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Gender: Do not display
Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 06:34 PM
Number of posts: 3,903

About Me

Navy brat-->University fac brat. All over-->Wisconsin-->TN-->VA. RN (ret), married, grandmother of 11. Progressive since birth. My mouth may be foul but my heart is wide open.

Journal Archives

Saudi Arabia and China are accused of using sports to cover up human rights abuse

What do China, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have in common? The answer might not be as obvious as you think. But all three countries are accused of human rights violations, and all three are also playing host to some of the largest and most lucrative sporting events in the world.

China is hosting the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, Qatar is putting on next year's soccer World Cup and Saudi Arabia has invested heavily in staging high-profile, international sporting events.

But human rights organizations and others have been voicing concerns that behind this seemingly innocuous trend is a concerted effort by these and other nations to use sports as a way to cover up their poor human rights records.

"They are using and increasingly seeing sport as an opportunity to launder their image," Felix Jakens, Amnesty International UK's head of campaigns, told NPR.

The human rights group even uses a recent term to describe this practice: "sportswashing."


This New Fuel Could Clean Up Air Travel--if We Want It

When British Prime Minister Boris Johnson attended the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow last week, he was a man of contradictions. He condemned delegates by saying current targets for the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF)—a catchall term for green, renewable jet fuels used in airplanes—were “pathetic.” He called on world leaders to do more to move the aviation industry away from fossil fuels and aggressively adopt SAFs.

And yet he opted to fly to and from the meeting, even though he could have taken the train, a greener transportation option.

Inadvertently, Johnson’s actions were characteristic of the SAF market, which is full of its own contradictions. Although the technology and wherewithal to produce SAF exists today, a lack of government incentives has led producers to hold back on production because of lean profit margins, hindering what could be an easy solution for airlines to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

The world certainly wants SAFs to grow. On Wednesday, more than 23 countries attending the UN’s COP26 climate conference signed a declaration calling for the aviation sector to be carbon-neutral by 2050—including through the use of renewable fuels. U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced the U.S. would pledge $200 million “to advance aviation technologies that will reduce fuel use, emissions and noise… Our view is that just like vehicles on the ground, the future of aviation is a sustainable one.”


Inside the Sports Site That Terrorizes Women

The other week, Dave Portnoy, the founder and chief of content of the sports blog Barstool Sports, did what he and fans of his site always do: ratcheted up an online spat to a fever pitch, transforming their collective rage at a perceived enemy into content. Even if it meant leaning into the type of social-media harassment and misogyny that Barstool is infamous for.

This particular roiling conflict dates back to October 2017, when ESPN announced it would be bringing in two Barstool personalities, Eric “PFT Commenter” Sollenberger and Dan “Big Cat” Katz, as hosts of a televised version of their wildly popular Barstool podcast, Pardon My Take. Sam Ponder, the host of ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, was less than thrilled.

She tweeted out screenshots of a 2014 Barstool blog post in which Portnoy called her a “BIBLE THUMPING FREAK” whose primary job requirement was to “make men hard.” In a podcast that same week, Portnoy went on a rant while Katz egged him on, calling Ponder a “fucking slut” who should “sex it up and be slutty” instead of talking about being a working mother. ESPN canceled the TV show, Barstool Van Talk, after one episode, thanks in part to an internal pushback by more than a few ESPN employees, according to Sports Illustrated.

On Sept. 11, Ponder added a new allegation: Portnoy had said in a video that her daughter should have been aborted. Further, she claimed to have never wanted the network to pull the plug and was willing to make an appearance on their now-canceled show. Portnoy vehemently denies ever having made the abortion comment—though he and Katz admit they made disparaging remarks about Ponder’s daughter—and both Katz and Sollenberger insist Ponder had no interest in speaking with them and very much wanted their show gone.


How a Crazy Plan to Rebuild Waco Compound Gave Us Alex Jones

Alex Jones is standing next to a heap of concrete slabs. There’s one piece jutting out, to eye-level with his squat frame. Jones puts a hand on it. This is “monument to the wreckage of the police state,” he tells the camera.

“Welcome to the New World Order.”

It’s the year 2000. Seven years earlier, on the exact spot where Jones is ranting to camera, federal agents moved in on the Mount Carmel Center. Inside were 100 members of the Branch Davidian cult. The results were a disaster.

The Branch Davidians, led by their prophet David Koresh, swore they would not be taken alive, and they lived up to the promise: 82 members of the sect died during the standoff and ensuing raid.

Jones, who was until recently a marginal and out-of-work radio host in Austin, was visiting the former site of the compound, just outside of Waco, Texas to shoot a documentary for his fledgling online media network.

From behind black sunglasses, he nods to the industrial carnage: “They always destroy the evidence and don’t let locals in to document anything. What do they have to hide?”

Very long, but fascinating, article on the conspiracies that led up to Alex Jones. Very well done, IMNSHO.

More Trouble In QAnon: Now Lin Wood Says 'Stop The Steal' Is A 'Deep State' Plot

In yet another sign of an apparently fracturing QAnon movement, extremist attorney and QAnon conspiracy acolyte Lin Wood is now claiming that the “stop the steal” campaign alleging voter fraud in the presidential election is a concoction of the “deep state.”

“After doing the research and connecting the dots, I have reached the conclusion that the Stop the Steal organization is a Deep State organization to raise money for purposes other than to FIX 2020. … WATCH OUT for anyone affiliated with Stop the Steal. Every lie will be revealed,” Wood wrote on the right-wing social media platform Telegram on Friday, Rolling Stone reported.

Wood has been one of the biggest proponents of the baseless claim that the presidential election was rigged against Donald Trump.

The bizarre development comes after Kyle Rittenhouse, who was acquitted last week of killing two people at a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin last year, has publicly criticized Wood, who was Rittenhouse’s first attorney.

The wackadoodles have completely lost the thread......

She wanted to help her community. Then they took aim at her child

Kelsey and Chris Waits moved to Hastings, Minnesota, to build a dream home for themselves and their two children.

Chris had a promising job opportunity when he left the Navy but it was the neighborhood that drew them in.
"Kelsey said, 'Well, I hope the interview went well because we're moving here. This town is great, this town is perfect, this is what I want,'" Chris recalled his wife telling him.
The city of about 22,000 people is close enough to Minneapolis to be a distant suburb but just far enough away to be surrounded by green Midwest farmland. The historic downtown is in great shape, with a spiffy park along the Mississippi.  All around are nice houses, nice cars, nice shopping.
But when the pandemic put pressure on the community, cracks began to appear. Stressed by school closures and debate over wearing masks, some neighbors started taking aim at the school board.

Kelsey Waits was the face and voice of that school board as its chair. The ugliness that followed in Kelsey's unsuccessful race to be re-elected to the board now has the Waits packing up their dream home to move -- and their love for Hastings likely tainted forever.


How Dangerous Is Peter Thiel?

New York Times columnist David Brooks recently got scared. Last month, he attended the National Conservatism Conference, held in an Orlando hotel, and reported in the Atlantic that this confab demonstrated that the right—of which he used to be a high official in good standing—has become a cauldron of End-Times paranoia posing as populism. The animating theme of this shindig did not arise from policy prescriptions or principles for contending with the nation’s economic or social welfare challenges or for pursuing a foreign policy in this confusing century. It was the notion that conservatives face eradication at the hands of diabolical leftists. As Brooks writes, “The idea that the left controls absolutely everything—from your smartphone to the money supply to your third grader’s curriculum—explains the apocalyptic tone that was the dominating emotional register of this conference.”

Tech billionaire Peter Thiel's speech in October on free thought and dogmatism was incoherent and alarmingly super-nationalistic. Visual China Group/Getty

Editor’s note: This essay from David Corn first appeared in his new newsletter, This Land. Given the importance of covering big money in politics and the move toward authoritarianism on the right, we want to make sure as many readers as possible have a chance to see it. This Land is a newsletter written by David twice a week that provides behind-the-scenes stories about politics and media; his unvarnished take on the events of the day; film, books, television, and music recommendations; interactive audience features; and more. Subscribing costs just $5 a month—but you can sign up for a free 30-day trial of This Land here.

New York Times columnist David Brooks recently got scared. Last month, he attended the National Conservatism Conference, held in an Orlando hotel, and reported in the Atlantic that this confab demonstrated that the right—of which he used to be a high official in good standing—has become a cauldron of End-Times paranoia posing as populism. The animating theme of this shindig did not arise from policy prescriptions or principles for contending with the nation’s economic or social welfare challenges or for pursuing a foreign policy in this confusing century. It was the notion that conservatives face eradication at the hands of diabolical leftists. As Brooks writes, “The idea that the left controls absolutely everything—from your smartphone to the money supply to your third grader’s curriculum—explains the apocalyptic tone that was the dominating emotional register of this conference.”

And the politicians there helped turn the event into a demagogic orgy. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) barked, “The left’s ambition is to create a world beyond belonging. Their grand ambition is to deconstruct the United States of America.” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) hissed, “The left’s attack is on America. The left hates America. It is the left that is trying to use culture as a tool to destroy America.” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) growled, “We are confronted now by a systematic effort to dismantle our society, our traditions, our economy, and our way of life.” This is what the right used to say about the Reds under our beds.

Brooks was particularly alarmed by a speech delivered by Rachel Bovard, the senior policy director of the Conservative Partnership Institute. He described her as a lovely person—cheery, amusing, and a lover of wine. Nevertheless, he noted, she was now a wigged-out extremist living in a bizarro reality. “Woke elites” want “to destroy us,” she told attendees. “Not only will they use every power at their disposal to achieve their goal,” but they have been at it for years, “dominating every cultural, intellectual, and political institution.” She warned of a “totalitarian cult of billionaires and bureaucrats.” And for this, she received a standing ovation.

Brooks was right to be apprehensive about this grievance-on-steroids festival and the conservatives’ embrace of an Orbán-like culture war in which they will deploy the power of the state to beat back the evil, Godless lefties. But his article left out a part of the conference that gave me the chills: Peter Thiel’s keynote address (which I watched courtesy of YouTube).


Barren forests, dirty rivers, unbreathable air: Inside an Arctic city's vast pollution problem

It was 2 a.m. and the sun was shining, as it does day and night in mid-July in Norilsk, a Siberian city 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

Igor Klyushin went to the bank of the river where he used to fish with his father for grayling, a dorsal-finned beauty known for its graceful leaps above the surface. “A very merry fish,” Klyushin recalled. “It enjoys cold and clean, clean water.”

He doubted grayling would be there that night. In any event, authorities had long warned that it was unsafe to fish for them in the Daldykan River.

And besides, he wasn’t there to fish. He began to record images of the clay-colored muck flowing downriver from one of the largest metal mining and smelting complexes in the world. The discolored water represented “the latest environmental crime of Norilsk Nickel,” Klyushin said in the video he posted on “Norilchane” — or “Citizens of Norilsk” — the YouTube channel he helps moderate.The channel and its Facebook group, with about 8,300 members, have become gathering places for distressed residents of Norilsk, the northernmost city in the world. The city of 176,000 has long been recognized by environmentalists — and even by the Russian government — as one of the most polluted places on Earth, because of one business: Norilsk Nickel, the world’s biggest producer of palladium and high-grade nickel and a top producer of platinum, cobalt and copper.

Built as a resource colony by prisoners in the Soviet Gulag, Norilsk outlasted communism, embraced capitalism, and it now aims to ramp up production to sell the metals needed for electric vehicle batteries and the clean energy economy. Norilsk Nickel is the world’s leading producer of the high-purity Class 1 nickel that electric vehicle industry leaders like Tesla CEO Elon Musk are seeking. The company’s ambitions coincide with those of Russian President Vladimir Putin for greater development in the Far North, which he maintains can be accomplished sustainably.

I knew from my father, way back in the 70s, that Eastern Europe and Russia were terrible polluters. Seems it has only gotten worse. This article is nightmarish.

A nursing home where 83 residents died of Covid is still in business under a new name

In December 2019, Sharon Farrell flew from Florida to visit her brother Stephen at a New Jersey nursing home, where, she said, she found “disgusting” conditions. "I told the nurse, 'I am calling the state,'" she said. "I’m paying $9,000 a month, and I wouldn’t let my dog live like this."

Farrell said that four months later, as Covid-19 was spreading rapidly, she repeatedly called the facility to ask how her brother was doing. When she finally reached someone, she said, she was told he was fine. Within a few days, however, he was dead.

It has been 19 months since the discovery of 17 bodies in a tiny morgue at the Andover Subacute II nursing home in Sussex County, New Jersey, in April 2020. The federal government fined the owners $221,115 for not being in "substantial compliance," and the attorney general’s office began an investigation.

But the owners are still in business. They changed the names of Andover and its sister facility and installed new signs out front. As of Friday, there were 25 residents of Andover with Covid, according to state data.

And the owners are still being paid by Medicare and Medicaid, the taxpayer-funded programs that pay most costs for U.S. nursing home operators — even though one of the owners, Louis Schwartz, helped run a chain called Skyline Healthcare, which collapsed in 2019 amid accusations of neglect and financial mismanagement, which the chain denied.

This is disgusting and exactly what is wrong with nursing homes. These guys should be LOCKED UP for good!

In the 1950s, rather than integrate its public schools, Virginia closed them

Not long after Patricia Turner and a handful of Black students desegregated Norview junior high school in Norfolk, Virginia, she realized a big difference between her new white school and her former Black school. That February of 1959, she didn’t have to wear a coat in class to stay warm, because Norview was heated.

She hadn’t noticed the difference earlier because of the steady volley of racism directed at her, Turner said. A teacher put her papers in a separate box and returned them wearing rubber gloves. (He later wrote her an apology letter.) And her fellow students spat on her.

“I had my mother, my dad, my church, my pastor, my God,” Turner said, explaining how she survived the daily assaults on her body and spirit.

Turner and 16 other Black students who attended six white schools under court-ordered desegregation were called the Norfolk 17, the young foot soldiers in the campaign against Virginia’s “Massive Resistance”, a state policy to oppose school desegregation. Rather than desegregate public schools after the 1954 US supreme court decision in Brown v Board of Education, which declared segregated education unconstitutional, Virginia officials closed some of them.

Massive Resistance was in place from 1956 to 1959. But in some places, schools weren’t desegregated until a decade after the Brown decision, longer than in any other state in the US south, making Virginia notorious, at the time, among civil rights advocates. The period is so seminal to its history that public school students are required to learn about it beginning in the fourth grade.

I knew about this in Wisconsin at the time. RepubliQans don't want children to know about it.
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