I’m going to begin with some light-hearted stories from the NATO Summit. I really liked this one from BBC News, When the Nato summit came to south Wales. After all the ugly attacks on President Obama from both Republicans and Democrats here in the U.S., I was pleasantly surprised to see the warm welcome he received in South Wales. Check it out. There are some nice photos and tweets. I especially liked the expression on Obama’s face while he interacted with some schoolchildren (see below).
From the article:
It takes something pretty unique for the word “Newport” to be trending in Cardiff on Twitter.
But the city had arrived when its larger neighbour was talking about it. The world of social media woke up early for the Nato summit.
The summit certainly kept Twitter busy and it might explain – apart from the 9,500 police officers, road blocks and security fencing – why the streets of the capital were generally quiet and people were staying at home, online.
In Newport itself, the sight of armoured vehicles being displayed on the Celtic Manor golf course was a popular shared photo. Just think of the score if Europe had these in the Ryder Cup?
It was a demonstration of the high skills of the south Wales workforce who manufacture them, but the skills of those with Photoshop was also in evidence.
The summit also brought some unusual sights on the streets – and in the air – with Cardiff in particular not used to such a security operation. And there were also some special moments, not least for pupils at a primary school in Newport.
From the Boston Globe, some video of President Obama strolling through Stonehenge, looking awestruck.
After wrestling with threats ranging from Russia to Islamist insurgency in the Middle East, U.S. President Barack Obama took a break from a NATO summit to visit Britain’s prehistoric Stonehenge monument on Friday. “How cool is this?” Obama said as he wandered starry-eyed in his shirt sleeves among the towering stone megaliths.
Silly me, I like having a President who says things like “How cool is this?” Here’s a great shot of him among the standing stones, from NBC News.
A mother has told of her shock after her family-of-five had a chat with President Obama during a trip to Stonehenge – but that she now wishes she had invited him back for coffee.
Inspired by rumours that the President’s helicopter had landed at the ancient site, Janice Raffle and her husband James marched across fields with their three sons in the hope they would catch a glimpse of the US President.
At first the family, who live a mile from the monument, were stuck at a fence. But a good-natured Obama wandered over to where they were standing – and even agreed to pose for a family photo.
Mrs Raffle, 35, who was with her three sons, aged two, six and seven, told Sky News: ‘He waved at us first after my husband marched us all the way there on the chance we might get to see him.
‘We kind of edged closer and closer until he noticed us and waved. We waved back and then one of the high security men edged us forward and he was moving forward at the same time, which was very exciting.
‘The first person to say something was actually James. He said “Welcome to England”.
Lots of photos at the Daily Mail link.
Getting back to potential WWIII news, The Washington Post reported last night: Ukraine cease-fire begins, amid doubts that it will last.
MOSCOW — Ukraine’s increasingly bloody conflict went on hold Friday, after the government and pro-Russian rebels signed a cease-fire deal that at least temporarily solidified the insurgents’ territorial gains.
The agreement, made with the Kremlin’s endorsement, appeared to be a first step toward the type of dormant conflict that Russia has exploited to exert control over former satellites in the decades since the Soviet Union’s collapse, including thwarting their chances of joining the NATO defense alliance.
With rebels making swift gains across eastern Ukraine this week, and preparing to seize the key industrial port city of Mariupol, it seemed that Ukrainian authorities felt they had little choice but to push for a halt to hostilities. The rebels turned the tide of battle early last week after receiving heavy backing from Russian forces, Kiev and its Western allies say. The Kremlin denies aiding the rebels.
The cease-fire deal was made as leaders of NATO countries gathered in Wales this week for discussions focused on the conflict. The terms of the deal underscored Russia’s apparent willingness to commit far more resources than the West to achieve its aims in Ukraine. Kiev has asked for Western military aid, but relatively little has been forthcoming, in part because of Western caution about getting pulled into a proxy military conflict with Russia inside a non-NATO-member nation.
This one is disturbing from The Daily Beast, Russia Steps Up Pressure on the Baltics.
An officer from the Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS), “was abducted at gunpoint at Luhamaa border checkpoint this morning” and “taken to Russia,” according to an Estonian government statement.
The incident comes at an extremely delicate moment, just as the United States and NATO try to convince the front-line members of the Alliance that have solid protection from Russian territorial ambitions. The sleight-of-hand invasion of non-NATO Ukraine over the last several months has raised fears that Russian President Vladimir Putin will claim in the Baltic States, just as he claimed in Crimea and the Donbass region, that the large Russian-speaking population needs to be protected, separated and inevitably annexed to a reconstituted Russian Empire.
The Estonian statement implied the alleged abduction is an intentional slap in the face to the Americans. “The incident comes two days after a visit to Estonia by U.S. President Barack Obama and in the middle of NATO’s summit in Wales,” it said. Apparently there have been “airspace violations” reported as well, including over Finland, which is not a member of the Alliance.
The whereabouts of the officer remain unknown, the Estonians did not name him and what he was doing at the border, precisely, has not been specified except to say he was performing his official functions. The ISS is Estonia’s national agency for counterintelligence and high-profile corruption investigations.
What is Putin playing at? It takes some gall to abuct a government official from a NATO country on the heels of the NATO Summit.
The New York Times’ Jason Horowitz on Governor Vaginal Probe, For Bob McDonnell, a Miscalculation at the Scene of a Blunder.
On Aug. 15, 2013, Bob McDonnell visited the site of one of Virginia’s great tactical blunders.
As part of his final official tour of the state as its governor, Mr. McDonnell went to Ball’s Bluff State Park in Leesburg, where more than 150 years ago a Union army scout crossed the Potomac River and mistook a row of trees for an unguarded Confederate camp. The next morning, Union soldiers approached the trunks and branches and soon found themselves surrounded by well-armed Mississippi infantrymen. By the end of the skirmish, Confederate soldiers had killed nearly half of the Union troops, many of them pushed off the bluff and into the Potomac.
Even by the time of his visit, Mr. McDonnell seemed likely to enter the state’s history books for his own bad judgment — accepting extravagant gifts and generous loans from a Richmond businessman seeking favor from the governor’s office. On Thursday, the ink dried when a federal jury found him guilty on 11 counts of conspiracy, bribery and extortion.
At Ball’s Bluff last year, Mr. McDonnell announced $2.2 million in grants for battlefield preservation. As he sat in sunglasses on a white folding chair, James Lighthizer, the president of the Civil War Trust, said that ultimately Mr. McDonnell would be most remembered for conserving Civil War battlefields. “He has done more for battlefield preservation than any other governor in the United States of America,” Mr. Lighthizer said.
It looks like Lighthizer was wrong. McDonnell will most likely be remembered–if at all–as the first VA governor to be a convicted felon and for throwing his wife under the bus to try to save himself.
And from Chris Cillizza, a nomination for “the best front page on the Bob McDonnell verdict.” See it at the link. I wasn’t able to copy the photo.
A couple more good articles on McDonnell:
From The Daily Beast, The Religious Right’s ‘Nice Guy’ Who Threw His Wife Under the Bus.
When Bob McDonnell burst onto the national scene in 2009, he was everything the Republican Party needed—a good-looking family man who stopped the Obama juggernaut in its tracks in the swing state of Virginia just 12 months after the party’s McCain humiliation of 2008.
A family-values social conservative (he got his JD from Regent University), McDonnell cleverly wooed Commonwealth voters with his corn-dog “Bob’s for Jobs” campaign slogan and a heavy dose of what appeared to be the TV-perfect brood: five gorgeous kids, including a daughter who served in the military in Iraq, and a devoted, smiling wife who had once been a Washington Redskins cheerleader.
McDonnell’s family was emblazoned on his campaign bus and commercials. At the inaugural ball after he won the governor’s race, the McDonnells slow-danced to “Looks Like We Made It.” McDonnell had even written his master’s thesis on the breakdown of the American family and ways the Republican Party could build it back up. “As the family goes, so goes the nation,” he wrote.
Underlying the entire McDonnell package in 2009 was a known truth about the governor among political operatives who knew him and believed in him—that unlike the divas and the bullies and the egomaniacs who litter both political parties today, Bob McDonnell was just a good guy. Staff called him “Mr. Honest.” Republicans in Washington called him “the Boy Scout.”
Hilarious! I wonder if any of these religious right nuts believe the crap they try to sell to voters? love the smell of schadenfreude in the morning.
And from Rob Boston at Talk to Action, Fall From Grace: What The Religious Right Should Learn From The McDonnell Scandal.
Leaders of Religious Right groups are fond of telling us that if we elect more fundamentalist Christians to office, we’ll have less corruption. Biblical literalists must be more ethical, right?
That claim is looking a little thin in light of recent events in Virginia. Yesterday, Robert F. McDonnell, the state’s former governor, was found guilty on 11 counts related to public corruption, conspiracy and bribery. His wife, Maureen, whom this “family values” politican tried willingly to throw under the bus, was found guilty on nine charges….
Here’s how McDonnell tried to institute “godly rule” in Virginia:
When state officials decided that police chaplains should use non-sectarian prayers at public events, McDonnell rescinded the order. McDonnell’s obsession with blocking access to legal abortion earned him the nickname “Gov. Ultrasound.” He drew up new rules allowing tax-funded “faith-based” adoption agencies to deny services to anyone who failed to meet a strict theological litmus test. He signed a law mandating that public colleges in Virginia give funding to student groups even if they discriminate on religious grounds. McDonnell appointed a private school voucher advocate as education secretary and shifted funding for sex education from comprehensive programs to “abstinence-only” approaches that critics say are often anchored in religion.
McDonnell also pushed for a state constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage (which was later approved by the voters) and even appeared on Robertson’s “700 Club” to lobby for it. McDonnell told a beaming Robertson, “From the Garden of Eden to 2006, we’ve believed that marriage is between a man and a woman. But because of some social trends out there and some court decisions, Pat, as you know, marriage is under attack.”
Based on the religious right’s record of choosing “sinful” candidates like Newt Gingrich, David Vitter and their worship of “divisive extremists like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Bryan Fischer, Tony Perkins, Ben Carson, Sean Hannity” and their embrace of grifters like Ralph Reed and Dinesh D’Souza, Boston writes:
I’d recommend they start by consulting their own holy book – you know, the one they’re always happy to bash us with. Specifically, they should examine the 7th chapter of the Book of Matthew and the words of Jesus: “Why do you look at the speck of dust that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?…You hypocrite! First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
But the religious right really doesn’t pay much attention to the New Testament. They seem to prefer the angry fire and brimstone god of pre-Jesus days.
A few more links you might find interesting:
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Court rules against Wisconsin’s, Indiana’s gay marriage bans.
The New York Daily News, Exclusive: Ex-Prez’ daughter Jenna Bush Hager mistakenly registered with NY’s Independence Party (Breaking: neither of Dubya’s daughters is a Republican.)
The Guardian, Monet landscape found in late German collector’s suitcase. (Stolen by the Nazis?)
Oregon Live.com, Oregon wolf OR-7: Lab tests show mate wandered far to find him (a touching love story, with photos).
Two tales of albino animals, both from Boston.com:
What else is happening? Please share your thoughts and links in the comment thread, and have a great weekend!
Still feeling down in the dumps today, so forgive the sparse content. Hopefully these links are not repeats…
I have not had a chance to read this first link…yet. Kurt Eichenwald: Let’s Repeal the Second Amendment | Vanity Fair
Haven’t read this one either: 6 Biggest Religious Right Threats to America | Alternet
Something on gun control: Muhlberger’s World History: The Bonfire of the Vanities
Check out these official pictures from the White House 2012:
A few science articles:
This first link needs a bit of funk to make it right:
If you have what James Brown likes…then you may also suffer from Fatty Liver.
One thing that can help with this next link about Fatty Liver, is to get a little more active:
For Dakinikat…it isn’t about old grave discoveries, but it still has a touch of death to it: Dried squash holds headless French king’s blood, study finds
Another one for Dak, Maya Funerary Vessel Represents “Tremor 8” – Archaeology Magazine
For Boston Boomer, you may find this interesting: Language Acquisition Could Begin In The Womb | Geekosystem
Is it a man’s world? Now for some mood music, for the next few links about Women’s Rights and Women in History:
Annie Lennox has a blog she writes at: Annie Lennox Calls For Action On Women’s Rights In 2013 – Starpulse.com
Here is direct link to it: Annie Lennox – Official Website
Maybe Women’s Rights will have a louder voice now: 101 Facts About 100 Women of the House and Senate
History looks at Viking Women: Don’t underestimate Viking women | Medieval News
Another one on religion, and women’s influence in culture: Research uncovers how single and widowed women shaped the religious culture of colonial Latin America
Sick twisted doctors…10 Derailed Doctors Who Creatively Abused Their Patients
An iconic song turns 30: ‘Billie Jean’: Michael Jackson’s landmark single turns 30 | theGrio
Video of a big ass plane landing at a tiny airport.
Video of the same big ass plane taking off from a tiny airport.
Video of a cartoon we have all seen before, but should watch again.
A few movie reviews:
This Amanda Marcotte review of Django Unchained is good, she gets it: Django Unchained: A Movie About Other Movies About the 19th Century
And…another review…about Django…only this one asks the wrong question: How Accurate Is Quentin Tarantino’s Portrayal of Slavery in Django Unchained? : The New Yorker
Sticking with the movie topic a bit more: alicublog: I LOST IT AT THE MOVIES.
Now for an actor who is Super Bad, and one of my favorites, bet you can guess who that is?
An interview with my man: Samuel L. Jackson is right about bad Hollywood endings, but then real life isn’t much better
I wonder if this film will be made in time for the 2016 campaign season: Tennessee Guerilla Women: Hillary Clinton’s Life, Soon to Be a Hollywood Movie
And…its a squatch! One of those elusive Georgia Redneck Big Foots! Yup, a few of them are getting together to talk about another kind of Bigfoot…Inaugural Southeastern Bigfoot Conference being held in Dahlonega
More fantastic Bigfoot reads:
Bigfoot or Good Foot you decide:
Have a fantastic Sunday…and hope everyone is feeling good!
I just love the New Yorker cover with Rick Santorum riding in the dog carrier on top of Mitt Romney’s car. Isn’t it great? Santorum has been “dogging” Romney’s footsteps around the country, nipping at his heels, so to speak. I hope he won’t have an “accident” up there on Romney’s car roof.
I read some interesting analysis of the Super Tuesday results at The Daily Beast yesterday. You may have read the same articles already, but I still think they are worth discussing.
Michelle Goldberg explains why comparing Romney to John Kerry doesn’t quite work.
Yes, both are rich, socially maladroit, and from Massachusetts. Both have a history of being less than steadfast on important issues. But if Democrats weren’t ecstatic about Kerry in 2004, most still found him broadly acceptable. He had a history as a dashing liberal hero, returning from Vietnam to become a leading voice against that hated war. Certainly, he disappointed liberals by voting for the Iraq invasion, but he otherwise shared their values.
Romney, by contrast, is limping toward the Republican nomination despite being rejected, over and over again, by the Republican base. In this respect, he’s more like Joe Lieberman, who was despised by his party’s grassroots even before he endorsed John McCain for president….[I]t’s hard to recall the last time either party nominated someone so far out of step with its basic ethos. What this means is, should Romney lose to Obama, our politics will get even more poisonous, as activist conservatives blame their party’s perceived moderation for its failure.
Which is why I wish Rick Santorum would win the nomination. It would be a disaster of Goldwater proportions, and maybe the party would begin to understand that they are completely out of sync with most Americans.
Michael Tomasky had some advice for Mitt Romney:
Romney eked it out in Ohio, but he still managed to emerge bruised from Super Tuesday. He won Massachusetts. Big woop. Vermont, ditto. In Virginia, he won, but he won in as embarrassing a fashion as it’s possible to win something. With only him and cranky Ron Paul on the ballot, Romney managed just 59 percent of the vote to Paul’s 41. When Ron Paul is winning 41 percent of the vote, it’s time to stop and smell the rotting roses. And then Romney won some caucuses in some who-cares states that would vote red in November if Rush Limbaugh’s hamster was on the ballot, and that in any case have about as many electoral votes as Baltic Street has value in Monopoly. Who cares?
But, says Tomasky, Romney doesn’t seem to get that no one really likes him and he’s only winning because people think maybe he has a better chance in the general election than the other wingnut candidates. According to Tomasky, on Tuesday night Romney just gave his regular stump speech–which hasn’t been revised even though the economy has been improving and Obama has been doing much better in the polls.
He just seems to think that he can outspend these absurdly underfinanced opponents, bury them, these doorstep foundlings, these third-raters, pound them into submission with attack ads, and move on to the next quarry….
Romney has to do something dramatic to change the narrative, says Tomasky.
But everything we’ve seen from the guy shows that he’s completely incapable. He’ll keep grinding out just the number of wins he needs, by just the margins he needs. Remember Mario Cuomo’s famous and brilliant quote, about how a politician campaigns in poetry but governs in prose? Romney campaigns in prose. And dull prose. He’s the James Fennimore Cooper of the hustings. Makes you wonder how he’d govern, but fortunately, it seems we’ll never know.
I love that! “The James Fennimore Cooper of the hustings.” It’s so true. Romney is dull as dirt.
But the Romney camp is claiming it’s all over, despite their candidate’s weak showing in Ohio.
Mitt Romney’s campaign gathered the national press corps in their campaign war room this morning to deliver a simple message: It would take an “act of God” for any candidate not named Mitt Romney to win the Republican nomination.
The Boston-based campaign projected confidence in Romney’s ability to win the nomination given the emerging delegate math in the campaign following last night’s Super Tuesday contests. “We will get to 1,144 whether it’s on someone else’s timeline, or on our timeline,” said one top Romney aide. “We will get to 1,144 and be the Republican nominee.”
It kind of reminds me of 2008, when the Obama crowd kept yakking about “the math” and screaming “why won’t the stupid bitch quit?” Somehow I don’t think Santorum is going to quit after he trounced Romney in Tennessee and came within one percentage point of beating him in Ohio. The next few primaries will be in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Kansas–not friendly territory for Romney.
On Tuesday, I wrote a post about the irresponsible speeches the Republican candidates made to AIPAC that morning.
Most irresponsible of all was the speech by Mitt Romney, in which he claimed in the face of strong evidence to the contrary that the Iranians “are making rapid progress” toward building nuclear weapons. He basically called the current Secretary of Defense and the President liars. He has also been going around the country claiming that if Barack Obama is reelected there will definitely be nuclear war. I can’t believe he’s been getting away with it for so long.
I’m glad to report that John Kerry has an op-ed in today’s Washington Post in which he counters Romney’s irresponsible lies. Kerry writes:
While wise Republicans stress the perils of loose war talk and the value of engagement to isolate Iran, Romney seeks to create political division with an attack on the Obama administration’s Iran policy that is as inaccurate as it is aggressive.
I join this debate because the nuclear issue with Iran is deadly serious business. It should invite sobriety and thoughtfulness, not sloganeering and sound bites. The stakes are far too high for it to become just another applause line on the stump. Idle talk of war only helps Iran by spooking the tight oil market and increasing the price of the Iranian crude that pays for its nuclear program.
Creating false differences with President Obama to score political points does nothing to move Iran off a dangerous nuclear course. Worse, Romney does not even do Americans the courtesy of describing how he would do anything different from what the Obama administration has already done.
Kerry provides specific examples of Romney’s “wrongheaded” statements, so go read the whole thing if you can. Thank goodness one senior Democrat has finally slapped Romney down.
Charlie Pierce has a post on the “respectable” pundits who are now defending Rush Limbaugh. First it was Bill Maher, and yesterday Michael Kinsley chimed in. Here’s Pierce’s takedown of former New Republic editor Kinsley:
And then there is Michael Kinsley, a man who has dedicated his life to bringing Olympian insufferability to an art form. Kinsley is what you’d get if you infused David Brooks with the madcap humor you find around the doughnut cart at The New Republic. You see, says Michael, everybody involved in this is just a big fake because nobody really believes anything anyway, and oxen are always being gored, and it’s all a silly stupid game, so suck it up, Sandra. Tell your folks about the marketplace of ideas:
Nevertheless, the self-righteous parade out the door by Limbaugh’s advertisers is hard to stomach. Had they never listened to Rush before, in all the years they had been paying for commercials on his show? His sliming of a barely known law student may be a new low — even after what he’s said about Nancy Pelosi and Michelle Obama — but it’s not a huge gap.
This is Kinsley being deliberately stupid, probably because he figures that’s the only thing the lesser orders out here understand. We can’t do the right thing now because we didn’t do the right thing then? We couldn’t criticize George Wallace for being a racist in 1963 because we didn’t criticize James Vardaman for being one in 1918? Murrow’s broadcast on Joe McCarthy was somehow illegitimate because he hadn’t been doing one a week for the previous three years? Watergate doesn’t count because LBJ bugged Nixon’s plane? The concept of critical mass is just another “insincere” function of our politics? And, I am sorry, but what he did to “a barely known law student” is the whole goddamn point. Kinsley’s imperial disdain has led him into a cul de sac of glibly arrogant misanthropy.
Go read the rest. It’s brilliant!
In other news, The New York Times has an article on a scientist who has developed a machine that will dramatically bring down the cost of gene sequencing and pave the way for medical advances.
In Silicon Valley, the line between computing and biology has begun to blur in a way that could have enormous consequences for human longevity.
Bill Banyai, an optical physicist at Complete Genomics, has helped make that happen. When he began developing a gene sequencing machine, he relied heavily on his background at two computer networking start-up companies. His digital expertise was essential in designing a factory that automated and greatly lowered the cost of mapping the three billion base pairs that form the human genome.
The promise is that low-cost gene sequencing will lead to a new era of personalized medicine, yielding new approaches for treating cancers and other serious diseases.
There’s a scary article at Alternet on “The Religious Right’s Plot To Take Control Of Our Public Schools.” It’s a review of a book by Katherine Stewart, “The Good News Club: The Stealth Assault on America’s Children.” Here’s the teaser line:
The people who brought you “Jesus Camp” are moving into your neighborhood school. And there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.
Yikes! Go check it out.
Those are my recommendations for today. What are you reading and blogging about?
Cause the way things are going, we will be forced into using these instruments for something other than hanging up clothes and knitting a sweater. The assault against women and their rights has been increasing with staunch religious fervor, and complete and utter disregard for a woman’s right to act according to her own wishes and demand her rights to freedom of choice.
I would like to comment more on this, but I will post up links and tidbits of recent news links and save the rest for the comment section.
In Virginia, as well as LA and other states, the false meme of safety is being used to once again explain the reasons for attacking a woman’s right to choose for her own self…
The Virginia Senate voted yesterday to pass a bill (SB 924) requiring that clinics that perform first trimester abortions meet the Board of Health regulations on hospitals, which are far more stringent than the regulations on physician’s offices. The 20-20 tie was broken in the Democratic state Senate by an unusual vote from Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling (R). The House voted in favor of the bill on Monday. Republican Governor Bob McDonnell announced that he will sign the bill.
These regulations will significantly and unnecessarily increase the cost of early abortions and will make it difficult to get an abortion in Virginia. The costs of implementing the required changes could cause as many as 17 of the state’s 21 abortion clinics to shut down.
Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, stated,”[The bill] represents a shameful level of political interference in the doctor-patient relationship. The politicians behind this plan falsely claim they are protecting women’s health, yet their ultimate goal is to make it even more difficult for women to access abortion care in Virginia.”
BATON ROUGE, La. – The state won a lawsuit over a new law that gives Louisiana’s health secretary more discretion to shut down an abortion clinic for safety or health concerns.
A group of outpatient abortion clinics had sued the state Department of Health and Hospitals in federal court, saying the law deprives them of basic protections given to other licensed health care facilities in the state and encourages discriminatory enforcement against them.
In Texas, they are also working on intruding on a woman’s right….
AUSTIN — A requirement for women to receive a sonogram before an abortion cleared a key committee Wednesday and is poised to become the first bill considered this year by the full House, probably by next week.
Supporters praised the bill as a way to ensure that women see fetal development and hear their baby’s heartbeat before making an irreversible decision, while abortion rights advocates lamented the state imposing its judgment into a conversation between doctors and patients.
A similar bill already has cleared the Senate, and while there are differences between the two proposals, supporters are confident they can be reconciled, making Texas abortion laws some of the most restrictive in the nation.
Do you remember that song, “Meat is Murder” well according to Google…the word abortion is murder!
Abortion Opponents Link “Abortion” to “Murder” in Google Searches
Since yesterday afternoon, anybody Googling the term “murder” is going to be greeted by an odd second hit: the Wikipedia entry for “abortion.” The ranking is the result of a Google-bomb campaign by abortion activists, and it was exposed this morning by BoingBoing’s Cory Doctorow. (Googlebombing is when a group of people game Google’s search results to push or demote specific pages.) Doctorow points out the obvious: “However you feel about abortion, this Wikipedia page is pretty clearly not the second-most relevant document regarding murder on the entire English-speaking World Wide Web.” Regardless, Jezebel’s Anna North adds that the campaign probably won’t go much further than an meaningless prank: “Few people are stupid enough to decide that abortion is murder simply based on a Google association—and whoever is Googling ‘murder’ is unlikely to be looking for serious political debate.”
And lastly, did you see this ad that I linked to yesterday in the comments section of the Thursday reads? Well it has been taken down…and here are a few tidbits.
Last night, Lamar Advertising agreed to pull a three-story anti-abortion billboard featuring a young black girl with the caption, “The most dangerous place for African Americans is in the womb.” The billboard, put up by the Texas-based group Life Always, was also walking distance from a Planned Parenthood on Bleecker.
This next link is about the racist propaganda of that horrid ad…from the viewpoint of a black woman.
One of my favorite aunts—the one who taught me about Maat, whole foods and natural haircare—bristles when I tell her I hate something. I’ll say, “I hate the last four episodes of ‘The Game.’” She’ll tsk, “Words are powerful. Hate takes too much energy.”
I’m going to have to disappoint my aunt today. Because I am still feeling some serious hatred about the racist anti-abortion billboards Jamilah King covered yesterday. I’m so pissed, I had to write a list:
1. I hate Life Always, the faux-pious anti-choice group behind thatsabortion.com and the racist billboard, which has “The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb” looming above the image of a 6-year-old black girl named Anissa Fraser.
2. I hate how Anissa’s mother dressed her baby in pink ruffles, put a bow on her pretty, kinky twist-out and took her down to a modeling agency for the ultimate picture day, only to see her daughter’s image used for racist propaganda.
3. I hate how I’m toying with the idea of explaining why the billboard is racist propaganda.
4. I hate how thatsabortion.com directs black women to seemingly innocuous pregnancy centers that withhold information and hinder choice. I also hate how the site twists CDC mortality data: From so-called fact sheet: “Twice as many African Americans have died from abortion than the combined tolls of violent crime, cancer, heart disease, accidents and AIDS.”
5. I hate how Stephen Broden, a black Texas pastor and Life Always board member linked the billboard to Black History Month in the group’s press release.
6. I hate that Lamar Advertising, the company paid to erect the billboard, took the Soho one down last night, but I’ve heard about at least one in L.A. (If you’ve seen it, please share the address in the comments!)
7. I hate how Lamar claims they removed the Soho billboard because workers at the Mexican restaurant below feared for their safety—not because SisterSong and the Trust Black Women Partnership made serious noise, Brooklyn city councilwoman Letitia James initiated a change.org petition, city council speaker Christine Quinn condemned it, NYC public advocate Bill de Blasio called for its immediate removal, and Al Sharpton was plotting a press conference.
8. I hate how groups like Life Dynamics (blackgenocide.com), The Radiance Foundation (toomanyaborted.com), and the aforementioned Life Always tell black women who make the complicated, difficult, highly personal choice to end a pregnancy that they’re committing genocide. Genocide is the deliberate, systematic destruction of a racial, political or cultural group. People like Christopher Columbus (yeah, I said it), King Leopold II, Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot and Raphael Trujillo committed genocide.
9. I hate how this whole mess is the flip side of the breeder, Welfare Queen and Jezebel stereotypes.
But honey, one thing I love: How black women across the political and religious spectrum have been speaking out about the billboard and connecting it to the overall attack on women’s reproductive freedom. These billboards might have been a stab at humiliating sisters who have had abortions, but based on the conversations I’ve had and those crackling across the Internets, that ish didn’t work. Like veteran marketer and author Thembisa Mshaka wrote, “Thatsabortion.com billboards are an ad FAIL.”
And more on the mother who was appalled to see her little girl used in this disgusting way to target hate and violent attitudes toward women.
Apparently the loud protests over a Manhattan billboard put up by anti-abortion activists were enough to get it taken down after only two days. But the frustration doesn’t end there, because a mother whose child was depicted in the ad is angry.
The ad, purchased by Texas-based Life Always, spurred controversy due to its message that “the most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb.” People on both sides of the abortion debate deemed it offensive and demanded that it be removed.
What the hell is wrong with these damn Republicans? As Dak pointed out they are moving toward branding the Republican narrative into a full outright attack on the poorer citizens of the country, woman and their freedom of choice, and they have the audacity to bitch about progressive attitudes toward “Big Government.”