Wednesday Morning: No Sleep, No Reads, Just Cartoons… Open Thread



Oh boy, I don’t know if it is Good Morning or Good Evening…my body is begging for mercy though, so let’s just say “Hello” okay?

I am writing this with only five (5) hours of sleep in the past 36 hours and I am exhausted I think I may have a sleep condition, I been reading about some Mixed Sleep Apnea Treatment widely available for these kind of issues.. My daughter has made it through her surgery okay, but she has been so sick from the anesthesia and pain medicines…anyway, it has been quite a day and since I am so very tired…here are just a few cartoons for you. Please think of this as an open thread…

9/18 Luckovich cartoon: Another tragedy | Mike Luckovich


NRA Voices by Political Cartoonist John Cole

137593 600 NRA Voices cartoons

Shooting – Truthdig

Gun Flood – Political Cartoon by Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – 09/17/2013

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Gun Flood

Congress Talking Out of Their Butts by Political Cartoonist Daryl Cagle

137579 600 Congress Talking Out of Their Butts cartoons

Gun Massacre Redux by Political Cartoonist Pat Bagley

137597 600 Gun Massacre Redux cartoons

9/17 Luckovich cartoon: Night visitor | Mike Luckovich


That is one hell of a Luckovich sandwich, don’t you think?

Y’all have a good day.  See you on Friday night!

September 11 Photo Connections

Photo: CUNY, The 911 Digital Archive. Please click for more image info.

My daughter Bebe wanted her dad to come to her history class this morning and talk about his experience as a survivor on September 11, 2001. He did not want to do it…it still hurts.

Getting Dan to talk about that day is very difficult. Sometimes he will mention a few descriptions of images or thoughts or smells, but it is very rare. His nightmares have subsided, at least ones that are so real too him they wake me up.

Last year I wrote about my family’s personal experiences, and my own thoughts about that day…you can take a look at that post here…Sunday: September 11th…2011 « Sky Dancing

So for this, the eleventh anniversary of September 11, 2001, I thought it would be good to find some photos of what that day was like for my husband and so many other survivors who still remember that war zone as vividly as if it happened yesterday.

First, I want you to click on this link to a Flickr Slide Show.  These are images of Liberty St., Maiden Lane, Battery Park and the Financial District Downtown NYC on September 11, 2001 and the days that follow. (If that slide show does not load, click here for the photo stream.)

I also came across this blog, which has some fascinating pictures and thoughts…13 Days: The World Trade Center, Day One

Day One: September 11

9:02 am 11:02 am

Woke up to sirens and radio reports of an incident at the World Trade Center. I grabbed my camera and was out on the street by 9:00.

This blog discusses the first 13 days and the first 13 weeks and the first 13 months after the attack on World Trade.

Fall, 2001

The collapse of the World Trade Center is one of those rare tragedies that people will ask of us in the future, in who knows how many languages, “Do you remember where you were, on that day?”

These pages are about exactly that: the weeks that followed the terrorist attacks of September 11th.

These pages are also a thank you. For additional photographs, please see 13 Days and 13 Months.

Jonathan Corum

That is a wonderful place to spend some time, and get a perspective of what NYC residents had experienced during the days and months after those Twin Towers collapsed.

The photo up top, of the shoe covered in dust is from The September 11 Digital Archive « American Social History Project | Center for Media and Learning

On September 11, 2001, people around the world reacted to the attacks by using the Internet and digital media. This project is dedicated to the collection, preservation, and presentation of the history of that day and its aftermath. The Archive contains more than 150,000 digital items, including more than 40,000 emails and other electronic communications, more than 40,000 first-hand stories, and more than 15,000 digital images. In September 2003, the Library of Congress accepted the Archive into its collections, an event that both ensured the Archive’s long-term preservation and marked the library’s first major digital acquisition.. An unprecedented experiment in digital archival collecting, The September 11 Digital Archive became the Library of Congress‘s first major digital acquisition. The site was produced by ASHP/CML and the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Visit The September 11 Digital Archive:

Unfortunately, those photos from the Library of Congress are only thumbnail size. You can only see full sized images on the LoC computers…which is really a shame because not everyone can get to Washington, DC.  That is a real disappointment for me at least, I really would have liked to see the images larger than those 190 pixels.

Then there are a few more photos I came across while gathering links for this post:

Liberty Plaza

Liberty Street or Maiden Lane

Downtown Hell

From Time Magazine: 9/11: The Photographs That Moved Them Most – LightBox

Robert Clark—INSTITUTE
Kent Kobersteen, former Director of Photography of National Geographic“The pictures are by Robert Clark, and were shot from the window of his studio in Brooklyn. Others shot the second plane hitting the tower, but I think there are elements in Clark’s photographs that make them special. To me the wider shots not only give context to the tragedy, but also portray the normalcy of the day in every respect except at the Towers. I generally prefer tighter shots, but in this case I think the overall context of Manhattan makes a stronger image. And, the fact that Clark shot the pictures from his studio indicates how the events of 9/11 literally hit home. I find these images very compelling—in fact, whenever I see them they force me to study them in great detail.”
David Surowiecki—Getty Images
Patrick Witty, International Picture Editor of TIME;
former freelance photographer
“After the towers fell, I walked back to my apartment on the Lower East Side, completely in a daze. I had shot black and white film that morning and there was a small lab in the kitchen of my neighbor’s apartment where I could process and scan. When I walked inside, covered in dust and a ripped t-shirt, my neighbors were there and we looked at each other in silence, in disbelief. Another photographer was there who I didn’t know, named David Surowiecki. At the time he was an editor at Getty Images, along with my old roommate Craig Allen. David and Craig were scanning film and transmitting the images from the apartment since Getty’s offices had been evacuated. David’s film from the morning was on a light table near the film dryer in the kitchen. I started looking at his film with a loupe and will never forget the feeling of despair when I saw this one particular image. It was a bizarre and terrifying, yet almost calm image, split down the middle with four tiny bodies falling to the ground. I saw bodies falling when I was near the burning towers, but I didn’t shoot it myself. I couldn’t.

That gallery has 23 images, some of them you may have seen before, but it is good to look at them again. My husband has told me that he saw groups people jumping together. A chain twenty-two people, holding each others hands and choosing to jump to their death. Horrifying.

Here is a link to the  National September 11 Memorial & Museum | World Trade Center Memorial. The website had a live stream of the Memorial service from Ground Zero…hopefully you can catch a recorded video at that link if you missed the live broadcast.

You can find some interactive information here at this link: National September 11 Memorial & Museum

Please join us in commemorating this year’s 9/11 anniversary. This page offers suggestions and tools including a downloadable 2012 Commemoration Planning Guide that provides resources for commemorating in communities, schools, through social media, and as an individual. Should you have any questions, please email us

Thank you for helping to honor and remember.

Commemoration Resources
Promotional Materials for Your Commemoration
Education Tools
Fundraising Tools
Web Resources 
Share Your Plans

Commemoration Resources
2012 Commemoration Planning Guide 
Commemorate in your Online Community
Downloadable Suggestions for Talking to Children about 9/11
Downloadable List of Names on the 9/11 Memorial 
Online Guide for Locating and Searching Names on the 9/11 Memorial
September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance

Promotional Materials for Your Commemoration
Newsletter/Email Template
Press Release Template
Sample Blog Post Template
Web Banners
Downloadable Poster
Facebook Cover Photo

Educational Tools
9/11 FAQ
Interactive Timelines
Introducing the 9/11 Memorial Lesson Plan
Symbols of Remembrance and Reflection Lesson Plan
Creating a Memorial Museum Lesson Plan

I don’t know how I feel about this, but they even have a Museum Shop. 

9/11 Memorial Bowtie

See what I mean? I know that net proceeds go towards the museum, but there is something twistedly morbid in wearing a 9/11 memorial bowtie. (Yeah, I just made up my own word there…) Let’s just end this post with some news links that are connected with 9/11.

And thank you for taking time out today to remember and reflect on this…

September 11.

Wednesday Reads: Power Outage Quickie and Mitt the Twit, Take Three

Good Morning,

I completely forgot that I had a post to write this morning, and then we had a huge storm here in Banjoville, and the power went out. So this post will be a quick one.

Tennessee is getting quite a reputation these days. Kelly Keisling, Tennessee Legislator, Mass Emailed Obama ‘Staged Assassination’ Rumor

A Republican member of the Tennessee state legislature emailed constituents Tuesday morning with a rumor circulating in conservative circles that President Barack Obama is planning to stage a fake assassination attempt in an effort to stop the 2012 election from happening.

Rep. Kelly Keisling (R-Byrdstown) sent an email from his state email account to constituents containing a rumor that Obama and the Department of Homeland Security are planning a series of events that could lead to the imposition of “martial law” and delay the election. Among the events hypothesized in the email is a staged assassination attempt on the president that would lead to civil unrest in urban areas and martial law.

Ugh…surprise his source is not Michele Bachmann…

Keisling appears to have forwarded a more widely circulated email from Joe Angione, a Florida-based conservative blogger. Angione prefaces the rumor by saying it has not been confirmed but likewise notes it has not been denied. Angione also writes that people need to work to prevent the rumor from becoming reality.

The conspiracy theory started with an article written by Doug Hammon and posted on, which he said arose from conversations he had with an informant within the Department of Homeland Security.

The Constitution Party of Florida posted the same Angione story on their website this week. Party chairman Mark Pilling wrote a note saying that he believes some sort of unrest will occur this year.


And just when you think Romney can’t flip any more, he writes an op/ed for the National Review: Culture Does Matter – By Mitt Romney – The Corner – National Review Online

TPM takes a look at it here: Take Three: Mitt Romney Now Says He Stands By Palestinian ‘Culture’ Comments | TPM2012

On Sunday, Mitt Romney boldly declared that Israel’s economic superiority over the Palestinians was due to its culture. On Tuesday morning, he dismissed any notion that he had even discussed Palestinian culture. On Tuesday night, Romney reversed himself yet again, in an op-ed entitled “Culture Does Matter.”

“During my recent trip to Israel, I had suggested that the choices a society makes about its culture play a role in creating prosperity, and that the significant disparity between Israeli and Palestinian living standards was powerfully influenced by it,” Romney wrote in the National Review. “In some quarters, that comment became the subject of controversy. But what exactly accounts for prosperity if not culture?”

In an interview earlier the very same day with FOX News, Romney told interviewer Carl Cameron that he “did not speak about the Palestinian culture or the decisions made in their economy” and that he “certainly [doesn’t] intend to address that during my campaign.”

That interview appeared to be directly at odds with Romney’s original speech, in which he directly compared the per capita GDP of Israel and the Palestinian territories and attributed Israel’s comparative strength to “culture” and the “hand of providence.” It also directly contradicts the first paragraph of his National Review op-ed, in which he explicitly says he was comparing the two economies and cultures.

I think this is the kind of cultural differences Romney is making:  Cagle Post » Rich Culture of Romney

Rich Culture of Romney © Adam Zyglis,The Buffalo News,mitt, romney, culture, dressage, horse, olympics, culture, israel, palistine, racism, wealthy, 1, 99, percent, rich, wealthy, gaffes, overseas

Or was Romney talking about this kind of cultural differences:  Jon Stewart Mocks Romney Campaign For Gaffes In Poland And Israel | Mediaite

He observed that Romney faced “trouble in England for answering questions [and] trouble in Poland for ignoring questions,” and prayed that the third country Romney visited was not a place where people are easily “prone to complaining.” Naturally, it was Israel, and Stewart’s hopes were dashed once again.

Stewart sat with baited breath, wondering how Romney would mess up in Israel, and while at first he was relieved that Romney was overly complimentary of the Israeli people in his speech, he then brought up the controversy over Romney’s remarks about the Palestinians that did not go over well. As Stewart observed:

“Romney appears to be saying that the Palestinians are purely the architects of their own poverty, or, if you prefer to look at the converse, that Jews are culturally some money-making motherfuckers. Either way…”

Video at the link…

Updates on the DC fetal pain crap….I mean proposed bill. House Fails to Pass D.C. 20-Week Abortion Ban | RH Reality Check

And about that PLUB law in Arizona? Goodbye, Trimesters: How The Arizona Court Ruling May Turn Roe On Its Head | RH Reality Check

They are both long links so please go and read them in full.

Meanwhile: House GOP Tax Plan Raises Taxes On 10 Times As Many People As Democratic Proposal | ThinkProgress

Senate Republicans last week proposed a plan that would raise taxes on more than 20 million Americans, while maintaining the high-end Bush tax cuts. Letting those tax cuts on income in excess of $250,000 expire would affect just two million wealthy taxpayers, by comparison.

Now, House Republicans have adopted the same plan, and the effect is the same: roughly 24 million middle- and lower-class Americans will see their taxes raised so that roughly two million of the richest taxpayers can maintain a tax cut, as this chart from the Center for American Progress’ Seth Hanlon and Sarah Ayres illustrate:

More nifty graphs at that link…it shows us who are the ones that will be getting hit with these increases…

Even worse, more than a third of families with children — a total of 18.6 million households, including 9.2 million single parents — would see a tax increase, according to Hanlon and Ayres’ analysis:

According to the analysis, roughly 11 million American families would lose some or all of the American Opportunity Tax Credit, which provides a tax break on college tuition payments, at an average cost of $1,100 each. About 12 million would lose part or all of the Child Tax Credit, costing them an average of $800, and about 6 million would lose all or part of the Earned Income Tax Credit, which saves each recipient an average of $500.

One thing I find interesting is this(Oh, it is a good one, you betcha!): Dishonest Fox Chart: Bush Tax Cut Edition | Blog | Media Matters for America

Fox Business used a graphic with a badly distorted scale to exaggerate the effect that the expiration of the Bush tax cuts would have on the rich.

Here’s how Fox Business’ Cavuto presented a return to the Clinton-era tax rate of 39.6 percent on the top income bracket, from the Bush-era rate of 35 percent:

Here’s what that increase of 4.6 percentage points looks like on a more realistic scale:

Fox has a lot of trouble making charts that are accurate and fair, having aired misleading graphics on gas taxes and statistics about unemployment, among other subjects.

Heh…heh…heh. I quoted the whole post there, because I had to. Look at it! Look at it!

And what about those Voter ID laws? ugh…Pa. Top Election Official Disputes Negative Impact of New Voter ID Law « CBS Philly

Pennsylvania’s Secretary of the Commonwealth was on the witness stand today, during day five of the court hearing on Pennsylvania’s new voter ID law.

And her testimony just added to the confusion over exactly how many voters need ID.

Secretary of the Commonwealth Carole Aichele is the top state official in charge of implementing the voter ID.  But when she took the stand she was cagey, even making jokes in some instances in her response to plaintiffs’ attorneys.

At one point, when lawyers asked her about the details of the voter ID law, Aichele responded, “I don’t know what the law says.”

I can show you what it means…after this continuation of the story:

Plaintiffs’ attorney David Gersch (of Arnold and Porter) says the secretary is not the only one confused about what the law requires.

“The law is very technical — that’s another problem with it,” he tells KYW Newsraadio.   “Earlier in the trial we had testimony from lawyers who are advocates for poor people and homeless people trying to get identification, and those lawyers said they didn’t understand all apects of the law!”

When lawyers questioned Aichele today about the number of  Pennsylvanians who need ID, Aichele was adamant that 99 percent of voters had valid ID.

When plaintiffs’ attorneys cited earlier Department of State testimony that the number is likely inaccurate, Aichele said simply, “I disagree.”

She later admitted that the state does not know the real number of voters who need ID.

Voter ID laws = Voter Suppression – Truthdig

And one more goodbye, this time to Writer Gore Vidal, 86, has died –

Gore Vidal, the iconoclastic writer, savvy analyst and imperious gadfly on the national conscience, has died. He was 86.

Vidal died Tuesday at his home in the Hollywood Hills of complications of pneumonia, said nephew Burr Steers.

Vidal was a literary juggernaut who wrote 25 novels, including historical works such as “Lincoln” and “Burr” and satires such as “Myra Breckinridge” and “Duluth.” He was also a prolific essayist whose pieces on politics, sexuality, religion and literature — once described as “elegantly sustained demolition derbies” — both delighted and inflamed and in 1993 earned him a National Book Award for his massive “United States Essays, 1952-1992.”


He also wrote Broadway hits, screenplays, television dramas and a trio of mysteries under a pseudonym that remain in print after 50 years.

When he wasn’t writing, he was popping up in movies, playing himself in “Fellini’s Roma,” a sinister plotter in sci-fi thriller “Gattaca” and a U.S. senator in “Bob Roberts.” In other spare moments, he made two entertaining but unsuccessful forays into politics, running for the Senate from California and Congress in New York, and established himself as a master of talk-show punditry who demolished intellectual rivals like Norman Mailer and William F. Buckley with acidic one-liners.

“Style,” Vidal once said, “is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.” By that definition, he was an emperor of style, sophisticated and cantankerous in his prophesies of America’s fate and refusal to let others define him.

Dakinikat put up a post in tribute of Vidal late last night. Goodbye Mr. Vidal.

That was a whirlwind of a post…woosh.

So, what are you all reading and thinking about this first day of August!

Wednesday Reads: Thoughts on DC

Me and my son, daughter and husband at the Capitol…

Hello, after spending ten days in our nation’s capital, it is nice to finally get back home. One thing is certain, living in Manhattan has spoiled me when it comes to public transport…the DC Metro line is awful, very few stops and when there is a station nearby, the cars and the stations all look the same. No character, no charm…and as for the passengers, everyone with their eyes down on the e-pad of choice, Apple of course.

Another observation, there were absolutely no places to drink water…or even buy a bottle of water. We were there during severe heat advisories and no water to be found. The drinking fountains were not working save for one that was on the outskirts of The Mall near the Commerce Department. The place is not people friendly, especially on a hot day.

I’ve got one more thing to gripe about before I get to the good stuff. When you go into the museums, everyone with a bag must have it inspected. Most of those with bags were women…and we had to open the bags and let the guards fiddle with our stuff for security reasons. Meanwhile, men like my husband and son with huge stuffed cargo short pockets were allowed to walk right in…no inspection required. At the Natural History museum there was a metal detector we all had to walk through, but it did not even go off when someone with keys stepped across. I asked one of the guards why don’t they look inside the big bulging pockets on the guy’s pants and he said… “I only do what I am told.”

Perhaps I am a bit too sensitive, but dude after dude walked into those museums with pockets stuffed to the gills…while practically all the women had to stop, wait in a long line and let a guard look through their bags…no matter how small the bag was. It just seemed strange to me that the security system in place ignored these cargo pockets…I mean these pockets are huge! I kept thinking about the scene in Seinfeld with Kramer running down the street, his cargo pant pockets full of change.  Imagine what these guys can stuff into those things.

(Okay, enough of the bitching…let’s get on with the show.)

We had a wonderful time. I have to tell you, DC is an exhausting experience, you feel overwhelmed with all the exhibits and things to see…so I will just mention a few things that stood out. First, the Shuttle Discovery at the Udvar-Hazy Hanger was something to see. It is huge, just imagine just what it must look like riding piggy-back on a big ass jet. We could see the burn marks from the heat shield tiles and places where the bigger white sections of the shuttle’s skin had been replaced.

Shuttle Discovery, with replacement tiles visible…what a sight to see.

Another impressive piece of history in this part of the Air and Space Museum was this nuclear warhead rocket called the Redstone Missile.

Redstone Missile at the Udvar-Hazy Center

The first U.S. large-scale, liquid-fuel missile to become operational, the Redstone was one of the most historically important developments in U.S. rocket technology.
Image Number: 2004-51785
Credit: Photo by Dane Penland, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

This is the Redstone, one of the most historically important developments in U.S. rocket technology. It was the U.S.’s first large-scale operational liquid-propellant missile and was modified as the Jupiter-C that placed the U.S.’s first artificial satellite, Explorer 1, into orbit in 1958. In 1961 the Mercury-Redstone rocket launched the first American into space, Alan B. Shepard.

As a missile, the Redstone had a range of 200-250 miles and carried either a conventional or nuclear warhead. The Redstone made its first successful flight in 1953 and became operational in 1958. It was replaced by the all-solid-fuel Pershing missile in 1964. This missile was donated to the Smithsonian in 1978 by the U.S. Army.

On day two we saw the Natural History Museum, and the exhibit that I thought was the most interesting was this one, called Written In Bone. It is a look at forensic archaeology.

Written in Bone examines history through 17th-century bone biographies, including those of colonists teetering on the edge of survival at Jamestown, Virginia, and those living in the wealthy and well-established settlement of St. Mary’s City, Maryland.

The forensic investigation of human skeletons provides intriguing information on people and events of America’s past. No other inanimate objects make us feel the same passionate curiosity as the remains of once-living, breathing individuals like us. And nothing else can answer our questions in quite the same ways.

At no other time in our history have we had the technological
capability or opportunity now available to help us tell this tale.
Explore the history and science behind the investigation as we learn
for the first time the intimate stories of America’s early colonists.

This exhibit discusses a cemetery section of the Chesapeake Bay settlement that was recently discovered. I’ve put a few links below for you to check out when you have the time.

Four centuries ago, a band of English adventurers built a fort on the James River near the Chesapeake Bay. In the decades after 1607, shipload after shipload of colonists sought new lives in North America. They began moving inland, settling along the coastal rivers of Virginia and Maryland.

These early immigrants left us dramatic evidence of their lives — in the traces of the structures they built, the foods they ate, and the objects they used. The most vivid evidence waits in their unmarked graves and skeletons.

Today, scientists are recovering these buried clues and investigating these most personal physical records. We are meeting the Chesapeake’s earliest European and African settlers in entirely new ways. Their stories are written in their bones.

There were two skeletons in the exhibit that really made me wonder and think about what life was like, first this one boy, a homicide victim that was found in the cellar buried under a bunch of trash and garbage. Written in Bone – The Body in the Basement

Leavy Neck skeleton

Leavy Neck skeleton.
Image courtesy of Chip Clark

Circumstantial Evidence

A 1661 Virginia law forbade private burial of servants. It ordered public burials, so that any foul play or mistreatment would be noticed. Maryland considered a similar law in 1663 but did not pass it. Clearly the colonists recognized that while the lives of indentured servants were always difficult, for some their situation was dangerous.

This burial, with its nontraditional placement of the body, contrasts markedly with other 17th-century burials. It was not in a cemetery but in the cellar of an occupied house. The unevenly dug pit was too short and narrow for the body, which was bent at the hips and knees. A large piece of a milk pan left on the chest clearly did not belong to the deceased but was used to dig the shallow grave and force the corpse into the pit. Such lack of concern for the deceased implies his lack of connection to the household. But, did the skeletal evidence also support the hunch that this was an unnamed servant?

The other skeletal remains which I found fascinating was this one, of a woman who died during childbirth…Written in Bone – Difficult Births

Field photo, close-up of the pelvic bones with a late-term fetus

Female, age 26 to 32, with an unborn, late-term fetus in utero. Image courtesy: Smithsonian Institution

Buried with Her Unborn Child

Bone does not usually show conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth — but the skeleton of this young immigrant held the remains of a late-term fetus. The mother’s pelvic bones show no abnormalities that would have prevented a normal birth. Nevertheless, it is quite likely that her death was related to pregnancy or complications during childbirth.

So please give those links a look-see… At the National Gallery, the George Bellows exhibit was my favorite.

When George Bellows died at the age of forty-two in 1925, he was hailed as one of the greatest artists America had yet produced. In 2012, the National Gallery of Art will present the first comprehensive exhibition of Bellows’ career in more than three decades. George Bellows will include some 130 paintings, drawings, and lithographs. Bellows is arguably the most important figure in the generation of artists who negotiated the transition from the Victorian to the modern era in American culture. This exhibition will provide the most complete account of his achievements to date and will introduce Bellows to new generations. The accompanying catalogue will document and define Bellows’ unique place in the history of American art and in the annals of modernism.

You can see some of the artwork here: George Bellows

He did some very cool lithographs of a traveling preacher named Billy Sunday during the early 1900’s in New York City…Terra Foundation for American Art: Collections. You can view a larger image of this artwork by clicking on this link here: Billy Sunday

I want to bring one part of the following passage to your attention, emphasis mine.

George Bellows’s lithograph Billy Sundayis a compelling picture of the famous evangelical preacher on stage, energetically straddling the surfaces of the tables at which his supporters sit as he verbally assaults his docile audience. Bellows celebrates the forceful physical presence of a charismatic individual, embodied in his emphatic lunge as he thrusts his pointing finger toward a crowd of potential converts to underscore the power of his words. Strong tonal contrasts underscore the dominant presence of this figure against the dim expanse of the revival tent, its forest of upright supports illuminated by the diffused glow of scattered lights.For almost forty years, Billy Sunday toured the nation, preaching to huge, spellbound audiences. A former baseball player, he was renowned for the energetic style of his preaching and the lunging poses he struck as his fervor reached its highest pitch. In January 1915, Bellows and Communist activist and reporter John Reed attended a Sunday revival meeting in Philadelphia on assignment for New York’s Metropolitan Magazine. The experience inspired Bellows to make a painting of the scene in 1916 and six years later this lithograph, which is closely based on one of the drawings he made to illustrate Reed’s article. Repelled by Sunday’s spell-binding zealotry, Bellows commented in 1917 that Sunday was “the worst thing that ever happened to America…. He is death to imagination, to spirituality, to art” (Bellows quoted in Myers and Ayres, 1988, p.53). Bellows’s powerful image is one of 193 lithographs he made between 1916 and his sudden death nine years later. It was one of several lithographs made between 1916 and 1923 in which he explored the pervasive influence of religious dogma in American life.

What Bellows said about Billy Sunday is still relevant today…it gives me chills to read that quote.

This painting by John Singer Sargent was also eye-catching…Street in Venice

John Singer Sargent
Street in Venice, 1882
Gift of the Avalon Foundation

Street in Venice, created during the second of Sargent’s numerous visits to that city, was done on the spot. Mediterranean sunshine penetrates the narrow confines of the Calle Larga dei Proverbi, a back alley near the Grand Canal.

The emptiness of the silent street implies that Sargent depicted siesta, the time when many Italians rest for three hours at midday. One of two men conversing in the shadows is distracted by a girl strolling alone. Her skirt’s rustling hem and shawl’s flowing fringe are rendered with indistinct strokes that suggest her rapid pace will soon carry her beyond his lingering gaze.

The US Holocaust Museum was something that I wish we had more time to spend looking and reading over the Permanent Exhibit.

The Museum’s Permanent Exhibition The Holocaust spans three floors of the Museum building. It presents a narrative history using more than 900 artifacts, 70 video monitors, and four theaters that include historic film footage and eyewitness testimonies. The exhibition is divided into three parts: “Nazi Assault,” “Final Solution,” and “Last Chapter.” The narrative begins with images of death and destruction as witnessed by American soldiers during the liberation of Nazi concentration camps in 1945. Most first-time visitors spend an average of two to three hours in this self-guided exhibition. Recommended for visitors 11 years of age and older.

The display of shoes from victims confiscated from Majdanek prisoners that still smell to this day…something I will never forget. And after reading the book In the Garden of Beasts, this exhibit hit home…big time.

Here are a few other links you may find interesting:

State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda reveals how the Nazi Party used modern techniques as well as new technologies and carefully crafted messages to sway millions with its vision for a new Germany.

“If ever a piece of writing could produce mass hatred, it is this one. . . . This book is about lies and slander.”
—Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is the most notorious and widely distributed antisemitic publication of modern times. Its lies about Jews, which have been repeatedly discredited, continue to circulate today, especially on the Internet. The individuals and groups who have used the Protocols are all linked by a common purpose: to spread hatred of Jews.

Gain an insider’s view of history, access Museum resources, and contemplate the connections to today’s world by visiting the new Wexner Center. Explore “The Nuremberg Trials: What is Justice?”; view the Committee on Conscience display “Who will survive today? Genocide Emergency: Darfur, Sudan”; and visit the Survivors Registry.

We also saw many of the city’s monuments and memorials. I’ve got a few pictures we took on the trip that I’d like to share…from the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial, Tomb of the Unknowns, and Arlington National Cemetery…so take a look at these if you like, I’ve written some descriptions and thoughts under each.

You can catch them in this slide show below…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Well, that is my post this morning. It is great to be back, and I’ve got to say I missed the blog, but it was nice to have a break. Thank you to Kat, BB, Wonk and Connie who covered for me during the trip.  So much to catch up on…I have no idea what has gone on this past week and a half, so please post links to things you are reading and blogging about today. See you in the comments!

Thursday Late Night Open Thread and News Reads: Hungry?

What a day we have had! It is like the GOP added more fuel to the fire, it seemed like every time I got online, there was another ridiculous ass-backward bill or regulation or idiot talking up the stupidity of women and the need for us to shut the hell up and close our eyes and take it.

So, if you haven’t seen Boston Boomer‘s or Dakinikat’s posts today, be sure you take a few minutes and read them. Oh, and if you want to relive some of the memorable MoDo moments of 2008…check out Peggy’s post on The Remarkable Revisionism of Maureen Dowd.

I wanted to just post a couple of links on the rise of poverty we are seeing here in our own country. This week we were disgusted to see that in Greece, austerity measures have brought children to starvation. They cannot function in normal PE classes, and the schools have organized food drives so that the kids have something to eat.

It hasn’t gotten that bad yet, but this article should alert you to areas where children are going to bed hungry. Kansas food stamp policy becomes a political tangle

Months after a new Kansas policy cut food stamps going to thousands of children, some lawmakers are mounting efforts to help those families.

But they’re finding it’s difficult when the issue involves families with some members who are living in the country illegally. Legislative leaders don’t appear eager to tackle any illegal immigration issue in an election year.

Earlier this week, senators in Topeka proposed an amendment to the Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services budget that ultimately could have restored some aid to the children who are U.S. citizens but whose parents are illegal immigrants. But on Wednesday, the amendment was dropped.

Saying no to hungry kids…and these are not immigrant kids, these are US citizens…

Separately, a bill filed in the House would help households where children’s benefits were reduced after SRS changed the way it counts income for food stamp eligibility. The bill doesn’t have a listed sponsor — an indication of how controversial the matter is — and the committee leader wouldn’t say who’s behind it. A hearing is scheduled for today, but SRS officials plan to challenge the bill.

“There is obviously politics in this, which is a tragedy because we are talking about hungry citizen kids,” said Melinda Lewis, a public policy consultant for El Centro, an anti-poverty organization in Kansas City, Kan.

“What you are seeing … is legislators trying to use powers available to them to register their disappointment of SRS taking this action unilaterally,” Lewis said. “They’re trying to send different kinds of signals to SRS to induce change.”

What the short of that statement is that the ones who are trying to “register their disappointments” just don’t have the balls to come out and say what you are probably thinking in your head right now.

The department made the policy change in October because officials said families with noncitizen members were getting preferential treatment over all-citizen families. By law, illegal immigrants are not eligible for food stamps. However, U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants can be.

The state now counts the entire family income to determine if only some of its members are eligible for food stamps. That means a low-income family of five made up of two undocumented parents and three U.S. children must show that its total income is close to the poverty level for a family of three — not a family of five — to access food stamps.

Before the switch, Kansas did what the vast majority of states do when counting income: In households with members ineligible to receive food stamps (including non-U.S. citizens), Kansas adjusted the income for the reduced household size.

“These are U.S. citizen children,” said Sen. Kelly Kultala, a Democrat from Kansas City, Kan., who proposed the budget amendment this week. “They have no say in who their parents are, what households they live in and who lives in those households.

“Children who are vulnerable and have no voice of their own are being punished for something they had no involvement in.”

Well, the answer then is more elected officials need to speak up for the people they represent. And the situation is getting worse, according to the latest numbers from SRS:

…since the policy change, 1,105 households with about 2,200 U.S. children lost food stamps. More families had their benefits reduced.

SRS officials say the bottom line is that the families now have too much income to qualify.

“Under the new policy, the only reason individuals and households are denied access to the benefit program is because their household incomes are higher than the USDA-mandated threshold,” said Angela de Rocha, SRS spokeswoman. Of the 1,105 households, she said, 236 reapplied for benefits, and more than half who reapplied received them.

Advocates counter that the families’ income didn’t change, yet U.S. children who received food stamps before no longer do.“It’s like SRS is pretending all of the family’s income is available just to feed the citizen members of the household,” Lewis said. “They are pretending that those immigrant members of the family don’t exist, that they don’t eat.”

Kansas, along with other good “Christian and Mormon” states like Nebraska and Utah have adopted the new policy. (I will point you to another post written by Dak yesterday.  )

Utah changed its policy in July 2010. The goal was to be fair across the board, to count income of households with noncitizens the same way it would households with all U.S. citizens, said Curt Stewart, public information officer for the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

At the time, about 7,800 households were affected, with benefits either terminated or reduced, Stewart said. “It gave us parity across the board so everyone is treated the same,” he said.

Yup, they all get treated like shit!

…Kultala’s amendment would have required SRS to request a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow for an income eligibility policy that would treat all U.S.-citizen children equally. One possible waiver could allow for a cap on benefits so a household with some illegal immigrants could never get more in food stamps than a household with all U.S. citizens.

Hmmm…so even though the citizen kids with illegal parents/guardians would get less food stamps, the amendment was removed from consideration yesterday. Ah, here comes the kick in the ass…cue the asshole GOP Senator to “explain” the situation to us.

Sen. Carolyn McGinn, a Sedgwick Republican who heads the Ways and Means Committee, said Kultala’s proposal was problematic because it raised questions about what would happen if USDA didn’t grant a waiver.

“We felt like we had too many loose ends there to try to figure that out,” McGinn said. She said it was a consensus decision by the subcommittee to remove the provision.

Kultala said Wednesday afternoon that she was disappointed by the decision.

“I think there is a perception this has to do with illegal immigrants getting something and it’s not. It’s about U.S. citizen children. This is all about the children for me.”

Advocates say they continue to see families suffering because of the change.

Some parents now must work two and three jobs to buy food for their families, said Elena Morales of El Centro. She’s assisted one Kansas City area woman who had full custody of her U.S.-citizen children but returned them to their father because she couldn’t afford to feed them.

Morales said she and other advocates are working to reassure many illegal immigrants that, despite the stricter SRS policy and the frustrations they hear, their U.S. children could still be eligible for benefits.

“These families are afraid. They are between a rock and a hard place,” Morales said. “They’re still hurting. Now they have to pay more for a babysitter, leave their children with an older sibling. Because they have to work two and three jobs, mom isn’t there to care for her children.”

Advocates thought that when Kansas officials discovered that thousands of children were being affected, things would change.

“Frankly, it’s taken longer than we had hoped,” said Shannon Cotsoradis, president and CEO of Kansas Action for Children, an advocacy group based in Topeka. “And in the interim, lots of children are going hungry.”

We know that these people will not “change” and become human…have hearts and realize that kids are hungry. They don’t give a fuck for any former fetus that does not have a shit load of money to pay for their legislative votes.

So this article got me so angry, I know that things like this are happening all over, especially with the anti-immigration bills in places like Georgia, Alabama, Arizona and where ever the majority of the law makers are Republican.

Today, I also saw an article about Tavis Smiley, who Aims To Put Poverty On 2012 Election Agenda.

“Two decades ago we were celebrating what was the Year Of The Woman in ’92, and now we’re dealing with a war on women in 2012,” Tavis Smiley said on a recent afternoon.

Smiley rattles off some numbers.

“Women are much more likely to be poor than men, and more than a million children have fallen into poverty, and more than 500,000 have fallen into extreme poverty” — that is, living on less than $2 a day — “since 2010.”
Recent census data shows that the number of children who live in extreme poverty has doubled from 1996 to 2011, from 1.4 million to 2.8 million.
To draw attention to this problem, Smiley is moderating a televised symposium Sunday called “Made Visible: Women, Children and Poverty In America” at New York University. Smiley said that he consciously assembled a panel that would feature women from diverse backgrounds since he felt that so much of the recent conversation around women’s issues in America — he specifically referred to the recent fight in Congress over insuring female contraception — included few women’s voices.
“When it became an issue, all the talking heads who were talking about it were men,” he said. “If you’re talking about a panel on women in poverty, [then] who best to make the case? I recognize that what I can do is use the platform that I’ve been blessed to have.”

They will be having the discussion which will air on C-SPAN, here.  Anyway, back to Smiley…

“These issues at first glance might seem disparate,” Smiley said of the panel. “What does contraception have to do with poverty? What does a woman’s right to choose have to do with poverty? What do [Rush] Limbaugh’s comments [about Sandra Fluke] have to do with poverty? All these dots need to be connected.”

Smiley said that he is pushing to make poverty part of the conversation during the election cycle, and he said the Obama administration, of which he’s been a fierce critic, has pointedly avoided discussing it. “Last year, President Obama became the first president since 1948 to not mention ‘poor’ or ‘poverty’ in the State of the Union address.”

No he sure didn’t. Go and read the rest at the link, I hope it brings some attention where it is disparately needed.

New ‘hunger snapshot’ survey by Bronx food pantry Part Of The Solution shows 36% of its clients skip meals 

Part of the Solution, a food pantry and social services center in Fordham, surveyed more than 500 clients in February to produce the staggering report.

It found that 36% skipped at least one meal during the three months before the survey.

“The most shocking result was that so many people are skipping meals,” said POTS Justice Center coordinator Antonietta Bertucci, who interviewed the clients. “Many are parents who don’t eat so their children have food.”

More than a third of Americans are unable to afford food, according to recent reports, and hunger is a problem nationwide, said Bertucci. POTS is located in the poorest Congressional district in the country, she noted.

The snapshot claims 34% of POTS clients would go hungry without the food pantry, largely due to housing and transportation costs: 81% use the money they save on meals at POTS to help pay rent and 69% use it to help pay for transportation.

“They need that cash to keep the lights on,” said Bertucci.

Of course, this isn’t helping matters either: As Food Prices Rise, Retailers and Producers Face Off

Here’s a news flash that won’t be remotely surprising if you’re responsible for grocery shopping in your house: the cost of food has been rising. In the past year, consumer food prices have increased 4.4%, compared with a 2.9% price increase for all consumer purchases. The costs of a few foods in particular have skyrocketed: in 2011, meat, coffee and peanut-butter prices rose 9%, 19% and 27%, respectively. While some are predicting that food prices will plateau or even fall, it appears as if increased regulation and production costs will continue to mean higher food prices for wholesalers, and these higher costs will inevitably be passed on to consumers.

Well, those folks in Washington must be busy doing other things than worry about the poverty and hunger in this nation. I mean, when there are vaginas running loose all over the place, you have to set priorities right?

Perhaps they should just enjoy the lovely scenery around DC this time of year. How the cherry blossom became a Washington hallmark

On March 27, 1912, Helen Taft, the wife of President William Howard Taft, and Viscountess Iwa Chinda, who was married to the Japanese ambassador to the United States, planted two cherry blossom trees in West Potomac Park, a green space on the banks of the Potomac River not far from the National Mall.
The next month, more trees were planted along the Tidal Basin and into Rock Creek Park, the vast urban park that stretches through the capital. Eighteen cherry trees were soon planted on the White House grounds.
This year, Washington will mark the 100th anniversary of those trees, some of which still exist, though most of the originals have died and been replaced. Their blossoming is celebrated annually with the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which is timed for late March, when the blooms are at their peak. This year the festival runs from March 20 to April 27. The peak, when 70 percent of the trees are covered in blossoms, is forecast for March 20-23.

There is a wonderful infographic at the link, you can check it out here:

Well, enjoy your night…please think of this as an open thread…to post whatever you like!