Tuesday Reads

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Good Morning!!

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is topping the headlines today. The Obama administration announced this morning that it will send military troops to deal with the situation. Reuters Reports:

The United States announced on Tuesday that it would send 3,000 troops to help tackle the Ebola outbreak as part of a ramped-up response including a major deployment in Liberia, the country where the epidemic is spiraling fastest out of control.

The U.S. response to the crisis, to be formally unveiled later by President Barack Obama, includes plans to build 17 treatment centers, train thousands of healthcare workers and establish a military control center for coordination, U.S. officials told reporters.

The World Health Organization has said it needs foreign medical teams with 500-600 experts as well as at least 10,000 local health workers, numbers that may rise if the number of cases increases, as it is widely expected to.

Liberia is where the disease appears to be running amok. The WHO has not issued any estimate of cases or deaths in the country since Sept 5 and its Director-General Margaret Chan has said there is not a single bed available for Ebola patients there.

Liberia, a nation founded by descendants of freed American slaves, appealed for U.S. help last week.

A U.N. official in the country said on Friday that her colleagues had resorted to telling locals to use plastic bags to fend off the killer virus, for want of any other protective equipment.

Medecins Sans Frontieres, the charity that has been leading the fight against Ebola, said it was overwhelmed and repeated its call for an immediate and massive deployment.

More details from The Washington Post, U.S. military will lead $750 million fight against Ebola in West Africa.

BMH.F.74.1-O

The president’s decision to enlist the U.S. military, whose resources are already under strain as it responds to conflicts in the Middle East, reflects the growing concern of U.S. officials that, unless greater force is brought to bear, the epidemic could wreak havoc on the continent….

Global health experts and international aid groups who have been urging the White House to dramatically scale up its response praised the plan as described. They have said charities and West African governments alone do not have the capacity to stem the epidemic.

The U.S. military, with its enormous logistical capability, extensive air operations, and highly skilled medical corps, could address gaps in the response quickly.

“This is a really significant response on the military side,” said Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of a book about the first Ebola outbreak in 1976 and another on the global public-health system. “This is really beginning to seem like a game-changer.”

But much depends on how quickly personnel and supplies can get there.

“The problem is, for every single thing we’re doing, we’re racing against the virus, and the virus has the high ground right now,” she said. “I would hope this would reduce transmission, but it’s all about how fast people can get there and get the job done. If it takes weeks to mobilize, the strategy won’t even be within reach.”

Unfortunately, according to Reuters India, <a href=”http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/09/16/health-ebola-spread-liberia-idINKBN0HB1CD20140916&#8243; target=”_blank”>it make take weeks or months for the operation to get up to speed</a>. For more background on the Ebola virus, you can read a <a href=”http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/outbreaks/guinea/qa.html&#8221; target=”_blank”>”questions and answers” page</a> at the CDC and a <a href=”http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs103/en/&#8221; target=”_blank”>fact sheet</a> at WHO.

For the past week or so, we’ve been talking quite a bit about the NFL’s domestic violence problem, and in recent days, we’ve focused on Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson’s indictment for beating and injuring his four-year old son. Yesterday we learned  that Peterson was also investigated in 2013 for causing head injuries and scars to another four-year-old son from a different mother but was not charged. According to ABC News, Peterson has five children, only one of who lives with him.

man and woman newspaper

As is usually the case with abusers, Adrian Peterson was also a victim in his childhood. Sadly, based on his public statements, Peterson has not yet accepted that what his parents did to him was wrong, and he has continued the cycle of violence with his own children. In fact, he has even praised his parents for the whippings they administered. From ABC News:

Adrian Peterson’s apology for the “hurt” he inflicted on his young son when he punished the boy with a switch was the result of the respect Peterson had for similar discipline his parents had applied to him.

The football star even praised his parents’ tough discipline in his statement today, saying that it prevented him from being “one of those kids that was lost in the streets.”

“I have always believed that the way my parents disciplined me has a great deal to do with the success I have enjoyed as a man,” he said in a statement.

How bad was it? From USA Today, Whippings part of Adrian Peterson’s childhood.

PALESTINE, Texas — David Cummings and Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson still talk about the frequent whippings Peterson’s father administered — and one whipping in particular.

Cummings says he and Peterson were leaving football practice while in middle school when Peterson’s father, Nelson, was waiting near the parking lot.

School officials had called Nelson Peterson to report that Adrian had been disruptive in class, recalled Cummings, who played football and basketball with Adrian Peterson during their youth and through high school.

“His dad asked what happened, and Adrian told him,” Cummings said.

With that, Nelson Peterson unstrapped his belt and whipped Adrian Peterson in front of more than 20 students, Cummings said.

Imagine how humiliating that must have been! But Peterson had to suppress his anger at this mistreatment in order to survive in his violent family. Peterson also experience severe childhood trauma, according to ABC News.

When Peterson was 7, he witnessed a drunk driver fatally hit his 9-year-old brother while he was riding his bike. More recently, Peterson’s half brother was fatally shot in Houston in 2007 shortly before the NFL draft.

He told USA Today that when he was 13, his father was sentenced to 10 years in jail after selling crack cocaine for a drug ring and getting caught on drug laundering charges. Visits to the Texarkana Federal Correctional Institution and regular letters kept the pair close, but family friends remembered his father Nelson as “a firm disciplinarian.”

troops reading news

USA Today interviewed Peterson’s childhood friend David Cummings about the corporal punishment their parents used when they were growing up.

PALESTINE, Texas — When Adrian Peterson got whippings as a child, it often involved an assignment: Go find a “switch,” a tree branch that would be used to inflict the punishment.

David Cummings, one of Peterson’s longtime friends in their hometown of Palestine, Texas, tookUSA TODAY Sports on a tour of the wooded area near their homes. Switch heaven. Or, depending on your perspective, switch hell.

“It wouldn’t be a shock to be seen anywhere to get a switch,’’ he said.

But the prime spot were the two trees in the frontyard of Cummings’ family home, across the street from the split-level red brick home where Adrian spent many weekends with his father and grandmother. During the tour, Cummings tugged a branch off the one of the trees and sized it up.

“You’re going to get a bruise from it more than likely,’’ he said.

Oh, and Cummings said they gladly found their switches in light of the alternative: get whipped with a stinging, leather belt.

Unfortunately, Peterson has carried the cycle of violence into the next generation, inflicting abuse on his own children. He needs serious therapy, but first he needs to break the denial and admit that what he experience is child abuse and it is wrong.

Child abuse obviously is not just an African American thing, but I found this interesting op-ed at NOLA.com by Jarvis DeBerry on corporal punishment in black culture, Where did black folks learn of whippings, and why are they still a thing?

When I saw the news that Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had been arrested for whipping his young son with a switch, I immediately thought of a 1998 feature story by Washington Post writer Deneen L. Brown.  It’s called “A good whuppin?” Editors at The Washington Post thought of it, too. When I did a search for Brown’s story after the Peterson arrest, I happily discovered that her feature story is now on the newspaper’s website.

Better than anybody else I’ve seen, Brown gives a history of corporal punishment in African-American communities. She also does a good job explaining how stories of a “good whuppin'” become the best-told stories of our adulthood.

But there’s another reason the story has always lodged in my head: In doing her research about this kind of punishment, Brown talks to a chair of the department of Afro-American Studies at Howard University who says that black people did not bring this kind of punishment over from Africa. He asserts that black people learned it here.

“There is not a record in African culture of the kind of body attack that whipping represents,” that scholar told Brown for her 1998 report. “The maintenance of order by physical coercion is rare in Africa.”

The belief is that black people began whipping their children out of fear that the overseers and masters would whip them worse. If so, it’s easy to empathize with parents who made that choice.  But if those parents inflicted the same punishment that the slave master would have inflicted, how is that punishment a good thing? Is there a difference between a hateful beating and a loving one? Does the latter feel less painful than the former? Does the skin heal differently?

There’s much more. Read it all at NOLA.com.

crowds-of-people-clustered-in-the-streets-reading-news-about-the-markets-11-dive

Here are a few more links to check out, if you’re interested. I need to wrap this up before it gets too late or WordPress decides to wipe out this post again.

I haven’t read all of this yet, but I thought it looked really interesting. From Collectors Weekly, Women Who Conquered the Comics World, by Lisa Hix.

Scotland will vote on independence from Great Britain on Thursday, and England is pulling out all the stops to get them to vote “no.”

The New York Times, London Repeats Offer of New Powers if Scotland Votes No on Independence.

The Independent UK, David Cameron delivers emotional plea for Scotland to stay.

An update on the child sexual abuse scandal in Britain from the New York Times, Police Chief Quit Over Child Abuse Scandal in English Town.

On the Ukraine crisis, The BBC reports, Rebels granted self-rule and amnesty.

USA Today, U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State in Iraq

NBC News, Ray Rice Isn’t Alone: 1 in 5 Men Admits Hitting Wives, Girlfriends.

Advertising Age, Radisson Suspends Vikings Sponsorship Over Peterson Charges.

Io9, Schizophrenia is Actually Eight Distinct Genetic Disorders.

What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread, and have a terrific Tuesday!


Wednesday Reads: Put up your dukes!

a8ade4f956b30d8e6b99b03acfea9da1Good Morning

Oi! Put up your dukes and lets duke it out!

WordPress has fugged up with their editor, which means that the pictures and formatting may be a little off in this post. That said the images are all found on pinterest and are all various vintage picture of women boxing.

Why?

Because, the shit going on with the Supremes is something that makes me want to put on a pair of boxing gloves and kick some PLUB #HobbyLobby loving ass.

Justice Kennedy Thinks Hobby Lobby Is An Abortion Case — That’s Bad News For Birth Control | ThinkProgress

“Your reasoning would permit” Congress to force corporations to pay for abortions, Kennedy told Verrilli. This was not the Anthony Kennedy that worried about c65cfc1d1ec08b5d3d8a8a07be5446b8conservatives imposing their anti-gay “animus” on others, this was the Anthony Kennedy that views abortion as a grave moral wrong. Shortly after Kennedy made this statement, Justice Kagan’s face dropped. It appeared that she’d just figured out that she would be joining a dissenting opinion.

It’s worth noting that Kennedy expressed a different concern than one offered shortly thereafter by Chief Justice John Roberts. Hobby Lobby objects to four forms of contraception on the mistaken ground that these contraceptive methods are actually forms of abortion — a brief filed by numerous medical organizations explains that they are not. Roberts, however, suggested that someone’s mere belief that something is an abortion is enough to trigger an religious exemption to federal law.

More from :

SCOTUSblog: Birth control, business, and religious beliefs: In Plain English

Wednesday round-up : SCOTUSblog

Ugh….but that fucked up crap about the pill being “abortion” aside, last night Boston Boomer put up a tweet in the comments that I think needs to be shared up on the front page.

This brings up a good point, one of the tweets in this thread says that Hobby Lobby responded…

Some of the tweets mention the “myth” of infanticide and forced abortions…which is bullshit. Take a look at this from Telegraph:

Malaysia Airlines missing flight exposes tragedy of China’s ‘orphaned’ one-child parents

Much has been written about the human rights abuses associated with China’s notorious one-child policy: the forced abortions, sterilisations and even cases of infanticide as rural families sought to rid themselves of girls they thought were less useful than boys.

But the disappearance of MH370 has cast light a less well-known but equally devastating phenomenon: that of the “orphaned” parents who, through accident or illness, lost the only child the Chinese government allowed them to have.

There are an estimated one million so-called “shidu” families in China, with state media reporting that around 76,000 new families are “orphaned” each year.

“When you lose your only child, it feels like the sky has fallen in,” said one bereaved Shanghai mother, who lost her only daughter and her husband to a 2012 car accident.

“Because of the one-child policy a million families have lost their offspring forever,” added the woman, who requested anonymity because of the politically sensitive nature of the subject. “It is an ethical tragedy. Nobody can take away the pain.”

2ee90dc1af530f0f0d9815faf83b983cRecent months have seen several major Chinese cities and provinces including Beijing and Shanghai start to change the controversial birth control policy, relaxing family planning rules so parents who are both only children can now have two children.

On the subject of lost children…grown children…the numbers have gone up in the death toll over in the Washington state landslide claims up to 24, more than 100 missing.

The number of dead climbed to as high as 24 with the recovery Tuesday of two more bodies and another eight believed to have been located in the debris.

Authorities did not immediately release the identities of the dead nor did they provide details about where the bodies were found.

At least 176 people are unaccounted for. Officials have stressed those unaccounted for are not necessarily all victims of the disaster. They say they believe many names have been duplicated.

Three sheriff’s deputies who specialize in missing persons cases have begun reviewing the lists to get a more accurate count, Snohomish County Emergency Management Director John Pennington said.

And if death from plane crash or mudslide is not depressing enough, how about Ebola: W Africa scrambles to prevent Ebola spread

West African nations scrambled to contain an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus suspected to have killed at least 59 people in Guinea, with symptoms of the disease reported in neighbouring Sierra Leone and Liberia as well.26392ed054c7d10c9eca5bd8d5187606

The spread of Ebola, one of the most lethal infectious diseases known, has spooked nations with weak health care systems. In Guinea’s southeast, home to all the confirmed cases, residents are avoiding large gatherings and prices in some markets have spiked as transporters avoid the area.

Health authorities in Liberia said they had now recorded eight suspected cases of Ebola, mainly in people who crossed the border from Guinea.

Five of these had died but tests were still being carried out to check if the cases were indeed Ebola, the Reuters news agency reported.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said a total of 86 suspected cases, including 59 deaths, had been reported in southeastern Guinea near the border with Sierra Leone and Liberia.

This next quote is very scary:

“People are really frightened. They have seen people die in a matter of just two or three days. They are constantly worried who is going to be the next fatality,” said Joseph Gbaka Sandounou, who manages operations for aid agency Plan International in Guekedou.

On to more “newsy” link goodness. Major Garrett has a piece up over at National Journal: Obama Tries to Put Putin in His Place—Again

Moments after deflecting a question about his diminished influence on the world stage, President Obama described Russia as a “regional power” operating in Crimea out of weakness, not strength.

Women boxing at the 1904 Olympic Games in St. LouisNoting Russia’s long-standing influence in all of Ukraine, Obama said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s illegal annexation of Crimea “indicates less influence, not more.”

I guess that’s why Ukraine’s defense minister resigned and Ukrainian troops bugged out of Crimea, leaving it to Russian forces. This is the only “off ramp” that matters in Crimea. Ukraine and its rhetorically florid Western allies took it. Not Putin.

Even as the White House insists Crimea is not “lost” (Putin can find it without satellite imagery, after all), the grudging language of concession seeps from every corridor of Ukrainian talks here.

“It’s not a done deal in the sense that the international community by and large isn’t recognizing the annexation of Crimea,” Obama said, before acknowledging the “facts on the ground” favored Russia. “It would be dishonest to say there is a simple solution to resolving what has already taken place in Crimea.”

Obama and European leaders are rattled and resentful, thunderstruck that the wispy bonds of international “norms” could be so easily shredded. Fearful of the precedent they appear incapable of reversing, and desperate to limit Putin’s ambitions to Crimea, the G-7 nations have effectively conceded Crimea. They threatened “sectoral sanctions” if Putin further bulldozed international law by gobbling up more of Ukraine or plowing into Moldova. Weak or strong, Putin enforces the new Crimean status quo. All he’s lost is Russia’s G-8 membership pin and decoder ring.

21f8ff404ae8a0dc78db6ac4d7605447Read the rest at the link.

One of our astronauts hitched a ride yesterday. Leaving politics behind, Russian-U.S. crew blasts off for space | Reuters

Two Russian cosmonauts and a U.S. astronaut blasted off for six-month stay aboard the International Space Station on Tuesday, a partnership unaffected by the political rancor and economic sanctions triggered by Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

The Russian Soyuz rocket carrying cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev and NASA astronaut Steven Swanson lifted off at 5:17 p.m. EDT from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The trip to the space station, a $100 billion research laboratory that flies about 260 miles above Earth, was scheduled to take about six hours. However, an unknown problem caused the crew’s Soyuz capsule to skip two planned steering maneuvers, delaying the crew’s arrival until Thursday.

“The crew is in no danger. The Soyuz (is) equipped with plenty of consumables to go even beyond the next two days, should that be become necessary. Nobody expects that that will be the case,” mission commentator Rob Navias said during a NASA Television broadcast.

 

558a1149bb572582b62fb754a235f37cMy son has a sinus infection, and was home from school yesterday…so he watched the launch live.

At Least Russia and the U.S. Still Get Along in Outer Space – NationalJournal.com

NASA, however, is not worried about the Ukraine crisis taking a toll on space exploration.

“We do not expect the current Russia-Ukraine situation to have an impact on our long-standing civil space cooperation with Russia, which goes back decades, including our partnership on the International Space Station program,” said NASA spokesman Joshua Buck in a statement to National Journal. “We are confident that our two space agencies will continue to work closely as they have throughout various ups and downs of the broader U.S.-Russia relationship.”

The International Space Station has indeed weathered terrestrial political storms in the past. “It doesn’t appear that we are affected by what’s going on diplomatically with the Russians,” Al Sofge, director of NASA’s human exploration and operations division, has said of the conflict in Syria and Russia’s protection of American whistle-blower Edward Snowden. “I don’t know that we’ve ever even discussed it.”

After 16 years in orbit, the International Space Station is truly a bilateral effort. The station, divided into American and Russian segments, uses American solar arrays and power systems, Russian life-support systems, and a navigation system that comes from both nations.

61fb77482bb012d4afdb794135b78746The U.S. and Russia first collaborated in space in July 1975, when a Soviet Soyuz capsule carrying two cosmonauts docked with a U.S. Apollo module carrying three astronauts. In the 1990s, after the Soviet Union collapsed, the U.S. asked Russia to join its work on the International Space Station. Russia was too financially strapped to build a program of its own, BBC’s Melissa Hogenboom explained in 2012, and the U.S. was behind schedule on the project and needed help.

This “reluctant codependency,” as NBC space analyst James Oberg dubbed it, persists to this day. At the International Space Station, Russia depends on NASA’s electronics and communications technology, which are more advanced. The U.S. depends on Roscosmos, the Russian federal agency, to send its astronauts to space. After NASA retired its space-shuttle program in 2011, Russia became the sole nation with the capability of carrying astronauts and cargo to and from space. Even U.S. national security satellites are powered into orbit on an American rocket with a Russian-built rocket engine.

While Jake was watching that rocket take off, I told him the Russians would not mess up that arrangement, they are getting paid. How much?

Right now, NASA pays $70.7 million per seat to send its astronauts to space on Russian Soyuz capsules, $8 million more than a previous agreement. But by 2017, NASA officials say the U.S. should be able to send its astronauts to the International Space Station on its own, thanks to private American spaceflight companies.


bfc76f7e8d948480492ab98762023746I will put this other link here for you, Zandar Versus The Stupid: Last Call For One Hell Of A Coincidence, where an article in the Business Insider by Michael Kelley is asking the question:

 

U.S. officials think that Russia recently obtained the ability to evade U.S. eavesdropping equipment while commandeering Crimea and amassing troops near Ukraine’s border.

The revelation reportedly has the White House “very nervous,” especially because it’s unclear how the Kremlin hid its plans from the National Security Agency’s snooping on digital and electronic communications.

One interesting fact involved is the presence of Edward Snowden in Russia, where he has been living since flying to Moscow from Hong Kong on June 23.

In July, primary Snowden source Glenn Greenwald told The Associated Press that Snowden “is in possession of literally thousands of documents that contain very specific blueprints that would allow somebody who read them to know exactly how the NSA does what it does, which would in turn allow them to evade that surveillance or replicate it.”

So it’s either a crazy coincidence that the Russians figured out how to evade NSA surveillance while hosting the NSA-trained hacker, or else it implies that Snowden provided the Russians with access to the NSA’s blueprint.

ad91d1fe340080ba3d708415fa8cd55eNo doubt Kelley’s article is going to draw a massive screed from Double G and the usual suspects.  But as the people who support Snowden’s actions remind us, we need to have a serious debate about American intelligence capabilities, and that includes debating the consequences of someone with the vast knowledge of these capabilities defecting to a foreign country.

I’ve said on a number of occasions that the actions of Snowden and his partners are not consistent with the goal of reigning in the NSA through existing means, but very consistent with the goal of taking it upon themselves to irreparably damage our intelligence-gathering abilities as a lesson to the Unites States government.

The threats have been made that if anything happens to Snowden, the full trove of information would be leaked.

Zandar asks…

It’s a reasonable question to ask if that’s already happened.

5d1338d26584ed11f5ecee7dd896309aSo, over at CNN they are looking for news since their 24/7 coverage of MH Flight 370 is coming to a close….Two CNN Producers Arrested in Sad Attempt to Break into the WTC Site

Two CNN producers were arrested today after trying—and failing miserably—to break into the World Trade Center site for a story about people who successfully broke in.

A CNN spokesperson said that producers Connor Boals, 26, and Yon Pomrenze, 35, were on assignment “but were not asked to sneak onto the WTC site.”

According to reports, the pair first tried to talk their way past security guards into the heavily guarded construction site. When that failed, they tried scaling a nearby fence. Both times officers merely turned them away.

The tipping point came on their third attempt, when they tried to forcibly push their way through a security checkpoint.

That coup de grâce got Boals and Pomrenze cuffed and booked on criminal trespass, obstruction of governmental administration and disorderly conduct charges.

4bf0f9fa812baf0dacba764f4cdd93c8Sad…sad…sad…when all they had to do was head on over to Jersey: Body parts injure 4 after man killed by train

A man was struck and killed by a train Tuesday in a gruesome scene that left others on the New Brunswick Station platform injured.

Preliminary eyewitness accounts suggest that the man was struck after leaning into the path of the oncoming train while standing on the station platform.

As a result of the collision, at least four other people waiting on the platform were struck by parts of the man’s body, officials said.

The incident happened at about 5 p.m. EDT and involved a New York-bound Northeast Corridor train carrying about 300 passengers, NJ Transit spokesman John Durso said.

1240957702d17d444ef8d846a8420c41Three of the four people who were hurt went to the hospital with injuries…eek! Now that is a “story” those producers could have gotten into…dirty laundry there. Literally.

 

Back to the MH370 for a moment: Families of Flight MH370 Victims Issue Blistering Statement | Vanity Fair

The families on the receiving end didn’t take kindly to the message or the manner in which it was delivered. Families gathered in Beijing read a blistering rebuke of Malaysian Airlines and authorities on Monday:

“At 10pm on March 25, the Malaysian prime minister sent a statement to the families of MH370 passengers without any direct evidence that MH370 crashed in the south Indian ocean and no people survived. 

From March 8 when they announced that MH370 lost contact to today, 18 days have passed during which the Malaysian government and military constantly tried to delay, deceive the passengers’ families and cheat the whole world.

This shameless behaviour not only fooled and hurt the families of the 154 passengers but also misguided and delayed rescue actions, wasting a large quantity of human resources and materials and lost valuable time for the rescue effort.

If the 154 passengers did lose their lives, Malaysia Airlines, the Malaysian government and military are the real executioners who killed them. We the families of those on board submit our strongest protest against them.

cbb4858fba066dab03fa9df6171a770dWe will take every possible means to pursue the unforgivable crimes and responsibility of all three.”

Malaysia Airlines claims a representative for the company told the assembled families in person, and that phone calls and SMS messages were only sent to relatives who were not in the family-support center.

The rest of the links are in quick dump fashion:

What happens when a female student in a hot pink top walks through Cairo University? – News – Student – The Independent

A shocking video shows a female student being sexually harassed as she walks through her campus at Cairo University in Egypt.

Wearing a pink top and tight jeans, the young woman is whistled and shouted at as she makes her way through the site amongst a growing group of men following her.

54ed3e8e1cff5ddfbb033982fed1f78dUniversity guards are seen in the clip, which has gone viral on social media, escorting her off the premises after she hid in a toilet to escape the group, who were allegedly trying to remove her clothes.

The school Dean blamed the girl of course…video at the link.

From the fuckwads in my state, In Georgia, Carry a Gun, Just Not in the Capitol – NYTimes.com

There’s a lot of concern about new legislation in Georgia that expands how people can buy, carry and use guns. It reduces some licensing requirements and provides Georgians with a stronger “Stand Your Ground” defense should they feel threatened and decide to open fire. Some critics were calling it the “guns everywhere” law. That’s so unfair. Georgia’s lawmakers are not allowing everyone’s safety to be endangered by gun-slinging people. They are deeply concerned, for example, with their own.

The bill, passed on Thursday and awaiting the governor’s signature, will, among other things, allow people to carry concealed weapons into more places — including ones, like bars, which conveniently enough are spots where they are likely to be put to use.

They may also be carried in unsecured areas of airports. Even toting a gun in secured areas will merely be a misdemeanor in Georgia as long as you did it by mistake. After all, who among us has not had the embarrassing experience of forgetting they were carrying their Glock semiautomatic through airport security?

put em up (louise adler in a promo shot for the match in which she defeated joe rivers, 1926)Republican lawmakers in the Georgia House tried — and failed — to require colleges and churches to allow concealed weapons. The law bans them on college campuses (thank goodness for that, at least) and requires armed Georgians to get permission from their church before they go to Sunday services packing heat.

But, while patting themselves on the back for protecting the Second Amendment rights of their fellow citizens and dismissing any notion that guns could be a danger to the public, Georgia lawmakers were careful to continue to ban the carrying of weapons in government buildings with security checkpoints, like the Capitol itself, though guns are welcomed in buildings without screening.

aa99047510b526beb2a9c32518e0b111How thoughtful of them.

Barbara Boxer: Why no Viagra complaints? – Tal Kopan – POLITICO.com

As the Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday about the Obamacare mandate on birth control coverage, Sen. Barbara Boxer questioned why those up in arms about the requirement have no problem with most insurance covering Viagra.

“I have never heard Hobby Lobby or any other corporation, I could be wrong, or any other boss complain that Viagra is covered in many insurance plans, practically all of them, or other kinds of things, you know, for men, which I won’t go into,” Boxer said Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Jansing & Co.”

Yeah, isn’t every sperm sacred?

After 27 years, Burger King Baby finds birth mom, feels pure joy

A woman who, as a newborn, was abandoned in the bathroom of a Pennsylvania fast-food restaurant said Tuesday she has found her birth mother just three weeks after launching a search that garnered worldwide attention.

Next…another blast from 80s’ past, an interview with Boy George: Boy George Discusses New Album, Gender Identity, Madonna And More

BOY GEORGE

If you’re ever given 60 minutes to sit down with Boy George, one of the most beloved pop icons of the 20th century, in a private club on the west side of Manhattan in the middle of February, take them.

In the course of that hour, you’ll not only be treated to stories about how as a teen, his brothers would cross the street so they didn’t have to be seen with him and find out if he ever considered transitioning to the other end of the gender binary, but you’ll also quickly realize that he is one of the most thoughtful — and refreshingly honest — interview subjects you’ve ever had the pleasure of encountering.

cbca6008e95235ed0e672a50a1753923Next, tales of animals…remember that zoo in Copenhagen? The one that killed the young giraffe and butchered it then fed it to the lions?

Look what the zoo did to the lions: Danish zoo that killed giraffe puts down four lions

Two lions and their two 10-month-old cubs, all from the same family, were put down on Monday to make way for a new male after the zoo failed to find a new home for the felines.

Copenhagen Zoo said in a statement: “Because of the pride of lions’ natural structure and behaviour, the zoo has had to euthanise the two old lions and two young lions who were not old enough to fend for themselves”.

The cubs “would have been killed by the new male lion as soon as he got the chance,” it added.

1a6487da34751cbe267773eaa6dcaaaeWTF? Am I right?

On the case of inbreeding and genetic defects…no I am not talking about Banjoville, Birth Defects In Last Woolly Mammoths Suggest Inbreeding May Have Led To Species’ Extinction

Scientists studying 12,000-year-old mammoth fossils unearthed near the North Sea discovered that many of them had extra ribs along their neck vertebrae. Cervical ribs, while innocuous on their own, are usually a sign that something went wrong during the animal’s development and are associated with chromosome abnormalities and even cancer.

Researchers found that cervical ribs were 10 times more common in woolly mammoths from the North Sea than in modern elephants. Scientists were stunned to find such a high rate of cervical ribs among European woolly mammoths.

[…]

c9b35a5b9b503c99e6692addb351750e“The high incidence and large size of the cervical ribs [in woolly mammoths] indicates a strong vulnerability, given the association of cervical ribs with diseases and congenital abnormalities in mammals,” the researchers noted in a study published in the journal PeerJ. “The vulnerable condition may well have contributed to the eventual extinction of the woolly mammoths.”

Scientists theorized that there are two possible explanations for the high frequency of cervical ribs in the last of the mammoths. The first is that there was rampant inbreeding among the last mammoth populations. This theory fits nicely with the idea that climate change fragmented the woolly mammoth’s habitat, isolating small pockets of the animals from each other. These groups would have lost their genetic variation through inbreeding, which would have made them susceptible to abnormalities and disease.

The second theory is that woolly mammoth mothers suffered prenatal stress due to outside factors like famine and disease.

298ffe3ca111580ab030cbe356597c34And finally, Goats are far more clever than previously thought

Goats learn how to solve complicated tasks quickly and can recall how to perform them for at least 10 months, which might explain their remarkable ability to adapt to harsh environments, say researchers at Queen Mary University of London.

Writing in the journal Frontiers in Zoology today, the scientists trained a group of to retrieve food from a box using a linked sequence of steps; first by pulling a lever with their mouths and then by lifting it to release the reward.

The goats’ ability to remember the task was tested after one month and again at 10 months. They learned the task within 12 trials and took less than two minutes to remember the challenge.

01c3b3abfac3402491e3c50d798f1a9a“The speed at which the goats completed the task at 10 months compared to how long it took them to learn indicates excellent long-term memory,” said co-author Dr Elodie Briefer, now based at ETH Zurich.

Before each learning session, some of the goats had the opportunity to watch another goat to demonstrate the task.

Dr Briefer added: “We found that those without a demonstrator were just as fast at learning as those that had seen demonstrations. This shows that goats prefer to learn on their own rather than by watching others.”

Wow, I wonder if a goat could learn that the birth control pill does not = an abortion? Yeah, they sound like they are smarter than some of the Supremes sitting on the bench.

Have a great day, and let us know what you are reading and thinking about today.


Sky Dancing Evening News…Liberia, Sickle Cell, Iran, Immigration and Alabama Slave Labor

Good later evening.

Isn’t it fabulous to have two new (or in Quixote case returning) writers here on the blog. I am so thrilled to be among such talented writers. I have a few news items to bring you tonight. If my post seems a bit strange, I am writing with a migraine…and I took some heavy duty pain meds…so it is a bit like being on a twisted trip…

Boston Boomer sent me this, and if I wasn’t so spaced out I would write more on this, so I am planning to work on something for this Saturday…

Alabama brings back slavery for Latinos | Axel Caballero | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

Here’s how: pass a draconian immigration law, lock up ‘illegals’ in private prisons, then get the new inmates to work in the fields

Several days have now passed since Alabama‘s anti-immigration law, the harshest and most abusive in the nation, came into full effect. HB 56, a de facto criminalisation of migration, replaces any sensible immigration policy with the favorite solution these days: let’s put them behind bars– and we might as well make a profit out of it.

The negative consequences of such shameful legislation have been felt immediately. Within hours, it had claimed its first victims – from the detention of a man who later turned out to be residing legally, to the massive fleeing of migrant workers and school children, to even cutting off water services to families or individuals who can’t prove their legal status. It is the most draconian and oppressive set of provisions that this country, which claims to be the bastion of liberties and rights, has seen since the era of segregation.

Because anyone lacking the proper immigration papers is considered to be committing a crime, also entering into a “business transaction” with the individual in question would prompt criminal charges. The pressure to enact and enforce anti-immigration law has left state and local police officers and government agents and officials in a bind. Already struggling to meet demands, with shortened budgets and staff, these agencies must now devise ways to comply with the new set of measures. And at present, these often lead to confusion as to when, how, where and to whom to apply the law.

This law takes it beyond the ones we saw passed in Arizona and Georgia…parents are taking steps to find homes for their children should they be deported. I cannot express my contempt that such a law would and could separate mothers and fathers from their American born children. It is heartbreaking.

A consequence of this chaos, though, is that we’re seeing absurd and flat out racist applications of the law. A hotline set up by an immigrant protection group has received more than 2,000 phone calls from families in dire need. The pleas range from mothers trying to place their children in safe protection while they look to flee the state, to students being questioned at schools and accounts of abuse and harassment.

Please read the entire post…the country is going to hell in a racist misogynistic hypocritical basket…

This next link is also from the Guardian: Obama promises ‘toughest sanctions’ on Iran over alleged bomb plot | World news | guardian.co.uk

The United States will apply the “toughest sanctions” to further isolate Iran over the alleged plan to murder the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Barack Obama said on Thursday, despite growing scepticism over the amateurish nature of the plot and the apparently shambolic background of the main suspect.

Obama insisted that the US had evidence to back up the allegations, as he said he would not take any options off the table in dealing with Iran – diplomatic code for the possibility of military action. Tehran has vehemently denied any involvement in the plot.

Really, the FBI has become like one of those TV shows from Chris Hansen..you know the ones, like To Catch A Predator. It seems like a line has been crossed, so many police/security/investigation organizations are taking the undercover “sting” technique towards entrapment.

Damn, I wish I could make sense…just a couple more links for you:

Liberia Headed for Runoff Vote – WSJ.com

Liberia’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning incumbent president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, fell short of a simple majority of votes she needed for re-election of the west African nation, where four of every five adults remain unemployed.

Here are the particulars…

President Johnson Sirleaf, named one of three 2011 Nobel Peace laureates last week, held 44.5% of the vote in Tuesday’s poll, with 16% of polling centers reporting, according to provisional results from Liberia’s National Election Commission. She needed 50% to clinch a second six-year term. That number appears elusive in a field with 15 candidates, so Liberians will likely vote again in a run-off Nov. 8.

In the second round, the president will face her harshest critic: former Justice Minister Winston Tubman who carried 26.5% of the early returns, boosted by the star power of his running mate, soccer champion George Weah.

For a profile on her opponent take a look at this:

Profile: Winston Tubman – Africa – Al Jazeera English

And lastly, this next link offers some encouraging news to those who suffer from Sickle Cell disease:

Scientists correct sickle cell disease in mice | Reuters

U.S. scientists have found a way to get mice with a form of sickle cell disease to make normal red blood cells, offering a potential new way to treat the blood disorder in people, they reported on Thursday.

Adults with sickle cell disease make mutant, sickle-shaped forms of hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that is vital for carrying oxygen to the body’s tissues.

These deformed cells block small blood vessels, causing pain, strokes, organ dysfunction and premature death.

[…]

A team led by Dr. Stuart Orkin of Harvard Medical School, Children’s Hospital and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Boston, earlier had discovered that a protein called BCL11A is responsible for making the switch from fetal hemoglobin to adult hemoglobin.

In the latest study, published in the journal Science, the team looked to see what would happen if they blocked production of the BCL11A protein in mice with sickle cell disease.

They found that when the protein was disabled, the mice switched back to producing fetal hemoglobin. And mice that once exhibited symptoms of sickle cell disease improved.

“This discovery provides an important new target for future therapies in people with sickle cell disease,” Dr. Susan Shurin, acting director of the NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, which co-funded the study, said in a statement.

“More work is needed before it will be possible to test such therapies in people, but this study demonstrates that the approach works in principle.”

That is it for today, have a good evening and hopefully the pain medicine will work and I can get rid of this migraine and think straight again…because with all the damn good post today, there sure is so much to say.


Saturday Morning Reads: Our Future. Our Selves.

Leymah Gbowee

Good Morning!

I admit to a growing fascination with Leymah Gbowee since hearing several interviews with her after the announcement that she is one of three women sharing the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.  She is just one of those take charge and get it done women if there ever was one!  I am now itching to see “Pray the Devil Back to Hell”.  This is a documentary by  filmmaker Abigail Disney.  Here is a link to a 2009 report from Bill Moyers Journal on the 2008 film.  Yes, Abigail Disney comes from THAT family but the movie is a long ways away from animated princesses and singing animals.  You can watch the Moyers piece here to get a feel for Gbowee’s commitment to social justice in Liberia.

Women’s News Network updated their recent interview with Gbowee on her work to secure reproductive and sexual rights of African women as well as her efforts to assure peace in Liberia.  She also addresses the needs of American women in the interview.  Yes.  We can learn many things from the struggles of women in developing nations for basic rights as we see the daily erosion of our own.  Did you ever believe you would live a country where the whims of a druggist can dictate your access to prescribed medicine?

In Gbowee’s estimation, American women also have challenges that need to be addressed. This topic came up in response to our conversation about CEDAW, and the inability for the agreement to get national traction. She referenced the disadvantages that come from not signing the international treaty. Totally frank in her assessment questioning America’s ability to provide cogent leadership on women’s issues, Gbowee pointed to matters that leaders “don’t want to tackle.”

She said, “If a President or Secretary of State is standing up and making statements about the rapes in Congo, and that same country has not signed a document that is so important to the lives of their women —what other name do you give it but hypocrisy?”

Part of our exchange included how important it was for those working to help women under siege, to truly engage in an equal dialogue. “There is a need to speak to the women of these countries,” Gbowee said. She told me a story about a trip she had taken to Congo where she had spoken with women on the ground, and learned that for them “rape was at the bottom of the list.”

At the top — was “political participation.” For those women, “rape is a symptom of an actual issue.” She continued, “We want to help. But we need to step out of our donor driven issues and step into what it is that these communities actually want.”

Yes. Gbowee’s  got me thinking on how United States women are losing ground daily. She is right.  Our country has not signed on to CEDAW.  What does this say about a President that MS magazine labelled a feminist?  This link takes you to the Text of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.   Why is our country not a signatory? Why are our rights not a priority?

The Convention defines discrimination against women as “…any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”

By accepting the Convention, States commit themselves to undertake a series of measures to end discrimination against women in all forms, including:

  • to incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women;
  • to establish tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination; and
  • to ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.

 The Convention provides the basis for realizing equality between women and men through ensuring women’s equal access to, and equal opportunities in, political and public life — including the right to vote and to stand for election — as well as education, health and employment.  States parties agree to take all appropriate measures, including legislation and temporary special measures, so that women can enjoy all their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

It seems that a country as advanced as ours would consider the rights of half of its citizens to be extremely important, wouldn’t it?  However, that doesn’t appear to be the priority of many folks in government outside of the US State Department.  Here is a youtube of SOS Clinton saying that the treaty is a priority of the Obama administration.  Why haven’t we signed it?

American women are experiencing an incredible set back in rights.  Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius spoke at an  abortion rights  fundraiser on Wednesday where she issued a strong warning against moves by Republicans to roll back women’s health gains by 50 years.  Women are being sent back to chattel status in state after state.

“We’ve come a long way in women’s health over the last few decades, but we are in a war,” Sebelius said at a NARAL Pro-Choice America luncheon attended by about 300 people, who gave some of their loudest applause at her mention of the Obama administration’s support for requiring insurance plans to cover birth control without copays.

Sebelius said women have suffered discrimination by insurance companies that considered “Viagra an essential medication and birth control a lifestyle choice.”

Her message resonated with some at the event who acknowledged doubts about Obama’s leadership on a variety of liberal issues.

“I’m a little disappointed with his force, his forcefulness, pretty much across the board,” Chicagoan Bamboo Solzman said of Obama. Sebelius’ remarks at Wednesday’s event solidified Solzman’s support of Obama’s re-election, she said. “He was forward enough to choose her, so that does help,” Solzman said.

We are clearly losing ground.  While women in the administration are being sent out to do heartfelt speeches, nothing is being done to protect our rights.  Speeches do not protect women and children from the brutalities of fundamentalist religions and the economic realities of sex-based discrimination.  Neoconfederate Ron Paul is just one among many Republican presidential contenders that wants to eliminate access to something as simple as basic birth control.  The fight is not just for our right to abortion.  It is for our right to birth control and self determination.

“I am deeply troubled by the flippancy with which President Obama recently discussed regulations that are alarming and troublesome for many Americans,” Paul said. “Not all Americans are comfortable with the Obama administration’s decision to mandate coverage of birth control and morning-after pills, and the considerations of these people, many of them Christian conservatives, are worthy of careful consideration – not mockery.”

“Many, like me, view this rigid regulatory overstep from which there is inadequate opportunity to self-exempt as payback to Planned Parenthood and big pharmaceutical companies for their support of Obamacare,” Paul added. “Many others oppose it out of strict moral conviction and their voices should be heard at least to the extent that an authentic opportunity to exempt be provided. That is, until Obamacare is repealed in its entirety.”

“As this mandate violates the conscience of millions of pro-life Americans, I have introduced in Congress H.R. 1099, the Taxpayer Freedom of Conscience Act, which removes all federal funding for domestic and international family planning,” Paul continued. “As President, I plan to defund Obamacare and all federal programs that use tax money taken from the American people to promote abortion and provide abortion services domestically and globally. I pledge also to veto any bill with funding for Planned Parenthood or any other international family planning regimes.”

Any of us can have deeply felt beliefs against the death penalty, against invasions of nations, and against assassination without due process of American citizens, yet none of our concerns are met with similar angst and pearl clutching.  Only the fetus fetishists get to object to using their puny tax dollars for every one.  If they don’t want abortions or birth control, they just shouldn’t get them.  That should have nothing to do with our access  Their views preclude the findings of modern science and medicine and they are ruling the day.

Most Republican presidential wannabes spent their week pandering to so called “values voters” at a summit cum hatefest.   Clearly, this political movement is out to define every one’s personal choices to meet their maxims. They have declared an open war on women’s rights.  Rick Perry’s Endorser called Mitt Romney’s faith a “cult” and referred to Planned Parenthood as “a slaughterhouse for the unborn”.  This is nothing more than hate speech dressed up in a pastor’s robe.

It was no ordinary opener from the prominent Southern Baptist Convention leader, Pastor Robert Jeffress, who endorsed Perry on Friday. Jeffress praised Perry for defunding Planned Parenthood in Texas, calling the provider of women’s health and abortion services, “that slaughterhouse for the unborn.”

He also lauded Perry’s “strong commitment to biblical values.”

“Do we want a candidate who is skilled in rhetoric or one who is skilled in leadership? Do we want a candidate who is a conservative out of convenience or one who is a conservative out of deep conviction?” Jeffress said. “Do we want a candidate who is a good, moral person — or one who is a born-again follower of the lord Jesus Christ?”

Jeffress called Perry a “genuine follower of Jesus Christ.” The pastor did not mention Perry’s rival Mitt Romney by name, but he told reporters after his remarks on Friday that Mormonism was a “cult.”

Jeffress’ comments and his endorsement of Perry threatened to inject some tension into what has been a relatively quiet year for religion on the campaign trail and the Perry campaign sought to quiet the uproar.

The campaign’s official comment on Jeffress evolved quickly on Friday afternoon. When initially asked by ABC News whether Gov. Perry agreed that Mormonism is a cult, Perry spokesman Mark Miner said: “The governor doesn’t judge what is in the heart and soul of others. He leaves that to God.”

My horrible governor Bobby Jindal joked about pedophilia at this same hub of hatred.  What an inappropriate topic for jokes! Since so many folks were herded out of New Orleans and Southern Louisiana after Katrina, we can no longer even find a decent field of candidates to run against a man that’s trying to bring back the plantation system of government and economics.  He has spent tremendous amounts of money courting chicken evisceration plants to our state for a few horrible paying jobs while decimating our already fragile public health and education systems.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) knows just how to crack up the audience at the Values Voter Summit: just make a joke about former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) being a pedophile.

After a long winded speech about all his accomplishments protecting children from sex offenders, Jindal brought it home.

“What I can do as governor is this: I can make Louisiana the last place that anyone who wants to in any way harm a child by exposing children to inappropriate material,” Jindal said. “I can make Louisiana a dangerous place for Congressman Weiner to relocate to.”

Louisiana is a dangerous place for teachers, nurses, and public employees right now because of this man and that clearly makes it a dangerous place for children.  After all, this is the same governor that foisted a creationist law on them.   He clearly doesn’t value children enough to educate them in science, protect their health, and provide them decent teachers and classrooms.  Our children need protection from our Governor.

The scientific community has long advocated that allowing anything but science in the teaching of evolution will be intellectually harmful. In an e-mail sent to the Associated Press, Harold Kroto, a Nobel Prize winner for chemistry in 1996, said voting against the repeal creates a situation that “should be likened to requiring Louisiana school texts to include the claim that the Sun goes round the Earth.”

While evolutionary biology is based in the work of Charles Darwin, which shows how humans evolved through natural selection, creationism is rooted in a fundamental reading of Biblical texts that say mankind is the product of a divine maker.

With the law intact, Louisiana is the state that has gone the furthest in approving legislation that opens the door to allowing alternatives to science taught in its schools.

American women are also not making much headway to influence corporate culture and business decisions through board appointments.  America’s top business women attended Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Laguna Niguel, California.  Board positions are key to efforts to break the glass ceiling because boards approve CEO pay and appointments.  One of the questions raised at the meeting was dealing with requests to become a board’s token woman. The topic was raised by Anne Mulcahy–former Xerox CEO and board member–who questioned if it was worth the effort to become the lone female on what has been an all boy board.

At the same time, female representation on boards is still a major issue. The percentage of female directors, which hovers around 20 percent, has been at a standstill over the past decade—Spencer Stuart finds that there has been no increase in that ratio since 2000. The research firm Catalyst reports an even lower number, 16 percent, putting the United States behind Finland, Sweden and Norway, which actually has a law requiring 40 percent of all board members at Norwegian companies to be women. Those low percentages persist despite the fact that study after study has shown that more diverse boards are associated with greater company performance.

I get what Mulcahy is saying. Why should women in positions of power join a club, as she puts it, that they may not want to be a part of? At that level, most women have multiple commitments, and joining a board where they’re treated like tokens rather than assets may not be the best use of their time. In addition, they may be able to have more of an impact on a board that is already forward thinking and receptive to diversity.

So, at a time when we are celebrating the progress made by women who have reached presidencies in countries in South America, Africa, Australia, and the East, we are seeing tremendous setbacks in women’s rights here in the United States.  Who are the Leymah Gbowee’s of North America?    Let us do more than just pray a few of our own devils back to hell.  Let’s be in their faces and all in their business just like Ms. Gbowee! (See youtube below.) Let’s be an entire population of women that won’t shut up!!!