Good Morning Sky Dancers!
Pop Culture generally trolls political figures with good reason. Will Ferrell’s George Bush on SNL was always a treat as the word garbling, incurious George who bumbled us into two wars. Ferrell’s recent performance filled up twitter for at least a day and is still a subject of discussion.
“Saturday Night Live” opened last night with a hilarious sketch of Will Ferrell reprising his role as President George W. Bush. Having worked on SNL’s production staff for most of the Bush years, I can say that this was one of the best Bush sketches the show has served up in terms of laughs. But I have to disagree with SNL’s implication that Bush was as bad, if not worse, of a president as Donald Trump. It’s no comparison — Trump is far worse.
SNL’s Bush cold open kicked off with a few jokes that reminded us of the way the iconic comedy show portrayed the 43rd President as a bumbling but likable guy. There was Will Ferrell as Bush telling us: “You might remember, the W stands for wassssup!” and adding that lately he had been working on his oil paintings and earning an online MFA from the University of Phoenix.
The show then turned to the politics of today. “Bush” boasted that his approval ratings are at an all-time-high, referring to recent news that his favorability has drastically increased since he left office. (When Bush left office, he was saddled with a dismal 33% favorability rating.) Ferrell then joked, “That’s right. Donny Q. Trump came in, and suddenly I’m looking pretty sweet by comparison. At this rate, I might even end up on Mount Rushmore, right next to Washington, Lincoln and I want to say, uh, Kensington?”
But then SNL pivoted to remind us how bad Bush was as President, with Ferrell laughingly reminding us: “I was really bad — like historically not good.”
“Don’t forget: We’re still in two different wars that I started,” he added. Ferrell then paused before delivering a killer line: “What has two thumbs and created ISIS? This guy!” and pointing at himself.
“Bush” also highlighted how awful the economy was when he left office. He held up a chart that showed the stock market tanking and joked: “Now I’m no ‘economer’ but even I know that was ‘no bueno.'”
SNL was right that Bush had earned his horrible approval ratings. But what SNL missed — perhaps even intentionally to spark a debate — is how horrific Trump is in terms of trying to divide us by race, religion and even immigration status as compared to Bush.
For example, during Trump’s presidential campaign he despicably ginned up hate against Muslims with his comment that he thinks “Islam hates us” and his call for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” And as President, he has tried to implement an immigration ban primarily directed at a number of Muslim majority nations.
What a contrast to Bush and his words only weeks after the 9/11 terror attack committed by Al Qaeda. With the nation watching, Bush didn’t try to stoke hate against Muslims. Instead, he declared: “The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends.” Bush then added about Islam, “Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah.”
Then, the Grammys trolled Trump with celebs reading excerpts from “Fire and Fury”. Hillary Clinton was the surprise ending for this gag reading the part about Trump’s obsession with being poisoned and trusting that won’t happen with a Big Mac.
Bruno Mars beat Jay-Z for the top Grammy Awards on Sunday, but the surprise star of the night was former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton reading from Michael Wolff’s controversial book “Fire and Fury.”
A taped parody sketch saw Grammy Awards host James Corden audition celebrities, including John Legend, Cher, Cardi B and Snoop Dogg. They read excerpts from the deeply critical book about President Donald Trump’s first year in office, ostensibly as contenders for a spoken word Grammy.
The Twitter erupted with all kinds of things including upset tweets from Nikki Haley and Drumpfling Jr.
This raises a concern in my mind. Granted, Smothers’ Brothers or SNL or any myriad of Talk Shows have always done sketches on Presidents. Some of the parodies and bits probably bothered them because they were generally unflattering but we’ve not had a President that’s such a toddler and so narcissistic that it makes me wonder if we’re not playing into it and feeding the monster? Toddlers generally find any attention to be worth doing whatever to get it. KKKremlin Caligula seems to find a way into everything media oriented this day to the point I just want to shut it all off. I’m beginning to not be entertained by this stuff at all. I’d just like them to ignore him for awhile. This man is a bottomless pit of ego needs. I’d like to hear about just about any one else for a change!
Except, the stuff like this that should be EVERYWHERE!!!
Today, all Democratic Members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sent a letter asking Chairman Trey Gowdy to issue a subpoena to finally compel the Department of Homeland Security to produce documents it has been withholding from Congress for months relating to Russian government-backed efforts to monitor, penetrate, or otherwise hack at least 21 state election systems in the 2016 election.
Congress late last year received “extraordinarily important new documents” in its investigation of President Donald Trump and his campaign’s possible collusion with the 2016 Russian election hacking, opening up significant new lines of inquiry in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s probe of the president, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) says in an exclusive new interview.
Warner, the intel committee’s top Democrat, says “end-of-the-year document dumps” produced “very significant” revelations that “opened a lot of new questions” that Senate investigators are now looking into, meaning the inquiry into Trump and the Russia hacking—already nearly a year old—will not be finished for months longer. “We’ve had new information that raises more questions,” Warner says in the interview, an extensive briefing on the state of the Senate’s Trump-Russia probe for The Global Politico, our weekly podcast on world affairs.
and this which the placeholder in the oval office has twitted as a good idea.
Congress is in disarray too. Are they really prepared to go down the road of an oncoming constitutional crisis?
The 115th Congress owes its historic turnover to the confluence of two events, one normal and one abnormal. First, there’s the start of a new presidential administration. Five of the first six members to resign this session1 did so to accept jobs in President Trump’s administration. That’s not unusual. It’s similar to the seven members who resigned in 2009 to join the Obama administration2 and the five members who left in 1993 to join Bill Clinton’s.
But in addition, three of the four most recent members to resign from the 115th Congress did so because they were accused of unwanted sexual advances: John Conyers, Trent Franks and Al Franken. (Ruben Kihuen, Blake Farenthold and Pat Meehan have announced they will not run for re-election for the same reason. However, a retirement from Congress at the end of one’s regularly scheduled term is not the same as a mid-session resignation, which is what we’re looking at here.)
The extraordinary string of sexual misconduct allegations over the past few months has led many people to conclude we are in the midst of an unprecedented cultural moment. In the political world, at least, the data bears that out. There has never been a concentration of sexual misconduct allegations that has caused as much public fallout before: The number of resignations over non-consensual sexual overtures in the last two months (three) has nearly matched the number in the preceding 116 years (five).3And it seems to be a recent phenomenon — the first member to resign for this reason was Bob Packwood in 1995. Admittedly, the data may be skewed; we’re relying partly on news reports for divining members’ reasoning, and sexual misconduct wasn’t exactly a big topic of media coverage for most of the 20th century. Even so, it shows a public reckoning like never before.
We have a midterm election coming up. Can we be certain that the Russians won’t be actively hacking key states again? Has social media gotten to the problem of the Russian Bots? Here’s something from UK’s Independent.
Russian bots retweeted Donald Trump nearly 500,000 times in the 10 weeks leading up to and directly following the US presidential election – 10 times more than they retweeted his rival, Hillary Clinton.
The findings come from Twitter’s latest report to the Senate Judiciary Committee, as Congress attempts to assess the effect of Russian social media activity on the 2016 election.
Twitter found that Russia-connected, automated accounts sent more than 2m election-related tweets between 1 September and 15 November 2016. The tweets came from more than 50,000 Russian bots, and accounted for approximately one per cent of all tweets sent at the time.
The bots engaged more heavily with Mr Trump than his opponent, accounting for more than 4 percent of the retweets he received. They accounted for less than 1 per cent of retweets received by Ms Clinton.
The bots also engaged heavily with Wikileaks, the organisation that first released emails hacked from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Russian bot accounts retweeted Wikileaks some 200,000 times over the 10-week timespan. They were responsible for nearly 5 per cent of tweets using #PodestaEmails.
I think it’s time we get more serious about these ongoing threats to our country and to democracy. It’s easy to laugh at the Reality Star occupying the White House but that part of him is the side show. The real threat is out there. It just needs more attention.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Last night, around 10:30, I saw a tweet about Tweety (Check out reply number 28)…it was tweeted that:
A former MSNBC employee who accused host Chris Matthews of sexual harassment in 1999 was given a separation payment by the network, according to a Daily Caller report.
Two sources told the Caller that a woman who was then an assistant producer on Matthews’ show “Hardball” accused the longtime MSNBC host of making inappropriate sexual comments about her while in the company of others. The sources say the company settled with the woman for $40,000.
However, MSNBC disputed the sources’ claims. The network confirmed to the Daily Caller that while they paid the woman, the money was given as part of a severance package and the amount paid was “significantly less” than $40,000.
A spokesman for MSNBC told the Caller that they “thoroughly reviewed” the situation and “formally reprimanded” Matthews, who has hosted “Hardball” on the network since 1997. He also hosted “The Chris Matthews Show” on the network after the settlement from 2002 to 2013.
NBC is blowing it off as having been dealt with officially at the time, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews was reprimanded over comments about woman in 1999 – NBC News
“In 1999 this matter was thoroughly reviewed and dealt with. At that time Matthews received a formal reprimand,” the MSNBC spokesperson said in an email Saturday.
The spokesperson said the woman complained to CNBC executives that Matthews made inappropriate jokes and comments about her in front of others, that the matter was reviewed and it was determined that the comments were inappropriate and in made in poor taste but were never meant as propositions. The show was on CNBC before it was on MSNBC.
Those of us who have seen Matthews in action, with his misogynistic treatment of women guest who appear on his show, and his disdain for strong women in politics or in any other position of power…this news of a settlement is really no surprise.
I know many will remember this comment Matthews made about Hillary:
That was just one of the sentiments he spilled on the air…and hey, let’s take it further a few minutes…Matthews wasn’t the only misogynist with harassment claims to have been responsible for the media “coverage” of Hillary during her campaign for president in 2016.
I posted the author’s twitter feed in case you want to follow her…
Taibbi is not alone obviously…let’s not forget Glenn Greenwald, or as Mona Eltahawy points out it this tread, Scahill and Blumenthal:
You should read the entire thread…
I thought this was interesting:
By the way:
Ending this with a horse’s ass:
What is going on with y’all? This is an open thread…
We just have three more days to go before we reach the bitter end of this terrible year, but there’s still plenty of time for things to get even worse.
Another Hollywood Icon Gone
Last night Debbie Reynolds left us, just one day after her daughter Carrie died. It sure seems as if Debbie died of a broken heart.
Debbie Reynolds, the Oscar-nominated singer-actress who was the mother of late actress Carrie Fisher, has died at Cedars-Sinai hospital. She was 84.
“She wanted to be with Carrie,” her son Todd Fisher told Variety.
She was taken to the hospital from Carrie Fisher’s Beverly Hills house Wednesday after suffering a stroke, the day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died.
The vivacious blonde, who had a close but sometimes tempestuous relationship with her daughter, was one of MGM’s principal stars of the 1950s and ’60s in such films as the 1952 classic “Singin’ in the Rain” and 1964’s “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” for which she received an Oscar nomination as best actress.
Reynolds received the SAG lifetime achievement award in January 2015; in August of that year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences voted to present the actress with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Nov. 14 Governors Awards, but she was unable to attend the ceremony due to an “unexpectedly long recovery from a recent surgery.”
Reynolds had a wholesome girl-next-door look which was coupled with a no-nonsense attitude in her roles. They ranged from sweet vehicles like “Tammy” to more serious fare such as “The Rat Race” and “How the West Was Won.” But amid all the success, her private life was at the center of one of the decade’s biggest scandals when then-husband, singer Eddie Fisher, left her for Elizabeth Taylor in 1958.
Demand James Comey immediately resign his position as director of the FBI. Immediately upon his departure launch an investigation of his public statements about the ongoing investigation relating to State Department handling of classified materials as blatant attempts to influence the election in violation of the Hatch Act.
Quick note, sorry this post is late. We went for a hike earlier today down the Appalachian Trail. It was beautiful, but man was it difficult for my fat ass to make it up those steep rocks. I will post some pictures at the end of the post…
Now, back to the thread.
According to CNN, these emails where in the hands of the FBI weeks ago. FBI discovered Clinton-related emails weeks ago – CNNPolitics.com
The discovery of a trove of emails from one of Hillary Clinton’s top aides occurred weeks ago, law enforcement officials told CNN.But the FBI didn’t disclose the discovery until Friday, raising questions about why the information was kept under wraps and then released only days before the election.The emails from Clinton aide Huma Abedin were found on a computer belonging to her estranged husband, Anthony Weiner.CNN reported on September 22 that prosecutors in Manhattan had issued a subpoena for Weiner’s communications as part of an investigation into alleged sexting with an underage girl.FBI criminal investigators soon after stumbled on the Abedin emails.By early October, it was clear to investigators that the emails may relate to the Clinton email server investigation, law enforcement officials said.But internal discussions at the FBI about how to proceed continued over the ensuing weeks.In his Friday letter to Congress, FBI Director James Comey said he was briefed on the new findings a day earlier. He didn’t say when he first learned of the existence of the emails.FBI officials moved to disclose the development then because they feared the information would leak otherwise, law enforcement officials said.Comey’s notification to Congress of the review is rocking the final days of the presidential race. Democrats are furious that Comey would revive the explosive issue of Clinton’s email server so close to the election. Donald Trump, meanwhile, is seizing on the review after spending weeks on the defense, hoping it will be a potent issue he can ride until the end of the contest.Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta blasted Comey on Sunday for disclosing the review.“He might have taken the first step of actually having looked at them before he did this in the middle of a presidential campaign, so close to the voting,” Podesta said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
It is also known that the FBI did not have a warrant for these emails.
What is even more disturbing is that one asshole in particular tweeted the letter before Democrats saw it….Senior Dem aide: Chaffetz tweeted Comey’s letter before Democrats even saw it – Shareblue
A senior Democratic congressional aide provided the following statement to Shareblue:
Democratic Ranking Members on the relevant committees didn’t receive Comey’s letter until after the Republican Chairmen. In fact, the Democratic Ranking Members didn’t receive it until after the the Chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Jason Chaffetz, tweeted it out and made it public.
This is disturbing, but not surprising. During the Benghazi hearings, it become abundantly clear that Republican members were not seeking the truth but were cynically playing politics with the lives of dead Americans to derail Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
The strange events of October 29 are further confirmation that Republican politicians like Chaffetz are using their office not to do the people’s business, but to target a single Democrat for destruction, using any means necessary.
They will fail, because voters see through their dirty tricks.
24 hours after Chaffetz pulled his stunt and Trump’s campaign jumped on the bandwagon, it has backfired. Clinton’s supporters are outraged and energized, more eager than ever to defend Clinton against these scurrilous attacks.
I hope the editors of ShareBlue are correct about this latest attack backfiring. The thought of a Trump presidency is too much for me to bear.
Another major earthquake in Italy overnight:
A strong earthquake that shook Italy on Sunday morning took a heavy toll on historic churches and other landmark buildings, some dating back to the Middle Ages.
No deaths were reported, and only “tens” of injuries, but the physical damage was extensive.
In Preci, the walls of a hillside cemetery came crashing down on top of the Abbey of Saint Euticius, founded in the 5th century by a group of Syrian monks and hermits and now crushed under the weight of its own burial ground.
The old town of Arquata del Tronto, in the central region of Le Marches, was virtually destroyed, along with its 13th century church dedicated to Saint Francis. Only the castle remains, still standing guard over the ruins below.
In Norcia, a city that considers itself the birthplace of pork sausages, three of the most important churches were heavily damaged.
Yes, you read that right…the birthplace of pork sausages.
Sunday’s quake was the strongest of a recent flurry of earthquakes. It registered 6.5 on the Richter scale, according to Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, and was felt the entire length of the Italian boot. It struck at 7:40 a.m. local time. The strongest hit areas were Le Marche and Umbria.
Even in Rome, more than 110 miles to the east, the papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls was damaged. It shows some cracks on its facade, some cornices have crumbled, and a candelabra is at risk of dropping down from the ceiling.
Prime Minister Matteo Renzi vowed that Italy would rebuild the homes, churches and other damaged structures and that financial resources would be found to restore essential elements of the national identity and cultural heritage. “We will rebuild everything,” he said Sunday, “the houses, the churches, the shops. We are dealing with marvelous territories, territories of beauty.”
The number of human casualties could have been much greater, but residents of many of the historic town centers had been moved out when the tremors began last week.
This last bit is sad…look what happened to a rose window that was repaired just recently.
“In Italy we do not throw away the rubble,” said Fabio Carapezza-Guttuso, the Ministry of Culture’s national crisis management unit officer. “Even single stones are numbered and handpicked so that they can later be used in the reconstruction, along with pieces of wood, iron and beams. It’s a big effort, and that is why we employ archaeologists to sift through the ruins.”
Carapezza-Guttuso mentioned, as an example, the work done to restore the rose window of the church of Saint Augustine in Amatrice, which was badly damaged in a deadly earthquake in August. That window is now ready — but what remained of the church collapsed Sunday.
The latest in men’s birth control…halted, because the men can’t take the side effects.
Injectable birth control for men can prevent pregnancy – Study | TRT World That link will give you the particulars.
But as for the pussies who can’t take the pain…depression…or acne: Yes, contraceptives have side effects – and it’s time for men to put up with them too | The Independent
The finding that the latest version of the injected male contraceptive is now very effective is fantastic news. In a trial of 320 men, researchers found that, over a one-year period, it was 96 per cent effective in preventing pregnancy. A spokesperson for the World Health Organisation said: “The study found it is possible to have a hormonal contraceptive for men that reduces the risk of unplanned pregnancies in the partners of men who use it.”
But the trial of the drug has already been halted – because just 20 of the men (out of 320, don’t forget) found the side effects of the injection intolerable and it was decided that more research needed to be done to try and counteract them. Those side effects included depression, muscle pain, mood swings, acne and changes to the libido.
Do any of those side effects sound familiar? Oh yes, they’re the minor side effects of the combined pill, used by 48 per cent of women aged 16 to 19, 64 per cent of women aged between 20 and 24 and a majority (55 per cent) of those aged between 25 and 29.
How sad for these poor men – they couldn’t handle the side effects that so many women have to deal with every day just to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. Women have had to bear the responsibility of contraceptionsince the pill was first launched in 1962 – and all of the side effects that go along with it.
As most anyone with a uterus can attest to, hormonal contraception can have some serious side effects, including nausea, headaches, weight gain, decreased libido, depression, and yes, mood swings.
Broadly reports on new research from the University of Edinburgh which suggests that men might also be able to effectively take hormonal birth control, meaning women wouldn’t solely have to suffer than burden. But before you throw a parade/throw out your pills, you should know that the study was stopped because men were experiencing side effects that many women using hormonal contraception currently experience.
Let us stick with periods for a bit…
Men wait an average of 49 minutes before being treated for abdominal pain. For women, the wait is 65 minutes for the same symptoms. It’s thought that this is because women are seen as exaggerating pain and being ‘dramatic’ due to sexist stereotypes
John Guillebaud, professor of reproductive health at University College London, revealed this week that research shows period pain can be as “bad as having a heart attack”. He said: “Men don’t get it and it hasn’t been given the centrality it should have. I do believe it’s something that should be taken care of, like anything else in medicine.”
Dr Imogen Shaw, a GP specialising in women’s healthcare, welcomed his comments, saying: “I wouldn’t say [period pain] has been hugely investigated,” and when asked if the issue would be taken more seriously if men experienced it, said: “I suspect there would be, being very cynical.”
It is extraordinary how little the medical profession engages with menstruation. Although recent years have seen period taboos broken through social media campaigns, this has yet to permeate medical discourse – and periods are seldom given serious medical consideration in research. Scant research has been conducted on specific pain prevention or pain relief and devices such as tampons, moon-cups and sanitary towels remain rudimentary.
It’s not only women’s period pain which is taken less seriously, either – ignoring women’s pain is a concerning practise across medicine. Recent research has shown that women’s pain is taken much less seriously by doctors generally.
Stigma around menstruation in rural Nepal can result in poor-health and lack of education for women, but 7 girls from Sindhuli have fought back – with photography
“Being able to deal with periods in a hygienic and dignified way is crucial to women’s wellbeing. It helps women feel that they are able to play a full role in society, no matter what time of the month.”Sushma Diyali,15: “This is the picture of mirror and comb that I use at my house. In our society, when girls experience their first menstruation we are not allowed to look into mirrors or comb our hair.Me and my family do not follow such practice. I think mirrors and combs are the means of cleanliness and as a human it’s very important that you should stay clean and healthy. Only if my friends just like me could grow in an environment where are no limitations regarding menstruation and receive more support from the families, they can set themselves free and explore greater potential and opportunities around them is what I think.” (WaterAid)
Just a few more links for you, they follow along…
On April 25, 1777, a Mexican woman underwent an operation to remove six tumors from her breast. She commissioned an artist to paint it.
These Women Born Before Suffrage Will Finally Vote For A Female President | Huffington Post It is about damn time!
“Women’s Rights Are Human Rights,” the title of a poster exhibit at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, comes from a speech Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, then first lady of the United States, gave to the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in September 1995.
“If there is one message that echoes forth from this conference,” Clinton said, “it is that human rights are women’s rights. And women’s rights are human rights.”
This should put thinks into perspective: Officer had a ‘rapability’ scale for female drivers, ex-cop says – The Washington Post
But back to other less disturbing things.
For those of you who are not familiar with Myers-Briggs or the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator), it is a personality profiling system based on Jung’s typological theory that was developed by Katherine Cook Briggs and her daughter Isabel Briggs Myers. In the Myers-Briggs typology system, there are sixteen personality types consisting of four letters: E for extrovert or I for introvert, S for sensor or N for intuitive, T for thinker or F for feeler, and P for perceiver or J for judger. Psychologist David Keirsey later sorted these types into four temperaments. You can read more about Myers-Briggs here and find books about it here. Myers-Briggs typology can offer a lot of insight into how someone thinks, and in the case of an author, how someone writes.
Take a look at the breakdown at the link.
Still I’ve got more interesting articles for you.
Ushering in an uneasy world of femmes fatales and shady sleuths, The Maltese Falcon marked the beginnings of film noir. Seventy-five years on, how can this genre speak to our times?
Now, tell me…why would anyone buy this stuff: Soylent halts sales of its powder as customers keep getting sick – LA Times
Liquid meal maker Soylent is stopping sales of its flagship powder, warning that a handful of customers reported stomach sickness after consuming it.
Soylent had already halted shipments of its months-old nutrition bar because of customer complaints of diarrhea, vomiting and upset stomachs. In an announcement late Thursday, the Los Angeles company said there appears to be a common ingredient that’s causing trouble in the latest version of its nutritional powder and its snack bar. The products share several common ingredients, Soylent said, but the investigation isn’t complete.
Backed by more than $20 million in venture capital, Soylent has emerged as one of several popular start-ups hoping to change what and how people eat. Meant to be mixed with water or other liquids, the powder has enough fats, carbohydrates and other nutrients to replace a traditional meal, according to the company. People looking for a quick fix, such as software programmers in Silicon Valley, have become devotees.
Listen to me…Soylent Green is people!
Last link for the day, Why Does Fall Foliage Turn So Red and Fiery? It Depends. – The New York Times
Leaves scream their final cries in color before dropping to the ground. Their shouts — in golden, crimson or scarlet — eventually fade to brown bellows, and their lifeless bodies dry up on the forest floor. It absorbs their crinkly corpses and that’s it — worm food. The fall of a leaf in autumn is an orchestrated death. A complex, brilliant, beautiful death.
Right now across the United States, fall foliage season is peaking, and everyone’s out to get a peep at the fiery show. Hiking trails are crowded. Mountain roads are packed, andleaf cams are getting lots of love. When you think of it as watching the death of leaves, it sounds morbid, but it’s captivating nonetheless. Does the way some turn red in the process serve any purpose?
Leaves actually start out yellow. Chlorophyll, the chemical responsible for giving leaves their green appearance and converting light to energy during photosynthesis, just overpowers it in the spring and summer. But when temperature, daylight and weather events like rain or drought cause leaves to die in the fall, chlorophyll breaks down and reveals the yellow or orange helper chemicals known as carotenes or carotenoids that were there all along.
Red is another story, because it’s made on purpose. As some leaves die, they produce chemicals called anthocyanins (also found in the skin of grapes and apples) from built up sugars. These chemicals produce a red pigment that can combine with green pigments left from chlorophyll and display different shades of red.
How bright this red is depends on what species the leaf belongs to, its inherent genetics and the environment around it — including the forest, the tree, and individual leaves, said John Silander, an ecologist and evolutionary biologist at The University of Connecticut.
Well, the leaves are not as brilliant as I have seen before here in Banjoville…but they sure are pretty. Take a look, this is at Cowrock Mountain on the Appalachian Trail.
This is an open thread.
I spent most of yesterday in a state of extreme anger. As I’ve been writing for a long time now, I’m fed up with the media attacking Hillary and ignoring real questions about Donald Trump’s dishonesty and corruption. I’m hoping when I drive back to Massachusetts next week, I’ll find some peace and quiet all alone in my car. It usually works that way.
Late last night, lots of people on Twitter were having fun photoshopping a new Trump ad that showed three of his children (Where is Tiffany?). For the first time all day I was able to laugh. I’m going to use the best ones to illustrate this post. Here’s the original tweet from Donald Trump Jr. that started it all.
The corporate media spent the last day before Labor Day reveling in the release of the FBI’s notes from their interview with Hillary Clinton. Sadly for the New York Times and the rest of the national media circus, there was once again nothing to support their ravening desire to prove Hillary is a corrupt liar. Too bad, so sad. Oh, they tried their best to make her look bad, but with very little success.
It’s been a very bad couple of weeks for the corporate media. Now that we have twitter and blogs, they can’t escape criticism when they screw up, and they’ve screwed up royally. It must be very difficult for these “journalists” who like to think of themselves as so much smarter and more savvy than the rest of us to see their flawed stories and their own pompous attitudes mocked on Twitter. But why is it so hard for them to just admit when they’re wrong?
John Stoer at The Washington Monthly tries to understand Why Political Journalists Can’t Take Criticism. Stoer begins by discussing the AP’s claim last week that half of the people who met with Clinton as Secretary of State were Clinton Foundation Donors. It was simply ridiculous, but the AP still refuses to correct their false tweets about the horrible article. Then he offers a more recent example:
On NPR this morning, “Morning Edition” host Steve Inskeep asked Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake if he shares Clinton’s view on immigration. According to Trump, Inskeep said, his opponent favors “open borders” and “amnesty.”
This is an example of a statement that’s technically accurate, but entirely misleading. And dangerous. Yes, Trump has said, time and again, that Clinton wants “open borders” and “amnesty.” It’s also true that this claim exists only the realm of fantasy. Indeed, in an interview — just yesterday — NPR’s Mara Liasson told Inskeep those claims were false.
Journalists, I believe, are beholden to the truth. If they are unwilling to pay deference to the authority of the truth, even when that deference conflicts with the profession’s other guiding principles, there isn’t much point in being a journalist….
I got in touch with Inskeep on Twitter this morning to make him aware of his mistake. (I do not subscribe to the childish claim, as Glenn Greenwald does, that the American media is in the tank for one or the other candidate). It was an honest mistake. So I asked: Will you be offering a clarification?
I didn’t expect Inskeep to reply. When he did, it was not a good faith exchange between journalists about the concrete facts of the matter. He offered instead a series of bewildering deflections, obfuscations, and, to be frank, playing dumb.
Go over to The Washington Monthly to read the exchange.
Of course there are some journalists who are doing important investigative work. One is David Fahrenthold of The Washington Post who has spent the past year trying to find evidence of Trump’s charitable giving. He wrote the story that Dakinikat referenced yesterday about Trump’s illegal gift (essentially a bribe) to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi while she was considering joining a lawsuit against Trump University.
Donald Trump paid the IRS a $2,500 penalty this year, an official at Trump’s company said, after it was revealed that Trump’s charitable foundation had violated tax laws by giving a political contribution to a campaign group connected to Florida’s attorney general.
The improper donation, a $25,000 gift from the Donald J. Trump Foundation, was made in 2013. At the time, Attorney General Pam Bondi was considering whether to investigate fraud allegations against Trump University. She decided not to pursue the case.
Earlier this year, The Washington Post and a liberal watchdog group raised new questions about the three-year-old gift. The watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed a complaint with the IRS — noting that, as a registered nonprofit, the Trump Foundation was not allowed to make political donations.
The Post reported another error, which had the effect of obscuring the political gift from the IRS.
In that year’s tax filings, The Post reported, the Trump Foundation did not notify the IRS of this political donation. Instead, Trump’s foundation listed a donation — also for $25,000 — to a Kansas charity with a name similar to that of Bondi’s political group. In fact, Trump’s foundation had not given the Kansas group any money.
The prohibited gift was, in effect, replaced with an innocent-sounding but nonexistent donation.
Trump’s business said it was unaware of any of these mistakes until March, when it heard from the watchdog group and The Post.
Anyone who believes that this wasn’t a bribe that was deliberately hidden from the IRS is a hopeless fool. Twitter has been filled with comments on this story and questions about why no one else in the media is covering it, but I’ve seen no serious responses from corporate media reporters.
Another investigative reporters who has been doing important work is Gabriel Sherman of New York Magazine. Sherman is the author of a book on Roger Ailes, and he has spent month investigating the story of Ailes’ sexual abuse of women at Fox News. Sherman’s stories ultimately led to Ailes leaving the right wing network and going to work for Donald Trump. Here’s the latest blockbuster story from Sherman: The Revenge of Roger’s Angels. How Fox News women took down the most powerful, and predatory, man in media.
It took 15 days to end the mighty 20-year reign of Roger Ailes at Fox News, one of the most storied runs in media and political history. Ailes built not just a conservative cable news channel but something like a fourth branch of government; a propaganda arm for the GOP; an organization that determined Republican presidential candidates, sold wars, and decided the issues of the day for 2 million viewers. That the place turned out to be rife with grotesque abuses of power has left even its liberal critics stunned. More than two dozen women have come forward to accuse Ailes of sexual harassment, and what they have exposed is both a culture of misogyny and one of corruption and surveillance, smear campaigns and hush money, with implications reaching far wider than one disturbed man at the top.
It began, of course, with a lawsuit. Of all the people who might have brought down Ailes, the former Fox & Friends anchor Gretchen Carlson was among the least likely. A 50-year-old former Miss America, she was the archetypal Fox anchor: blonde, right-wing, proudly anti-intellectual. A memorable Daily Show clip showed Carlson saying she needed to Google the words czar and ignoramus. But television is a deceptive medium. Off-camera, Carlson is a Stanford- and Oxford-educated feminist who chafed at the culture of Fox News. When Ailes made harassing comments to her about her legs and suggested she wear tight-fitting outfits after she joined the network in 2005, she tried to ignore him. But eventually he pushed her too far. When Carlson complained to her supervisor in 2009 about her co-host Steve Doocy, who she said condescended to her on and off the air, Ailes responded that she was “a man hater” and a “killer” who “needed to get along with the boys.” After this conversation, Carlson says, her role on the show diminished. In September 2013, Ailes demoted her from the morning show Fox & Friends to the lower-rated 2 p.m. time slot.
Carlson knew her situation was far from unique: It was common knowledge at Fox that Ailes frequently made inappropriate comments to women in private meetings and asked them to twirl around so he could examine their figures; and there were persistent rumors that Ailes propositioned female employees for sexual favors. The culture of fear at Fox was such that no one would dare come forward. Ailes was notoriously paranoid and secretive — he built a multiroom security bunker under his home and kept a gun in his Fox office, according to Vanity Fair — and he demanded absolute loyalty from those who worked for him. He was known for monitoring employee emails and phone conversations and hiring private investigators. “Watch out for the enemy within,” he told Fox’s staff during one companywide meeting.
Taking on Ailes was dangerous, but Carlson was determined to fight back. She settled on a simple strategy: She would turn the tables on his surveillance. Beginning in 2014, according to a person familiar with the lawsuit, Carlson brought her iPhone to meetings in Ailes’s office and secretly recorded him saying the kinds of things he’d been saying to her all along. “I think you and I should have had a sexual relationship a long time ago, and then you’d be good and better and I’d be good and better. Sometimes problems are easier to solve” that way, he said in one conversation. “I’m sure you can do sweet nothings when you want to,” he said another time.
It’s a long, fascinating story. Read all the gory details at the New York Magazine link.
That’s all I have for you today. What stories are you following?
Today’s post is going to be mostly a link dump, because I have a busy day ahead; and besides, I’m still so overwhelmed with what’s happening in the news that I don’t think I can write anything much.
I’ll begin with Donald Trump’s latest inhuman tweet:
Apparently, Dwyane Wade (whose first name Trump misspelled) is a professional basketball player, and that may be what called Trump’s attention to the story. The Chicago Sun-Times: Woman pushing stroller fatally shot; was cousin of NBA star Wade.
“My cousin was killed today in Chicago,” Wade tweeted Friday night. “Another act of senseless gun violence. 4 kids lost their mom for NO REASON. Unreal. #EnoughIsEnough.”
Nykea Aldridge, of the 6400 block of South Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, was taken to Stroger Hospital with gunshot wounds to the head and arm and was pronounced dead at 4:15 p.m., according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
About 3:30 p.m., Aldridge, 32, was walking with a baby in a stroller and a man in the 6300 block of South Calumet when two male suspects walked up and fired shots at a third man, according to Chicago Police.
“As she was walking down the street some type of altercation occurred which didn’t involve her,” Deputy Chief of Detectives James Jones told reporters at Chicago Police headquarters Friday night.
Aldridge’s baby survived and is with relatives.
As with Trump’s reactions to the shootings in San Diego and Orlando, he sees this tragic death only as an opportunity for him. He doesn’t offer condolences; he apparently feels no empathy whatsoever for the woman who died so senselessly or for her family. He doesn’t even bother to use her name in his heartless tweet.
This is a man that much of the media spent yesterday defending against a serious speech by Hillary Clinton on how the Trump campaign is bringing vile white supremacist philosophies into the mainstream of the Republican Party. The “both-sidesism” in the media has been absolutely breathtaking, with multiple press and TV outlets pretending that Clinton’s serious policy speech is equivalent to Trump screaming “Hillary Clinton is a bigot” in a speech on the same day. Here’s prime example from The Washington Post: Clinton, Trump exchange racially charged accusations.
RENO, Nev. — A series of racially charged accusations dominated the presidential campaign Thursday, with Democrat Hillary Clinton accusing Donald Trump of “taking hate groups mainstream,” while the Republican nominee repeatedly claimed that Clinton is a “bigot” toward African Americans.
Clinton started the day by releasing a video that featured Ku Klux Klan members and white supremacists touting Trump’s candidacy — then gave an afternoon speech condemning Trump’s racially inflammatory remarks and support within the “alt-right,” which she described as an “emerging racist ideology.”
“Trump is reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters,” she said in the speech in Reno. “It’s a disturbing preview of what kind of president he’d be.”
Trump, meanwhile, declared in an interview on CNN that Clinton is a bigot — an accusation that he first made at a rally in Mississippi Wednesday night, but that he repeated several times under questioning from CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
“She is a bigot,” Trump said in the interview, which was broadcast Thursday. “If you look at what’s happening to the inner cities, you look at what’s happening to African Americans and Hispanics in this country, where she talks all the time.”
The blisteringly direct accusations brought the subjects of race and bigotry, previously undercurrents, to the surface of this year’s presidential election. And the exchanges hinted at just how nasty the verbal battle between Clinton and Trump could become in the roughly 10 weeks until the general election.
This false equivalency is maddening. How are racism and giving voice to white supremacist groups not serious issues in this campaign? Is the problem that the national media is overwhelmingly white? I just don’t get it.
A day after the Post published that ridiculous article, the editorial board denounced Trump’s racism: Republicans can’t pretend not to know what fuels the Trump campaign.
IN A major speech Thursday, Hillary Clinton linked Donald Trump to bigoted elements on the fringe of American politics. But she got it wrong when she said, “Trump is reinforcing harmful stereotypes and offering a dog whistle to his most hateful supporters.”
It’s not a “dog whistle” if everyone can hear the bigotry.
Republicans supporting Mr. Trump, explicitly or tacitly, cannot reasonably claim that they do not know who he is and what he has been doing.
Before running for president, Mr. Trump was the king of the “birthers” who questioned President Obama’s place of birth. He started his campaign by calling Mexican migrants rapists, then spoke approvingly of the inhumane 1950s deportation program known as “Operation Wetback” and delivered a convention speech that described a country overrun by violent foreigners. As Ms. Clinton recounted, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) called Mr. Trump’s attack on a federal judge because of his Mexican heritage “the textbook definition of a racist comment.” Add in the Republican nominee’s proposed Muslim travel ban, his false aspersions on the U.S. Muslim community, his long history of belittling women, his dissemination of an anti-Semitic graphic, and a clear picture was visible long before Ms. Clinton approached the lectern.
In more recent days, Mr. Trump has attempted to salvage his image with appeals nominally aimed at African Americans. Instead, he only dug himself deeper, depicting African Americans as desperate people living in abject squalor with nothing to lose. He hired a new campaign chief executive, Stephen Bannon, a man who has called the Civil War the “war of Southern Independence” and who ran a website that warned the Obama administration is “importing more hating Muslims.”
Unsurprisingly, polling shows that a majority of Americans believe Mr. Trump is biased against women and minorities. Whether Mr. Trump is a genuine bigot or just cynically appealing to bigoted sentiment is not a question we can answer. Certainly not everyone who supports Mr. Trump is a bigot. But Mr. Trump has attracted the support of assorted American bigots, once thought ejected from mainstream U.S. politics. The candidate has courted this support with plainly visible winks and nods, retweeting their messages and hesitating to disavow them when asked. At any point — such as last August, when the New Yorker’s Evan Osnos pointed out that white nationalists were rallying to Mr. Trump’s cause — Mr. Trump could have offered the loud, full and unequivocal condemnation of the bigoted fringe that the situation required.
So which is it, WaPo? Did Hillary give a “major speech” or did she simply participate in an ugly racial back and forth, as your writers suggested? It’s time for those in big media to make up their minds whether they are going to continue to push the false equivalency doctrine or if they are going to stand up to real bigotry and demagoguery. At least the the majority of the American people seem to have taken Trump’s measure and rejected him.
One media figure who has been mostly even-handed and who has even defended Clinton at times, Joy Reid of MSNBC, published a mystifying and depressing piece at The Daily Beast late last night: Can President Hillary Survive the Media’s Fake Scandals? Though Reid obviously is not completely unsympathetic, she certainly sounds very negative about a possible Clinton presidency. I’ll let you judge this article for yourself, because I’m just too disgusted to excerpt from it.
More stories to check out:
Massimo Calabrisi at Time: What Donald Trump Knew About Undocumented Workers at His Signature Tower.
The Daily Beast: Donald Trump’s ‘Apprentices’ Had to Agree to Go Nude.
Michael Gerson at the WaPo: Trump’s repellent inner circle
Jeremy Peters at the NYT: As Donald Trump Repels Minority Voters, GOP Fears Its Future in the West.
Politico: Teamsters endorse Hillary Clinton.
Portland Press Herald: LePage effectively endorses racial profiling in Maine’s battle against drug addiction and Heroin withdrawal symptoms.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a great weekend.
Oh, I know it is late. I spent last night…or should I say the early morning hours spying images to use for this afternoon’s post. Geez, imagine all that time being sucked into a black hole of Pinterest Far Side pins…and then realizing it is 5am and you have written nothing.
On the plus side, I do have some great cartoons for you, so enjoy those at least. (Most of them are from Gary Lawson, but there are other artist included as well…)
Now a few links, I’m introducing this article with a clip from Absolutely Fabulous…it is a quick little bit about chairs:
Starting at the 14:31 mark, the character Catriona is giving her suggestion for a editorial in the Magazine…and she mentions “chairs”:
And chairs I thought might be interesting.
I’ve got a friend with some lovely chairs in her shop.
– Jocasta? – Yes.
She believes chairs are as important to civilisation as a masterpiece or something.
I wrote it down somewhere.
We could print that up and do some lovely photos.
And now the link:
A brief history of chairs.
There is a pivotal early scene in David Lean’s film Lawrence of Arabia in which T. E. Lawrence and his superior, Colonel Brighton, visit the desert encampment of Prince Faisal, a leader of the Arab Revolt. The royal tent is spartan yet luxurious, patterned woven cloths hang from the low ceiling, a large brass samovar gleams in the candlelight, the ground is covered with a rich carpet. There is no furniture; the men sit on the carpet. Brighton, in his tailored uniform, polished Sam Browne belt, and riding boots, looks distinctly ill at ease with his legs awkwardly stretched out in front of him. Lawrence, a lieutenant and less formally dressed, appears slightly more comfortable, with his legs folded to one side. The prince, attired in a dark robe and a white ghutrah, reclines on a pile of sheepskins, while his colleague Sherif Ali leans casually against a tent pole. The various postures cinematically underline a central point: the relaxed Bedouins are at home in this place—the desert—while the stiff English colonel is an interloper. Lawrence is somewhere in between.
The world is divided into people who sit on the floor and those who sit on chairs. In a classic study of human posture around the world, the anthropologist Gordon W. Hewes identified no fewer than a hundred common sitting positions. “At least a fourth of mankind habitually takes the load off its feet by crouching in a deep squat, both at rest and at work,” he observed. Deep squatting is favored by people in Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America, but sitting cross-legged on the floor is almost as common. Many South Asians cook, dine, work, and relax in that position. Certain Native American tribes in the Southwest, as well as Melanesians, customarily sit on the floor with legs stretched straight out or crossed at the ankles. Sitting with the legs folded to one side—Lawrence’s position above—is described by Hewes as a predominantly female posture in many tribal societies.
The diversity of different postures around the world could be caused by differences in climate, dress, or lifestyle. Cold or damp floors would discourage kneeling and squatting and might lead people to seek raised alternatives; tight clothing would tend to inhibit deep squatting and cross-legged sitting; nomadic peoples would be less likely to use furniture than urban societies; and so on. But cause and effect does not explain why folding stools originated in ancient Egypt, a region with a warm, dry climate. Or why the Japanese and Koreans, who have cold winters, both traditionally sat on floor mats. Or why the nomadic Mongols traveled with collapsible furniture, while the equally nomadic Bedouins did not.
Sticking with non-Trump articles for now…BBC – Culture – The 21st Century’s 100 greatest films
The best that cinema has had to offer since 2000 as picked by 177 film critics from around the world.
That is the main link, but if you are like me you would rather read a criticism of the thing…
Here is one from TCM’s blog moviemorlocks.com – The Greatest Films of the 21st Century
I suffer from chronic list fatigue, initially eager to scroll through the latest re-ordering of greatest hits, but inevitably collapse into a heap before I ingest the whole thing. Enter the BBC to test my illness. Yesterday they unveiled the results of their mammoth “Greatest Films of the 21st Century” poll, in which 177 critics submitted their top movies of the current century. It confirms that David Lynch’s fractured, terrifying Hollywood fairy tale Mulholland Drive (2001) is the consensus film of the age. It has been topping lists of this ilk for years now, and I welcome a film so mysterious as our millennium-overlord. My narcolepsy is triggered not by the quality of the works cited, but the recycled nature of the discourse it elicits, which tends to ignore the films entirely for a “this-over-that” essentialism that reduces complicated aesthetic experiences to numbers on a list. Which reminds me, now it is time for me to reduce complicated aesthetic experiences to numbers on a list! Below you’ll find my top ten films of the 21st Century that were not included in the BBC’s top twenty five, in a modest effort to expand the conversation.
Go and check out that list, you may be surprised by what is included.
The BBC published its long-awaited list of the 21st century’s best films, as selected by 177 film critics from around the world. Lists like these are meant to drum up conversations and controversies, and when appearing online they’re usually the creations of a single author—a single critical mind. But the BBC has provided a decent chunk of data to supplement its numbered list, so we have a pretty good understanding of who those film critics are.
The 177 are from 36 countries, but nearly half (81) are from the US. Going down the list:
“19 from the UK, five each from Canada, Cuba, France, and Germany, and four each from Australia, Colombia, India, Israel and Italy. Lebanon, the UAE, China, Bangladesh, Chile, Namibia, Kazakhstan and many others are represented too.”
OK! Great. So they did a little work attempting to create a truly international pool of people. But what about gender? Of the 177 critics, there were 55 women and 122 are men. That’s roughly 31%, which is depressing until you look at data released earlier this summer that says women make up only 27% of film critics, at which point it becomes ever so slightly less depressing.
Similar feelings may arise when looking at the breakdown of the directors on the list. Of the 102 films (there was a three-way tie for #100), 12 (or roughly 12%) had women as directors, which is just three percentage points higher than the industry as a whole.
More at that link.
On another issue, yes I must mention the Trump campaign: Yes, CNN and ABC Really Did Live-Stream Mike Pence’s Haircut | Mediaite
It seems like only yesterday the big news in candidate’s hair was that high dollar haircut Edwards treated himself to years ago. Remember? Now, the media is fucking covering the haircuts live!
I think this politician should be running on the GOP presidential ticket…sound like he is pretty successful to me: America’s Only Dog Mayor Gets Elected to Third Term | Mental Floss
Just a few links now that may bring up your blood pressure:
At least one woman finally gets what is owed her: Homeless woman proves Social Security owed her $100,000 | Tampa Bay Times
Last for those who have the cash:
Everybody knows you can’t take the whole tribe cross-country without the proper chariot. And as fans of the 1980s comedy classic National Lampoon’s Vacation will tell you, there’s no holiday roadster better suited for a jaunt to road trip-purgatory than the Wagon Queen Family Truckster. Now you, too, can know the luxury of gliding across the U.S. in a dinged-up metallic pea tank—“honky lips” graffiti not included—with a Houston-based auto dealership claiming to have theVacation car on sale for a measly 40 grand.
Listed as a “1979 Ford LTD,” the car features a Walley World bumper sticker, a dog leash, and a luggage rack, perfect for transporting any late relatives you might happen to pick up (and then drop off) along the way.
Of course, the seller makes no guarantees that this particular extremely ugly vehicle is one of the five Trucksters used in the film, so you’ll just have to take it on faith that this isn’t one of the many replicas people have made in tribute to the movie. (To quote the listing on the collectible car marketplace Hemmings, “Although this particular car is believed to be used in the filming of the movie, there is no documentation that comes with the car.“) We’re sorry if that’s a big disappointment for you, folks. Moose out front should have told ya.
Enjoy the cartoons!
This is an open thread.