Tate Britain‘s new Pre-Raphaelites exhibition is a steam-punk triumph, a raw and rollicking resurrection of the attitudes, ideas and passions of our engineering, imperialist, industrialist, capitalist and novel-writing ancestors. The pistons are pounding, the steam is hissing, cigars are being lit and secret lives once more being concealed. The Victorians are back in town. This is as much a costume drama as a show, jam-packed with heroes and villains and innocent victims, holding up a lurid mirror to the age that built Britain.
Wednesday Reads: Good Day, Yes?Posted: July 24, 2013 Filed under: 2014 elections, abortion rights, black women's reproductive health, court rulings, Democratic Politics, Discrimination against women, Economy, Foreign Affairs, History, income inequality, Journalism, morning reads, Reproductive Health, Republican politics, Spain, Syria, U.S. Economy, U.S. Military, U.S. Politics, Women's Healthcare, Women's Rights | Tags: Anthony Weiner, Fort San Juan, John Henry Spooner, Medieval History, Michelle Nunn, North Carolina, Royal Baby, Voting Rights Act 28 Comments
Yesterday was a good day, at least for me and a few of the people I love. My daughter is feeling better from her staph infection, my friend out in the cornfields of Iowa got a new job with the Secretary of State’s office, my son is kicking the hell out of a football and this little chocolate puff I have waited months for is finally growing up.
Let’s get to this morning’s reads, here are the latest headlines…I won’t bother to quote from them for you because honestly it is the same old shit, ah…stuff.
This guy is disgusting: Weiner admits more lewd conduct, vows to stay in New York mayoral race – The Washington Post
I secretly hope they name this kid Geoffrey, but my money is on James or George: Kate Middleton, Prince William emerge with royal baby: ‘We’re still working on a name’ – NY Daily News
Hey, talk about same old shit…only the country changes: General outlines options for U.S. intervention in Syria – CBS News
Meanwhile another rig in the Gulf of Mexico blew up yesterday: Gulf of Mexico natural gas rig blew while completing ‘sidetrack well’ | NOLA.com
And, in Milwaukee, a jury has brought a guilty verdict in another unarmed black teen murder trial: John Henry Spooner gets life sentence in death of black teen | theGrio
A 76-year-old Milwaukee man who fatally shot his unarmed teenage neighbor was sentenced to life in prison Monday, days after telling the court he killed the boy for justice because he believed he stole his shotguns.
John Henry Spooner’s home had been burglarized two days before the May 2012 shooting, and he suspected 13-year-old Darius Simmons as the thief. So he confronted the teen, demanded that he return the guns and then shot him in the chest in front of his mother when he denied stealing anything.
Spooner’s own home surveillance cameras captured the shooting, and prosecutors aired the footage in court.
A jury found Spooner guilty of first-degree intentional homicide last week, a conviction carrying a mandatory life sentence. The judge could have allowed for the possibility of parole after 20 years, but rejected that option, citing Spooner’s lack of remorse and desire to also kill the teen’s brother.
Okay, so I had to quote a bit of that story…
I’ve got another link from the Grio, this makes a lot of sense to me: Why breast cancer kills more black women: They’re sicker | theGrio
And while you read that article, think about the affect all the defunded Planned Parenthood clinics that are closing will have on those statistical averages of fatal cancer rates in black women. Damn, it makes me so mad.
Shakesville blog has a post up about the SCOTUS Voting Rights Act decision, and how North Carolina is making the most out of it: Cool Democracy We’ve Got
The Supreme Court’s garbage voting rights decision last month paved the way for this shit: “North Carolina on Cusp of Passing Worst Voter Suppression Bill in the Nation.” Among the new requirements being proposed to access voting:
Implementing a strict voter ID requirement that bars citizens who don’t have a proper photo ID from casting a ballot.
Eliminating same-day voter registration, which allowed residents to register at the polls.
Cutting early voting by a full week.
Increasing the influence of money in elections by raising the maximum campaign contribution to $5,000 and increasing the limit every two years.
Making it easier for voter suppression groups like True The Vote to challenge any voter who they think may be ineligible by requiring that challengers simply be registered in the same county, rather than precinct, of those they challenge.
Vastly increasing the number of “poll observers” and increasing what they’re permitted to do. In 2012, ThinkProgress caught the Romney campaign training such poll observers using highly misleading information.
Only permitting citizens to vote in their specific precinct, rather than casting a ballot in any nearby ward or election district. This can lead to widespread confusion, particularly in urban areas where many precincts can often be housed in the same building.
Barring young adults from pre-registering as 16- and 17-year-olds, which is permitted by current law, and repealing a state directive that high schools conduct voter registration drives in order to boost turnout among young voters.
Prohibiting some types of paid voter registration drives, which tend to register poor and minority citizens.
Dismantling three state public financing programs, including the landmark program that funded judicial elections.
Weakening disclosure requirements for outside spending groups.
Preventing counties from extending polling hours in the event of long lines or other extraordinary circumstances and making it more difficult for them to accommodate elderly or disabled voters with satellite polling sites at nursing homes, for instance.
Go to the link to read more of what Melissa thinks about this crap… you can probably already surmise what her conclusion to the post said.
Ross Douchehat published a biggie yesterday, I have two links that tackle his latest opinion piece on abortion:
Your Handy Guide To Anti-Choice Concern Trolling – Lawyers, Guns & Money
Ross Douthat Abortion Texas – Cardinal Douthat’s Musings On Abortion -Charlie Pierce at Esquire
In the New York Times this week there was a very interesting article about generations climbing up the income ladder: In Climbing Income Ladder, Location Matters
A study finds the odds of rising to another income level are notably low in certain cities, like Atlanta and Charlotte, and much higher in New York and Boston.
The study — based on millions of anonymous earnings records and being released this week by a team of top academic economists — is the first with enough data to compare upward mobility across metropolitan areas. These comparisons provide some of the most powerful evidence so far about the factors that seem to drive people’s chances of rising beyond the station of their birth, including education, family structure and the economic layout of metropolitan areas.
Climbing the income ladder occurs less often in the Southeast and industrial Midwest, the data shows, with the odds notably low in Atlanta, Charlotte, Memphis, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and Columbus. By contrast, some of the highest rates occur in the Northeast, Great Plains and West, including in New York, Boston, Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh, Seattle and large swaths of California and Minnesota.
“Where you grow up matters,” said Nathaniel Hendren, a Harvard economist and one of the study’s authors. “There is tremendous variation across the U.S. in the extent to which kids can rise out of poverty.”
That variation does not stem simply from the fact that some areas have higher average incomes: upward mobility rates, Mr. Hendren added, often differ sharply in areas where average income is similar, like Atlanta and Seattle.
The gaps can be stark. On average, fairly poor children in Seattle — those who grew up in the 25th percentile of the national income distribution — do as well financially when they grow up as middle-class children — those who grew up at the 50th percentile — from Atlanta.
Geography mattered much less for well-off children than for middle-class and poor children, according to the results. In an economic echo of Tolstoy’s line about happy families being alike, the chances that affluent children grow up to be affluent are broadly similar across metropolitan areas.
There are interactive maps and other goodies at that link, please be sure to check it out. One phrase that is used a lot in the article is “income mobility”
…earlier studies have already found that education and family structure have a large effect on the chances that children escape poverty. Other researchers, including the political scientist Robert D. Putnam, author of “Bowling Alone,” have previously argued that social connections play an important role in a community’s success. Income mobility has become one of the hottest topics in economics, as both liberals and conservatives have grown worried about diminished opportunities following more than a decade of disappointing economic growth. After years of focusing more on inequality at a moment in time, economists have more recently turned their attention to people’s paths over their lifetimes.
I will leave any commentary on this article to Dr. Dak.
Since I’ve got a link here from the New York Times, you will find this next read intriguing: New York Times Quotes 3.4 Men for Every Woman | The Jane Dough
When the New York Times broke the absolutely shocking news on Sunday that many college-aged women like to have sex, some ladies called for an end to “women’s stories” that do nothing but foster “worry” about women in society. However, before completely dismissing this genre of journalism, we need to realize that these “women’s stories” are some of the only stories where women are actually being quoted and being heard.
In January and February of this year, University of Nevada Las Vegas students Alexi Layton and Rochelle Richards, under the guidance of their professor Alicia Shepard, scoured the 325 front-page stories published in the New York Times and found that the paper quoted male sources 3.4 times more frequently than female ones. Even in areas that are perceived to be more female-dominated — style, arts, education, health, etc. — male sources vastly outnumbered female ones.
Perhaps this phenomenon shouldn’t be surprising since men continue to dominate newsrooms and the Times is no exception. Of the 325 stories published on the front page, 214 were written by men (65.8 percent); their stories mentioned four times as many male sources as female sources. Female reporters perpetuated the bias as well; of the 96 stories written by women, men were quoted twice as frequently as women. So, as Amanda Hess at Slate pointed out, “hiring more female reporters could help lift the Times’ sourcing ratio from terrible to just bad.”
Yup, more at the Jane Dough link…go read it.
Hey, down here in Georgia a Democrat has announce she is running for Saxby’s seat:
Michelle Nunn Enters 2014 Georgia Senate Race
How Michelle Nunn puts pressure on Georgia Republicans
Gee, I can only hope she has a chance…but I know how strong the redneck vote is, I mean how strong the red GOP vote is within the state.
Now for a few links that are more along the lines of special interest, or just plain non-newsy reads to start your day off right.
Fort Tells of Spain’s Early Ambitions
In the Appalachian foothills of western North Carolina, archaeologists have discovered remains of a 16th century fort, the earliest one built by Europeans deep in the interior of what is now the United States. The fort is a reminder of a neglected period in colonial history, when Spain’s expansive ambitions ran high and wide, as yet unmatched by England.
If the Spanish had succeeded, Robin A. Beck Jr., a University of Michigan archaeologist on the discovery team, suggested, “Everything south of the Mason-Dixon line might have become part of Latin America.” But they failed.
Researchers had known from Spanish documents about the two expeditions led by Juan Pardo from the Atlantic coast from 1566 to 1568. A vast interior seemed open for the taking. This was almost 20 years before the failure of the English at Sir Walter Raleigh’s “lost colony” near the North Carolina coast or their later successes in Virginia at Jamestown in 1607 and at Plymouth Rock in 1620 — the “beginnings” emphasized in the standard colonial history taught in American schools.
One of Pardo’s first acts of possession, in early 1567, was building Fort San Juan in an Indian town almost 300 miles in the interior, near what is known today as the Great Smoky Mountains. It was the first and largest of six forts the expedition erected on a trail blazed through North and South Carolina and across the mountains into eastern Tennessee. At times Pardo was following in the footsteps of Hernando de Soto in the 1540s.
Pardo was ordered to establish a road to the silver mines in Mexico…without maps or a true understanding of the New World’s geography, the belief at the time was that the Appalachians where the same mountain range that ran through central Mexico.
After years of searching, archaeologists led by Dr. Beck, Christopher B. Rodning of Tulane University in New Orleans and David G. Moore of Warren Wilson College in Asheville, N.C., came upon what they described in interviews as clear evidence of the fort’s defensive moat and other telling remains of Fort San Juan. The discovery in late June was made five miles north of Morganton, N.C., at a site long assumed to be the location of an Indian settlement known as Joara, where military artifacts and burned remains of Spanish-built huts were also found.
While excavating a ceremonial Indian mound at the site, the archaeologists encountered different colored soil beneath the surface. Part of the fort’s defensive moat had been cut through the southern side of the mound. Dr. Beck said that further excavations and magnetometer subsurface readings showed that the moat appeared to extend more than 70 to 100 feet and measured nearly 12 feet wide and 6 feet deep, in a configuration “typical of European moats going back to the Romans.”
In the area north of Banjoville, up into North Carolina they have found Spanish conquistador artifacts along the rivers, like helmets and various swords and axes and other weapons that have been dated back to de Soto. Also, some of the Indian tribes mention the Spanish visitors in their stories. Furthermore, many of the Spaniards settled in the area with the Cherokee Indians as well. There’s some interesting history in these mountains, that’s for dang sure!
This next link is to a picture gallery: Broken dreams: Walker Evans’s 1930s Americana
New York molls, Negro churches and the barbershop home of Perfecto Hair Restorer … this enchanting series of photographs shows us 1930s America through the eyes of photographer Walker Evans as he travelled from Alabama to New York City, documenting life during the Great Depression. His images earned him the first solo exhibition ever to be held at MoMA in New York. Now, 75 years later, they’re back on public view, in Walker Evans American Photographs, which runs until 26 January 2014
42nd Street, New York, 1929
And finally, what would all this history stuff be without a bit of Medieval nuggets thrown in?
Religious and Cultural Boundaries between Vikings and Irish: The Evidence of Conversion
The March in the Islands of the Medieval West, Brill Academic Publishers, November 16 (2012)
The Scandinavian migrations of the early Viking Age imprinted in European minds anenduring image of vikings as marauding heathens. As descendants of these ‘salt water bandits’ settled into their new homes, they adopted traits from their host cultures. One such trait was the adoption of Christianity. This was perhaps the biggest change whichaffected vikings in a colonial situation as it entailed a new system of belief and way of understanding the world. Vikings in Ireland have often portrayed as late converts, with christian ideas only taking hold over a century after vikings settled in the island. Nevertheless in this paper I seek to argue that vikings of Dublin began to adopt christianity at an early stage, although the process of conversion was protracted and possibly uneven across social ranks. The stereotype of Hiberno-Scandinavians as staunch heathens may need revision.
Ninth-century literature from Ireland expresses fear of vikings as slave-raiders and heathens. It was not however until the eleventh century that vikings ‘burst onto the Irish literary stage’ by which time (as Máire Ní Mhaonaigh has demonstrated) astereotype of heathen, plundering vikings had evolved which did not always reflectcontemporary realities. It is in accounts from the eleventh century and later that we get colourful descriptions of heathen activity linked with ninth-century vikings, for example the satirical account of the ‘druid’ Ormr who is hit by a stone and foretells his imminent death, or Auða, the wife of the viking leader Þórgísl, who was said to issue prophecies while seated on the altar at Clonmacnoise. These accounts were on the one hand meant to be entertaining, but on the other they were intended as negative publicity for contemporary viking groups which helped to justify their subjection to Irish kings.
To read the paper in full click the link here: The March in the Islands of the Medieval West
On the subject of Moons: The Night the Moon exploded and other Lunar tales from the Middle Ages
When writing about the events of the the year 1178 in his Chronicle, Gervase of Canterbury interrupts his account of kings and wars to relate a very unusual occurrence in the night sky:
This year on the 18th of June, when the Moon, a slim crescent, first became visible, a marvellous phenomenon was seen by several men who were watching it. Suddenly, the upper horn of the crescent was split in two. From the mid point of the division, a flaming torch sprang up, spewing out over a considerable distance fire, hot coals and sparks. The body of the Moon which was below, writhed like a wounded snake. This happened a dozen times or more, and when the Moon returned to normal, the whole crescent took on a blackish appearance.
This account has puzzled modern astronomers – some suggest that the monks saw an asteroid crashing into the moon, while others believe that it was a meteorite that had entered the Earth’s atmosphere at just the right spot – between the monks and the moon – making the observers believe that what they saw was happening on the moon.
For the monks who saw this phenomenon this event would be very worrying indeed. For medieval people the moon was an ever-present, fascinating and mysterious object. The moon not only brought light to the night sky, but it also marked the passage of time and could determine the personality of man or woman.
That particular blog post is full of cool things and drawings go read it because you will be amazed at some of the advanced discoveries during a time known as the “dark ages.”
Ooof, this post turned out longer than I had planned. Hope you have a great day, stay cool and please let us know what you are reading and thinking about this morning.
Wednesday Reads: It’s a SinPosted: September 12, 2012 Filed under: 2012 presidential campaign, abortion rights, academia, child sexual abuse, children, court rulings, education, Elections, History, legislation, misogyny, Mitt Romney, morning reads, religion, Reproductive Health, Reproductive Rights, Republican politics, science, U.S. Politics, War on Women, Women's Healthcare, Women's Rights | Tags: Ayn Rand, Dark Matter, Einstein, fine art, Mary Felton, Medieval History, Pet Shop Boys, Pre-Raphaelites, victorian England 85 Comments
I’ve no clue what is going on in the world, it feels like I have checked out but still stuck in the same place. It is like I can see things going on around me, but I just don’t give a damn about it.
So for this morning’s thread, I have some links that I have saved along the way. Some of them are from a few weeks ago…anyway…
This first article is over my head…my son has tried to explain dark matter to me and I still don’t get it. Mathematicians offer unified theory of dark matter, dark energy, altering Einstein field equations
A pair of mathematicians — one from Indiana University and the other from Sichuan University in China — have proposed a unified theory of dark matter and dark energy that alters Einstein’s equations describing the fundamentals of gravity.
I will just let you read that article on your own.
Now for something I can comprehend, Pre-Raphaelites as costume drama: Victorians in all their lurid glory
These style of paintings have always fascinated me, maybe it is because there is something medieval about them?
The Pre-Raphaelites were painting as Karl Marx was writing his revolutionary works in the Reading Room of the British Museum. Marx and Friedrich Engels published the Communist Manifesto in 1848, the same year the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood formed. The young artists who joined this radical band saw through the hypocrisy of the factory owners who bought their paintings. In Isabella, painted in 1848-49, John Everett Millais illustrates a medieval Italian tale about the daughter of a rich merchant family who loved a penniless young clerk. Isabella’s brothers murder her unsuitable lover. Millais suggests these brothers have incestuous designs on their sister: one of them points a white-stockinged leg phallically at Isabella. The foregrounded brothers are creepy in the extreme, but the most villainous faces in Millais’ painting belong to a row of respectable bourgeois types who share their dinner table: they radiate the cold propriety of Poor Law guardians. This is a painting about secrets and lies, and Millais makes it a psychodrama full of resonance with the Victorian period.
Beautiful. Read the entire article at the link above, they have more visual images too…real nice ones.
Now, I usually love to read articles from HNN History News Network, but this has to be one subject of study I would never have thought people would take seriously. Just the title for you, The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies: The Best is Yet to Come | History News Network
Damn, I feel violated, like I need to take a shower, ugh…Ayn Rand Studies? Now that is fucked up.
Here are a couple of articles that are very important, they discuss the War on Women…well, take a look for yourself. And yes, I am quoting the whole thing.
A Question That Should Be Asked of Every Political Candidate | RH Reality Check
As the most extreme anti-choice advocates push to force all politicians to accept “no exceptions” as the default position when it comes to opposing abortions, it’s stories like these that serve as a reminder of how an all out ban would effect real people.
Especially young girls.
The girl is not yet in her teens. Police say her mother’s boyfriend, who had a history of violent crime, raped her. He was ultimately shot dead by deputies trying to arrest him. She was impregnated. She was 11.
It bears repeating. Eleven.
Forget for a moment a woman’s very personal right to choose, the spark for recent demonstrations at both the Republican and Democratic conventions. Here is a question for those who seem to know what’s best for the rest of the world: Can reasonable people really believe there should be no choice, under any circumstance, even in what happened to this child?
It’s a yes or no question that should be asked of every politician. Do you believe an 11 year old pregnant rape victim should be forced to give birth if she doesn’t want to? Because this is what no exceptions would really look like
Ugh…I thought about posting that link on the Banjoville Topix form, just to see what kind of reaction it gets, but I am afraid to read the comments. I mean, I am already depressed about things as it is. But hey, at least there is some “good” news out of Idaho: Idaho Abortion Ruling States Pregnant Women Can’t Be Prosecuted For Having Abortions
An Idaho law that bans the use of medication to induce abortion cannot be used to prosecute a woman who took the pills to abort her pregnancy, a U.S. appeals court decided on Tuesday.
Bannock County prosecutors brought a case against Jennie Linn McCormack in 2011 after she used medication that she obtained online to induce her own abortion. McCormack, a single mother of three, claims that she could not find a licensed abortion provider in Southeastern Idaho, so she had to violate a state law that requires abortions to be performed at a hospital or medical clinic.
An Idaho federal judge dismissed the charges against McCormack in September 2011 on the grounds that the law cannot be enforced. McCormack then challenged the law itself, arguing that it imposes an undue burden on women’s access to abortion in Idaho.
I’ve got two more links for you, and I have to admit, they are a bit on the selfish side. One is about a medieval woman…The Curious Case of Mary Felton
…the interesting life of a 14th century English lady: Mary Felton was at one point or another during her complex life was married to Edmund Hemgrave, Thomas Breton, Geoffrey Worsley, and John Curson, consectively, though not always exclusively; she was also ‘sometime’ widow, mistress, divorcee, nun, apostate, and mother.
Mary (born circa 1356) was the eldest daughter of Sir Thomas Felton, who was Knight of the Garter and a high ranking officer in Edward III’s armies in France. By the time she was six years old, Mary was betrothed to Edmund Hemgrave, but he died in 1374, leaving Mary as a child widow, but also with some property.
However, Mary did not stay single for long – within a few months she had clandestinely married Thomas Breton. However, this marriage does not seem to have lasted, as in 1376 she had married Geoffrey Worsley in a parish church. Meanwhile, Thomas Breton died in 1380 while fighting on the continent.
The marriage with Geoffrey did not last either, as in 1381 the Archdeacon of Chester granted Mary a divorce, and the the 25-year-old lady entered a Franciscan nunnery at Aldgate, London where she was strictly cloistered.
Over the next few years Geoffrey Worsley remarried, and Thomas Felton died. Although Mary was Thomas’ only heir, as a strictly cloistered nun who had taken a vow of poverty, she was unable to own property. Her mother, Joan, set up several trustees to manage the properties of Mary, with Makowski adding that Joan was eager to maximize the profits from these various estates.
In 1385 the situation changed dramatically, as Mary left Aldgate and made a bold bid to reclaim her secular status. When the crown issued an arrest warrant against Mary for being a runaway religious, she responded by claiming that she was not an apostate because never freely joined. Mary Felton stated that she was forced to divorce Geoffrey and enter the nunnery. She also complained that she was not receiving any profits from the properties being run by her mother.
This case would spend several years in the episcopal courts, and Mary received support from some relatives of Geoffrey Worsley – Geoffrey had died in 1385 but had an infant daughter who would have inherited his estate. By Mary making a claim that she had never truly divorced Geoffrey, this daughter would be declared illegitimate, which meant that Geoffrey’s other relatives would get his inheritance.
In 1392 the episcopal court decided the Mary was indeed a secular person. This allowed her to marry for a fourth time – now with John Curson, who happened to be one of the trustees appointment her mother. Mary never did get control of her properties herself – she died in 1398 and her mother outlived her. When Joan died a few years later, the property of Thomas Felton went to Mary and John’s legitimate son, also named John.
Elizabeth Makowski, a professor at Texas State University, found this to be a very interesting case of matrimonial intrigues and legal entanglements, showing how an individual used canon law to regain her secular status.
Click here to visit Professor Makowski’s webpage at Texas State University
And the other link is about this band I loved back in the day, Pet Shop Boys: ‘We don’t think about the old stuff’
After 30 years in the limelight, the Pet Shop Boys are tackling an unusual subject for a pop album – ageing and death.
The Pet Shop Boys are sprawled at opposite ends of a sofa in a perfectly white room on the top floor of their record company’s London headquarters.
Neil Tennant, professor of pop and deadpan frontman is on the right, alert and well-groomed.
His partner in crime for the last 30 years, Chris Lowe, is on the left, slouched and sardonic in jeans and a sports T-shirt.
They are here, ostensibly, to discuss their 11th studio album, Elysium.
But, as is often the case with the polymath pop group, the conversation becomes a survey of the entire music scene.
Take a look at that article, you may be surprised at just how active the Pet Shop Boys are…I know I was. There are many favorite tunes I could bring you now from these “boys” but here is one that sort of “goes” with the medieval theme of today’s post.
So, what’s going on with your sins lately?