, she does away with her brave bird: “Until one day they killed her, ate her and years went by.”

Read the rest of the review at the link.

More links, but now on film.

Fro Kimberly Truhler via:   GlamAmor-ous Holidays–Orry-Kelly Style in 1942’s THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER | GlamAmor

1942’s The Man Who Came to Dinner has slowly become one of the classics I watch every year around the holidays.  Though it’s not necessarily a Christmas movie per se, it definitely has many of the elements that make for holiday fun, such as ice-skating on a frozen pond and placing presents around a beautifully decorated tree.  Like other Hollywood productions such as The Philadelphia Story (1940), the film’s origins can be traced back to Broadway–a 1939 play written by the brilliant Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman–and in real people who were central to the worlds of both theater and film.
 
The lead character of Sheridan Whiteside was based on none other than Alexander Woollcott–famed drama critic, essayist, playwright, and member of the Algonquin Round Table.  Though notoriously difficult, he was great friends with Moss Hart.  Woollcott would occasionally drop by quite unexpectedly and once, in the span of just one day, he completely turned Hart’s house upside down–taking over his master bedroom, ordering his staff around, and making a general nuisance of himself. When he finally left, Hart found himself relieved that he had not chosen to stay even longer.  He mentioned the theatricality of this possibility to his writing partner Kaufman and boom…a play was born.
The play was a great success from the very beginning and had nearly 800 performances before its run was done.  One of its audience was the great Bette Davis, who so loved it that she urged Jack Warner to buy the screen rights for herself and John Barrymore.  Screen tests were ordered and Bette was perfect as Maggie Cutler, Whiteside’s efficient and ever-patient assistant.  The subtle part was actually a welcome departure for the actress and her usual dramatic roles.  But Barrymore struggled in his tests as Sheridan Whiteside; even with cue cards, the rapid-fire dialogue was too much for the actor whose health was in decline as the result of years of drinking.  Once he was dismissed, other actors were considered–everyone from Orson Welles to Cary Grant.  Producers finally chose Monty Woolley, the actor who had originated the part on Broadway (cast while he was still a professor at Yale).  He was so brilliant in the role that he seemed to be forever typecast as that same sharp-tongued sophisticate.  Though Bette was unhappy because she “never got over [her] disappointment in not working with the great John Barrymore,” both the film and Woolley as Whiteside were an immense success.
In addition to Sheridan Whiteside, the play and film are filled with even more characters who were inspired by real people.  Alexander Woollcott was lifelong friends with Harpo Marx, so that is who inspired the character of Banjo (played in the movie by Jimmy Durante).  Noel Coward, another in their inner circle of artists and friends, was the basis for the character of Beverly Carlton (played by Reginald Gardiner).  It seems only appropriate then that Lorraine Sheldon (deliciously and devilishly played in the film by Ann Sheridan) should be inspired by stage great Gertrude Lawrence, a dramatic actress who had a long and very close, though tempestuous, personal and professional relationship with Noel Coward.
With these intellects as inspiration, it should come as no surprise that the dialogue throughout the film is fast and furious, and there are many cultural references that make this fiction seem more like fact, especially for audiences at the time.  Phone calls come for Sheridan from Winston Churchill and Eleanor Roosevelt.  Presents around the tree come from his friends and colleagues that include Deanna Durbin, Gypsy Rose Lee, and Somerset Maugham.  Beverly tells Sheridan a story of one of Banjo’s parties where he saw Hollywood queens Norma Shearer and Claudette Colbert.  Banjo, a professed lover of blondes, brings up Lana Turner.  Lorraine drops the names of Cary Grant and (then wife) heiress Barbara Hutton, who were allegedly at one of the parties she attended in Palm Beach.  Other names that are bandied about include Ginger Rogers, Sonja Henie, Zasu Pitts, fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (who had only recently abdicated the throne of England). Even Ann Sheridan’s own popular nickname “the Oomph Girl” is woven into the dialogue in reference to her character Lorraine.
One of the things that most fascinates me about The Man Who Came to Dinner, though, is that the film was put out by Warner Brothers at the top of the same year that the studio released one of the greatest of all time–Casablanca.  In fact, many of the team who were responsible for Casablanca were also involved in this production, including Oscar-winning screenwriters Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein as well as producer Jerry Wald (who also produced other iconic film noir such as Mildred Pierce (1945)).  And yet another member of the Casablanca team who worked on The Man Who Came to Dinner was costume designer Orry-Kelly.

 

Go read and see the rest at the link…

The 10 Best Female Performances of 2015 | Women and Hollywood

11 Stately Facts About ‘Barry Lyndon’ | Mental Floss

From the TCM blog: moviemorlocks.com – Ghost Stories For Christmas

There must be something ghostly in the air of Christmas — something about the close, muggy atmosphere that draws up the ghosts, like the dampness of the summer rains brings out the frogs and snails.” – Jerome K. Jerome, Told After Supper (1891)

25 Holiday Film Facts | Mental Floss

 

Only 3 Women Composers Among 112 Original Scores in 2016 | Women and Hollywood

Final curtain coming down on giant Hollywood junkyard | Tampa Bay Times

It’s not just a junkyard — or even a really big junkyard — but a living, breathing monument to Los Angeles pop culture. And now it’s headed for the dustbin of history itself.

For 54 years, Aadlen Brothers Auto Wrecking, in a moonscaped, godforsaken-looking section of the San Fernando Valley, has collected far more than thousands of burned-out, smashed-up, rusted automobiles on its sprawling dirt and asphalt lot.

It’s also taken in just about every type of movie and TV prop imaginable while serving as the site of more than 200 Hollywood film shoots.

The last surviving “Bruce” the shark, made from the mold for the 1975 Steven Spielberg film Jaws, resides there, swimming ominously near an entrance. With its huge mouth agape, it appears ready to devour anyone foolish enough to try to sneak off the lot with, say, a pilfered power train from a ’32 Ford.

Nearby is the giant boom box Usher danced on for the 1997 video My Way. It’s actually a 53-foot-long big-rig trailer painted to look like the ’80s-era music machine. But viewed from a nearby freeway, it appears eerily authentic.

Now everything must go, says Nathan Adlen, owner of this hybrid junkyard-Hollywood back lot that’s been in his family since 1961, when this part of the valley was mainly a warren of sand-and-gravel quarries and garbage dumps.

By New Year’s Eve, he promises, it will be 26 acres of bare land surrounded largely by warehouses and car-repair places as he contemplates what to do next with the property.

More on the story and video at the link.

Next up, it is not film but TV: 5 Ways Abortions on TV Don’t Reflect Reality — The Cut

Television is, of course, fake, but it can provide an opportunity to consider controversial topics like abortion in a comfortable, fictional setting. Yet, as researchers with the University of California, San Francisco, group Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health found, abortion on TV is often unlike abortion in real life — and the mismatch could affect how people perceive women who terminate pregnancies.

For a study published in the journal Contraception, researchers looked at depictions of abortion on all U.S. television shows (including networks, premium channels, and streaming services) from 2005 to 2014 and identified 78 plotlines where characters considered abortion, including 40 where a woman had one. They found that women on TV who had abortions were younger, whiter, wealthier, and less likely to already have children than the average American woman who ends a pregnancy.

“All these factors work together to build an interesting social myth, which is that women who get abortions aren’t mothers and they don’t want to be mothers,” study co-author Gretchen Sisson told NPR. More often, these women are already parents who can’t afford or care for another child.

Go to the link to see the five ways discussed…starting with age.

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Now another show on TV that made news this past week, Miss Universe. I’m not going into the bullshit, but rather the costumes, from the viewpoint of two queens who blog about fashion:

Miss Universe 2015, Part 1: Angels, Birds, and Flowers! | Tom & Lorenzo Fabulous & Opinionated

Miss Universe 2015, Part 2: Good Girls and Supervillains! | Tom & Lorenzo Fabulous & Opinionated

Miss Universe 2015, Part 3: Showgirls and Bigass Skirts! | Tom & Lorenzo Fabulous & Opinionated

Miss Universe 2015, Part 4: Freak-Flag Flying Fun Gals! | Tom & Lorenzo Fabulous & Opinionated

Now, you must click through all four to truly enjoy the fun, but I had to share this one with ya:

Miss Hungary

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“Because Hungary believes women are a puzzle with a crotch!”

 

In connection with this beauty pageant:

‘People think we don’t love life’: Iraq holds first beauty pageant since 1972 | World news | The Guardian

First national beauty contest in four decades hailed by participants and organisers as a victory for hope in the war-torn country

Have y’all heard this song from Lady Gaga?

Lady Gaga Fights Back Tears During Emotional Speech

Lady Gaga was honored as Woman of the Year during Billboard’s Women in Music event on Dec. 11, and on Friday we finally got to see the emotional moment go down during the broadcast on Lifetime.

The singer first sat at a piano to perform her new single, “Til It Happens To You,” before accepting the award from her mother, Cynthia Germanotta.

“I don’t think I’ve ever dreamed of anything more than being a performer. I don’t really know why …” said Gaga before getting choked up.

“I’m a very emotional person,” she said with a laugh. “I never thought anything like this would’ve ever happened to me or my family.”

Gaga went on to deliver a powerful speech on her personal journey and called out sexism in the music industry, saying it’s like a “f***ing boys club” before laughing, “Sorry, Grandma.”

Gaga also thanked her supporters and even her haters for giving her the motivation to prove them wrong.

 

vintage everyday: 7 Interesting Facts about Santa Claus

Yeah, the link for Christmas…

3. Satire first sent Santa down a chimney

In his satiric 1809 book A History of New York, Washington Irving did away with the characterization of Santa Claus as a “lanky bishop,” says Whipps. Instead, Irving described Santa as a portly, bearded man who smokes a pipe. Irving’s story also marked the first time Santa slid down the chimney.

Funny huh?

Other links for you today…

Did People Ice Skate in the Middle Ages? – Medievalists.net

Sea Snakes Thought Extinct Found Swimming In Australian Waters : SCIENCE : Tech Times

4,500-Year-Old “Rattles” Found in Infant’s Burial – Archaeology Magazine

New York’s pregnant inmates will no longer be shackled – NY Daily News

TV faith healer: Women have miscarriages because they don’t obey God’s law about being too emotional

Tennessee woman pleads not guilty to murder charge for abortion attempt

News from AP via Jezebel

A new poll has found that support for abortion rights has increased among both Democrats and Republicans in the last year. Fully 58 percent of Americans now think abortion should be legal “in most or all cases,” an Associated Press-GfK survey found, up from 51 percent at the beginning of the year.

Saturday Morning Fun Open Thread: Florida Man Goes Gay for Festivus

From Mark Joseph Stern, at Slate:

This holiday season, as many as eight state capitols will be graced with a rainbow-festooned Festivus pole—a 6.5-foot-tall display crowned by a glittering disco ball. The pole was designed by Chaz Stevens, head of The Humanity Fund, a scrappy advocacy group that champions separation of church and state, free speech, and constitutional equality. Stevens hopes to place his display in Republican-dominated states—Arkansas, Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, Michigan—as a protest against what he views as their support for laws respecting an establishment of religion

I spoke with Stevens on Thursday about his campaign to put gay pride Festivus poles in state capitols across the country.

Where did the Festivus pole idea originate?

In 2013, I got a tip saying, did you know there’s a manger up in Tallahassee in the capitol? So I write to Tallahassee, saying I want to put up a Festivus pole, thinking there’s no way in hell they’ll say yes. Three days later, they say yes. Up goes the pole. [Note: Stevens’ precedent paved the way for the Satanic Temple to put up its own capitol display, an angel falling into hellfire, in 2014.] Because of the timing—it’s Festivus, it’s a novelty, it’s Florida, there’s nobody getting killed, we’re not in a war—it goes viral.

Why did you choose a gay pride theme this year?

I am a privileged white heterosexual male in America, a lifelong ally of the gay community—some of my best friends are very homosexual, very out and proud, I love them to death—and we all cheered when the Supreme Court ruling reaffirming the rights of same-sex couples to marry came through. We thought,Finally! It’s about goddamn time!

Right around the corner, Kim Davis and her crazy people in Kentucky say, we’re not gonna give marriage licenses. That just drove me nuts. The very day that happened, I said to myself, those little fuckers! I am going to troll the living shit out of them. I’m going to wrap my pole in gay pride and put a disco ball on the top and stick it in the bowels of the Florida rotunda.

But you’re targeting more than just Florida, right?

Myself and my civil rights lawyer decided: Why not go on the road? I thought, we can take our trolling to an elite level. Let’s go to Arkansas. That’s where Huckabee is. Let’s wag this thing in front of Huckabee’s face and see if we can get him to react. Let’s go to Texas and wave this in front of Ted Cruz. New Jersey, Christie. Florida—well, I had those knuckleheads covered. I said, let’s go troll the living shit out of them.

More at the link.
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Apart from applauding cheerful snark (look, a multi-colored pole with a disco ball is tame, compared to some other displays this year)

We will end the post with pictures….

vintage everyday: 20 Color Photos Show Girls of Chicago in Swimsuits in the 1940s

vintage everyday: Beautiful Vintage Photos of Black Ladies in Bathsuits

…and a ballet:

Ballet Dancers Shred Their Way Through Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Queen’s slow burn of an anthem “Bohemian Rhapsody.” To honor the epic number, English National Ballet’s lead principal Erina Takahashi and first soloist James Forbat performed an epic duet that truly captures what it feels like to be just a poor boy from a poor family.

With poise and drama, Takahashi and Forbat leap, twirl and bend their way through the six-minute rock opera, yielding a performance that would put even Wayne and Garth to shame. It’s so legit, Queen’s official channel even uploaded the video to YouTube. Check it out above. Try not to head bang so much you miss the good parts.

 

 

That’s all folks, have fun getting ready for tomorrow!

 


Sunday Reads : Career Girls 

01a924f2f3673d82efb9939c80bc757a8b16125366Good Morning

The proverbial shit has hit the fan, and whatever happens next is speculation at this point.

As for what I think? I think we are f’d.

That could be my negativity and depression talking. Nah, it is more than that…what else could any sane person expect?

So, as you take a look at some of the news articles for today’s reads, think about what will happen over the next few months.

On the topic of crazy conservatives….they are having a values summit or hypocrite-bigot-get-together shindig:

GOP Candidates Use ‘Defund Planned Parenthood’ Rally Cry at Conservative Summit

01796a2c6563227abe427dd94f7a67579ed21161ce

WATCH: Conservative Values Voter crowd goes bonkers when they learn Boehner is resigning

01b4e51d6d2eb4b6ad2b53e81fe4f2bb517e3bd436Evangelicals aim to strengthen their political influence | www.myajc.com

They promise a conservative “awakening” in America unlike any other seen in the past decade, a show of political force that will rock the Republican electorate.

Evangelical leaders who are feeling more isolated in a Republican Party focused on fiscal issues rather than social debates are planning to assert themselves ahead of a free-for-all GOP nominating contest with more than a dozen contenders.

But this….

Serving God or government?

Cruz and Huckabee journeyed recently to a rally at Rock Springs Church, an evangelical megachurch in Milner, Ga., about 50 miles south of Atlanta, to curry favor with thousands of conservatives who had traveled from all over the region for a fireworks show, a Charlie Daniels concert and face time with the candidates.

015462c02150bbdfa8a25aeb7a7e95dbda720d21cbThe theme of the evening, if there was one, was dissatisfaction with establishment Republicans such as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush who have taken more moderate approaches on issues such as gay marriage and illegal immigration.

“I appreciate you standing against the Democrats,” the rally’s organizer, Benny Tate, said to thousands huddled on the rolling hills on the church’s campus. “But I really appreciate you standing against the Republican Party when you think they are wrong.”

Huckabee, a one-time Baptist preacher who won Georgia’s primary in 2008, predicted a protracted fight against the 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court (he called it the “extreme court” to scattered laughter) that struck down bans on same-sex weddings.

“Over the next few years I fully believe that people of faith, whether they be Christians, Jewish, whatever they may be, are going to be called upon, and already are, to determine, ‘Will you serve God or will you serve government?’ ” he said. “And I wonder, will we be as faithful to our faith and to our freedom as those men who signed that declaration 239 years ago?”

0108001a8ff02011da2ef3220c1111b7fcd4c15fc6He’s followed that by supporting Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who became a hero to opponents of same-sex marriage when she was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses because she objected to gay weddings. Huckabee delighted conservative crowds by volunteering to spend years in jail to fight the “tyranny under people who think they can take our freedom and conscience away.”

Cruz, the son of a born-again Christian preacher, spoke of a brewing “awakening” to defend the values of conservatives. Like other Republicans, he talked wistfully of the millions of evangelicals who he said spurned Mitt Romney in 2012, and he vowed to fan the flames of evangelicals across the nation.

01f9ebcb115bed68dcbd7c5f56cc7185572d814726“It’s my hope that that marriage decision serves as a spark to start a fire that becomes a raging inferno and awakening that sweeps this country as the body of Christ rises up to defend the values that have built America into this great nation,” Cruz said.

The fierce competition has stoked fears of a rerun of the past two presidential campaigns, where candidates courting the evangelical vote split the field and left many disillusioned. Bart Tharpe, a GOP activist in Macon, Ga., who attended a recent evangelical rally, said he’s confident Christian conservatives have learned a lesson.

“I’ll vote for any one of them,” he said. “It’s better than any ungodly idiot the Democrats are running.”

Gawd help us! More at the link, if you can bear it.

01e11d0a29f481a664294c95ea8913aaf534fc1b7cRepublican ‘Values’ voters back Ted Cruz-Ben Carson presidential ticket

Family Research Council Action, a Christian lobbying group, said on Saturday that more attendees polled at the Values Voter Summit said Cruz, a leader with the Republican’s Tea Party wing, should be the party’s presidential nominee for the November 2016 election.

Cruz, who also won the group’s so-called “straw poll” the previous two years, took 35 percent of the support among the nearly 2,700 summit-goers, followed by Carson with 18 percent, the group said in a statement. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee got 14 percent and U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida 13 percent.

Business tycoon Donald Trump, who has led public opinion polls, came in fifth place with 5 percent.

01c0aa5f64a0d70a85952edea472b19d80e441b1fcCarson led among attendees for the vice presidential nod with 25 percent support among those polled, followed by former business executive Carly Fiorina with 21 percent and Cruz with 14 percent, the group said.

Uh….someone get me a bucket…I feel ill.

But let’s not focus on these idiot candidates. Let’s look at some other idiot candidates…this one is from Canada.

The Candidate Who Didn’t Know What Auschwitz Was – The Daily Beast

Alex Johnstone, an education official who is running for Canada’s parliament, made a penis joke about Auschwitz and then apologized—saying she wasn’t aware it was a concentration camp.
History is meant to help people learn from mistakes. But mistakes can still be made if people don’t learn history.01d44fb80b99eb584dd2a24bd92d4e5b3400e96667Alex Johnstone, who is running for a parliamentary seat in Canada, has drawn heat for not knowing about the past this week. Specifically, not knowing about very noteworthy facts about the Holocaust. The candidate, who is also a vice chairwoman of a school board in Hamilton, Ontario, made a phallic joke about a picture from the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.“Ahh, the infamous Pollish, phallic hydro posts….of course you took pictures of this!” she wrote on a friend’s Facebook wall in 2008 beneath a picture of a barbed-wire gate at the concentration camp. “It expresses the how the curve is normal, natural and healthy right!”Canadian humor is peculiar.

015a50324b9cda65834ae5732bc9f100996345cb02I don’t know about peculiar. The fact that she does not know about Auschwitz is disturbing. But then, I guess it is better than outright denying that it ever happened in the first place…right?

Adding insult to injury, Johnstone stated that she didn’t know what Auschwitz even was.

“Well, I didn’t know what Auschwitz was, or I didn’t up until today,” she said in an interview Tuesday night. Johnstone, who appears to be in her thirties, said she had “heard about concentration camps.”

“I think that constituents, the community is more interested in the values and principles that I have been standing for, particularly in this election, and I think the fact that I’ve run a clean campaign really demonstrates that,” she said.

Johnstone has not responded to a request for comment from The Daily Beast.

0133eae3da7e74cd1caa59060018179175f1e60d17Anyway, back to the US candidates:

GOP insiders: Jindal and Pataki quit next – POLITICO

Bobby Jindal and George Pataki are the next two quitters in the Republican field.

That’s the assessment of Republicans in the POLITICO Caucus, our weekly bipartisan survey of the top activists, operatives and strategists in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Story Continued Below

A quarter of Iowa Republicans say it’s Jindal, a frequent visitor to their state, who is on his way out.

“He’s become desperate,” an Iowa Republican said. “He’s taken to attacking Trump (we know how that worked out for Perry and Walker) and has nothing going on here in Iowa.”
Added another, who like all participants was granted anonymity in order to speak freely: 01b3a47f683b07a82dd3478667ded4cea1aa605c22“He’s taken the hard inside right lane, and there’s simply too much competition there (Cruz, Huckabee, Santorum).”
But in New Hampshire, Pataki is considered most likely to drop out next, with 27 percent of Republican insiders there pointing to him.
“There comes a point when his irrelevance becomes crystal clear even to him,” a New Hampshire Republican said.

The next quote is sure to make some of you laugh like hell:

“The Spice Girls were big in the 1990s, too, but no one wants to see them on a reunion tour,” snarked another New Hampshire Republican.

010177b35a069e84a96f229672ab0c16512211baf9What the fuck is that about?

Ha..these Republicans…they are so darn snarky…and witty too.

More links on the right….

‘Pro-life’ Red States Working Together So They Won’t Miss Out On An Execution Opportunity «

“All life is precious.” That is the theme of the good Christians of the Republican party. Their belief that holding onto that precept makes them morally superior is what allows them to also be the most hypocritical group of people in history.

01e60177fe804e53e974bb2d4963987a3194df9beaAll life is precious, unless you’ve been convicted of a crime we deem horrendous enough to kill you. All life is precious unless you refused to comply with a police officer and were shot dead for it. All life is precious unless you walk onto my property looking for assistance and I decide to “castle doctrine” your ass. All life is precious unless I can convince a jury of white people I was “standing my ground” when I chased that guy and killed him after I was told to stand still.

All life is precious if the Republican party decides it is, which seems to only cover pre-humans from -9 months until birth, and people who have been declared brain dead.

013d69371790b7f227e9e5822e909ac57958a79219Prison Labor in America: How Is It Legal?  via- The Atlantic

The Thirteenth Amendment forbade slavery and involuntary servitude, “except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”

A look at slavery reinvented at Angola Prison.

The Horrifying Reality of Abortion Before It Was Legal in America

Many of us have grown up in a time when we take for granted that abortion is legal. But older generations of doctors and women remember what it took to obtain an abortion before Roe v. Wade. It wasn’t pretty.

This next link…the image alone is enough to give pause….

Why some scientists are worried about a surprisingly cold ‘blob’ in the North Atlantic Ocean – The Washington Post

The Contaminated Water of a Financial Crisis | Al Jazeera America

Researchers have found high levels of lead in the water supply in Flint, Michigan, after the economically battered city switched its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River in an attempt to save money. The city issued a lead warning on Friday, ramping up residents’ health concerns — and questions about the tradeoffs cash-strapped cities make to revive their economies.

0108001a8ff02011da2ef3220c1111b7fcd4c15fc6One set of study results, released on Thursday, analyzed the blood lead levels in more than 1,500 children in Flint and said the overall number with elevated levels rose to 4 percent in 2015 after the water source was switched, from 2.1 percent in 2013. In some areas, the levels rose to 6.3 percent from 2.5 percent. The study was led by Mona Hanna-Attisha, director of the Pediatric Residency Program at Hurley Medical Center in Flint.

A separate study, conducted by researchers at Virginia Tech, tested water samples from homes in Flint andconcluded that the city “has a very serious lead in water problem.”  They announced the results in mid-September, saying the lead levels in several samples of city water exceeded 100 parts per billion — well over the EPA’s allowed level of 15 parts per billion.

01124ed4b2aec411202e4b9f7638d7c9fc01e19a94Flint, synonymous with a perennially devastated rust belt, has long been a poster child of economic depression. Like nearby Detroit, Flint was put into the hands of a succession of emergency managers appointed by the governor. Flint’s switch from Lake Huron water, through the Detroit Water and Sewage Department, to water from the Flint River happened during the administration of emergency manager Darnell Earley. In March 2014, the city council voted on a resolution to do “all things necessary” to stop using the Flint River as the city’s water source. Jerry Ambrose, Earley’s successor, called that decision “incomprehensible,” citing a savings of $12 million a year.  Ambrose could not immediately be reached for comment at the time this story was published.

01c6a073d1bc4a56d0712cfe394acda3f7c2aab3daOnce again…the poor predominantly black neighborhoods are getting shafted…environmentally speaking.

Boiling water contaminated with lead does not make it safe to drink — in fact, it can make the effects of the lead worse by concentrating it. The options left to people in Flint are to either buy bottled water, or to get filters for their faucets. Both options are a financial stretch for many residents.

According to census data, Flint’s median household income between 2009 and 2013 was $24,834, compared to Michigan’s median household income of $48,411.  Between those same years, 41.5 percent of Flint’s residents were living below the poverty level.

01ed59b80b3e4e6de29d07d4f473771383973efa9b“I started calling people and realized that a lot of people in Flint cannot afford to buy bottled water on a regular basis,” said Anurag Mantha, a Virginia Tech graduate student who was on a research team that tested the city’s water.

“A second option that we give them is to buy a national sanitation foundation certified lead filters,” Mantha said. “These are available in home improvement stores and Amazon. But I realized that people couldn’t afford to buy them as well.”

Mantha helped start a GoFundMe campaign to help residents afford water filters. The campaign hopes to raise $25,000 to buy them for at least 1,000 residents, and has so far raised $3,560 in 15 days.

0112a31d4a74eb54e9259a9760581d899a1a04ec2dBack in Flint, Melissa Mays faulted the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and the City of Flint.

“They’re saying, ‘Oh, it’s not that bad.’ They’re trying to say it only affects a few people and it’s their own problem. They’re trying to shake off all responsibly,” Mays said.  “My tub is green because there’s so much copper leaching into both of my bathtubs in my house … and I’m just furious.”

Okay, more links in dump fashion, true dump fashion:

014ae648406cd8bea592a9b8c067fee5ade152a334California Lake Dries Up Overnight, Leaving Thousands Of Dead Fish

The power company with water rights to the lake blames drought, but a neighbor says the explanation sounds fishy.

 

Planned Parenthood to file claim against MU after university discontinues abortion doctor’s privileges | Local | columbiamissourian.com

How The Media Is Helping A Hate Group Leader Gain Political Power | Blog | Media Matters for America

01eef5e214a0efb48bf374757f735702e053c6e047Tony Perkins is the head of one of the most extreme anti-gay hate groups in the country, yet media outlets continue to give him a platform that enables him to play a major role in mainstream conservative politics.

 

Neuroscientist calculates feel-good Top 10 playlist – The Boston Globe

“A ‘feel good song’ is rather tricky to define,” writes Dr. Jolij on his website. “Music appreciation is highly personal and strongly depends on social context, and personal associations. In that respect, the idea of a ‘feel 01cfce258c426382048fa7ae97e70808e54fd0cebbgood formula’ is a bit odd — factoring in all these personal aspects is next to impossible, in particular if you want to come up with a quantita[ti]ve feel good formula. Basically, what you need are song features that you can express in numbers.”

I think that can be useful with this next link:

A little, insightful comic about living with chronic depression and anxiety

Neither Cursed Nor Possessed: Mental Abnormality in the Late Middle Ages

Now, some bodies….body parts….murder…and mystery.

A Killer Hiding on the Appalachian Trail? – The Daily Beast

9,000-year-old hunter-gatherer ritualised decapitation

Burial 26 from Lapa do Santo. Image: Gil Tokyo

 

9,000-Year-Old Decapitated Skull Discovered in Brazil – Archaeology Magazine

Was this 9,000-year-old American decapitated out of kindness? – CSMonitor.com

Fragments of a human body including a jaw, the first six cervical vertebrae, and two severed hands that had been laid over the face of a skull in opposite directions have been unearthed at Lapa do Santo, a hunter-gatherer rock-shelter site in east-central Brazil. According to a press release from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, v-shaped cut marks were found on the jaw and the sixth cervical vertebra. André Strauss of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and his colleagues believe that the 9,000-year-old remains could represent the oldest case of decapitation in the Americas. Isotopic analysis of the bones and of other human remains at the site indicate that the individual had been a local member of the group, so the decapitation may have been part of a mortuary ritual, rather than a case of trophy-taking during war.

c1efbfd9bd9d75aac651b89925f68a6fInterview: Bryan Carberry And Clay Tweel, Directors Of ‘Finders Keepers’ : NPR

Years ago, in the small town of Maiden, N.C., a man named Shannon Whisnant bought a storage locker, and in it he found a grill. When he took both of them home and opened the grill, he discovered something he hadn’t been expecting: a mummified human leg.

Between 50 and 75 medieval skeletons discovered at Westminster Abbey – Medievalists.net

Archaeologists have discovered the skeletal remains of between 50 to 75 individuals buried in the walls of Westminster Abbey. It is believed that they date from the 11th or early 12th century.

522290c51d67c29a8eac16bf6dfe71d1The remains had been placed under Victorian drainage pipes outside the wall of Poets’ Corner, which is part of the South Transept of the famous English Collegiate Church. The archaeologists were working there as part of a major project to build a new £19 million tower that will allow visitors more access to the site.

Paw Jorgensen of Pre-Construct Archaeology told The Guardian that the remains likely belong to monks associated with Westminster Abbey, and that they were moved twice since the first burial – first in the 13th century when the church was rebuilt by Henry III, and then in the Victorian era. Workmen from that period even stole the skull of individual who was found in a stone tomb.

f72a4859beba6644796a00ebafea04d4For the Love of a Noblewoman – Archaeology Magazine

The remarkably well preserved, fully dressed body of a seventeenth-century noblewoman has been found in a lead coffin in the French city of Rennes. A team led by Rosenn Colleter of the French National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research (INRAP) made the discovery while excavating the remains of a fourteenth-century convent at the site of a future conference center. Along with some 800 graves, the archaeologists unearthed five lead coffins, one of which was still hermetically sealed and held the nearly intact body. “I knew at once that it was a beautiful discovery,” says Colleter, “and that we would need to work quickly so as not to lose any information to decomposition.”

Trenches French Noblewoman Heart Relic

The woman was buried with a heart-shaped relic inscribed with her husband’s name and containing his heart. This allowed the team to identify her as Louise de Quengo, 7d2683eac68d702a3eacf23f50c63ea3Lady of Brefeillac, who died in 1656. The unusually complete state of de Quengo’s body and clothing is giving specialists a new look at French aristocratic burial practices of the time.

 

Laboratory analysis of the remains will allow researchers to reconstruct the pathogens she carried, including tuberculosis. “It’s rare that you are able to give a seventeenth-century person a comprehensive health check,” says Colleter. The Lady of Brefeillac will be reburied later this year.

 

c5eaacd5e5dfdb25a63f91c28b96caa3We will end these series of links with ghost stories of course:

10 Real-Life Haunted Locations Across the U.S.

Now, a couple of links on women’s issues:

 

New York City High School to Offer Free Tampons | Al Jazeera America

Reviving a Traditional Irish Women’s Sport in New York – The New York Times

b668d2e8efe723f68c8b9ae37dc55a33A look at one of my favorite actors….Michael Fassbender: fearless performer with a craftsman’s approach to the art of acting | Film | The Guardian

Michael Fassbender, Nobody’s Fool – The New York Times

But Fassbender is also still very much the teenager of that original drama-school audition: He welcomes changes as they present themselves and he follows the signs of the present. Justin Kurzel, the director of ‘‘Macbeth,’’ said of working with Fassbender, ‘‘He’s so extremely prepared, he’s never reaching for words. And in that way he’s able to be very open to the conditions of the moment — to whatever is going on that day, to the other people who are around. He can discover something in the moment of doing. That’s why he’s an artist. That’s why he’s one of the best around.’’

[…]

Fassbender has a very deliberate and specific method: ‘‘I go over the words again and again and again and again. Hundreds of times. It’s more of a doing than a thinking thing. I have thoughts about the characters, I learn about them, but that’s not necessarily where the majority of the work gets done.’’

Oh, he gets it done…

 

And we end it all with an adorable video:

H/T Kathy….

 

Enjoy your last Sunday of September. Can you believe it!

 


Sunday Reads: Bigots, Backends, BB and Bernie

2b1076fb7276f1b10c52a29515cc445bGood Afternoon

Don’t know about y’all, but my insomnia is working overtime lately. I’ve tried to get some sleep last night but no such luck so, here is this morning’s post. If it seems a little pffft….you know why, it is because I am writing it with no sleep.

First up, some sad news for VP Biden, I just feel so much sorrow for the man.

Beau Biden Dies at 46 – The Atlantic

Shortly after Joe Biden was elected to the Senate in 1972, tragedy struck. A car crash killed his wife and infant daughter and left both of his young sons severely injured. Only 29 years old at the time, Biden considered resigning from the Senate to care for his remaining family. A cadre of long-time senators, including Ted Kennedy and Hubert H. Humphrey, convinced Biden he could do both. So he did, leaving instructions that his sons’ phone calls were always to be put through during the day, and commuting back from Washington by train to be with them every night.Although Beau Biden was not a carbon copy of his father, he shared his unrelenting commitment to public service. Beau, the former attorney general of Delaware and son of Vice President Joe Biden, died Saturday from a recurrence of brain cancer at age 46. “The entire Biden family is saddened beyond words,” his father said in a statement. “We know that Beau’s spirit will live on in all of us—especially through his brave wife, Hallie, and two remarkable children, Natalie and Hunter.”Beau’s first experience in government came when he worked as a lawyer for the Justice Department before entering private practice. He held the rank of major in the Delaware Army National Guard, and served a yearlong tour in Iraq from October 2008 to September 2009. There, he worked as a judge advocate general in the waning days of the U.S. occupation. His deployment coincided with his father’s run for the vice presidency in 2008. “He’ll go, [although] I don’t want him going,” Joe told a crowd on the campaign trail. “But I don’t want my grandsons or granddaughters going back in 15 years, so how we leave makes a big difference.”

There is a lot more at that Atlantic article. It mentions how Beau did things his own way…and it also discusses the criticism he received after the duPont sentence, that some felt was a little on the easy side.For some pictures: Moving Photos Show A Young Joe Biden Swearing Into Senate By Son Beau’s Bedside After Crash

When Vice President Joe Biden was first sworn in to the U.S. Senate in 1973, he took his oath by the bedside of his son Beau, who’d been injured in a car accident in December 1972 that claimed the lives of Joe Biden’s first wife and daughter.

Images of Biden’s swearing-in circulated on Twitter Saturday night after the vice president announced Beau had died from brain cancer. Beau Biden was 46.

joe biden beau biden

In this Jan. 5, 1973 black-and-white file photo, four-year-old Beau Biden, foreground, watches his dad, Joe Biden, center, being sworn in as the U.S. senator from Delaware, by Senate Secretary Frank Valeo, left, in ceremonies in a Wilmington hospital. Beau was injured in an accident that killed his mother and sister in December. Mrs. Biden’s father, Robert Hunter, holds the Bible. (AP Photo/File)
joe biden beau biden

Joseph H. Biden Jr., left, offers words of encouragement to his bedridden son, Beau, before Bidden was sworn in as the United States Senator from Delaware in ceremonies in Wilmington hospital on Jan. 5, 1973. Biden’s other son, Hunter, talks with Robert Hunter, Biden’s father-in-law. Beau is still in traction from an auto accident on Dec. 18, in which the Senator’s wife and daughter were killed. (AP Photo/Brian Horton)

Also this weekend, BB King’s funeral draws hundreds as Obama says country ‘has lost a legend’ | US news | The Guardian

2713e7da2899d54cf107ac4964b60e3dHundreds of people filled a church in the Mississippi Delta for the funeral on Saturday of BB King, who rose from sharecropper in the area’s flat cotton fields to worldwide fame as a blues singer and guitarist who influenced generations of entertainers.

King was 89 when he died on 14 May in Las Vegas. At his request, his body was returned to his native Mississippi for a final homecoming.

Amid rain, about 500 people filled the sanctuary of Bell Grove Missionary Baptist Church, a red brick structure that sits in a field off of BB King Road in Indianola. More than 200 people who couldn’t get into the sanctuary watched a live broadcast of the funeral in the church’s fellowship hall, many waving hand-held fans with a black-and-white photo of a smiling King hugging his black electric guitar, Lucille.

At the beginning of the service, family members filed past King’s open casket, which had an image of Lucille embroidered on the padded white cloth inside the lid. Later, the casket was closed and covered with a large arrangement of red roses.

The Reverend Herron Wilson, who delivered the eulogy, said King proved people can triumph over difficult circumstances.

5d47a8ede4486e27334c362547d9eff8“Hands that once picked cotton would someday pick guitar strings on a national and international stage. Amazing,” Wilson said.

[…]

More than 4,000 people viewed his open casket Friday at the BB King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center in Indianola.

One of his sons, Willie King of Chicago, said his father taught him to respond with love when others are angry.

“For a man coming out of the cotton field unlearned and you take his music and draw four corners of the world together – that is amazing,” Willie King said on Friday at the museum, where his father will be buried.

King’s public viewing Friday was almost like a state funeral, with Mississippi Highway Patrol officers in dress uniform standing at each end of the casket. Two of his black electric guitars stood among sprays of flowers.

b829586fd1df341cc0dd4de534c05408Before we get to some other links on police shootings…I want to put this link here, it is something that is making news this morning: Photo Raises Doubts About Police Shooting of Jermaine McBean – NBC News

After Florida police shot Jermaine McBean to death as he walked home with an unloaded air rifle, they said there was no reason to believe he did not hear their orders to drop the weapon and that he pointed it at them.

But a newly emerged photo that shows headphones in McBean’s ears immediately after the 2013 shooting raises questions about the police version of events, including why the white earbuds were later found stuffed in the dead computer expert’s pocket.

And another aspect of the police account is also being contradicted — by a man who called 911 in alarm when he saw McBean walking around with the air rifle but who also says McBean never pointed it at police or anyone else.

Michael Russell McCarthy, 58, told NBC News that McBean had the Winchester Model 1000 Air Rifle balanced on his shoulders behind his neck, with his hand over both ends, and was turning around to face police when one officer began shooting.

“He [McBean] couldn’t have fired that gun from the position he was in. There was no possible way of firing it and at the same time hitting something,” McCarthy said. “I kind of blame myself, because if I hadn’t called it might not have happened.”


Jermaine McBean shortly after he was fatally shot by police in Oakland Park, Fla., on July 31, 2013, while carrying an unloaded air rifle. Police say he ignored their orders to drop the weapon and was not wearing headphones; his family’s lawyer says this picture, taken by a witness, shows that was false.Courtesy David Schoen

If you look at the full image, at the link above, you can see where the gun ended up as well…

a8907210cdaf20d9e77562ade5a83a88I think this is relevant since a new report has come out: U.S. police have shot dead 385 people in five months: Washington Post | Reuters

U.S. police have shot and killed 385 people during the first five months of this year, a rate of more than two a day, the Washington Post reported on Saturday.

The death rate is more than twice that tallied by the federal government over the past decade, a count that officials concede is incomplete, the newspaper said.

The analysis is based on data the Post is compiling on every fatal shooting by police in 2015, as well as of every officer killed by gunfire in the line of duty.

“We are never going to reduce the number of police shootings if we don’t begin to accurately track this information,” said Jim Bueermann, president of the Police Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving law enforcement.

The Post analysis comes as a national debate is raging over the police use of deadly force, especially against minorities.

Federal Bureau of Investigation records over the past decade show about 400 fatal police shootings a year, or an average of 1.1 deaths a day. Reporting of shootings by police agencies is voluntary.

But the Post’s analysis indicates the daily death toll for 2015 is close to 2.6 as of Friday. At that pace, police will have shot and killed nearly 1,000 people by the end of the year, the paper said.

09276b1d3e4d22c6bdeb894a63b275a6Geez. Here are a few of the highlights…

Among unarmed victims, two-thirds were black or Hispanic.

Based on census numbers for the areas where the killings took place, blacks were killed at three times the rate of whites or other minorities.

[…]

Three of the 385 fatal shootings have resulted in an officer being charged with a crime.

What can be said in response to that article? I mean, we know what needs to be done, but when you see the statistics represented as such, and then see proof that police are covering up their killings…I do feel like throwing up.

Uh, some more stats for ya: Black Women in San Francisco Are Nearly 50% of City’s Female Arrests, and Only 6% of the Female Population | Alternet

According to a new report from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice African-American women in San Francisco account for 50% of the female arrests, but only make up 6% of the female population.

ab3619032cd28c5d027d6274d37ce119 (1)The difference between Black female and non-black female arrests are four times higher than the rest of California. This rate has gone up sharply in San Francisco: in 1980, the arrest disparity between black women and non-black women was 4.1 percent, which is less than one-third of 2013’s racial disparity.

Get the link to the full report at the alternet link above.

Moving on to Bernie Sanders. It seems he wrote some shitty article about, well: Shakesville: On Bernie Sanders’ 1972 Essay

So, a Mother Jones profile of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders dug up, among other things, an essay Sanders penned in 1972 for an alternative newspaper called the Vermont Freeman. Titled “Man—and Woman,” the piece is an exploration of gender roles written in a ’70s pop-psych milieu, and it describes a man in a couple fantasizing about abusing women while having sex with a female partner who is fantasizing about being raped; invokes a hypothetical newspaper article about a preteen girl being gang-raped; and references the woman having a “sex friend when you were 13 years old.”

db8c136e2fc874f2aea861e98ba5ee99I find this disturbing in so many ways. But then, y’all know my reasons.

This is a longish quote from the essay and some thoughts from the Shakesville blog…warning, it is fucked up shit. (the quote)

A man goes home and masturbates his typical fantasy. A woman on her knees, a woman tied up, a woman abused.

A woman enjoys intercourse with her man—as she fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously.

The man and woman get dressed up on Sunday—and go to Church, or maybe to their “revolutionary” political meeting.

Have you ever looked at the Stag, Man, Hero, Tough magazines on the shelf of your local bookstore? Do you know why the newspapers with the articles like “Girl 12 raped by 14 men” sell so well? To what in us are they appealing?

Women, for their own preservation, are trying to pull themselves together. And it’s necessary for all of humanity that they do so. Slavishness on one hand breeds pigness on the other hand. Pigness on one hand breeds slavishness on the other. Men and women—both are losers. Women adapt themselves to fill the needs of men, and men adapt themselves to fill the needs of women. In the beginning there were strong men who killed the animals and brought home the food—and the dependent women who cooked it. No More! Only the roles remain—waiting to be shaken off. There are no “human” oppressors. Oppressors have lost their humanity. On one hand “slavishness,” on the other hand “pigness.” Six of one, half dozen of the other. Who wins?

Many women seem to be walking a tightrope now. Their qualities of love, openness, and gentleness were too deeply enmeshed with qualities of dependency, subservience, and masochism. How do you love—without being dependent? How do you be gentle—without being subservient? How do you maintain a relationship without giving up your identity and without getting strung out? How do you reach out and give your heart to your lover, but maintain the soul which is you?

278f086295c76115ae76f91d5ba276ccAnd Men. Men are in pain too. They are thinking, wondering. What is it they want from a woman? Are they at fault? Are they perpetrating this man-woman situation? Are they oppressors?

The man is bitter.

“You lied to me,” he said. (She did).

“You said that you loved me, that you wanted me, that you needed me. Those are your words.” (They are).

“But in reality,” he said, “if you ever loved me, or wanted me, or needed me (all of which I’m not certain was ever true), you also hated me. You hated me—just as you have hated every man in your entire life, but you didn’t have the guts to tell me that. You hated me before you ever saw me, even though I was not your father, or your teacher, or your sex friend when you were 13 years old, or your husband. You hated me not because of who I am, or what I was to you, but because I am a man. You did not deal with me as a person—as me. You lived a lie with me, used me and played games with me—and that’s a piggy thing to do.”

Marilyn

Marilyn

And she said, “You wanted me not as a woman, or a lover, or a friend, but as a submissive woman, or submissive friend, or submissive lover; and right now where my head is I balk at even the slightest suspicion of that kind of demand.”

And he said, “You’re full of __________.”

And they never again made love together (which they had each liked to do more than anything) or never ever saw each other one more time.

After I read this last night, my thoughts were: One, 1972 is a long-ass time ago, but Sanders was also 31 years old in 1972. Not exactly a kid. Two, I had no desire to see Sanders “crucified” over it, as became the charge against anyone who raised concerns about it. Basically I just wanted him to say, “That was super fucked up and indefensible and I regret it.” Three, asking a man to repudiate troubling attitudes about women/sexual assault isn’t an attack. It’s a request to (maybe) reestablish trust. And four, that shouldn’t be a big deal, since people who genuinely believe they fucked up generally don’t mind saying so.

Melissa is being generous if you ask me….I’ve got some serious issues with this shit. But let’s continue:

But Sanders took a different route. Through a campaign spokesperson, the essay was described as a “dumb attempt at dark satire in an alternative publication.”

Step One: Call it satire. Step Two: Call us humorless.

The spokesman further explained: “When Bernie got into this race, he understood that there would be efforts to distracts voters and the press from the real issues confronting the nation today.”

8d0e2570600b7344929065b3043ec77aWell, not for nothing, pal, but male politicians seeking higher office who have loathsome ideas about women, gender roles, and sexual violence is one of “the real issues confronting the nation today.” Which is why I was hoping that Sanders would take seriously the concerns raised about some of the language used in that piece.

The truth is, I’m way more angry about that response than I was about the fucking essay.

Oh yeah, I agree with Melissa here…she is fucking right about this. For the “spokesman” asshole to dismiss the real issue here, only goes to show that what ever disgusting misogynist perverted sexist pedo shit Sanders was selling back in 1972, it still on the sale rack in 2015.

Now for some other disgusting crap being slung about…this time it is in the name of Christians, via Digby:

fce07c4517963a31fd284292aadb8c5a“Abuse is the new racism”

That comes from a conservative Christian writer who isn’t suggesting that abuse is a problem or even that it’s real. He’s saying that the people who are accused of abuse, like those who are accused of racism, are the real victims:

A conservative Quiverfull writer with ties to the Duggars has come out swinging in defense of the “19 Kids & Counting” stars, posting a series of outraged Facebook posts praising the family in spite of an ongoing sexual abuse scandal.

In the posts, which were first cited by watchdog group Homeschoolers Anonymous, homeschooling activist Rick Boyer — also the author of the Jim Bob Duggar-endorsed book “Take Back the Land” — asserted that the reality-show family appropriately handled allegations of incest and assault by eldest son Josh Duggar, and that they do not deserve to be criticized.

6be337bc688d7d63d00b22e11c0291c3“‘Abuse’ is the new ‘racism,’” Boyer, who also sits on the board of the Home Educators Association of Virginia, wrote. “As soon as you’re accused of it, you’re considered guilty. Just what would you like the Duggars to have done? Turn all their kids over to a godless psychologist? Maybe one supplied by the local public school system where ‘abuse’ is so unheard of? Should they have skinned Josh alive, rolled him in salt and hung him on a meathook?”

These people.

Another look at the same topic: When “Religion” Is Just Bigotry | The Mahablog

Conservative Christians live to feel persecuted. It’s what inspires them to get up in the morning.

 

d90703782a5f895a015c3ac9bd715940You know, Fox News has been on top of the Duggar story since the beginning. Not. Guess how much time Fox News has spent covering the Duggar scandal – Salon.com -If you answered “Less than 2 minutes,” you are correct!

This post is getting long and I am getting tired. The rest in dump-o-links.
Lawsuit Accuses Texas of Denying Birth Certificates to U.S.-Born Children | The Bob and Chez Show | News and Politics Podcast and Blog

WATCH: Mississippi racists call woman a n****r in Walmart parking lot — because it’s a day that ends in ‘day’

New book explores link between emotions and contemporary racial violence

Abortion: Pro-choice outpolls pro-life for first time in 7 years – POLITICO

Lighthearted Reality Show Sends Czech Family To Nazi Summer Camp | Wonkette

Eschaton: I Do Not Think This Is A Good Idea

These next two links go together:

8484936f7d00f8f7f7094aae354cec24With lots of love and money, Tampa’s historic gems keep shining | Tampa Bay Times

Raul Lavin entered the world nearly a century ago as a member of the Cuban Club.

Lavin, 98, the club’s oldest member, said his parents signed him up the month before he was born. That entitled him to 60 days of free membership, a great gift in those times, he said.

“The first thing cigar makers ever did was pay the dues to the club.”

That’s because the club provided many of the joys and necessities of life: fellowship, theater, dancing, the neighborhood bar, doctor visits, pharmacy, hospitalization and burial.

The Cuban Club, Italian Club and Centro Asturiano, where Spanish immigrants gathered, stand as Tampa gems, looking like grand mansions built by railroad barons of the era. These elaborate edifices, all built between 1914 and 1918 to replace original buildings, housed America’s first mutual aid societies, forerunners to health maintenance organizations. Celebrated architect M. Leo Elliott designed or helped design each building, all listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

A rescue effort led by descendants of the early members saved the buildings. The Cuban and Italian clubs were in such decay by the 1980s that pigeons, entering through broken windows, roosted in once-glittering ballrooms. Fund raisers and grants enabled the members to put millions into renovating them.

85bf0b9c93e420498a68a90b0202e3e8These clubs were such an important part of my family. My mother was born in the old Centro Asturiano Hospital.

Centro Asturiano never deteriorated to the degree of the other two buildings because members raised the money to make improvements as needed over the years, said president Frank Menendez.

Another early club, organized by black Cuban immigrants who felt the full sting of the Jim Crow American South, did not fare so well. The Marti-Maceo Society’s red brick club house on Seventh Avenue, built in 1907 with arched doors and windows and a high wraparound balcony outside, fell to the wrecking ball of urban renewal in 1965.

Sharon Gomez, president of the club — named for Jose Marti and celebrated black Cuban Gen. Antonio Maceo Grajales — said a lawyer member led a failed effort to save the old building. Members moved to a modest replacement on Seventh Avenue near the western gate of Ybor City. Like the other clubs, Marti-Maceo rents out the facility for private gatherings.

Not many of those involved in the rescue of the old buildings remember the time when cigar factories were smoking and the clubs were the center of life. Cuban Club president Patrick Manteiga, 51, for example, is too young. Manteiga, editor of La Gaceta, remembers the building only as a rental venue; as a teenager, he helped the organizers of the popular Artists & Writers Balls in the early 1980s.

All the clubs have lost members over the years, he said, just as service clubs like Optimist or Elks have.

“They just aren’t a necessary part of life.”

They were vital in the beginning, when “Latins in non-Latin parts of town were not very welcome,” he said. Depending on the club, within its confines members could bowl, play handball, work out, take a dip in an indoor pool and meet friends in the cantina for card games and dominoes.

157adbfedc928bcf0a495216a6ff61beNow, only Centro Asturiano’s cantina is open to a few older members who gather daily for dominoes and cards. It’s a small space on the second floor. When the club had 6,000 members, the cantina was a cavernous room on the ground floor. There, the magnificent, 42-foot marble and onyx bar — the longest of its kind in the world, Menendez says — is open only when the room is rented.

Immigrants took great pride in these buildings, which served as their country clubs. Joe Caltagirone, 89, historian for the Italian Club, said his grandfather would come home from work on a farm, bathe, eat dinner, put on a coat and tie and go to the club.

“My grandfather would not be caught dead in there without a tie and coat.”

[…]

For Lavin, the best time at the Cuban Club was right after World War II. The cigar factories were still bustling and so was the club, bringing in star band leaders such as Cab Calloway and Count Basie.

The club put on elaborate productions of light operettas like The Merry Widow, with lavish gowns for the women, elegant uniforms and cutaways on the men.

“Every Sunday, the Cuban Club theater would get full,” Lavin said.

“It was a beautiful period.”

A few pictures…

The Cuban Club:

images

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Centro Asturiano:

Photo 34_Centro Asturiano Tampa

 

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A5aPLSdCMAALP-u.jpg large

 

The Italian Club:

 

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Centro Espanol of West Tampa:

Photo173434

 

 

Centro Espanol started mutual aid society movement | Tampa Bay Times

The club that started the mutual aid society movement is now a group of about 60 whose two clubhouses were sold to other entities.

4967442725_43e8769b7a_b

Centro Espanol Ybor City

 

Spanish immigrants led by Ignacio Haya — whose factory beat Vicente Martinez Ybor’s in turning out Tampa’s first hand-rolled cigar — formed Centro Espanol in 1891. It grew to nearly 3,000 people in its heyday. In 1912, the club built the large brick structure that still bears its name at 1536 E Seventh Ave. in Ybor City. Designed by Francis J. Kennard in a mix of Spanish, Moorish and French Renaissance styles, the building has been designated a U.S. national historic landmark. It’s now occupied by the Carne ChopHouse restaurant.

By the way, here is a picture of Jose Marti at Ybor’s cigar factory 1893:

martientampa

This next story is ridiculous, and I think it is fucking laughable that the father was not arrested. Georgia woman shackled over son’s school absences: Reports | www.ajc.com

a8a69479937aad70af98a71241ffcf0bA Georgia woman likely faces probation after she was arrested and put in ankle shackles earlier this month because of her son’s school absences, according to People.

Julie Giles, of Screven County, said she was arrested after her son had six more unexcused absences than the school system allows, in part because he is frequently ill and Giles does not have the money to take him to the doctor.

“As all of you know, my boys being sick often is nothing new. … The truth is, l cannot afford a copay every single time they are sick, but I never want to send them to school when they feel bad or could possibly get others sick,” she wrote on Facebook on May 12. “I have NEVER been in trouble before in my life and the boys are beside themselves.”

Giles was booked on May 14 and released within minutes, according to the Screven County Jail. She was charged with one count of failure to comply with mandatory attendance.

65b9880cee477d16e6c529ebfd8be86bShe posted that day to say she had been shackled by the ankles when she turned herself in. Screven County Sheriff Mike Kile confirmed this to People, but said the shackling is standard procedure during any arrest.

A GoFundMe has been set up for Giles. As of this writing, $710 has been raised out of a $2,500 goal.

Giles will likely receive probation, Kile told People.

She is one of  12 people this school year referred to the court for student truancy, Screven County Schools Superintendent William Bland said in an email.

Giles’ husband, Keith, was not arrested, according to the New York Daily News. The school system report that was first filed with the sheriff’s office names only the person who enrolled the truant student, Bland said.

 

M28949-1b 001

M28949-1b 001

Read more about this shit at the link.

It even made the Foreign press: Sylvania teacher arrested following ‘THREE unexcused absences by son’ | Daily Mail Online

Finally some good news: Calif. high school has 100 percent college acceptance rate – NY Daily News

A California high school has beat the odds, sending all its graduating seniors off to college for the seventh straight year, despite being located in a neighborhood riddled with crime and plagued with gangs.

0bb0ff6f2bf8242a341e98ba53541568“It’s not Beverly Hills by any stretch,” said Paul Hosch, vice president of mission advancement at Verbum Dei High School, which boasts a 100 percent college acceptance rate.

“The neighborhoods that surround the students are underserved. There are very few grocery stores. There are lots of gangs. It’s not a place most people would want to raise their kids,” he added.

This is an open thread, and have a good Sunday.


Wednesday Reads: An uneasy trend

39d1613708cbfde85dcd84731313e5cbHello

Just can’t seem to bring myself round to reading any news lately. I have spent most of my time immersed in episodes of Foyle’s War. What an incredible series, if anyone has Netflix….

Anyway, so for today’s news reads, it will be a lazy link dump. The latest on the Amtrak accident will be at the bottom of the post.

Just to highlight something before we get to the hard core stuff:

Remember that black man found dead, who supposedly “hung” himself from a swingset in South Carolina?

6c65a16190169620760d6d9d13a26db9Check this out: Black Man Found Hanged From Tree in Greensboro, Georgia – NBC News.com

A black man who’d recently been questioned in connection with the death of a white woman was found dead hanging from a tree Monday morning in rural Greensboro, Georgia, police said. Local and state investigators said there was nothing to immediately suggest foul play.

Greensboro Police Chief Ossie Mapp told NBC News that a neighbor called 911 about 9 a.m. ET to report finding a body behind a house on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Police discovered the body of Roosevelt Champion III, 43, who Champion didn’t live at the address in Greensboro, in east-central Georgia between Athens and Augusta, Mapp said.

Champion’s body was suspended by tie-down strap similar to those used to secure cargo on the roofs of vehicles, Mapp said.

There were no visible wounds on Champion’s body, his feet were scraping the ground and his knees were slightly buckled, suggesting that he hadn’t been lifted into the tree, said Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Joe Wooten, who is in charge of the investigation. Wooten and Mapp said it’s too early to determine the formal cause of death, which is pending an autopsy.

924dcb7b423f9a51a51916680d18236fBut Wooten said Champion was questioned at least twice last week in a homicide case involving the death of a white woman. In the end, no charges were filed, he said. Details of that investigation weren’t immediately available.

“I understand that there is a lot of concern” in the community because the victim was a black man who was hanged in the Deep South, Wooten said. “Because of that, we’re going to be as transparent as we can be.”

Okay, whatever…

Champion’s family does not believe it was suicide: Death of G.A. Man Found Hanging Ruled a Suicide — NYMag

Many suspected foul play when a black man recently questioned in the murder of a white woman was found hanging from a tree in Georgia on Monday, but his death has been ruled a suicide. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation said an autopsy found no evidence of trauma to the body of Roosevelt Champion III, and his hands and feet were not bound. However, his family refused to accept that explanation. “I’m angry, I’m angry because I don’t have answers,” Miranda Wright, one of Champion’s sisters, told NBC News. “He’d do a lot of things but he wouldn’t have harmed himself, I doubt it.”

05e1596df83058e3e8b4ac7902113895…but keep in mind, just a few counties over from where Champion was found hanging from the tree:

Nine Georgia deputies fired over black inmate’s death | Reuters

Nine sheriff’s deputies in Georgia were fired on Friday over the New Year’s Day death of a black inmate who had been placed in restraints, officials said.

The dismissals come amid a series of killings by police in cities including of Baltimore, New York, and Ferguson, Missouri over the past year that have raised questions about officers’ use of lethal force, especially against black men and other minority groups.

The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office said its decision was based on an internal review and a separate probe by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation into the Jan. 1 death of 22-year-old Matthew Ajibade.

67ab5a4d880f4b9a0f1557015b694363Officials said he injured three deputies while being booked into jail on charges of domestic violence, battery and resisting arrest. Ajibade, a college student, was then placed in an isolation cell and later found unresponsive, officials said.

The local Savannah Morning News reported that area clergy members said in a letter to the sheriff’s office this week that Ajibade suffered from bipolar disorder. They also said he was handcuffed to a restraining chair when officials used a taser on him, according to the News.

The Sheriff’s office said it had turned over its findings to the county prosecutor to weigh possible criminal charges. The office said it would not make its report available unless a local court rules the findings are subject to release or the prosecutor finishes investigating.

b0a49517c5319d733a906c66e38f6e0eThe office did note in Friday’s statement however that among the changes instituted following Ajibade’s death and the subsequent investigations was a “clear written policy of when tasers may not be used.”

And while you are thinking about all this goings on in Georgia….‘The Nightly Show’ skewers Georgia educators | www.ajc.com

Monday night’s episode of “The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” focused on three stories of racism and bigotry that have been trending in the news. Two of those stories involved Georgia educators.

“The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore” has been making waves since its premiere in January. The new show, a spinoff of “The Daily Show,” focuses less on the media’s coverage of political news (that’s Jon Stewart’s job) and more on trending news topics.

edaa5ff3241ec9ed0422f6cd8f60d233The show begins with a monologue by host Larry Wilmore and ends with a roundtable discussion that often features one comedian, one celebrity and experts on the subjects being discussed.

Last night’s show began with host Larry Wilmore discussing the remarks made by Principal Nancy Gordeuk at the graduation ceremony of Stone Mountain’s TNT Academy. The video — of Gordeuk calling the crowd “goobers,” “cowards” and (after accidentally dismissing the crowd before the Valedictorian’s speech) yelling,“Look who’s leaving? All the black people.” — was played.

Wilmore then played the video clip of Gordeuk claiming the devil was responsible for her comments.

The show then switched focus to Nancy Perry, the Dublin, Georgia, teacher that was removed from the classroom after telling students President Barack Obama was not Christian, if their parents voted for Obama they were not Christian, and the President is an “evil Muslim.”

Here are the best quotes from Wilmore’s monologue:

 “The devil? First of all, everyone knows the devil hasn’t been back in Georgia since he lost that fiddling competition.”

“A Georgia teacher tells her students Obama is an evil Muslim. In a related story, she’s now the front-runner for the Republican primary!”

d80cc1c20827139a5a935e913cdf1af9(After guessing what Ledbetter called the President) “Evil Muslim, I almost went with that! I had huge fan of late term abortions.”

“Hey Georgia educators, can I talk to you for a sec? If people wanted their kids to learn coded racism, false truths about the president and be talked down to, they would homeschool them. And leave them watching Fox News all day.”

“They (parents) have their kids in a Georgia public school to learn actual facts. You know, like the Civil War should actually be called the ‘War of Northern Aggression.’ So teach them what’s right and leave your half-baked, unsubstantiated opinions where they belong: Thanksgiving dinner.”

Wilmore was then joined for a round table discussion with comedian and show contributor Mike Yard, comedian Rachel Feinstein, and film and television producer (and Georgia resident) Will Packard.

The best quotes from the roundtable:

“It’s weird, it’s almost like black people can’t do anything right now. Everything we do is stereotypical. We like chicken, that’s bad. We like watermelon, ‘Ehh, they like that watermelon’. They leave when you dismiss them? ‘Look at these Negros, just doing what we tell them to do.’” – Mike Yard

6188f584a1ffef532abdc63e60b2ec4d“If you look, it was the black people leaving … But here’s the thing: If you were a student or parent and had to be subjected to this crazy racist principal all year and finally you graduate? You would get the hell out of there too!” – Will Packard

“People always blame the devil too. I thinks it’s okay, like if you murder your kids, blame the devil, but not for casual, everyday racism.” – Rachel Feinstein

Put this is perspective…or context with the rest of the shit going on in the US of late.

Which brings me to this: Shakesville: And Again

924dcb7b423f9a51a51916680d18236fjIn March, 19-year-old Tony Robinson, a black man, was killed by Madison, Wisconsin, Police Officer Matthew Kenny following an altercation, according to police. Today, the prosecutor announced that Kenny will not face charges.

“I conclude that this tragic and unfortunate death was the result of a lawful use of deadly police force and that no charges should be brought against Officer Kenny in the death of Tony Robinson Jr.,” Ismael Ozanne, the Dane County district attorney, announced Tuesday afternoon at a news conference.

…Robinson’s death on March 6 prompted days of sustained, peaceful demonstrations in Wisconsin’s second-largest city. Police say they were responding to multiple calls about a disturbance involving Robinson, including calls that said he had assaulted other people and ran into traffic.

In a brief statement after the shooting, police said that when they found Robinson, “a struggle ensued” and he was shot and killed. Kenny was placed on paid administrative leave, and the police chief apologized for the shooting and asked for patience during the investigation.

…Ozanne, who was appointed in 2010, is a lifelong Madison resident and the first black district attorney in Wisconsin history, according to his office. He said that he viewed his responsibilities through this lens as “a man who understands the pain of unjustified profiling” and described discussions he has had recently with community members who are distrustful of the criminal justice system.

“My decision will not bring Tony Robinson Jr. back,” Ozanne said Tuesday. “My decision will not end the racial disparities that exist in the justice system, in our justice system.”

924dcb7b423f9a51a51916680d18236fkWelp.

Robinson, of course, being dead, was unavailable to tell his version of events. But, according to Kenny, he chased Robinson into a building, where Robinson hit him in the head and so he “opened fire after he feared that he would be hit again and his gun taken and used to shoot him or others. Kenny fired seven shots in three seconds, and all of the shots hit Robinson on the front of his body.”

Toxicology shows Robinson was high, but what the fuck? Shoot him over repeatedly killing him? Dead? I don’t get it.

856d0cc00487daaf6beecbb393df3a68The Latest: Protesters seek walkout over Wisconsin shooting – GreenwichTime

The rest in of it in dump format:

Did Jeb Bush just commit a War Crime in Justifying the Iraq War? | Informed Comment

Jon Stewart Slams Jeb Bush For Name-Dropping W. On Foreign Policy | Crooks and Liars

ALLEN WEST WOULD GET THE FJM TREATMENT IF HE WASN’T SUCH A TERRIBLE AND UNFOCUSED WRITER | Gin and Tacos

Allen West Got Sharia Law All Over Him In The Walmart Checkout Line | Wonkette

98f690472d5a2663f25cc01d746a08bbNBA Promo Thinks It’s Hysterical to Hurl Your Girlfriend Across the Room | Mediaite

Reporter Shauna Hunt Shuts Down Fuck Her Right in the Pussy | Mediaite

Toronto FC Fan Fired By Hydro One Over Vulgar ‘FHRITP’ Incident | Crooks and Liars

Women Harmed by Unpredictable Scheduling | Al Jazeera America

Health Department: Insurers Must Cover All Birth Control Methods

Reproductive rights remain brightest partisan dividing line | MSNBC

be170528f071cc32394000abc46fd60c5 Ways to Stop Bad Attitudes About Women in Power | Tabby Biddle

Texas House Approves Scarlet Letter for Obamacare | The Bob and Chez Show | News and Politics Podcast and Blog

Bernik: Sandra Lee’s condition splits doctors’ opinions – NY Daily News

Toyota and Nissan recall 6.5 million cars over airbags – BBC News

And the latest on the Amtrak Derailment:

At least six die in Philadelphia train derailment, scores hurt | Reuters

Philadelphia Amtrak Crash: Black Box Recovered, Mayor Says – NBC News.com

Amtrak train crash: Derailment happened on same stretch of track as 1943 Franklin Junction disaster – Americas – World – The Independent

This is an open thread…


Wednesday Reads: Listen to me

(listen to me)  helena almeida, 1979

(listen to me) helena almeida, 1979

Morning All

This post is going to have a theme focused on women in photos with their mouths being silenced in some way.  Whether it is tape, a hand, skin, whatever…the point of the images is that the women are not being listened to.

It all started with a little make-up project my daughter and her two best buddies were working on the other day.

From left to right: Jehma, Bebe and Tori

From left to right: Jehma, Bebe and Tori

She sent me the images below and said it represented something specific to them. She said they wanted me to use it for the blog…for a post about how women are not being listened to, even when they actually do speak out about things.

How they are being systematically silenced…

I get the feeling that the girls have talked out loud in their classes the past week and were frustrated that they were not being heard.

If you look at the way the skin is formed over the mouth it is not completely covering it…you can still see openings where the flesh is being stretched apart…

 

Well, Bebe is the model, Tori is the make-up artist and Jehma is the photographer. I think they did a great job on this…Tori is gifted with special effect make-up. The whole group is very creative, they are always out doing something like this.

Anyway, as you read the links I have for you this morning, you can look at the other images and know where the thought process came from.

Okay, on with the post.

bb4708931abb218219a6af0166036c82If the man isn’t shutting up women, or not listening to them, he is lying to them:

Arizona Senate Passes Bill To Allow Doctors Lie To Women Without Consequence If It Prevents Abortion

Imagine finally getting pregnant, showing up for your N/T or anatomy scan, and learning that there is a terrible genetic issue with your baby.  You have two choices: terminate the pregnancy, or continue it, aware of the issues you will be dealing with after birth and arranging the sort of medical assistance you will need for your new situation.

Now, imagine having no idea that your baby has any issues until you give birth, because your doctor lied to you.

Arizona thinks that is just fine, as long as it prevents an abortion.

fd528d6328ec7efc0c24b92640241bb0Via Addicting Info:

It’s called a “wrongful birth” bill and it’s all about preventing women from having an abortion, even if it kills them. The Arizona Senate passed a bill this week that gives doctors a free pass to not inform pregnant women of prenatal problems because such information could lead to an abortion.

In other words, doctors can intentionally keep critical health information from pregnant women and can’t be sued for it. According to the Arizona Capitol Times, “the bill’s sponsor is Republican Nancy Barto of Phoenix. She says allowing the medical malpractice lawsuits endorses the idea that if a child is born with a disability, someone is to blame.” So Republicans are banning lawsuits against doctors who keep information from pregnant women so as to prevent them from choosing to have an abortion.

Canada’s Next Top Model (Cycle 3), sent along by Julie C., included a photoshoot in which the models’ mouths were covered with duct tape

Canada’s Next Top Model (Cycle 3), sent along by Julie C., included a photoshoot in which the models’ mouths were covered with duct tape

How is a woman supposed to feel comfortable trusting her doctor with this sort of bill on the books?

What I don’t understand is how they can pass this kind of shitty law, I mean…lawsuits? Insurance companies? Liability Claims? WTF? And that does not even take into account the fact that this is just batshit fucked up in the first place. Ugh.

Hey, but why even bother lying, just don’t tell em anything: N. Carolina Legislators Decide Teens Don’t Need To Know About Sex | Crooks and Liars

Go to the link to read about that.

More stories on keeping a woman down:

e32a72c3e2fa109936d641209523d9b9Florida pastor rants: God wants men to rule women — but men can’t rejoice without being sued

ere is no leadership except for male leadership, according to a Florida pastor.

During a March 29 sermon about leadership, which was recently highlighted by the Friendly Atheist blog and the Bad Preachers YouTube account, Pastor Bill Lytell of the Gospel Baptist Church told his congregation he was proud to have a “male leadership” sign outside the church because “this is a man’s world.”

Lytell said that after a 9-year-old boy found a gun in the church’s bathroom last month, he was happy that a local media outlet filmed the “male leadership” sign during its coverage of the incident.

“And that’s going to go out throughout the whole country. Do you know what we’d have had to pay to do something like that?” he remarked. “That was probably a hundred thousand dollar gift. I’m not going to thank the person that left the weapon, however.”

PAINTED SHUT

PAINTED SHUT

“Don’t you be ashamed you go to a church with male leadership,” Lytell said. “Every church that’s right with God oughta have a sign: ‘Male Leadership.’ Because that’s the only kind of leadership, both from Adam all the way to the last part of the Bible. It’s all been male. This is a man’s world!”

“And all the men said, ‘Amen!’” he continued. “There aren’t many places were men can ever rejoice anymore without feeling about half-ashamed because they try to put you down or sue you or something, but brother this is a man’s world. You can say what you want, you can do what you want, but God made Adam in leadership and it’s going to end with a man in leadership. It doesn’t make men better, it is just God’s way.”

Pleeeeeaaaazzzzzzz!

National Review Likens Concern Over Campus Sexual Assault To “Mass Hysteria” Of Salem Witch Trials | Blog | Media Matters for America

fb11b9614681696abf9df4dd73703695National Review‘s Kevin Williamson declared that the epidemic of campus sexual assault “is a fiction” and compared efforts to curb the crime to “mass hysteria” during the Salem Witch Trials.

Rolling Stone recently retracted its controversial article on sexual assault at the University of Virginia, following a review by the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) which determined the report to be a “journalistic failure.”

National Review correspondent Kevin Williamson responded by issuing a blanket denial of the prevalence of sexual assault on college campuses across the country. “There is no epidemic of rapes on American college campuses,” Williamson wrote. “The campus-rape epidemic is a fiction.” He likened outrage over campus sexual assaults to “mass hysteria” during the Salem Witch Trials and “the Satanic-cult hysteria of the 1980s and 1990s.”

a0ff11bcada7b2d5470986a2e2e417d9But sexual assault on college campuses is a serious issue — and one that experts say is vastly underreported.Experts have estimated that one in five women will be sexually assaulted while at college, and the problem may be even more serious than statistics on the crime reveal. According to the Rape, Abuse, And Incest National Network, sexual assault is “one of the most under reported crimes,” with nearly 70 percent of crimes going unreported to police.

National Review‘s response to the CJR report on Rolling Stone takes the very position CJR explicitly warned against. In its review, CJR cautioned that the Rolling Stone case should not be used to discredit the larger movement to address campus sexual assault, writing, “It would be unfortunate if Rolling Stone‘s failure were to deter journalists from taking on high-risk investigations of rape in which powerful individuals or institutions may wish to avoid scrutiny but where the facts may be underdeveloped.”

822f11e50e338ce59f623c12afc9a976And then you have the Judges who won’t listen either: Judge tosses ‘sex slave’ claims involving Prince Andrew – NY Daily News

A Florida judge has tossed out explosive claims from a woman who said she was forced into having sex with England’s Prince Andrew when she was a teenager.

In a ruling Tuesday, Judge Kenneth Marra denied a bid by “Jane Doe No. 3 and Jane Doe No. 4” to intervene in a long-running court case alleging the feds gave preferential treatment to billionaire perv Jeffrey Epstein.

More at the link.

You can’t just deny their testimony? Then beat them: ‘Family Values’ Lunatic Todd Kincannon Arrested Just For Showing Wife Who’s Boss | Wonkette

Now there’s a mugshot that ought to gladden the hearts of many. Rightwing bile duct and former chairman of the South Carolina GOP Todd Kincannon was arrested Monday evening and is facing a charge of criminal domestic violence charge in court Tuesday. His arrest follows a March 26 incident in which Kincannon’s wife, Ashely Griffith, said that he had threatened to kill her, her family, and himself during a terror-filled drive home from a work event; she also told a Lexington County, South Carolina, sheriff’s deputy that they had a “history of unreported domestic violence” and that she feared Kincannon.

After news of the incident broke, Kincannon swore up and down that he was simply having a bad reaction to some prescription medication that had caused him to hallucinate, which didn’t quite explain why Griffith seems to have hallucinated that history of abuse, or the recordings of previous threats of suicide and murder that she told the deputy she’d made. Lesson: the Party of Personal Responsibility really needs to stay away from drugs, which turn loving family men into monsters.

af58d8e5b01e500b6b792a55a518d2a3And in our last link of silencing a woman, in anyway or anyhow: 100-year-old killed his sleeping wife with an ax in a gruesome murder-suicide | Tampa Bay Times

You can read that one if you want…I won’t quote from it at all. The fact is he was 100, she was 88.

Links now on that South Carolina murder by cop:

The murder of Walter Scott-Will Bunch via AttyTood

Here are some things that we know about Walter Scott.

Scott was a 50-year-old black man, pulled over on Saturday in North Charleston, S.C., by a white member of that city’s predominantly white police force, for driving with a broken tail light.

He was not armed.

3aa640b981e29027bc4aff6a735a6c02He was wanted on a Family Court warrant, presumably for past non-payment of child support — and family members say he desperately did not want to be arrested.

We know that after a brief encounter with Officer Michael Slager, he turned and tried to run away from the lawman at top speed.

And here’s one other thing we can say about Walter Scott with an unwavering sense of certainty: He absolutely did not deserve to die.

Yet the South Carolina man might have been just another statistic — just another one of the 100 or so Americans killed now every month in a police-involved shooting — were it not for one thing. This time, the final critical moments of  Walter Scott’s life — including the eight shots that Slager fired at Scott’s back as he fled — were captured clearly on a cell phone video.

And so this case is going down very differently from the deaths of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner,Michael Brown, and other unarmed black suspects — deadly force that has caused a national uproar about policing in 21st Century America.

This time, Officer Slager has been arrested and charged with murder.

The Execution of Walter Scott (VIDEO) – The Daily Banter

White police officer charged with murder for fatally shooting black man in the back | theGrio

White South Carolina Police Officer Charged in Black Man’s Death

White SC officer charged with murder in black man’s shooting – WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Zandar Versus The Stupid: Last Call For Eight Is Enough

In relation to this murder in SC: Connecticut study finds black drivers stopped more than whites | Reuters

And meanwhile in Georgia: Georgia prison guards resign after viral beating photo posted to Facebook | theGrio

But let’s not leave Texas out of the fun: Confederate group will fly 32 battle flags over MLK Drive at Civil War memorial in Texas town

Speaking of Texas: Federal judge refuses to lift injunction on Obama’s immigration order – LA Times

Judge Slams Justice Department For “Misconduct” In Immigration Case – BuzzFeed News

84ae6ef27bb9b820e0a43fc76c514cd4Those two links are interesting, so read them in full.

A little more crazy: President Rand Paul’s Middle East Policy | Informed Comment

And just a few more links:

Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel wins second term | US news | The Guardian

Balloon activist sends ‘thousands of copies’ of The Interview to North Korea | Film | The Guardian

Hillary Clinton, Meryl Streep, and Helen Mirren To Team Up for Tina Brown’s Women in the World Summit | Still4Hill

James Best, Bumbling Sheriff of ‘The Dukes of Hazzard,’ Dies at 88 – NYTimes.com

James Best, who played the oafish sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane on the hit television comedy “The Dukes of Hazzard,” died on Monday near his home in Hickory, N.C. He was 88.

The cause was pneumonia, his friend Steve Latshaw said.

Mr. Best was in demand as a character actor from the 1950s through the ’80s; by his count he appeared in more than 600 television show episodes and 85 films.

His Southern twang and rugged good looks made him a natural on westerns like “Wagon Train” and “Gunsmoke” and rural series like “The Andy Griffith Show.” Among the films in which he appeared were “The Caine Mutiny” (1954), with Humphrey Bogart; “The Left-Handed Gun” (1958), with Paul Newman; “Shenandoah” (1965), with James Stewart; and “Three on a Couch” (1966), with Jerry Lewis.

His best-known role by far was Rosco on “The Dukes of Hazzard,” a countrified car-chase comedy seen on CBS from 1979 to 1985. The producers originally envisioned him as a hard-nosed sheriff, but Mr. Best saw him differently. “I said, ‘I’m going to play Rosco like a 12-year-old who likes hot pursuit,’ ” he told NPR in an interview in 2013.

He was also in Ode to Billy Joe, that was a serious role too…and he was also in this weird film called Shock Corridor (1963)  if you ever get a chance to see it. He was one of those actors who was in so many films, you would be amazed…take a look here: James Best – IMDb

Supposedly there is a story about Best, told by Catherine Bach…see the little clip below…it should start at the 6:15 minute:

Well, Bach remained close friends with Best throughout the rest of his life.

Anyway, my brother still loves the Duke Boys…and they are a huge part of my childhood, even if the idiot Cooter was talking shit just a few weeks ago. Still, if you ever spot James Best in one of his many roles just try to remember that image of him as Roscoe P. Coltrane, Playgirl Centerfold Extraordinaire.

This is an open thread, have a good day.


Sunday Reads: Hello is there anybody in there?

92ec4136a38bb759a3e7149d4ac263e7.jpgGood morning

Well, I am starting this post in a new way. I am writing it on my iPhone using the talk to text thingy. You know, that app where you talk and it writes what you say. So far… it has disappeared on me once, and has gone black a couple of times so if it does work I will be amazed.

I feel like I’ve gone down the rabbit hole, into techie hell. (Actually isn’t it Apple “Genius” hell?)

Let’s get on with this post, whose theme song should be Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb

With the Ebola virus making the rounds, and since I’ve been sick over the last two weeks…the words to this song hit home. (And now Boston Boomer is out for the count, hopefully she will be feeling better soon.  )

During the rest of the post, the lyrics to Comfortably Numb will be in dotted here and there…starting with the title of this thread.

 Just nod if you can hear me.
Is there anyone at home?

Honestly? I wonder if the Ebola hysteria has caused people to lose it completely. Take this latest bit of…you fucking kidding me…out of Maine:

0e4244cf01d3e0016892d7a3566ebadeMaine school board puts teacher on leave after she traveled to Dallas – The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

The teacher, who has not been named, attended a conference 10 miles from the hospital where Ebola patients have received care.

A teacher at Strong Elementary School was placed on a 21-day paid leave of absence after parents told the school board they were concerned that she might have been exposed to Ebola during a trip to Dallas for an educational conference.

The teacher, who was not named, attended a seminar held by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium that is still meeting in Dallas.

“At this time, we have no information to suggest that this staff member has been in contact with anyone who has been exposed to Ebola,” the district wrote in a statement published on its website. “However, the district and the staff member understand the parents’ concerns. Therefore, after several discussions with the staff member, out of an abundance of caution, this staff member has been placed on a paid leave of absence for up to 21 days.”

It takes two to 21 days for someone who has been infected with Ebola to show symptoms, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

The decision to place the teacher on leave was made by the MSAD 58 school board Thursday evening, after parents and community members expressed frustration that they were not notified that the teacher would be traveling to Dallas, where the nation’s first Ebola case was diagnosed.

Wow. What can you possibly say about that?

Things have gotten almost up to 11, and I know that as the days get closer to Election Day 2014, certain politicians will continue to use the fear as campaign fuel.

Come on, now,
I hear you’re feeling down.
Well I can ease your pain
Get you on your feet again.

I have some quick links for you now. Updates on some stories:

Darren Wilson says he feared for his life, struggled over gun with Brown | theGrio

Sounds like Wilson is taking his cue from Zimmerman.

The police officer who fatally shot an unarmed 18-year-old in a St. Louis suburb last summer has told investigators that he was pinned in his vehicle and in fear for his life as they struggled over his gun, The New York Times reported.

Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson has told authorities that Michael Brown reached for the gun during a scuffle, the Times reported in a story posted on its website Friday night. The officer’s account to authorities did not explain why he fired at Brown multiple times after emerging from his vehicle, according to the newspaper.

You can read the rest if you want.

By the way, did y’all ever see John Oliver’s take on the Ferguson mess?

Now when you watch it, make sure you keep a mental note on the pumpkin festival (it starts at min 7:12)…and the big ass tank that is used to protect it…because it may just have a connection to this next story:

077243eba9ee62f0063adb315cc19958College Pumpkin Festival Careens into Violence and Arrests

Keene State student Ellery Murray told The Boston Globe she was at a party that had drawn a large crowd when people started throwing things. She said police responded in riot gear and used tear gas to break up the crowd.

“People were just throwing everything they could find — rocks, skateboards, buckets, pumpkins,” she said. “People just got too drunk.”

The Southwestern New Hampshire Fire Mutual Aid organization said on Twitter that several people were injured from thrown bottles at a party involving hundreds of people.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan said state and local safety officials worked to defuse what she called “the situation.”

Hours after the commotion broke out, emergency officials said they were still working the scene and couldn’t provide any details.

I wonder if the local police put the military tank/truck thing to good use?

Another cop tale for ya, and yes it is in Georgia: Georgia teen forced to ground at gunpoint for seat-belt violation files $12.5 million lawsuit

The family of high school athlete who was pulled over and forced to the ground at gunpoint over a seat-belt violation has filed a $12.5 million lawsuit against the Waycross, Georgia police department contending the officer involved was only given a slap on the wrist for his actions, according to News4GA.

Saying “I could have been another Trayvon Martin case,” Montre’ Merritt explained to reporters how the traffic stop in front of his home where officer Officer Cory Gay held a gun to his head and ordered him onto the ground still haunts him.

“That night when it happened, I felt like I could have been another Trayvon Martin case,” Merritt said. “And just hearing how Mike Brown went about his case for doing the right thing. He still got shot. I just feel like I don’t want any of my friends or family, I don’t want that to happen to anybody.”

According to the suit, Merritt was pulled over by Gay on Jan. 18, in front of his home and instructed at gunpoint to get out of his car and on the ground where Gay handcuffed him. When Merritt’s mother came outside to see why her son was being arrested, the officer told her it was for a seat belt violation.

The Merritt family subsequently filed a complaint with the Waycross Police Department over Gay’s actions.

Following an investigation by police authorities, Gay was found guilty of using excessive force and was suspended for five days without pay. Gay was also ordered to take Judgmental Use of Force Training.

Unhappy with Gay’s punishment, the family filed the lawsuit against the police department.

Good luck with that.

Okay, if you have another 16 minutes…take a look at this segment from John Oliver’s show on Prisons.

Up next a story that reflects on another side of the prison system. I don’t know if you remember a horrible shooting and dual murder here in Georgia a few weeks ago, a young couple was kidnapped and held for ransom, only to be shot execution style. The woman, who was 7 months pregnant, was kept alive long enough to give birth to her daughter. They finally caught the people responsible, and as you can imagine…this is not the first murders the dudes have committed.

DA announces plan to seek death penalty in couple’s… | www.wsbtv.com

Friday, District Attorney Paul Howard announced a big decision to seek the death penalty for the two men accused of kidnapping and murdering a man and his pregnant fiance.

Channel 2 Action  News learned the suspects were accused of a combined seven killings.

Families present for the announcement told Channel 2’s Kerry Kavanaugh they were shocked to see how many lives were impacted by just two suspects.

“I’m going (to) hope that justice will do what’s necessary because obviously it failed us before; they got out,” said Beverly Fowler, godmother to victim Briana Brooks.

The families stood united with Atlanta investigators who helped put two murder suspects back behind bars.

Friday, a grand jury handed up a 30-count indictment of Andre Gay and Richard Wilson.

“We will continue to do the job we need to do to make sure they are never released again,” said Atlanta Detective

If you can, watch Briana Brooks mother as she describes what happened to her daughter, it is emotionally wrenching.

Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said both Gay and Wilson have served time for prior murders. Gay, who was sentenced to life, was just paroled in January, but victims’ families were never notified.

“I believe that the parole board should personally notify the family members,” said Howard.

Howard thinks that should happen within 60 days.

Howard said he was shocked to learn what the state means by “electronic monitoring” of parolees.

“That does not mean they will wear ankle bracelets and it doesn’t mean that — the monitoring doesn’t go on during the entire time that they are on parole,” Howard said.

“Overwhelming that so many families are affected by two individuals who really don’t care for life,” Strong said.

Kavanaugh contacted the state parole board to get their reaction to these criticisms. A spokesperson emailed the following statement:

“The Parole Board recently met with DA Paul Howard to discuss the Andre Gay case and Mr. Howard shared information with the Board.

“Prior to this case, the Parole Board has been working on determining how additional notifications may be made to victims and law enforcement regarding board decisions and how new notifications above those that are statutorily required, can possibly be implemented.

“The Parole Board’s supervision of offenders on parole in the community is consistently under review to ensure those on parole are in compliance with their supervision.

“The Parole Board is committed to public safety and will continue to make supervision of offenders its number one priority.”

See, how the hell did these guys get approved for release to begin with? I don’t know but this is a perfect example of the criminals that need to remain behind bars.

Relax.
I’ll need some information first.
Just the basic facts.
Can you show me where it hurts?

After this next video segment from Oliver…you will be hurting between your head something fierce!

Unbelievable, innit?

In endangered animal news: Death of white rhino in Kenya leaves only six animals alive in the world | Environment | The Observer

Sudan northern white rhino
Sudan, one of the six remaining northern white rhinos, at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy near Nairobi. Photograph: Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images

An endangered northern white rhino has died in Kenya, a wildlife conservancy has said, meaning only six of the animals are left alive in the world.

Suni, a 34-year-old northern white, and the first of his species to be born in captivity, was found dead on Friday by rangers at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy near Nairobi. While there are thousands of southern white rhinos in the plains of sub-Saharan Africa, decades of rampant poaching has meant the northern white rhino is close to extinction.

Suni was one of the last two breeding males in the world as no northern white rhinos are believed to have survived in the wild. Though the conservancy said Suni was not poached, the cause of his death is currently unclear.

I hope his death was natural causes…read more about Suni’s life at the link.

There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying.

We started the post off with the results of Ebola fear mongering is bringing folks here in the US, Digby had an interesting graphic on her blog yesterday:

HullabalooFear for all

It was interesting at least…

The rest of today’s post will have links dealing with fun stuff…yeah we are half way through, so you can either keep going…or come back later, but the next series of links deal with a huge inflatable butt plug that was installed in some plaza in Paris.

Art for controversy’s sake: If they’ll build a giant ‘sex toy’ in the middle of Paris, then surely anything’s possible

13-ParisTree-AFP

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a tree, apparently. The 80ft green structure called Tree has attracted at lot of attention since it appeared in Paris’s Place Vendôme. Created by Paul McCarthy, an American artist, as part of his exhibition Chocolate Factory, the installation is officially described as a Christmas tree. Social media wags, however, have suggested that it looks more like something rude (ask your mother). Vandals took it a step further yesterday when they cut the cables holding the structure upright, forcing security guards to deflate and remove it.

Surely Tree is exactly what a great work of public art should be – controversial. Just like the adjacent Vendôme Column was, back in its wild youth. That now venerable monument, constructed between 1806 and 1810 to commemorate Napoleon’s victory at Austerlitz, was first attacked by a mob on horseback in 1816. That attempt to dislodge Napoleon’s statue from its perch failed, but the Vendôme Column has been dismantled and rebuilt on several occasions since. As for obscenity, is Tree really that much more blatant than the Vendôme Column and the many other giant phallic symbols that hide in plain sight in civic centres the world over?

Yeah, more at the link…but for now…it is a flaccid butt plug.

Giant Butt Plug in Center of Paris Deflated by Prudish Vandals

An 80-foot inflatable butt plug by American artist Paul McCarthy was cut down from its supports early Saturday morning by vandals, forcing authorities to deflate the installation that many prudes in the city of Paris saw as an eyesore.

According to The Guardian, the vandals waited until the attention of security guards was elsewhere and then cut the cables keeping the sculpture, titled “Tree,” in place. Police are investigating the incident; it had only been two days since the sculpture was inflated in Place Vendôme.

During the inflatable butt plug’s grand unveiling on Thursday, one man’s response was to slap McCarthy in the face three times, “yelling that he was not French and that his work had no business in the square, before running off,”Le Monde reported.

The FIAC (a French contemporary art fair), who was responsible for bringing “Tree” to Paris, said they will reinflate McCarthy’s work “as soon as possible.”

Now, a group of links on women, starting with a great quote and photo editorial from actress Danai Gurira for Byrdie | Tom & Lorenzo Fabulous & Opinionated

Danai-Gurira-Byrdie-Walking-Dead-Editorial-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO-3

“The Walking Dead” actress Danai Gurira is featured on Byrdie photographed by Justin Colt and styled by Zoe Costello.

On female struggles and feminism: “There’s a saying in Africa, if you give a woman empowerment, you empower a community, you empower men, you empower man. When women become empowered and live in their strength it’s beneficiary to others, and I think as young women today we sometimes forget that we are standing on the struggle of other women. Those women had to stand up to make a change, and they were not popular, and now we’re making them unpopular again.”

I especially love what the “Uncles” had to say about this editorial:

O to the MG, that shot in the Sacai is the very definition of FIERCE.  Actually, scratch that. While that shit is FIERCE, it doesn’t hold a candle to that soundbite about feminism. GIRL. That was awesome.

Sorry for the RANDOM all-caps words, but WE tend to lose all control WHEN we see a fabulously fierce LADY in stunning CLOTHES saying really SMART things.

Damn you got that right! Click the link to see the other gorgeous shots…and to read another bite about her Walking Dead character, Michonne.

When I was a child I had a fever
My hands felt just like two balloons.
Now I’ve got that feeling once again
I can’t explain you would not understand
This is not how I am.
I have become comfortably numb.

Here we go….UN Woman launches campaign in India for greater participation of men in promotion women’s rights | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis

The UN Women launched a campaign in New Delhi on Saturday, aiming at ensuring greater participation of men in promoting women’s rights and gender equality.

“We need boys and men to work with us. ‘HeForShe’ is a global solidarity movement to end gender inequality by 2030. The goal is to engage men and boys as advocates and agents of change in the effort to achieve equality. When women are empowered, the whole of humanity benefits,” UN Women Representative, Rebecca Tavares, said.

The ‘HeForShe’ campaign in India was launched by Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi. UN Women believes that it is critical to engage all stakeholders in support of women’s rights, including the active participation of men and boys.

This is good.

But all the talk over in Vatican City is sounding hollow on the women’s issues front: Our favorite Pope still needs to address one major issue | Grist

Pope Francis, a.k.a. the Ultimate Chill Dude Pope of All Time (UCDPAT), has been a publicity dream for the Catholic Church. Even on Grist, we’ve sung his praises for his love of public transit and calls to action regarding climate change. There’s just one little area, however, where ol’ UCDPAT’s climate action plan leaves a lot to be desired: contraception.

The draft document from the 2014 Synod on the Family (which comes to an end on Sunday) includes a significant reworking of the language used to address homosexuality, premarital cohabitation, and divorce. Let’s be clear: This is no small deal! That the Church would begin to make moves around welcoming gay, unmarried, and no-longer-married couples (for the record, that covers about 95 percent of the couples I know) into the Catholic community represents an enormous — and positive — step forward.

But guess what? When it comes to women, and the control that they can have over their own bodies, not much has changed.

6a8d22a0ac38f9e429c8a6bb80de3ef0The next link I have for you is a good one, from a couple of weeks ago: Men deserve everything women get: waiting periods, purity control and science-free sex education | Jessica Valenti | Comment is free | theguardian.com

Enjoy that one in full…it is so good.

This op/ed however…was published today: A woman’s option to freeze her eggs should never be a job perk – Comment – Voices – The Independent

Go and check that one out in full as well…it is good too.

Oh, and don’t forget to eat your Wheaties! A Former Secretary of State Is Now on a Box of Wheaties | Mediaite

But with all these links on women, there was some sad news a couple of weeks ago: Jerrie Mock, First Solo Female Pilot to Circumnavigate the Globe, Dies at 88 – NYTimes.com

Jerrie Mock, who as a relatively untested pilot accomplished in 1964 what Amelia Earhart could not — becoming the first woman to fly solo around the world — died on Tuesday at her home in Quincy, Fla., near Tallahassee. She was 88.

Photo

Jerrie Mock in the Spirit of Columbus, the single-engine Cessna 180 she piloted around the world in 1964. Credit Robert W. Klein/Associated Press

Her grandson Chris Flocken confirmed her death.

When she took off on March 19, 1964, from Columbus, Ohio, Ms. Mock was a 38-year-old homemaker and recreational pilot who had logged a meager 750 hours of flight time. She returned there on April 17 — 29 days, 11 hours and 59 minutes later — after a 23,000-mile journey over the Atlantic, the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea and the Pacific, with stops in the Azores, Casablanca, Cairo, Karachi, Calcutta, Bangkok and Honolulu, among other places.

She was stalled by high winds in Bermuda and battled rough weather between Casablanca and Bone, Algeria. She navigated 1,300 miles over the Pacific from Guam to tiny Wake Island, three miles in diameter, without the benefit of ground signals. Between Bangkok and Manila, she flew over embattled Vietnam.

“Somewhere not far away a war was being fought,” she wrote later, “but from the sky above, all looked peaceful.”

The thing she said when asked about why she made the trip is a perfect answer…

Ms. Mock and her husband, Russell, were half-owners of the plane, an 11-year-old single-engine Cessna 180 named the Spirit of Columbus (evoking the Spirit of St. Louis, the plane Charles Lindbergh flew in becoming the first to cross the Atlantic solo 37 years earlier).

The Mocks’ plane had been modified for the journey. Three of its four seats had been removed and fuel tanks were installed in their place. And the radio and navigational equipment had been augmented, although as she recounted in her 1970 book, “Three-Eight Charlie” (a reference to the plane’s serial number, which ended in 38C), she soon discovered that a crucial radio wire had been disconnected, leaving her cut off from the ground during the first leg of the trip, to Bermuda.

That summer, Flying magazine asked Ms. Mock why she had undertaken such a treacherous journey alone.

“It was about time a woman did it,” she said.

And that is all we have on links that focus primarily on women.

O.K.
Just a little pinprick.
There’ll be no more aaaaaaaaah!
But you may feel a little sick.
Can you stand up?
I do believe it’s working, good.
That’ll keep you going through the show
Come on it’s time to go.

There is a story over at the Times which hits home for me: Unable to Meet the Deductible or the Doctor – NYTimes.com

Patricia Wanderlich got insurance through the Affordable Care Act this year, and with good reason: She suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2011, spending weeks in a hospital intensive care unit, and has a second, smaller aneurysm that needs monitoring.

But her new plan has a $6,000 annual deductible, meaning that Ms. Wanderlich, who works part time at a landscaping company outside Chicago, has to pay for most of her medical services up to that amount. She is skipping this year’s brain scan and hoping for the best.

“To spend thousands of dollars just making sure it hasn’t grown?” said Ms. Wanderlich, 61. “I don’t have that money.”

About 7.3 million Americans are enrolled in private coverage through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, and more than 80 percent qualified for federal subsidies to help with the cost of their monthly premiums. But many are still on the hook for deductibles that can top $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for families — the trade-off, insurers say, for keeping premiums for the marketplace plans relatively low. The result is that some people — no firm data exists on how many — say they hesitate to use their new insurance because of the high out-of-pocket costs.

Once my family gets our insurance sorted out, I will have a long post about it, because it really is a frightening mess.

The rest of today’s links are in dump format:

11551cac58847b2c364753828245ef0dWhy some newspapers are abandoning endorsements Editors see a risk to credibility, and search for different ways to foster debate –: Columbia Journalism Review

Perhaps it is because of assholes like this?

Rick Perry’s demented world order: Why this man can get nowhere near the White House – Salon.com

Hey…in other turd news: Hurricane Gonzalo Sucked the Water Out of People’s Toilets in Bermuda

Okay, that was a stretch. But what about some other science links?

See one of the year’s best meteor showers, thanks to Halley’s comet

dfb80cb75000b46cbc240ec01601fc3bHow Whooshes and Beeps Can Make Babies Better Listeners – The Atlantic

U.S. Dust Bowl Conditions Not Rivaled in 1,000 Years – Scientific American

Yeah up next….Book Reviews:

Their Struggles: Bristol Palin & Malala Yousafzai’s Memoirs, Compared -Now that is one hell of a compare and contrast theme.

And then there is the controversy about the new Scrabble dictionary: New Scrabble Dictionary Disrepects The Game | FiveThirtyEight

Hmmm….how about some books about film directors?

New Book Explores Masculinity in Scorsese Films | New Republic

Silent Movie Bookshelf: Charlie Chaplin – A Brief Life by Peter Ackroyd | Movies Silently

This next link is not a book review, but it is an article, originally published on December 6, 1954… about one of my favorite authors: In Praise of Oscar Wilde, on His Birthday | New Republic

f51e0b8e3f6366d6b0e4bdeb456ebf57Back to Hollywood:

Hollywood’s men in black: A history of cinema’s favourite colour from Brando to The Matrix – Features – Fashion – The Independent

Review: Princess Kaguya (Just Watch It Already!) | The Mary Sue

Early 20th C. Sphinx Recovered in California – Archaeology Magazine

Here is a hint…”I must have killed more people than Cecil B DeMile.” Jim- Blazing Saddles

This leads us to our history section of the thread:

a21b8145676475d1c0943be69d311c7cA Century Later, Relics Emerge From a War Frozen in Time-Retreating ice in the Alps sheds new light on high-altitude battle in World War I.

Are Government Acts still translated into Norman French? – UK Politics – UK – The Independent

The Relationship of Light and Colour in Medieval Thought and Imagination-Medeivalist.net

A quick segue to court themed articles and links:

Horrible Legislation In American History  : Lawyers, Guns & Money

Court vacates restraining order that barred journalist from contacting Georgia county commission candidate – The Washington Post

Georgia Reporter Served With Stay-Away Order After Writing Critical Profile Of Candidate

09524b15857b08aad3295cb10a62c667Now for something funny:

SNL’s Impoverished Africans Ask Bill Hader for More Than 39 Cents a Day, or Else… | Mediaite

You need to go to that link to watch the video clip…but don’t watch it while your drinking that 39 cent coffee…or you may choke on your java beverage.

We are getting near the end of our post…so the next few links deal with a subject that y’all know is quite an obsession for me:

Woman who slept with dwarf stripper at her bachelorette party gives birth to dwarf  – NY Daily News

This is the headline that Digby thought was hilarious: Dwarf stripper impregnates bride-to-be at her bachelorette party – Los Angeles Strange News | Examiner.com

While reading that NY Daily News piece…this other midget story got my attention: Dwarf on dinner date with fiancée given coloring book, crayons by waitress – NY Daily News

That is horrible. How could the woman even confuse the dude for a kid? Go look at the picture.

And yes, I know I used the word “midget” …here is a look at that very thing: This Little Person Asked Passersby How They Feel About The Term, ‘Midget’

The term “midget” comes from midge — a small insect that resembles a mosquito.

It’s not a term of endearment, of course, but as Aaron Beelner pointed out in the video above, not too many people realize it’s a “very dehumanizing” way to refer to someone.

In a video posted to YouTube on Tuesday, Beelner walked the streets of New York City asking strangers about their thoughts on the term. He also pointed out that October is Dwarfism Awareness Month — a fact no passerby in the video knew.

Beelner stars in “The Little Tin Man,” a film following the life of a struggling dwarf actor that Beelner said is relevant to any minority group fighting for equality.

There are many variations of dwarfism, a condition where an adult’s height does not surpass 4 feet 10 inches, according to the Mayo Clinic. But the most common type among short-limbed dwarfs, achondroplasia, occurs in 1 in 15,000 to 40,000 newborns, as the National Human Genome Research Institute noted.

I still have a hard time giving up that word midget…sorry. I don’t mean disrespect. If anything my admiration is something beyond anything I can explain or control. It goes way back…

Me and my cousin David at a family wedding...I'm around 4 years old, and in the back of the photo...a midget in a tux with a flower in the lapel.

My cousin David and I at a family wedding…I’m around 4 years old, and look in the back of the photo…a midget in a tux complete with a flower in the lapel.

And that leads me to the final link. It has a combination of three things I adore, and I hope you love it too. The Men Of Flamenco: Meet The Dancers Who Turn Gender-Based Traditions Upside Down  It is a photo gallery that includes Flamenco dancers…naked gorgeous men (The one photo on the cover of the book is tasty.)…and….

slide_375322_4387192_free

They are magnificent!

That post should have taken you all day! LOL

 There is no pain you are receding
A distant ship, smoke on the horizon.
You are only coming through in waves.
Your lips move but I can’t hear what you’re saying.
When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye.
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown,
The dream is gone.
I have become comfortably numb.


Sunday Reads: I Witch I may, I Witch I might…

b2d2fed97ae3cb8d4b0f640a90a6ec08Good Mourning…

Yes, it seems that Halloween is coming early this year. All around us we see tricks being played out. Some are the sort of tricks played on people who must really be dumb as dirt to fall for them.

Progressives and libertarians came together in Washington on Saturday to protest widespread government surveillance, taking a tentative step towards creating a coalition that isn’t as awkward as the pairing might appear.

Organized by the coalition Stop Watching Us, which includes dozens of groups ranging from Internet freedom advocates to Tea Party organizations, the rally attracted hundreds of people to the Capitol Reflecting Pool to protest the electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency revealed by Edward Snowden this year. The crowd included Occupy protesters, Ron Paul libertarians, and even strict constitutionalist Oathkeepers. Yet despite some recent grumbling on the left about having to work with libertarians on the issue, attendees and speakers on both sides said they were happy to unite around a common enemy.

Seriously, who the hell would want to be associated with those crazy-ass Oathkeepers? (That link goes to a page over at Southern Poverty Law Center, Oathkeepers are a hate group you know…) Actually, these are not dumb people, that would be an insult to the stupid folks that do have low IQ as an excuse to become partnered with assholes like Ron Paul. So who spoke at this thing?

Onstage, speakers ranged from progressives like former congressman Dennis Kucinich to libertarians like Johnson and Rep. Justin Amash, as well as NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake and Jessalyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project, who visited Snowden in Russia two weeks ago and read a statement attributed to him for the crowd. Snowden was a central figure in absentia at the protest, with most people holding signs or wearing t-shirts emblazoned with his face.

The article says the rally was mostly “libertarian” in nature…but these are a few of the quotes you should not miss:

A recent article in Salon by progressive journalist Tom Watson had ruffled feathers by calling on liberals to boycott the really[sic] because of its libertarian elements. “I cannot support this coalition or the rally,” Watson wrote. “It is fatally compromised by the prominent leadership and participation of the Libertarian Party and other libertarian student groups; their hardcore ideology stands in direct opposition to almost everything I believe in as a social democrat.” Watson described the Stop Watching Us coalition as “fatally infected.”

Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin rejected this premise in an interview with BuzzFeed next to the main speaker’s stage .

“Left and right doesn’t mean anything anymore,” Benjamin said. Democrats and Republicans, she said, “both like the status quo. Libertarians or leftists are people who want to defend the values of this country and not have party politics and I think we’ve started coming around together on many of these issues.”

“I think that strange bedfellows around particular issues is the way that change has happened throughout history,” she said.

923f0d4eb1cba82cba3ad14e09f0b779Uh…first off, that Medea Benjamin needs to STFU. Its sounds to me like she is fatally ridiculous. I got a question for her. If left and right doesn’t mean anything anymore…How does she feel about the way the “right” values her uterus? Hmmmm…..lets see her libertarian friends get out and defend that part of this country…the 50 percent vagina part!

But wait, and hear it from an actual idiot himself, here’s another quote:

By all appearances at the Stop Watching Us rally, they did — though a bit warily. John McGloin, an Occupy protester from New York who described himself as a “sometimes” progressive, said he could accept working with libertarians to try and curtail government surveillance as long as they weren’t “people who think we should all fend for ourselves — that’s where I draw the line.”“We definitely need all the help we can get,” McGloin said.

3824f7d2bf57d3d02b94160798bb0508Hey buddy, that ain’t help, that is a hindrance!

Alright, up next: A few items on Rural America.

From the “You might be a redneck” theme of news reports, really the headline should say it all: Georgia man runs into burning home to save beer | abc13.com

COLUMBUS, GA (KTRK) — “I went back into the house like a dummy.” That’s what one man in Georgia said after he risked his life to save beer from his fridge while his house was on fire.

The flames broke out while six adults and two young children were watching TV. Everyone quickly made it outside safely.

But then Walter Serpit, who walks with a cane, rushed back into the burning building to save something near and dear to him.

“I told them to get the kids out and everything, and me myself, being an alcoholic, I was trying to get my beer out,” he said. “You feel me?”

Now, remember what I said up top about the folks who have a real excuse for partnering with those libertarian assholes? You feel me?

Walter made it out with a couple of cold ones, and the fire department made a statement that you should never run back into a burning building…period.

That story is actually sad and pathetic.

bbe24b789f085d912abe6483d2667dd2More bad news on the Obamacare front, from the New York Times: Health Care Law Fails to Lower Prices for Rural Areas

As technical failures bedevil the rollout of President Obama’s health care law, evidence is emerging that one of the program’s loftiest goals — to encourage competition among insurers in an effort to keep costs low — is falling short for many rural Americans.

While competition is intense in many populous regions, rural areas and small towns have far fewer carriers offering plans in the law’s online exchanges. Those places, many of them poor, are being asked to choose from some of the highest-priced plans in the 34 states where the federal government is running the health insurance marketplaces, a review by The New York Times has found.

Of the roughly 2,500 counties served by the federal exchanges, more than half, or 58 percent, have plans offered by just one or two insurance carriers, according to an analysis by The Times of county-level data provided by the Department of Health and Human Services. In about 530 counties, only a single insurer is participating.

The analysis suggests that the ambitions of the Affordable Care Act to increase competition have unfolded unevenly, at least in the early going, and have not addressed many of the factors that contribute to high prices. Insurance companies are reluctant to enter challenging new markets, experts say, because medical costs are high, dominant insurers are difficult to unseat, and powerful hospital systems resist efforts to lower rates.

“There’s nothing in the structure of the Affordable Care Act which really deals with that problem,” said John Holahan, a fellow at the Urban Institute, who noted that many factors determine costs in a given market. “I think that all else being equal, premiums will clearly be higher when there’s not that competition.”

And that means that for those people who live out in areas like Banjoville, they are going to be hit with higher premiums because of lack of competition.

In rural Baker County, Ga., where there is only one insurer, a 50-year-old shopping for a silver plan would pay at least $644.05 before federal subsidies. (Plans range in price and levels of coverage from bronze to platinum, with silver a middle option.) A 50-year-old in Atlanta, where there are four carriers, could pay $320.06 for a comparable plan. Federal subsidies could significantly reduce monthly premiums for people with low incomes.

Counties with one carrier are mostly concentrated in the South. Nearly all of the counties in Mississippi and Alabama, for example, are served by just one insurer, according to The Times’s analysis. Other states with scarce competition include Maine, West Virginia, North Carolina and Alaska.

That is a long article, and there is an interactive map at the link too, so take a look at it.

58548dea0a1af4177e71c9ee013059fbSince we are on the subject of healthcare, what about an article on madness…with a witchy twist: 7 Countries That Still Kill Accused Witches

You know how the long-ago witch hunts were stupid and hateful? What a relief those days are over.

Except they’re not. In many countries, people are still killed on suspicion of witchcraft. United Nations experts cautioned in 2009 that murders of women and children accused of sorcery were on the rise. Following are just a few of many examples from around the world.

1. Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s religious police department has an official Anti-Witchcraft Unit that it dispatches to catch sorcerers and break their spells. In 2007, the Saudis executed an accused sorcerer. A woman awaiting the death penalty for alleged witchcraft died in prison.

Like the New England witch hunters of yore, those in Saudi Arabia use magic as a convenient excuse to silence inconvenient people. Accusations of sorcery have been leveled against foreign women working as domestics for Saudi families who charge their employers with sexual assault, according to Saudi Arabia expert Christoph Wilcke.

2. Tanzania

This east African country killed approximately 600 elderly women on charges of witchcraft just two years ago. The Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life found a strong and pervasive belief in magic among Tanzanians. It sometimes leads to reverence rather than murder. One woman who claims to be a witch charges between $20 and $120 for services including medical cures and exorcisms — in a country where the average income is under two dollars a day.

The other five countries are more disturbing in their descriptions, so you can read them at the link if you like.

59be152a9d9296ccfee540684e2ffa2aHey, since that last article was on the morbid side, let’s have another: What would you choose for your last meal? Final food choices of executed criminals revealed… and they throw up a few oddball selections

Florida has revealed the final food choices of executed criminals, throwing up a number of eccentric final meals in the process.

While many of those spending their last day alive decide to go for the final indulgence of a heaving plate of fatty, fried food and a giant bowl of ice cream, others opt for more Spartan fare – requesting homemade sandwiches or just a simple cup of coffee.

That is one you need to click and read. Wow….

I want to bring you updates on a few other stories that we have discussed on the blog the past couple of weeks, and this will be in a link dump:

Macy’s joins Barneys in NYC ‘shop-and-frisk’ scandal | Reuters

New York civil rights leaders on Saturday decried the city’s brewing “shop-and-frisk” scandal, in which major retailers Barneys and Macy’s are accused of profiling black shoppers who say they were detained by police after buying luxury items.

Tennessee judge who barred baby name ‘Messiah’ rebuked by conduct panel for religious bias | The Raw Story

A magistrate court judge in Tennessee who forced a couple to change the name of their child from Messiah to Martin has been cited for religious bias by a state ethics panel and will face a disciplinary hearing.

Lu Ann Ballew, a child support magistrate in Cocke County of eastern Tennessee, had been settling a dispute about child support and the last name of Messiah Deshawn MCCullough, the child of Jaleesa Martin, and Jawaan McCullough. Neither parent had expressed interest in changing the child’s first name.

b89adc37ebe0fb06a85ff451748ef8bfThe Psychology of Online Comments : The New Yorker

Several weeks ago, on September 24th, Popular Scienceannounced that it would banish comments from its Web site. The editors argued that Internet comments, particularly anonymous ones, undermine the integrity of science and lead to a culture of aggression and mockery that hinders substantive discourse. “Even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader’s perception of a story,” wrote the online-content director Suzanne LaBarre, citing a recent study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as evidence. While it’s tempting to blame the Internet, incendiary rhetoric has long been a mainstay of public discourse. Cicero, for one, openly called Mark Antony a “public prostitute,” concluding, “but let us say no more of your profligacy and debauchery.” What, then, has changed with the advent of online comments?

Anonymity, for one thing. According to a September Pew poll, a quarter of Internet users have posted comments anonymously. As the age of a user decreases, his reluctance to link a real name with an online remark increases; forty per cent of people in the eighteen-to-twenty-nine-year-old demographic have posted anonymously. One of the most common critiques of online comments cites a disconnect between the commenter’s identity and what he is saying, a phenomenon that the psychologist John Suler memorably termed the “online disinhibition effect.” The theory is that the moment you shed your identity the usual constraints on your behavior go, too—or, to rearticulate the 1993 Peter Steiner cartoon, on the Internet, nobody knows you’re not a dog.

I’ve got a few on Fukushima alone:

8 months, 10 mishaps: A look at Fukushima errors – The Washington Times, America’s Newspaper

The Global Threat of Fukushima » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Special Report: Help wanted in Fukushima: Low pay, high risks and gangsters | Reuters

With a Plant’s Tainted Water Still Flowing, No End to Environmental Fears – NYTimes.com

Some of those are long articles, so they will take some time.

467f8b89bac3307821e0c15b9528c1ebAnd to end this post today, a couple of stories with Boston Boomer in mind…

UK linguist reconstructs sounds of prehistoric language

What did our ancestors sound like in the 50th century B.C.? University of Kentucky linguistics lecturer Andrew M. Byrd examines ancient Indo-European languages (such as Latin, Greek, Sanskrit and Old English) and the language from which they derive, Proto-Indo-European, or PIE.

PIE is the prehistoric ancestor of hundreds of languages, including English, Spanish, Greek, Farsi, Armenian, and more. The language is typically thought to have been in use around 7,000 years ago, though some suspect it was spoken at an even earlier time.

According to some archaeologists and the majority of linguists like Byrd, the people who spoke PIE were located just to the north of the Black Sea and were likely the first to tame horses, and perhaps even to invent the wheel.

The primary focus of Byrd’s work is to understand what this language would have sounded when it was spoken millennia ago. Byrd says this all begins by looking at similarities in other languages.

“We start by gathering words, such as ‘king,’ from languages that we think are related and then find the common threads among them,” he said. “When you bring these words together, you’ll see that all of the words meaning ‘king’ or ‘ruler’ begin with something like an ‘r’ followed by a long vowel. Through examining trends in each , you can tell which parts of the word have changed over time, and working backward from that … you can peer into the past and get an idea of what PIE might have sounded like.”

I know that BB worked with language in children for her doctorate, so that article will be something cool for her to read about. This second one will be just a joke…because she is my number one when it comes to grammar…and boy do I need her help…

Test Your Grammar Know-How (Or Shame Your Friends) With This Quick Grammar Game | Geekosystem

Are you forever trolling the internet, commenting on posts with incorrect grammar? Do your friends consider you a “Grammar Nazi?” Well, you better put your money where your mouth is, and test your grammar skills using Grammatically Speaking, a quick little grammar game we found online!

Grammar

Grammatically Speaking tests all your grammar know-how, from proper punctuation, to the proper use of “that” or “which” in a sentence. Our favorite part of the test is that it shows you what percentage of users got each question wrong – for example, people are particularly terrible at “it’s” vs. “its” and when to use “me” vs. “I.”

It is fortunate that I have BB to come and fix my post when my grammar is way…way off the mark.  I tend to write like I talk, and then I never could grasp all that proper English stuff anyway.

This is all I have for you this morning. Have a wonderful day, and please leave a comment or two below…so, what are you thinking and reading about today?