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Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 07:34 PM
Number of posts: 6,730

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

Lynching is now a federal hate crime after a century of blocked efforts

After multiple failed attempts across twelve decades, there is now a federal law that designates lynching as a hate crime. In a Tuesday ceremony at the White House, President Biden signed the Emmett Till Antilynching Act into law.

"Racial hate isn't an old problem. It's a persistent problem," Biden said. "Hate never goes away, it only hides under the rocks. If it gets a little bit of oxygen, it comes roaring back out, screaming. What stops it? All of us."

Under the legislation, perpetrators can receive up to 30 years in prison when a conspiracy to commit a hate crime results in death or serious bodily injury.

Vice President Kamala Harris said that lynching is "not a relic of the past."

"Racial acts of terror still occur in our nation. And when they do, we must all have the courage to name them and hold the perpetrators to account," she said.

The measure is named for Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy who was abducted, tortured and killed in 1955 after the Black teenager was accused of whistling at and grabbing Carolyn Bryant, a white woman, while visiting relatives in Mississippi. Roy Bryant, Carolyn Bryant's husband, and J.W. Milam, Roy Bryant's half brother, were tried for Emmett's murder and were quickly acquitted by an all-white jury.

Emmett Till and I would be the same age today........

'Who else will do this?': Inside one convoy's frantic trek to rescue refugees in Ukraine

With a sharp exclamation, the driver of the blue Mercedes minibus slams on the brakes, slowing the 21-passenger vehicle hurtling though the late-afternoon sun toward a military checkpoint sprawled across the road.

Salam Aldeen, 39, swings open the front door, yelling hello to the soldiers guarding the barricades, ignoring the machine gun poking out from beneath camouflage netting. The soldiers' fatigues look new, but their AK-47s are battered, and many are wearing sneakers, not combat boots.

"Dobryi den’" he shouts, pointing at the 21 mothers and kids inside. "Ditey."

That word, "children" in Ukrainian, is stickered on the van's hood, and Aldeen's practiced interactions with the guards puts them at ease. A young soldier boards, rifle slung across his back, his eyes roaming over the wide-eyed children and nervous mothers crammed inside. He quickly checks the passports of the handful of men aboard, ensuring they're not Ukrainians fleeing the war amid a mandate that men of fighting age remain behind.

"Do svidaniya," the soldier says to the women and children escaping Russia's deadly invasion, stepping off.


Made me cry, thinking of how my nephew, and American citizen, his Ukrainian wife, and their toddler left Ukraine in the first days of the war. War is hell. For everyone.

Will Smith, Chris Rock, and when words are violent, too

After Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars for making a cruel joke about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, the public spent most of its energy moralizing around Smith's physical assault. But some say Rock's language can be considered an act of violence, too.

Violence is not limited to slaps and kicks, according to experts who study violent speech and psychological harm. Violence can be the words we use to mock, categorize, exclude and control.

"I would put that joke on the continuum of linguistic violence," said William Gay, a professor at UNC Charlotte who studies the philosophy of language. "We make too light of words. ... A lesson that we can take from what happened is the need to be more reflective about what we're saying and the harms that it can cause."

The cultural conversation around violent speech tends to focus on the most egregious acts, including hate speech and slurs. It's the uproar when Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says she was called a "f------ b----," by Rep. Ted Yoho on a staircase at the U.S. Capitol. It's the outrage when former President Donald Trump referred to Mexican immigrants as "rapists" and "animals." It's our indignation at the most horrific examples of online abuse, when Internet mobs are unleashed and reporters and academics and TikTok creators are inundated with rape and death threats.

But some linguists, psychologists and philosophers of language argue that in only condemning the most abusive speech acts, we excuse and dismiss the more subtle forms, including comedy. Rock may not have known how his joke would land, he may not have intended such harm and as a person of color belongs to a category that experiences rampant dehumanization through violent language, but linguists say his own speech act still deserves scrutiny.

Let's talk about LANGUAGE that hurts people.....as a child, a woman, an LBTQIA+ person, a person of color, a disabled person.......words DO hurt

Remember that house in Richmond that ATF raided a couple of weeks ago? More details

At a community meeting Tuesday night, Henrico police revealed that the owner of 7200 West Durwood Crescent has been charged with nine counts of manufacturing or possessing an explosive device, six counts of illegal fireworks, possession with intent to distribute, setting booby traps and maintaining a fortified drug house.

A Tuckahoe neighborhood had a community meeting Wednesday night to discuss the incident at the home which took place just a few weeks ago. Two people were arrested and neighborhood homes were evacuated after officials found explosive materials at the Durwood Crescent house.

The community meeting shed light on lingering questions that the neighborhood had following the incident. According to Henrico Police, nobody at the meeting was a part of the investigative team, as the investigation is ongoing.

The officer said the man arrested on March 16 was 52-year-old Henrico resident Michael Hardy. He is being held without bond after officials seized over 100 items –which police said were mostly drugs, firearms and bomb-making materials– from his home. A drug dog and robots were used during the search of the property.


Russian Navy Ship That Exploded In Ukrainian Port Seen Totally Destroyed In Satellite Image

A satellite image confirms that a Russian Navy amphibious warfare ship was left destroyed next to the pier where it was moored in the occupied Ukrainian port of Berdyansk on the Sea of Azov. Its demise came after it suffered multiple explosions and massive fire yesterday. Exactly what happened to the Project 1171 Alligator class landing ship Orsk remains murky, but from what we can see now it seems unlikely that Ukrainian forces targeted it with a Tochka-U short-range ballistic missile, as had been reported initially. You can read more about that and other aspects of what is known about the incident in The War Zone's earlier reporting here.

Commercial satellite imagery provider Maxar Technologies released the image of Berdyansk, which was taken today, and @detresfa_, an independent open-source intelligence analyst, has helped The War Zone take a more in-depth look at what it shows. With regards to Orsk itself, there are indications that it may not have fully settled and could still be taking on water a day after the incident, but the ship is a burned-out wreck now either way.

On the adjacent pier itself, a grouping of fuel tanks still appears to be on fire. There is at least some degree of additional damage to other nearby infrastructure, such as the tracks that allow cargo-handling cranes to move from one position to another. However, the four cranes in that section of the pier appear to be free from massive damage.

Lots of pretty pictures!

Army missed red flags about civilian leader who led child porn ring

David Frodsham was a top civilian commander at a U.S. air base in Afghanistan when Army commanders ordered him home after investigating multiple complaints of sexual harassment.

"I would not recommend placing him back into a position of authority but rather pursuing disciplinary actions at his home station," wrote one commanding officer when recommending that the Army order Frodsham to leave his post at Bagram Airfield and return to Fort Huachuca, a major Army installation in Arizona, according to a U.S. Army investigative file obtained by The Associated Press.

But when Frodsham returned to his home station in the fall of 2015, he rejoined the Network Enterprise Technology Command, the Army's information technology service provider, where he had served as director of personnel for a global command of 15,000 soldiers and civilians, according to his Army resume.

By spring of the following year, he was arrested in Arizona for leading a child sex abuse ring that included an Army sergeant who was posting child pornography to the internet. The victims included one of Frodsham's adopted sons. Frodsham pleaded guilty to sex abuse charges in 2016 and is serving a 17-year sentence.

But records reviewed by the AP show that the U.S. Army and the state of Arizona missed or ignored several red flags over more than a decade, which allowed Frodsham to allegedly abuse his adopted son and other children for years, practices that made him vulnerable to blackmail.

It gets worse...

Stranger Dangers: The Right's History of Turning Child Abuse Into a Political Weapon


At some point between the ’80s and now, leaving children unattended in public became unthinkable. To let children as old as, say, 10 walk by themselves became grounds to investigate parents for neglect. As a child of the late ’90s and early 2000s, I knew latchkey kids existed, but nearly exclusively from the aging 1980s children’s paperbacks in my elementary school’s library. My friends whose parents worked too late to pick them up from school stayed in the building for a child care program or took a bus to the nearby Boys & Girls Club.

Statistics confirm the decline of the latchkey kid that I witnessed and that continues today. A primary reason for the change was the fear that children were constantly on the cusp of being kidnapped, abused, or taken advantage of, and thus could never be left alone.

Paul Renfro, an assistant professor of history at Florida State University, chronicled in his 2020 book Stranger Danger: Family Values, Childhood, and the American Carceral State, how such a notion became widespread in the ’80s and ’90s. Pictures of missing and abducted children were plastered on milk cartons, as media ramped up coverage of random, isolated incidents of children being abducted in ways that it hadn’t before—even as the number of children who were abducted did not substantially increase.

Critics of this moment often blame the media, who did play a part in elevating these concerns—but there’s more to the story. Their coverage played right into the hands of, and was exacerbated by, a reactionary right-wing movement that was eager to notch culture war wins by conflating the so-called “stranger danger” threat to children with pornography, underage drinking, drugs, teen pregnancy, and the like. Ancillary battles on similar moral fronts hastened a harsher “war on drugs,” and the corresponding mass incarceration policies that disproportionately hurt Black America.

Today, the leveraging of unfounded fears that children are in unprecedented danger toward political ends is animated by QAnon and Pizzagate conspiracy theories. While these are generally too absurd for elected politicians to directly endorse—the few that have, like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) have walked back—Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and most recently Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) have tried to tap into the same fear and energy QAnon has harnessed. They want to use it to push a reactionary political project—but without having to say “QAnon” out loud.


Scientists figure out how vampire bats got a taste for blood

Scientists have figured out why vampire bats are the only mammals that can survive on a diet of just blood.

They compared the genome of common vampire bats to 26 other bat species and identified 13 genes that are missing or no longer work in vampire bats. Over the years, those gene tweaks helped them adapt to a blood diet rich in iron and protein but with minimal fats or carbohydrates, the researchers reported Friday in the journal Science Advances.

The bats live in South and Central America and are basically “living Draculas,” said co-author Michael Hiller of Germany’s Max Planck Institute. About 3 inches (8 centimeters) long with a wingspan of 7 inches (18 centimeters), the bats bite and than lap up blood from livestock or other animals at night.

Most mammals couldn’t survive on a low-calorie liquid diet of blood. Only three vampire species of the 1,400 kinds of bats can do that — the others eat mostly insects, fruit, nectar, pollen or meat, such as small frogs and fish


Alopecia Shouldn't Be A Punchline, But It Should Get More Attention

The biggest moment from the Oscars on Sunday put Jada Pinkett Smith’s alopecia front and center, when Best Actor winner Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock after a joke about Pinkett Smith’s shaved head.

Pinkett Smith has spoken openly about her experience with alopecia, recalling the “terrifying” moment she first begin losing “handfuls of hair.” The condition is why she began shaving her head, and still does.

Alopecia is often incredibly misunderstood and underdiscussed, even though it affects millions of people. Here’s everything you need to know:

Alopecia refers generally to hair loss in parts of the body that usually have hair. As the American Academy of Dermatology Association explains, there are generally three types:

Alopecia totalis: When a person loses all hair on the scalp.

Alopecia universalis: When a person loses all hair on their body, which is very rare.

Alopecia areata: When a person develops patchy baldness somewhere on their body, including the scalp, beard area, eyebrows, eyelashes, armpits, inside the nose, or ears. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease (more on that below).

Rep. Ayanna Pressley has alopecia. So does Pittsburgh backup QB Joshua Dobbs. And Arkansas women's basketball player Rylee Langerman, who embraces her baldness to inspire young girls with the condition.

What fantasies of a coup in Russia ignore

Rajan Menon

Vladimir Putin’s full-blown invasion of Ukraine aimed at toppling the Kyiv government – based on the preposterous claim that it’s run by “neo-Nazis” – has produced Europe’s worst war in a generation, and it has taken a terrible toll on civilians. The Russian armed forces have hit hospitals, apartment buildings, a shopping center and a theater that was serving as a shelter. The immense suffering has been made worse by sieges, above all the one around Mariupol, large parts of which have also been reduced to rubble.

The war has also forced millions from their homes. The UN high commissioner for refugees reports that more than 3.7 million Ukrainians have fled their homeland and that another 6.7 million have been internally displaced. The two figures together – children account for nearly half the total – comprise 20% of Ukraine’s population.

The shock and outrage at these and other dreadful consequences of Putin’s invasion are understandable, indeed appropriate. Animus toward Putin and the desire to make him pay a steep price, without delay, are running deep in the west, so much so that some believe that war cannot end so long as he remains in power.

Some American foreign policy specialists welcomed the prospects of regime change in Russia, while others opined that it should be the objective of US policy – or said so only to backpedal once critics weighed in. Not one for subtlety, Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina declared that the war in Ukraine won’t end until someone in Russia decides to “take this guy out” and followed up by saying that the only solution was for Russians to “rise up” and, referring to the 2011 uprisings in the Arab world, create a “Russian spring”. Carl Bildt, a former prime minister and foreign minister of Sweden, averred that peace in Europe requires regime change in Russia.

A country with no tradition of democracy will have a hard time establishing one.--Michael B. Petrovich
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