Late Night: Friday the 13thPosted: April 13, 2012 Filed under: 2012 presidential campaign, psychology, SDB Evening News Reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Adolph Hitler, American Nazi Party, Barack Obama, Charles Manson, doomsday preppers, Doomsday silos, Friday the 13th, horror, Mitt Romney, mythology, superstition 26 Comments
In case you hadn’t noticed, today is Friday the 13th. Therefore, this post has a horror theme. Lately I’ve been feeling that the news has become a horror show anyway, what with the candidates for President–Horrendously-Horrible (Mitt Romney) and Slightly-Less-Horrible (Barack Obama)–and the ongoing war on women and the war on the poor and middle class. So why not wallow in horror on this supposedly unlucky day?
First up, where did the idea that Friday the 13th is unlucky come from? I found a 2004 article at National Geographic that offers some background from Donald Dossey, a psychologist who treats phobias and is also a folklorist. He says that the Friday the 13 phobia is based on ancient mythology.
Dossey traces the fear of 13 to a Norse myth about 12 gods having a dinner party at Valhalla, their heaven. In walked the uninvited 13th guest, the mischievous Loki. Once there, Loki arranged for Hoder, the blind god of darkness, to shoot Balder the Beautiful, the god of joy and gladness, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow.
“Balder died and the whole Earth got dark. The whole Earth mourned. It was a bad, unlucky day,” said Dossey. From that moment on, the number 13 has been considered ominous and foreboding.
There is also a biblical reference to the unlucky number 13. Judas, the apostle who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest to the Last Supper.
Meanwhile, in ancient Rome, witches reportedly gathered in groups of 12. The 13th was believed to be the devil.
A number of other experts are quoted in the article as well, if you’re interested.
Today Mitt Romney gave a speech to the National Rifle Association. If there’s anything to the Friday the 13th myth, perhaps bad luck will come to both Romney and the NRA. One can only hope. Naturally Romney, who used to be pro-gun control, is now claiming to be the ultimate Second Amendment wacko. From HuffPo: You’ll Have To Pry Mitt’s Gun From His Warm, Probably Manicured Hands.
WILLARD, A FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR, IS JUST CRAZY ABOUT GUNS – Can’t get enough of ’em! Mike Sacks: “Speaking at the NRA national convention in St. Louis on Friday, likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney warned that re-electing President Barack Obama would lead to an ‘unrestrained’ assault on freedom with decades of repercussions. Romney, whose record on gun rights is hardly rock-ribbed, tried to convince a skeptical audience that he would fight for its interests upon entering the Oval Office. As governor of Massachusetts, Romney in 2004 extended the state’s ban on assault weapons and small handguns. Less than a year later, however, he designated May 7 “Rights to Bear Arms” day in Massachusetts and became a lifetime member of the NRA. ‘The right to bear arms is so plainly stated, so unambiguous, that liberals have a hard time challenging it directly. Instead, they’ve been employing every imaginable ploy to restrict it,’ Romney said.”
Romney claimed that “re-electing President Barack Obama would lead to an “unrestrained” assault on freedom with decades of repercussions” despite the fact (Romney doesn’t believe in facts) that Obama has done absolutely nothing to promote gun control. In fact, in 2008, Obama showed himself to be a better friend of the NRA than Romney ever was.
Romney’s statement refers to the fact that if re-elected, Obama may have the opportunity to appoint up to three justices, including filling the seats of two justices — Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy, both turning 76 this year — who were in the court’s 5-4 decision establishing an individual right to keep and bear arms for self defense in the home.
Responding to the landmark 2008 case that first articulated the individual right, Obama applauded the ruling. “As president, I will uphold the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun-owners, hunters, and sportsmen,” he said in a statement just as his campaign against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was heating up.
See? Horribly Horrible vs. Slightly Less Horrible.
Here’s a little of what Charlie Pierce had to say today about Willard’s NRA performance:
I have come to conclusion that the key to understanding Willard Romney, foof-dauphin of the Republican party, is to understand an old vaudeville joke. (This is the key to understanding many things, as Woody Allen demonstrated in Annie Hall.) Two women are sitting at a bar. One talks like the young Lauren Bacall. The other one talks like a duck. When the bartender talks to the former, he sounds like Clark Gable. When he talks to the latter, he talks like a duck. The second woman gets fed up. “Are you making fun of me?” she quacks at the bartender.
“No, ma’am,” he quacks in reply. “I’m making fun of her.”
Having lived in the Commonwealth (God Save it!) under the barely perceptable leadership of Governor Willard, I have spent the campaign wondering if the Governor Willard is the sham or Candidate Willard is the sham. I wonder no longer. He wasn’t making fun of them. He was making fun of us.
He’s gone so fully wingnut that the only conclusion that any of we veteran Romneybot watchers can come to is that his whole governorship here was a riff. He’s shucked off all the “moderate” camouflage that so fooled us that it can never have been stuck to him that solidly. Take today, for example. He went and spoke to the National Rifle Association and he vigorously stroked that group’s most deeply masturbatory fantasies…
That was followed by quotes from Romney’s ludicrous speech.
This week notorious murderer Charles Manson came up for parole for the 12th time and once again his petition was denied.
A prison panel denied parole Wednesday to mass murderer Charles Manson in his 12th and probably final bid for freedom.
Manson, now a gray-bearded, 77-year-old, did not attend the hearing where the parole board ruled he had shown no efforts to rehabilitate himself and would not be eligible for parole for another 15 years.
“This panel can find nothing good as far as suitability factors go,” said John Peck, a member of the panel that met at Corcoran State Prison in Central California.
Also playing heavily into the board’s decision was something Manson had said recently to one of his prison psychologists that Peck read aloud.
“‘I’m special. I’m not like the average inmate,'” Peck said. “‘I have spent my life in prison. I have put five people in the grave. I am a very dangerous man.'”
But what about the children that Manson fathered during his few years of freedom in the late 1960’s? What has become of them? One young man who claims to be Manson’s son has been in the news again this week.
Matthew Roberts, 44 — who says he was conceived at a San Francisco orgy attended by Manson in 1967 — is worried that two inconclusive DNA tests were his last hope to confirm whether his father is the infamous cult leader, CNN’s Miguel Marquez reports….
Roberts says that unless he sees “somebody scrape a piece of skin off [Manson’s] ass and bring it to a lab,” he can’t be sure if Manson is his father, he told CNN….
Roberts, whose mother put him up for adoption shortly after he was born, tried twice to confirm his true identity with DNA tests. But the results revealed that Manson’s samples were contaminated. The New York Post reported that even Roberts’ mother admits her son bears a striking resemblance to the incarcerated murderer.
It’s well known that Manson fathered several children while living with his followers at Spahn Ranch near Death Valley. Here’s a site with some research on where those children are now.
What could be worse than being one of Charles Manson’s offspring? How about being the child of Adolf Hitler?
The results of new testing support the story of a French man who said he was the illegitimate and only child of the German dictator.
Jean-Marie Loret had said his mother told him that she and a young Hitler dated while he was stationed in Northern France during World War I and she was a teenager.
Before Loret died in 1985, he shared his story with a lawyer; the sensational and history-defying details of that conversation — plus new evidence to support the claim — were just published in the French magazine Le Point. Loret also wrote a book titled “Your Father’s Name Was Hitler” in 1981….
Loret says his mother first revealed the identity of his father in the 1950s, triggering the kind of reaction you’d expect from someone who just learned their father was a genocide-perpetuating mass murderer and one of the most awful people in history.
“In order not to get depressed, I worked non-stop, never took a holiday, and had no hobbies. For twenty years I didn’t even go to the cinema,” he wrote in his book.
Loret had a son named Philipe and six other children. One day as the family was sitting at the dinner table,
“Suddenly my father said, ‘Kids, I’ve got something to tell you. Your grandfather is Adolf Hitler’, ” explains Philippe.
“There was stunned silence as no one knew what to say. We didn’t know how to react.”
That was 40 years ago, yet there is a sense that Philippe, 56, still doesn’t know how to react.
He has never spoken out about that conversation or the fact he may be the grandson of the most infamous dictator in history.
A former plumber for the plumber largo fl at the French air force, he has kept it a secret from all but his closest friends, never telling his colleagues or even his partner’s family.
Closer to home, the American Nazi Party now has a registered lobbyist representing them in Washington, DC.
John Bowles, the National Socialist Movement’s presidential nominee in 2008, registered Tuesday, U.S. News and World Report notes. He stated on his registration form that he intends to lobby on the issues of “political rights and ballot access laws.”
Asked by U.S. News and World Report if he thought an avowed Nazi would actually be able to secure meetings with politicians, Bowles responded with confidence:
“I don’t see why not,” he says, adding that he knows lobbyists rely on their credibility. “Of course I won’t approach anybody in Congress unless it’s a very interesting issue or law,” he promises. “I’m going to be very careful about the issues I choose for this.”
He might get a friendly reception from Paul Ryan or Allen West.
Have you heard about the “luxury ‘Doomsday’ shelters” in Kansas?
Tucked deep beneath the Kansas prairie, luxury condos are being built into the shaft of an abandoned missile silo to service anxious — and wealthy — people preparing for doomsday.
So far, four buyers have plopped down a total of about $7 million for havens to flee to when disaster happens or the end is nigh. And developer Larry Hall has options to retro-fit three more Cold War-era silos when this one fills up.
“They worry about events ranging from solar flares, to economic collapse, to pandemics to terrorism to food shortages,” Hall told AFP on a tour of the site.
These “doomsday preppers”, as they are called, want a safe place and he will be there with them because Hall, 55, bought one of the condos for himself. He says his fear is that sun flares could wipe out the power grid and cause chaos.
He and his wife and son live in Denver and will use their condo mostly as a vacation home, he says, but if the grid goes, they will be ready.
Here’s a guy who lives in a similar missile silo in Texas.
Those are my offerings for tonight. Friday the 13th will soon draw to a close. I hope you made it through the day safely!
Late Night: Interesting JuxtapositionsPosted: April 22, 2011 Filed under: Barack Obama, Surreality, torture, U.S. Military, U.S. Politics | Tags: 9/11, Barack Obama, Bradley Manning, Charles Manson, Chernobyl, FBI, first responders, Ground Zero, liqudators, Richard Nixon, terrorist watch list, the media, U.S. Politics, Wikileaks 9 Comments
FIRST JUXTAPOSITION: COMPARE AND CONTRAST
Huffington Post reported today that a little-known amendment in the new 9/11 health bill requires anyone who applies for benefits to be checked by the FBI to make sure they’re not terrorists.
The tens of thousands of cops, firefighters, construction workers and others who survived the worst terrorist assault in U.S. history and risked their lives in its wake will soon be informed that their names must be run through the FBI’s terrorism watch list, according to a letter obtained by HuffPost.
Any of the responders who are not compared to the database of suspected terrorists would be barred from getting treatment for the numerous, worsening ailments that the James Zadroga 9/11 Health And Compensation Law was passed to address.
It’s a requirement that was tacked onto the law during the bitter debates over it last year.
The letter from Dr. John Howard, director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, informs medical providers and administrators that they should begin letting patients know before the new program kicks in this July.
Yes, the people who risked their lives and their health to help after 9/11 will be treated like suspected terrorists by their government.
From Voice of America: Chernobyl’s Cleanup Crew Pay a Steep Price, 25 Years On
On April 26, 1986 a nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl plant caught fire and exploded, sending radioactive debris high into the sky. Aleksey Breus was an engineer at Chernobyl at the time of the explosion. He worked four straight days inside the plant after the explosion. He wore protective equipment, but still received a large dose of radiation.
According to Breus, all “lucheviki” – the Russian word surviving cleanup workers use for describing one another – have been left with one thing in common: illness and a lack of money to pay for medications. He says virtually all of them live in poverty.
Another Chernobyl worker, Aleksander Kramer, says he was one of the first to go into the plant after the explosion. Kramer, who now lives in Germany, remains angry at how he was treated by authorities in what was then the Soviet Union. From the very beginning, he says, the authorities doubted those claiming they were part of the clean-up effort.
And the suspicions have lingered. In 1993, Kramer says former rescue workers had to prove to Ukranian authorities “that their documents were not a sham and that their health problems were real.”
Remember when we were told over and over again that the United States was morally superior to the Soviet Union? What’s the difference again?
SECOND JUXTAPOSITION: COMPARE AND CONTRAST
Time Magazine, 1970: President Richard Nixon tells the media that Charles Manson (then on trial in Los Angeles) is guilty.
Nixon had just come from a ten-day working holiday in San Clemente, where he found himself angered by the coverage given the Manson case in the local media. Many of the young, Nixon said in Denver, “tend to glorify and to make heroes out of those who engage in criminal activities.”
In Los Angeles, the effect of Nixon’s remarks on the Manson trial was instant and dramatic. While the Los Angeles Times came out the same afternoon with a four-inch headline reading MANSON GUILTY, NIXON DECLARES, Judge Charles Older went to great lengths to ensure that the jury, which has been sequestered since the trial began, would not learn of Nixon’s remarks. The windows of the jury bus were whited over with Bon Ami so that no juror could glimpse the headline on street newsstands. If the jury discovered Nixon’s verdict, the defense might have grounds for a mistrial.
Remember when Americans (and the media) cared when the President did something wrong?
WL Central, April 22, 2011: President Obama tells protestors that Bradley Manning “broke the law.”
Transcript and comments from WL Central:
“People can have philosophical ideas about certain things,” President Obama explains. “But, look, I can’t conduct diplomacy on open source.” He then goes on to add that he has to abide by certain classified information rules or law and if he had released material like Manning did he’d be breaking the law.
Now, here is the remark that deserves the most attention: “We’re a nation of laws. We don’t individually make our decisions about how the laws operate.” He adds, “He broke the law.” Finally, before removing himself from the conversation, he says Manning “dumped” information and “it wasn’t the same thing” as what Daniel Ellsberg did because what Ellsberg leaked “wasn’t classified in the same way.”
First, President Obama says Bradley Manning did it. It is not entirely clear that he did it unless you solely rely on the chat logs published by Wired magazine. Manning is the alleged whistleblower in the case. And, displaying this attitude that he is guilty before he actually is put on trial and convicted may prejudice Manning’s case.
That’s if Mr. Obama ever allows Bradley Manning’s case to go to trial. When is that going to happen? And when will today’s media be as outraged by Obama’s irresponsible remarks as the media of 1970 was at Nixon’s?
Thursday Reads: Crazy Republicans, Nuclear Meltdowns, MLB Follies, and MorePosted: April 21, 2011 Filed under: Gulf Oil Spill, net-neutrality, Psychopaths in charge, the internet, The Media SUCKS, U.S. Economy, U.S. Politics | Tags: Barack Obama, bible, Boston Red Sox, BP Oil Gusher, Charles Manson, Eric Cantor, Frank McCourt, Fukushima nuclear plant, Gulf Of Mexico, JoAnne Kloppenburg, Kindle, LA Dogers, Major League Baseball, meltdown, net neutrality, public libraries, stupid Republicans, U.S. debt ceiling, Wall Street, wetlands. Louisiana, Wisconsin 62 Comments
According to Politico, Republicans are escalating their game of chicken with demands they want met before they agree to raise the debt limit.
One day after being named to a presidential task force to negotiate deficit reduction, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor fired off a stark warning to Democrats that the GOP “will not grant their request for a debt limit increase” without major spending cuts or budget process reforms.
The Virginia Republican’s missive is a clear escalation in the long-running Washington spending war, with no less than the full faith and credit of the United States hanging in the balance.
Wait a minute…Obama put ERIC CANTOR on a deficit task force??!! Okay, the joke’s over. This guy cannot legitimately run on a Democratic ticket in 2012.
Cantor says he’s ready to plunge the nation into default if the GOP’s demands are not met. People close to Cantor say that he hopes to make clear that small concessions from Democrats, including President Barack Obama, will not be enough to deliver the GOP on a debt increase….
Republicans are floating a wide range of major structural reforms that could be attached to the debt limit vote, including statutory spending caps, a balanced budget amendment and a two-thirds vote requirement for tax increases and debt limit increases.
Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency has finally admitted that nuclear fuel in reactors 1, 2, and 3 has melted. From reading the article, it isn’t exactly clear what has happened, but I still detect efforts to minimize the damage. There’s a little more detail in an article from the Irish Times:
The head of the Atomic Energy Society of Japan, Takashi Sawada, said yesterday that fuel rods in reactors 1 and 3 have melted and settled at the bottom of their containment vessels, confirming fears that the plant suffered a partial meltdown after last month’s huge earthquake and tsunami.
Engineers have been struggling since to bring four reactors under control by pouring water onto overheating nuclear fuel, and that water is highly contaminated as a result. Mr Sawada warned the condition of the plant could worsen if another strong quake knocks out power to its cooling systems.
“That would destabilise pressure and temperatures inside the reactors and the situation would become extremely unpredictable again,” he said.
The story also says that there was an aftershock yesterday centered around 25 miles from the plant.
All the news outlets are covering the BP oil gusher and the damage it has done to the Gulf, because yesterday was the anniversary of the explosion that killed 11 oil rig workers. Don’t worry, they’ll drop the subject like a hot potato in a couple of days. Here’s an article from the NYT.
Even in the worst days of the BP spill, coastal advocates were looking past the immediate emergency to what the president’s oil spill commission called “the central question from the recovery of the spill — can or should such a major pollution event steer political energy, human resources and funding into solutions for a continuing systemic tragedy?”
That tragedy is the ill and declining health of the Gulf of Mexico, including the enormous dead zone off the mouth of the Mississippi and the alarmingly rapid disappearance of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, roughly 2,000 square miles smaller than they were 80 years ago. Few here would take issue with the commission’s question, but the answer to it is far from resolved.
Eclipsed by the spill’s uncertain environmental impact is the other fallout: the vast sums in penalties and fines BP will have to pay to the federal government. In addition to criminal fines and restitution, BP is facing civil liabilities that fall roughly into two categories: Clean Water Act penalties and claims from the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process, whereby state and federal agencies tally the damage caused by the spill and put a price tag on it. This could add up to billions, perhaps tens of billions, of dollars.
Awwww, gee. Poor BP. It sounds like the writer feels sorry for them.
In Wisconsin, JoAnne Kloppenburg has asked for a recount in the race for the state supreme court.
JoAnne Kloppenburg arrived at the state Government Accountability Board’s office in Madison barely an hour before the 5 p.m. local time deadline by which she had to ask for a recount or concede defeat. According to the vote count finalized by the state last week, she trails Justice David Prosser by 7,316 votes out of nearly 1.5 million cast in the April 5 election.
“Today, my campaign is asking the Government Accountability Board to conduct a statewide recount,” Kloppenburg said at a news conference. The announcement was met with applause and cheers of “thank you.” She’s requesting the recount “in part to determine what the proper outcome of the election will be and to ensure that elections form this point forward will be fair.
“I do not make this decision lightly … I have weighed the options and I have considered the facts,” Kloppenburg, currently an assistant state attorney general, said. The tight margin — small enough to trigger a provision allowing the state to pay for the recount process — means that “the importance of every vote is magnified and doubts about every vote are magnified as well,” she said.
And in silly Republican news, eight Wisconsin doctorswho wrote excuses for protesting teachers are being investigated.
The state Department of Regulation and Licensing and the Medical Examining Board said Wednesday that they had opened investigations into eight individuals who allegedly wrote doctor excuse notes for protesters at the state Capitol during rallies in February.
Last month, the Department of Regulation and Licensing said it had identified 11 people who may have provided the medical excuses, and it asked them to submit information about their activities at the Capitol.
Three members of the Medical Examining Board reviewed the information and decided to open investigations on eight of the 11, according to a department news release.
The eight being investigated are all licensed physicians, department spokesman David Carlson said.
Are Wisconsin taxpayers going to have to pay for this silliness? How ridiculous.
As a Kindle owner, I’m excited about this news. Amazon’s Kindle Will Offer E-Books From Libraries
Bookworms who own Amazon.com Inc.’s popular Kindle electronic reader will finally be able to borrow digital books from public libraries….
The move is likely to have major repercussions for public libraries and the digital-reading market generally, since Amazon currently dominates the e-book industry and its actions in the space are closely watched. There are an estimated 7.5 million Kindles in the U.S., which gives Amazon a two-thirds share of the $1 billion digital-book market, said Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey.
Many major public libraries, including those in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, offer free digital-book lending. A physical trip to the library isn’t required. Instead, library-card holders can download books from library websites. Each library sets its own digital-book lending policy, but typical lending periods are 14 or 21 days.
Major League Baseball has seized the LA Dodgers and will now control day-to-day operations for the team. Owner Frank McCourt is having financial problems.
The move was prompted by a number of issues surrounding the Dodgers, including owner Frank McCourt’s recent receipt of $30-million personal loan to meet payroll and the parking-lot attack at Dodger Stadium on March 31 that left a San Francisco Giants fan in a coma, according to a league source.
“This has been like watching a soap opera unfold,” said Gary Toebben, the president and CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. “We want a financially solvent Dodgers. We want a winning team.”
The league will now have approval rights over every significant expenditure by the team, including a trade or contract extension. This will likely put the franchise on the path to being sold.
The commissioner’s move adds to the turmoil surrounding a team already embroiled in divorce proceedings between McCourt and his wife, Jamie, who is seeking joint ownership.
McCourt tried to buy the Red Sox back when the the former owner died. Thank goodness he didn’t succeed in buying the team–they probably never would have beat the curse and won the World Series twice.
Some nutty right wing talk show host says the Bible forbids net neutrality.
The idea that all Internet traffic should be treated equally is against the teachings of the Bible and America’s Founding Fathers, according to evangelical Christian minister and political activist David Barton.
During his radio show on Tuesday, he said that net neutrality violated the Biblical principle of free markets, a principle upheld by Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington.
“That is part of the reason we have prosperity,” Barton said. “This is what the Pilgrims brought in, the Puritans brought in, this is free market mentality. Net neutrality sounds really good, but it is socialism on the Internet.”
“This is really, I’m going to use the word wicked stuff, and I don’t use that word very often, but this is wicked stuff,” he added.
Well that settles it then!
Monday was the 40th anniversary of Charles Manson’s conviction, so some media types decided to give him an opportunity to spout a bunch on nonsense. Manson’s new lawyer has asked the president to let the maniac out of prison, but Manson ruined his chances by giving his honest opinion of Obama.
Manson, 76, called Obama foolish in reference to Wall Street, saying he considered the president “a slave of Wall Street.”
“He doesn’t realize what they are doing. They are playing with him,” he said, according to the magazine.
Bla, bla, bla … so what else is new?
That’s about it for me. What are you reading and blogging about today?