Monday Reads: It’s always the same Nonsense!

Seated Female Clown (Mlle Cha-U-Kao), 1896 Wall Art, Henri
de Toulouse-Lautrec, The Met

Good Day Sky Dancers!

BB is the authority on this, but I’d just like to say if you want any of the best examples of projection as an ego defense mechanism, choose any Republican.  The Encyclopedia of Britannica sums it up nicely. “Projection is a form of defense in which unwanted feelings are displaced onto another person, where they then appear as a threat from the external world.”  From the existence of Pedophiles to Cancel Culture, Republican sloganeering puts a target on something “liberal” and then focuses on getting the attention off the incredible number of instances of it that appear in the Republican Party domain.

A few days ago, I put this Newsweek article up down the thread. “GOP Senator Ray Holmberg Resigns Chair After Texts to Child Porn Suspect.”   The details of anything other than the texts aren’t known right now, but it sure seems a lot of Republicans are overly intrigued with pedophiles these days.  Of course, we know of many recent Republican officeholders–most notably Denny Hastert, the former Speaker of the House– that were actual pedophiles. A judge referred to him as a “serial child molester” after determining he had been molesting boys he coached over decades.  We also have the examples of MagaRats Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan.  There’s an awful lot of deflecting and projecting dealing with that horrid behavior.

And who could forget this one from a few weeks ago? From Vanity Fair: “TED CRUZ WARNS DISNEY PROGRAMMING WILL SOON DEPICT MICKEY AND PLUTO F–KING.”

In an extremely weird set of remarks, even for him, the Texas lawmaker opined at a live recording of his podcastVerdict With Ted Cruz: “I think there are people who are misguided, trying to drive, you know, Disney stepping in, saying, you know, in every episode now they’re gonna have, you know, Mickey and Pluto going at it. Like, really? It’s just like, come on guys, these are kids, and you know, you could always shift to Cinemax if you want that. Like, why do you have—it used to be, look, I’m a dad. You used to be able to put your kids on the Disney Channel and be like, alright, something innocuous will happen.”

And then there’s this: “Kellyanne Conway Knew Of ‘Sexual Allegations’ Against Nebraska Candidate Months Ago. The former White House adviser and Donald Trump are working for Charles Herbster’s election as governor despite allegations he groped eight women.”  This is from HuffPo, as reported by Mary Papenfuss.

Former Trump administration White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said she heard last year about “some kind of sexual allegations” against GOP Nebraska gubernatorial candidate Charles Herbster — but she’s working to get him elected anyway.

Conway alleged on Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast that groping allegations raised by eight women, including a Republican state senator, were somehow cooked up by current Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, who does not support Herbster, a corporate CEO who has never held office.

Ricketts “got in my face” 10 months ago vowing to “destroy Charles Herbster,” said Conway. She offered nothing else in the way of proof that Ricketts is behind the assault accusations.

A key accuser is GOP state Sen. Julie Slama. She said in an emotional radio interview earlier this month that she was “in shock” at what she called an “assault” by Herbster at a Republican dinner in 2019.

As I was … walking to my table, I felt a hand reach up my skirt, up my dress and the hand was Charles Herbster’s,” Slama said, her voice shaking, in an interview on News Radio KFAB in Omaha. “I was in shock. I was mortified. It’s one of the most traumatizing things I’ve ever been through.”

Slama added: “I watched as five minutes later he grabbed the buttocks of another young woman. … This was witnessed by several people at the event.”

You may read more about the allegations at the link.  And here’s my cartooning friend from Nebraska on the Pornhusker candidate. By the way, Ricketts also graduated from our High School!  ICK!!!!

We have more on the orange snot blob and his crime syndicate family as I’m writing this.  This is fresh off the virtual presses from the New York Times. “Judge Holds Trump in Contempt Over Documents in New York A.G.’s Inquiry. Former President Donald J. Trump was ordered to turn over materials sought by Letitia James, the New York attorney general, and will be fined $10,000 per day until he does so.

A New York judge on Monday held Donald J. Trump in contempt of court for failing to turn over documents to the state’s attorney general, an extraordinary rebuke of the former president.

The judge, Arthur F. Engoron, ordered Mr. Trump to comply with a subpoena seeking records and assessed a fine of $10,000 per day until he satisfied the court’s requirements. In essence, the judge concluded that Mr. Trump had failed to cooperate with the attorney general, Letitia James, and follow the court’s orders.

“Mr. Trump: I know you take your business seriously, and I take mine seriously,” remarked Justice Engoron of State Supreme Court in Manhattan, before he held Mr. Trump in contempt and banged his gavel.

Alina Habba, a lawyer for Mr. Trump, said she intended to appeal the judge’s ruling.

Still, the ruling represents a significant victory for Ms. James, whose office is conducting a civil investigation into whether Mr. Trump falsely inflated the value of his assets in annual financial statements.

Illustration by Victor Juhasz for Rolling Stone

So a few more stories about other thuggish clowns.  Wherever you see a thuggish clown, there will be a thuggish religious figure to give him a messianic complex.  This is by Tom Nichols, writing for The Atlantic. “Putin’s Unholy War. Putin, the Patriarch, and the corruption of Orthodox Christianity.”

For most of the Christian world, Easter is over. For Orthodox Christians, however, Easter week has just begun—and Russia, the largest Orthodox country in the world, is still relentlessly pursuing the invasion and barbaric destruction of its mostly Orthodox neighbor, Ukraine. In fact, the renewed Russian offensive in the Donbas, replete with day and night bombardment of mostly Orthodox, mostly Russian-speaking areas in eastern Ukraine, began just after Russians and Ukrainians observed Palm Sunday.

I note this because I, too, am an Orthodox Christian, and I am watching one nominally Orthodox nation try to slaughter another.

In most of my comments on the Russian war against Ukraine, I’ve tried, as best I can, to provide you with dispassionate analysis. But I hope this week you’ll allow me a few personal observations as I head toward Easter. I realize that sometimes the cold equations of political analysis can seem far removed from our emotions, and so I thought I would share with you some of my own.

Although my career was mostly spent as a scholar and Russia expert, it is difficult for any area specialist to be completely objective about the countries they study, because our lives end up unavoidably connected to the subject of our profession.

Nonetheless, whether friend or enemy, I have spent my life trying to understand Russia and its people. Now, like everyone, I am disgusted by Russian savagery. Fury grows in me each time I see the mutilated corpses and leveled homes—not only because of the sadistic violence, but also because I know that the Russian regime, in trying to destroy the Ukrainian nation, has destroyed a chance, at least for some years to come, for a better world.

And for what?

For the messianic dreams of a small man, a frightened and delusional thug leading a criminal enterprise masquerading as a government, who believes that he is doing God’s will.

You might be surprised at the last sentence, but Vladimir Putin really believes this. He thinks he’s on a mission. I’ll come back to this in a moment, but it’s a reality that too many in the West have either overlooked or chosen to ignore. And as much as I’d like to lay all of this mayhem on Putin’s shoulders alone, we now have to accept that his butchery of innocent people is either tacitly or openly supported by millions of Russians. Yes, there are brave Russians who have risked their lives to protest this war, but there is no way, any longer, to deny that Putin enjoys more support than any decent nation should give to such horror.

And so I grieve not only for Ukraine, but for the knowledge that no matter how this war ends, the era of hope that began in 1989 is over. Ukraine is now the scene of the largest conflict in Europe since World War II. NATO and Russia are openly enemies again. Nuclear war, for a time a forgotten abstraction, is a real danger.

Putin’s messianic madness is magnified by the blessings of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church leader for the invasion of Ukraine. This has split the church.  (Via WAPO)  This so reminds me of all the evangelicals who see Trump as some kind of messiah.  White Patriarchal Nationalism is just a potent poison wherever it manifests itself.

Whether warning about the “external enemies” attempting to divide the “united people” of Russia and Ukraine, or very publicly blessing the generals leading soldiers in the field, Patriarch Kirill has become one of the war’s most prominent backers. His sermons echo, and in some cases even supply, the rhetoric that President Vladimir Putin has used to justify the assault on cities and civilians.

“Let this image inspire young soldiers who take the oath, who embark on the path of defending the fatherland,” Kirill intoned as he gave a gilded icon to Gen. Viktor Zolotov during a service at Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral in mid-March. The precious gift, the general responded, would protect the troops in their battles against Ukrainian “Nazis.”

One more clown to send in today.

If you haven’t gotten the idea that my post today is all about the clowns who want money and power and will do any schtick to get it, well, you know now.  Now, this has nothing to do with Musk’s diagnosis of having Autism Spectrum Disorder but I think we can see more than a bit of Narcissism in all the folks we read about today. I will leave Twitter if the Orange Cheeto and his hateful cult are allowed back on.  Free speech isn’t about lying or harassing people and calling them ugly names. I use my block and report button continually because I prefer not to see hateful people try to take over a discussion.

Twitter is said to be nearing a deal to sell itself to Elon Musk, according to The New York Times and other outlets, 11 days after the Tesla and SpaceX CEO shocked the industry by offering to buy the company in a deal valuing it at more than $41 billion.

A deal could be finalized as soon as Monday, according to the Wall Street Journal. Twitter declined to comment on the reports.

Reports that a deal is imminent come after Musk revealed last week he had lined up $46.5 billion in financing to acquire the company. Twitter’s board met Sunday to evaluate Musk’s offer to buy all the shares of the company he does not currently own for $54.20 a piece, a source familiar with the deal confirmed to CNN. The source said that discussions about Musk’s bid have turned serious.

Musk appeared to hint at the completion of a deal on Twitter on Monday when he tweeted, “I hope that even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.”

The potential sale agreement caps off a whirlwind news cycle that began less than a month ago, when Musk revealed he had taken a more than 9% stake in the company and ramped up calls for changes to the social media platform.

I just want quick access to breaking news as reported by the reporters.  Oh, well.  To me, there are critics and then there are damn liars with a mean ax to grind.  I want none of the latter.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sunday Reads: The end of the world? It’s no nightmare.

Les amoureux du Quai du Louvre, Paris, 1955, photo by Frank Horvat

Les amoureux du Quai du Louvre, Paris, 1955, photo by Frank Horvat

 

Today’s images come from the blog, We Had Faces Then. This is a fantastic photo blog, where the tagline proclaims:

A gay man of a certain age and a certain sensibility searching for meaning in the flickering images of classic Hollywood.

I have decided to feature photos of Merle Oberon, I hope you enjoy them.

 

Paul Lukas and Merle Oberon in Berlin Express  (Jacques Tourneur, 1948)

 

 

So, late last night…I am saving images for this morning’s post, and the two above are the last things I see before I go to sleep. I don’t know if that had something to do with influencing my dreams? It could also be the fact that we have a disaster leading the country, and no one serving as National Security Adviser…technically…the Bolton Beast starts his reign on Monday.

 

Many of you might have already seen that clip on Friday’s Maddow, if you haven’t take a look.

But, my dream from last night was this…

The end of the world, I am sitting with my family in Florida, my aunt Celeste and the rest of the circus. We are all drinking and laughing outside while we await the apocalyptic explosion that is to commence shortly, when… “Mother Earth collides with Mars.”

The joke being, “HaHa…Wait, there was no collusion!”

“Hey, the end of the world is not brought on by tRump?”

Yeah, our last words to each other were not I love you, but we were astounded by the reason the Earth was being annihilated…and that tRump was not the actual direct cause of the destruction of the planet.

Now that is some fucked up dream. Is it because in the back of my mind…Mueller is taking so damn long…the earth would be colliding with some other celestial body before tRump gets charged or impeached?

tRump has been on the Twit box a lot this morning and last night. I was only going to share today’s tweets but might as well give you a few from last night, so you can have a perspective on the links throughout the rest of the thread.

 

I want to throw up every time I see or hear any direct communications or commands from this asshole.

Here are a few responses to the Hair Loser’s tweets. (Dak, I love that nickname.)

I wonder how long before Hair Loser walks back the Syria tweet?

 

 

Onward, with a few other responses to the fire at tRump Tower from last night:

Then there was this tweet:

Not sure on the veracity of that statement…Just putting that out there.

*Edited to add this link:

Trump Tower fire is second 2018 blaze in sprinkler-free residential tower – CBS News

The fire on the 50th floor New York City’s Trump Tower that left 67-year-old Todd Brassner dead and six firefighters injured was the second fire in the building in 2018. President Trump’s centerpiece Manhattan skyscraper opened in 1984, but does not have sprinklers on its residential floors, a measure required in new buildings since 1999. President Trump, then a private citizen and property developer, lobbied to try and prevent the mandate at the time.

New York City in 1999 became last big city in the nation to require sprinklers, according to the New York Daily News. Under the 1999 legislation, buildings constructed before then were only required to have sprinklers if they underwent gut renovations.

According to The New York Times, Mr. Trump was one of the developers in the late 1990s who lobbied against sprinklers in buildings. He then recanted once the legislation passed with grandfathering provisions that meant existing buildings did not need to install them, saying that he understood they made residents “feel safer.” FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said on Saturday that there is extra fire protection at Trump Tower when Mr. Trump is there.

Then-New York city mayor and now staunch Trump ally Rudy Giuliani signed the bill requiring sprinklers into force on March 24, 1999, having opposed it when it was first proposed in 1997. The legislation was spurred on by a major fire in a so-called “fireproof” apartment block with no sprinklers on New York’s Upper West Side the previous December, and another in a Brooklyn housing project the same month in which hallway sprinklers failed. Survivors wanted all buildings to have sprinklers, but the legislation that was passed was not retroactive, much to the delight of existing property owners who cited cost as a major reason not to be compelled to retrofit their buildings. At the time the legislation was being discussed, Mr. Trump had just started construction on a 72-story tower near the United Nations, and he subsequently said he would install sprinklers there at a cost of $3 million.

Saturday’s fire is the second fire in Mr. Trump’s Fifth Avenue building this year: Two civilians suffered minor injuries and a firefighter was hurt by debris in a fire on Jan. 8 on the top of the building. That blaze was sparked by an electrical issue, Mr. Trump’s son, Eric, said at the time. Eric Trump said the fire had been in a cooling tower.

Well, there is that.

 

In other news this weekend:

 

 

And hey, let’s not forget this little nugget:

That is huge…and I don’t think enough people are talking about it.

Meanwhile, in Gaza:

 

 

 

Here, add Tony Robbins to the list of assholes. (Granted, I personally had him on the list to start with, but this truly confirms my suspicions.)

Robbins actually pushes back on this woman, forcing her to step backwards. It is a physical intimidation…and it is disgusting.

 

So much of this post is disturbing, as the reality of our world today. This last tweet can put everything into focus. This was a mock headline that The Boston Globe published in April 2016:

Boston Globe Trump front page: The GOP must stop Trump – The Boston Globe

PDF: A front page in Trump’s America

Donald J. Trump’s vision for the future of our nation is as deeply disturbing as it is profoundly un-American.

It is easy to find historical antecedents. The rise of demagogic strongmen is an all too common phenomenon on our small planet. And what marks each of those dark episodes is a failure to fathom where a leader’s vision leads, to carry rhetoric to its logical conclusion. The satirical front page of this section attempts to do just that, to envision what America looks like with Trump in the White House.

I’d say they were spot on…

This is an open thread. Have at it.

 


Wednesday Reads: It’s Black…Its White…It’s Whiter White

Good Afternoon

As you will notice today’s post is being accompanied by black and white stripes. (Or are they white and black stripes?)

Black and white printed stripes, black shadows against white skin, or white lights streaming upwards against a black night.

Whatever the case may be, I think the last few days have brought home my deepest fears…perhaps it is because I live in Banjoville, a town that is so predominately Trump territory. So I have the intimate knowledge of the “phenomena” that is Trump-ism… you know that shit that so many dumb-asses in the media write about…let me tell you plain and simple what is Trump’s Juju with the crowd who is voting for him come November.

It is white supremacy.

Shall I repeat it? Yes, I think I should.

White Supremacy.

image

 

And it brings with it all the other horrible baggage you would expect…the usual racism, hate, intolerance, misogyny, assholism, and all the rest peppered with a shit load of “christian values” as they define the code of religious virtue…as it applies to who they feel deserves it. Which you all know is limited to those they consider “right” enough (white enough) to meet the approved standard.

imageAs this quote from Juan Cole, when speaking about the shit-stain Rep. Stephen King…and his disgusting comment at the RNC on Monday: Rep. Stephen King, White People and ‘Civilization’

Rep. Steve King objected to a comment during a cable news discussion at MSNBC that this will be the last election dominated by old white people.


Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) offered an unusual defense of the racial homogeneity of his party during a panel on MSNBC Monday evening.

The group, led by Chris Hayes, was discussing the first day of the Republican national convention and Donald Trump’s history of racially-loaded comments and behavior. King told Hayes that he thought Trump had “modified” his behavior in that regard, but Esquire’s Charlie Pierce said he didn’t see much diversity reflected in the gathering itself.

image“If you’re really optimistic, you can say that this is the last time that old white people will command the Republican Party’s attention, its platform, its public face,” Pierce said. “That hall is wired,” he continued. “That hall is wired by loud, unhappy, dissatisfied white people.”

King objected.

“This ‘old white people’ business does get a little tired, Charlie,” King said. “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about, where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”

image“Than white people?” Hayes asked, clearly amazed.

“Than, than Western civilization itself,” King replied. “It’s rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world. That’s all of Western civilization.”

There are lots of basic things wrong with King’s statement, even just starting with his category of ‘whiteness’. Whiteness is not ‘natural’– it is an invented category. Were Irish white? A lot of English didn’t think so. “Whites” rioted against Greek immigrants to the US. White supremacists still argue over whether to let in Italian-Americans. Me, I don’t want to be called white and I decline that categorization whenever the government or other people with questionnaires will let me. The Appalachian side of my family probably has some Melungeon to it and some of us aren’t all that ‘white.’

imageCole goes on to correct King’s ridiculous statement about “civilization” here:

If by civilization is meant urban society with high rates of literacy, scientific and technological innovation, role specialization and division of labor, and high levels of collective government, then northern European Christians did not invent it.

Iraq, Iran, India, China and Egypt did. The Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Elamites, Persians, Indians, Chinese and the Pharaohs of Egypt had civilization for thousands of years while Celts in Britain were painting themselves blue and doing hunting and gathering in the wastes.

There is way more at the link, please go and read the full article.

imageYou can see video of the statements here: America And White Cultural Superiority: Representative Steve King

Of course it is no use to show or tell these Trumptarians the facts. Because they will go on, completely make up false stuff, put it in school books and teach it to the young children. And hey, they don’t even have to stick to charter schools anymore, in Texas…where most of the US public schools purchase their textbooks to use in the public education system, fact is a thing of the past.

A Textbook That Paints Mexican-Americans As Lazy Could Be Coming To A School Near You

It’s “deeply flawed,” but that hasn’t stopped the Texas State Board of Education before.

imageA proposed Mexican-American studies textbook has drawn harsh criticism for what Latino educators and scholars in Texas are calling a lack of scholarly expertise, major factual inaccuracies and demeaning characterizations of Mexican-Americans.

“What we have now is a deeply flawed and a deeply offensive textbook,” Celina Moreno, of the Texas Latino Education Coalition, said at a Monday press conference.

Groups like Moreno’s came together with professors who specialize in Mexican-American heritage, and who had been independently scrutinizing the textbook, to share some of their disturbing findings.

imageEmilio Zamora, a professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin, reviewed material that covered the U.S.-Mexican War of 1846-48 to the present. He said he found “five to seven serious, serious errors per page,” which render the entire publication “useless and even counterproductive.”

The Texas State Board of Education is currently reviewing the book for potential approval. Although the book’s fate is far from clear, the board has previously approved textbooks and curricula that deny climate change, promote creationism, whitewash historical events and maintain that the roots of Western democracy are found in the Bible.

And last year, the board rejected a proposal that state-approved elementary and high school textbooks be fact-checked by academics. 

imageOh, that emphasis is mine…

Because of the state’s tremendous clout in the educational publishing world, Dan Quinn of the nonpartisan educational watchdog group Texas Freedom Network told HuffPost that content that makes the grade in the Lone Star State is likely to be adopted ― in some form or another ― well beyond its borders.

I really feel that this has been coming for some time. I remember writing about this textbook shit years ago…it is one of the topics we have discussed frequently on the blog.

The lone proposal for a Mexican-American heritage textbook came from Momentum Instructions, a company linked to Cynthia Dunbar, a former education board member known for her extreme conservative views. Quinn described her four-year term on the board as “one culture war after another.”

imageIn a 2008 book titled One Nation Under God ― released while Dunbar was still serving on the state board ― she called public education “tyrannical” and a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion,” according to the Texas Observer.

As for the proposed textbook, Quinn suggested that Dunbar and its authors were seeking to “promote their own political and personal ideas.” He said the authors lack credible expertise in the field of Mexican-American studies.

Emails and calls to Momentum Instructions were not immediately returned.

For a few more remarks on this “textbook” see this article: Scholars Have Scathing Reviews for Mexican-American History Textbook

imageIt sounds like something you would expect in a nation that has Trump as the official GOP Candidate for President…

As the State Board of Education (SBOE) is accepting comments on the book before voting on it in November, a group of academics and advocacy groups decided to take a closer look at Mexican American Heritage. Organized as the Responsible Ethnic Studies Textbook Coalition, they announced their reviews Monday morning at the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) offices in Austin.

As it went on, the press conference began to sound more like the least successful book blurb pitch session ever:

“A deeply flawed and deeply offensive textbook that has no place in Texas classrooms.” — Celina Moreno, Texas Latino Education Coalition

image“Useless and even counter-productive.” — Emilio Zamora, professor of history at UT-Austin

“Replete with … offensive racial stereotypes.” — Lilliana Saldaña, associate professor of Mexican-American studies at UT-San Antonio

“So riddled with factual errors that a traditional publisher would not have recognized or tried to publish this book.” — Christopher Carmona, National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies-Tejas Foco

“Willfully irresponsible, culturally chauvinist and discriminatory.” — Zamora

“The person who wrote the section on Texas history would have failed a fourth-grade exam. … There are no women cited or quoted in the entire chapter.” — José María Herrera, assistant professor of education at UT-El Paso

image“Simply unworthy. … Obviously a fraud.” — Zamora, again

The coalition is calling for the SBOE to completely reject the book — not just require a few tweaks to the text — for a combination of factual errors, academic laziness and cultural insensitivity.

Saldaña noted that the book not only refers to indigenous people as “Indians,” but provides a lengthy explanation of why “Indians” is the best term to use. Elsewhere, Saldaña pointed out, the authors describe one group of people as driven by “bloodlust” — language she said was better suited to a Hollywood script than a serious academic text.

imageUh…chapters with no women writers or quotes? What the fuck? (Misogyny strikes again!) I don’t know, the few comments from members of the Republican board members will give you an example of how frustrating the attitude can be…Proposed Texas textbook describes Mexican-Americans as ‘lazy,’ new coalition works to block it – The Washington Post

The Texas State Board of Education is reviewing the proposed book and will consider public comments and feedback in September.

In an article in the Austin American-Statesman last month, one board member said the textbook was okay with him:

Board member David Bradley, R-Beaumont, who opposed asking for a Mexican-American studies course and textbook, said the proposed book seems fine.

image“It’s really kind of amusing. The left-leaning, radical Hispanic activists, having pounded the table for special treatment, get approval for a special course that nobody else wanted,” Bradley said. “Now they don’t like their special textbook? I bet they want everyone to also get an A for just attending? The one thing we can’t fix in this world is unhappy people.”

It really pisses me off…fuck him. (That male superior tone in the statement. How I hate it.) And this is how the majority of the population in my home town think. It is exactly how a Trumptonain thinks. And it is the kind of person who will vote him into office.

imageJust one more link for you today…this: What’s on Display in Cleveland? The Republican Id – BillMoyers.com

The triumph of Trump has demonstrated the cost of the devil’s bargain that party elites — and the media — have accepted over the years.

What is on display at the RNC in Cleveland is the Republican id. We always suspected it would look something like this. But even though it reared its ugly head on occasion on Fox News or in Congress — on the lips of some right-wing preacher or billionaire hedge-fund manager. They would compare gays to Satan, progressive taxation to Naziism and people of color to criminals at best, animals at worst — but the more polite, polished folks who spoke for the party would always regretfully shake their well-coiffed heads and explain that wasn’t what the party was really about.

And to their eternal shame, most in the media ran interference for this confidence game, only to be blindsided when Trump demonstrated that it had always been a charade.

imageWell thanks to Donald Trump and his followers, the jig is up. Melania Trump’s plagiarism of Michelle Obama was just about the least offensive thing one heard from the podium on Monday night. The rest was a near orgy of hatred, racism, sexism and ethnocentrism. Rudy Giuliani has always presented himself as an avatar of “law and order.” This has been a conservative mantra for half a century. We always suspected it was code for the suppression of African-Americans and now we know. Ditto all this talk of “Judeo-Christian” values. It’s a code for Islamophobia and oppression. And the attacks on Hillary Clinton sound an awful lot as if they are being spoken by people who simply cannot accept the fact that women have the same rights and capabilities as men. And to their eternal shame, most in the media ran interference for this confidence game, only to be blindsided when Trump demonstrated that it had always been a charade.

Listen to the speeches by the Republican heavyweights who have agreed to take the stage in Cleveland; not one of them has put forth an actual idea that makes sense in terms of how to govern the United States. That’s because governance has long ceased being relevant to the Republican coalition. What holds it together is nothing more than nostalgia for a more oppressive America and resentment toward those who refuse, any longer, to sit on the back of bus.

imageMy only response to this is to say that it is what I’ve been seeing all along, for years…from my window into the world that is my “quiet redneck mountain town” of Banjoville, GA. It is frightening as hell. I cannot lean back and think this election is a done deal. That folks will vote for Hillary and that she is a foregone conclusion to win in November. I am truly scared Trump could pull it out, and the stupidity will put him in office…and we will once again see the white lights of supremacy that shone in Nuremberg those years ago…brightening the dark black skies over America…to make America Great Again…to make America Safe Again. (As the RNC message was on Monday.)

Fucking hell.

 

 

 

 


Sunday Reads: Silly Human Race

Good Afternoon

Or Morning, if I actually got this post up in time.

Yesterday was a good day for Hillary and her supporters.

I am so lucky to have found out the outcome of the Nevada democrat caucuses from a text sent to me by Mona…I want to share it with you because I feel many of you are experiencing the same emotional exhaustion and disgust that this 2016 primary campaign has brought about.

 

01ce6243e144a5995cb919d1a123ad1fc705656e13

 

 

 

 

As you can see…She knew just what to say.

 

Now for some links on the outcome of the races from yesterday:

 

Winners and losers of South Carolina and Nevada | TheHill

Saturday was a night of political drama from Charleston to Caesar’s Palace, as results rolled in from the Republican primary in South Carolina and the Democratic caucuses in Las Vegas.

As the dust settles, who’s on the up, and who is left licking their wounds?

WINNERS

Businessman Donald Trump

It was a massive night — “huge,” as he might put it himself — for the business mogul. Trump trounced the field in South Carolina, his closest rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz trailing 10 points in his wake.

Trump has won two out of the three Republican contests to date and is the undeniable favorite to claim the nomination.

[…]

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Clinton’s win in the Nevada caucuses provided her with some much-needed stability after she was rocked by a heavy defeat at the hands of Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire.

Sanders’s supporters must now realize just how steep a climb they face if their candidate is to wrest the nomination away from the longtime front-runner.

4 Takeaways From South Carolina GOP Primary And Nevada Democratic Caucus : NPR

Donald Trump posted a decisive victory Saturday night in South Carolina, a conservative state that on its face should have been inhospitable to the New York billionaire, but was anything but when voters went to the polls.

And Hillary Clinton pulled off a badly needed win in Nevada, besting Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with an older, more diverse electorate in the state’s caucuses.

As we dive into the entrance and exit polling data, here’s four takeaways from the results.

I will post the four takeaways, you can read more about them at the link.

1. Evangelical voters have faith in Donald Trump

2. Republican voters like some of Trump’s most controversial proposals on banning Muslims

3. Political outsiders may have an advantage, but there’s a window for an establishment candidate like Marco Rubio

4. In Nevada, Clinton benefited from an older, more diverse electorate

Okay then.

As for the Hillary win, I think this may have been more of a factor:

Women and minorities turned out for Hillary Clinton at Nevada caucuses, entrance polls show – LA Times

Hillary Clinton built her victory over Sen. Bernie Sanders in Nevada on the strength of her support among women and minorities, the voting blocs that her campaign confidently predicts will carry her toward the Democratic nomination in the next several rounds of primaries.

According to a poll of voters entering caucus sites around the state, Clinton beat Sanders 57% to 41% among women. Sanders held a somewhat smaller lead among men, according to the entrance survey, conducted by Edison Research for the Associated Press and the major TV networks.

To compound Clinton’s margin, women made up well over half the turnout, the entrance poll found.

Clinton also established a big edge among nonwhite voters, while the two candidates closely split whites. Sanders won among younger whites, Clinton among their elders.

More breakdowns at the link.

Why Sexism at the Office Makes Women Love Hillary Clinton – The New York Times

THE poll numbers and primary results so far tell a simple story: Younger Democratic women are mostly for Bernie Sanders; older women lean more toward Hillary Clinton.

The mothers-versus-daughters narrative, long an election-year trope, is particularly pronounced now, and tinged with stereotypes on both sides. The idealistic but ungrateful naïfs who think sexism is a thing of the past and believe, as Mr. Sanders recently said, that “people should not be voting for candidates based on their gender” are seemingly battling the pantsuited old scolds prattling on about feminism.

Instead, the reality may be another kind of simple numbers game: More time in a sexist world, and particularly in the workplace, radicalizes women.

AP News Guide: Trump and Clinton power past rivals – The Washington Post

I thought that headline was interesting considering some that made it out like Hillary barely squeaked out a win.

And if you want to just dip into an article for the headline’s sake: If Donald Trump Can’t Stop Donald Trump, Who Can? – NBC News

That one is a classic.

There was some crap going on over at the Bernie Sanders party last night, did y’all see this?

IMG_3217Civil Rights Legend Says Sanders Supporters Yelled ‘English Only’ At Her

Dolores Huerta, a civil rights leader who has endorsed Hillary Clinton, said Saturday that Bernie Sanders supporters shouted her down when she tried to offer Spanish-language translations at a Las Vegas caucus location — including by chanting “English-only” — ahead of Clinton’s win in the Nevada Democratic caucuses.

“Shouting ‘English-only’ — that is completely against the spirit of everything that we’re working for,” Huerta told The Huffington Post in a phone interview.

Many of the caucus-goers were workers who spoke only Spanish, so she volunteered to do translation, Huerta said. But she said some Sanders supporters began to yell “No, no, no” and “English only,” and in the end, they went without translation entirely.

“To deprive these voters at this crucial time of having a translation of what was going on — this is something they need to know what’s taking place,” she said. “The caucus is a kind of complicated procedure. So the Bernie supporters would rather them not have any sort of translation rather than have someone like myself, who just happened to be a Hillary supporter, do the translation.”

 

Sources: Bernie Supporters Did Chant “English Only” At Latina Labor Activist – BuzzFeed News

On Saturday, Bernie Sanders supporters chanted “English only!” at a longtime labor and Latina activist, two neutral sources unaffiliated with either campaign told BuzzFeed News.

 

 

Video at the Buzzfeed link above…

I will let that mess speak for itself.

How about some good old-fashioned discrimination? From my own state this time…

IMG_2935Georgia Senate passes anti-gay bill – Business Insider

The Georgia state Senate has passed a religious freedom bill that critics fear could lead to anti-gay discrimination, boycotts and billions of dollars of lost revenue.

The Republican-backed legislation — passed Friday by a 38-14 margin that fell along party lines — is a hybrid of two bills.

The First Amendment Defense Act has received the most criticism of the two. It allows religious organizations to deny services if they cite “a sincerely held religious belief or moral conviction” against same-sex marriage.

The bill would apply to locally funded and state-funded nonprofit organizations such as hospitals, homeless shelters and adoption centers.

“This bill protects the constitutional rights of individuals and faith-based organizations,”said Republican state Sen. Greg Kirk, chief sponsor of the legislation. “It takes nothing away from same-sex couples or members of the LGBT community.

“It is a live-and-let-live bill.”

IMG_2630In other words it is another discrimination bill….I hate these ratfucking republicans.

…the broad language of the bill opens the door for same-sex discrimination, as well as discrimination against people of any orientation who have sex out of wedlock.

“Kirk really thinks that allowing anyone to discriminate against anyone makes the bill fair,” Robbie Medwed, a local gay-rights activist, wrote in a column for Atlanta magazine, Creative Loafing.

Georgia business leaders also criticized the bill, fearing it could lead to costly tourism boycotts and negative publicity. Some also expressed a desire to avoid the type of negative publicity the state of Indiana received when it passed its Religious Freedom Restoration Act last year.

“We believe that treating all Georgians and visitors fairly is essential to maintaining Georgia’s strong brand as the premier home for talented workers, growing businesses, entrepreneurial innovation, and a thriving travel and tourism industry,” the Metro Atlanta Chamber said in a statement.

In response to the bill, a number of major Georgia-based businesses, including Coca-Cola, Delta, Home Depot, UPS and Arby’s, joined the Georgia Prospers coalition earlier this year, promising to promote diversity in their workforces.

The other half of the bill is the so-called “Pastor Protection Act,” which ensures that clergy will not be forced to perform same-sex marriages. The act was met with little objection.

The combined bill will now go the House of Representatives for approval.

And guess what?

Georgia ‘Religious Freedom’ Bill Could Protect KKK, Sponsor Admits | Right Wing Watch

Georgia’s state senate is considering a “religious liberty” bill that would make it easier to discriminate against LGBT people by, as Americans United explains, allowing “any individual or ‘faith-based’ business, non-profit entity, or taxpayer-funded organization to ignore any law that conflicts with their religious beliefs about marriage.”

This means, according to AU, that “any person, business, or taxpayer-funded organization could refuse anyone else rights, services, and benefits because they are part of an interracial couple; are part of an interfaith couple; are a single mother; are part of a same-sex couple; are divorced; are remarried; live or have lived with a partner without being married; or have had sex outside of marriage at any time in their life.”

The broad scope of the bill, which combines a House-passed measure with an even broader Senate bill, has alarmed many observers, including state Sen. Emanuel Jones.

In a debate over the bill today, Jones asked its sponsor, Sen. Greg Kirk, if the Ku Klux Klan would count as a faith-based organization protected under the law.

“I guess they could,” Kirk answered, adding, “I don’t know what would stop them.”

When Jones asked Kirk if that seemed like a problem to him, Kirk responded that it did not because the bill “certainly isn’t directed” at the KKK.

Kirk then compared the KKK to Beyoncé’s “tribute to the Black Panthers” at the Super Bowl, saying that the Black Panthers would also be protected under the legislation.

 

Now a story of a major fuck-up. This will have you laughing like hell…

IMG_2673Whoops! Anti-Gay Group Raises Money for Gay School Dance | The Bob and Chez Show | News and Politics Podcast and Blog

A Facebook group called Stop Safe Schools (a peculiar name) instructed their members to buy every ticket available to an annual LGBT-friendly high school dance so that no LGBT teenagers could attend.

Members of the anti-gay Facebook group apparently did buy a significant number of tickets, but there’s a glaring problem with their diabolical plan.

Unforunately for the anti-gay group of haters there are an unlimited number of “tickets,” which are really just donations to fund the dance, which is open to all. “Everyone is welcome regardless of identity, allies included, as long as everyone is being friendly and respectful!”

Because the anti-gay group so generously gave their money (over $45,000) to the Minus 18 organization which hosts the event, attendance will be free for everyone this year.

Jesus thanks you.

It occurs to me that even if their plan had succeeded, they still would have effectively donated a significant amount of money to the organization. It’s not clear how that benefits the anti-gay group or harms the organization. Ultimately, they would have only inconvenienced and insulted the students who planned to attend.

Over $45K that is some big time Gay Jesus love there. Good for them!

Now the rest of the day’s links in dump fashion.

Fiji: Tropical Cyclone Winston kills 6 – CNN.com

Deadly Cyclone Winston rocks Fiji with 177 mph winds – CBS News

Michigan Gunman Kills 6 in Random Shootings, Police Say – The New York Times

IMG_2623Scientists Unearth Perfectly Preserved 3,000-Year-Old Wooden Wheel In ‘British Pompeii’ : SCIENCE : Tech Times

Hubble Takes Time-Resolved Pictures Of Super-Jupiter That Rains Liquid Iron And Glass : SCIENCE : Tech Times

U.S. Map Compares States to Countries by Education

Americans like to think they are #1 in everything, but when it comes to education, the U.S. quickly loses boasting rights. Math and science are particularly rough: U.S. ranks 28th in the world for those subjects. Although we may be a developed nation, when education is broken down by state, we aren’t all that different from countries that are more economically challenged.

HomeSnacks.com used information from the U.S. high school graduation rates from the U.S. Census and compared them against the education index of each country from the United Nations Development Program.

The result? A map of the U.S. with each state renamed as the country that resembles their level of education.

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Duck or rabbit? The 100-year-old optical illusion that could tell you how creative you are | Science | News | The Independent

 

What do you see: a rabbit? or a duck?

More than a 100 years after it was first sketched, a drawing has sparked huge reaction after being shared on social media.

Some see a rabbit and others will see a duck – but are you able to see both alternatively?

What you see (and how fast you see it) could indicate how quickly your brain works – and how creative you are.

I first saw the duck, but I saw the rabbit real quick too.

Culture shapes how leaders smile, research shows

How much a political leader smiles reflects their particular country’s cultural values related to how people express themselves, a Stanford scholar has found.

Newsprint newspapers – even in the digital age – remain very special | Media | The Guardian

There was a passage in Archie Bland’s excellent article about the “lovely chaos” at the Independent that struck a particular chord. He wrote:

“The print editions of our newspapers, even as they continue their inexorable decline, are such fixtures of ordinary life – sold in corner shops, abandoned on trains, pasted across the windows of empty properties, and still read everywhere – that their disappearance seems as unthinkable as the disappearance of the church.

You needn’t buy one to retain a romantic, unexamined sense that their raucous daily appearance is one of the vital signs of the nation. If so, it may soon seem as if all of our hearts are beating a little slower.”

My father, who liked to confide that “computers will never catch on”, regretted the passing of steam trains. Although we demand progress we tend to regret what we leave behind.

 

IMG_3162Remembering Cruyff and Pelé helps Alzheimer patients recover their past | Football | The Guardian

A smile of recognition slowly spreads across the elderly man’s face.

“A great goal by Cruyff against Reina,” he says, in a voice which strengthens with increasing conviction. “Great cross from the right. And then – with his instep.

“His instep,” the man repeats, gesturing with his fingers and now smiling broadly as he remembers the famous back-post volley scored by Johan Cruyff for Barcelona past the Atlético Madrid goalkeeper, Miguel Reina, in December 1973.

More than four decades on from that goal at the Camp Nou the lifelong Barça fan is one of a group of patients with Alzheimer’s disease who are flicking through the pages of specially produced editions of the Spanish football magazine Líbero.

The patients are being helped by a project called Fútbol v Alzheimer organised by the Madrid-based Líbero and the Universidad Autònoma de Barcelona.

The idea for the project came from a 2014 study produced at the university’s Fundació Salut i Envelliment (Foundation Health and Ageing). This research found that talking about football helped stimulate the memory, attention and mood of people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of cognitive deterioration.

And to finish…we will bring it full circle:

With links from this morning:

Tapper to Trump: You Think You Can Win Over Minorities After RTing White Supremacists? | Mediaite

CNN’s Jake Tapper askedDonald Trump this morning if he really thinks he has a chance to win over minorities given his support among white supremacists.

Tapper said many Republican leaders don’t see Trump winning enough minorities to lead the party to victory, “given the fact there are white supremacist groups and individuals like that who support you,some of whomyou’ve even retweeted.”

Trump dismissed his retweets of white supremacists and made it clear he knows nothing about the white supremacist groups supporting him.

Yeah, he knows nothing, nothing about the KKK endorsement.

 

Trump’s SC Victory and anti-Muslim Hatred | Informed Comment

Billionaire bigot Donald Trump won the South Carolina primary Saturday with about 32.5 percent of the vote. He was about ten points ahead of his two closes rivals, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, who more or less tied at between 22 and 23 percent each.

Trump did much better than his rivals with men, with over-45 voters and with the less educated. He even outdid Cruz with regard to the evangelical vote (self-described evangelicals were 3/4s of Republican SC voters this year, up from 65% in 2012).

But perhaps one unexpected indication as to why he won is Trump’s strident hatred of Muslims. Some 75% of GOP primary voters in South Carolina support his bizarre and unconstitutional idea of banning Muslims from traveling to the United States. That is nearly twice the national average on this issue (46%) and more than the average among Republicans nationally (66%).

A sounding by Public Policy Polling found that SC GOP voters supporting Trump are outliers among Republicans in that state. Some 80% of them want to ban Muslims from traveling to the US, and about a third of Trump supporters want to ban gays from coming here as well. (That was twice the percentage among SC Repubicans in general). Among Trump supporters, 62 percent want to create a database to track US Muslims, and 40% want to ban mosques. 44% of Trump supporters want to ban the practice of Islam entirely (Not sure why 4% of these stupid jingoists want to allow mosques but not Muslims). About 38% of Trump voters said they wish the South had won the Civil War, as opposed to 30% of SC Republicans overall.

The evidence therefore suggests that xenophobia and hatred of Muslims, as well as a yearning for the white supremacist Confederacy, are more common among Trump supporters than among SC Republicans in general. And, it may well be that the margin of racism accounts for Trump’s win.

Moreover, a third of GOP voters in South Carolina see terrorism as the number one issue facing the US, while 28% think it is the economy and 27% are worried about government spending. That is, the hatred of Muslims seems tied to security concerns rather to immigration, and immigration per se is not a big concern there. Likely the large number of southern men who spend some time in the military is one explanation for this unusual concern with terrorism. After the Paris and San Bernardino attacks by fringe radical Muslims, the percentage of Americans who named terrorism as the number one problem jumpedfrom a few percentage points to 16% last December. So South Carolinian Republicans are twice as worried about that issue as most Americans, and are a third more worried about it than Republicans nationally (24%) as of last December. (When there aren’t attacks for a while, the general US percentages on this issue have been slipping to single digits).

It seems like South Carolina is a perfect example of the Southern State. Read more at the link…please.

Since Boston Boomer started her post yesterday with a song, I think it is fitting to end my post with a song today. Reflecting on the Win for Trump in South Carolina….

Take the lyrics from Yes, and their song…Yours is no disgrace.

One particular phrase keeps turning in my mind:

“silly human, silly human race”

Yes Yours Is No Disgrace – YouTube

 

Granted it is an anti-war song…but I feel very much like those soldiers. This battle against the GOP…a fight that is beyond my control. While everywhere the partying continues…I can only see the ship heading towards disaster.

Ceasars Palace…a morning glory…Hillary.

For me, maybe that is our only hope? She has to win.

This is an open thread.


Wednesday Reads: Composite and Composure 

Good Afternoon

Who know a few album covers could look so dramatic?

The images you will see today are from one of my favorite photo blogs: vintage everyday: Mix and Match – Strange and Amazing Collage Arts from Famous Album Covers of the 1980s and 1990s

Christian Marclay is a Swiss, New York-based modern artist and composer. He came up with an idea to create funny collages from famous album covers.

So enjoy these collages as we look into some non-election news.

A couple of days ago, LG&M had a post that caught my attention…see if you get the same vibe as I did: Clearly, Paying Teachers Peanuts is the Way to Produce Good Teaching – Lawyers, Guns & Money

635633926025679244-TeacherPayMap

I can think of no better way to provide quality education for our students than paying teachers so poorly that they are forced to get 2nd and 3rd jobs to make ends meet, thus giving them no time to prep for class or rest.

Second and even third jobs are the norm for many school teachers in South Dakota, where teacher pay ranks lowest in the nation, according to a state education task force. Gov. Dennis Daugaard has proposed a half-cent sales tax increase to help raise teacher pay, but his plan needs two-thirds approval in both the House and the Senate — a tough proposition in a legislature with an anti-tax lean.

Mary McCorkle, president of the South Dakota Education Association, said teachers often give up their evenings by grading papers and preparing lessons, and second jobs lead to burnout.

“Something has to give, whether it’s your health, your sanity,” McCorkle said. “You just can’t do everything, and you want to be there for your students.”

The SDEA, which represents more than 5,000 teachers in the state, said Daugaard’s proposal is an acknowledgement that South Dakota schools are having trouble hiring and keeping teachers.

The Brookings School District used to get dozens of applications for each open teaching position but now receives resumes from just a handful of qualified candidates, said school board President Steve Bayer. The pool depth is likely dwindling as applicants look across South Dakota’s eastern border to better-paying jobs.

“When you can make another thousand dollars a month as an experienced teacher, it’s probably worth looking at a place in Minnesota,” he said.

South Dakota’s average teacher salary of $40,023 in 2013-14 lagged an average of six states that border it by $11,888 a year and was $8,643 behind the next lowest neighbor, North Dakota, the group found. In some of South Dakota’s more remote areas, that average salary drops quickly.

Now, this next link will take you to the average starting teacher salary per state: NEA – 2012-2013 Average Starting Teacher Salaries by State

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And here is a site that give you both starting and general average salaries, which is a bit convoluted to discern.  Teacher Salaries By State | Average Salaries For Teachers | Beginning Salaries For Teachers | Teacher Raises | TeacherPortal.com

Finding accurate beginning and average salaries for teachers by state is a tricky business. In our effort to build the most accurate list of teacher salaries by state, we have averaged the salary from multiple sources, including the National Education Association, job surveys, and private data analyses to create the Salary Comfort Index.

So if you are curious…take a peek at those numbers.

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While on the subject of schools…in South Dakota:

South Dakota Is The First State To Pass A Transphobic Student Bathroom Bill

I will leave that story up to you. Take a gander at the new bill and the logic behind this mess.

The bill was approved by the state Senate on Tuesday and now awaits the signature of Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R), who has said it seems like a good idea. The measure would mandate that students use facilities corresponding with their “physical condition of being male or female as determined by a person’s chromosomes and anatomy as identified at birth,” not the gender with which they identify.

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Next up: The Pope….

He was in Mexico this week.

The Latest: Cleric stresses moral message of Pope at border – The Washington Post

Religious leaders and migrants rights advocates in the United States say Pope Francis’ acknowledgment during his visit to the U.S.-Mexico border of the struggles of immigrants will send a humanitarian message.

Just before his Mass Wednesday afternoon in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Francis is to walk to the border fence along the Rio Grande, which separates the two countries. There, he’ll offer a prayer for migrants on the other side and for those who died trying to get to the U.S. A group of about 500 people, including migrants and refugees, will be on the U.S. side.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville said at a news conference in El Paso Wednesday that “because something has political dimensions it doesn’t mean that it does not also have moral dimensions.

That is sweet…because with the statement the Catholic Church put out on the Zika virus…we don’t want to get into a discussion on Moral Dimensions…or Dilemmas!

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Catholic Leaders Say Zika Doesn’t Change Ban on Contraception – The New York Times

As the Zika virus spreads in Latin America, Catholic leaders are warning women against using contraceptives or having abortions, even as health officials in some countries are advising women not to get pregnant because of the risk ofbirth defects.

The challenge posed by Zika for the Roman Catholic Churchcomes as Pope Francis is making his first trip to Mexico, where the virus appears to be spreading.

After a period of saying little, bishops in Latin America are beginning to speak up and reassert the church’s opposition to birth control and abortion — positions that in Latin America are unpopular and often disregarded, even among Catholics.

“Contraceptives are not a solution,” said Bishop Leonardo Ulrich Steiner, the secretary general of the National Council of Bishops of Brazil, and an auxiliary bishop of Brasília, in an interview. “There is not a single change in the church’s position.”

He urged couples to practice chastity or use “natural family planning,” a method in which women monitor their menstrual cycles and abstain from sex when they are fertile.

Of course these babies are gifts from Gawd.

This is not a stance likely to win many new followers. South America happens to be the continent with the highest proportion of Catholics who already disagree with the church on abortion and birth control, according to a large international poll commissioned by Univision in 2014. Seventy-three percent of Catholics in Latin America said that abortion should be allowed in some or all cases, and 91 percent supported the use of contraceptives — a higher percentage even than in Europe or the United States.

[…]

“The Vatican is very well aware of the seriousness of this issue, and the Holy Father is very aware of it,” Father Rosica said. “We’re waiting to see how the local churches in those countries respond.”

But Father Rosica said church teaching on abortion and contraception remains the same. The Zika epidemic, he said, presents “an opportunity for the church to recommit itself to the dignity and sacredness of life, even in very precarious moments like this.”

The five countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that have advised women to delaypregnancy are Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, Colombia and Jamaica. But access to contraception is limited throughout the region, especially for poor and rural women. Abortion is restricted in many countries, and it is illegal without exceptions in the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Nicaragua, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

[…]

There is no vaccine for the Zika virus, and no cure for microcephaly. The World Health Organization this monthdeclared the Zika epidemic an international public health emergency. The organization advised that women should have full access to a range of contraceptive options, as well as “safe abortion services to the full extent of the law.”

Many church officials are wary that the Zika epidemic will lead to the loosening of laws on abortion and contraception. Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga of Honduras, who serves on Pope Francis’ nine-member advisory council, denounced the notion of “therapeutic abortions” for women carrying babies with microcephaly. He spoke at a Mass attended by the Honduran president and first lady.

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Another link on the Zika epidemic….WHO: $56 Million Needed To Combat Zika Virus Through June

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that $56 million were needed to combat the Zikavirus until June, including for the fast-tracking of vaccines, diagnostics and research studies into how it spreads.

The funds, including $25 million for the WHO and its regional office, would also be used to control the mosquito-borne virus that has spread to 39 countries, including 34 in the Americas, and has been linked to birth defects in Brazil.

“Possible links with neurological complications and birth malformations have rapidly changed the risk profile for Zika from a mild threat to one of very serious proportions,” WHO director-general Margaret Chan said in the WHO Strategic Response Framework and Joint Operations Plan issued in Geneva.

The WHO expects the funds to come from member states and other donors and said that in the meantime it has tapped a new emergency contingency fund for $2 million to finance its initial operations.

Chan will travel to Brazil from Feb 22-24 to review Zika-related measures supported by WHO and will meet the health minister, a WHO spokeswoman said.

The United Nations health agency declared the Zika outbreak a global public health emergency on Feb 1, noting its association with two neurological disorders, microcephaly in babies and Guillain-Barre syndrome that can cause paralysis.

Brazil is investigating the potential link between Zika infections and more than 4,300 suspected cases of microcephaly, a condition marked by abnormally small head size that can result in developmental problems.

More at the link.

Just a question…and it is a offensive one at that…since my life is defined by classic film and movies, the flick “Freaks!” (Yeah, I’m going there.) Didn’t the pinheads suffer from microcephaly? Innit that the same thing as this Zika virus? NWLuna? School me right!

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Shit, I said I wasn’t going to mention the idiots of the election: Trump Surrogate Blows Up Panel Discussion By Referring To ‘Big Boobs’ | Crooks and Liars

There is a reason for this…I promise.

Nothing says 2016 political discourse like a Trump surrogate and supporter calling out another panelist’s “big boobs” on Fox Business. I’m pretty sure all those stock market geeks tuning into Fox Biz were delighted by it.

Transcript viaMediaite:

Manigault: Yes, so let’s talk about Iraq and let’s talk about Donald Trump’s position. When Ta-mah-ra says that Donald Trump’s–

Holder: Tah-mara. It’s Tah-mara.

Manigault: It’s the same difference. You want to come on with big boobs, then you deal with the pronunciation of your name. Look. Donald Trump stands firm on what his position is about us going into Iraq —

Baritromo: Wait a second! Why are you bringing up Tamara’s boobs? I don’t understand why you brought up Tamara’s boobs.

The C&L post makes a point about why the mention of boobs is made:

Poor Maria just cannot understand. It’s because it gets attention, Maria! Mention boobs and every man watching looks up from his otherwise boring work to see what the catfight is all about.

Of course, it’s also crass and sexist but that’s what Trump’s campaign embodies. And who better than Omarosa to speak for Trump about some other woman’s breasts?

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I think it is just a carry over of the Sexist and Misogynistic culture (as related to rape culture) that is allowed to flourish as Sexual Harassment in our high school’s and college’s locker rooms…as discussed in this article from Deadspin: How Tennessee’s Sexual Harassment Allegations Caught Up With Peyton Manning 20 Years Later

This is a very long read, I know that BB has written post on Manning before, but please take some time and look it over.

In 1996, the summer before Peyton Manning’s junior season at the University of Tennessee, with his Vols a national championship contender, associate trainer Jamie Whited—later Jamie Naughright, after her divorce—filed an employment discrimination complaint. In that complaint, filed with the Tennessee Human Rights Commission and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, she listed 27 specific examples of sexual harassment and discrimination she claimed to have experienced while working for Tennessee’s athletics department.

Athletes, she said, called her breasts “midgets.” One athlete called the women at the sexual assault crisis center center “white ‘male hating’ females.” And her concerns about violence by athletes toward women were “played down by my supervisors, and an effort was made to shield the student athletes.”

It was accusation No. 27 that lives on, though. An unnamed athlete, later identified as Peyton Manning, “pulled his pants down and exposed himself to me, as I was bent over examining his foot after asking me several questions.”

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“Despite the above referenced complaints,” her filing said, “no effective remedial action has been taken by coaches, or other supervisor personnel. Instead complaints of sexual harassment are treated as jokes and efforts are made to protect the student athletes, and cover-up the complaint.”

Naughright settled with Tennessee. The investigative report on her allegations, compiled by Tennessee’s Office of Diversity Resources and Educational Resources (DRES) repeatedly finds that she was “not subjected to unwelcome sexual conduct,” and that “many of the individual allegations involved conduct that was not sexual in nature.” Her accusation against Manning seemed destined to become another incident written off as a young man’s foolishness.

Her claims and the investigative findings read differently, though, in the context of a wide-reaching Title IX lawsuit recently filed against the University of Tennessee, which describes Tennessee as having cultivated a “deliberate indifference to known sexual assaults so as to create a hostile sexual environment.” So, too, does her long legal history with Manning, recently brought back to public attention by the Daily Beast’s Robert Silverman and bythe New York Daily News’s Shaun King publishing a 74-page “facts of the case”from Naughright’s 2002 defamation suit against Manning. That document outlines, from the perspective of her lawyers, a claim that the Manning family and Tennessee essentially covered up a case of sexual assault to protect the star quarterback.

It will get you going…be prepared for the usual excuses and typical outcomes.

Let us see if the new combat roles for women change the way the military works…Exclusive: Report shows Marines’ shifting approach to women in combat – CSMonitor.com

The Marines have long been resistant to including women in combat units. But a Pentagon document obtained by the Monitor offers a more optimistic view.

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 Check it out…details emerge on the new airline plans for Cuba:

U.S., Cuba sign civil aviation accord in Havana as Cuba’s foreign trade minister visits Washington | Miami Herald

I always loved the way this man’s name sounded when I was a kid…now comes news of his death: United Nations News Centre – UN mourns death of former Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali

Another death, this time an actor. You may remember him in Tootsie and Mel Brooks To Be or Not To Be: George Gaynes Dead: ‘Police Academy’ Star Dies at 98 – Hollywood Reporter

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The rest in link dump format, because it is really getting late:

Apple CEO Tim Cook opposes court order to help FBI unlock San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone

Global food production needs ‘significant’ fertiliser boost – BBC News– This talks about the phosphate shortage. In Florida, you could spot a phosphate mine miles away. (Well, I don’t know about technically miles…but damn if you could not see them from across the bay.) Our science class would have field trips inside those mountain valley holes to look for fossils. Anyway, give that link a moment of your time.

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Scalia’s Death Might Have Saved Abortion Rights | Mother Jones

Survival Mode: Growing Up With Violence – Al Jazeera English

CDC investigates why so many students in wealthy Palo Alto, Calif., commit suicide – The Washington Post

U.S. Health Officials Are Finally Paying Attention To Palo Alto School Suicides

Teen suicide clusters in Palo Alto: Is media attention at fault? – CSMonitor.com

Let’s end it with two videos….

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Voting (HBO) – YouTube

Syrian Refugees Part 1 | Full Frontal with Samantha Bee | TBS – YouTube

This is an open thread..post what you want…

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