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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

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Wednesday Reads: Transphobia 6-5000

Good afternoon.

Yesterday was the IDAHO | DAHOT International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. With that in mind let’s take a look at the scene surrounding LGTB issues this week, especially the last few days. As y’all know, it is a “fluid ” situation, one of constant assault from the same forces I discussed in my last post Wednesday Reads: Buckets of what? | Sky Dancing. They are same hypocritical basturds who want to control every aspect of a woman’s autonomy, spirit, and cognitive functions. Shit…we are just going to have to get to it, right?

Statement by the President on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia | whitehouse.gov

On May 17, Americans and people around the world mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia by reaffirming the dignity and inherent worth of all people, regardless of who they love or their gender identity.

Our nation is committed to the principle that all people should be treated fairly and with respect. Advancing this goal has long been a cornerstone of American diplomacy, and I am proud that my Administration has made advancing the human rights of LGBT individuals a specific focus of our engagement around the world. I am also proud of the great strides that our nation has made at home in recent years, including that we now have marriage equality as a result of last year’s landmark Supreme Court decision.

At the same time, there is much work to be done to combat homophobia and transphobia, both at home and abroad.‎ In too many places, LGBT individuals grow up forced to conceal or deny who they truly are for fear of persecution, discrimination, and violence. All nations and all communities can, and must, do better. Fortunately, human rights champions and good citizens around the world continue to strive towards this goal every day by lifting up the simple truth that LGBT rights are human rights. The United States honors their work and will continue to support them in their struggle for human dignity.

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Obama was not the only world leader who made an official statement yesterday…Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia | Prime Minister of Canada

“Today, I join Canadians – and people around the world – to recognize the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia.

“Everyone deserves to live free of stigma, persecution, and discrimination – no matter who they are or whom they love. Today is about ensuring that all people – regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity – feel safe and secure, and empowered to freely express themselves.

“On this important day, I encourage all Canadians to raise awareness, and mobilize to end the violence, prejudice, and judgement faced by LGBTQ2 persons.

“As a society, we have taken many important steps toward recognizing and protecting the legal rights for the LGBTQ2 community – from enshrining equality rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms to the passage of the Civil Marriage Act. There remains much to be done, though. Far too many people still face harassment, discrimination, and violence for being who they are. This is unacceptable.

“To do its part, the Government of Canada today will introduce legislation that will help ensure transgender and other gender-diverse people can live according to their gender identity, free from discrimination, and protected from hate propaganda and hate crimes.

“Today, let us unite in a global celebration of diversity, and reaffirm our commitment to unequivocally defend LGBTQ2 rights as human rights. We will never stop fighting for a safer, more equal, and more just world for all of our children.”

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Meanwhile, reports in Mexico indicate some positive changes may be coming…Mexican President: Legalize Gay Marriage – The Daily Beast

According to multiple reports, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has proposed legalizing same-sex marriage across the entire country. Should Mexico recognize same-sex marriages at the national level, it would join the United States and Canada as the only North American nations to do so. Nieto’s proposal comes as part of a string of socially liberal policy ideas from the 49-year-old president, including the legalization of medical marijuana and an overhaul of the country’s war on drugs.

Obama Marks International Day Against Homophobia And Transphobia: LGBT Rights Are Human Rights – Joe.My.God.

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Countries Celebrate International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

Aussie cops raise rainbow flags against homophobia and transphobia

Still a long battle ahead for India’s transgender community | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis

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Rainbows abound: How the world is celebrating International Day against Homophobia – Firstpost

Meanwhile, here in the USA, things are continuing as expected:

Trans Panicked Lady Yells At Short-Haired Gal In Walmart Restroom, Saves America | Wonkette

In what’s sure to be part of a growing trend, a young woman in a Walmart restroom Friday was treated to a stern anti-transgender scolding from a self-appointed member of the Moral Police in Danbury, Connecticut. Aimée Toms, a 22-year-old college student from Naugatuck, was washing her hands when a complete stranger hissed “You’re disgusting!” and “You don’t belong here!” Toms, you see, has really short hair and was wearing a baseball cap, which was enough to convince the sharp-eyed Walmart shopper that Toms had to be one of those filthy transgender people using the ladies’ biffy, endangering The Children and ruining America. Toms posted a fine video rant about the experience to Facebook Friday evening, and the video quickly went viral, with nearly 40,000 views since it went up. We have to say we like the cut of her jib. Toms introduces the video with this brief caption:

If it really takes me pulling up my shirt and showing someone I grew these boobs myself for them to leave me alone in a restroom, I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.

This really lit a fire under my ass today.

Young Woman Harassed In WalMart For Appearing Transgendered | Crooks and Liars

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My state is getting in on the fun:

Transphobia abounds in North Georgia

Students in North Georgia are the targets of the latest transphobic outcry.

Parents in Fannin County, organized by school resource officer Anthony Walden, rallied last week against a policy supporting transgender students using bathrooms that align with their gender identity, instead of their sex assigned at birth.

Parents packed the Thursday school board meeting to decry the policy, which stems from federal government guidance, with media reports of anywhere from one to three hundred people in attendance.

“We could stand to lose 3.5 million dollars, that’s federal money,” school attorney Lynn Doss toldFox 5 News.

Following the egregious N.C. “bathroom bill,” the federal government issued a letter to schools urging them to allow transgender students to use restrooms and other facilities that correspond with their gender identity and not their sex assigned at birth.

N.C. and Gov. Pat McCrory are facing a lawsuit from the federal government over HB 2, with the Dept. of Justice making clear that transphobic bathroom policies are discriminatory and a violation of student’s civil rights.

So much love to Loretta Lynch for this: “Let me also speak directly to the transgender community itself…no matter how isolated, no matter how afraid, and no matter how alone you may feel today…we see you, we stand with you, and we will do everything we can to protect you going forward.”

I think you can tell the direction this article is taking….

School resource officer Walden called transgender people “perverts” and compared them to pedophiles, during public comment that received applause multiple times.

Transphobic statements abounded during the three hours of public comment. Parents and local leaders encouraged the school board to forego the federal dollars, threatening to remove their kids from school.

“We’re going to do everything we can to stop this, and if not, then us moms are going to come home and teach our kids like it used to be,” Parent Angel Chancey said.

“Ask the question what would Jesus have me do in this situation,” said Matthew McDaniel, a pastor at First Baptist Church. “We need to stand on God’s truth in this perverse situation.”

Speaker David Ralston, who represents the area, even waded in, sending a letter to Ga. Sens. Johnny Isakson and David Purdue asking them to get involved.

Calling it “a vast overreach of federal authority,” Ralston asks them to “take appropriate action to protect our students and our local educators from the heavy hand of the federal government.”

Well, he certainly doesn’t seem interested in protecting transgender students, and that does not bode well for continued “religious freedom” rabble-rousing during next year’s legislative session.

Have I mentioned how much I hate the people up here in Banjoville. Fannin is the county next door…so they are our Banjoneighbors.

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Gooch asks state leaders to take a stand against Obama… | AccessWDUN.com

State Sen. Steve Gooch (R-51), Senate Majority Whip, is calling on Georgia’s top officials to take a firm stand against President Barack Obama’s letter sent to school systems Friday with guidelines allowing transgender students to use bathrooms matching the gender they identify with.

“We’re asking the governor and lieutenant governor to look at the president’s policy initiative that he announced this week that basically threatens local governments with withholding their funds for their local schools,” Gooch said Tuesday. “We think that’s a wrong direction for our country. We shouldn’t be controlling local school boards and dictating them and holding this over their head.”

Gooch, of Lumpkin County, briefly answered questions during Tuesday afternoon’s Helen City Commission meeting.

Georgia leaders blast transgender bathroom rule, stop short of lawsuit | Political Insider blog

Georgia GOP leaders prepare to open front in bathroom war | www.myajc.com

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More news on the LGBT front:

Obama Defends Transgender Directive for School Bathrooms – The New York Times

Alabama lawmaker files bathroom bill – TimesDaily: State Capital

Mother marches through Target decrying retailer’s bathroom policy | www.ajc.com

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Canada Moves to Ban Discrimination Against Transgender People – The New York Times

Sir Ian McKellen: Homophobia in the Commonwealth is a shameful legacy – The i newspaper online iNews

North Carolina’s anti-trans governor is cozy with major polluter | Grist

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Turning back to idiots in politics, hey…this one is not even a part of this country’s political elite!

Peter Dutton says ‘illiterate’ refugees would be ‘taking Australian jobs’ | Australia news | The Guardian  I guess Trump isn’t the only asshole making a name for himself out there, huh?

But hey, that kind of talk is just mainstream nowadays, you want idiot? I got your idiot right here:

Conservative congressional candidate shares screenshot, forgets to close porn windows

Screenshot Mike Webb shared with numerous tabs, including two tabs with porn sites

Mike Webb is a conservative candidate for the United States Congress (VA-8) and he’s hoping to bring “responsiveness and accountability” to Washington, D.C. From hiscampaign announcement:

“If we succeed in winning this race as a conservative Republican in the most liberal district in the nation and the most Democratic in the South, that will be a real revolution that will have national implications,” he said in a press release.

He is campaigning with a hands-on approach, insisting he does all of his own social media:

Webb claims that many residents are looking for responsiveness and accountability from their elected and appointed leaders. “One way to do that is to personally respond on social media.  Talk and engage with people.  Joke and chide.  Engage in dialogue.  That is what it is all about.”

Unfortunately for Mike Webb, he’s probably now wishing he had someone running his social media. He shared a screenshot of his computer screen while trying to make a point (that was partial conspiracy theory) about trying to find employment and he forgot to close out a couple of tabs:

Mike Webb
Oh, my…..

Oh, my! Fans of Mike Webb’s Facebook page were quick to point out that the two tabs above led to two porn sites. Needless to say, fans were amused:

Lucas McDanielRyan BelkJosh Peake…. Now you know what politicians do in their spare time!! #pumpthebrakesWEBB

Stephen Carroll I like your taste in porn.

Stephen Carroll Hey, that’s probably why you had so many viruses and couldn’t make your FEC filing.

Christopher Allard Oh my good lord! That’s AWESOME!!! Way to go Mike! You posted a screen shot of your computer and left the PORN SITES up??? Wow, ranger that bud! This is definitely going viral!

At least 5 hours after the original post, it remains on this Facebook page. So much for his pledge for responsiveness! The post will no doubt be deleted in time, but it can currently be seen here.

I had to quote the entire post there, it was too unbelievable and fucking prefect not to.

Eschaton: Assholes

Two Boston brothers who beat and urinated on a homeless Mexican man, then told police “Donald Trump was right: All these illegals need to be deported,” were sentenced to prison on Monday.

Trump Bros Who Beat Up Homeless Hispanic Guy Going To Prison, How Is That Even Fair? | Wonkette

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BREAKING: ABC Just Caught Trump In Massive Tax Evasion & Campaign Finance Violation

Next up, a series of links on the Nevada/Bernie Bros/From the top directive shit that happened over the last few days:

Shakesville: What Is Even Happening?

I think the key point to all this is:

Hillary Clinton won the Nevada caucus.

Anyway, the links are below just if anyone missed yesterday’s threads….

Shakesville: Bernie Sanders, What Are You Doing?!

Bernie Sanders Refuses To Admit There’s a Problem With His Fanatical Supporters – The Daily Banter

 

Sanders issues defiant statement under pressure over ruckus (w/video) | Tampa Bay Times

I hate the title of this one: DNC chairwoman chides Sanders | TheHill

Tensions explode in Dem primary | TheHill

To Win in November, Clinton Will Need Sanders’ Voters | RealClearPolitics

This is another title that irks me: Nevada Democrats accused Bernie Sanders’s campaign of inciting violence. And Sanders is hitting back. – The Washington Post

A few other disturbing news stories, not on Bernie but still like I said, disturbing:

Judge orders Mississippi school district to desegregate, 62 years after Brown v. Board of Education – The Washington Post

62 years after ‘Brown vs. Board of Education’ ruling, U.S. schools becoming more segregated | Tampa Bay Times

Tourist Bros Stomp On Yellowstone National Park’s Grand Prismatic Spring

Another State Just Banned Abortion After 19 Weeks

South Carolina bans abortion after 19 weeks | Reuters

Teacher fired from Christian school after reporting shocking rape of her daughter

Shoulders and Arms Are Now Illegal in the State of California

The deadly selfie game – the thrill to end all thrills

Oh and what about the Koch Brothers? Hullabaloo– GOP suffering from Koch withdrawal by digby

And I want to end it on something fun…This one is for Boston Boomer, and her keen interest in words and the brain: Words, more words … and statistics: To segment words, the brain could be using statistical methods — ScienceDaily

Picking out single words in a flow of speech is no easy task and, according to linguists, to succeed in doing it the brain might use statistical methods. A group of scientists has applied a statistics-based method for word segmentation and measured its efficacy on natural language, in nine different languages, to discover that linguistic rhythm plays an important role.

Have you ever racked your brains trying to make out even a single word of an uninterrupted flow of speech in a language you hardly know at all? It is naïve to think that in speech there is even the smallest of pauses between one word and the next (like the space we conventionally insert between words in writing): in actual fact, speech is almost always a continuous stream of sound. However, when we listen to our native language, word “segmentation” is an effortless process. What are, linguists wonder, the automatic cognitive mechanisms underlying this skill? Clearly, knowledge of the vocabulary helps: memory of the sound of the single words helps us to pick them out. However, many linguists argue, there are also automatic, subconscious “low-level” mechanisms that help us even when we do not recognise the words or when, as in the case of very young children, our knowledge of the language is still only rudimentary. These mechanisms, they think, rely on the statistical analysis of the frequency (estimated based on past experience) of the syllables in each language.

I hope you enjoy that one BB…

Have a good day y’all, treat this as an open thread of course.

 

 


Wednesday Reads: Black Market and Chocolate

0192d8c6bfc928f14d0f4009509712b0293b4f69b1Ugh…So the Bern was felt in Michigan.

We will get to that in a bit, I first want to set a tone for the post today. The set-up is from two different takes on the same time frame in history…WWII.

One is an actual oral history story from a concentration camp survivor…the other is a video clip of a song sung by Marlene Dietrich in a Billy Wilder film called A Foreign Affair…in which Marlene plays a former Nazi now cafe singer in a nightclub in post-war Soviet Occupied Section of Berlin. (The film was shot on location in Berlin in 1947. )

While serving with the United States Army in Germany during World War II, Billy Wilder was promised government assistance if he made a film about Allied-occupied Germany, and he took advantage of the offer by developing A Foreign Affair with Charles Brackett and Richard L. Breen. Erich Pommer, who was responsible for the rebuilding of the German film industry, placed what was left of the facilities at Universum Film AG at Wilder’s disposal. While researching the existing situation for his screenplay, he interviewed many of the American military personnel stationed in Berlin, as well as its residents, many of whom were having difficulty dealing with the destruction of their city. One of them was a woman he met while she was clearing rubble from the streets. “The woman was grateful the Allies had come to fix the gas,” Wilder later recalled. “I thought it was so she could have a hot meal, but she said it was so she could commit suicide.”
01f4bbe78420a62d2f4cd51eafd84b6c8bfaf0b432Marlene Dietrich was Wilder’s first choice to play Erika, and Friedrich Hollaender already had written three songs – “Black Market”, “Illusions”, and “The Ruins of Berlin” – for her to sing in the film (the lyrics were very integral with the plot), but the director suspected she would be opposed to portraying a woman who collaborated with the Nazis. En route home from Berlin, he stopped in Paris to visit her, ostensibly to hear her opinion about a screen test he had made with June Havoc. “She kept making criticisms and suggestions … and finally I said, like I had thought of it just that moment, ‘Marlene, only you can play this part.’ And she agreed with me”, Wilder said.

 

Let’s start with two videos:

 

 

 

The lyrics to the song…since it is sometimes difficult to grasp what Marlene is saying:

Black Market
Sneak around the corner
Budapester Strasse!
Black Market
Peek around the corner –
La Police qui passe!

Come!
I’ll show you things you cannot get elsewhere!
Come!
Make with the offers and you’ll get your share!

Black Market
Eggs for statuettes
Smiles for cigarettes
Got some broken down ideals?
Like wedding rings?

Pshh! Tiptoe!
Trade your things!

I’ll trade you for your candy
Some gorgeous merchandise
My camera – it’s a dandy!
Six by nine – just your size
You want my porcelain figure?
A watch? A submarine?
A Rembrandt? Salami?
Black lingerie from Wien?
I’ll sell my goods
Behind the screen!
No ceiling
No feeling
A very smooth routine!
You buy these goods
And boy thes goods are keen!

Black Market
Laces for the missis
Chewing gum for kisses!
Black Market
Coocoo clocks and treasures
Thousand little pleasures!

Come, and see my little musicbox today!
Price? Only six cartons!
Want to hear it play
Black Market
Milk and microscope
For liverwurst and soap
Browse around I’ve got so many toys!

Don’t be bashful
Step up, boys!

You like my first edition?
It’s yours – that’s how I am
A simple definition
You take art – I take spam!
To you for your “K”-ration
My passion and maybe
An inkling
A twinkling
Or real sympathy!
I’m selling out
Take all I’ve got!
Ambitions!
Convictions!
The works!
Why not?
Enjoy these goods
For boy, these goods
Are hot!

Marlene Dietrich:Black Market Lyrics – LyricWikia – Wikia

 

You can even see her tear up at the end.  From the book Marlene Dietrich Life and Legend:

Marlene Dietrich Life and Legend Google Books

 

Desperate situations…both.

010e78d35bff8c3f762c5a5c88b2dccb2c85e345feI am not excusing the Nazi collaborator. I am using the situation about a woman in a war torn bombed out city forced to trade her “goods” for food and soap.

I am using the woman and young child in a concentration camp, sharing what chocolate necessity they have brought with them for their own survival…with another woman, so that her newborn child would years later have the chance to return the favor.

Maybe it is not a good example to make…but when the will power to survive is strong enough. I think women will do anything to survive. And that makes them vulnerable…to extortion from bullies that take advantage of the horrible conditions.

It also makes them able to come together and share what little they have to live through those deadly conditions. Imagine…an 8 year old…giving up the chocolate that saved the other woman and child. The kindness and understanding. Is overwhelming.

With this in mind, let’s look at the links for today.

First these group of links dealing with refugee camps in both Europe and Africa:

How I wish I could go to this lecture…I only paste this here because it sets-up the rest of the links.

Families in the Refugee Camps | Amnesty International UK

In what has been described as the world’s largest mass migration since the end of the Second World War, it’s easy to forget the women and families who have been affected by events beyond their control.

Wirksworth and District Amnesty International intend to address this. As part of International Women’s Day we’re hosting an event to highlight the plight of women and families in refugee camps across the world.

This emotive, often controversial topic will be covered by keynote speakers from the Derby Refugee Advice Centre, Spectrum Derbyshire and the Anti-trafficking Labour and Exploitation Unit. Together they will provide a unique, local slant on how the refugee crisis is affecting the lives of women and families and what we can do to help.

EuroparlTV video: Inside the Nord-Pas-de-Calais refugee camps: the hardships of many women

EPTV investigates efforts to bring healthcare and psychological support to women in the camps fleeing war and violence.

Security Guards At German Refugee Camp Accused Of Sexual Assault – BuzzFeed News

Doctor on the frontline: ‘The camps in Europe are the most appalling I’ve seen’ | Television & radio | The Guardian

Calais Jungle refugee children being raped in camp, aid workers claim | Europe | News | The Independent

The humanitarian crisis in Calais is a symptom of the EU’s biggest failure – Vox

As EU Closes Doors, Greece Poised To Become Europe’s Refugee Camp : NPR

Volunteering in Greece showed me how vital social work is in this refugee crisis | Social Care Network | The Guardian

Slovenia Closes Its Border, Stranding Tens Of Thousands Of Migrants : The Two-Way : NPR

SABC News – HRW urges Ban Ki Moon to free women held in Saharawi refugee camp:Friday 4 March 2016

Food crisis hits Malawi refugee camp Dzaleka: Women in ‘survival sex’ | Malawi Nyasa Times – Malawi breaking news in Malawi

Female Refugees Are Being Forced to Sell Sex to Survive Southern Africa’s Drought | VICE News

Saint Hoax Photographs Refugees as Disney Princesses

In Order to End Conflict, We Must Empower Women Worldwide

UN Goals Emphasize Women’s Role in Development

 

I know that is a lot of links….and reading. Some of those are older articles, thinks I have saved from a few days to weeks…that I wanted to share with you during this month.

I figured you would have lots of time today, since I am getting this post up early. Imagine that!

Election news coming up….but now some more newsy links:

 

0196f89ef0e413496f785d2e9b72b33b67d3874795Woman wakes from 8-month coma to reveal boyfriend who stayed by her bed put her there

What was initially reported as a romantic story took a nightmarish turn when a Chinese woman revealed that the boyfriend who sat by her bed and took care of her while she lay in a coma for eight months was the one who put her there in the first place.

Local reports had portrayed Liu Fenghe as the loving boyfriend of 22-year-old Lin Yingying, who stayed by her bed and spent 200,000 yuan ($30,700) on her hospital bills.

But Lin has come out to tell the press that Liu was the one who inflicted the head injury that left her in a vegetative state.

Disgusting.

Read the rest at the link, if you can stomach it.

01651ba090057694760b7ebfea25fc05efd5c42a9b_00001Trump Campaign Manager Accused Of Assaulting Female Reporter (TWEETS)

Donald Trump’s campaign manager has been accused of physically assaulting a female reporter after his press conference on Tuesday night.

Trump campaign manager gets rough with Breitbart reporter – POLITICO

Donald Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski forcibly yanked Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields out of the way after his press conference in Florida on Tuesday night.

Fields was attempting to ask Trump a question as he exited the press conference. Secret Service was starting to clear a path, when Fields was forcibly grabbed on her arm by Lewandowski, moving her out of the way and nearly bringing her down to the ground, a source who witnessed the situation told POLITICO.

Fields was clearly roughed up by the move, the witness said.

Not that it will matter any…

Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand Why Everyone Is So Upset About That Nazi-esque Salute | Alternet

Donald Trump, the only person in America and quite possibly the world who needed to “look into” David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan before passing judgment, is again confused by things that seem fairly obvious to the rest of us. This time, it’s about the pledge he calls on supporters to take at rallies, which involves them raising their right hands to “solemnly swear” their vote for the billionaire. As has been pointed out by more than one observer—based on having eyes that can see and a passing knowledge of history—the resulting images look a lot like people sieg heiling. Abe Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League and a Holocaust survivor, called the salute an “offensive, obnoxious and disgusting…fascist gesture.”

Trump Plays Dumb About Right Hand Salute | ThinkProgress

But during a Tuesday phone interview on NBC’s Today, Trump said he didn’t realize his pledge might be offensive until that very phone call and called criticism of it “ridiculous.”

“Honestly, until this phone call, I didn’t know it was a problem,” he said. “Almost everybody in the room raises their hand, we’re having a good time. I never knew it was a problem.”

Host Matt Lauer then pressed Trump on the connection between his pledge and some of the anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim rhetoric he’s used throughout his campaign.

“I think [the controversy] is also in combination, Mr. Trump, with some of the rhetoric you’ve used on the campaign trail over the past several months targeting groups like Muslims and Mexicans, that that invokes images of Nazi Germany and the scapegoating of Jews there back in the 1930s and ’40s,” Lauer said.

Trump responded by saying he views the effort to make a connection between his events and Nazi rallies as a “big, big stretch.”

“We’re having these incredible rallies, and considering the subject matter is not so good because our country is in trouble, big trouble, we are having a great time,” he said.

But Trump added he’s open to possibly dropping the pledge from his rallies, citing his desire not to offend.

“Well I’ll certainly look into it,” he said. “I don’t want to offend anybody.”

Right…he will get right on that.

In other news:

Campaign 2016: Donald Trump caps night of wins with victory in Hawaii caucuses – CBS News

What The Stunning Bernie Sanders Win In Michigan Means | FiveThirtyEight — Eating humble pie?

Ted Cruz wins Republican primary in Idaho | PBS NewsHour –I would have thought Trump had Idaho in the bag….with the neo-Nazi vote and all.

Poll: Romney helps more than hurts Trump with Republicans — Say what?

Young American Muslim Protesting Trump Racism ejected from Rally in Style | Informed Comment — No surprise there.

Don’t Look Now, But Trump May Be Reaching Out To The GOP Establishment — Yuk!

Bernie Sanders lawsuit: Ohio official changed law to block 17-year-olds from voting – CNNPolitics.com— Oh please…

Republican Twitter Account Insults Veteran in the Worst Way Possible | Mediaite

Republican Twitter Account Insults Veteran in the Worst Way Possible Mediaite

 

CNN’s Van Jones Tears Into Trump for ‘Freakshow Infomercial’ of a Press Conference | Mediaite

Bernie Sanders won Michigan due to an “open” primary. What does this mean for Hillary Clinton?

Male Teacher To Student: Your Purpose In Life Is To Have Sex and Make Babies | Feministnews

Pastor Tim Remington shooting: Kyle Odom arrested in Washington | US news | The Guardian

Mexico finds stolen radioactive material, says no risk posed | Reuters

Myanmar transition set, but president unlikely to be Suu Kyi – StarTribune.com

Myanmar’s moment of truth | Nick Davies | World news | The Guardian

Woman shares photo of dimples on breast to raise awareness of cancer symptoms

ALERT: Emergency at US nuclear plant after “massive” fire and multiple explosions — “All of a sudden we heard this loud boom and the whole ground started shaking” — “Intense Flames… Heavy Black Smoke… Chaos” — Hundreds of fire personnel called in — “We ask that the public stay away from the area” (VIDEOS)

Bride Has A Strange Itch That Won’t Go Away. Then, She Learns The Terrifying Truth…she has cancer…rare form but deadly.

Kylie Armstrong.

 

Some film news:

Matrix director Lilly Wachowski comes out as a transgender woman | Film | The Guardian

Leading ladies: the women who helped build Hollywood | Film | The Guardian

And for the last two links….

31 Days, 31 Women History Has Forgotten

…this March, I’m dedicating each day to a woman history has forgotten or is in danger of forgetting. And I hope you will join me. Each day I will post a picture of my chosen woman on Instagram along with a brief mention of her achievements, using the hashtags #femstagram and #womenshistorymonth.

I’m also going to post a paragraph about the woman on my blog, which is shared on Twitter and Facebook.

2016-02-26-1456518257-5300682-WomensHistoryMonthMarch2016.jpg

 

 

Which is the best country in the world to be a woman? – The Globe and Mail

 

Status of women

Canada has fallen again in the global gender rankings thanks in part to a widening wage gap and still relatively low female participation in government. Erin Anderssen looks at revealing statistics – from hours spent on housework to lengths of maternity leave – to gauge today’s degree of gender parity

That is the post for today…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

image

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.

image

 

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.

image

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!

image

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.

image

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!

image

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?

image

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.”

image

“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.

image

 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

image

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.

image

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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Sunday Reads: Divinely Inspired 

Good afternoon…

I may have used Divine as a theme in my previous blog post pictures, but I thought we all needed some “Divine Inspiration” lately so…what the hell.image

I don’t know about you, but I have felt that it is been impossible for me to look and read the news. I find that staying in bed with the covers over my head suits me just fine.  Even now the thought of looking up links for you is just too much for me this morning.

So, being as it is no longer, the morning…I am just going to give you a bunch of various stories and other crap to look at the rest of your day whenever you have a chance.

Yes, it is going to be a link dump with the keyword being dump, as fitting as that would be considering Divine is our focus on the images for today’s post.

And away we go……

Nevada lawmaker posts Christmas card showing family armed with guns | TheHill

Michele Fiore / Facebook

A Republican assemblywoman in Nevada this week shared her 2015 Christmas card on Facebook — which shows family members outfitted with a gun, including her young grandson.

image“It’s up to Americans to protect America,” Michele Fiore wrote on her Facebook page Monday. “We’re just your ordinary American family.”

Ugh…Ordinary?

Media Storms Apartment Of San Bernardino Shooting Suspects, An ‘Active Crime Scene’ | ThinkProgress

The bizarre turn of events raises a number of legal and ethical issues for the media and the landlord.

If, as the sheriff’s department says, the apartment is still an active crime scene, the reporters rummaging through apartment could be tampering or compromising evidence. Although the main suspects have died, evidence in the apartment could potentially implicate others.

imageThere is also the ethical question of showing the personal effects of a child and personally identifying information like passports, drivers licenses, and social security cards. Particularly amid a recent surge in harassment, threats, and violence against Muslim Americans, some media outlets have been criticized for broadcasting what is apparently the driver’s license of the suspected shooter’s mother.

[…]

There is also the question of whether the landlord had the authority to let reporters into the apartment. California law only allows the landlord to enter the apartment under very limited circumstances. The tenants in this case are deceased, so it’s unclear if those limitations apply. According to CNN, the landlord was escorted from the scene by law enforcement…

An NBC reporter claimed Inside Edition paid the landlord $1,000 to get access to the apartment first.

Pandemonium as media mob ransacks shooters’ home on live TV without FBI permission

Networks tour SB shooters' apartment (Twitter)

And to counter that….

Muslims mock media frenzy in San Bernardino with snarky tweets

Cats, Christmas trees, Chicago Bears jerseys: just a few of the items in Muslims Americans’ apartments.

imageWithin hours of the live broadcast that showed dozens of reporters from MSNBC, CNN and other outlets rifling through belongings in the apartment where San Bernardino shooting suspects Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik lived, zeroing in on so-called Muslim items in the home, Muslim Americans took to Twitter in response Friday.

In an attempt to call out the media’s Islamaphobia—with a heavy dose of sarcasm— people tweeted photos of their #MuslimApartments, which included items such as “sinister books,” “seasonings of mass destruction,” and “Disney-inspired infidel characters.”

 

 

 

 

Just a few of those…now on to other crap things of interest.

imageIn Translation – The New Yorker

relationship with Italian takes place in exile, in a state of separation.

Every language belongs to a specific place. It can migrate, it can spread. But usually it’s tied to a geographical territory, a country. Italian belongs mainly to Italy, and I live on another continent, where one does not readily encounter it.

I think of Ovid, exiled from Rome to a remote place. To a linguistic outpost, surrounded by alien sounds.

I think of my mother, who writes poems in Bengali, in America. Almost fifty years after moving there, she can’t find a book written in her language.

In a sense I’m used to a kind of linguistic exile. My mother tongue, Bengali, is foreign in America. When you live in a country where your own language is considered foreign, you can feel a continuous sense of estrangement. You speak a secret, unknown language, lacking any correspondence to the environment. An absence that creates a distance within you.

imageIn my case there is another distance, another schism. I don’t know Bengali perfectly. I don’t know how to write it, or even read it. I have an accent, I speak without authority, and so I’ve always perceived a disjunction between it and me. As a result I consider my mother tongue, paradoxically, a foreign language.

As for Italian, the exile has a different aspect. Almost as soon as we met, Italian and I were separated. My yearning seems foolish. And yet I feel it.

A bit out of the park for you there…

Before we get back to the serious stuff:

imageBreaking: Female Suspect in San Bernardino Shooting Reportedly Pledged Allegiance to ISIS | Mother Jones

Nation Confronts a New Menace After San Bernardino Shooting – WSJ

Another Black Man Told Police ‘I Can’t Breathe.’ One Replied ‘Who Gives A F**k?’

Interactive – Enemy of Enemies: The Rise of ISIL

Ghost Boats Mystery Grips Japan | Al Jazeera America

‘Self-Radicalized,’ ‘Terrorism,’ ‘Lone Wolf’: What do these terms mean & should we use them? | Informed Comment

imageCritics denounce ‘Muslim’ label on California shooters – Al Jazeera English

A Former Planned Parenthood Employee Tweeted This List of “Acts of Terrorism” She Survived

Syrian refugees arrive in Georgia, despite Gov. Deal’s opposition | www.myajc.com

Another Syrian refugee family has arrived in the Atlanta area, becoming the first to relocate to Georgia from their war-torn nationsince Gov. Nathan Deal joined more than two dozen of his counterparts in vowing to halt their resettlement.

Mohammad, Ebtesam and their four-year-old son’s arrival in Georgia highlights how, despite the political rhetoric, states are powerless to stop that resettlement process, which is overseen by the federal government. And Deal — who has cited security concerns in the wake of last month’s Paris attacks — indicated he wasn’t even aware the family had arrived in Georgia.

imageTheir arrival also raises the possibility of a legal showdown. The Deal administration has ordered state employees not to process applications for benefits — including food stamps — for new Syrian refugees coming to Georgia. That has triggered a sharp warning from the Obama administration, which told Georgia it must rescind its order to comply with federal law.

Mohammad and Ebtesam, who asked that their full names not be published to protect relatives still living in Syria, applied to the state Thursday for food stamps and Medicaid. As of late Thursday afternoon, there was no word whether the state would process their applications.

imageIn other related Georgia news:  Elderly couple recovering after squirrel attack | www.wsbtv.com

What Emily Yoffe Left Out of Her Polemic on The Hunting Ground –

In June, Slate columnist Emily Yoffe published a bombshell: an article titled “How The Hunting Ground Blurs the Truth,” in which she claimed that the campus rape documentary, which premiered earlier this year, had presented a misleading picture of one of its central stories. Yoffe wrote that the case perfectly illustrated the biases at work in the film; as she put it, “how deeply the filmmakers’ politics colored their presentation of the facts—and how deeply flawed their influential film is as a result.”

imageThe story is that of a former law student named Kamilah Willingham, who alleges that she and a friend, who Yoffe calls KF, were sexually assaulted while they were incapacitated one night in January 2011. The alleged assailant was a fellow law student named Brandon Winston, formerly a close friend of Willingham’s.

Willingham’s credibility, Yoffe wrote, is called “seriously into question” by the facts of the case. She called the alleged assault a typically “spontaneous, drunken encounter,” as well as “ambiguous sexual encounter among young adults that almost destroyed the life of the accused, a young black man with no previous record of criminal behavior.” (Willingham and Winston are both black. KF is white.)

imageIn a criminal trial earlier this year, a grand jury declined to indict Winston on any charges against Willingham. The trial jury convicted him of a lesser included offense, a non-sexual misdemeanor assault against KF, for which he was sentenced only to a brief probation period.

Winston has since returned to Harvard Law after a four-year absence; in the meantime, Willingham graduated. On November 11, a group of 19 Harvard Law professors issued an open letter in support of Winston, saying he’d been vindicated by both Harvard and the criminal justice system, but was being unfairly attacked by TheHunting Ground, which they called “a purported documentary” that paints “a seriously false picture both of the general sexual assault phenomenon at universities” and of Winston himself, who is not referred to by name in the film. (Yoffe, who recently announced she will leave Slate for the Atlantic, was the first person to identify him in connection with the film.)

image“We believe that Brandon Winston was subjected to a long, harmful ordeal for no good reason,” the professors wrote. They cite Yoffe’s work as an “investigative journalist’s in-depth story demonstrating the biased, one-sided nature of the film.”

In finance news: RushCard’s Attempt To Throw Out Or Delay Investigation Into Mass Outage | ThinkProgress

Nicki Minaj Posted Bail for Brother Charged With Raping a Child

San Bernardino, Guns, Republicans and the NRA | DarylCagle.com

imageScalia gets schooled by Reagan-appointed judge who perfectly points out his theocratic hypocrisy

7-year-old girl killed at MI soccer practice after ‘paranoid’ man with concealed carry license opens fire

George Zimmerman Gets The Boot From Twitter After He Posted Revenge Porn | ThinkProgress

Whoa….we need a break after all that shit.

The 15 Coolest Bookstores From Around the World | TIME

El Ateneo Grand bookshop in Barrio Norte, Buenos Aires, Argentina.Yadid Levy / AlamyEl Ateneo Grand bookshop in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

imageScribbling in the margins: Women’s Rights in Early Medieval Rus

he Ruirikid Dynasty ruled Rus lands during the eleventh century. This marks the early part of a Golden Age for the ruling cities Kyiv/ Kiev and Novgorod. These princes replaced many diverse local customs and created a Rus State that stretched from the Black Sea north of  Moscow and St Petersburg, which, if they existed at all then, were tiny hamlets. The ruling Ruirikid princes over the period of two centuries established a series of law codes known collectively as The Russkaia Pravda. These laws united various clans under the cultural and religious umbrella of the Byzantine influenced Russian Orthodox Church and established a common written language, Old Church Slavonic.

The Science Behind Baking Your Ideal Chocolate Chip Cookie : The Salt : NPR

Turns out cookie customization is easier than it seems.

 

imageI love this: Doctor becomes Question Time hero for refusing to pronounce Jeremy Hunt’s surname

A doctor has become something of a hero online for coming very close to deliberately mispronouncing health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s name on BBC1’s Question Time.

The unnamed man had the final word on last night’s show in Birmingham, when he questioned the health secretary’s repeated claim that higher death rates at hospitals during weekends was due to poor levels of staffing.

The doctor said his own experience was patients not wanting to have lifesaving operations at weekends as a result:

I work in liver transplant. My patients do not want to come in on weekends for an emergency transplant because they believe Jeremy, I’m not going to pronounce his surname because I might mispronounce it deliberately, because they think that by having a lifesaving transplant operation they will die and that liver goes to someone else.

imageNow, given his profound incompetence at this junior doctors contract issue, as well as previous health secretaries, is it not time for a cross-party healthcare commission to save our NHS?

You have to give it up to the Brits…go to the link to see the tweets the doctor got for his non “cunt” reference.

 

Amy Poehler and Tina Fey Perfectly Spoof All the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Hype | The Mary Sue

This One Poster Gathers the World’s 140 Metro Maps – CityLab – Can you guess what the cities are?

Go to link and find out.

Big Ass Lizard.

Big Ass Lizard.

Imagine coming home to that!

Bless this man from Sydney, Australia, Eric Holland, who first spotted this five-foot goanna on the ground in his backyard while working in his shed earlier this week. Holland seemed to still be in shock, rightfully, recalling the incident on Friday in an interview with Sydney radio station 2UE.

image“A bloody big shock mate,” said Holland. “I nearly trod on the bloody thing.” He’s used to seeing “blue tongues and lizards,” he added, “but never anything quite like this.”

Back to the Link Dump Divine Extraordinaire:

The left’s absurd Hillary hate: Why this ridiculous anti-Clinton crusade needs to stop – Salon.com

The 12 Worst Habits for Your Mental Health | TIME

A girl-power playlist in honor of “Waitress”—a musical that’s imageabout to make Broadway history | The Feed | Hillary for America

Ohio community lives in fear as rifle-toting white man stalks black neighborhoods with impunity

Jimmy Carter reveals he’s cancer-free: Latest scans showed ‘cancer was gone’

Manuscript fragments bear ‘striking resemblance to The Book of Kells’ – Medievalists.net

Medieval Music Manuscripts: Treasures of Sight and Sound – Medievalists.net

WATCH: Trump tells black online hosts endorsing him, ‘Do a little routine’

Lynette “Diamond” Hardaway voices her support for Donald Trump during a rally in Raleigh, North Carolina on Dec. 4, 2015. [YouTube]

Senate Passes Bill Repealing Key Parts of Obamacare, Stripping Planned Parenthood Funds – NBC News

imageRepublican faces recall after saying the ‘real culprit’ in Colorado mass shooting is Planned Parenthood

Newborn Loses Faith In Humanity After Record 6 Days – The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

 

SCHAUMBURG, IL—In a turn of events that has stunned the worldwide medical community, local infant Nathan Jameson, born just six days ago, has become the youngest person ever to permanently and irrevocably lose all faith in humanity.

“This shatters all previous records,” University of Chicago psychologist Douglas McAllister said Monday. “In all of documented medical history, there is no case of a newborn taking less than four months to develop the mental faculties required to grasp the full extent of this existential nightmare we call life on earth.”

“Considering he already comprehends harsh realities that many people spend their entire fleeting, shallow existences attempting to deny, Baby Nathan is quite the little miracle!” he added.

imageThough he has not yet developed the capacity for speech, extensive cognitive testing has definitively shown that the shockingly perceptive 6-day-old fully understands and accepts that human beings cannot be trusted, that they remain far too ignorant for their opinions to be reliable, that a lack of self-awareness about their own destructive tendencies pervades the species as a whole, and that most are too ineffectual to successfully pursue even the shallow self-interested agendas that rule their lives.

imageSources said the early-blooming newborn was putting two and two together about the real nature of humanity even before leaving the hospital, where his first sensory experiences included the shouts of sick people arguing to get treatment they urgently needed, visitors staring vacantly at smartphones as they sat next to bedridden loved ones, televisions blaring the empty rhetoric and emotionally manipulative appeals of political advertisements, and dozens upon dozens of pained, desperate cries, including his own.

Local reports confirmed the baby’s disillusionment imagewas only compounded by the fact that he spent his first days in the bleak and soulless suburban conformity of Schaumburg, IL, its empty consumerist non-culture allowing him to realize in record time that all human pursuits are cold, joyless, and devoid of any substantive purpose or integrity.

“For a baby, he sure is an insightful little guy,” Nathan’s mother, Melanie Jameson, told reporters. “My husband and I are a loveless, narcissistic couple whose weird, freaked-out neediness and anxieties—which we sublimate under a mask of facile self-regard—would normally be introjected into our child’s forming psyche over the course of years. But this talented fella just took it all in at once!”

image“We’re awfully proud to have such a precocious son,” she added, her face displaying no genuine emotion.

According to household sources, Baby Nathan has already noticed that his father, Michael Jameson, resents the infant’s 3 a.m. crying, feels more trapped than ever in his sham-marriage now that he’s a father, and is inwardly building an ever-growing wall against the reality of his own life one mid-afternoon cocktail at a time.

“The kid’s not even a week old, and he has the thousand-yard stare of a middle-aged man,” said psychologist Helen James, one of the cognitive scientists who verified that by his third day of life, Nathan had already begun to sense the overwhelming air of desperation surrounding other people. “That look that says, ‘I’ve finally given up on the reassuring fictions that prop up humanity’s delusional self-image as dignified, intelligent, or decent in any way.’ He knows the truth.”

image“At this point, he shouldn’t even be able to distinguish between himself and the rest of humanity, let alone have the capacity to lose faith in it,” James continued. “Evidently, the human condition has gotten even more depressing than it already was, and we’re going to need to reformulate our entire theory of childhood development.”

Jon Stewart lambastes senators ‘hiding in their offices’ while denying health care to 9/11 responders

Noam Chomsky: The GOP is ‘no longer a normal political party’ — it’s a ‘radical insurgency’

 

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My abortion almost killed me — but not for the reason you think – Salon.com

imageI walked into my local Planned Parenthood, received the most amazing and professional care by some of the most supportive, understanding and genuinely warm women I’ve ever met. I was asked repeatedly if I was there of my own volition. I was given a hand to hold throughout the procedure, a nurse giving me permission to squeeze when the cramping became uncomfortable. I was given information and the contacts of numerous support groups and as much time as I needed to recover before leaving. In other words, I was given a safe and comfortable environment to do what I knew was best for myself, best for then-boyfriend, and best for our impending — and soon-to-be separate — imagefutures.

And then I walked outside.

In the bubble of a calm and understanding environment, in which the decisions I make with my body were respected and facilitated, I felt at ease with a choice I knew was right. But once I left that bubble, a society that forces women to feel shame and humiliation about an otherwise common procedure took its toll.

Friends would share memes and photos and hate-filled posts online, oblivious to my personal situation, claiming women who had abortions were everything I knew I wasn’t. Debates would rage on Facebook between acquaintances who felt powerful and courageous behind the protection of a computer screen, unaware of the particulars of their friends’ lives. While all of these debates were regurgitated, manufactured propaganda used to push a specific agenda, they still had a powerful effect on me. I started to believe what unknowing friends and family were saying or sharing.

imageI was a murderer.

I was a whore.

I was a selfish, sex-crazed monster who didn’t deserve to continue living.

I was in need of constant repentance if I was to be worthy of worthwhile life.

And in almost no time at all, I was lost.

I had broken under the immense pressure. I had seen enough pro-life friends call women who had abortions murderers, oblivious to the fact that I had just had one. I had read enough stories of regret and guilt that I started to feel defective for not feeling the same. Enough of my friends who were privy to my medical information told me they’d pray for me and admitted that they had cried for me, solidifying my feeling of brokenness and darkness because now, I was someone who needed to be prayed and cried for.

imageI had a friend share her mother’s decision to keep her unwanted and unplanned pregnancy, and the result was a thriving and successful individual. I remember her tipping her head slightly to the side, raising her eyebrows and telling me that she knew I could have done it if I had only had the courage. With each word she spoke, each expression of disappointment, my peace of mind crumbled. I started to demean myself in the same way others were demeaning me, comparing my decision to the decisions made by others, completely circumventing my very real and very valid circumstances.

imageI had bought into the idea that if I was to continue to claim to be a “good woman,” I had to hate myself for the decision I had made.

Read the rest at the link.

Ending this post with a few off the wall links…well not really off the wall, but not disturbing as hell. (Maybe.)

Dyes, Diets and Deodorants: Venetian Beauty Secrets Revealed – Medievalists.net

Independent scholar Courtney Hess-Dragovich captivated the KZOO crowd with a fascinating paper, entitled: Deodorants, Hair Dyes and Diet Drinks: Renaissance Remedies from a 16th c. Venetian Beauty Manual where she talked about her attempts at using these recipes and what her findings were on Medieval and Renaissance beauty methods. So what was the Italian Medieval and Renaissance beauty ideal? It appears late Medieval and Renaissance Venetians prized a pale complexion, no hair except on the head, blondes, a tiny nose, grey or blue eyes, straight white teeth, and a small bust. How did they try to achieve this? Much like today’sCosmo’s, and Maire Claire’s, there were beauty manuals for keeping up with the latest trends. Beauty manuals were not uncommon during this time. Famed Persian Philosopher, Avicenna (980-1037) wrote about beauty. imageThe 12th century Trotula, a set of medical treatises for women, was also extremely popular. So how did Hess-Dragovich go about getting her findings? As she so aptly put it: she has some VERYgood, very patient friends, who were excellent guinea pigs for her various concoctions.

Portrait of a Young Woman - Sandro Botticelli (1480-1485). Botticelli captured the prized looks of the period in his intense detail to hairstyle and colour..

Portrait of a Young Woman – Sandro Botticelli (1480-1485). Botticelli captured the prized looks of the period in his intense detail to hairstyle and colour..

Deodorants: Yes, they existed!

There is an entire section containing 4 recipes for deodorising. Hess-Dragovich stated that idea that everyone smelled in the Middle Ages and Renaissance was a myth. She decided to replicate these deodorant recipes and try them on her friends. The solid deodorant was made with white lead but since lead is quite dangerous, she replaced it with Borax. Why did the Venetians use white lead? They used it because it was anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Borax does the same job but is much safer, and in keeping with using medieval ingredients. In the Middle Ages, Borax was scraped off the river beds in the Middle East. So how do you make medieval deodorant? In one recipe, you mix camphor, rose water and Borax and dry it on a leaf. She also made Trotula deodorant recipe #205: wine, used with a towel boiled in berries.

imageDid the recipes work? The end result: She tried them on approximately 100 people and half of the recipes were as accurate as modern day drugstore deodorants! The favourites from her test group were from the Trotula and the white lead recipe. The ever popular, White Wine and Nutmeg deodorant was nicknamed “Medieval Axe”, and it apparently really worked!

Argentina’s underwater town that was submerged for 30 years – BBC News

The town of Epecuen in Argentina was once a busy lakeside tourist resort.

But in November 1985, after a succession of wet winters, the lake overflowed, breaking through the lake wall and into the town.

Residents evacuated safely, but the town remained underwater for almost 30 years until the water evaporated.

Now the ruins of the town have emerged and residents can walk around their former home again.

imagePicture gallery at that link…

Lost Argentine town re-emerges from lake – BBC News

Video report at that link.

And since this entire post had a touch of “Divine Wisdom” from The Paris Review, January of 2014….Controversy at the Hagia Sophia

 

On May 28, 1453, the Byzantine emperor Constantine XI entered Hagia Sophia, “the church of the divine wisdom,” to pray. Constantinople was under siege, and the fate of the great basilica was unclear. The emperor prayed there before returning to the city walls, where he coordinated the defense effort against the army of Mehmed II, who would be christened conqueror by day’s end.Hagia Sophia Schezar Flickr

As the two armies struggled to outmaneuver each other, those caught inside Hagia Sophia waited anxiously, imagefearful of what might happen if the capital of Greek Orthodoxy fell into Muslim hands. Emperor Justinian had commissioned the church in 532 A.D.; planned by the mathematician Anthemius of Tralles and the physicist Isidore of Miletus, and built by more than ten thousand laborers, it was intended to symbolize the magnificence of Christianity and become the seat of the Orthodox patriarch. Twenty years after its completion, two major earthquakes shook Hagia Sophia and destroyed its eastern arch. After extensive renovation, it reopened in 562 A.D. to the delight of Justinian, who, three years before his death, saw his great church survive one of nature’s worst calamities.

imageOn May 29, 1453, Mehmed II and his army entered the city, immediately marching on Hagia Sophia. In their book Strolling Through Istanbul, John Freely and Hilary Sumner-Boyd describe how Mehmed “dismounted at the door of the church and bent down to take a handful of earth, which he then sprinkled over his turban as an act of humility before God.”

In the five centuries following that symbolic act, the greatest religious building of the Ottoman Empire continued to shine—but this time, the glory belonged to Islam. Hagia Sophia became an imperial mosque; it came to boast four minarets (these also serve an architectural purpose, protecting the building against collapsing onto itself) and additional türbes (Islamic mausoleums).

 

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday…

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Wednesday Reads: “Brutal Baboon Battle” Winter came early for a family at zoo….

baboon on throne….a baboon family that is…after the big head mama dropped dead, a huge ass fight ensued over which top banana would take over the dead queen’s throne.

Actually, the fight has been ongoing, this past year there have been vicious attacks among the powerful females within the group, causing injuries…pretty bad ones at that. They have even had to close the exhibit and re-arrange the back enclosure to include additional, “escape routes.”

See this article from Toronto about the ongoing war:

Brutal baboon battle erupts for throne at Toronto Zoo after matriarch dies | Toronto Star

Medical records show numerous injuries among five of the six female olive baboons, from deep lacerations near their eyes to hair ripped out and tail injuries. At least two required surgeries to close deep gashes.

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The exhibit was closed for several days because “there were some injuries that we thought best to keep them at the back because our visiting public don’t know baboon behaviour,” said Maria Franke, the curator of mammals at the zoo.

The baboon house — the area not open to the public where the animals eat and sleep — also had to be modified to allow for more space and additional escape routes, Franke said.

Chris Dutton, the zoo’s senior veterinarian, said the animals are fine and are “incredibly tough and they heal incredibly well.”

Now, Dutton said, two females sit on the throne in an uncomfortable truce, with the rightful heir biding her time until the older one dies.

Baboons, both in the wild and at zoos, have societies that are run by females — and that dominance runs through family lines. So the oldest daughter of the matriarch is the rightful heir to become queen.

That’s what happened to Betty, the longtime queen of the 12-member troop who took the reins when her mother, Boss Lady, died.

But troubles began a year ago when keepers noticed differences in Betty’s behaviour, Franke and Dutton said.

“She was changing her naturally dominant behaviour and she was hanging out with the subordinates and starting to slow down a little,” Dutton said.

The medical records, obtained via freedom-to-information legislation, note Betty was “reported to be lethargic, losing weight and not eating well.”

By early December, Betty stopped eating.

So Dutton and his staff anesthetized her to figure out what was going on. An exploratory surgery revealed a tumour in her uterus that had spread to the abdominal wall. It was terminal, Dutton said, so they euthanized her on the operating room table on Dec. 5, 2014. She was 16 years old.

That’s when the brawling began.

So, in Canada…they need the freedom of information act to get records on…Baboons.

But I got distracted.

Let’s get on with the fighting, back to when the shit hit the fan:

Molly is Betty’s oldest daughter and baboon society dictates the throne was hers. But she was young at six years old, and not fully mature.

So Putsie, who at 18 years old is the enclosure’s oldest female, saw an opportunity.

“She’s fighting to be dominant because of age, I guess,” Franke said.

It’s unclear exactly who inflicted which wounds on whom, as the attacks happened mostly at night and away from the keepers. But over the course of the following year, Putsie had only one minor injury, while the remaining five animals fared worse.

01e9c005c16b72272163060fb5f85fd58a8959b36c

Molly and her sister, Susan, appeared to suffer the most attacks early on, according to the medical records.

Molly was attacked at least eight times over the course of three months. At one point, her left eye was swollen shut and she had deep lacerations above both eyes and a gash to the bone on her nose, the records show. Molly was anesthetized and one wound was stitched up.

By mid-month, Susan was attacked and suffered “severe lacerations” of the right side of her face that left the orbital bone exposed. The injury required surgery similar to Molly’s.

The eye itself wasn’t affected, the records say, “but the eye remains semi closed before and after suturing and cannot rule out muscle or nerve damage to peri-orbital structures.”

Three subordinate females, Kristina, Kate and Kalamata — all Putsie’s daughters — were also attacked. Kristina’s left eye was swollen shut after a fight, according to the medical records.

Kate had cuts on her face and several bites to her tail.

“Now all the aggression is occurring to the other animals, the least dominant, which is Kalamata,” Franke said.

Damn, the shit is getting real!!! Poor Kalamata is the one who is weakest, and of course, the one they are ganging up on.

“Most of the hair on top of her head has been ripped out,” the medical notes read. “This individual has been attacked multiple times within the last two months.”

She was attacked again this past October, Dutton said, when one baboon bit her tail.

Dutton and Franke only intervened when a baboon needed medical treatment. They were loathe to interrupt the baboon’s own game of thrones.

“You have to let their natural behaviour happen,” Franke said. “They have to sort it out. In the wild, a lot of times it’s to the death.”

She added a baboon has never been killed by another baboon at the Toronto Zoo.

Well, thank the gawds for that!

downloadA veterinary note that was attached to several baboons’ medical files suggests various interventions, including modifying the enclosure to add outdoor heaters and shelters so that the animals can have outdoor access at night without freezing.

The note also suggests looking into medical options for regulating aggressive behaviour.

Hmm, I bet you are wondering about pills right? Dope them up, eh?

As for medical intervention, Dutton said: “We don’t particularly want our animals on some form of mood-altering drugs of any kind because we don’t think that’s appropriate.”

I guess the Scientologist are pleased with that diagnosis.

 

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Earlier this week, the baboons lounged in the sun grooming each other and lazing around. Kalamata lay on a rock, a portion of her tail scabbed over.

Now, the name of the male in this next and last nugget of the piece made me laugh like hell….

Olive-baboon-jumping-across-waterThe only drama came when one male made a sexual play for a female.
Bwana Joe, the oldest and largest male, took offence and chased several baboons up the rock wall — but eventually succeeded in wooing one of the females himself.

I think we have a new nickname for Joe Biden…don’t you?

 

Today’s post is full of links, to a variety of stories. I am purposely not touching on the Planned Parenthood shooting, and the disgusting remarks from the fuckers on the GOP side. I can’t deal with it now, it will get me too upset.
My mind is in another place. Last night I read this headline, Unemployed Florida man tries shocking father to death – NY Daily News. You want to know what my first thought was? The guy coming out behind a bush or something and yelling boo! Seriously. I thought of that werewolf scene from High Anxiety:

High Anxiety Werewolf Scene on Vimeo

It never occurred to me that “shocked” meant…shocked, as in electrocuted.

After finding out he would get his father’s entire inheritance, an unemployed Florida man tried electrocuting his dad.

John Knudsen, 44, had a shocking ploy to take his 81-year-old father’s money — by killing him and reaping the inheritance. The Ormond Beach son learned that he would be the sole beneficiary of his father’s will, and pulled his charged stunt on Thanksgiving morning, according to reports.

maxresdefaultWith that in mind, here are your links for this Wednesday:

Black lives matter is in the news again. I was trying to explain to my parents the point behind #BlackLivesMatter on why they are not bringing up the black on black crime**…especially the most recent violence that we have seen in the news in New Orleans and the assassination of the 9 year old boy in Chicago (a supposed gang leader’s son). The point being that BLM is for the cause of certain specific things, i.e…..this:

Chicago police chief out, review launched over black teen’s death | Reuters

Chicago’s police chief was ousted on Tuesday after days of protest over a white officer’s shooting of a black teenager 16 times and the department’s refusal to release a video of the killing for more than a year.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced during a news conference that he had asked Garry McCarthy, police superintendent since May 2011, to resign. Emanuel also said he was creating a new police accountability task force.

The white officer, Jason Van Dyke, was charged a week ago with first-degree murder in the 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald. The video, from a patrol car’s dashboard camera, was released on the same day.

High-profile killings of black men at the hands of mainly white law enforcement officers in U.S. cities have fueled demonstrations for some two years, stoking a national debate on race relations and police tactics.

96046-004-EA5AB482Illinois Attorney General Wants U.S. Civil Rights Probe Of Chicago Police

The Illinois attorney general called for a federal civil rights investigation into the Chicago Police Department on Tuesday, hours after Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired the superintendent for his handling of an officer’s killing of a black teenager.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan sent what she characterized as an urgent request to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, asking that the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division investigate Chicago police use of deadly force and the department’s internal review process, and determine whether there is a “pattern of discriminatory policing.”

“Trust in the Chicago Police Department is broken, especially in communities of color in the City of Chicago,” Madigan wrote.

Male-olive-baboon“An investigation into whether there are patterns and practices of civil rights violations by CPD is vital to bringing about the systemic change that is necessary here,” Madigan continued. “Chicago cannot move ahead without an outside, independent investigation into its police department that moves toward improved policing practices and increasing trust between the police and the community.”

Images Appear To Show Police Viewing The Now-Missing Laquan McDonald Video

Nearly an hour and a half of surveillance footage from the night of Laquan McDonald’s death is missing from the security system at a Chicago Burger King near the scene of the black teen’s alleged murder, and new evidence obtained by NBC Chicago suggests police may have been the last ones to view it.

Jay Darshane, district manager for the Burger King at Pulaski Road and 41st Street, told NBC Chicago in May that his cameras were fully operational when police came in on Oct. 20, 2014, the night of the shooting. While he wasn’t at the restaurant at the time, he said he authorized the manager on duty to give the officers access to the footage. He suggested that the video wouldn’t show the fatal 16 shots, but it might contain details about what happened directly before and after officer Jason Van Dyke killed McDonald.

2361942764_d3b34c16efThe next day, however, Darshane discovered an 86-minute gap in the footage, from 9:13 p.m. to 10:39 p.m. Prosecutors say Van Dyke fired the first of 16 rounds at 9:57. Darshane — who testified about the missing video before a federal grand jury earlier this year, according to the Chicago Tribune — said he believes police deleted the key footage. But local law enforcement officials say they haven’t found evidence that the security system was tampered with.

Now NBC Chicago has revealed the two screen grabs below, which appear to show at least one officer reviewing security recordings at Burger King on the night of McDonald’s death.

Be sure to go to the links to those articles to read the rest of the stories. Especially the last one on the missing 86 minutes of tap, and the footage of officers reviewing the film at the Burger King.  I think that could be huge…in a holy shit sort of way.

In an interview with NPR last week, Chicago attorney Craig Futterman said he’d seen footage similar to the screen grabs obtained by NBC. He accused the police of erasing the key minutes.

“The officer went into the Burger King, and he erased all seven of those files,” said NAN5309Futterman, who aggressively lobbied for the release of a related video taken by the police dashcam. “The irony is, though, that the Burger King surveillance video was running while the officer erased them. And so there’s a videotape of the officer erasing the video.”

The grainy images don’t show exactly what officers are doing or for how long, but Darshane recently told the Tribune that police had come with their own information technology specialist and hung around the restaurant until about midnight. He also claimed that officers were having a difficult time operating the security system.

At a press conference last week, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez described the matter of the mysterious gap as closed. She said “forensic testing” had revealed no tampering, but refused to answer any further questions.

Also at the press conference, Garry McCarthy, then superintendent of Chicago’s police force, called allegations that his officers had altered the footage “absolutely untrue.” The missing video was the result of “technical difficulties,” he said.

Fuckadoodledoo!

baboons-gcooke480bAnyway, I tried to explain to my parents that the Black Lives Matter is focused on law enforcement and/or that kind of authority figures who many times get away with murder.

(I myself don’t understand the reason behind the BLM protesters attacking Hillary, when they should go after the assholes who don’t give a damn…like the GOP dickheads. But maybe someone can explain it to me?)

Then you have some in the black community who do speak out on such matters as black violence, like Spike Lee did a few weeks back: Spike Lee’s Comments on Black Lives Matter Might Piss You Off | News | BET

He says we “can’t ignore that we are killing ourselves, too.”

Spike Lee isn’t afraid to make people angry with his opinionated points of view, and he doesn’t disappoint when it comes to sharing his views on Black Lives Matter. The director, whose controversial film Chi-Raqhits theaters on December 4, tells CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he supports the movement, but that attention should also be paid to Black-on-Black crime.

“We cannot be out there” protesting police violence “and then when it comes to young brothers killing themselves, then mum’s the word. No one’s saying nothing? It’s got to be both ends,” Lee said, adding that he’s “all for Black Lives Matter,” but “we as a people can’t be blind” to Black-on-Black crime.

Lee said Black Lives Matter should focus on police brutality, “but you can’t ignore that we are killing ourselves, too. We can’t ignore that.”

Unsurprisingly, conservative blogs are picking up on Lee’s comments and using them to tout their own agendas, which will anger many who support the #BLM movement, but seeing that Spike has been immersed in the world of Chicago gun violence for at least the past year, his views are not that surprising.

Baboon+xgold+2013+genericOh, and those asses at the GOP really do use these words to their own advantage…just two words for you on that. Richard Sherman.

**As to the phrase, black on black crime: Myth of Black-on-Black Crime

Anyway, your thoughts on the subject?

Moving on, in a way: Bombshell: Alabama cops systematically framed blacks by planting drugs and guns for decades

And then, Black Friday breaks record with 185K gun background checks

More Americans had their backgrounds checked purchasing guns on Black Friday than any day in the on record, according to data released by the FBI this week.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System processed 185,345 requests on Nov. 27, one of the largest retail sales days in the country.

“This was an approximate 5% increase over the 175,754 received on Black Friday 2014,” wrote Stephen Fischer, the FBI’s chief of multimedia productions. “The previous high for receipts were the 177,170 received on 12/21/2012.”

Previous spikes for background checks, conducted before a gun buyer can obtain a firearm, occurred after prominent mass shootings, like in December 2012 in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

Other Black Friday shopping days in 2014, 2013 and 2012 occupied the FBI’s “top 10” list of the most background checks processed in a 24-hour period.

Since 1998, FBI data shows that the bureau has processed requests for more than 220 million firearm purchases.

Ugh.

I still think they need to regulate bullets. Like they do cough syrup…and Sudafed.

If there is a system in place to give over your license and sign in for OTC medicines like Sudafed, then by all means, make people accountable for the bullets they are buying. Fucking hell!

Baboon6_0427Did y’all see the latest shitfest from the GOP? This time a candidate from Iowa: Iowa State Sen. Mark Chelgren Suggests Death Penalty for Some Immigrant Felons – NBC News The dude wants to illegally kill immigrants that come back into the states:

An Iowa state senator running for U.S. Congress is getting blasted by both his Republican Party and Democrats after saying that immigrant felons who try to re-enter America illegally should be executed.

State Sen. Mark Chelgren’s controversial comments were published Monday by the Journal Express of Knoxville and Marion County, which presented his views on border security and immigration. The newspaper said the two-term state legislator believes in a fence to help protect the nation’s borders, and that if an undocumented person who committed a felony is deported and then tries to return to the U.S., he or she should be subject to capital punishment.

Damn, and it somewhat non-related news:

Annotated Hitler’s Mein Kampf to be published in Germany – BBC News

Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf, with critical notes by scholars, is to be published in Germany next month – for the first time since the end of WW2.

The Institute of Contemporary History (IfZ) in Munich says it will print up to 4,000 copies with some 3,500 notes.

IfZ director Andreas Wirsching says the text with expert comments will “shatter the myth” surrounding the manifesto.

But the move has been criticised by Jewish groups, who argue that Nazi works should never be republished.

I am concerned and don’t know how to feel about this. I think they should not publish it, but then free speech and all…I don’t know. With all this refugee stuff going on, and the anti-immigrant/migrant stance in Europe and here too…it could be dangerous.

Speaking of which: Few Syrians would choose to leave homeland for North America: poll | Reuters

1412956998089_wps_3_EXCLUSIVE_KRUGER_NATIONALIn other news:

O’Reilly Fact-Checks Trump on 9/11 ‘Thousands’ Claim, Finds No Evidence | Mediaite

Cuba Reimposes Limits on Doctors’ Departures From Country

Long-Hidden Details Reveal Cruelty of 1972 Munich Attackers – The New York Times

Senate GOP plans to beef up ObamaCare repeal package | TheHill – Jeezus, will they ever stop!!!

No More Domino Effect: Congress Must Renew the Tax Credits That Keep Families From Falling Down | Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner

How A Single Manhattan Bank Hijacked The Highway Bill

Bipartisan Talks Yield $300 Billion Highway Bill – The New York Times

vintage everyday: Pictures of Cost of Living Sheets in the Past Show How Our Life Have Changed

Just a few more links and we are through…

The next series of links are from the Independent. I thought it would be interesting to see what is up across the pond, and this is the news on one of Britain’s front pages:

Syria vote live: Jeremy Corbyn urges MPs to remember past wars as Cameron refuses to say sorry for ‘slur’ | UK Politics | News | The Independent

  • Tory defence chair Julian Lewis speaks against strikes, saying ‘instead of dodgy dossiers, we now have bogus battalions’

1127px-Olive_baboon_NgorongoroSaudi Arabia accuses Jeremy Corbyn of ‘distorting’ truth over terrorism funding claims | Middle East | News | The Independent

‘Britain is on the verge of entering into a long war in Syria based on wishful thinking and poor information…’ | UK Politics | News | The Independent

David Cameron refuses to apologise for calling anti-bombing MPs ‘terrorist sympathisers’ | UK Politics | News | The Independent

Syria air strikes: Public support for air strikes falls as Parliament prepares to vote | UK Politics | News | The Independent

Syrian air strikes: Labour MP Stella Creasy forced to walk out of Commons debate over abusive phone calls to staff | UK Politics | News | The Independent

Dammit…that is some hot shit going on there.

Note the last link in the series. Yeah. Right.

But across the globe, a new government is preparing to take power: In step towards power, Myanmar’s Suu Kyi meets president, top general | Reuters

And in regards to the question I submitted to you all up top, as to why BLM activist protest at Hillary events…. Will Hillary Clinton Do More For Black America Than Did Obama? Is That A Low Enough Bar? | Black Agenda Report

We are in the final dash now folks:

No need to say it again, Ted Cruz is a fucking asshole, and idiot…but he can’t be this much of an idiot, I think he is just a prick who doesn’t give a damn.

Birth Control Access Is Far From An ‘Utterly Made-Up Nonsense Issue’

Another day, another boneheaded not terribly nuanced comment from a politician about women’s reproductive health, this one courtesy of Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. He believes Democrats are lying about GOP efforts to limit women’s access to birth control.

“Last I checked, we don’t have a rubber shortage in America,” Cruz said in a campaign stop in Iowa. “Look, when I was in college, we had a machine in the bathroom, you put 50 cents in and voila. So yes, anyone who wants contraceptives can access them, but it’s an utterly made-up nonsense issue.”

Sadly for Cruz — and more pressingly, for women throughout the United States — that assessment is nothing short of absurd. The Supreme Court has ruled that some owners of private companies can deny birth control coverage because of religious beliefs. House Republicans have targeted family planning providers who provide health services to women, including pregnancy prevention. And Republicans have threatened to defund Planned Parenthood, which provides millions of women with contraception.

Because it unfortunately still needs to be said, for the 190,567th time, birth control is anessential part of women’s health care, and it is critical that women have access to a range of options. Sorry, Cruz, but the condoms you seem to think are readily available for 50 cents in every bathroom just won’t cut it. Here are just six reasons why:

We all know the reasons, so I won’t go there.

Last link, hurrah!

Who would have won the medieval Bad Sex in Fiction award? | Books | Culture | The Independent

 

That article is something you will have to just go to the link and read yourself!!!!!!!

What is on your mind today…


Sunday Reads: “Passing prejudice off as faith” and other thoughts from the “internets” and shi…stuff.

fb_thumb_56543df80f712__700

 

Good Morning

Hey….
Since When Did Scapegoating and Taking Revenge Become American and Christian Principles?

I know I am beating a dead horse here, albeit a corn-fed…free-range horse at that…but this piece from David Mochel at HuffPo is coming from the direction I have been speaking of the past few weeks.

2b18613ea30f9abdce2951f8a69a7680I do not consider myself religious in any traditional sense, nor would I say that I am deeply patriotic, but I am tired of “American” and “Christian” being used as descriptors of what is happening in the popular discourse.

I am tired of letting the loudest among us be those who call for un-American behavior in the name of patriotism. I am tired of letting the dialogue be monopolized by those who pass off prejudice as faith. Compassion matters. Dignity matters. Exercising self-discipline when we are scared and angry matters.

Human beings are biological creatures with lots of biological impulses. But we also have the capacity to see beyond our temporary urges for violence and oppression. We have the ability to anchor ourselves in, and act out of, enduring and inspiring principles. If we do not use the wisdom we have access to, then what exactly makes us human?

75df5a8d5388d6bd7bae07c2e3bb48ecThis feels like a moment in time when we are collectively trying to decide how to move forward. In the face of terrorist attacks, racial tension and conflicting world views, where shall we go for guidance? Shall we just go with what we feel and call it what we want? Shall we lash out and call it Christian? Shall we segregate and call it American? Or shall we consult some principles that were written down precisely so that we would remember them in times such as these?

The second paragraph of the Declaration of the Independence begins with these words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

3096f48b0de03236fc30f4b81af29d8fThe Constitution of the United States begins with these words:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity

A plaque mounted on the base of the Statue of Liberty carries these lines from a poem by Emma Lazarus:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

3df58d98847161880eae5fa7149a5ffcEvery morning my son stands up in his public high school classroom and recites The Pledge of Allegiance, which ends with the words: “with liberty and justice for all.”

He also goes on to quote from the prayer of St. Francis and New Testament, only to ask…

 

What am I missing? Where is written that we should block access, imprison, blame and malign those who we do not understand, who look different, or who live outside our borders? Does being American or Christian represent any fundamental principles or are these nothing more than titles that we get simply by living in this country and going to a fancy building on Sunday?

9e9ca4589d8015fc89e2db0e4aaa7196I propose that these words which are thrown around quite a lot lately actually do stand for something. I propose that the privileges of living in this country come with the responsibilities of being inclusive, of speaking for those without a voice and representing the rights of those who are denied access. I propose that the privileges of being Christian come with the responsibilities of showing compassion and generosity for those in need and mercy toward those who have offended.

Uncertainty can trigger anxiety and self-defensiveness. We can respond by being reactionary, rigid, and exclusive. But this is not our only choice. We also have the choice of compassion, inclusivity, and peaceful resistance.

Of course, it is challenging to make this choice in the face of senseless violence and vehement disagreement. Standing for something worthwhile is rarely easy.

No it isn’t easy, and to quote someone who seems a bit strange to quote in this discussion…as “Dubya” said so often, “It’s hard work!”

I will get to the Planned Parenthood Shooting in a few moments, but in response to the link above, remember, these people are fleeing…the murder and terror. They are refugees.  Six children drown as refugee boats sink off Turkey – Al Jazeera English

More than 4,700 people arrived on the Greek islands on average each day in November [AP Photo/Santi Palacios]

More than 4,700 people arrived on the Greek islands on average each day in November [AP Photo/Santi Palacios]

At least six children have drowned in two separate incidents when boats carrying refugees to Greece sank off Turkey’s coast, Turkish state media has said.

6d5154d04575aed9d535859e56a409f3A vessel carrying 55 Syrians and Afghans capsized due to bad weather off the town of Ayvacik, a main crossing point for refugees trying to reach the Greek island of Lesbos, the Anatolia news agency reported on Friday.

Turkish coastguards have so far recovered the bodies of four Afghan children, it added.

Two more children, two sisters aged four and one, drowned early on Friday when their wooden boat carrying some 20 people to the island of Kos sank because of heavy rains and stormy weather, the agency said.

577f306ac5690aaaf6476588ce2c0978Turkey, which is hosting 2.2 million refugees from the conflict in neighbouring Syria, has become the main transit point for people fleeing war.

The European Union and Turkey have agreed in principle to a refugee action plan, which is expected to be finalised at a summit on Sunday.

 

I will put up some links in the comments on the details of this summit, but take a look at that link for a little info on it, there is also more discussion here:

EU, Turkey driving hard bargain before migration summit | Reuters

2693ddb551921f78845472c5bc6902f1Turkey and the EU: Old Routine and New Tensions – Carnegie Europe – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Our View: Cyprus will not be able to call the shots in Brussels – Cyprus Mail Cyprus Mail

And two links from Irish Times:

EU-Turkey summit aims to tackle refugee crisis

Give Me a Crash Course In . . . Turkish-Russian-Syrian relations

For a video look into the refugee experience via Al Jazeera English: Why on earth would anyone do this?

Follow the journeys of three refugees who are risking everything in hopes of reaching Europe.

 

Why on earth would anyone do this 2

Why on earth would anyone do this

 

That title alone is sufficient enough to give you a picture of what the video is about.

Meanwhile back in the United States:

The question of Life is back in the news…

I think it must be said again:

 

Life begins at arousal!!!!

And to hell with fluoridation in water systems!

Who needs the “guvment” anyway?

d3367e609123f3ae4ccaaae429496f64As of Saturday evening: 2016 Republican Contenders Silent On Planned Parenthood Shooting

Republican presidential hopefuls were noticeably silent about a fatal shooting that took place at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs.

All three of their Democratic counterparts tweeted in support of the organization during and after Friday’s attack, which left three people dead and nine others injured.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was the only one of the major GOP candidates to comment:

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul instead tweeted about his own Black Friday sales:

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush published an opinion piece about Obama’s foreign policy:

Donald Trump spent the evening (and Saturday morning) touting upcoming campaign eventsand complaining about a New York Times reporter.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted about his campaign’s new cold-weather gear:

Ben Carson was off Twitter and in Jordan visiting a refugee camp.

b9a6174d5a66c20ed7efd16f0dec9f36All of the major 2016 Republican hopefuls describe themselves as anti-abortion. Some, like Paul, Rubio and Cruz, have attempted to strip federal funding for Planned Parenthood, citing heavily edited videos that emerged earlier this year claiming to show the nonprofit’s employees selling fetal tissue for profit. A congressional inquiry into the videos did not find any evidence of wrongdoing.

Earlier this year, Rubio wondered why more Americans don’t get “fired up” about Planned Parenthood’s “dead babies.”

Ted Cruz breaks silence on ‘horrific’ Planned Parenthood attack | US news | The Guardian

3019096934_1123b97702_mSpeaking in Lamoni, Iowa, Cruz said that while the motives behind Friday’s attack were not clear “it was unacceptable, horrific and wrong”.

“We know that police officers and civilians have been targeted and lost their lives and our prayers are right now are with the families,” Cruz said.

Many of the party’s candidates have come out strongly against Planned Parenthood on the campaign trail as they seek to secure conservative votes.

 

2a0a3941b8ebf09d849bbed81b380f90No More Mister Nice Blog: REPUBLICANS HATE WHAT THEY HATE MUCH MORE THAN THEY LOVE WHAT THEY LOVE

Republican presidential candidates still haven’t said anything about the Colorado Planned Parenthood shootings, with the exception of Ted Cruz (in a tweet, as I noted in my last post) and now John Kasich:

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is the other GOP contender to discuss the attacks, offering his prayers for the affected families and saying “senseless violence has brought tragedy to Colorado Springs.”

This seems odd:

Republicans hate abortion and hate Planned Parenthood. They hate gun control, and 1e961bd32d777bfe32c762742f555dddthe shooting has already led to another call for new gun laws by President Obama. These hatreds are much more important to the right than love of the police, even when the dead police officer was also a Christian minister. In this case, blue lives don’t matter, and this wasn’t part of the war on Christianity. The killer wasn’t a member of any group conservatives hate, and his main target was a group conservatives absolutely hate.

So hate wins. Therefore, the right is never going to denounce this incident with any enthusiasm.

The Democrats did tweet there thoughts: 2016 Democrats React To Planned Parenthood Shooting

As usual, Hillary is on top of it…check out the time of her post.

121ae2a4c88a6961f479940c0ec9312bI wonder…what was tweeted after the news of this: Man Kills Waffle House Worker Over Smoking Ban, Cops Say

Johnny Max Mount, 45, was allegedly smoking in a Biloxi Waffle House when the 52-year-old employee  asked him to put it out, according to the Sun Herald. Mount is accused of refusing and instead removing a 9mm handgun hidden under his shirt, WMC reports. Police allege he shot the woman, who has not yet been identified, once in the head early Friday morning. She was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

8f5d58501d1f843f6451038c11deb647Mount was arrested for first degree murder, and is in jail on 2 million bond.

Back to the Planned Parenthood Shooting:

Siege highlights security used in abortion clinics | Tampa Bay Times

‘No More Baby Parts’: Shooter’s Words Prove Right-Wing Rhetoric Incited PP Attack « Addicting Info

Investigators: Shooter ‘politically motivated’ – Business Insider

c03f6957ed6c26c4c8318078b48cf218Colorado shooting suspect said ‘no more baby parts’: reports | Reuters

TBogg at Raw Story: Domestic terrorism and the evil that men do

at happened at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood on the Friday after Thanksgiving was inevitable. After the deceptively-named Center for Medical Progress released the equally deceptively-edited videos accusing Planned Parenthood of profiting from the sale of fetal parts, someone had to die in the end.

75fc5c8507449411816e44cc7869b9c0Of all the phony attacks and accusations made against Planned Parenthood by a new generation of anti-choice activists like James O’ Keefe and Lila Grace Rose, the videos created by former O’Keefe confederate David Daleiden raised the bar — or lowered it depending on how you view them — on over the top accusations intended to fire up Christian conservatives and embolden lawmakers to do all they can to destroy Planned Parenthood.

Images of fetal tissue being sorted by technicians became a bloody flag to be waved by people who seem to believe that medical procedures are magically free of the kind of things most people are unfamiliar with because they’re not medical professionals who are undeterred by the sight of body fluids, viscera and bones. Those who view abortions as a repellent medical procedure became even more appalled by seeing people who deal with such matters on a daily basis act like … people who deal with such matters on a daily basis.

17af87ffde3b553d168bad4876b9875cWhere Daleiden really hit one out of the park for the anti-choice crowd was when he accused Planned Parenthood of selling  fetal tissue — used by researchers looking for cures for Alzheimer’s, among other things — and making a profit off of it.

Which turned out to be a lie.

[…]

On a certain level — with the aid of the media which uncritically ran with his narrative — Daleiden was more than modestly successful. Republican lawmakers in conservative states were able to cut some funding for Planned Parenthood, while GOP presidential candidates had yet something else to grandstand about in order to woo the evangelical base.

772e93db60bfcf3f0c3812cd8e804d9eWith so much heat thrown off by Daleiden’s anti-abortion project, it is no surprise — and it absolutely cannot be to him — that someone somewhere would take his lies to the extreme and try and do something about it. With extreme prejudice.

According to NBC, Robert Lewis Dear — who killed three people including a cop,making him a hero to these “pro-life” folks while shooting up a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood — reportedly told investigators “no more baby parts” after he was arrested.

As they say: Who could have predicted that?

f46f1001c2cec742b81a2cefa9e1ff92There is nothing anyone here can say, we all saw this shit coming.

To all appearances, Dear appears to be either mentally unstable or an anti-social kook who, despite a history of run-ins with the law including domestic violence, was able to easily obtain a gun or guns. For that you can thank the NRA later.

There is no indication that Dear was or is religious, but a predisposition to being either anti-choice or anti-woman certainly was a factor.

Unlike Scott Roeder, who murdered Dr. George Tiller in a Wichita church,  one needn’t act as the hand of God taking holy vengeance to “save the children.” You just need a motive –imagined or not — to pull the trigger.

5c0659ab4b11f48c781ac85dcc5cf4bfSo it appears that Robert Lewis Dear shot up a Planned Parenthood because he was familiar with David Daleiden’s videotape lies. This is not to say that this is something that Daleiden was hoping for. But when Daleiden published his videos with great fanfare, he primed more than a few future domestic terrorists to take the law — God’s or their own — into their own hands.

David Dalieden didn’t pull the trigger — he just showed Robert Lewis Dear where he needed to aim the gun.

Robert Dear, Suspect in Colorado Killings, ‘Preferred to Be Left Alone’ – The New York Times

Robert L. Dear Jr. was a man who lived off the grid.

On this lonely, snow-covered patch of land in a hamlet ringed by the Rocky Mountains, his home was a white trailer, with a forest-green four-wheeler by the front door and a modest black cross painted on one end.

cfe66a0bf34a92bc0c0905f6a7bb5070As police officers surrounded it on Saturday, looking for clues to what they said had sent its owner on a rampage at a Planned Parenthood center that left three dead and nine wounded, neighbors said they barely knew him, beyond one man’s memory of his handing out anti-Obama political pamphlets.

Van Wands, 58, whose wife owns a local saloon, said there were two types of people in the area: the old-timers who put in time getting to know their neighbors, and newcomers who wished to be left alone. Mr. Dear, he said, fell solidly into the second category.

That article has lots of background on Dear…

In Black Mountain, N.C., Mr. Dear had lived in a small yellow house reachable only after miles of driving on mountain roads and, ultimately, along an unpaved and winding street. Two sticks, forming a cross, were attached to a padlocked shed that was filled with bedding, gas canisters and worn boxes of beer. He bought it without running water.

More at the link.

f563b1171ef0965bc107324d96f0721dAs Dak said yesterday in the comment section of Boston Boomer’s post:

Colorado Springs, Site Of Planned Parenthood Attack, Is A Hub For Conservative Christians

Cannonfire-A brief discourse on faulty logic — or: Meet the Fukers!

The right-wing media has spent years demonizing Planned Parenthood, one of the most useful and virtuous institutions in this country. A white maniac from a Deep Red state shoots up a Planned Parenthood clinic, and what happens? The right-wing press instantly politicizes the situation, while simultaneously accusing the left of politicizing.

During Shooting, GOP Congressman Says He Expects Apology From Planned Parenthood | Mediaite

It was while that siege was still going on, though, that Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger decided to take to CNN’s air and demand an apology from Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains, if the perpetrator turned out not to be an anti-abortion terrorist:

“When I heard that statement, I thought that was very premature. We may find out this person was targeting Planned Parenthood. If we find out he was not targeting Planned Parenthood, I would fully expect an apology from the Planned Parenthood director for saying that.”

dfbae64991e62cffaaad0639ece12f6aThat was at about 6 pm, while there was still gunfire being reported at the scene. There is a long history of terrorism against Planned Parenthood and other reproductive health providers in this country, but the statement Kinzinger is referencing actually points out that the motive is as yet unknown, and yet is still true no matter what this shooter’s mysterious motive turns out to be. Here’sthat statement in full:

Statement from Vicki Cowart, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains:

“Our top priority is the safety of our patients and staff. Our hearts go out to everyone involved in this tragic situation. Planned Parenthood has strong security measures in place, works closely with law enforcement agencies, and has a very strong safety record. We don’t yet know the full circumstances and motives behind this criminal action, and we don’t yet know if Planned Parenthood was in fact the target of this attack. We share the concerns of many Americans that extremists are creating a poisonous environment that feeds domestic terrorism in this country. We will never back away from providing care in a safe, supportive environment that millions of people rely on and trust.”

27a35e9d55c06abb17ce8c40fc281a6cAs with every tragedy, there will be lots of virtual ink devoted to chronicling the many stupid, crass, offensive things that people did and said as this tragedy was unfolding, but this one deserves a special mention, and here’s why.

Kinzinger, a “pro-life” Republican, has demanded an apology from Planned Parenthood if it turns outthat the women’s health organization was not the target of this apparent terrorist murderer. Therefore, if by some magical confluence of events it turns out that Planned Parenthood was the target, then Planned Parenthood does not owe Kinzinger an apology. Kinzinger has conditionally accepted the blame for this violence on behalf of the unhinged anti-abortion right. If he’s allowed back on CNN after that, it should be to ask him if he’s ready to apologize to Planned Parenthood.

The response: GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger Gets Shredded On Facebook After Planned Parenthood Shooting Comments (IMAGES) «

This past week, my cousin David visited us…he meets with the head Bishop of the Florida Archdiocese tomorrow…and finds out in January if he has been accepted into the seminary to become a priest. He mentioned the Pope calling this mess of a world…World War III in “piecemeal”.

10e935dadb4f9173b2552dde7d8c1dcfTake a look at these:

Pope Francis warns on ‘piecemeal World War III’ – BBC News – 13 September 2014

Pope Francis warns ‘piecemeal’ World War III has begun-NBC.news- Saturday, 13 Sep 2014 | 7:06 AM ET

Because according to CNN: How is this not World War III? – CNN.com-Updated 3:16 PM ET, Wed November 25, 2015

…it’s getting hard to avoid analogies to World War I — strange bedfellows, conflicting agendas, alliances of convenience

Remember this…because in a related op/ed on CNN: No, it’s not ‘World War 3’ – CNN.com-Updated 9:03 AM ET, Tue November 17, 2015

Note the dates on those links.

f7361e12c660e21636bf2a0f312bdce8Okay, this is getting long, even for a Sunday Reads. So the rest of the links are in Dump Fashion.

Donald Trump Rally Features Circus Elephant Owned by Man Who Was Repeatedly Arrested for Animal Cruelty

Ben Carson, visiting Syrian refugees in Jordan, says he ‘saw pain on faces’ – LA Times

‘Brave? Really?’: Demonstrators blast armed bigots who surrounded peaceful Muslims at mosque last week

Mom Refuses To Let A Gay Man Teach Her Kids – His Response Is LEGENDARY (IMAGE) «

Burger King manager says police erased video of Chicago shooting | Tampa Bay Times

Russian lawmaker killed by husband detonating hand grenade – NY Daily News

The jealous husband of a young Russian lawmaker killed himself and his wife after detonating a hand grenade as he forced her to have sex in the backseat of their car Thursday, according to local reports.

Dammit, that is, ugh…no words, but there are some assholes out there think there is no way to force sex when you are married to the woman. I wonder what that person feels about hand grenade murder/suicide? (Although I am sure because the woman was very modern and working as a law maker…he would find some way to justify it…to far? Possibly.)

But let’s move on to the poor, another one of said asshole’s champions: It’s simply harder to eat well when you are poor | Barbara Ellen | Comment is free | The Guardian

You can read about the austerity factor at the link.

211418a075d1476b943bd0bf8f0b9698

 

 

And we will end it with history:

82cf6368771c62cb7aa5be2cac89bbe3From Raiders to Traders: The Viking-Arab Trade Exchange

The Viking raids across Europe brought them into contact with other cultures, including Muslim Arabs. Although there are no known Viking settlements in the Arab lands, both cultures interacted with each other through their respective exploration of Europe. Contact between Vikings and Arabs occurred mainly in the area of what would become Russia. While there is scarce evidence that Arabs visited the homelands of the Vikings, or as they called them, the “people of the North,” artifacts found across Scandinavia, and especially in Sweden, point to an extensive long-distance trade exchange between the two very different cultures. It was the promise of access to much needed and coveted silver that set off the Viking exploration into Europe, and brought Viking raiders into contact with the Arabs. In their quest for silver, the Vikings discovered and accessed valuable trade routes to Constantinople that led to an extensive trade exchange with the Arab world. Seizing upon the opportunity to enrich themselves, the Vikings came into contact with Arabic wealth and treasures through their raids, and soon realized the potential of a peaceful trade exchange.

19a4e7cf3b864df543233ebe6a67d2adThe Vikings came into contact with Muslim Arabs during their exploration of the Iberian Peninsula. One of the first contacts occurred with Muslim Spain in 844 when a Viking fleet of fifty-four ships sailed from their base in Brittany to Spain in order to raid the Caliphate’s treasures. The raiding campaign was successful, as the Vikings conquered Lisbon and Seville, destroyed numerous other towns, and even threatened the capital of al-Andalus, Córdoba. However, the Muslims were able to drive back the Viking invaders and built “an effective coastal defence against new attacks.” Having seen the riches of the Caliphate, the Vikings were determined to return, and embarked on a second raiding campaign in 859, this time with a much bigger fleet of sixty-two ships. Again, the raiding campaign itself was a success, as their ships were “so fully laden with plunder that they sat low in the water.”

652593b4fe316bcc785a984e4640fcc8However, on the Vikings’ journey back to their home base in Brittany, the Muslim naval fleet attacked and destroyed the majority of the Vikings’ ships. With that, Viking exploration of and interaction with Muslim Spain ended. The two raids gave both cultures a first glimpse at each other’s military capabilities and characteristics. Prior to the Vikings’ invasion of the Caliphate, the Arabs had no interaction with the “people of the North.” To the Muslim Arabs, the Vikings appeared “as a sudden, mysterious, military threat.” The Vikings for the first time were confronted with an enemy that was well organized on land as well as on the sea, where Vikings were used to supremacy.

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