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Current location: Virginia
Member since: Wed Jun 1, 2011, 06:34 PM
Number of posts: 7,382

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

How figure skating became all about the jumps

There are 15 sports and 109 events at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, but the crown jewel of these games is the beautiful, rigid, surprisingly complicated bloodsport known as figure skating.

It all seems simple enough. The parameters of the sport are finite: Skaters are limited to about seven combined minutes of skating between the short and long programs and only six allowed jumps. They’re bound by the laws of gravity. The cardinal rules remain “more rotations are better than fewer rotations” and “don’t fall.” Still, the way skating is scored can be hard to decipher.

Figure skating is all about the minute details. It’s a competition that comes down to microseconds, a half-degree of an angle, and decimal points. Every four years, skaters pour in a lifetime of effort — thousands of jumps and spins and falls; hours and hours of flexibility exercises; nagging injuries; an inordinate amount of time spent in the cold — into less than 10 minutes of skating.

And while it requires superhuman strength and balance, the sport has traditionally had an artistic side, too. The way a skater moves through the ice and the shapes they create are supposed to be beautiful. There is an unquantifiable aspect that some skaters have that makes you never want to stop watching.

The scoring system — which favors athleticism, especially jumps — is controversial, and it speaks to a debate about what figure skating is supposed to be. I spoke with former skaters, experts, and even physicists to explain how scoring and jumping works in figure skating, in the plainest English possible.


Allegations show Jim Haslam's Browns paid former head coach Hue Jackson to lose games

Brian Flores, recently fired by the Miami Dolphins, accused the NFL and three teams of racism. He is also claiming that the owner of the Dolphins, Stephen Ross, offered him money to lose games on purpose.

Former coach of the Cleveland Browns, Hue Jackson, claimed that a similar situation happened to him by owner of the Cleveland Browns and Knoxville native, Jimmy Haslam.

Jackson coached the Browns from 2016 to 2018. During his 40 games coached for Cleveland, he went 3-36-1 for a .088 winning percentage.

Jackson told ESPN that he told Haslam that he wasn’t interested in bonus money and instead wanted that money used to improve the team.

“And I remember very candidly saying to Jimmy, ‘I’m not interested in bonus money,’ because I’ve never known that to be a bonus. I was interested in taking whatever that money was and putting it toward getting more players on our football team because I didn’t think we were very talented at all,” Jackson told ESPN. “I know what good football teams look like, play like, what they act like and we didn’t have a lot of talented players on the team at that time.”


A Florida man took his grandson magnet fishing. Police are now investigating what they reeled in

A Florida man and his grandson couldn't believe their eyes when they reeled in more than just some scrap metal and bottle caps during a magnet fishing weekend trip.

Duane Smith and his 11-year-old grandson, Allen Cadwalader, were out on a magnet fishing trip on January 30 in Homestead, a suburb of Miami, Florida, when within five minutes of their arrival, Cadwalader reeled in two sniper rifle receivers and bolt carrier groups wrapped in shrink wrap, Smith told CNN.
This was their first time magnet fishing, Smith said, and he chose a bridge with a canal near where he normally goes hiking.

Magnet fishing uses a strong magnet attached to a thick rope in an attempt to fish out metal objects that have sunk to the bottom of canals, lakes, ponds and rivers.


FBI identifies 6 juveniles as persons of interest in bomb threats at Black colleges

Six "tech savvy" juveniles have been identified as persons of interest by the FBI in threats to historically Black colleges and universities that appear to be racially motivated.

More than a dozen historically Black colleges and universities received bomb threats on Tuesday, the first day of Black History Month.

A law enforcement official says the FBI has identified six persons of interest around the country, all juveniles, who are suspected of making the threats. The official says they appear to be “tech savvy,” using sophisticated methods to try to disguise the source of the threats, which appear to have a racist motivation.

Howard University was among the first to issue a shelter-in-place order early Tuesday — just a day after the school and several other historically Black colleges and universities received similar threats.

A bomb threat against the university is being investigated,” an alert from Howard University said, according to NBC Washington. "All persons on campus are advised to shelter in place until more information is available.”

The emergency alert was timestamped at 3:29 a.m. Tuesday, the first day of Black History Month.

An all-clear was later issued for Howard following a probe.


Why are US rightwingers so opposed to a Black woman supreme court nominee?

Thomas Zimmer

When Joe Biden publicly pledged to nominate a Black woman to the US supreme court, conservative politicians, activists, and intellectuals certainly didn’t try to hide their disdain. The announcement was “offensive,” Texas Senator Ted Cruz argued, proof that the President didn’t care about 94% of Americans (everyone who is not a Black woman); and even though it’s unclear who the candidate will be, Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker already knows he won’t support this affirmative action “beneficiary.” Tucker Carlson railed against Biden’s “casual racism,” and the conservative legal establishment also vowed to fight against this “lesser Black woman,” as Ilya Shapiro, the vice president of the Cato Institute, put it. Legal scholar Jonathan Turley, finally, bemoaned “exclusionary criteria of race and sex” – which apparently is a problem only if and when they result in the selection of someone who is *not* a white man. Let’s remember: 115 people have been appointed to the court in its 232-year existence – seven have not been white men. Seven.

This rather alarmed response tells us a lot about how the right views the political conflict, precisely because it is seemingly at odds with the fact that the conservative majority on the court is not in jeopardy. Any assessment of these reactions must start by recognizing their racist and sexist nature. They are revealing precisely because they were so reflexive, so visceral. Misogynoir – anti-Black misogyny - forms the basis of this conservative scorn.

But there is something else on display here too. A Black woman replacing Justice Breyer won’t change the court’s arithmetic. And yet, conservatives still feel threatened by Biden’s announcement because they understand it symbolizes the recognition that having white men dominate the powerful institutions of American life is a problem – and that rectifying this imbalance is an urgent task. They reject the notion that the country’s institutions should reflect the composition of the people; they know representation matters, and that a Black woman ascending to a position like this is also an acknowledgment of past injustice.

Conservatives see Biden’s announcement as an indication of how powerful the forces of liberalism, “wokeism,” and multiculturalism – those radically “Un-American” ideas that are threatening “real” (read: white Christian patriarchal) America – have already become. In this way, Biden’s pledge is perceived as yet more evidence that the Right is on the retreat. It is impossible to understand conservative politics in general without grappling with this pervasive siege mentality.

The fact that a reactionary majority will dominate the supreme court for a generation doesn’t do much to alleviate these fears. The Right doesn’t look at the Court in isolation, but considers the judiciary as part of an all-encompassing conflict over the fate of America. And conservatives understand clearly that this conflict isn’t confined to the political realm, but plays out in all areas of American life: it defines politics, society, culture – and in some of these spheres, conservatives are indeed losing.

The Right is reacting to something real: due to political, cultural, and demographic changes, the country has indeed become less white, less conservative, less Christian. The balance of political power doesn’t (yet) reflect that, as the US system has many undemocratic distortions and is deliberately set up in a way that disconnects these changing demographic and cultural realities from political power. But conservatives realize that their vision for American society has come under pressure.


Leonard Peltier is America's longest-held Indigenous prisoner. He should be freed

It’s time for Leonard Peltier to go home – to end his senseless suffering and 45 years of unjust imprisonment. Last Friday, after complaining of a “rough cough”, the 77-year-old Native elder tested positive for Covid-19. Peltier’s continued confinement at the United States penitentiary in Coleman, Florida, might be a death sentence, if the Biden administration doesn’t act quickly, and with conscience.

Freedom for Peltier is one step towards addressing centuries of injustice facing Indigenous people as well as addressing the inhumane conditions of incarceration that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

Peltier, the longest-held Indigenous political prisoner in the United States, is facing a potentially life-threatening situation. He is an elderly Anishinaabe and Dakota man who suffers from several serious underlying conditions: his age, diabetes, hypertension, heart condition and abdominal aneurism make his health precarious in prison without Covid-19 – and ever more dire with it.

Peltier is locked away in a prison Covid-19 isolation unit – which is not a medical unit – even though the man who helped put him there has called for his release. James Reynolds, one of the main federal prosecutors who put Peltier behind bars in 1977, wrote to Biden last year asking the president to commute Peltier’s sentence and to grant him executive clemency. Why? According to Reynolds, the government had lied, deceived, used racism and faked evidence to sentence Peltier for two consecutive life terms in prison.


At the Beijing Olympics, a Kashmiri skier will carry India's flag -- all by himself

Arif Khan is used to surprising people.

He recalls the looks on people's faces at last year's World Alpine Ski Championships in Italy. One by one, giant slalom racers bounded out of the gates atop a steep, snowy incline. They were mostly Europeans, with their home countries' flags sewn onto their spandex ski suits: Austria, France, Italy, Germany.

Then came Khan, with the name of his country emblazoned on his shoulder: India. Even the judges were surprised, he says.

"It's funny because I've been to four World Championships, and every time I've been asked, 'Is there skiing in India?'" Khan, 31, explains. "Guys, we're living in the Himalayas! It's the highest mountain range in the world. What do you expect?"

Khan is from the Indian-administered side of Kashmir, a Himalayan region that's split between India and Pakistan. He learned to ski when he was four at Gulmarg, an Indian government-run ski resort that boasts one of the highest ski lifts in the world. His father runs a ski shop there.

Now Khan hopes to surprise people again, in Beijing – where he's preparing to compete in his first-ever Olympic Games.

This is like the Ethiopian Ski Federation which was headquartered out of the second floor of an Ethiopian restaurant in Richmond, VA. One skier, 2 officials in the parade of nations.

Whoopi Goldberg suspended for 2 weeks over Holocaust remarks

Whoopi Goldberg has been suspended for two weeks as co-host of The View because of what the head of ABC News called her "wrong and hurtful comments" about Jews and the Holocaust.

"While Whoopi has apologized, I've asked her to take time to reflect and learn about the impact of her comments. The entire ABC News organization stands in solidarity with our Jewish colleagues, friends, family and communities," ABC News President Kim Godwin said in a statement posted Tuesday on Twitter.

The suspension came a day after Goldberg's comment during a discussion on The View that race was not a factor in the Holocaust. Goldberg apologized hours later and again on Tuesday's morning episode, but the original remark drew condemnation from several prominent Jewish leaders.

"My words upset so many people, which was never my intention," she said Tuesday morning. "I understand why now and for that I am deeply, deeply grateful because the information I got was really helpful and helped me understand some different things."

Goldberg made her original comments during a discussion on the show Monday about a Tennessee school board's banning of Maus, a Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Nazi death camps during World War II. She said the Holocaust was "not about race ... it's about man's inhumanity to other man."


Happy Birthday to the Dirtiest Book of All

Dr. Bill Nolte and I have something in common. Neither of us has read Dear Martin, a widely praised YA novel by Nic Stone. This did not stop Nolte, in his capacity as school superintendent of Haywood County, North Carolina, from yanking Dear Martin from a 10th-grade class curriculum after one parent complained. That’s right, one parent.

That dad, Tim Reeves, shown here airing his objections at a Haywood school board meeting, objected to his son being exposed to the novel’s profanity and sexual allusions. I do not question his sincerity or his right to lodge a complaint. I do question his gullibility as a dad. As someone who was once a North Carolina teen, I know the first thing I would do if I wanted to wriggle out of reading a book for homework: I’d go home and complain to my folks about cuss words and sex.

But Reeves’ possible shortcomings as a father don’t bother me nearly so much as that school superintendent’s behavior. To cave like that when just one irate parent walks through the door? To pull a book without, as he admitted, having consulted with the school’s principal or the teachers involved, or having read the book? Talk about not doing your homework.

This is not the first time Dear Martin has been yanked from a school, and it is certainly not the only book to endure such condemnation. Last week’s book bonfire star was Maus, Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer-prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust. In that case, the cries of the McMinn County, Tennessee, parents appalled by the cussing and the sex seemed especially ludicrous since the book’s protagonists are mice and its villains are cats and pigs. Not so long ago we were hearing that today’s young people are so sensitive as to require trigger warnings on any book even possibly upsetting, but it sure seems now like it’s the parents, not the kids, who need coddling.


Furries Are Leading the War Against a Book-Banning Mississippi Mayor

Last week, a Mississippi mayor tried to strong-arm a local library into banning some books. The result was swift, and in retrospect, entirely predictable: A group of furries got on Twitter to do something about it.

The first tweet came on Friday, from Soatok, a furry with an avatar of a sparkling, blue, wolf-like creature: “We interrupt your usual program of shitposts, memes, and cute fursuits to bring you something with real-world impact.”

Soatok, who asked to be identified by his online handle, was referring to the news that Mayor Gene McGee of Ridgeland, Mississippi, was withholding $110,000 of funding from the Madison Country Library System. Library officials told the Mississippi Free Press that the mayor had demanded they purge their collection of LGBTQ+ books, which he called “homosexual materials,” before his office would release the money.

Tonja Johnson, the executive director of the county’s library system, told VICE News that the withholding of this money even temporarily would have a “significant impact on services that are available” and potentially affect their ability to pay library employees.

This is where the furries come in. Soatak is a security engineer at a large tech company, but he’s also a furry—a member of a community that’s mostly known for being really into anthropomorphic fantasy animals and dressing up in fursuits at conventions.

That last part probably seems completely ancillary to the very serious matter at hand (the banning of books), but it’s not.

Furries! Arise and fight! Like the gays, the drag queens, and all those before you, this ia about FREEDOM!
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