I lived in a small Iowa town when I was a young child. One of my favorite things was making May Day Baskets and filling them with hand-picked flowers and small candies. We used to get the wallpaper books the store was about to toss to create the “basket.” Picking newly blossomed violets was the best ever since they were my favorite color! Although, depositing them on the stoop, ringing the doorbell, and running to hide was terrific fun too. It was only less fun when one of my neighbors tried to crown the May Queen (in this case, the Virgin Mary) on my very high slide. Mother ran her off and announced we’d have none of that here. Mother preferred the unco-opted version of the old pagan holiday, so pretending to be fairies or goddesses was okay.
Some primal instinct to bring garlands and greenery in to the city, to dance and make music, featured in Oxford’s Maytime celebrations long before choirs sang the Hymnus Eucharisticus from Magdalen Tower. Indeed, that instinct to welcome the summer with green, carnival gaiety even predates any records of morris dancing.
The Magdalen tradition is only documented from 1695 when the great diarist of Oxford, Anthony Wood, first recorded the ritual as an invocation to the summer: ‘the choral ministers of this House do, according to an ancient custom, salute Flora every year on the first of May, at four in the morning, with vocal music of several parts. Which having been sometimes well performed, hath given great content to the neighbourhood and auditors underneath’.
There is no mention of the Hymnus; nor any suggestion by Wood that church music was sung at all. Rather, May Day was greeted with secular part songs dedicated to Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers.
Beltane is the Gaelic version of May Day and is celebrated with bonfires to celebrate the transition from Spring to Summer. The bonfires are dedicated to the Gaelic god Bel of Fire. If you read about the traditional celebrations, you can see why the Puritans were so after the holiday, and the Romans were so vested in changing into a holiday more styled in its Christian traditions.
Poster by the artist Walter Crane. In 1890 May Day was celebrated as International Workers’ Day, a day of protests in support of an 8-hour working day. It has remained a special day for campaigning in the labour movement.
The U.S. Senate this week failed to pass a resolution to remove barriers to ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, 100 years since the amendment was first proposed in Congress. Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who led the effort to pass the measure, expressed disappointment after the vote.
“It is just long overdue,” Murkowski said of the ERA in an interview Thursday. “The simple fact that we do not have embedded in our Constitution equal protections for women under the law is, I think, wrong and needs to be addressed.”
Murkowski spearheaded a resolution to advance the Equal Rights Amendment with Maryland Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin. She is a rare Republican advocate for ratifying the ERA, which would codify equal rights for women in the U.S. Constitution and ban discrimination based on sex.
Her support for the amendment sets Murkowski apart from most members of her party, some of whom have fretted that the ERA could open up abortion availability and transgender women’s access to spaces like locker rooms. Other Republicans raised concerns about the precedent Murkowski’s resolution would set for the constitutional amendment process.
A painting of two people dancing around a Maypole to celebrate Beltane.
Two hospitals that refused to provide an emergency abortion to a pregnant woman who was experiencing premature labor put her life in jeopardy and violated federal law, a first-of-its-kind investigation by the federal government has found.
“Fortunately, this patient survived. But she never should have gone through the terrifying ordeal she experienced in the first place,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said. “We want her, and every patient out there like her, to know that we will do everything we can to protect their lives and health, and to investigate and enforce the law to the fullest extent of our legal authority, in accordance with orders from the courts.”
Artist Cicely Mary Barker, A Little Book of Old Rhymes – A May Day Rhyme.
The Supreme Court on Monday said it would take up a case that could do away with a decades-old precedent that tells judges to defer to federal agencies when interpreting ambiguous federal laws, a deference long targeted by conservatives concerned about the power of the administrative state.
As the Supreme Court has become more conservative, the justices have grown less likely to defer to federal agencies under the 1984 precedent in Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council. But lower courts are bound to rely on the precedent because the Supreme Court has never officially renounced it.
A split panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit used the Chevron doctrine in deciding the case the Supreme Court added to its docket Monday: whether the government can force herring fishermen off the coast of New England to fund a program that provides federal monitors for their operations. The program is overseen by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
Two fishing companies told the court in their petition that the Magnuson-Stevens Act requires vessel owners to make room on board for federal monitors, without requiring the owners to pay those monitors.
“But without any express statutory authorization, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has decided to go one very large step further and require petitioners to pay the salaries of government-mandated monitors who take up valuable space on their vessels and oversee their operations,” the petitions state.
A far-right religious group with ties to Donald Trump loyalists Roger Stone and retired Army Lt Gen Michael Flynn is planning events with pastors in swing-state churches in Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and elsewhere to spur more evangelical backing for the former US president’s 2024 campaign.
But the group, Pastors for Trump, is drawing sharp rebukes from mainstream Christian leaders for being extremist, distorting Christian teachings and endangering American democracy by fueling the spread of Christian nationalism.
The Oklahoma-based evangelical pastor and businessman Jackson Lahmeyer leads the fledgling Pastors for Trump organization. Lahmeyer told the Guardian it boasts over 7,000 pastors as members and that he will unveil details about its plans on 11 May at the Trump National Doral in Miami, an event Trump will be invited to attend.
Stone, a self-styled “dirty trickster” whom Trump pardoned after he was convicted of lying to Congress, is slated to join Lahmeyer in speaking on 11 May, according to the pastor. Lahmeyer added he will talk more about his pro Trump group at a ReAwaken America evangelical gathering on 12 and 13 May at the Doral.
Lahmeyer said the pastors group intends to sponsor a “freedom tour” with evening church meetings in key swing states this summer, an effort that could help Trump win more backing from this key Republican voting bloc, which could prove crucial to his winning the GOP nomination again.
Lahmeyer described the genesis of Pastors for Trump in dark and apocalyptic rhetoric that has echoes of Trump’s own bombast.
“We’re going down a very evil path in this country,” he said. “Our economy is being destroyed. It’s China, the deep state and globalists.
“China interfered in our 2020 elections,” he added. “This is biblical, what’s happening. This is a spiritual battle.’
But those ominous beliefs have drawn sharp criticism.
“This kind of overt embrace of white Christian nationalism continues to pose a growing threat to the witness of the church and the health of our democracy,” said Adam Russell Taylor, the president of the Christian social justice group Sojourners.
Across the country this month, at least four men have opened fire on someone who’d stumbled upon their space, resulting in one death,two injuries and a car pocked with bullet holes. The apparent acts of snap-aggression have reinvigorated the debate around the prevalence of “stand your ground” laws in the United States and a pressing question: Why are people so quick to pull the trigger on strangers?
Why did a 65-year-old man kill a 20-year-old woman who had accidentally pulled into his Upstate New York driveway? Why did an 84-year-old man fire two bullets into a 16-year-old boy who had mistakenly knocked on his door in Kansas City? Why did a 43-year-old man in South Florida allegedly shoot at a 19-year-old Instacart delivery driver and his 18-year-old girlfriend who had arrived at the wrong address?
Experts blame a cocktail of factors: the easy availability of guns, misconceptions around stand-your-ground laws, the marketing of firearms for self-defense — and a growing sense among Americans, particularly Republicans, that safety in their backyard is deteriorating.
Since 2020, the share of Republicans who said that crime is rising in their community has jumped from 38 percent to 73 percent, according to the latest Gallup numbers from last fall. Among Democrats, that same concern climbed only 5 percentage points to 42 percent, marking the widest partisan perception gap since the polling firm first asked the question a half-century ago.
Reality is more complicated. A Washington Post crime analysis of 80 major police departments’ records found that reported violence across the country in 2022 was lower than the five-year average.
The difference between the Wiccan myths of Beltane and Republican Myths is that Republican Myths kill people (Mayday, Mayday, Mayday).
So, have a great May Day!
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It seems Republicans are having terrible, horrible, very bad weeks because even when you attempt to stack the Supreme Court with wankers, there are still times when some of them respect the constitutional rights and civil rights of individuals. They also occasionally respect the lawmaking process. Aren’t they sorry they can’t clone Uncle Clarence Thomas, the right wing rubber stamp of all things truly UnAmerican?
I seriously think that a lot of today’s Republicans have mental health issues. Is there a syndrome for reaction to losing privilege or is that just some kind of perverse temper tantrum best left to unruly toddlers? They definitely have a warped sense of what is moral.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal jumped the shark a long time ago with his insistence that Birmingham, UK had No Go Zones where Muslims ruled with shariah law. This is odd given he’s been trying to make Louisiana a No Go Zone for anything but radical evangelical, right wing christianists.
Jindal continues to show just how much he’s losing it with the idea that we’d save ourselves a lot of money by just getting rid of the Supreme Court. Read your constitution much PBJ? How much do you hate this country?
Jindal’s office also provided remarks on the court’s ruling from a speech in Iowa on Friday.
“The Supreme Court is completely out of control, making laws on their own, and has become a public opinion poll instead of a judicial body. If we want to save some money lets just get rid of the court.
“Yesterday, Justice Scalia noted that in the Obamacare ruling “words have no meaning.
“Today, Chief Justice Roberts admitted that the gay marriage ruling had nothing to do with the Constitution.
Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that.
“Hillary Clinton and The Left will now mount an all-out assault on Religious Freedom guaranteed in the First Amendment.
“Regardless of your views on marriage, all freedom loving people must pledge to respect our first amendment freedoms.”
Jindal is among the many Republican using religious freedom as an excuse to discriminate and disobey the law. You also hear the worn out refrain of state’s rights. These are the same arguments that were used to protect slavery, continue segregation, deny interracial marriage, and promote all kinds of basically evil things. If any one is guilt of promoting the tyranny of religious rule, it is folks like Bobby Jindal. It’s also the same throwback states refusing to carry out the SCOTUS decision legalizing marriage equality. Louisiana’s Governor and Attorney General are being complete assholes about issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. The elected officials in many southern states are acting like cheeky, spoiled little brats who didn’t get their way.
In Louisiana, Attorney General Buddy Caldwell on Friday indicated that he will not instruct parish clerks of court to immediately issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
In a statement, Caldwell’s office wrote that “it has found nothing in today’s decision that makes the Court’s order effective immediately.”
“The Attorney General’s Office will be watching for the Court to issue a mandate or order making today’s decision final and effective and will issue a statement when that occurs,” the statement noted.
In the statement, Caldwell expressed disappointment in the high court’s ruling.
In Mississippi, Attorney General Jim Hood said in a statement: “The Office of the Attorney General is certainly not standing in the way of the Supreme Court’s decision. We simply want to inform our citizens of the procedure that takes effect after this ruling. The Supreme Court decision is the law of the land and we do not dispute that. When the 5th Circuit lifts the stay of Judge Reeves’ order, it will become effective in Mississippi and circuit clerks will be required to issue same-sex marriage licenses.”
Before the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling Friday, Louisiana and Mississippi were two of 14 states with a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. After the court’s ruling, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia and Florida began issuing licenses.
In his written dissent to the Supreme Court’s decision to effectively legalize gay marriage in all 50 states in the United States, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. made a conspicuous gesture to the rest of the world. He referred to the “social institution” that the majority of the court was “transforming,” and anchored its legitimacy in the currents of history.
…the Court invalidates the marriage laws of more than half the States and orders the transformation of a social institution that has formed the basis of human society for millennia, for the Kalahari Bushmen and the Han Chinese, the Carthaginians and the Aztecs. Just who do we think we are?
It’s not quite clear to WorldViews why Roberts decided to implicate these four particular cultures in his opposition to the legalizing of gay marriage. But we can suggest reasons why they are hardly exemplars of “traditional” unions between men and women.
It’s absolutely funny how completely wrong definitions of “traditional marriage” can be. Here’s the actual practices of the Kalahari Bushmen.
These hunter-gatherers in sub-Saharan Africa have long been the world’s stock image of “primitive man,” and presumably that’s why Roberts referenced them — as the stereotype of an atavistic people, whether it’s fair or not. (It’s not, but let’s move on.) The Kalahari Bushmen don’t have very strong wedding practices, and don’t pay much attention to ceremonies around mating.
In fact, when you really dig into the history of marriage, the only consistent feature is change. My own professional group, the American Historical Association, filed an amicus brief that leveraged the combined expertise of twenty historians of marriage. The AHA brief used examples drawn largely from American history to show that marriage has never been solely about procreation, with issues like property management taking center stage. Moreover, Ruth Karras, author of Unmarriages, told me in an interview that marriage has almost never been about joining one man and one woman, but instead about “two families.” In that sense, same-sex couples looking for equal protection under the law with respect to healthcare and property rights are pretty consistent with “traditional marriage.”
That is, if there even is such a thing as “traditional marriage.” Karras began studying the multiple forms of medieval marriage—or at least the socially-accepted and often semi-legal long-term forms of relationships—because of her frustration with the idea that, “there was some sort of time that we could go back and look at where marriage was this perfect ideal between a man and woman for purposes of reproduction or creating family. The Middle Ages clearly haunts that formulation.” In fact, Karras continued, for many medieval people, “traditional marriage didn’t even exist. Yes, for aristocrats there was this system, but it’s really not very possible to know much about how people without any money formed and possibly didn’t form their marriages. People seem to have this idea that until the 1960s in America, everybody was pro-marriage—in fact, in the Middle Ages a lot of people lived in other kinds of relations besides what was recognized formally as marriage.”
The King James Bible is considered by many today to be the ‘original’ Bible and therefore ‘genuine’ and all later revisions simply counterfeits forged by ‘higher critics’. Others think the King James Bible is ‘authentic’ and ‘authorized’ and presents the original words of the authors as translated into English from the ‘original’ Greek texts. However, as Tony points out, the ‘original’ Greek text was not written until around the mid fourth century and was a revised edition of writings compiled decades earlier in Aramaic and Hebrew. Those earlier documents no longer exist and the Bibles we have today are five linguistic removes from the first bibles written. What was written in the ‘original originals’ is quite unknown. It is important to remember that the words ‘authorized’ and ‘original’, as applied to the Bible do not mean ‘genuine’, ‘authentic’ or ‘true’.
We have an entire group of people–including elected officials and SCOTUS justices that basically can’t get beyond a nearly completely fabricated, contradictory, and false account of what may or may not be a set of fictional characters. Thank goodness the Constitution isn’t grounded in promoting religion even if so many of the whackadoos in public life build their entire life’s delusions around it.
Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) said Friday in a statement that he would not “acquiesce to an imperial court” and its decision to make gay marriage legal in all 50 states.
Huckabee’s comments came after the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges.
“The Supreme Court has spoken with a very divided voice on something only the Supreme Being can do-redefine marriage,” Huckabee said in the statement. “I will not acquiesce to an imperial court any more than our Founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat.”
Huckabee called the ruling “unconstitutional.”
“This ruling is not about marriage equality, it’s about marriage redefinition,” Huckabee said. “This irrational, unconstitutional rejection of the expressed will of the people in over 30 states will prove to be one of the court’s most disastrous decisions, and they have had many. The only outcome worse than this flawed, failed decision would be for the President and Congress, two co-equal branches of government, to surrender in the face of this out-of-control act of unconstitutional, judicial tyranny.”
Huckabee also questioned the authority of the Supreme Court.
“The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature’s God on marriage than it can the law of gravity,” Huckabee said. “Under our Constitution, the court cannot write a law, even though some cowardly politicians will wave the white flag and accept it without realizing that they are failing their sworn duty to reject abuses from the court. If accepted by Congress and this President, this decision will be a serious blow to religious liberty, which is the heart of the First Amendment.”
Again, we have some people that are totally unhinged and seem to have no concrete knowledge about even the most basic facts about the creation of our Republic and the Constitution.
Religious liberty is not a right to force your religious fetishes on others. Religious liberty deals with the ideal that the Government cannot establish a state religion and force its tenets on every one in the country. What these whackos do in their homes, churches and minds are their own business. What they do with our government and public lives is something completely different. You don’t have to be a constitutional scholar or lawyer to grok that.
Of the reactions released so far, all by Republican presidential candidates opposed the Supreme Court ruling, as expected. But they differed in tone. Some were defiant, others appealed for respect.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who is expected to enter the race soon, called the ruling “a grave mistake” and reiterated his support for a constitutional amendment.
“The only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the US Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage,” Governor Walker said in a statement.
Such an amendment would be impossible to pass, observers say, given the requirement that three-quarters of the states ratify it, and so his pronouncement is effectively a symbolic gesture. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, another 2016-er, is the biggest champion of a marriage amendment.
Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, who announced his candidacy Wednesday, was also clearly not in the “court has spoken” camp.
“Marriage between a man and a woman was established by God, and no earthly court can alter that,” Governor Jindal said in a statement.
As the governor of a state that did not already recognize same-sex marriage, Jindal’s posture toward Friday’s ruling has special significance. Ditto Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is expected to enter the race soon.
“Neither governor would be able to do anything to stop same-sex marriage in their state,” in light of Friday’s decision, National Journal notes.
“But they could take actions to speed up or delay implementation of the ruling – actions that would surely become a topic of the presidential campaign over the next year.”
At press time, Governor Kasich had yet to release a statement on the decision, though in April he told reporters at a Monitor luncheon that he would be willing to attend a gay friend’s wedding, suggesting some ease with the issue. But he was also clear that he supports only the traditional definition of marriage.
It is still unbelievable to me that we can literally be held hostage by reactionaries in mostly lowly populated, insignificant states and the rural populations of some of the mid-sized states. Popular support for the issues like marriage equality are at all time highs and continue to show upward trends. Still, horrible reactionary pundits and republican politicians continue to thwart progress towards full enfranchisement of racial and religious minorities, ethnic minorities, GLBTs, and women. I’ve been reading some of the worst things ever from the always wrong Bill Kristol. This man should not be allowed a public forum other than his irrelevant rag. Since when is granting civil rights “Peak Liberalism”?
We see a French Revolution-like tendency to move with the speed of light from a reasonable and perhaps overdue change (taking down the Confederate flag over state buildings) to an all-out determination to expunge from our history any recognition or respect for that which doesn’t fully comport with contemporary progressive sentiment. The left’s point, of course, is not to clarify and sharpen appreciation for our distinctive history; the point is to discredit that history.
And the point is not to advance arguments and criticize alternative views; it is to deny the legitimacy of opposing arguments and to demonize opponents and purge them from the public square.
We see a pitiful aversion to standing up to barbarism abroad and a desperate willingness to accommodate and appease. This requires an amazing ability to shut one’s eyes to reality, and an extraordinary refusal to make tough decisions and assume real responsibilities. As Harvey Mansfield put it in the 1970s, “From having been the aggressive doctrine of vigorous, spirited men, liberalism has become hardly more than a trembling in the presence of illiberalism. . . . Who today is called a liberal for strength and confidence in defense of liberty?”
Since when is liberty defined as the right to take liberty away from others?
Maybe, these assholes should pick up a few things written by Thomas Paine and embrace the true roots of revolution.
“Whatever is my right as a man is also the right of another; and it becomes my duty to guarantee as well as to possess.”
― Thomas Paine, Rights of Man
We have come to the end of spring break, it is amazing to me how fast time flies by…I have some interesting links for you, some of them I have saved for a little while, you may just want to come back to them during the day.
By the way, later tonight is the season premiere of Mad Men, I don’t know about you…but I sure am looking forward to it. 😉
Y’all know that CNN made the huge mistake of sacking Soledad O’Brien last month. The Guardian had an article about her last appearance on the network:
O’Brien, who has built a reputation for hard-hitting interviews, said on the last edition of her morning show, Starting Point, that “facts matter”.
The new CNN boss, Jeff Zucker, cancelled O’Brien’s show, which has performed poorly in the ratings, and announced on Thursday that it will be replaced by a new show hosted by Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan.
She said: “My tenure at the helm of this show ends today, and I’m not going to be covering daily news at CNN after today. Over the last decade at CNN I’ve had a really great chance to cover some of the biggest stories, I think it’s fair to say, of our time.”
O’Brien recalled when she and a CNN team received a standing ovation at the airport in New Orleans after covering hurricane Katrina.
“So I think if I’ve learned anything over the past year it’s that facts matter,” she continued. “And we shouldn’t be afraid to have tough and honest conversations and maybe even argue a little bit when there’s a lot at stake, and yes, Governor Sununu, I am talking to you.”
You remember that interview don’t you? Soladad kicked Sununu’s ass! O’Brien told the Guardian that CNN did not provide a lot of support for her show Starting Point. They did not get a lot of promotion and were not fully staffed. No wonder, with CNN going down the shit bucket of news. In fact, you need to see this bit Jon Stewart did this past week:
Stewart then turned to CNN, a network that is neither leaning left nor right, but is instead on a “steady spiral downward.” He took on the new approach of CNN executive Jeff Zucker to the news, mockingly saying things like “I love brunch! Who doesn’t love brunch? That’s news!”
Stewart brought up some graphic faux pas of CNN, including (for some reason) a CNN personality standing in the middle of a virtual field of goats. And most egregiously of all, CNN showed off a live recreation of the Jodi Arias crime scene, complete with dead boyfriend in a pool of blood on the floor.
Of course, new changes don’t come without new show experiments, and following the success of The Five and The Cycle, CNN is testing out a new primetime show called (Get To) The Point. Stewart figured CNN must have “mistook what people are constantly yelling” at the screen for a show pitch. He showed clips of the show’s hosts talking about important subjects like lizard people and vegetarians who eat bacon.
What Stewart loved the most about the show was that when promos for this new program appear on the screen during other CNN shows, it looks like a subtle jab at whoever’s talking to get to the damn point already.
Go watch the video clips…my gawd, what shit CNN is pulling out their ass now a days!
Now, this next article is something I also saved from a while back, funny how it has caused quite a controversy of late….anyway, you know that my father’s family came from Cuba back in the late 1800’s. Here is a photograph of the town Marti City, in Ocala, Florida where my great-great grandfather had one of his cigar factories. In 1890s, cigar industry flourished, died in Ocala
A horse-drawn trolley, shown in Marti City, ran south from Ocala’s railroad station along North Magnolia to Broadway, turned west and followed Broadway to haul passengers and freight to the cigar factories at Marti City.
CHANGE is the latest news to come out of Cuba, though for Afro-Cubans like myself, this is more dream than reality. Over the last decade, scores of ridiculous prohibitions for Cubans living on the island have been eliminated, among them sleeping at a hotel, buying a cellphone, selling a house or car and traveling abroad. These gestures have been celebrated as signs of openness and reform, though they are really nothing more than efforts to make life more normal. And the reality is that in Cuba, your experience of these changes depends on your skin color.
The editor of a publishing house in Cuba who wrote a critical article in The New York Times opinion section about persistent racial inequality on the island, something revolutionaries proudly say has lessened, has been removed from his post, associates said on Friday.
The author, Roberto Zurbano, in an article published March 23, described a long history of racial discrimination against blacks on the island and said “racial exclusion continued after Cuba became independent in 1902, and a half century of revolution since 1959 has been unable to overcome it.”
On Friday, The Havana Times blog reported that Mr. Zurbano had told a gathering of Afro-Cuban advocates that he had been dismissed from his post at the publishing house of the Casa de las Americas cultural center, leaving the implication that the dismissal was connected to the article. Other associates said Mr. Zurbano told them he had been removed but would continue working there.
There is a lot more to it than there appears to be…
Reached by telephone in Havana, Mr. Zurbano would not comment on his employment. “What is The New York Times going to do about it?” he asked. He angrily condemned the editors of the opinion section for a change in the headline that he felt had distorted his theme.
The article’s headline, which was translated from Spanish, was “For Blacks in Cuba, the Revolution Hasn’t Begun,” but Mr. Zurbano said that in his version it had been “Not Yet Finished.”
“They changed the headline without consulting me,” he said. “It was a huge failure of ethics and of professionalism.”
Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for The Times, said the editor stood by the article’s preparation.
“We worked very hard to ensure that the wording in the piece was translated properly and accurately reflected the writer’s point of view,” she said in a statement. “There were numerous versions of the piece sent back and forth, and in the end, Mr. Zurbano and our contact for him (who speaks fluent English) signed off on the final version.”
“We knew,” she added, “that Mr. Zurbano was in a sensitive situation, and we are saddened if he has indeed been fired or otherwise faced persecution, but we stand by our translation and editing, which was entirely along normal channels.”
Believe me, there is an underlying racism within the Cuban community and to say there isn’t is bullshit. Yes, it is taboo to speak of it too. However, there is a history in a little town in Florida of Cuban whites and blacks coming together to fight for labor rights.
Restaurant in Havana, note the Albinos allowed sign.
Revolution is part of the Cuban culture, and I do believe that it is fair to say that for the Black-Cuban, the revolution is not finished. It just barely started and has been put on hold, it needs to get back in gear. Racism is alive in Cuba, there is no doubt about that. And the fact that Zurbano was fired says a lot about how things are handled in Cuba.
Both stars are proud African-Americans — yet, curiously, chose to vacation in a country notorious for relegating its black population to second-class status, or worse.
It is no surprise that many of Cuba’s top dissidents are Afro-Cubans. Did Sasha Fierce and Jigga Man find time to meet with these brave souls, or with their families? Did they mention them? Did they even think of them?
Of course not! This was not a trip to discover truth…or to learn about history or even music. Take a look at the link for a list of Afro-Cubans advocates who have either been imprisoned or killed for speaking out against the racism.
But why stop Cuba’s racism, and its atrocious human rights record, from getting in the way of a good time? After all, Jay-Z is the ‘artist’ who famously raps: “Welcome to Havana, smoking cubanos with Castro in cabanas!”
All Jay and “B,” useful idiots extraordinaire, seem to hear when visiting Cuba is: “Extra sugar on that mojito, señor?” Never mind the life-long plight of the Afro-Cuban waiter serving that drink, who casts a longing, hopeful look in their direction, only to be met with an aloof, distant smile from the two callous multi-millionaires who, while sharing his skin color, could not care less about his plight.
Cuba’s seemingly immortal former leader Fidel Castro, who knows a thing or two about threats of nuclear destruction, is asking both Kim Jong-un and Barack Obama to think before they do anything stupid. “The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was always friendly with Cuba, as Cuba always has been and will continue to be with her,” Castro wrote in his first state media op-ed in almost nine months, but “this is one of the gravest risks of nuclear war since the October Crisis in 1962 involving Cuba, 50 years ago.”
“Now that it has demonstrated its technical and scientific advances, we remind it of its duties to other countries who have been great friends and that it would not be just to forget that such a war would affect in a special way more than 70 percent of the world’s population,” wrote Castro, who’s apparently gone soft in his old age.
While the situation in the Koreas is “incredible and absurd,” he added, he warned Obama that if bombing breaks out, he “would be buried by a flood of images that would present him as the most sinister figure in U.S. history. The duty to avoid [war)]also belongs to him and the people of the United States.”
It seems like some sort of SNL skit, doesn’t it? Castro calling North Korea “incredible and absurd.”
A Tennessee lawmaker introduced legislation last week to stop welfare payments to parents if their kids get bad grades in school. The sponsor, State Senator Stacy Campfield said, “One of the top tickets to break the chain of poverty is education.” But he added, “We have done little to hold [parents] accountable for their child’s performance.”
The bill would chop nearly a third of family’s Temporary Aid for Needy Families benefits, already a pittance, if their child fails to pass state competency tests or get’s held back. How exactly the threat to make poor people poorer will improve educational outcomes isn’t at all clear.
The bill is sponsored by Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, and Rep. Vance Dennis, R-Savannah. It calls for a 30 percent reduction in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families benefits to parents whose children are not making satisfactory progress in school, the Knoxville News and Sentinel reported.
You know what? My kids are not from a “broken” home, and both their parents and grandparents are college graduates…and they struggle in school. They do not get A’s and B’s…so this would be a disaster in terms of assistance if we were a “needy” family. I mention my kids performance at school because even with positive backgrounds and no worries about food and a place to sleep, a kid can be a disappointment when it comes to their grades. This is a horrible law…damn these GOP assholes.
The shooting of Kaufman, Texas district attorney Mike McLelland and his wife Cynthia remains a mystery. But investigators are increasingly looking into a cell of extremist white terrorists as the suspects. Two months ago, a county assistant district attorney, Mark Hasse, was murdered not far from his office at the court. (I used the term extremist white terrorists because that is what they are, but usually the American press only describes foreigners and Muslims as terrorists, while calling whites “extremists.”)
Rep. Peter King (R-NY) and other Islamophobes in Congress, seeking to look good to campaign donors who hate Muslims, has conducted several hearings on the alleged increased radicalization of American Muslims. Sociologists don’t find evidence of such a thing; American Muslims on the whole are relatively well-integrated into US society and are disproportionately well off and pillars of the society. The hearings are a form of McCarthyism.
Rep. Peter King is a big supporter of the old 1980s Irish Republican Army, which killed two Americans in a bombing at Harrod’s department store in London. The man’s feet won’t touch the ground when he walks because of the rivers of hypocrisy exuding from between his toes.
Read the rest at the link.
Like I said at the beginning of this morning’s reads, lots of links for you today. More after the jump.
It is a Sunday after a long…long…weekend. Some of you have traveled to visit family, or some may have stayed home and had a quiet Thanksgiving. The one thing is certain, and that is for the next six weeks, the rush to celebrate the holidays will drive many of us crazy.
As the Italian government struggled to borrow and Spain considered seeking an international bail-out, British ministers privately warned that the break-up of the euro, once almost unthinkable, is now increasingly plausible.
Diplomats are preparing to help Britons abroad through a banking collapse and even riots arising from the debt crisis.
The Treasury confirmed earlier this month that contingency planning for a collapse is now under way.
A senior minister has now revealed the extent of the Government’s concern, saying that Britain is now planning on the basis that a euro collapse is now just a matter of time.
Recent Foreign and Commonwealth Office instructions to embassies and consulates request contingency planning for extreme scenarios including rioting and social unrest.
Of course they are expecting more outbreaks of demonstrations than Greece has seen in the past recent weeks.
Diplomats have also been told to prepare to help tens of thousands of British citizens in eurozone countries with the consequences of a financial collapse that would leave them unable to access bank accounts or even withdraw cash.
I can’t help but wonder what all this will mean for our economy…
The Obama administration on Saturday pledged a full investigation into a NATO attack that allegedly killed 24 Pakistani troops.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in a joint statement offered their “deepest condolences” for the loss of life in the cross-border incident in Pakistan. Clinton and Panetta also said they “support fully NATO’s intention to investigate immediately.”
Secretary Clinton, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. John Allen, commander of the NATO-led coalition forces in Afghanistan, each called their Pakistani counterparts as well, the statement said.
That is some big responses to this latest incident that has made relations even more tenuous.
“In their contacts, these US diplomatic and military leaders each stressed — in addition to their sympathies and a commitment to review the circumstances of the incident — the importance of the US-Pakistani partnership, which serves the mutual interests of our people,” the statement said.
“All these leaders pledged to remain in close contact with their Pakistani counterparts going forward as we work through this challenging time,” the statement concluded.
This is going to be a big problem…it seems like with the speed of US apologies, they know this attack is going to have huge consequences. Juan Cole shared some interesting numbers yesterday. Empire by the Numbers
Bulldozed by Israel more than two dozen times, a village known by Bedouin Arabs as Al-Arakib is one of many ramshackle desert communities whose names have never appeared on any official map.
If Israel’s parliament adopts proposed new legislation, it never will.
The plan to demolish more Bedouin homes in the southern Negev region and move 30,000 people to government-authorized villages connected to power and water lines has been hailed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “historic opportunity” to improve Bedouin lives.
But Israeli Arab leaders, who have long complained about discrimination against their community in the Jewish state, call it “ethnic cleansing,” and aim to thwart the project with protests, a general strike and appeals to the United Nations to intervene.
“I will never leave here, I intend to stay until I die,” said Abu-Madyam, 46, a farmer from al-Arakib.
He and his family of nine live in a makeshift plastic-sided shack in a cemetery near the ruins of their wooden home, razed by Israeli authorities last year.
This latest try at removing the Bedouin is being touted by Israelis as a move for their own good, but it looks more like it is in the Israelis best interest to kick the Bedu out of the Negev area in southern Israel. That area is prime real estate for military bases since it lies between Gaza and the occupied West Bank. This is why some Israelis feel the dominate population of Bedouin people in the area is a security risk.
For decades, Israeli governments have tried to attract Jewish Israelis to move to the Negev, offering mortgage and tax breaks, but the region has fewer opportunities for employment than in the heavily populated center of the country.
Only 20 percent of Israel’s Jewish population lives in the Negev, which covers more than 60 percent of the nation’s land area. Bedouin villages take up two percent of Negev land.
This month, Netanyahu sat down with Bedouin mayors at his office to urge them to accept the plan, which could take at least five years to implement at a cost of more than 1 billion shekels ($300 million) once legislation due to be introduced shortly becomes law.
“Our state is leaping toward the future and you need to be part of this future. We want to help you reach economic independence. This plan is designed to bring about development and prosperity,” Netanyahu told the Bedouin officials.
Now that condescending statement about forcing these people off their land for their own good is just ridiculous. The Bedouin know what is going on, and so do global human rights organizations. Amnesty International has this area of land as one of the highlights in their 2011 Annual Report on Human Rights. Amnesty International | Working to Protect Human Rights
Right to adequate housing – forced eviction
Inside Israel there was a marked increase in the demolition of Bedouin homes in the Negev (or Naqab) area in the south. Dozens of villages, home to tens of thousands of Bedouin who are Israeli citizens, are not formally recognized by the Israeli authorities. These villages lack basic services, and residents are under constant threat of destruction of their homes and eviction from the land.
The “unrecognized” Negev village of al-’Araqib, home to around 250 Bedouin, was destroyed eight times between 27 July and 23 December by the Israel Land Administration and police forces. After each demolition, villagers rebuilt makeshift shelters.
Back to the Reuters article:
Bedouin leaders in the Negev say Israel has long discriminated against their communities, denying them public funds and services, in a bid to make their inhabitants leave.
Many of them were built, the officials said, because Israel had failed in the past to offer other housing options.
In a 2008 report on Israel’s policy toward Bedouin in the Negev, Human Rights Watch said the government “appears intent on maximizing its control over Negev land and increasing the Jewish population in the area for strategic, economic and demographic reasons.”
“The state implements forced evictions, home demolitions and other punitive measures disproportionately against Bedouin as compared with actions taken regarding structures owned by Jewish Israelis that do not conform to planning law,” the New York-based group said.
One villager, Khalil Alamour, a 42-year-old schoolteacher, interviewed in the article is planning to attend a meeting with the U.N. Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, that is being held later this month in Geneva. He says:
“We’ve been around for so many years, yet they treat us as little more than numbers on a map. It’s shameful,” he said.
Like most unauthorized Bedouin villages, Al-Sira is not hooked up to Israel’s electricity grid. Alamour and his neighbors have installed their own solar panels to generate electricity, supplementing the supply with power generators.
They have run their own pipes to hook up with a regional grid to provide running water for their homes.
In the ruins of al-Arakib, Abu-Madyam vowed to hang on to land which he said was once covered by lush grapevines and bought by his grandparents more than a century ago.
“I will seek justice until my last day. I don’t have any objections to Jews living here, too, but why must I give up my own rights?” he said.
Good question…what do you think?
In the Philippines, the situation is different. There is a group of people who are planning to build their own community, separate from those who are different from they are. Philippines’ little people thinking big
People of small stature in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, have ambitions to build a new community – of small houses – on a greenfield site. It’s an unusual idea, but they are completely serious and determined to succeed.
Inspired by the books of JRR Tolkien, the Hobbit House is one of Manila’s best-known bars. There are illustrations from the Lord of the Rings on the wall, and you enter through a round wooden door, just as if you were arriving at Bilbo Baggins’ house.
But the illusion doesn’t stop there – the waiters are all under 4ft (1.2m) tall.
“Hobbit House is very unique – we only recruit little people,” says the proud manager, Pidoy Fetalino, 3ft 6in tall, who has been working at the bar for more than 30 years.
While some might question how politically correct it is, the reality is that a job at the Hobbit House is undoubtedly one of the best the staff can get.
The state does not provide much support for those who cannot find work. And with high unemployment and height restrictions…working at the Hobbit House is a good thing.
They have formed a group called the Little People’s Association of the Philippines, which meets most Saturday mornings in a ramshackle workshop at the back of a flat owned by the president, Perry Berry.
The most important item on their agenda is a radical proposal – for the entire group to move out of Manila and set up their own community.
A wealthy benefactor has donated a 6,000-square-metre (1.5-acre) piece of uncultivated land near the town of Montalban, and there they want to create a place called “Dwarf City”.
Mr Berry has a clear vision of what he wants this community to look like.
“Wow, if you can imagine it,” he says. “We’re creating a housing project designed for small people and we have to create something unique. We’re going to build houses like big mushrooms and big shoes.”
Their idea is to construct buildings tailored to their size, to represent certain themes, and they hope they will be able to earn at least part of their income through tourism.
It is interesting to compare the Bedouin and the Little People of the Philippines. The Bedu do not want to leave their home lands, they see the forced evictions as a form of ethnic cleansing. The Little People see their plan for a Drawf City as a way to build a normal life.
The little people of Manila don’t want to confine this new “Dwarf City” just to the 47 families who are current members of the association – they envisage a much bigger settlement.
“I believe that a lot of small people in other provinces have an inferiority complex, and don’t want to come out,” says Mr Berry.
“But if the existence of this community is well-known, I’m pretty sure they will come and join us. So this community will become bigger and bigger.”
Good Sunday Morning! I just watched The Social Network for the first time…and feel like I have just sat through 2 hours of the kind of fast talking you hear at the end of car commercials. (Do they even have those fast talking legalese any more?) It was excruciating…and then what made it worse was the horrible sexist attitudes that these egotistical nerds seem to exuded with such nonchalant indifference. Ugh…guess you can tell I did not like it. So as I write today’s post (late on Saturday Night) I keep on hearing that annoying voice of Jessie Eisenberg. Let’s see if I can somehow ignore it droning on in the back of my brain.
There has been another earthquake in Japan, same area…and tsunami warnings were issued.
A rope suspended across the street in Gumbo Market marks the entrance to Juba. A long line of trucks, blurred by the heat and dust, waits at the makeshift border — guarded only by a handful of policemen.
Brazilian chicken, Chinese refrigerators, Kenyan cigarettes, vegetables from Uganda and medicine from India…the cargo heats in the sun. David Grassly, the head of the UN representation in Juba says that in 2005 “beer used to be brought here from Yei by bike, 90 miles south of here, near the Democratic Republic of Congo and former Republic of Zaire.” The reason: only bikes could zigzag between the mines left during the second civil war in Sudan (1983-2005). (See pictures of South Sudan celebrating its independence.)
Six years later, as it declares its independence, South Sudan still imports most basic foodstuffs. Trucks have to drive many miles to provide water to homes that do not have electricity either.
Give that article a read, it is actually from Le Monde and is a very good read.
This weekend, in Juba, South Sudan, Africa’s 54th nation was born. Millions of people are celebrating a new national identity and new national promise. Like on our own July Independence Day 235 years ago, there is reason to hope for a better future — if the people and leaders of both Sudan and South Sudan commit themselves to the hard work ahead.This day was far from inevitable. For more than two decades, Sudan has been riven by intense fighting over land and resources. Just a year ago, talks between the Sudanese government in the north and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in the south had stalled. Preparations for a referendum on southern independence had fallen behind. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005 appeared close to collapse. A return to open conflict seemed likely.
Thankfully, people on both sides and across the world worked together to chart a different path.
She goes on to say:
But just as independence was not inevitable, neither is a lasting peace between Sudan and South Sudan. Decades of war have left deep distrust on both sides and significant social, political and economic challenges. Both nations will have to take decisive steps to consolidate progress.
Clinton mentions three steps that must be done to achieve that progress and states that the US will be there to support South Sudan as they “lay the foundation” for a new nation.
Is it possible that Boehner decided he didn’t want to risk tampering with Social Security and Medicare? After all, we know the Tea Party crowd doesn’t want to lose their safety net any more than the rest of us. Remember those signs at Tea Party rallies that read “Don’t mess with my Medicare?” One of the big issues for Republicans in 2010 was the claim that Obama’s health reform bill included Medicare cuts.
Just a thought. On the other hand, maybe it’s all just a kabuki dance to fool the progs into supporting Obama’s Hooveresque policies.
This next link is one I am looking forward to watching from my back yard, H/T to Susie Madrak:
Coming next – in late July and early August – the best time of year to watch meteors. The Delta Aquarid meteor shower and the Perseid meteor shower converge to put on a show. In 2011, the moon will be in a waxing phase during the first part of August. Full moon will come on August 13, a peak morning for the Perseids. You’ll want to watch in late July and the first week of August to have moonless skies from midnight to dawn, the best time of night for watching meteors.
I wrote an article last week — “From Hope to History: It’s Time to Pass the Equal Rights Amendment” — that generated hundreds of comments and thousands of shares. Why? Many readers were dismayed and confused to learn that this simply worded sentence is still not in the U.S. Constitution, even after 88 years:
Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Readers who believed the Equal Rights Amendment had already passed through Congress to become the 28th Amendment to the Constitution years ago were shocked. The amendment, first written in 1923 by Alice Paul, was, in fact, approved by Congress and sent to the states in 1972 with a ten-year deadline for ratification, but by 1982, supporters had managed to sign on only 35 of the 38 states needed to add the amendment to the Constitution.
Some who are not in favor of the Equal Rights Amendment claim it is redundant and unnecessary, often citing the 14th Amendment, which they say already protects the rights of women. It does not. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia publicly stated that the 14th Amendment was never intended to protect women. It was only intended to protect race. Federal and state law cannot protect citizens who are not protected under the Constitution. He made this remark in January 2011:
Certainly the Constitution does not require discrimination on the basis of sex. The only issue is whether it prohibits it. It doesn’t.
Sensing that people are as confused about the issue as I am, but just as eager to turn the promise of the Equal Rights Amendment into a reality, I interviewed key thought leaders who are directly involved in efforts to get the Equal Rights Amendment passed.
Why do we need the Equal Rights Amendment?
Read the rest of Barbara’s article and see…
From Minx’s Missing Link File: Jeter, Relentlessly Consistent, Reaches 3,000 Hits With a Home Run – NYTimes.com This is exciting for me, I am a Yankee Fan…one of my childhood friends, Tino Martinez played for the Yankees during the 90’s and since I used to go see Tino play over at West Tampa Little League when we were kids, I had to continue watching him throughout his career. Since then, the Yankees have been a favorite of mine. This 3,000 hit comes at a game played against my Hometown, Tampa Bay Devil Rays…so it makes me smile.
Suzy Allman for The New York Times
With his teammates cheering, Derek Jeter runs the bases after hitting his 3,000th hit — a solo home run — in the third inning. More Photos »
The pursuit of a sports milestone can seem like a march to the inevitable. Fans have known for years that barring a catastrophic injury, Derek Jeter would reach 3,000 career hits. The only question was how.
Jeter, the Yankees’ captain, answered it Saturday with a performance that ranks among the greatest of his decorated career. He slammed a home run in the third inning for his 3,000th hit, and capped a five-hit day with the go-ahead single in the eighth inning of a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium.
“Absolute Monarchs” sprawls across Europe and the Levant, over two millenniums, and with an impossibly immense cast: 265 popes (plus various usurpers and antipopes), feral hordes of Vandals, Huns and Visigoths, expansionist emperors, Byzantine intriguers, Borgias and Medicis, heretic zealots, conspiring clerics, bestial inquisitors and more. Norwich manages to organize this crowded stage and produce a rollicking narrative. He keeps things moving at nearly beach-read pace by being selective about where he lingers and by adopting the tone of an enthusiastic tour guide, expert but less than reverent.
A scholar or devout Roman Catholic would probably not have had so much fun, for example, with the tale of Pope Joan, the mid-ninth-century Englishwoman who, according to lore, disguised herself as a man, became pope and was caught out only when she gave birth. Although Norwich regards this as “one of the hoariest canards in papal history,” he cannot resist giving her a chapter of her own. It is a guilty pleasure, especially his deadpan pursuit of the story that the church, determined not to be fooled again, required subsequent papal candidates to sit on a chaise percée (pierced chair) and be groped from below by a junior cleric, who would shout to the multitude, “He has testicles!” Norwich tracks down just such a piece of furniture in the Vatican Museum, dutifully reports that it may have been an obstetric chair intended to symbolize Mother Church, but adds, “It cannot be gainsaid, on the other hand, that it is admirably designed for a diaconal grope; and it is only with considerable reluctance that one turns the idea aside.”
Oh yes, get me to the bookstore…or at least Amazon. Sounds intriguing doesn’t it?
The Sky Dancing banner headline uses a snippet from a work by artist Tashi Mannox called 'Rainbow Study'. The work is described as a" study of typical Tibetan rainbow clouds, that feature in Thanka painting, temple decoration and silk brocades". dakinikat was immediately drawn to the image when trying to find stylized Tibetan Clouds to represent Sky Dancing. It is probably because Tashi's practice is similar to her own. His updated take on the clouds that fill the collection of traditional thankas is quite special.
You can find his work at his website by clicking on his logo below. He is also a calligraphy artist that uses important vajrayana syllables. We encourage you to visit his on line studio.
Thankfully, people on both sides and across the world worked together to chart a different path.