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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 75,439

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With the World's Attention on Ukraine, Suffering Is Rising Elsewhere

With the World's Attention on Ukraine, Suffering Is Rising Elsewhere
Ukraine isn't the only place where children are dying because of the Russian invasion. With all attention on the war there, aid money is drying up in other regions – including in Somalia, which is experiencing a devastating drought.

By Heiner Hoffmann in Somalia
31.03.2022, 18.00 Uhr

(Der Spiegel) A teenage girl is squatting on the dusty ground, her long robe covering her entire body, right down to her feet. Beneath the dress, blood is dripping into the sand. Everyone knows it, but she wants to keep it hidden from view. The young woman is having her period, but here in the camp, neither pads nor tampons are available – indeed there isn’t even anything to eat. So she squats on the ground, for several days running, and hopes that it will soon come to an end.

She's surrounded by plastic tarps rippling in the wind, stretched as they are across branches bound together to create dome-shaped shelters. It is a camp for displaced people, set up by the Somalian government in the southern part of the country. A water truck comes by every now and then, but residents of the camp have to take care of everything else themselves. They all used to be cowherds, but the persistent drought has killed off their livestock, and their livelihoods. More than 4 million of the country’s population of 16 million have been affected.

Among the makeshift tents, small mounds of earth can periodically be seen. They are graves, and they used to be at the edge of the camp. But every day, dozens more people show up and build shelters for themselves. A tent city that has expanded beyond the dead.


"The war in Ukraine has distracted attention from the catastrophic drought in Somalia," wrote the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) earlier this month. That became abundantly clear on a recent Wednesday evening on the other side of the Gulf of Aden in Yemen. The country is still suffering from a brutal civil war, with the UN describing the situation in the country as "still one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world."

A major donor conference was scheduled to bring in money to make a dent in the suffering. Conference organizers warned ahead of the gathering that suffering in other parts of the world cannot be ignored despite the war in Ukraine. But in the end, only a third of the 3.9-billion-euro target was collected. The UN expressed "disappointment" over the result. .........(more)


Detroit Institute of Arts expands Van Gogh exhibit to include more than 70 works

(Detroit Metro Times) We were already hyped for the Detroit Institute of Arts’ Van Gogh in America exhibit set to debut in October. Adding to the anticipation, the museum announced the exhibit has now been expanded to include more than 70 authentic Vincent Van Gogh works.

The announcement comes on what would’ve been Can Gogh’s 169th birthday, Wednesday, March 30, 2022.

Unlike other organizations seeking to turn a profit on the work of Van Gogh (who famously never sold any paintings in his life and reportedly died penniless) by turning his art into a selfie backdrop, the DIA's exhibit is the real deal. It was the first public museum in the country to acquire a painting by the renowned Dutch artist, his "Self Portrait" (1887), in 1922. The new exhibit marks the 100-year anniversary of the museum’s acquisition.

According to a press release, Van Gogh in America is the first ever to focus on the introduction and early reception of the artist in America. It will premiere on Oct. 2 and will run until Jan. 22, 2023. ...............(more)


Daniel Harris is 1st Whitmer kidnap suspect to testify: What he said

(Detroit Free Press) After five of his witnesses refused to testify, defendant Daniel Harris took the stand in his own defense Wednesday, telling jurors repeatedly that he "absolutely" did not plot to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in the summer of 2020 when he was a member of the Wolverine Watchmen militia.

Harris also testified about some of the most explosive testimony during trial: that he and a co-defendant built explosives as part of their alleged kidnapping plot.

Harris admitted that he helped build an explosive device and set it off, but played it off as a benign effort, one that involved blowing up a balloon in an oven.

"I was putting BB’s and a little bit of gunpowder into this balloon, and we were going to blow up a stove," Harris testified. "We put it in a stove. We lit the fuse and we ran." ............(more)


The US supreme court's assault on voting rights hits a new low

(Guardian UK) Even for experts who closely follow the US supreme court, there was something stunning about an emergency decision from the justices on Wednesday.

In an unexpected move, the court decided to throw out new districts for the state legislature in Wisconsin that had been picked by the state supreme court. But what was even more surprising was that the court’s conservative majority seemed to go out of its way to attack the Voting Rights Act, one of the most important civil rights laws designed to prevent discrimination in US elections. “Extra headspinning,” was how Michael Li, a redistricting expert at the Brennan Center for Justice, described it. “Bizarre,” observed Richard Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine. David Wasserman, a redistricting expert at the non-partisan Cook Political Report, tweeted that the supreme court had entered “uncharted territory”.

The court’s decision in the Wisconsin case was the latest in a series of rulings that have left little pretense of how aggressively it is trying to weaken section 2 of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), the most powerful provision of the law, which outlaws racially discriminatory voting practices. The court is not hiding its skepticism of the use of race in redistricting, even when it’s used to protect minority voters, and is making it harder for litigants to justify considering race when district lines are redrawn.

“The supermajority of the conservative justices on the supreme court has become pretty emboldened. They’ve got a narrow vision of the scope of the Voting Rights Act. And they are not being shy about enforcing that as quickly as they can,” Hasen said in an interview. “The court is increasingly aggressive, and as a body is increasingly willingly to go out on a limb to fully implement the justices’ legal and political preferences without it being tempered by concern about perceptions and legitimacy.” .............(more)


DOJ Jan. 6 probe expands to Trump "VIPs" and potential involvement of members of Congress: report

The Justice Department has expanded its criminal investigation into the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot amid Democratic criticism that Attorney General Merrick Garland hasn't been aggressive enough in prosecuting those involved.

A federal grand jury in D.C. has issued subpoenas to Trumpworld officials who assisted with "planning, funding, and executing" former President Donald Trump's rally at the Ellipse before the riot, according to the Washington Post. One of the subpoenas sought information about people "classified as VIP attendees" at the rally, according to The New York Times. At least one person involved in the logistics of the Ellipse rally has also been asked to appear before the grand jury.

The subpoena also sought information about Trump supporters' fake elector scheme, where Trump allies put forward so-called alternate slates of electors that would have cast Electoral College votes for Trump in states won by President Joe Biden, according to the Times. ....................(more)


What is aphasia and who gets it? Inside the condition that led Bruce Willis to retire from acting

What is aphasia and who gets it? Inside the condition that led Bruce Willis to retire from acting
Bruce Willis is "stepping away" from his acting career after being diagnosed with aphasia. Here's what that means


(Salon) Bruce Willis, the 67-year-old star of numerous classic blockbusters from "Die Hard" and "Armageddon" to "The Sixth Sense," announced on Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with aphasia and will be retiring from acting for now.

According to a post on the Instagram account of Rumer Willis, the actor's daughter, her father is "experiencing some health issues and has recently been diagnosed with aphasia, which is impacting his cognitive abilities."

Willis added: "As a result of this and with much consideration Bruce is stepping away from the career that has meant so much to him. This is a really challenging time for our family and we are so appreciative of your continued love, compassion and support."

It is not difficult to see why someone with aphasia would struggle as an actor. The term "aphasia" refers to conditions which damage portions of the brain related to language. Patients with aphasia will struggle with basic skills including speaking, writing and reading. Since most people perform these tasks using the left side of their brain, aphasia victims usually suffer either a stroke or head injury that impacts that region. However, aphasia can also be caused by progressive neurological diseases and tumors. ...............(more)


Trump-loving Nevada Republican preparing "voter fraud" challenges -- 220 days before election

Nevada Republican Adam Laxalt, a candidate for U.S. Senate in this year's midterms, is already "vetting" outside groups to challenge supposed "voter fraud" in his election — roughly 220 days before it happens.

Laxalt, who was branded by local media as the "Nevada version of Rudy Giuliani" after leading Donald Trump's failed post-election legal challenges in the state, first began discussing "lawsuits we can file to try to tighten up the election" in September of 2021, claiming that the 2020 race had been "stolen" from Trump. Now Laxalt says he is fielding offers from outside groups to create "election observer" teams and lay out a legal strategy, even before he has even won the Republican primary.

"I don't talk about that, but we're vetting which group we think is going to do better," Laxalt told a voter at his campaign headquarters in an audio recording obtained by The New York Times.

Laxalt has falsely claimed that the only reason that Trump's legal challenges failed in the state was because they were filed too late. "The [Trump] campaign was late and the [Republican] party was late," he said. "So, it's just different now. There's a lot of groups that are saying there's election fraud." .............(more)


A new petition to decriminalize natural psychedelics in Michigan is approved to collect signatures

(Detroit Metro Times) Michigan could be one step closer to decriminalizing the natural plants and mushrooms, aka psychedelics.

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers has approved the Michigan Initiative for Community Healing for collecting signatures in order to get the psychedelic initiative on the November ballot.

The ballot measure would decriminalize the possession of mushrooms and natural plants, reduce penalties that include lifetime sentences and probations, and would also allow hospitals and religious organizations to create psychedelic assisted ceremonial and mental health services.

“As a practitioner of psychedelic assisted therapy, it’s a rare ray of hope for people who have been suffering,” said Julie Barron, co-director of Decrim Nature Michigan and board member of Decriminalize Nature in a press release. “We now call all Michiganders to help us get this incredible language on the November ballot.” .............(more)


FBI agent: Whitmer kidnap plot ringleader ordered bombs from me, but asked for IOU

(Detroit Free Press) An undercover FBI agent who went by "Red" testified in the Gov. Gretchen Whitmer kidnap trial Monday, telling jurors that his role was to make sure that the suspects wouldn't go out on their own and get explosives.

Red is the undercover agent who tricked the defendants by pretending he had access to bomb-making materials, telling the jury accused ringleader Adam Fox placed a $4,000 order with him for explosives and asked to give him an IOU because he didn't have all the money yet.

According to Red, the explosives would be used to blow up a bridge near Whitmer's vacation house to slow down law enforcement following the kidnapping. Red said he was with the group when they discussed this plan, and when Fox stopped along the side of a highway one night to inspect a bridge to see if there were suitable spots for placing explosives.

"We were to look at the bridge to survey it to see what type of explosives would be appropriate," Red testified. "He said he wanted to take the bridge out to slow police response to the kidnapping." ..................(more)


Michigan GOP House candidate vows to introduce 'Don't Say Gay' legislation if elected

A Republican candidate for the Michigan House of Representatives announced that, if elected, he would introduce legislation modeled on a Florida measure known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Jon Rocha, a candidate endorsed by former President Donald Trump in the 78th District, said his proposal would ban “discussion, or dissemination of materials, that involves sexual orientation, gender identity, or any sexually explicit content, in Kindergarten through 4th grade.”

“Elementary kids should be learning about math, science, history and how to read and write — radical, sexual indoctrination from adults pushing personal agendas has no place whatsoever in the education of Michigan’s youngest students,” Rocha said in a statement.

The newly-drawn 78th District includes parts of Eaton, Barry, Ionia and Kent counties. Small business owner and citizen lobbyist Gina Johnsen recently announced she also is running as a Republican on a platform of transparency. ..............(more)


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