Yup it is Sunday…
And I didn’t forget what day it is this time.
While walking into the local Banjoville Walmart, I was stopped by an employee. He was on his way to bring in carts and it was obvious that being a greeter was not among his regular duties. He said, rather forced, “Welcome to Walmart” and then proceeded to ask abruptly, “Is that tattoo on your arm Arabic?”
Now, picture me…in my long Indian brightly printed yellow, pink and red cotton wrap skirt, a plain bold colored maroon t-shirt, with my head wrapped in a magenta flowered batik bandanna. No…I say to the man. That is a Tibetan tattoo. So is this one, I show him my other arm, they are both Sanskrit. “Are you sure that isn’t Arabic?” he says. Yes, I’m positive. It is calligraphy. He continues to insist…”It looks like Arabic to me. I’m certain it is Arabic.” He would not believe me. I had to get a bit confrontational and walk away. The man would not let up.
I felt like saying. Look, you have to be the most idiotic shithead I’ve come across. First off, what are you doing profiling the shoppers of this store? B) Are you that stupid, do you think this bandanna is a Hijab? And second…no…that is not a pressure cooker bomb under my skirt…my ass is just really that big!
Well, it turned out the dude is considered, “Special Needs” but honestly, that “label” could be used as an excuse for most of the populace today. (For what it is worth, to keep repeating the word Arabic, he must get his news from FoxNews?) I still don’t think having a low IQ should mean that folks should get away with all the foul and disgusting things being said (or done) that are completely out of line. Especially when it comes to the shit-stain running for the Republican presidential ticket.
But I refuse to link to anything that con-orange-weave-wearing-asshole has said or done.
Today the links I will share are all related to Reading. Because I cannot take anymore bullshit…I’m just too fucking emotionally drained to do anything else.
Oh, and many of the images are by photographer Miles Aldridge: I Only Want You to Love Me. | Blog. | The Creative Directory.
First up, take a look at this video: (I’ve embedded the video below, but if you do not see it, click on this link here.)
Rats still inundate major world cities, spreading disease, undermining buildings and generally grossing people out (even though they make great pets).
But thanks to one hardy biologist’s birth-control innovation, perfect harmony could now become reality.
From rats to bullies? Maybe: This is How Literary Fiction Teaches Us to Be Human
Think about every bully you can remember, whether from fiction or real life. What do they all have in common?For the most part, they don’t read — and if they do, they probably aren’t ingesting much literary fiction.
This isn’t just snobbery, it’s a case that scientists are slowly building as they explore a field called Theory of Mind, described by Science Magazine as “the human capacity to comprehend that other people hold beliefs and desires and that these may differ from one’s own beliefs and desires.” Inan abstract published by the magazine in 2013, researchers found that reading literary fiction led to better results in subjects tested for Theory of Mind. That same year, another study found heightened brain activity in readers of fiction, specifically in the areas related to visualization and understanding language. As Mic explains: “A similar process happens when you envision yourself as a character in a book: You can take on the emotions they are feeling.”
More recently, Trends in Cognitive Sciences reported more findings that link reading and empathy, employing a test called “Mind of the Eyes” in which subjects viewed photographs of strangers’ eyes, describing what they believed that person was thinking or feeling (readers of fiction scored significantly higher). It turns out that the narrative aspect of fiction is key to this response.
Another article for you, this time on the work of Walt Whitman: The Millions : An Essential Human Respect: Reading Walt Whitman During Troubled Times – The Millions
We live in contentious times. In these frenzied days, it’s worth returning to Walt Whitman’s book of Civil War poetry, Drum-Taps. First published in 1865, Drum-Taps reflects on the confrontation of grand visions and the human costs of realizing them. It suggests the importance of empathy in the face of significant ideological disagreement.
Whitman took the side of the Union, the vision of which played a major role in both his poetic and political thinking. In his original preface to Leaves of Grass, Whitman called the United States “essentially the greatest poem,” and the visionary project of a poet for Whitman involved the creation of a broader fellowship that transcended the conventional boundaries of society. He viewed the United States as a vehicle for this enterprise of fellowship.
In its record of the Civil War, Drum-Taps homes in on the juxtaposition of vision and the flesh, of aspiration and suffering. For all the great ambition of the antebellum United States, it contained great pain, and the carnage of the Civil War painted in red, white, and gangrene the price of maintaining the hope of the Union. Ideas clashed in the Civil War, but men and women bled. Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust’s 2008 study This Republic of Suffering argues that the magnitude of suffering and death during the Civil War sent shockwaves through American culture; the equivalent of over 600,000 war deaths in 1861-1865 would be over 6 million deaths in 2016.
The horror of this legacy of pain influenced Whitman’s life and poetry. His brother George served in the Union army throughout the war, and Whitman himself had a front-row-seat for the carnage of the Civil War during his time as a medical orderly. He spent countless hours comforting the wounded and sick soldiers in Washington D.C. and elsewhere. In an 1863 report, he reflected on visiting the wounded at the capital’s Patent Office, which had been converted to a hospital:
A few weeks ago the vast area of the second story of that noblest of Washington buildings, the Patent Office, was crowded close with rows of sick, badly wounded and dying soldiers. They were placed in three very large apartments. I went there several times. It was a strange, solemn and, with all its features of suffering and death, a sort of fascinating sight.
Whitman attended to that magnitude of suffering in Drum-Taps. In one of his notebooks, he claimed that “the expression of American personality through this war is not to be looked for in the great campaign, & the battle-fights. It is to be looked for…in the hospitals, among the wounded.” In many respects, the poems of Drum-Taps are songs for and of the wounded.
Bearing the bandages, water and sponge,
Straight and swift to my wounded I go,
Where they lie on the ground, after the battle brought in;
Where their priceless blood reddens the grass, the ground;
Or to the rows of the hospital tent, or under the roof’d hospital;
To the long rows of cots, up and down, each side, I return;
To each and all, one after another, I draw near — not one do I miss;
An attendant follows, holding a tray — he carries a refuse pail,
Soon to be fill’d with clotted rags and blood, emptied, and fill’d again.
That refuse pail, ever filling and emptying, implies the seemingly endlessness of tending to bodies and spirits ravaged by war. The figures of these soldiers are sacred and exalted — that “priceless blood” — but still they suffer.
Whitman’s verse does not hide that suffering, or the price it exacts:
From the stump of the arm, the amputated hand,
I undo the clotted lint, remove the slough, wash off the matter and blood;
Back on his pillow the soldier bends, with curv’d neck, and side-falling head;
His eyes are closed, his face is pale, he dares not look on the bloody stump,
And has not yet looked on it.
With grim irony, these lines attend to amputations suffered in the name of preserving the Union. Beyond the specific details of this wound-dressing, we see also the signs of the psychological pain of the amputee, who cannot even bear to look at the site of his dismemberment. In “The Dresser” and elsewhere, the poetic speaker does not profess an ability to end this suffering or nullify the pain of the sufferers. Instead, he can only act as a witness to this suffering.
Please read the rest at the link, this article is written by, E. THOMAS FINAN who teaches at Boston University.
Reading is a form of relaxation for some, a chance to relate to others, but for one woman the form of a book…the place where books are held, the reading room, a library, was something to capture. How One Woman Photographed Every Library in New York | Literary Hub
When architectural photographer Elizabeth Felicella was not working for clients, she spent her free time photographing all 210 branches of New York City’s Public Library system. Five years later, the resulting work, Reading Room, is essentially an enormous catalog of over 2,000 negatives covering libraries in all five boroughs. We chose some of our favorites to feature below…
Through arrangements with each of the library systems, I worked mornings before the branches opened to the public. I traveled by subway and bus and made six to twelve pictures of each branch, interiors and exteriors, using a 4 x 5 inch view camera. My archive, to date, holds over 2,000 negatives.
The library was a generous subject—it served as a rich source for reflection on both the topic at hand and on my work as an architectural photographer. One of Melvil Dewey’s objectives in establishing his decimal system for library classification was to encourage browsing: materials were organized by subject in open stacks so that a reader might encounter a related, but perhaps unknown book, on her trip to the shelf. I identified with Dewey’s reader and adopted “browsing” as a criterion for shooting—a process that might render more or different things than I anticipated.
I borrowed metaphors from the library and began thinking of my photography in terms of reading and writing. The library offered a reprieve from the often strict conventions of architectural photography. Without abandoning my objective of describing each branch in pictures, I took license to shoot in long and short sentences: big, overall views full of tables and chairs, but also plants, bathroom graffiti, pencil sharpeners (a lot of them), magazine covers, people waiting in line outside. No shot list was applied: I photographed what struck me, following tangents, filling out categories that emerged on their own over the course of the project. The richness of the process was the richness of the branches themselves. I found them beautiful, even and sometimes especially the most neglected, with their layers of use, fragments of earlier arrangements, updates, familiar elements, improvisations, accidents, incongruities: in short, places that look something like what everyday thinking feels like.
More pictures at the link….I only put one of the images up here. Be sure to go and look at the others. There is also more to read about the process of the work…
Here is another interesting story for you: Bad Bitches in the Canon
What if Anaïs Nin and Flannery O’Connor had been friends?
“Lila appeared in my life in first grade and immediately impressed me because she was very bad.” -Elena Ferrante, ‘My Brilliant Friend’
The writers Anaïs Nin and Flannery O’Connor both hit milestones in the 1950s: O’Connor won a whole bunch of literary awards, and Nin married her second husband, (twenty years her junior) while still married to her first. The former was thwarted only by lupus, the latter by the IRS, which would not let both husbands claim her on their tax returns. Such is the life of a literary bad bitch.
Nin is famous for her unexpurgated memoir Henry and June, which details her 1931–2 sexual obsession with the American writer Henry Miller and, now and then, his wife June (who appears in the flesh for about two paragraphs). About three fucks out of every ten thousand, Henry and/or Anaïs wonders if they’re together because they cannot be with June. She is the parmesan to their pasta — what O’Connor, in her letters, would spell as cheeze — but never the main dish. Nin’s memoir should have been titled Henry and…Where’d she go? NY? Oh well. As for O’Connor, well, even Esquire lists her on their predominantly male must-read list. She’s right up there — a few spots ahead of Henry Miller.
The funny thing is, Anaïs Nin is not on that list, even though she was all over Henry Miller. Most people — and by ‘most people,’ I mean ‘most woefully inexperienced freshman English majors,’ by which I mean ‘myself, once’ — read Anaïs Nin to learn how artists love, if not how to be an artist in love. And then they go into therapy.
Ah, that should give you enough to go and finish it off on your own.
And yet, I have one last link for you, yes…it is another literary themed article.
In praise of “the gaiety of those who have nothing more to lose and so excel at giving.”
The weather has seeded our earliest myths, inspired some of our greatest art, and even affects the way we think. In our divisive culture, where sharped-edged differences continue to fragment our unity, it is often the sole common ground for people bound by time and place — as we move through the seasons, we weather the whims of the weather together.
Of the four seasons, autumn is by far the most paradoxical. Wedged between an equinox and a solstice, it moors us to cosmic rhythms of deep time and at the same time envelops us in the palpable immediacy of its warm afternoon breeze, its evening chill, its unmistakable scentscape. It is a season considered temperate, but one often tempestuous in its sudden storms and ecstatic echoes of summer heat. We call it “fall” with the wistfulness of loss as we watch leaves and ripe fruit drop to the ground, but it is also the season of abundance, of labor coming to fruition in harvest.
The peculiar pleasures and paradoxes of autumn are what the great French writer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (January 28, 1873–August 3, 1954), better known as Colette, explores in a portion of Earthly Paradise: An Autobiography of Colette Drawn from Her Lifetime Writings (public library) — the posthumously published, out-of-print treasure that gave us her abiding wisdom on writing, withstanding criticism, and the obsessive-compulsiveness of creative work.
Recounting an essay assignment from her schoolgirl days, Colette writes in the autumn of her life:
It has always remained in my memory, this note written with red ink in the margin of a French composition. I was eleven or twelve years old. In thirty lines I had stated that I could not agree with those who called the autumn a decline, and that I, for my part, referred to it as a beginning. Doubtless my opinion on the matter, which has not changed, had been badly expressed, and what I wanted to say what that this vast autumn, so imperceptibly hatched, issuing from the long days of June, was something I perceived by subtle signs, and especially with the aid of the most animal of my senses, which is my sense of smell. But a young girl of twelve rarely has at her disposal a vocabulary worthy of expressing what she thinks and feels. As the price of not having chosen the dappled spring and its nests, I was given a rather low mark.
She considers how autumn haunts the other seasons and signals its superior splendor:
The rage to grow, the passion to flower begin to fade in nature at the end of June. The universal green has by then grown darker, the brows of the woods take on the color of fields of eel grass in shallow seas. In the garden, the rose alone, governed more by man than by season, together with certain great poppies and some aconites, continues the spring and lends its character to the summer.
Depths of dark greenery, illusion of stability, incautious promise of duration! We gaze at these things and say: “Now this is really summer.” But at that moment, as in a windless dawn there sometimes floats an imperceptible humidity, a circle of vapor betraying by its presence in a field the subterranean stream beneath, just so, predicted by a bird, by a wormy apple with a hectically illuminated skin, by a smell of burning twigs, of mushrooms and of half-dried mud, the autumn at that moment steals unseen through the impassive summer…
Even a child cannot respond to everything. But its antennae quiver at the slightest signal.
Of course there is much more at the link, so be sure to read the rest of that thread…I know that you can’t resist it.
That is all for this first Sunday of Autumn in 2016.
This is an open thread.
Sunday is usually regarded as a day of rest, the end of a busy tired week…that last day of the weekend. When I was younger, the sound of the ticking stop watch that was used as the opening credits for 60 minutes always solidified the fact that the countdown was on, Sunday was coming to a close. The time had come, get your things ready for Monday morning…another beginning, another week of school (or work) ahead.
For almost a year now, Sunday has come to mean…for me at least, a day to recover from a week of drowning in my disgust at what this country is presenting to the world as it’s presidential election.
It is that feeling when you swallow something the wrong way, and it is painful as it tries to go down your throat. You cough and feel as though you can’t breathe. There is a sense of panic as you try and take in some oxygen, but for those first seconds nothing can get in…even though you know it should work its way out shortly and you will be able to breathe normally after several moments of coughing and clearing your throat of what was so difficult to swallow.
This reoccurring simulated choking on not being able to swallow the daily offerings from Trump, the media, political pundits, politicians, surrogates, idiot supporters, white supremacist hate groups that are becoming legitimately recognized as a mainstream political party voice…that is too much to handle. It gets to the point where there is no recovery, you can’t catch your breath. I feel as though I am drowning in the hate and honestly, where in hell can Love Trump Hate?
(I really do not think that slogan does it for me…it never seemed to have enough umph. Maybe it is because I’ve always seen Trump and his supporters for what they really are: white supremacist. And that is something I’ve realized since day one, especially living here in Banjoville. )
I am not surprised at how bad things have gotten or how outrageous Trump’s statements and comments can be…I think we haven’t seen the worst yet. It just has reached a point where I can no longer take that Trump news bite, for fear it will be the fatal one.
That is why I’m so obviously absent from discussion on the blog. I can’t talk or write about this Trump asshole anymore. The events surrounding the election is more than I can handle.
I know that Boston Boomer and Dakinikat will write far better on the subject than I ever could…but I am unable to cover this hateful shitty election any longer.
Going forward my post will be focused on worldwide news, the usual suspects (women issues), human interest and of course…political cartoons. I must avoid fuck face and his cross burning hood wearing fan base.
As always the threads are open, so please discuss whatever and whoever you want to in the comments below…that includes Trump and his ultra right wing of destruction.
I will start off with a few links:
Take a moment and assess your hobbies. Unless your idea of a good time is bungee jumping or scaling Mt. Everest, your favorite pastimes are likely pretty safe … right? Think again. Experts are calling upon doctors to consider the risks posed by patients’ hobbies after a British man died of a lung infection likely caused by his daily sessions on the bagpipe. They reported their findings in the journal Thorax.
New evidence suggests people with autism can recognize feelings and other traits of humanness in voices as well as—or even better than—neurotypical people do
UPDATE: The woman was later identified by outlets as Facebook user Zaida Pugh, who says she’s an actress and that the incident was a prank. “I did this to show how people react to situations with homeless people and people with mental health [issues],” Pugh told Fusion. “How they’re more likely to pull out their phone than help.” A police source told the New York Post that Pugh could be charged for the disturbance.
A woman selling crickets and worms on a New York City subway Wednesday threw them into a packed train and flew into a rage, causing chaos, the New York Post reported.
The woman entered the train and made overtures to passengers to buy her insects. A group of teens pushed the woman, causing her to “freak out” and release the bugs, the Post wrote. As she ranted and the bugs spread, commuters dispersed.
Go to the link to read the rest of the story and see video and comments…someone actually pulled the emergency break and the train was stuck for a while.
If any of y’all see my Facebook wall the past few weeks, you would notice a trend…centered around the word “fuck” as in “fuck it” or “fuck you”. It may be a picture of someone flicking a middle finger, giving the British two finger salute, or it would be just the phrase “Fuck” used in various ways. It is my silent form of protest you see…
Every time I see something in the news that pisses me off, I change it. (Well, not literally every time, because if that was the case the damn image on my wall would be constantly updating.)
Yesterday my right eye was swollen shut, allergies I am sure was the culprit, but damn if there was a part of me that feels it was something more…I was able to avoid reading the news online all together. And this for me was a wonderful joy. Until I saw something that Jslat wrote in the comments on Dak’s post yesterday: Saturday Reads: Let the Record show that Donald Trump is a textbook Misogynist and Racist | Sky Dancing
In reply to a link Dak posted which stated: Hillary Clinton Polls: Clinton Could Be Headed To Big Win In Oregon, Effectively Ending The Race For Bernie Sanders
And that is the perfect example of what pisses me off the most. I can’t describe it any other way than to offer this up above.
(Oh… there are so many other things that piss me off, but Dak covered them in the post too. Add to that the Bernie Bros and their asshole contributions to the pile and you see why I have my “fuck this shit” Facebook campaign in full swing. )
So, for today I will just post a couple of links, make this an open thread…and wrap it up nicely with some vintage pictures of sailors. Yeah, let’s objectify some men…for a change.
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said Donald Trumpwould have to answer for allegations about repeatedly disrespecting women, but deflected concerns that it posed a major challenge for his presidential candidacy.
The GOP chairman appeared on Sunday television talk shows and was asked to respond to a New York Times report that documented Trump’s checkered history of disparaging women and making unwelcome advances toward them.
“These are things that he is going to have to answer for,” Priebus said on ABC’s “This Week.” “But I also think there are things from many years ago and I think that, you know, as Christians, judging each other I think is problematic.”
Problematic? Really? Nah…
When asked about the allegations on “Fox News Sunday,” Priebus said it wasn’t likely to affect Trump’s campaign because the American people want change to come to Washington.
“All these stories that come out, and they come out every couple weeks, people just don’t care,” Priebus said. “I think people look at Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton and say, ‘Who’s going to bring an earthquake to D.C.?’”
A Gallup poll published April 1 found that 70% of women had an unfavorable opinion of the billionaire businessman, who has been married three times.
Trump managed to catapult to the top of a crowded Republican presidential field and garner widespread support from voters despite a controversial style and personal politics that are often at odds with traditional conservatives. His positions on taxes, trade deals and military intervention, even as they have shifted, have not won fans among GOP leadership.
But that trend is beginning to shift.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin moved toward accepting Trump as the Republican presidential nominee Thursday after a closed-door meeting intended to show a gradual unifying of the party.
When asked about the encounter between the two GOP leaders on “This Week,” Priebus said he expects Ryan to endorse Trump.
“I get the sense that it was a great meeting,” he said. “I get the sense that it was everything both parties wanted it to be.”
Geez, someone get me a barf bag, I’m gonna hurl.
Other Republican leaders, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, have already moved toward Trump.
Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, a Trump supporter, said on “This Week” that Trump, as a nontraditional politician from outside Washington, isn’t a typical candidate and therefore isn’t judged in the same way. He doesn’t expect the allegations of misogyny to stick to Trump even as he is seemingly headed toward to a general election against the first female presidential candidate in U.S. history.
“People have not expected purity on his part,” Sessions said. “What they’re concerned about, they’re deeply concerned about, is this: somebody strong enough to take on Washington.”
No wait, I was just joking before about throwing up…after that Sessions quote, I really do want to vomit.
This next link is rather obvious, at least for me: Democrats fear Sanders may undermine efforts to beat Trump | PBS NewsHour
Democratic Party leaders are upping the pressure on Bernie Sanders to drop his presidential campaign, alarmed that his continued presence is undermining efforts to beat the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump, and again win the White House.
“I don’t think they think of the downside of this,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a supporter of front-runner Hillary Clinton and broker of the post-primary peace between Clinton and then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in 2008.
“It’s actually harmful because she can’t make that general-election pivot the way she should,” Feinstein said. “Trump has made that pivot.”
I feel the Hillary campaign is thinking along the lines of Feinstein as well…the latest email from her camp was titled “Nuts” and said this:
Things are getting nuts around here! We’re opening offices every week in battleground states like Ohio and Florida, AND we’re fighting every day before the California primary, building for rallies in Kentucky, and even doing voter outreach in the U.S. Virgin Islands! (Hillary wasn’t kidding when she said we’re going to fight for every vote.)
Here’s the deal: Bernie’s not opening field offices in Ohio because he’s only focused on the primary. Donald Trump isn’t opening field offices in California because he’s only focused on the general. We’re the only ones running two races, which means we need this team to step up twice as much.
You know Bernie’s grassroots army and Trump’s billionaire buddies are coming through — can we count on you? Chip in $15 right now, and let’s win BOTH these fights.
And what if Trump does win? Well we know a few places in Canada which has offered some refuge, now there is an island in Ireland that is doing the same.
The idea of a Donald Trump presidency has filled many rational-minded Americans – especially Latino-Americans – with a great fear. The casual talk of mass deportations, ofreligious identity cards, of forcing the press to “tell the truth” are not proposals to be taken lightly. The talk of emigrating if the abrasive reality television star wins the election has become a running theme in the election – some taking it more seriously than others, but the fact that we have to discuss it at all is extremely disturbing.
Thankfully, our allies across the pond are ready to help. The Irish island of Inishturk has announced they would love to have Americans move there following a Trump victory. The tranquil island is in desperate need of new lifeblood, as their population has dwindled to 58, with only three children enrolled in school.
Mary Heanue, the island’s development officer, said that “I’ve heard there are quite a few people in America looking to move to Ireland and other countries if Donald Trump becomes president. I’d like them to know that we’d love to see them consider moving over here.
They’d be given a huge welcome and they’d find this is a fantastic place to live and to bring up children. Their kids would probably get the best education anywhere in the country too, because the teacher to pupil ratio is nearly one-on-one.
Although winters can be hard and it’s the kind of life that wouldn’t necessarily suit everyone, they’d find it very peaceful here and they’d soon find out there’s nowhere as nice in the world on a summer’s day than here.”
I’m up for it. What about you?
Last links for today, Getting Botox doesn’t just leave YOUR face impossible to read | Daily Mail Online
Getting Botox doesn’t just leave YOUR face impossible to read: Study finds treatment can affect brain and leave people unable to process other’s emotions
- Humans reproduce emotions they observe from others on their own body
- As Botox temporarily paralyzes muscles in the face, it blocks this process
- Researchers say this impairs ability to understand the emotions of others
- Study revealed it’s especially difficult when observed expression is subtle
I think that explains quite a lot, don’t you?
For a more, medical abstract look at the study: Emotions in the age of Botox — ScienceDaily
Aesthetic treatments based on botulin toxin affect the perception of emotions, new research shows. The consequence of having Botox injected, scientists explain, depends on a temporary block of proprioceptive feedback, a process that helps us understand other people’s emotions by reproducing them on our own bodies.
And lastly, a little tale about Prince and his legendary Superbowl halftime show performance…The Story Behind Prince’s Super Bowl Performance — Vulture I tell you one thing, the man made me cry that night when I saw the show live on TV.
So, this is an open thread, what are you reading about today?
“February’s full Moon is traditionally called the Full Snow Moon because usually the heaviest snows fall in February.”
Under normal circumstances you would have to wait until February 22nd to see that Full Snow Moon in all of its bright brilliant glory.
Well…luckily for you, I have found a couple of fine examples above that is available now….for your viewing pleasure. No waiting.
Today’s theme therefore is full of moons, wisecracks and smartasses.
We will also touch on a few other nonsense news and features that you can take without reaching for the pills and cigarettes….or whatever it is that gets you through your day.
…On a serious note.
Updates on the earthquake that hit Taiwan yesterday.
Taipei, Feb. 8 (CNA) The number of people who died in a magnitude 6.4 earthquake that struck southern Taiwan early Saturday has risen to 34 as of 9:55 p.m. Sunday, according to official figures.
Rescue works has been continuing for the 121 who were believed to be trapped in a 16-story residential building in Tainan City’s Yongkang District.
A total of 310 have been rescued, with 100 of them rushed to hospitals for treatments.
In addition to this deadly quake, I’ve got a few other serious stories before we get to the fun. I’ll include some pictures of cracks in the earth…these are not from yesterday’s Taiwan earthquake. (Got it?)
Radioactive water overflowed into the groundwater at the upstate Indian Point nuclear power plant, officials said Saturday.
The Buchanan plant reported that the contamination did not migrate offsite and does not pose a threat to public health.
If you live up in that area of NY. Be warned.
Cuomo said he was informed of the tritium-contaminated water leak Friday and asked the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health to investigate the incident.
“Our first concern is for the health and safety of the residents close to the facility and ensuring the groundwater leak does not pose a threat,” Cuomo said.
The site, roughly 35 miles north of New York City, has been under increased scrutiny from Cuomo and other officials following several incidents. In December, Cuomo ordered an investigation into Indian Point after a series of unplanned shutdowns, citing potential risks to both the city and surrounding suburbs.
The leak occurred after a drain overflowed during a maintenance exercise while workers were transferring water, which has high levels of radioactive contamination, said Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Normally, a sump pump would take the water and filter it into another treatment system, but the pump apparently was out of service, Sheehan said. After the drain overflowed, the water seeped out of the building into the groundwater.
It was unclear how much water spilled, but samples showed the water had a radioactivity level of more than 8 million picocuries per liter, a 65,000 percent increase from the average at the plant, Cuomo said. The levels are the highest regulators have seen at Indian Point, and the normal number is about 12,300 picocuries per liter, Cuomo said.
Contaminated groundwater would likely slowly make its way to the Hudson River, Sheehan said, but research has shown that water usually ends up in the middle of the river and is so diluted that the levels of radioactivity are nearly undetectable.
“We don’t believe there’s any concern for members of the public,” Sheehan said. “First of all, this water’s not going anywhere immediately — and, again, because of the dilution factor, you wouldn’t even be able to detect it were you to take a direct sample.”
Read the rest of the snow job at the links.
BTW, update on Porter Ranch:
On with other serious stories, but I can safely make some sarcastic wisecrack smartass remarks about them…and just barely feel guilty about it.
Did ya hear the one about a Chicago cop who shoots and kills this black teenager and 55 year old woman…then turns around and sues the kids estate for 10 million dollars. (Yes, I said 10 miiilllion dollars.)
RACHAEL LEVY VIA VIMEO
Officer Robert Rialmo has filed a $10 million suit over a shooting that left a mentally ill teen and his unsuspecting neighbor dead.
A Chicago cop who fatally shot a mentally ill college student in December — as well as the teen’s unsuspecting neighbor — is now suing the dead teen’s family for $10 million, claiming the killings gave him “extreme emotional trauma.”
Officer Robert Rialmo filed the staggering suit Friday over his contested killing of 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier, a Northern Illinois University sophomore. The officer also accidentally killed Bettie Jones, 55, who was standing nearby, according to police.
The slain student’s family immediately slammed the suit, which comes amid the exploding scandal over deadly, racially motivated police tactics in Chicago.
“After this coward shot a teenager in the back … he has the temerity to sue him?” LeGrier’s family attorney, Basileios Foutris told the Chicago Tribune.
“That’s a new low for the Chicago Police Department.”
No. I think the Chicago PD can go lower…anyone want to place some bets?
Rialmo shot LeGrier six times on Dec. 26 after the teen made three calls to 911, making vague but distressed remarks about an “emergency” he said needed a police response. The gunfire erupted after LeGrier rushed at the officer while swinging a baseball bat, according to police, with one shot passing through the teen and striking his neighbor.
Rialmo’s suit says LeGrier “took a full swing” with the bat at Rialmo after the officer arrived at his home, just missing the cop’s head by a few inches. After Rialmo stepped back and LeGrier refused orders to drop the bat, the teen followed the officer outside and took another swing, forcing Rialmo to act in self-defense, the suit says.
The two deaths that resulted from the fatal encounter will “continue to cause…extreme emotional trauma” to the officer, according to the suit, which asks for a “sum in excess of $10,000,000” for damages.
Yeah, that full swing “missing the cop’s head by a few inches” justified the murder of two people….I can see why Rialmo would “continue to cause…extreme emotional trauma”. Best for him to go ahead and sue the family of the kid he shot in the back for the $10,0000,000. (That is a mutha load of fukken zeros.)
Rialmo’s suit contradicts the story given by LeGrier’s family in their wrongful death suit, which said the teen was inside his building and shot by the cop from the outside. The family’s suit also said LeGrier did nothing to threaten Rialmo or anyone else on the scene, and was not involved in any illegal activity at the time.
The suits come months into Chicago’s continuing crisis of police killing black men who are either unarmed or not presenting an immediate threat to officers. In many of the cases, including this one, the officer responsible for the death was white.
Protests over police tactics and alleged coverups led to the ousting of the Chicago’s top cop last year, and calls for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to step down. The most infamous case — the death of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager who was shot by a white officer 16 times — led to the city settling with the teen’s family for $5 million.
Rialmo’s attorney accused LeGrier’s family of trying to ride the wave of city actions against cops.
“Ever since the McDonald payoff, people are treating officer-involved confrontations like a lottery ticket and they’re waiting to cash it in,” Brodsky told the Tribune.
Wait a minute….who is treating this officer-involved confrontation as a lottery ticket? The murdering cop Rialmo? Or LeGrier’s family? I think that Brodsky dude has to get to Ted Cruz campaign on the double…and go to work as the campaign’s lead counsel.
This next link should make all the PLUBs happy!
Y’all know what PLUB stands for….Pro-Life-Until-Birth.
Innit a wonderful headline. More former fetuses for Republican pricks to fuck off.
…state of Texas’ sustained campaign against Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics affiliated with abortion providers appears to have led to an increase in births among low-income women who lost access to affordable and effective birth control, a new study says.
The analysis, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, documents a significant increase in births among women who had previously received birth control at clinics that no longer get state funding.
The researchers, from the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin, say their findings offer a sneak peek of what may happen in other states that have cut funding to Planned Parenthood.
It is just what is coming to a state near you!
Lawmakers in Arkansas, Alabama, New Hampshire, Louisiana, North Carolina and Utah have enacted policies to keep public funds out of Planned Parenthood clinics. Ohio is expected to be the next state to follow suit.
These laws “definitely” had a real impact on women, said study leader Joseph Potter, a sociologist at the university. “It’s not like there is a large, over-capacity of highly qualified providers of effective contraception out there just waiting for people to show up,” he said.
More Medicaid Births Follow Planned Parenthood Ouster via Texas Observer
Comparing quarterly medical and pharmaceutical claims from 2011 to 2014, researchers with theTexas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP) found that 35 percent fewer patients received highly effective intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants — known as long-acting, reversible contraception (LARC) — over the four-year period. Claims for the injectable Depo shot, which requires follow up every three months, decreased by 31 percent. Researchers found that the rate of Medicaid-covered deliveries among women in the Depo group then increased by 27 percent.
The reduction in claims, said lead author Amanda Stevenson, highlights the fact that despite recent state efforts to recruit more providers, and claims of success without Planned Parenthood, patients have lost services.
“The reproductive health safety net cannot just absorb all of the demand for highly effective contraception when you remove Planned Parenthood from the network,” Stevenson told the Observer. TxPEP’s findings, she said, “directly contradict” claims “that Planned Parenthood can be removed from federally-funded healthcare programs and other providers will just step up to pick up the slack.”
In 2011, Texas lawmakers voted to kick Planned Parenthood out of the Medicaid Women’s Health Program, which the federal government deemed a violation of federal law. Rather than support a program that denied patients the provider of their choosing, the feds yanked a $9-to-$1 match in funds at the end of 2012, and Texas dropped the women’s Medicaid program entirely. In 2013, Texas insteadlaunched the state-funded TWHP replacement program — without Planned Parenthood. Since then, state health officials and lawmakers have boasted that the new program has more than 4,000 providers, and claimed that others could easily fill the void.
The new TxPEP data suggests otherwise.
<—–That is one crazy ass if you ask me.
So the college hasn’t “fired” her…she is leaving on her own accord.
Wheaton College political science professor Larycia Hawkins has decided to part ways with the college just five days before a faculty hearing was scheduled to help decide her fate at the school, according to an email from president Philip Ryken to the campus on Saturday.
In a separate email to the faculty, Wheaton provost Stan Jones said in an email Saturday that he has withdrawn charges for firing Hawkins and asked Hawkins for forgiveness.
“I asked Dr. Hawkins for her forgiveness for the ways I contributed to the fracture of our relationship, and to the fracture of Dr. Hawkins’ relationship with the College,” he wrote.
Hawkins was placed on administrative leave on Dec. 15 after she published a Facebook post suggesting that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. The statement set off a wave of controversy across the country amid larger debates about the role of Muslims in America.
Hey, what is a moon post without some space news.
Starting with an obit:
Edgar Mitchell, the first astronaut to have both a doctorate degree (an Sc.D. from MIT) and a track record as a successful test pilot, was the sixth human ever to walk on the moon.
NASA announced Friday that astronaut Edgar Mitchell passed away on Thursday, just one day before the 45th anniversary of his moon landing.
Dr. Mitchell was the lunar module pilot on Apollo 14, which launched in Jan. 31, 1971. He traveled to space alongside Alan Shephard and Stuart A. Roosa.
“As a member of the Apollo 14 crew, Edgar is one of only 12 men to walk on the moon,” said NASA administrator Charles Bolden in a statement, “and he helped to change how we view our place in the universe.”
In a 1997 interview for NASA’s oral history program, Mitchell said he was committed to becoming an astronaut as soon as he heard about Sputnick.
“I set my cap toward amassing qualifications that I thought would be attractive to NASA in 1957. It took nine years, but I got a doctorate, got additional flight experience, additional jet hours, was assigned to the Manned Orbiting Laboratory Program for a while, so, getting space management experience. All of that went on for nine years till I was selected in 1966….
Born in Texas during the Great Depression, he became an astronaut in 1966, after receiving an Sc.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT in 1964.
Prior to his own trip to space, Mitchell worked on several Apollo projects. He was a member of the team that worked to bring Apollo 13 home after an oxygen tank explosion damaged the space craft.
There is more to read about the man at the link but I thought this was interesting:
As a researcher, Mitchell was fascinated by the idea of consciousness. During the Apollo 14 mission, Mitchell conducted his own experiments on extrasensory perception, also known as thought transference.
While the other astronauts, Shephard and Command Module pilot Stuart Roosa, were sleeping, Mitchell experimented with mind reading. He concentrated on prearranged symbols while four contacts at home attempted to guess what he was thinking about. Approximately a quarter of the guesses were correct.
The experiments changed his life. In an interview with People magazine three years later, Mitchell said, “It was euphoric, one of those rare moments in life when you seemed to be able to reach out and touch the universe, when you had an intuitive flash about the real meaning of truth.”
He also felt that Nasa was covering proof that aliens had visited earth.
More at the link.
NASA has built a moving computer model of the sun’s magnetic fields, aiming to help educate people on how magnetic fields work and show how those fields could result in a disaster.
Germans call it Backpfeifengesicht. It’s a colloquialism which translated means “a face that needs to be hit.” However, you don’t need to be German to want to punch Ted Cruz in the face. While there hasn’t been any formal polling on the question, I personally would feel safe wagering money on it being over 50 percent of America. But what does this all mean? Are we a nation of unreasonable bullies for wanting this?
Doctor Richard Cytowic has taken some time to explain to America why they are not a nation of bad people for their burning desire to smash a knuckle sandwich into Ted Cruz’s jaw. It turns out this is all a very natural and very scientific thing we are experiencing.
While I would never actually suggest someone would do something like punch Ted Cruz in the face (I’m not suggesting they don’t either), the feeling that you want to means you are operating at a normal mental state – so just enjoy the feeling and embrace it within reason.
Dr. Cytowic explained that humans learn to read facial expressions from the day they are born. It’s one of our most rudimentary and instinctual means of communication. Our brains have had a million years of practice at reading facial expressions, generating an instant like or dislike of the person that they are attached to. To put it more simply, it’s an evolutionary survival trait to determine friend from foe, and our brains are extremely good at it by now.
With this in mind, it explains a lot about why practically everyone hates Ted Cruz. It isn’t just his policy. There are oodles of idiot Republicans we could hate for that same reason. Ted brings out a more visceral and emotional reaction, unlike most others. Even among his fellow Republicans nobody likes him, and that says a lot.
Dr. Cytowic goes on to describe how Cruz’s facial expressions do not shift the way normal Human expression does. He has rarely observed a normal smile from Ted Cruz. In a normal smile the corners of the mouth go up, and the muscles circling the eyes contract making them narrow and forming crow’s feet at the outside corners. When it comes to Ted, his mouth just tightens into a straight line, and on the rare occasion that it deviates from this, the corners bend downward. The outside of his eyes bend downward as well, which is completely opposite of what is normal, as the eyebrows typically bend upwards.
To put it simply, Ted Cruz has a look of disgust on his face that only gets worse when he tries to look happy and smile. It’s like he is some kind of anti-politician, because you would think that someone who has his kind of fan base would naturally be able to express themselves more pleasantly. So remember, when you see Ted on TV and you want to throw something at the screen, it means you’re ok because it’s only natural.
Next up…from Cracked Magazine:
Remembering silent film star Ramon Novarro on his birthday (6 February 1899 – 30 October 1968)
He was a leading romantic and action star in the late 1920’s with hits such asBen-Hur,Across to Singapore (with Joan Crawford) and The Student Prince in Old Heidelburg (with Norma Shearer). I find him very effective in a speaking part as a love struck soldier in Mata Hari with Greta Garbo.
He struggled throughout his life as a gay man who was also a fervent Catholic. He refused MGM’s arrangement of a “lavender” marriage, preferring to live somewhat openly with journalist Herbert Howe. He was murdered in 1968 by two young hustlers who thought he had a lot of money. They beat him to death, and got away with just $20.
Have a great afternoon…this is an open thread.
And enjoy this slideshow of paper moons…..some images were not used in the post above.
I was at my daughter’s Christmas choral concert last night, so I missed the…cough, cough…debate.
There is also a nasty cold going around my house, and I am trying to fight it off. Over sleeping and such, so today’s post is just a link dump…and nothing more.
The jury could not reach a decision in the first trial of a Baltimore police officer charged in connection with the death of Freddie Gray.
The jury deliberated over three days, and there was signs that the jury may not reach a unanimous decision.
Jurors told the court Tuesday they were deadlocked after less than a full day of deliberations but the judge sent them back, asking them to continue to work toward a unanimous verdict in the charges against police officer William Porter.
Back to the news links.
In no particular order, as you can see I’m really in the funk.
On the heels of the news that a Tennessee woman was so desperate enough to use a clothes hanger on herself to self abort: This Disturbing New Ohio Abortion Bill Is More Than Just Ridiculous…It’s Grisly «
The latest brainchild of the Ohio Republican party is a new bill that will require women to authorize and ultimately be financially responsible for the burial or cremation of their “child.” The proposed legislation takes religious zealotry to the state level, where Buckeyes are known for doing incredibly stupid things.
The bill would require women to sign a form, meaning there has to be some kind of record-keeping, but the creepy weirdos who introduced this idiocy promise that doesn’t constitute a “registry.” Unfortunately for them, yeah…it kinda does.
Attorney General Mike DeWine, after investigating Planned Parenthood for months at the taxpayers’ expense and coming up empty-handed, got all misty-eyed when he “found” that Planned Parenthood had been “simply tossing them in landfills” — invoking the idea of huge piles of household garbage and a woman in a lab coat tossing fully formed little children on top without emotion. Basically, DeWine couldn’t find anything, so he invented something.
The Christian right got a hold of that information and immediately began weeping for humanity. If only those fetuses who are far more often than not nothing but zygotes could be replaced with those evil abortion doctors. That would help protect the sanctity of life. They took the ball and ran with it, choosing one of their chief loons, State Rep Barbara Shears, to explain to the people that the bill isn’t politically motivated:
“The idea of respectfully treating the remains of an infant who has been aborted, I think is critical. And I think that you can see how we treat our own childhood pets when we are disposing of them in a respectful way, you know I think that people are shocked. And I don’t think that it matters whether you are Republican or Democrat or Independent or oblivious to politics all together.”
Of course it has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with the place you go on Sunday that you want to impose on the rest of America because you and the Duggars are better than we are. Childhood pets? Wait…here’s a great paragraph from WVXU in Cincinnati:
Representative Robert McColley says there are still details to work out…such as whether there would be specific cemeteries for the bodies or places where cremains could be spread. Right now, in Ohio, he says the state does not record the names of women who get abortions and he says while the state would require all women to sign this form, the goal would not be to start a statewide registry of sorts.
Bodies. Cremains. Cemeteries. How long before they require little funerals? These a**holes don’t understand that when a woman loses or is forced to terminate a pregnancy at a stage where what is lost looks like “Walter” from the Planned Parenthood videos, it is most often not welcome and extremely traumatic. It also accounts for a very small percentage of abortions. The entire issue is misleading and unfair, which is about par for the Christian right’s course.
Gabriel Mann of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio said:
“This law that Ohio Planned Parenthood affiliates have been following has been in effect for 40 years, 3 months and 14 days and nobody had any problems with them following the law until Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine had to announce that Planned Parenthood was following the law. And he got very frustrated by the fact that he had to tell the truth and now they need a new law.”
40 years plus and now all of a sudden this.
On to the next, ‘Fox & Friends’ Jizz Their Stockings In Yuletide Rage | Wonkette
The two hear Ferrer out and pay an assload of lip service to the idea of diversity being amazing, and then Doocy sets PTA mama up to deliver Fox News’s trademarked ass-chapping grievance of the holiday season:
DOOCY: You’re wearing a Santa Mickey shirt. You can wear that into the school, BUT?
FERRER: We’re not allowed to say the “Merry Christmas.”😦
FOX NEWS SADFACE JIZZ EXTRAVAGANZA, DING DING DING!
But you see, this is not typical Fox News War On Christmas fare. This isn’t Gretchen Carlson bellyaching about how the Festivus Feats Of Strength are prohibiting her from suckling the baby Jesus to her Miss America teats. This is not Fox’s Todd Starnes, Alleged Pee Enthusiast, pushing a fake story about a Georgia school confiscating Christmas cards. And it’s definitely not Starbucks doing abortions to Jesus in His manger, by making a red cup.
Read the whole thing from Wonkette, I just love the sentence about Carlson.
British man who told police he ‘may have penetrated teenager after falling on top of her’ cleared of rape
Ehsan Abdulaziz was accused of forcing himself on the 18-year-old as she slept on the sofa in his London apartment, after a night drinking at an exclusive nightclub.
When he was questioned, the 46-year-old businessman said he had slipped and fallen on top of the girl, which may have caused his penis to penetrate her.
“I’m fragile, I fell down but nothing ever happened. Between me and this girl, nothing ever happened,” said Abdulaziz, reported Mirror Online.
The real estate mogul’s semen & DNA were found in the girl. He was allowed to present the judge evidence in private
The young girl said she woke up in the early hours of the morning and real estate mogul Ehsan Abdulaziz, 46, was raping her.
Abdulaziz had previously slept with the teenager’s 24-year-old friend in his bedroom. He claimed that he had walked over to the young girl to offer to give her a t-shirt, when he tripped and fell on her, with his penis still sticking out of his underwear from the previous sexual encounter.
An investigation found that Abdulaziz’ semen and DNA were inside the teenage girl, but he claimed this was leftover from having sex with the teen’s friend.
The millionaire property developer also blamed the alleged rape survivor for pulling him on top of her. “I’m fragile, I fell down but nothing ever happened, between me and this girl nothing ever happened,” Abdulaziz said, according to British media reports.
Abdulaziz had met the young women in a high-end London club. He invited them to his private $1,500-per-night table and bought them both drinks.
Later that night, the millionaire offered to drive them home in his lavish Aston Martin car.
Abdulaziz is married and lives with his wife and child. At the time of the incident, the two were spending the summer in the Czech Republic.
The jury, in London’s Southwark Crown Court, acquitted the millionaire after roughly 30 minutes of deliberation.
British publication the Daily Mail reported that, “During the trial, Judge Martin Griffiths permitted the rare step of allowing 20 minutes of Mr Abdulaziz’s evidence to be heard in private.”
Let’s end it on a positive note, of sorts: Got Calcium? Wild Parrots Use Tools During Snack Time
The black-feathered greater vasa parrot has a new skill to add to its resume — the use of tools to grind shells to create calcium powder, which it then proceeds to lick up with its pink tongue, a new study finds.
The vasa parrot is now the only known species besides humans to use tools for grinding, the researchers said.
The finding was an “entirely fortuitous discovery,” said study lead author Megan Lambert, a doctoral student of psychology at the University of York. She and her colleagues were observing 10 captive greater vasa parrots (Coracopsis vasa) in aviaries that had floors covered with cockleshells, soil, wood chips and pebbles, she said. [Pretty Bird: Images of a Clever Parrot]
“[We] noticed they were interacting quite a bit with objects from the floor of their aviary,” Lambert told Live Science. “So we took a closer look and that’s when we found they were actually using tools.”
The parrots were picking up pebbles or date pits with their beaks and grinding the tools against the cockleshells to create a fine calcium powder. (Seashells are mostly made of calcium carbonate.) The birds then licked the powder off the tools, which gave them a nutritious calcium snack, Lambert said.
Sometimes the parrots used the pebbles or pits as a wedge to help them break the seashells into small pieces that were easier to eat and digest, she added.
“What’s also particularly interesting is that we observed a lot of tool transfer, where one bird would actually approach group members and steal the tool directly from their beak, and then go on to use it on a shell,” she said.
This is an open thread.
We have a variety of links for you today. Typical of an average Sunday…unfortunately, I could not muster up the creativity and string a theme together. So the images will have to do, they are from the website BluntCard.com. (I think some of them are funny…hope you do too.)
Anyway, let’s get this shit rolling.
Sensitized by the grim headlines which daily announce the appalling plight of twentieth-century refugees in eastern Europe, I was motivated to investigate the behavior and conditions of medieval refugees fleeing the Mongols. In reviewing the sources I was struck by the abundance and vividness of the surviving evidence. My original plan was to study the Hungarian situation in comparison with similar experiences of other peoples who had been invaded by the Mongols, then to follow this with a comparative treatment of Hungarian refugees with parallels elsewhere in medieval Europe. This had to be discarded when I learned that the presumed secondary literature on this topic meager and peripheral. The systematic historical study of medieval refugees is yet to be written. The question of what where the experiences of medieval refugees appears seldom to have been raised and even less often answered.
Okay enough on that…up next, a big ass hole: Crater in Russia triples in size in ten months to become 120m wide sinkhole – Asia – World – The Independent
The latest images taken by helicopters shows that earlier reassurance from an expert inspecting the site in April that the hole was “more or less stable” was incorrect, the Siberian Times reports.
The images show the nearby homes are now at risk of collapsing into the hole but local officials have said that no one is in physical danger.
The hole was caused by flood erosion in a underground mine…maybe this is what that sinkhole in Louisiana looks like under all that water?
Let’s look at another hole: Greece crisis: Cancer patients suffer as health system fails – BBC News
As Greece careers towards another election later this month, the country’s healthcare system is continuing to crumble.
Funding for state-run hospitals has been cut by more than 50% since the debt crisis started in 2009.
They suffer from severe shortages in everything, from sheets, gauzes and syringes, to doctors and nurses.
Nothing suggests the height of human achievement and economic prowess quite like a skyscraper.
The newly completed 2,073-foot-tall Shanghai Tower is officially the second-tallest building in the world (behind Dubai’s Burj Khalifa) and the tallest in China.
And taller skyscrapers are planned, such as China’s Sky City and Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Tower.
But as “cool” as all of these buildings are, glitzy construction booms have historically coincided with the beginnings of economic downturns, according to Barclays’ “Skyscraper Index.” (For all you economics wonks out there, basically, skyscrapers can be considered a sentiment indicator.)
Using Barclays’ index, we pulled together 10 skyscrapers whose constructions overlapped with financial crises.
This Francisco Goldman article in The New Yorker is a good run-down of what is going on in Guatemala.Citizens finally came together to stand up to the kleptocracy that has run the country since the end of the civil war of the 80s. Protests have brought down Otto Pérez Molina after already taking out most of his administration. This is a great moment of democratic protest in a nation where political violence has been endemic for a very long time.
…we are in a renaissance of excellent historical writing for a general public that wants to read something more than hagiographic narratives. Add Adam Rothman’s Beyond Freedom’s Reach to the list. Rothman tells the story of Rose Herera, a New Orleans slave whose children were spirited away to Cuba by her master during the Civil War. Centering kidnapping in the slave experience, Rothman takes what could be a fairly slender story based upon a relative paucity of evidence to build a tale of great bravery and persistence within a rapidly changing world where African-Americans had relatively little power even in the immediate aftermath of the war.
An update on a story from a while back….Cops Who Killed Man with Down Syndrome Over a Movie Ticket Blame Paramedics Who Tried to Save Him | Alternet
…the case of Ethan Saylor.
Saylor, a 26-year-old with Down syndrome, was at a movie theater with a health care aide watching “Zero Dark Thirty.” The movie had finished, but Ethan didn’t want to leave the theater after the film ended, hoping to watch it again.
The cinema manager, angry that the mentally-handicapped man didn’t quite understand that one ticket is only good for one viewing, called three off-duty-deputies who were moonlighting as security guards. The cops decided to forcibly evict Saylor from the theater, refusing to listen to his aide, who had already contacted Saylor’s mother in an effort to defuse the situation.
Instead, as is all too common the case, the cops got violent, taking Saylor to the ground and piling on top of him as they attempted to handcuff him. In the process, this young man’s trachea was fractured, and he died of asphyxiation.
The autopsy report indicated that Saylor died from asphyxiation, and had sustained a fracture to his larynx, with the coroner listing his cause of death as homicide.
While Saylor’s death was ruled a homicide, an internal “investigation” cleared the three officers, Lt. Scott Jewell, Sgt. Rich Rochford and Deputy First Class James Harris, of any wrongdoing. No charges were brought against any of the officers involved in his death.
Much to the dismay of almost everyone involved in the case, a Frederick County grand jury declined to indict the deputies after their review of the case.
After the failure of the state to hold these officers criminally accountable for Saylor death, as is often the case when law enforcement kills a citizen, the family filed a wrongful-death suit against the deputies.
According to a report in The Frederick News Post:
In the initial complaint, filed in October 2013, Saylor’s family alleged violations of his civil rights and of the Americans with Disabilities Act by the state, county sheriff’s deputies and the companies that employed the men as security guards at the Regal Cinemas Westview Stadium 16 theater.
A year later, a federal judge dismissed all of the claims against the theater company, and also dismissed a simple negligence claim against the deputies and a wrongful-death claim against the state.
Claims that the deputies — Richard Rochford, Scott Jewell and James Harris — were grossly negligent and that the state failed to train them were allowed to go forward.
While the family is certain that the fractured larynx was a result of the violent altercation, defense attorneys for the cops claimed in their latest court filings that the injuries found on Saylor were from the paramedic’s efforts to save his life, and not their brutal attack.
One of the experts identified by the defense was Dr. Jeffrey Fillmore, the emergency department physician who treated Saylor at Frederick Memorial Hospital. According to court filing by the defense, Fillmore would testify that the autopsy and other evidence are not consistent with asphyxia as the cause of Saylor’s death.
On Tuesday, attorney for Saylor’s family, Joseph Espo, told the AP that his expert witnesses disagree with almost everything in the filing by the deputies’ attorneys. Records indicate that those witnesses include a disabilities expert, a police liabilities expert, a pathologist and another medical doctor.
Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking aspects of this case is the fact that Saylor was an avid fan of law enforcement and was reportedly fascinated by police. Some may argue that the cops did not intend to kill Ethan, but the fact that they couldn’t de-escalate a simple situation over a movie ticket, and instead resorted to deadly violence speaks to the corrupting sickness that is prevalent in policing today.
More crazy in the judicial system:
An explosion of cellphone videos has brought renewed attention to police practices, provoking criticism, indictments and talk of criminal justice overhaul. Courtroom videos of judges in action, however, are far rarer.
But one surreptitious video in a small-town Georgia court has led to an overhaul of court practices there. The video showed the judge threatening to jail traffic violators who could not come up with an immediate payment toward their fines.
On with some reviews of movies that look like something we all would find interesting:
Each September brings severe disappointment for those of us interested in seeing women taken seriously in the Oscar race. And by that, I mean women on screen and behind the scenes. It seems that the conversation for some time has been about important men doing important historical things and changing the world, while the contributions of women were made as wives and assistants. They weren’t the center of the action. It is worth noting that, last year, none of the best-picture nominees had a female protagonist and only one had a female director.
“Suffragette” bursts onto the screen and shows the power and presence of women in history. AND it is written, directed and produced by women. It is a movie that shows us a struggle that few know anything about — the women’s battle for the vote in the UK — but that is resonant today, in this country, because of the assault to voting rights going on right now. It is a reminder that, not too long ago, women had no power, no access to money and were thought to lack the brains to participate in issues related to governance. We still have much to do on the issue of women’s rights. Girls around the world are not being educated because they are girls. Girls are sold into marriage. Women are not allowed to leave their homes in places, women are still raped and assaulted everywhere and we are not paid equally.
I don’t know how to end this post, so just consider it an open thread.