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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Wednesday Toon Roundup 3- The Rest





Wednesday Toon Roundup 2- State of Misery

Wednesday Toon Roundup 1- You have the right to be oppressed

The 10 Kinds of Trolls You Will Encounter When Talking About Mike Brown

by Olivia Cole

If you're paying attention to the events unfolding in Ferguson -- and by God, you better be -- then you probably already know there is a group of people in this country of ours who are determined to change the focus of the conversation about the killing of Mike Brown and the subsequent protests, attempting to shift the lens away from the Constitutional rights of U.S. citizens and the killing of a black teenager. If you're reading this, you probably already know the folks I'm talking about. But here they are. #Staywoke.

The Full-Blown Racist Troll
Block on sight. Some of them are friends of your Facebook friends -- block them. Some of them are your Facebook friends. Many of them are accounts like the one I have screenshotted below: anonymous and relying on blatantly racist language, such as blackface imagery, monkey references, use of the N-word, etc. These have exploded over the last week. We're talking hundreds. I've been using Twitter avidly for years and I can't recall ever seeing quite this much racist bile taking over an event-related hashtag (#Ferguson) as I have this week. Block them and report them for spam immediately.

The "Wait for Evidence" Troll
This troll may or may not be anonymous and pretends to be focused on respecting and upholding the law. "We don't know what happened yet," they say, "wait for evidence before you lambast an officer of the law." They pretend that things like racism, police brutality, police corruption, etc. don't exist and insist that if concrete evidence is released, they will be swayed to feel "sympathy" for Mike Brown. But they won't. When evidence arises, they find objection to its relevance or veracity. They then transform into The "Mike Brown Shouldn't Have " Troll, to follow.

The "Mike Brown Shouldn't Have " Troll
This troll (and the others as well) will go great lengths to justify the taking of black life. "He shouldn't have run," "he shouldn't have been sagging," "he shouldn't have been walking down the middle of the street," "he shouldn't have stolen something." These trolls come in all races and will insist that when a police officer (or a homeowner, or a security guard) assaults a person of color, that person must have done something to deserve it. The fact that Mike Brown was shot at least 6 times doesn't register as overkill, even when two of those shots were in the head. They will also extend effort to paint Ferguson as a ghetto, where this kind of thing happens all the time. Nope. Ferguson, Missouri had zero murders.



Five Children Murdered After They Were Deported Back To Honduras

Source: ThinkProgress

Between five and ten migrant children have been killed since February after the United States deported them back to Honduras, a morgue director told the Los Angeles Times. Lawmakers have yet to come up with best practices to deal with the waves of unaccompanied children apprehended by Border Patrol agents, but some politicians refute claims that children are fleeing violence and are opting instead to fund legislation that would fast-track their deportations.

San Pedro Sula morgue director Hector Hernandez told the Los Angeles Times that his morgue has taken in 42 dead children since February. According to an interview with relatives by the LA Times, one teenager was shot dead hours after getting deported. Last year, San Pedro Sula saw 187 killings for every 100,000 residents, a statistic that has given the city the gruesome distinction as the murder capital of the world. That distinction has also been backed up by an U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency infographic, which found that many Honduran children are on the run from extremely violent regions “where they probably perceive the risk of traveling alone to the U.S. preferable to remaining at home.” Hugo Ramon Maldonado of the Committee for the Protection of Human Rights in Honduras believes that about 80 percent of Hondurans making the exodus are fleeing crime or violence.

Since October 2013, Border Patrol agents have apprehended about 63,000 unaccompanied children and another 63,000 “family units” (adults and children) at the southern U.S. border. While a steady stream of deported immigrants are flown back to Honduras about three times per week, the United States sent its first planeload of about 40 Honduran mothers and children from this particular wave in mid-July. Those individuals were dropped off in Honduras’ capital San Pedro Sula.

Politicians like Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) have been keen on expediting the legal process by demanding that immigration judges make a court decision within seven days. But that move could undermine children’s rights by denying due process to children who already don’t understand the courtroom procedures. As Vox found out, one teenage girl told a border agent that she was afraid of being forced into prostitution only after her paperwork had been filed.

Read more: http://thinkprogress.org/immigration/2014/08/19/3472301/five-children-killed-after-deportation-honduras/

Three massive volcanic eruptions light up Jupiter’s moon Io

Images from August 15 at three different wavelengths, and one image from August 29 showing the third eruption.
Imke de Pater and Katherine de Kleer, UC Berkeley

Jupiter’s moon Io is the most volcanically active body in our solar system, so it’s not a shock that astronomers captured several eruptions while their telescopes were trained on the satellite. However, the three eruptions were uncommonly massive (among the 10 largest seen there) and occurred within the span of a couple of weeks—eruptions of this class are only thought to occur every other year, on average. Researchers may be able to glean enough from these images to help us get to the bottom of a couple of Ionian mysteries.

Io’s prodigious volcanic output is the result of tidal heating—gravitational squeezing as a result of its slightly oblong orbit around Jupiter, along with some tugs by fellow Jovian moons. Though Io is roughly the same size as Earth’s own Moon, the flow of heat from its core toward its surface is roughly 30 times greater than that of Earth. As a result, there’s usually at least one active volcano whenever astronomers observe Io. In fact, a huge lava lake some 200 kilometers across, called Loki Patera, is usually visible to infrared telescopes. On thirteen occasions between 1978 and 2006, unusually large eruptions called outbursts were observed. Three more have now been added to that number.

Jupiter’s magnetic field holds a curious torus (or ring donut if you’re hungry) of plasma believed to originate from Io’s volcanism. A new Japanese space telescope, launched in September, had been scheduled to spend some time studying that plasma torus, and so several ground-based telescopes had begun monitoring Io’s volcanic activity in August. On August 15, a telescope at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii recorded two bright infrared spots in the far south of Io, which hasn’t been known for this kind of activity.

The first was at a place called Rarog Patera. Researchers calculated that the bright spot represented an area of about 120 square kilometers with a surface temperature around 770 degrees Celsius. The second spot, at Heno Patera, was probably more than twice the size but at a temperature closer to 450 degrees Celsius.


That time Blacks Did Carry Guns to Support Their Rights...

By Charles P. Pierce

Let's close today by recalling the Mulford Act, and why there was a Mulford Act, and why Ronald Reagan signed the Mulford Act, and why the Mulford Act is very, very relevant to the current events that the president is talking about at this minute on the electric teevee machine.

Once upon a time in California, the police were knocking off black folks with an alarming regularity. In 1967, a black man named Denzil Dowell was blown away by a shotgun wielded by the police in North Richmond, an impoverished, largely black suburban community outside Oakland. According to the official police account, Dowell had been caught while breaking into a liquor store. He had then refused a command to stop and, therefore, was riddled by police who considered themselves threatened by him. Members of the community believed, with some justification, that Dowell had been killed while raising his hands to surrender. At the same time, the Black Panther Party in Oakland had been operating what it called Black Panther Police Patrols. The members of the patrol would listen to police scanners and then hustle to the scene of an arrest, where they would remind the suspect of his legal rights. They also showed up armed, because California then was an open-carry state because, of course, freedom.

This scared the bejesus out of white people, and the cops weren't too enthusiastic about it, either. So along came a Republican state assemblyman named Don Mulford, and he proposed a bill that would ban the carrying of loaded weapons in public throughout California. The Panthers enlivened the debate by showing up at the state capitol in Sacramento while exercising their god-given right to bear arms, which again scared the bejesus out of people. (I think it was the shades and the berets myself.) Speaking in language that today would make Wayne LaPierre cry like a child -- the NRA of the time was curiously supportive of the Act in question -- Don Mulford said he was proposing his law to keep us safe from "nuts with guns," especially the ones who lived in "urban environments." (No, you don't need the Enigma machine to decode that one.) The law passed. Governor Reagan signed it, and that's how history was made.

The floor is now open for thought experiments based on recent events.


To be Wrong or to be Chicken

By Charles P. Pierce

Aye, there's the rub.

Two potential Republican presidents tried to finesse the various existential issues arising from the events in Ferguson, Missouri. Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny starver from the state of Wisconsin said this:

Ryan cautioned that people should allow the investigation into 18-year-old Michael Brown's death at the hands of a white police officer to run its course before drawing conclusions. The Justice Department is conducting its own inquiry in addition to a state investigation, but the Wisconsin Republican cautioned against allowing the federal government to take on a large oversight role in Ferguson. "There is no problem with the federal government having a role," he said. "But in all of these things, local control, local government, local authorities who have the jurisdiction, who have the expertise, who are actually there are the people who should be in the lead."

Jesus H. Christ on tour with Judas Priest, is there any situation in recent memory that cries out so loudly to be kept a quadrillion hectares away from "local control" than this one? (What would Ryan have done in 1964? Left the investigation into the deaths of three civil rights workers in Mississippi to the "expertise" of the Neshoba County sheriff's department?) Would he really prefer, at this point, to have Eric Holder concede the direction of the investigation to the "expertise" of Chief Thomas Jackson, who leaked the convenience store video despite the fact that the Department Of Justice did everything but hit him over the head with a hammer to stop him? Is that what President Ryan would do? Sorry, ZEGS, thank you for playing.

But Ryan is a rock compared to our old pal, Big Chicken from New Jersey.

"Listen I think it's very dangerous to make generalizations about anybody like that, Matt. We have millions of dedicated men and women who are police officers across this country, who work in grave danger every day, who try to make sure they protect innocent people across the country. So I'm not going to get into this game of generalizing and characterizing people in that way. Everybody should be judged on their merits. Whatever happened in Ferguson, we have a justice system in this country that will be able to make that judgement and if there are people who need to be held accountable I'm confident they will be. But I'm not going to get into this business of generalizing against law enforcement officers. It's not right."

I find Big Chicken's answer very revealing, and not just because he has something of a personal interest in sucking up to law enforcement these days. If events in Ferguson continue to deteriorate, and if other Fergusons pop up elsewhere in the country in the places where the same social and political tinder has been piling up for decades, waiting for a spark, there's going to be space out there for a law-and-order authoritarian bully of a candidate to embody the collective fears and hatreds of nervous white people. If nothing else, that is right in Christie's wheelhouse. In fact, it may be the easiest way he has to deal himself fully back in.



George Takei on the torments of life in the closet

Who’d have thought Mr. Sulu would be the member of the “Star Trek” cast who’d be with us the longest?

Start looking for actor George Takei in the culture and you’ll see him everywhere — a pop culture staple by virtue of his inexhaustibility. He’s on Twitter, where he’s amassed over a million followers; on TV and radio talk shows, where he’s game for practically anything; online, where a video he made mocking the homophobia of basketball star Tim Hardaway went viral; and now on movie screens. A documentary, “To Be Takei,” opens in select cities and on VOD and iTunes Aug. 22.

The film is a low-key depiction of Takei’s domestic life with husband Brad Altman, as well as his fairly packed schedule — between “Star Trek” conventions and press interviews, Takei, who began his career on the stage, is at this point more than just an actor. He’s at once a symbol of pop culture’s love of nostalgia and its relentless desire for novelty. We spoke to Takei as he promoted the documentary.

You’re someone with strong opinions about political issues — everything from marriage equality to honoring Japanese-Americans interned during World War II. But you also can go on “Watch What Happens Live” or “Howard Stern” and be, frankly, goofy. Do you feel conflicted that to get attention for your causes, you have to be so outlandish?

Some of the social issues are, to use your word, goofy. It’s silly. The best way to treat silliness is to laugh at that silliness. When Tim Hardaway, the basketball player, came out bald-faced and said, “I’m homophobic, I hate gay people,” that was so outrageous that the only thing you could do was make a mockery of him. Because, I mean, I as a gay man, I like athletes, sweaty athletes, particularly because he’s bald-headed and black. His head is chocolately, smooth, sweaty. And those calf muscles. And that’s the natural reaction of gay people to someone with that kind of physique … When you least expect it, I will have sex with you! And I burst out and guffaw. (When I made the video), that was shared by everybody! And Tim Hardaway’s become an ally.



Starting this year, minorities will outnumber whites in US public schools

While 62% of the total US population was classified as non-Hispanic white in 2013, when public schools start this fall their racial landscape will reflect a different America.

According to a new report by the National Center for Education (NCES), minorities—Hispanics, Asians, African American, Native Americans, and multiracial individuals—will account for 50.3% of public school students. To break this down by grade levels, minorities will make up 51% of pre-kindergarteners to 8th graders and 48% of 9th to 12th graders.

This change in enrollment comes amidst a growth in the percentage of US-born Hispanics and Asians in the overall population. Between 2012 and 2013, the Hispanic population grew by 2.1% and the Asian population grew by 2.9%. And reflecting these numbers, public schools will see big hikes in Asian and Hispanic students between 2011 and 2022. Hispanic students will rise by 33%, Asian/Pacific Islanders by 20%, multiracial students by 44%, and African-Americans by 2% between 2011 and 2022. Meanwhile the percentage of Caucasians is projected to decrease by 6% and of American Indian/Alaska Natives to decrease by 5%


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