Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

even Miss America

The more voices speaking about and against violence, the better off we will be.  It's entirely believable that even a Miss America has been the victim of violence. 

Miss America's Bold Statement on the Ray Rice Assault

The newly crowned Miss America is hoping to use her platform to draw attention to a topic that she says has been stigmatized for too long: Intimate partner violence and how society can best support women in abusive relationships.
Kira Kazantsev, who entered the competition as Miss New York, is herself a survivor of domestic violence. She was stalked and threatened while in an abusive relationship in college. Kazantsev regularly speaks at domestic violence and homeless shelters, and currently volunteers with Safe Horizon, one of the country’s leading organizations working to support victims of domestic abuse.
“The main goal is to get people talking about it,” Kazantsev explained in an interview with NPR. “If people are willing to talk about it, they’re not scared of it, it’s not taboo.”
The issue of domestic violence was front and center at last night’s pageant. In addition to Kazantsev, several other contestants also chose to focus on the issue in their platforms. And this year’s Miss America judges drew some criticism for asking contestants to weigh in on the recent controversy surrounding former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who was dropped from the team after surveillance video showed him punching his then-fiancee. Rice’s wife has chosen to remain with him. “As a woman, what do you think of her decision?” one of the judges asked a contestant — sparking complaints that the question’s framing relied on victim-blaming and pitting women against other women.
Kazantsev is clear about the fact that she doesn’t believe that’s an appropriate question to ask of domestic abuse victims.
“I want people to stop asking, ‘Why doesn’t she just leave?’ ” the Miss America winner told NPR. “Every woman is an expert in her own case, and there are so many extenuating circumstances that lead to a woman staying with her abuser.”
Issues related to domestic violence, as well as questions about how to create a culture that supports survivors, have been dominating the headlines recently thanks to the ongoing fallout from the NFL’s handling of the Ray Rice incident. Women’s groups have called on the NFL commissioner to resign, and the feminist activist organization UltraViolet flew banners over several football stadiums this weekend declaring that “Goodell Must Go.” Meanwhile, thousands of women with personal experiences with domestic violence have pushed back on the idea that victims should simply leave under the hashtag #WhyIStayed.
Kazantsev’s comments about victim blaming echo recent statements from Vice President Joe Biden, who — as the original sponsor of the Violence Against Women Act — frequently speaks out on the topic. “This whole culture for so long has put the onus on the woman,” he told the Today Show. “What were you wearing? What did you say? What did you do to provoke? That is never the appropriate question.”
Pageant contestants are increasingly using their spotlight to shed light on issues that may not typically get much attention on the stage. Earlier this summer, Miss Idaho made national headlines for visibly wearing her insulin pump during the swimsuit portion of the competition, bringing more awareness to the millions of Americans living with Type 1 diabetes. And after one of the contestants in this year’s Miss USA pageant was widely praised for having a more “normal body” that isn’t stick thin, it sparked a larger conversation about the media’s unrealistic portrayals of women’s bodies.


Monday, September 15, 2014

weird death cult

Still feeling a little under the weather today, so, forgive the brevity, but this toon was pretty striking.

Declaring a holy war on Islam is not going to help things in any way. How about a holy war against all religion?


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Jesus blows

Christians get rather uptight when you mess with their ... idols. 

The Freedom from Religion Foundation (FFRF) had to weigh in on the "Jesus blows me away" stunt you may have recently heard about. 

Christians often whine about how they are discriminated against and persecuted when in fact Christians enjoy the most privilege of any group in the country, except for maybe old white guys. 

About the only advantage to "desecrating" a statue of Jesus in this country is that you will not be hunted down and killed for doing something like this to Mohammed. That is significant, but criminal charges are ludicrous.

Christian privilege and the "desecration" of a Jesus statue   
September 12, 2014

desecrationChristian privilege is an insidious cancer prevalent in this country. This time the victim is a 14-year-old prankster with an irreverent sense of humor. The unidentified teen posted pictures of himself and a Jesus statue in which it appears the Lord is fellating the teen.

Sure, the photo is tasteless. But poor taste is not a crime (and Christians should be thankful for that). Neither is desecration of a venerated object. Yet the boy has been charged in juvenile court with that crime.

First, there was no damage done, the kid took some photos. Second, desecration is not a crime. FFRF's litigation attorney, Bob Tiernan, won a nearly identical criminal case in Colorado in 2000.  Rodney Scott was charged with "desecrat[ing] an object venerated by the public" for removing illegal and unlicensed roadside memorial crosses. The court found that the roadside crosses were "litter" so they could not be venerated.

But so what if they were? "Desecration" and "venerated" are clearly terms meant to protect religious sensibilities—and religious objects—from harm. But we already have laws in place that do just that—laws that prohibit vandalism, property destruction, and theft. Why do we need a separate law for religious property?  

Obviously, we don't. But these laws, which exist in other states, are a codification of Christian privilege. Other examples abound. Christian privilege is also codified in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which Hobby Lobby recently used to impose its anti-scientific, anti-woman religion on employees.

Christian privilege abounds in laws and symbolism:
Christians think our nation trusts in their god. We do not.
Christians think our nation is united under their god. We are not.
Christians think America is great because their god ordained it so. Those who behead journalists and fly airplanes into skyscrapers believe something similar. They're both wrong. Freedom makes a country great. Equality makes a country even greater. And privileging one class of people because they all believe the same 2,000-year-old myth is not freedom or equality.

And, perhaps most of all, Christians think that their god is not to be mocked (something else they have in common with cartoon-hating Muslims). Both are wrong. According to their own book, god is a genocidal tyrant and a blackmailing scapegoat. Even if such a god did exist, he would not be worthy of worship—he would be worthy only of mockery.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, other like-minded groups, and the burgeoning ranks of godless Americans are working tirelessly to end this unjustified Christian privilege. Soon, Christians will no longer be able to call the police when somebody makes fun of their imaginary friend.


Friday, September 12, 2014

violence against women

Video of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice clocking his girlfriend - now wife - has led to another uptick in awareness of violence against women.  How long will this one last?

The obvious problem here is men.  More than testosterone.  Men.  Men who cannot control their alcohol; men who cannot control their tempers; men who get pissed when they cannot "control their women."

NFL Hall of Famer James Brown had a few words to say about it before the Thursday Night Football game.


Brown says men's "silence is deafening."  I guess he means famous men in the limelight and others in the NFL need to speak up?  It would help some, but it isn't going to be near-enough to get men to stop beating up on other people. But it could reduce that insane estimate of three women per day being killed, presumably by men.

This is a hyper-violent culture we live in today. Even the dominant religion in this country, Christianity, has built-in issues of violence and domination of women. The rise of science erodes religious belief, further angering those "traditional" males.  Talk about a multi-faceted problem. 

The issue is really more than "domestic violence," as some call it.  It's really more than violence against women. Isn't it really more about violence in general? But we probably won't get to that level of the discussion.  

I haven't been silent. Nor have I ever struck a woman. My wife has told me if I ever hit her, it would be the first and last time. (wink wink)

So men, quit hitting your women. They are probably the best thing that ever happened to you!! What the fuck is the matter with you animals?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

David Letterman

The entire Beltway media, even MSNBC, gave Chuck Todd a pass on Chuck's fuck-up with President Obama.  But not David Letterman.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

TVEyes

So, is TVEyes how Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert, and MSNBC keep coming up with choice clips from the loonies at FOX News?  Put in a keyword, and voila!

TVEyes watches FOX News so that WE don't have to!  

Fox News Suffers Major Legal Defeat to TVEyes

On Tuesday, a New York federal judge issued a significant "fair use" ruling, and in the process, handed Fox News a major legal loss in its attempts to protect its news shows from exploitation.
The lawsuit concerns TVEyes, which might not be widely known, but is used by MSNBC, ABC, CBS, Reuters and Bloomberg to monitor what is being said on Fox News and more than 1,400 other television and radio stations. Besides use by media organization, TVEyes' clients also include the White House, 100 members of Congress, the Department of Defense, the American Red Cross, AARP, Goldman Sachs, the Association of Trial Lawyers and many others.
These customers create customized search terms and are able to get access to transcripts and video clips. Fox News has warned that such a service — because it also allows those who pay a flat fee of $500 a month to watch live streams — will erode its ratings and"decimate" its business.
There was even more at stake.
As anyone who watches MSNBC knows, Fox News clips are often shown widely in the media. In this lawsuit, Fox News expressed concern that TVEyes competes with its own authorized clip service, which has deals with Yahoo, Hulu and YouTube. What's revealed in today's ruling is that Fox News licensees must agree they will not show clips in a way that is derogatory or critical of Fox News.
With that backdrop, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein had to examine TVEyes and figure out whether it was a copyright-infringing machine (somewhat but not exactly analogous to what the Supreme Court had to say about Aereo) or whether it served some form of purpose that put it outside the realm of a copyright holder's exclusive rights. Hellerstein takes the latter view, determining that it's closer to Google's efforts to digitize books than Meltwater's efforts to scrape online news stories.
The judge uses police departments as an example of how TVEyes is used.
"Police departments use TVEyes to track television coverage of public safety messages across different stations and locations, and to adjust outreach efforts accordingly," he writes. "Without a service like TVEyes, the only way for the police department to know how every station is constantly reporting the situation would be to have an individual watch every station that broadcast news for twenty-four hours a day taking notes on each station's simultaneous coverage. … Without TVEyes, the police department could not monitor the coverage of the event in order to ensure that the news coverage is factually correct and that the public is correctly informed."
And so, when it comes time for the judge to analyze the first factor of fair use — the purpose and character of the use — the judge credits TVEyes with adding something new rather than merely repackaging the original copyrighted works.
"Unlike the indexing and excerpting of news articles, where the printed word conveys the same meaning no matter the forum or medium in which it is viewed, the service provided by TVEyes is transformative," says the summary judgment ruling. "By indexing and excerpting all content appearing in television, every hour of the day and every day of the week, month, and year, TVEyes provides a service that no content provider provides. Subscribers to TVEyes gain access, not only to the news that is presented, but to the presentations themselves, as colored, processed, and criticized by commentators, and as abridged, modified, and enlarged by news broadcasts."
The judge credits TVEyes as being the only service to do this. Not even the Internet as a whole qualifies as a substitute because Fox News doesn't provide all of its content online.
"That, in and of itself, makes TVEyes' purpose transformative and different in kind from Meltwater's, which simply amalgamated extant content that a dedicated researcher could piece together with enough time, effort, and Internet searches," writes the judge.
On one of the other factors in the fair use analysis — the effect of the use upon the potential market for the copyrighted work — Judge Hellerstein says that Fox News has failed to show that TVEyes is threatening its revenues from advertisers or cable and satellite providers. He adds there's "no basis" for concluding that people are using the media monitoring service as a substitute for watching Fox News and even ridicules the cable news network for alleging harm from lost clip licensing revenue. According to the ruling, Fox makes $212,145 from syndication partners and $246,875 from the licensing of clips — "a very small fraction of its overall revenue," the judge notes.
"I find that the small possible market harm to Fox News is substantially outweighed by the important public benefit provided by TVEyes," concludes the judge.
TVEyes wasn't completely victorious. The judge wants more evidence to be presented on the service's feature of letting subscribers download, archive, email and share clips via social media. He's also not ready to rule on the service's allowance of searches by date and time instead of keywords.
But overall, this is a landmark court ruling in favor of TVEyes, which has also prevailed on Tuesday in its arguments that Fox News' hot news misappropriation claim are preempted by federal copyright law. We'll continue to monitor this dispute to see if Fox News appeals today's ruling.
A status conference has been set for October 3 to discuss the remaining claims. In a statement in the wake of the ruling, a Fox News spokesperson is emphasizing that at least a portion of the lawsuit remains live:
"The Court only rules that a specific portion of TVEyes’ service--its keyword search function--was fair use.  The Court expressly said that it required more information to decide whether TVEyes’ other features--including allowing video clips to be archived, downloaded, emailed, and shared via social media--were fair use.  To find those features to be fair use would be unprecedented as TVEyes copies and distributes content, as opposed to helping its users find it.  Such a ruling would be inconsistent with the Second Circuit’s decision in HathiTrust and Judge Chin’s district court decision in Google Books, as well as the long line of media clipping service cases in the Second Circuit and other circuits that found similar features not to constitute fair use."
Original. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

79-18

The United States Senate has voted 79-18 to advance a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United.  Not one Dem voted against and 24 Republicans crossed the aisle to vote aye.  

Now, it goes to the House, where it will likely never see the light of day.  The House, where reason goes to die.  Unless, everyone calls their House rep and insists they vote aye.  Would that be enough? 

Found on Politics USA - Real Liberal Politics


Senate Votes 79-18 To Advance a Constitutional Amendment To Overturn Citizens United

 By a vote of 79-18, Senate voted to advance a constitutional amendment that would overturn Citizens United.

The amendment read,
Section 1. To advance democratic self-government and political equality, and to protect the integrity of government and the electoral process, Congress and the States may regulate and set reasonable limits on the raising and spending of money by candidates and others to influence elections.
Section 2. Congress and the States shall have power to implement and enforce this article by appropriate legislation, and may distinguish between natural persons and corporations or other artificial entities created by law, including by prohibiting such entities from spending money to influence elections.
Section 3. Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress or the States the power to abridge the freedom of the press.’

Yesterday, before the Senate vote, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) said, “The major issue of our time is whether the United States of America retains its democratic foundation or whether we devolve into an oligarchic form of society where a handful of billionaires are able to control our political process by spending hundreds of millions of dollars to elect candidates who represent their interests.”

The vote was an election year ruse. Senate Republicans have no intention of letting this bill pass. Republicans have no intention of ever letting a constitutional amendment be ratified. What this vote today proves is the power of the issue.

Senate Republicans don’t want to be publicly linked to the Koch brothers before an election. The Kochs are toxic, and Republicans are trying to trick voters into ignoring the right-wing billionaire dollars that are trying to buy the government.

Original.

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