Just a side note, most of the links today are items I had saved for Sunday. But with the earthquake in Nepal, and then the quick Goodfellas post, I just decided to share them with you today.
Now, on Monday….we had to go to our local Banjoville courthouse to visit the tax office and take care of the car tags. Well, what do you think happened? The damn place was closed.
Why was it closed?
Because we live in the fucking South were they don’t forget and they hold grudges forever. The kind of grudges that get laws passed so that they make it illegal NOT to celebrate Confederate Memorial Day.
Yup, it is against the law to work on Confederate Memorial Day.
Check this out:
In Cullman County, Alabama, a local government vote stirred up 150 years of angst when Revenue Commissioner Barry Willingham wanted to keep the local courthouse open on Confederate Memorial Day.
For years, on the fourth Monday in April people showed up to the courthouse to buy car tags and fishing licenses, unaware that it was closed for the state holiday, which is officially observed in Alabama, Willingham explained. Businesses, schools and even offices in neighboring counties stay open, Willingham said, so people complained about the local government not doing the same. He understood their frustration.
“It’s not a prominent holiday,” said Willingham, who was born and raised in Cullman County, about 50 miles north of Birmingham. “I don’t think Microsoft adds Confederate Memorial Day to my Outlook.”
Usually, the holiday passes largely unnoticed, even by the local press.
But that didn’t happenthis year. County officials voted to stay open on Confederate Memorial Day and instead close Cullman County’s government doors on Good Friday, a day when there’s less demand for county services. After that vote, people told Willingham and his colleagues that they “ought to be ashamed of dishonoring our Confederate veterans,” he explained.
Alabama closes its government offices today in observance of Confederate Memorial Day, along with Mississippi and Georgia. On May 10, South Carolina government offices will close in observance of the state holiday.
Of the 11 Southern states that made up the Confederate States of America during the Civil War, few agreed on what date was best for remembrance once the war officially ended in 1865. Shortly after the war was declared over, a group of women in Columbus, Georgia, gathered for the first Confederate Memorial Day to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers and rededicate themselves to the memory of those men and the war they fought.
I mean, how many generations have to pass before the regular memorial day will do? You know the one that covers all the wars?
Today, dates of state observance are scattered from April to June and are loosely associated with the Confederacy’s surrender to Sherman on April 26, the death of Stonewall Jackson on May 10 or the birthday of Confederate President Jefferson Davis on June 3. This year, Texas celebrated Confederate Heroes Day on Jan. 19. That also happened to be Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
In Mississippi, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann issued a proclamation to tell state employees and officers they had the day off, in accordance with a 1972 state statute.
“I believe observance of Confederate Memorial Day is set by statute,” said Nicole Webb, spokeswoman for Gov. Phil Bryant, referring to the 1972 measure. “Elected lawmakers at that time would have voted on the issue. I know other states also observe it.”
This year, Georgia’s government officials have prioritized Confederate Memorial Day as a state holiday, along with Christmas Day and Thanksgiving. However, there seems to be more reluctance to talk about why the Capitol and state agencies close in observance of the holiday 150 years after the end of the Civil War.
When the NewsHour asked Brian Robinson, the communications director for Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, via e-mail for comment about why it was important for Georgians to remember Confederate Memorial Day, Robinson simply wrote “no thanks.”
Can you believe this shit? Confederate Memorial day has the same fucking priority as Christmas and Thanksgiving?
I have no words, other than the flowery ones that have been spewed above.
Naming your kids after John Wilkes Booth. Now that takes some hate.
Dozens of Lincoln’s enemies honoured his assassin in the same manner as the Devrees family. A quick search via the Federal census records on the Ancestry website reveals roughly a hundred American families who appear to have named children after Booth in the post-war years. Unsurprisingly, about 90% heralded from the southern states, but a small handful, like the Illinoisans, were northerners – probably ‘Copperhead’ opponents of the Union cause seeking solace in small acts of defiance. Most of the northern Booths came from counties close to slaveholding areas – places where sympathies for the Confederate cause ran deep – and I haven’t found a single instance of a postwar New Englander (citizens of the old antislavery heartland) sharing a name with Lincoln’s killer. Notably, in borderlands like Missouri – where neighbour clashed with neighbour and the Federal government fought to contain dissent – the practice was particularly common. Some of the records leave little to the imagination when it comes to the parents’ political loyalties (John Wilkes Booth Sharp, born in Georgia, circa 1871), but others (Washington Booth Stamton, born in Baltimore, circa 1871) hint at an attempt to induct Booth into a pantheon of American heroes. The true heir to the father of the republic, the latter implied, was the actor-assassin, and not the martyred president.
These families, in preserving the memory of Lincoln’s killer, were writing a history of the Civil War in which liberty was the victim rather than the victor. As late as the 1890s the odd new-born in the South was given Booth’s name, though the practice seems to have become less common after the restoration of white supremacy in the 1870s. This may be a result of changing enumeration practices, but it might owe something also to the late nineteenth-century “reconciliationist” remembering of the Civil War as a noble struggle between two valiant adversaries, and not as an ideological conflict over slavery, race, and citizenship. The first professional historians writing around the turn of the century cast Lincoln as a magnanimous commander-in-chief whose slaying served as an excuse for the imposition of a supposedly Carthaginian peace on the Confederacy. Booth here was no longer the defender of liberty but a man whose rash crime ushered in the phantom horrors of Reconstruction. It might have been unwise to use his name.
But the baseball games are being played in an empty stadium…A Brief History of Pro Sports Played in Empty Stadiums | Mental Floss
On Monday and Tuesday, the Orioles canceled their scheduled games at Camden Yards against the White Sox due to safety concerns related to the protests in Baltimore. But making up games over the course of the long and crowded MLB season schedule is difficult, and so, yesterday, the team announced an unusual solution—one that has never been used in the history of the game. Wednesday’s game at Camden Yards will still be played, but no fans will be permitted to attend. That’s right, the teams will play today in front of an empty stadium—intentionally.
According to a tweet from MLB’s Official Historian John Thorn, this is the first time such a solution has been used to accommodate extenuating circumstances. But thanks to the wacky promotional tactics employed in the Minor Leagues, it’s not the first zero attendance game.
Hours after being called out by a Ferguson activist, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer was the butt of the joke on the Daily Show on Tuesday night, as Jon Stewart hammered him for acting shocked about the unrest in Baltimore.
“Elvis leading a herd of orthodox Jewish unicorns through a city street — that would be hard to believe,” Stewart said. “This sh*t happens all the time. Ferguson was just a few months ago, and you were talking about it.”
“I am worried about you,” Stewart said. “Do I need to get [Adam] Sandler to go over to your house and just run sh*t by you every morning?”
Overall, Stewart said, reporters have failed to pick up on the recurring nature of urban protests in the US, with Baltimore and Ferguson taking their place among manifestations of turmoil like Watts, Los Angeles, and Miami, among others.
“These cyclical eruptions appear like tragedy cicadas,” he said. “Depressing in their similarity, predictability, and intractability.”
Which brings me to this image someone posted on Facebook:
Tacky yes, but it sure as hell makes a point.
- More than 5,000 are confirmed dead and 6,500 injured
- Nepal’s PM says death toll could more than double
- Foreign Office investigating reports of British death
- Authorities struggling to cope despite aid efforts
- Jason Burke in Kathmandu: what the victims share is poverty
- Read the latest summary
All the talk of earthquakes, this article from a couple of weeks ago seemed to be foretelling, even if it was discussing our country. Half the US Faces Earthquake Risk
This hazard map by the U.S. Geological Survey reveals earthquake ground motions for various probability levels across the United States.
PASADENA, Calif. — Earthquakes threaten roughly half the U.S. population, a new study finds.
More than 143 million Americans live in earthquake-prone regions in the Lower 48 states, according to research presented here Wednesday (April 22) at the annual meeting of the Seismological Society of America. If you include Alaska, Hawaii and Puerto Rico, that number rises to about 150 million U.S. citizens, said lead researcher Kishor Jaiswal, a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) contractor.
In a previous estimate prepared in 1991, officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said 75 million people in 35 states were at risk of earthquakes.
Now, more people are living in quake-prone areas than a quarter-century ago, Jaiswal said. The USGS has also learned more about earthquake hazards. The nation’s most recent national seismic hazard maps are much more detailed than the 1996 version, Jaiswal said. [Image Gallery: This Millennium’s Destructive Earthquakes]
Some information on the horrible situation in the Mediterranean:
A look at same sex marriage vs. women’s reproductive rights: Why the U.S. Is Going Forward on SSM and Backwards On Reproductive Rights – Lawyers, Guns & Money
Many great points from Pollitt here. Two points are particularly worthy of emphasis. First, the extent to which SSM meshes better with traditionalist conceptions of the family:
Marriage equality is about love, romance, commitment, settling down, starting a family. People love love! But marriage equality is also about tying love to family values, expanding a conservative institution that has already lost most of its coercive social power and become optional for millions. (Marriage equality thus follows Pollitt’s law: Outsiders get access when something becomes less valued, which is why women can be art historians and African-Americans win poetry prizes.) Far from posing a threat to marriage, as religious opponents claim, permitting gays to marry gives the institution a much-needed update, even as it presents LGBT people as no threat to the status quo: Instead of promiscuous child molesters and lonely gym teachers, gays and lesbians are your neighbors who buy Pottery Barn furniture and like to barbecue.
Reproductive rights, by contrast, is about sex—sexual freedom, the opposite of marriage—in all its messy, feckless glory. It replaces the image of women as chaste, self-sacrificing mothers dependent on men with that of women as independent, sexual, and maybe not so self-sacrificing. It doesn’t matter that contraception is indispensable to modern life, that abortion antedates the sexual revolution by thousands of years, that plenty of women who have abortions are married, or that most (60 percent) who have abortions are already mothers. Birth control and abortion allow women—and, to a lesser extent, men—to have sex without punishment, a.k.a. responsibility. And our puritanical culture replies: You should pay for that pleasure, you slut.
More on Women’s abortion rights: I am pro-abortion, not just pro-choice: 10 reasons why we must support the procedure and the choice – Salon.com
On the 2016 Election front:
When a black female decides to “support the candidate who supports the Constitution,” it’s pretty obvious where she’s getting her ideas, especially when that candidate supports the right to discriminate against her. The camaradarie of other young Rand Paul supporters who like the idea of the Libertarian “hero,” must be pretty awesome.
Somehow, 19 year old Zuri Davis, has been brainwashed to believe that her constitutional rights are being “taken away.” Fox and Friends has to show their diversity, and Zuri, as an African-American Rand Paul supporter, fills that niche. This girl, who doesn’t want to be put in a box, said,
“It’s sad that we’re still getting caught up on subjectivity.”
The subjective nature of a candidate with a well-known history of White Supremacy is of no concern to Davis. She wants to defend the Constitution, while ignoring those trivial matters of equality for both women and minorities.
Encouraging her to agree with his insane rhetoric, Carlson throws out this zinger:
“Well, the modern tribalism of the Left demands that each person choose a group and then agree with everything that group agrees with. Then, anyone who leaves that group, is STONED to death. (Do) You reject that?”
Gee, Tucker, does she reject the notion of punishing someone to death by biblical savagery? Since when has the Democratic Party employed such tactics? Zuri says that she just wants diversity of thought. You know, that G.O.P. diversity? It’s the collective idea of denying that there’s ever been an issue of White Supremacy. Apparently, she also wants someone who’s not afraid to deny science and who has no problem shushing a woman who is getting out of line. Should a woman be raped, probably because she was asking for it, she should be have no rights if she wants an abortion. Mr. Small Government wants to control all the uteri, Zuri Davis’ body included.
Did you see Hillary’s speech this past week? Addicting Info – Hillary’s Fiery Speech: Religious Beliefs Must Change For Social Justice (VIDEO)
And I guess there was some squawk about The most troubling thing about Russian hackers reading Obama’s unclassified emails – Business Insider
And while at BI: What it’s like to live on food stamps – Business Insider I will give you a hint, Gwyneth Paltrow doesn’t know how to do it….big surprise there.
This next link is interesting, an essay on putting an innocent man in jail. Alabama man convicted of wife kill with bogus evidence – NY Daily News
The film Goodfellas is not the only thing celebrating its 25th anniversary this year: NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope celebrates 25th anniversary | Uncover California
Someone asked me what my thoughts were on the Atlanta teaching scandal. I have to say I think it was a shitty thing, and wrong on so many levels, but I also feel that Jon Stewart hit it just right. You can see his segment here:
Video clip direct link here: http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/x4vg3f/fraud-city
Let’s end this with pictures of rainbows, but no Elvis or Jewish unicorns: Manhattan rainbow | Today’s Image | EarthSky
…and how about a video of a Monkey dropkicks young man after the guy flashes the finger – NY Daily News
Newly posted security camera footage, purportedly from the monkey-laden city of Shimla in Northern India, shows a primate teaching a young man a lesson: Animals don’t like being flicked off, either.
A couple of guys walk past the monkey in a market area of the capital city of the Himachal Pradesh state and the former British Raj summer capital in the video.
The simian bears its teeth at the young man, who, undeterred, appears to raise his middle finger at the animal. That’s when the monkey leaps toward the human and lays him out with a swift push and two-legged primate kick to the torso — an attack the video shows once in real time and again in slow motion for good measure.
Now that is one smart ass monkey!
What are you all reading about today?
Here are more images of relief posters…
One of the advantages of being old is that you can remember quite a bit of history. I remember the riots that tore apart American cities in April, 1968, following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. The assassination was only the trigger that set off the anger that had been building for years in people who felt disrespected and desperate. One of those riots took place in Baltimore. Spiro Agnew was governor of Maryland when it happened. Soon he would be Richard Nixon’s Vice President. Nixon ran on a “law and order” platform, and as president he initiated the “war on drugs.”
Here’s a description of Baltimore in April, 1968, from someone who was there.
Armored troop carriers rolled down the streets over deep tread marks in the soft blacktop. Tanks had preceded them. There were troops already bivouaced in Druid Hill Park. It wasn’t a town in Czechoslovakia, or Poland, or Afghanistan. It was Crabtown, grave-site of Edgar Allen Poe, birthplace of the United States’ national anthem, and headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. In the United States.
It was Bal’more, Mar’lan’. It was the time we call 1968. King had just been assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, and city officials had persuaded Governor Spiro Theodore Agnew to call in the National Guard.
Houses and businesses had burned before, and firemen had been shot before in the inner city, but troops occupying the city, this was new.
Forty-seven years later, Baltimore is burning again. This time the trigger was the death of Freddie Gray after a beating by police that was caught on video by a bystander. Why is anyone surprised by the violence? It was bound to happen again in one of many cities where militarized police forces target poor neighborhoods and police officers kill black citizens with impunity because they know they will go unpunished. We’ve seen black men die at the hands of police again and again in the past year–in Ferguson, Long Island, Cleveland, Dayton, Los Angeles, New York City, and many more cities.
This time, Baltimore Maryland’s governor is Larry Hogan. Forty-seven years later, his solution is the same as Agnew’s–call in the National Guard to shut down violent protests. Will it work? Maybe it will suppress the anger for a time, but it will remain simmering under the surface until Americans deal with the real problems behind it.
The good news in 2015 is that, thanks to cell phone cameras, Americans are finally seeing in real time the inevitable results of bad policing, racial profiling, and economic inequality. Will anything change this time?
This morning I’ve collected some of the best news reports and opinions I could find on the latest outbreak of violence over a police killing–this time in Baltimore.
From The Baltimore Sun: Riots erupt across West Baltimore, downtown.
Violence and looting overtook much of West Baltimore on Monday, injuring more than a dozen police officers and leaving buildings and vehicles in flames.
As night fell, looters took to Mondawmin Mall and a Save-A-Lot and Rite Aid in Bolton Hill, loading up cars with stolen goods. About 10 fire crews battled a three-alarm fire at a large senior center under construction at Chester and Gay streets, as police officers stood guard with long guns.
About 10 p.m., police confirmed shots were fired at an officer in the area of Virginia Avenue and Reisterstown Road in Northwest Baltimore. The officer was not hit and the suspect fled.
Fifteen police officers were injured in a clash with school-age children that began around 3 p.m., and two remain hospitalized, police Col. Darryl DeSousa said in a press conference Monday night. Earlier, police spokesman Capt. Eric Kowalczyk said one officer was unresponsive and others suffered broken bones.
Police arrested 27 people, DeSousa said.
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake declared a curfew across the city starting Tuesday and for the next week, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for adults and 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. for children aged 14 and younger. She drew a distinction between peaceful protesters and “thugs” she said engaged in rioting Monday intend on “destroying our city.”
“It’s idiotic to think that by destroying your city, you’re going to make life better for anybody,” Rawlings-Blake said.
At Rawlings-Blake’s request, Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency and activating the Maryland National Guard. The order does not affect citizens’ rights, but is required to activate the Guard and authorize federal assistance, Hogan spokeswoman Erin Montgomery said. It is not “martial law,” Maryland National Guard Adjutant General Linda Singh said.
Read much more at the Sun link.
The riots began shortly after the funeral of Freddie Gray, who was killed while in police custody on April 12. From the Atlantic: The Mysterious Death of Freddie Gray.
Freddie Gray’s death on April 19 leaves many unanswered questions. But it is clear that when Gray was arrested in West Baltimore on the morning of April 12, he was struggling to walk. By the time he arrived at the police station a half hour later, he was unable to breathe or talk, suffering from wounds that would kill him.
Gray died Sunday from spinal injuries. Baltimore authorities say they’re investigating how the 25-year-old was hurt—a somewhat perverse notion, given that it was while he was in police custody, and hidden from public view, that he apparently suffered injury. How it happened remains unknown. It’s even difficult to understand why officers arrested Gray in the first place. But with protestors taking to the streets of Baltimore since Gray’s death on Sunday, the incident falls into a line of highly publicized, fatal encounters between black men and the police…. Black men dying at the hands of the police is of course nothing new, but the nation is now paying attention and getting outraged.Authorities can’t say if there was a particularly good reason why police arrested Gray. According to the city, an officer made eye contact with Gray, and he took off running, so they pursued him. Though he’d had scrapes with the law before, there’s no indication he was wanted at the time. And though he was found with a switchblade, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said, “We know that having a knife is not necessarily a crime.”
Police brutality in Baltimore is nothing new. In September 2014, The Baltimore Sun published an investigative report on police violence against citizens: Undue Force. A brief excerpt:
Over the past four years, more than 100 people have won court judgments or settlements related to allegations of brutality and civil rights violations. Victims include a 15-year-old boy riding a dirt bike, a 26-year-old pregnant accountant who had witnessed a beating, a 50-year-old woman selling church raffle tickets, a 65-year-old church deacon rolling a cigarette and an 87-year-old grandmother aiding her wounded grandson.
Those cases detail a frightful human toll. Officers have battered dozens of residents who suffered broken bones — jaws, noses, arms, legs, ankles — head trauma, organ failure, and even death, coming during questionable arrests. Some residents were beaten while handcuffed; others were thrown to the pavement.
And in almost every case, prosecutors or judges dismissed the charges against the victims — if charges were filed at all. In an incident that drew headlines recently, charges against a South Baltimore man were dropped after a video showed an officer repeatedly punching him — a beating that led the police commissioner to say he was “shocked.”
Such beatings, in which the victims are most often African-Americans, carry a hefty cost. They can poison relationships between police and the community, limiting cooperation in the fight against crime, the mayor and police officials say. They also divert money in the city budget — the $5.7 million in taxpayer funds paid out since January 2011 would cover the price of a companion maids home service or renovations at more than 30 playgrounds. And that doesn’t count the $5.8 million spent by the city on legal fees to defend these claims brought against police.
Read the rest at the link.
Gray may have been injured during the beating on the street, but his injuries may have been exacerbated by being taken on a “rough ride” in a police wagon without a seat belt.
From the Baltimore Sun: Freddie Gray not the first to come out of Baltimore police van with serious injuries.
When a handcuffed Freddie Gray was placed in a Baltimore police van on April 12, he was talking and breathing. When the 25-year-old emerged, “he could not talk and he could not breathe,” according to one police official, and he died a week later of a spinal injury.
But Gray is not the first person to come out of a Baltimore police wagon with serious injuries.
Relatives of Dondi Johnson Sr., who was left a paraplegic after a 2005 police van ride, won a $7.4 million verdict against police officers. A year earlier, Jeffrey Alston was awarded $39 million by a jury after he became paralyzed from the neck down as the result of a van ride. Others have also received payouts after filing lawsuits.
For some, such injuries have been inflicted by what is known as a “rough ride” — an “unsanctioned technique” in which police vans are driven to cause “injury or pain” to unbuckled, handcuffed detainees, former city police officer Charles J. Key testified as an expert five years ago in a lawsuit over Johnson’s subsequent death.
As daily protests continue in the streets of Baltimore, authorities are trying to determine how Gray was injured, and their focus is on the 30-minute van ride that followed his arrest. “It’s clear what happened, happened inside the van,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Monday at a news conference.
Here’s a first-person description of one of those “rough rides” from a victim:
Christine Abbott, a 27-year-old assistant librarian at the Johns Hopkins University, is suing city officers in federal court, alleging that she got such a ride in 2012. According to the suit, officers cuffed Abbott’s hands behind her back, threw her into a police van, left her unbuckled and “maniacally drove” her to the Northern District police station, “tossing [her] around the interior of the police van.”
“They were braking really short so that I would slam against the wall, and they were taking really wide, fast turns,” Abbott said in an interview that mirrored allegations in her lawsuit. “I couldn’t brace myself. I was terrified.”
The lawsuit states she suffered unspecified injuries from the arrest and the ride.
“You feel like a piece of cargo,” she added. “You don’t feel human.”
The van’s driver stated in a deposition that Abbott was not buckled into her seat belt, but the officers have denied driving recklessly.
Anyone believe the denials? I sure don’t.
More helpful stories on the Baltimore riots, links only:
Ta-Nehisi Coates at The Atlantic: Nonviolence as Compliance.
What else is happening? As always, this is an open thread. Please post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread.