This will be a quick post, with a few observations…about a sick hateful portion of the human race that seems to really gain confidence from the veiled anonymous sense of security that comes from the comment sections and social media widgets/apps on the internet.
Last night, while watching the updates on the tragic tornado in Moore, OK on the local news station WFOR….they had a live updating social media chat box right next to the live TV feed. It was disgusting, and no matter how hard I tried to keep from looking over at that shit stream of trolling assholes saying the most horrible things…my eyes just kept drifting over and reading them. It was fortunate that this morning, the network had the brilliant idea to shut the damn thing down. It still is down, which is good!
These assholes were even making prank calls for help, or crying for assistance with finding family members…when they were actually full of shit. Some were saying they were first responders, and had info about various rescues…all false and misleading. It wad disgusting.
Case in point, look at the comments in this thread TV Reporter Breaks Down On-Air While Touring Oklahoma Tornado Aftermath | Mediaite
I know we have talked about the trolls before, but sometimes it amazes me just how far these assholes will take it.
Now for some links on the schools that took a direct hit yesterday in Moore, OK.
First, have you seen this video? A mother finds her son after the tornado as he sits with his teacher, if you keep watching you will see some other video of the scene that is very upsetting…hearing screams and such, just fyi.
Students emerge from Briarwood Elementary moments after a massive storm ripped through Moore, Oklahoma.
Look at those teachers, and what they did for their students…now read these next articles and keep those images in your mind.
Heroes or just doing their jobs? Teachers save lives during Okla. tornado
The two elementary schools leveled by the deadly tornado that swept through the Oklahoma City area Monday lacked designated safe rooms designed to protect children and teachers, despite state warnings that the absence of such facilities imperils lives.
At least two other schools in Moore — the epicenter of the disaster — did have safe rooms. So far no fatalities have been tied to those schools, whose buildings were fortified after a devastating twister hit the area in 1999.
These disparities in structural standards speak to the seeming randomness of who lived and who died in a natural disaster now blamed for taking the lives of at least 24 people, including nine children. Requirements for safe rooms in public schools vary from community to community across the swath of Midwestern and Southern states so accustomed to lethal twisters that it is known as Tornado Alley.
The city of Moore applied for $2 million in federal aid to help build safe rooms in 800 homes, but the city complained the program was delayed because FEMA standards were a “constantly changing target.” NBC’s Tom Costello reports…
>>> welcome back. here in the state of oklahoma , the expression “this hard land” comes to mind, and it’s true in more ways than one. when you think about it, the national conference of tornado preparation is held in oklahoma city , and they do that every year for a reason. this weather is a surprise to no one, and for the most part they’re ready for it when it comes. but nationwide, especially people on both coasts are asking why aren’t there more shelters, cellars, basements? why aren’t there more safe houses within houses across this region given the weather here? our report on that tonight from nbc’s tom costello.
>> reporter: yet another devastating tornado, and so many people are asking why aren’t there more basements in the very place they need them most, tornado alley , and why aren’t there more tornado shelters ? many of those who managed to get underground survived.
>> it ripped open the door , and it just glass and debris started slamming on us. we thought we were dead, to be honest.
>> reporter: basements are not common in oklahoma because the soil, heavy with clay and water, makes anything underground prone to flooding and mold. so most homes are built on a concrete slab. and most homes can only withstand 90-mile-per-hour winds, not 200.
>> we just don’t design homes on the interior of this country to sustain winds the same way we do along the coast.
>> reporter: but building a safe room for a shelter is a different matter. a safe room can be installed in the ground or inside the home itself. a reinforced box almost like a bank vault but built to fema tornado standards, but they cost 8,000 to $10,000 each. oklahoma has a lottery to decide who gets state help to pay for them. last year 500 homeowners were chosen out of 16,000 applicants. separately, the city of moore was applying for $2 million in federal aid to help build safe rooms in 800 homes, but the city complained that the program was delayed because fema standards were, quote, a constantly changing target. fema says it’s looking into what caused the delay. so why weren’t schools better prepared.
>> certainly yesterday raised a lot of questions with people, why don’t schoolses have storm shelters?
>> reporter: today state officials said 100 schools do have same roofs but they’re expensive. fema estimate $1.4 million per school.
>> when you’re glued to a limited number of funds you set priorities on which schools do want to ask for. not a matter they would be left out for any reason. it was a matter they hadn’t been brought forward yet.
>> reporter: the town of moore had not built any community tornado shelt bears the town said it faced only a 1% to 2% chance of a tornado ever hitting on any spring day . tom costello, nbc news.
Beside a temporary high school in Joplin, Mo., sits a field of concrete boxes with steel doors — bunkers trusted to guard students against 200-plus-mph winds like those that ripped their school apart two years ago Wednesday.
At the new Joplin High, a 16,000-square-foot music room will serve as a better version of the same thing. After tornadoes leveled the same school twice — the first time in 1971 — district leaders accelerated plans to include safe rooms in all new school construction, Superintendent C.J. Huff said.
Classes were out when the Sunday tornadoes decimated Joplin in 2011, but on Monday, the schools in Moore, Okla., were in. Seven children died at Plaza Towers Elementary School, some of them drowning after a pipe burst in the basement where they hid.
In both cases, the nation’s eyes turned to the schools, and their safety in the face of a tornado.
You can read the rest of those articles and think of this as an open thread…
Wall Street Royal Jamie Dimon deigned to appear before a Senate Committee yesterday, and the Senators mostly sucked up to him. I’m surprised they didn’t ask if he needed a pillow for his chair. MSNBC: Senate treats JPMorgan CEO Dimon with kid gloves
Dimon was expected to receive a frosty reception in his first congressional appearance since he announced the bank sustained a trading loss some analysts now estimate is at least $3 billion. It was a massive loss for the nation’s biggest financial institution.
Instead, Dimon, who has won praise for bringing JPMorgan (JPM) through the financial crisis relatively unscathed, was treated cordially by most of members of the Senate Banking Committee. They peppered him with questions about regulation and risky practices at the bank, but did not press him to give an update on the losses resulting from the trade. JPMorgan is expected to give an update to shareholders when it reports its second-quarter earnings July 13.
“I think it was a pretty favorable day,” David Konrad, a Keefe, Bruyette & Woods banking analyst, told CNBC. Konrad said he was surprised that the questioning of Dimon by lawmakers was so “professional.”
Excuse me, “professional” for a Senator would have been sending this man to the woodshed. NPR’s Marketplace called the treatment of Dimon “a wake for Dodd-Frank.”
Yahoo has named the winner of the “Most Tepid Endorsement of Mitt Romney” contest: it’s a bumper sticker that reads “At least he’s not a communist.”
Until recently, it appeared that no one could unseat Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels as the champion of the tepid Romney endorsement. Since Yahoo News started conducting reader polls on the politicians who supported Mitt Romney in the least enthusiastic terms, Daniels has defeated original champ George Pataki and defended the crown against Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and George W. Bush. (The former president came the closest to unseating Daniels.)
We thought the book was closed on the tepid endorsement bracket until Yahoo News reporter Chris Moody spotted a bumper sticker at last weekend’s regional CPAC conference in Chicago bearing these words of praise: “At least he’s not a communist.”
You can read the other tepid endorsements at the link.
First Romney made fun of Obama for wanting to help cities and states pay for cops, teachers, and firefighters. Then he went on Fox News and said it was a “strange accusation” for anyone to say he didn’t want to hire teachers and first responders.
After an extended skewering of President Obama for a gaffe about the private sector last week, ending with the charge that it was proof the president was “out of touch” Romney was asked by Fox and Friends’ Brian Kilmeade for his response to Obama saying it was Romney who was clueless (Romney’s comment comes at about the 1:40 mark) :
[BRIAN] KILMEADE: He says that you’re out of touch. He says you want to cut firefighters and teachers, that you don’t understand what’s going on in these communities. What do you say to that, Governor?
ROMNEY: Well, that’s a very strange accusation. Of course, teachers and firemen and policemen are hired at the local level and also by states. The federal government doesn’t pay for teachers, firefighters or policemen. So, obviously that’s completely absurd.
But of course the federal government does subsidize states and they often use the money to pay for these public employees. In fact, the reason so many teachers, firefighters and cops are getting laid off now is because stimulus money has run out.
Yesterday Greg Sargent pointed out that Romney’s plan would indeed cut billions from cops, firefighters and teachers
Yesterday Mitt Romney claimed that it was “ completely absurd” of the Obama campaign to argue that he favors cutbacks in cops, firefighters and teachers. “The federal government doesn’t pay for teachers, firefighters or policemen,” Romney said, adding that they were paid by states and localities.
What’s getting lost in the back and forth here is that Romney’s actual economic plan would, in fact, cut billions of dollars in federal money that goes to cops, firefighters, and teachers — perhaps more than $10 billion a year, in fact.
This is the conclusion of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which analyzed Romney’s plan through the prism of the debate over public workers at my request.
As Michael McAuliff reported yesterday, despite Romney’s claim, the federal government does give billions of dollars to states and localities through programs like Title 1, the COPS program, FEMA and others — which pay for first responders and teachers.
This is amazing. Romney finally broke down and decided to talk to a media source that isn’t Fox News! He will be on Face The Nation on Sunday morning.
A full year into his presidential campaign, presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney will venture out of his Fox comfort zone this Sunday to make his first appearance on a rival network’s political talk show.
Romney has been interviewed several times on ”Fox News Sunday” this campaign cycle, but has declined repeated invitations to appear on any of the other Sunday shows, occasionally drawing scorn from veteran anchors accustomed to interviewing presidential candidates.
Let’s hope Shieffer asks a few tough questions. One thing Shieffer will probably ask about is Romney’s choice of Vice President. One of the leading contenders, Marco Rubio, announced yesterday that he supports the illegal Florida voter purge.
“How can you argue against a state identifying people who are not rightfully on the voter rolls?” he said at a Bloomberg event, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Rubio’s comments put him in line with Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) who on Tuesday declared the debate on the merits of the purge “over,” because the probe had supposedly turned up more than 50 non-citizen voters who had cast ballots.
The Department of Justice didn’t agree. Later Tuesday, it announced it was launching a federal lawsuit against Florida over complaints that the purge was taking place within 90 days of its August 14 primary election, as well as over its alleged violation of a voting rights law meant to prevent states from suppressing voters.
That might not help Romney win over Latino voters.
John Avlon has a piece at CNN on Jeb Bush and other “moderate” Republicans who are starting to fight back against Grover Norquist:
This is what happens when politics starts looking like a cult: Jeb Bush gets attacked for being a traitor to the conservative cause.
The former Florida governor has been speaking with the freedom of someone not running for office, saying that both his father and Ronald Reagan would have had a hard time in today’s hard-right GOP and questioning the wisdom of Grover Norquist’s absolutist anti-tax pledge.
That set off a fascinating public fight between Bush and Norquist, two faces of competing factions within Republican Party. It is the latest evidence of a growing GOP backlash against the ideological straitjacket Norquist has attempted to impose on governing in the United States.
And Jeb is not alone.
As it turns out, Norquist has reason to be concerned. It’s not just Jeb Bush. A growing number of Republicans are rejecting his pledge. Oklahoma conservative Sen. Tom Coburn called the pledge’s effective veto of deficit reduction plans “ridiculous” when talking with Erin Burnett on “OutFront.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina on Tuesday declared his independence from the pledge, saying, “We’re so far in debt, that if you don’t give up some ideological ground, the country sinks.”
Add to those voices seven other Republican U.S. senators — from Maine’s Susan Collins to Iowa’s Chuck Grassley to Wyoming’s John Barrasso — and 11 Republican House members, ranging from centrist New Yorker Richard Hanna to tea party Floridian Allen West.
In pedophile news, Jerry Sandusky had another bad day in court yesterday with three victims testifying that he manipulated and threatened them into putting up with his sick sexual behavior.
The trio of young men who testified against Jerry Sandusky on the third day of his sexual-abuse trial couldn’t have been more different in personality and temperament. Yet each of their testimonies was sexually graphic and disturbing—and midway through the prosecution’s fast-tracked arguments, a clear pattern has emerged in their allegations.
I’m not going to quote all of the sordid details–there are too many of them anyway. You can read it all at the link. I’ll just give you one excerpt that shows what Sandusky is all about:
Then, the witness told the jury of a time he visited the Sandusky home.
“We were in the basement. We were wrestling,” he said in a monotone frequently heard from abuse victims who have had to tell their stories multiple times. “The defendant pinned me to the floor, pulled down my gym shorts, and started to perform oral sex on me.” Asked by prosecutor Joe McGettigan what his reaction was at the time, the witness said, “I freaked out.”
“Did he ever say anything to you about it?” McGettigan asked.
“He told me if I ever told anyone I’d never see my family again,” the young man replied. “Later he apologized and said he didn’t mean it, that he loved me.”
I hope Sandusky goes to prison for life, and I want to see prosecutions of his enablers at Penn State. It’s an outrage that he was allowed to go on abusing children for years after many at the school knew about his behavior.
And then there’s the Catholic Church: U.S. Catholics still suspect priests sexually abuse children: Report
The National Review Board said that, a decade after the US Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a child protection charter, there has been a “striking improvement” in the way the Church deals with the abuse of minors by clergy.
“Children are safer now because of the creation of safe environments, and action has been taken to permanently remove offenders from ministry,” said the report, released as the Conference began its annual spring meeting in Atlanta.
But it acknowledged: “Despite solid evidence (to the contrary), many of the faithful believe that sexual abuse by clergy is occurring at high levels and is still being covered up by bishops.”
Well, what did they expect? I’m certainly not surprised. In fact I’d be surprised if there aren’t still pedophile priests abusing children.
I’ll end with the strange story of “Forest Boy.”
Berlin police on Wednesday released photos an English-speaking teenage boy who wandered into the city nine months ago saying he had been living for the last five years in the forest with his father.
Police spokesman Thomas Neuendorf said all attempts to identify the boy since he emerged in the German capital on Sept. 5 have been unsuccessful, and they are now hoping the release of his photo may produce some leads.
“We have checked his DNA against all missing person reports, sent the data to Interpol so that they could check it internationally, but unfortunately without any success,” Neuendorf said.
The boy has told authorities his father called him “Ray” and that he was born June 20, 1994, but claims not to know his last name or where he’s from.
He said his mother, Doreen, died in a car accident when he was 12 and after that he and his father, Ryan, took to the forest. He said they wandered using maps and a compass, staying in tents or caves overnight.
He told authorities that after his father died in August, 2011, he buried him in the forest and then walked five days north before ending up in Berlin, and showed up at city hall.
As of last night, the identity of the boy was still a mystery even after release of the photos.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Let’s start this morning’s post off with a bang…Or should I say long skirts and tea bags?
Instead of union contracts, Wisconsin teachers now have to abide by local handbooks suggested by Gov. Scott Walker. What does refusing to allow workers to help a sick colleague or longer skirts have to do with saving money? And just listen to the nasty wingnuts in the audience at the New Berlin school board meeting. Via the Blue Cheddar blog:
The “tools” Walker has handed to local governments are supposedly meant to help cut costs. However the changes to the New Berlin school workplace approved August 29 don’t look like mere cost-savings to me. New Berlin Education Association President Diane Lazewski agrees in MJS: “I would be surprised to see any other handbook as punitive as ours,” I should note that all details aren’t available until 9/8 and changes occur 10/1 according to a document from the blog Teachers Against Walker
Update: This 51 page Draft of School District of New Berlin Employee Handbook – Parts A and B states that it goes into effect 9/1/11
A few of the changes:
–A ‘sick bank’ which allows teachers to donate sickleave to seriously ill colleagues will be eliminated.
–No set pay for overtime; only stipends
–Elementary teachers work an added 205 hours without added pay.
–Secondary teachers work an added 95 hours without added pay.
and there are odd restrictions such as
–Dress Code: Skirts below knee, no sweatshirts, no jeans, no large logos, no open shirts, etc. and
–The loss of all microwaves, refrigerators, and coffeemakers.
I called a young teacher, E., from Racine just before the meeting. E. said New Berlin’s handbook is the worst of a new crop of handbooks he’s seen. Handbooks now serve in lieu of contracts for public school employees where contracts have expired.
So now that the handbooks replace the union contract, what kind of review process do you think is allowed under the new law?
When I interviewed School District of Greenfield Superintendent Conrad Farner a few weeks ago for the handbook story, he said that they interpreted the new law to mean that allowing teachers to review handbook drafts or offer input on the changes being made would fall under the definition of collective bargaining. That was illegal under the new law, Farner had said.
The teachers cannot even review the handbooks…It really is unbelievable that these school boards have free rein when it comes to any new handbook regulations that affect the teacher’s salary, health care and planning.
As police looked on, hundreds of people on both sides cheered-and-booed last night as the New Berlin School Board unanimously approved a new employee handbook for its teachers. Like others throughout Wisconsin, it was developed without teacher input under the new state law which limits most public union bargaining. But New Berlin became a lightning rod after teachers in nearby Greenfield argued with their school board last week over a new employee handbook – and police were called to settle things down. Last night’s meeting in New Berlin was moved to the district’s auditorium. Teachers from other districts came in support of New Berlin’s union, while taxpayers held up signs saying “Collective Bullying – Stop Union Bullies Now.” Union president Diane Lazewski said she believed the work rules set by the school board are more restrictive than others throughout the state. They include longer work-days, new limits on sick leave benefits and post-retirement health benefits, no more pay for substitute teachers while they prepare for classes, and two evaluations per year without prior notice. School Board member Art Marquardt said his panel was not trying to be punitive. But he said the elected officials are now the dominant voice instead of the union and quote, “That’s hard for some people to swallow.”
What the hell is wrong with these people? The teachers are the bullies? No, the Koch Brothers and Gov. Scott Walker are the ones forcing the teachers into this ridiculous regulation of handbooks. Of course, now that the teachers are “at-will” employees, they can be fired with no cause or reason…and with the new Wisconsin school year starting in the next couple days, let’s see if this gets any attention in the MSM. It really is a sad state of affairs for these Wisconsin educators, but I feel that what they are going through is only a preview for many other school districts in states that are looking to do away with collective bargaining and teacher unions.
The estimated death toll has been released by the Libyan Rebels. Rebel leaders put Libya death toll at 50,000 – Africa, World – The Independent
An estimated 50,000 people have been killed in Libya since the start of the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi’s rule, according to the rebels’ military leadership.
Details of the death toll come as the Transitional National Council (TNC) gave Gaddafi supporters – increasingly pushed back to loyalist strongholds such as Sirte – four days to surrender or face a full-scale military assault.
I would not be surprised if that number goes up. The stories of mass graves are very disturbing to read.
In a few days a new exhibit will be opening at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. ‘September 11: Remembrance and Reflection’ at National Museum of American History | History News Network
SOURCE: WaPo (8-16-11)
Within weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Smithsonian Institution began collecting a wide range of artifacts recovered from the three sites where the hijacked planes went down.
In an exhibit opening Sept. 3, the National Museum of American History will let visitors get much closer for a more intimate experience. The museum plans to depart from the usual glass-covered displays and assemble the objects on open, uncovered tables.
“September 11: Remembrance and Reflection” contains about 60 objects from the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa.
We still have the suit and shoes my husband was wearing when he ran when the second tower fell…that was the first thing he did when he got home that night, he took the suit off and put it in a big black plastic trash bag. It was covered in the dust from the towers, and no doubt the incinerated remains of the victims of the attack. If you are in the DC area, please go take a look at the new exhibit, and let us know what you thought of it.
I guess Obama is making some changes in the ATF, due to the Fast and Furious scandal. A.T.F. Chief Is Replaced After Failed Gun-Trafficking Inquiry – NYTimes.com
The Obama administration on Tuesday replaced two top Justice Department officials associated with an ill-fated investigation into a gun-trafficking network in Arizona that has been at the center of a political conflagration.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced the resignation of the United States attorney in Phoenix, Dennis K. Burke, and the reassignment of the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Kenneth E. Melson.
The two officials became the highest-profile political casualties yet in the fallout from a disputed effort to take down a weapons-smuggling ring based in Arizona and linked to Mexican drug cartels.
Give the NYT link a click to get the update on the investigation into this “operation” if you haven’t kept up with it.
Lastly, there are 20 new endangered crocodiles in the world today. Rare Siamese crocodiles hatched in Lao PDR
Working with the government of Lao PDR, the Wildlife Conservation Society has helped to successfully hatch a clutch of 20 Siamese crocodiles, a species threatened across its range by hunting, habitat fragmentation and loss, and other factors.Hatched from eggs taken from the wild and incubated at the Laos Zoo, the baby crocodiles represent a success for a new program that works to save the Siamese crocodile and the wetlands and associated biodiversity of Laos’ Savannakhet Province.
Isn’t that a cute little critter?
I always thought the sound those baby alligators and crocodiles make is such an endearing cry…
…but just wait until they start to answer back!
Well, I know it is a lame morning post, but I am on my third day with this massive migraine, and the exhaustion is getting to me.
If you have any links be sure to share them…see you later in the comments.
Barney Frank explains to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell why he couldn’t vote for the Obama-McConnell-Boehner bill. Barney comes on at about the 5:27 mark. The first five minutes are interesting too, but you can skip over them if you want to. I couldn’t find a video with just the Barney interview.
Barney really lives up to his surname, doesn’t he? He just lays it all out with no bullsh&t. Iraq and Afghanistan exempted from budget cuts? No guarantee of equal cuts in Defense and Medicare/Medicaid? Medicare cuts will keep seniors from getting medical care and result in hospital jobs being lost. He also makes a good point about the possibility of invoking the 14th amendment. And there’s more. Please watch it.
Another good guy, Bernie Sanders, angrily explains why he won’t vote for the “grotesque” bill either. Please, Bernie, run for President!
Via Gawker, here’s a great video of Matt Damon, with his mom standing next to him, explaining to a libertarian “MBA type” from Reason Magazine that some people don’t work just to get money. Some people are actually dedicated to their work despite shitty salaries and long hours. Like teachers. Damon and his mom, who is a teacher, were participating in the Save Our Schools Million Teacher March this past weekend.
Please discuss, or use this as an open thread.