For fear the other will topple over from the weight – here’s an Open Thread.

It looks like Ta-Nehisi is traveling today, too and that yesterday’s Open Thread is meant to last us for two days. It’s like he’s never met us! That thing is freakin’ monster! So, just in case, here’s a thread for those who don’t want to slog through/past something like 500 comments (as of this writing!).

NOTE: I WILL HARDLY BE AT MY DESK TODAY. I’m reading a Colossus of a book for review and really, really have to keep reading. I’ll check in now and then, but a) sadly, this means I won’t be able to play as much as I usually do when I have an open thread here and b) if you get stuck in moderation, you might be there a little longer than usual. Swear words won’t land you in moderation, but posting from an account that you haven’t already posted from will. So if you’ve posted here before, please try to use that account.

If you’re new here at In My Head, hi there! Here are the rules but they mostly boil down to: Be a person. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it here. Also, too: Out of sheer respect for TNC, no bashing of his co-bloggers, please. However much one might be tempted. (Ahem. I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about).

192 Comments

  1. Just so folks know, tomorrow is JHarper2’s birthday.

    Wishing him well. With all my might.

    • corkingiron

       /  October 27, 2011

      Thanks for the heads-up. Oh – and I have always loved the name Rebecca. But a good friend got there first – so I’ll have to make do with a God-daughter by that name.WHich is OK – she’s a pretty neat person too.

      • I’ll bet, with a godfather like you!

        Family still calls me Becky, but with a beautiful name like Rebecca, I insist everyone else use it, except on the internets, where I opted for ‘zic’ to be sexless in harsh world. Thank you.

    • JHarper2

       /  October 27, 2011

      Damn! Outed by the Mayans. (see yesterday’s OTAN)
      Much bigger deal is that is my mother’s 80th, a long number of years ago, I ruined HER birthday by crashing the party; now she has to share.
      Tomorrow the spotlight will rightly be back upon her as family from all over come in to sunny Regina (even coming from Victoria and Ladysmith on what I now think of as Corkingiron’s island).

      • And you WILL be able to be there, right?

        • JHarper2

           /  October 27, 2011

          If at all possible, it is a day to day thing now.
          Anyway after the big restaurant blow out there is Cake back at her place (Cake that she doesn’t know about), Cake with Pictures from old Photos in the icing! I will be there for that part of the celebration.
          So please don’t tell her about the CAKE!

          • You know, when we got together for tea this morning I almost spilled the beans about THE CAKE WITH PHOTOS, but I remembered just in time. Phew!

            ; )

          • And my friends Maya fb post for today:

            “Today is a day 12 Storm, the 2nd to last day of the 5,125ish year Long Count! A day to meditate and reflect. Let the world shake you to yer core! You can take it! Let the rains wash away all that’s no longer serving yer growth. Our challenges show us our strengths… and we’ve never needed to be stronger than now. The 12 marks a near completion… a glowing light on the horizon. We can do this.”

      • wearyvoter

         /  October 27, 2011

        Happy Birthday to both of you!

      • (Hoping, hoping, hoping you can make it!)

      • socioprof

         /  October 27, 2011

        Yay for you! Yay for Mom! Yay for cake!

      • baiskeli

         /  October 27, 2011

        Happy birthday to both of you!

      • helensprogeny

         /  October 27, 2011

        Hey, congratulations! Happy Birthday! It’s my sister-in-law’s birthday today, too – so a very popular day on which to be born. CAKE!!!

  2. It’s so weird how much harder it is to function now that I know the pain I feel isn’t my fault.

    It’s the same pain I’ve had for a year. Yet now it’s practically hobbling me.

    In other complaints my mother joined facebook and twitter and is now stalking me. Ugh.

    • Oh. I’ve missed details of paining (how is that possible?), so feel free to complain about them again.

      And on Facebook, I’m certain my sprouts block me from most of their postings. As they should. Feel free to block her, and select the occasional post for her to see. (Don’t know twitter, so can’t say.)

      • I have acyst the size of a grapefruit where my right ovary should be. Right ovary is smooshed, probably unsalvagable. Surgery is Nov 11th. It’s raining, I left my umbrella in my car. I want a hug. I want to go home and be laid on by my kitties. I want it to be November 12th and this all to be over with.
        /whining

        • Jesus. I hope everything works out as best as it can.

          • Oh yeah, I won’t be able to do a horde meet up on the 12/13th. The 12th I’ll still be in hospital, since I’m giving birth via c-section, rather than draining it out via belly button. The 13th I will probably be useless.

            • taylor16

               /  October 27, 2011

              Oh my god, they can’t even do it through a scope??? You poor thing. :(:( Hugs and cuddly kitties and wishes for a fast recovery and good painkillers to you………..

              • No, it’s a “chocolate cyst”…means it’s filled with congealed blood. It’s also so large it’s actually shoving against my uterus, making going in through the belly button impossible.

                • As the former owner of some rather uncomfortable hematomas, you have my great sympathy. Hopefully it all goes smoothly and you can heal up quickly.

                • JHarper2

                   /  October 27, 2011

                  If the hospital people don’t tell you, here is a great piece of advice for anyone who has any abdominal surgery. Keep a pillow beside you at all times for a least a week. If you feel the need to stretch, to yawn, to laugh, and most of all, to cough: hold the pillow in place over your abdomen. The pillow is called the abdominal splint and minimizes the painful effect such activities can have on the cut muscle, tissue, and skin.
                  A pillow with pictures or embroidery of kitties works best.
                  Love JH2

                • taylor16

                   /  October 27, 2011

                  Oh, yuck.

                  I have no experience and no real advice, other than to take care of yourself and be well and heal quickly.

                • Ian

                   /  October 27, 2011

                  My wife went through this, though her cyst was more like the size of an orange. Recovery took a while. She needed a cane for a couple of weeks, and it was longer before she felt entirely like herself. But she did recover completely in a couple of months, and she feels much better now that the cyst is gone. Good luck. Feel better.

        • {{{{{{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}}}}}}}
          I am so sorry; sometimes our female organs seem traitorous.
          purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
          Kitty’s want you to feel better.
          {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}
          Horde wants you to feel better.
          purrrrrrrrrrpurrrrrrrrrrrrrpurrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
          Zic wants you to feel better. And Rebecca totally feels your pain.

          Thankfully, we’ve got two ovaries; here’s to the health of the left.
          {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{hedgewitch wishing, familiar by her side purring}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

          • This picture is currently in a tab for looking at:

            A photo posted by Ani Bundel (@anibundel) on

            That’s the fat one, my Drakey-Boo-Face Monster Boy. He makes a great heating pad.

            • He looks like a total lover-boy heating pad. Yumm.

              Sweet name.

            • OH MY GOD. He looks so much like my late departed Chauncey!

              Are his eyes a brilliant green and does he have a tail that looks almost like it got cut off in a bar fight? To my eyes, he looks like he should!

              • His eyes are amber. His sister’s are green. Their tails are intact and longer than everyone else’s.
                His Cat’s tail looks like it was stunted, but that’s because his old roommate stepped on her tail when she was a kitten and broke the end. When you pet her tail you can feel the end is crooked.

              • His sister, the Troublemaker: http://instagr.am/p/RLtF5/

                • helensprogeny

                   /  October 27, 2011

                  If I had kitties like these I’d never want to leave the house. So lovely. I’m so sorry for your pain and I’m glad you’ve got all your beautiful feline types to hug you through it.

                • Now isn’t that funny. She doesn’t look at all like Chauncey to me. Huh!

                  The other day I saw my kid’s hat on the couch and thought it was her. Nearly 3 years later, and I missed her a little. When she was nice (which wasn’t very often) she was very nice. And soft and warm. And her eyes were amazing.

        • SWNC

           /  October 27, 2011

          Oh, honey, I am so sorry you’re going through this mess. I hope the days pass quickly for you.

          The best C-section recovery advice I got was this: TAKE THE PAIN MEDS. This is not an endurance contest. You will not win any prizes for stoicism. You will rest better and heal faster if you’re not in pain.

          • This is totally true. Pain doesn’t do a lot of good if you’re already aware of the injury and doing your best to heal.

        • efgoldman

           /  October 27, 2011

          Virtual hugs. Many.
          Also, drinking. At least up until the10th.

        • wearyvoter

           /  October 27, 2011

          Sending comfort.

        • theravenspoke

           /  October 27, 2011

          If it helps, your pain is curable. Many sources of pain aren’t or require higher-risk intervention, some of dubious value. Any time a medical diagnosis has a well-established solution, it’s great news.

          • Meh. It’s moderately good news, but “great”?

            As someone who once got similar good news, I can tell you that for me it was mostly scary and infuriating and deeply destabilizing (“WTF, body?!”). I dearly wanted to believe that my symptoms would be revealed as nothing and would just disappear, magically – however unreasonable that wish always is. The prospect of major surgery was, for me at any rate, another layer of scary, regardless of the fact that I was looking forward to the outcome. So “this is fixable” is good news, but everything around it kind of isn’t. IMHO, of course.

        • watson42

           /  October 27, 2011

          Here are some virtual hugs. <<<>>>

          We’ll be here if you need to vent, or need more hugs, both before and after.

        • I’m so sorry, sweetie. The levels on and manners in which this all sucks are myriad. I remain grateful that finally having health care allowed you to learn about this. Big, big, hugs and kisses from me to you.

          As for your mom – you’ve cut off contact, right? So do so on FB & Twitter, too. It sucks that you have to keep protecting yourself in ways that can feel horrible, but if you need to be entirely disengaged, “block” and so on are your friends.

          • I broke down and talked to her again after getting a massive emotional guilt trip letter (tear stained envelope included) that included the news my grandmother had fallen and was in the hospital.
            At least I get to see my dad and sister again. I’m working on keeping her at a safe arms length…

            • Good luck with it – I’m glad that seeing your dad and sister is a bonus. Keep your wits about you, and your arms long! (I have sometimes wished for mile-long arms, myself).

        • caoil

           /  October 27, 2011

          I am sorry you are going through this, but glad it will be taken care of. Everyone’s advice is spot on – look after yourself before & after. Stock up on some good books or movies or whatever you think you’ll be able to handle when you get home.

        • baiskeli

           /  October 27, 2011

          I’m sorry, that sounds terrible. I wish there was a ‘comfort’ button on the Internets.

        • Hugs. Hugs. Hugs.

    • Sorry for your medical issues. (When my mother joined Facebook, I freaked and locked most of my stuff so she wouldn’t see it. Strange but true. However, she turns out not to be that bad so I’ve unlocked stuff again.)

    • JHarper2

       /  October 27, 2011

      Blogs so need a comfort button or other way to give our friends a hug.
      As to the weirdness of knowing the cause, the knowing brought something that was amorphous into sharp view, from the back of the mind to a present thing. /end analysis.

      Look as far ahead after Nov 11 as you need to get you through the days until Nov 12. I can testify it is a great way to cope. Oh and get yourself some little toy or other thing or little luxury you have wanted but have been putting off to reward yourself for being brave, seems silly but it works too.

      So many hugs and good wishes going your way. If I had kitties they would be purring for you.

      • I got an iPhone. Because I was sick to death of having a wish-it-were-smart phone.

        • JHarper2

           /  October 27, 2011

          I got a smart phone for the same reason when I went in.

    • My cat is on her chair now, pretending it’s you and giving you nice warm snuggles, and amusing you with her snaggletooth. ❤

  3. Dogs are not only man’s best friend, they can be an elephant’s too.

    • Oh man, I’d seen this before but totally forgotten about it! “And for three weeks, the elephant held vigil.” Oh my goodness, how delightful is that…?

  4. There was another spirits tasting event here in Portland last night. There were some mighty fine drams, so I got another post up with my thoughts.

    http://cocktailchem.blogspot.com/2011/10/spirits-tasting-at-omsi-after-dark.html

  5. CitizenE

     /  October 27, 2011

    While traveling through the national parks and monuments of the American west during September and the first ten days of October, between staying at Mt. Hood in Oregon and going up the rainforest Washington coast, I did a three night stay in Portland, one of the few cities I really enjoy. I was extremely fortunate (as I was almost universally on my trip) to be in Portland when it was blessed by excellent weather. In the mid eighties and warm at night, the town was jolly, young, and out on the streets at night. I went to a couple of great restaurants, had terrific walks through the Rose and Japanese gardens, went to the museum and saw a terrific exhibit of luxury, touring cars imported from an Atlanta museum collection–all that luxury and aerodynamism, the lustre of it, along with cruising their great native American collection, and generally enjoyed myself on the downtown streets, making a particular homage to the epic Portlandia sculpture.

    Along with all these things, I saw Werner Herzog’s amazing 3D documentary about the Chauvet Cave, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, the staggeringly beautiful paintings and etchings there of lions, bears, rhinoceri, and horses (the horses!) on the cave walls, clocking in at 30,000 years old, the oldest known human artwork, one interesting tidbit being that several of the artists left handprint signatures, including one with a shortened finger, whose print was ubiquitous and artwork beautiful, and the scientists, archeologists, and so on, working the cave. The 3D not only gave a great picture of the area in France where the cave is, but the cave and all its natural structures, not to mention how the paintings made use of the cave wall.

    The Herzog film was quite wonderful, though not what one would call fast paced, and does close with a Herzogian tic, a philosophical twist, but was the most appropriate use of 3D that I have ever seen, amazingly filmed, especially given the limitations the French government put on him and his team, and for anyone who is curious, interested about human nature and our capacity for creativity and artisanship, and what it means to us, a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours.

    Currently, I am reading Jean Clottes’ Return to Chauvet Cave, an indepth look at the amazing team approach to the cave and its many perspectives, deepening both the reader’s understanding and context for the cave, but also for what I would call “the human project.”

    • dmf

       /  October 27, 2011

      hey citE, not sure if you caught my thank you in the earlier mini-open-thread where you left that lovely jazz video but again thanks for the postcards from yer trek and hope all is well in yer new home.

  6. David L

     /  October 27, 2011

    (Crossposted from the other open thread just because I find it so fascinating.)

    Last night, I discovered another of those cool but kind of freaky superpowers the brain can develop: I can read in one language while listenening to another and understand both. Usually, when I’m trying to read or write something, the first thing I go for is the pause button on my podcast or music, but as I was trying to get to sleep I had headphones on with música en español playing and then idly picked up my kindle and read through a couple of screens before I caught myself interrupting the reading to think about the meaning to a lyric I had never quite heard well enough to understand the meaning.

    Anyone else have this one? I would imagine that it isn’t too uncommon among the bilingual.

  7. Of note to job stuff, I am currently in a “make sure that work issues don’t get me over stressed” phase. I’ve noticed that I’ve been getting driven crazy by stuff at work far more than I should, and decided to pull back a bit. Overall, it’s working quite well. I’m being much more calm about issues. They’re not personal, they’re just issues. And that’s the way I need to see them. So I go in every day reminding myself of that, and amazingly, it works pretty well.

    • SWNC

       /  October 27, 2011

      I sometimes think that Marx had it wrong–many of us need to be a little *more* alienated from our labor.

      Not letting work stuff affect me personally is something I struggle with as well. Good luck.

      • David L

         /  October 27, 2011

        I think this is one of the unintended consequences of the information age. It’s easier to leave your work behind at the end of the day when there’s some physical thing that your job is dependent on (whether it’s a hammer or a piece of paper) that you can also leave behind. Now we have our inbox in our pocket 24/7 and our files are as close as the nearest VPN connection.

        I write software for a living. It’s abstract enough that I can (and sometimes do) end up thinking about it every waking moment, even if I’m not actually working on it. There are moments when I get resentful that I spent 90 minutes in bed the previous night lying awake trying to figure out a bug that don’t count for anything even though if I’d been sitting at my desk staring into space for 90 minutes having the exact same thoughts, it would have.

        • My software engineer husband is forever having half-waking dreams about software issues that, once he’s fully awake, make no sense. It drives him a little nuts.

  8. It’s officially autumn here in the Bay Area: I wore a thermal shirt while running this morning, and the sun wasn’t even above the hills when I went to catch my bus.

    In other news, the #OccupyOakland crowd have built a house of cards with the pieces of fencing left at Frank Ogawa Plaza. It looks like a pyramid. And there are several tents back in place.

    And someone brought in donuts, so I had half an Old Fashioned with my morning tea. It’s a good day.

  9. taylor16

     /  October 27, 2011

    In case anyone needs to hear a nice story about kindness and animals today…

    In July, a 73 year old man’s dog went missing in Tennessee. Two weeks ago, his wife died. Last week, the dog turned up in Michigan and thanks to a microchip, was reunited with his loving dog dad today in Tennessee.

    “He meant a lot to me and my wife,” Arrighi said. “I figured he was gone. I thought the microchip was a waste of money, but I guess not.”

    http://www.freep.com/article/20111027/NEWS03/111027020/Tennessee-town-cheers-Petey-s-journey-home?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

    • Oh thank goodness. Can you imagine how that man must have felt in that moment? Thank goodness, for both him and the dog.

  10. A good thing – Chaz Bono on his “Dancing with the Stars” stint:

    “I came on this show because I wanted to show America a different kind of man. If there was somebody like me on TV when I was growing up, my whole life would have been different. And so I dedicated everything I did to all the people out there like me and especially to kids and teens who are struggling. You can have a wonderful, great life and be successful and happy.”

    • David L

       /  October 27, 2011

      To paraphrase something I said elsewhere (on my blog, I think), I’m not sure what he’s done (other than being born to famous parents) to justify the “celebrity” half of the celebrity-activist label most people seem to apply to him, but man does he tend to hit it out of the park when it comes to activism.

      • Is anybody on Dancing with the Stars really a star? I’ve never watched it (not even for Chaz) so I don’t know.

        • taylor16

           /  October 27, 2011

          They’re usually sort of has-been stars, or currently famous people in things other than acting/singing (like sports players or -barf- Nancy Grace).

          (I don’t watch, but my mom does and always likes to give me the play-by-play of who is good and bad when I call her.🙂 )

          And I’d think that Chaz sort of qualifies as a celebrity now, solely because of the “Becoming Chaz” doc and such. He’s sort of a reality star celebrity, I guess.

          • Thanks!

            “Dancing with Celebrities” just doesn’t have the same ring to it, for some reason.

          • To be fair, Nancy Grace is a pretty good dancer.

            Uh, I mean, that’s what I hear. Not that I admit to watching “Dancing With The Stars.”

        • David L

           /  October 27, 2011

          I think it depends on how you define “star”. I’d say Jerry Rice and Susan Lucci qualify as household names, even if they aren’t A-listers. (Actually, most of the time, the aging athlete is usually the biggest name of the whole season from my perspective.) Most of the showbiz types they use have been successful enough to make a living out of acting, comedy and/or TV hosting (e.g., Ricki Lake, David Arquette, Cloris Leachman, Margaret Cho.)

          I suppose the heart of what I’m getting at is that Chaz is kind of famous for being famous, which is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself.

          • Yeah, those people are stars, or star-ish.

            I agree that no one (outside of the LGBT community?) would ever have heard of Chaz if not for his parents. It’s not really a bad thing though.

    • This is sweet — a transgender story on faux news, with an awesome action pic:
      http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2011/09/20/chaz-bono-does-well-in-first-episode-dancing-with-stars/

      (No TV, so had to look up, and glad I did. Thank you for the culture ed, I depend on the horde for that.)

      • Last week, the American Family Association urged viewers to boycott the show. “This is going to be very confusing for children and [Bono] should not be included,” a spokesman said.

        I’m going to fix this for them.

        Last week, the American Family Association urged viewers to boycott the show. “This is going to be very confusing for your grandmother and [Bono] should not be included,” a spokesman said.

    • taylor16

       /  October 27, 2011

      I am such a huge Chaz Bono fan. I don’t watch Dancing with the Stars, but I try to catch him whenever he’s on TV doing interviews or whatnot. I think he’s doing a great thing by being willing and able to be so public with his transition and his post-transition life, and I admire him for it.

      Also, in the past few weeks, on three separate occasions, I’ve heard (1) my coworkers (twice) and (2) my aunt and uncle and mother in law discussing the show – they are all huge fans. And none of them by ANY stretch of the imagination are progressive or big LGBT activists, so when the topic came up I immediately started cringing, expecting the worst – comments, jokes, etc.

      And in each case, they discussed Chaz’s performances just like the rest of them – “he did pretty well, better than so-and-so,” or “I don’t think he’s going to last very long because of his knee; you can tell he’s in pain.” Not one word about his gender or any jokes/comments/etc about him being trans, and they had no problem using the right pronoun or just talking about him like every other contestant – even though based on their respective ages, they probably knew him as Chastity in the past.

      For some reason, that felt like a bit of a win.

      • It is a win, definitely.

      • David L

         /  October 27, 2011

        Definitely a win. One statistic that is often cited is that people who know LGBTQ people are more likely to be supportive of their legal and societal equality. Knowing someone over the TV isn’t the same as knowing them in person, but it’s better than nothing.

      • Huge win, I would say. Huge.

      • helensprogeny

         /  October 27, 2011

        Completely awesome. And I’m with you in the Admiration of Chaz camp. Full of courage and win, he is.

        • wearyvoter

           /  October 27, 2011

          I saw Chaz’ interview on Letterman awhile ago. He did a wonderful job of explaining things.

          • Thank you so much for mentioning this! I didn’t know he’d had this interview and it’s really interesting. He handles Letterman’s discomfort very well, with real grace. God bless him!

            If anyone’s interested, here it is:

            http://www.cbs.com/late_night/late_show/video/?pid=Ii8xlyYV32BCSKa1I3L_sIbCTUFuOyNz

            • wearyvoter

               /  October 27, 2011

              And thanks for finding the link. 🙂 I was too lazy to dig it up from the CBS site.
              The good part is that I got the impression that Letterman was genuinely looking for information and trying to understand.

          • David L

             /  October 27, 2011

            I remember Letterman getting some flak from some corners of the trans community after that interview for being visibly uncomfortable, but I feel like he actually got it more or less right. He was about as supportive as you can get when you’re (perhaps genuinely) coming from the position of knowing nothing about transitioning genders. It seemed to me like a lot of his discomfort came from not wanting to say the wrong thing, which is admirable if that was his intent.

            Heck, as far as I’m concerned, having an open and honest talk about transitioning is a huge win even if one of the people doing the discussion does seem unsure what to make of it. And if the biggest negative reaction was cringing when genital surgery came up…

            • “Heck, as far as I’m concerned, having an open and honest talk about transitioning is a huge win even if one of the people doing the discussion does seem unsure what to make of it.”

              This helps me. There needs to be a place for people to think out their thoughts and work through their prejudices, even if it’s on live TV.

  11. A bad thing – Native American children are still being taken away from their families.

    One evening two years ago, Howe’s phone rang. It was a social worker from the Department of Social Services. She said her daughter Erin Yellow Robe was going to be arrested for drugs. Howe couldn’t believe it. She had never seen any sign of drugs or any other problems.

    And then the social worker changed Howe’s life. She said she was coming to take Howe’s grandchildren away. The next morning, a car pulled up outside Yellow Robe’s house. Howe’s daughter wouldn’t let go of her one-year-old twin babies. She kept saying she hadn’t done anything wrong. . . .

    But as Howe watched the car pull around the bend, she realized the social worker took the two babies, but allowed Howe to keep her two granddaughters, 5-year-old Rashauna and 6-year-old Antoinette. “I thought that was weird,” Howe says. “I just thought, why can’t I keep them all?”

    . . . Howe’s twin grandbabies were taken to a white foster home about 100 miles away. On the day they were taken, Howe says she and her daughter sat on the steps and cried as they waited for the police to come to take her daughter to jail. Several hours went by and no one came. A week went by, a month, and then summer turned into fall, and still no one came.

    To this day, Howe’s daughter has never been arrested for drugs — or anything else. . . . And yet not only did they take the two babies, two months later, Howe waited at the school bus stop. But when the bus came, the girls weren’t on it. A social worker had taken them from school.

    “They didn’t even call and tell me. Nothing,” Howe says.

    http://www.npr.org/2011/10/25/141662357/incentives-and-cultural-bias-fuel-foster-system

    • I heard that yesterday, heartbreaking.

      And an awesome piece of reporting; a style of reporting seriously at risk of being lost, and if lost, to our detriment, because it costs time and money to develop a story like that, and sometimes, there’s no story there, so it’s time and money for naught.

    • WTF! That’s a gross violation of ICWA! That’s the whole point of the law, to preference placing Native American children with Native American families! WTF!

      Also, as noted in the story, state law does not control on reservation lands (most of the time: it is complicated, like almost everything having to do with tribal issues). The Tribes are sovereign nations and the state agencies have no say.

      • Yeah, the article talks about that law. Apparently it is being completely ignored.

        • Yeah, there’s a link in the comments left by a local attorney, who complains that the report is biased because clearly the law requires that X, Y, and Z all be followed, and therefore the report must be wrong. Except it’s pretty clear that the law wasn’t followed, if even half of what’s alleged in the report is true.

          And NPR is not in the habit of failing to fact-check their stories: one might claim that they are biased in what they choose to cover and the language they use, but I don’t see anyone ever claiming they’re lying about the facts.

          Even if the legal procedures were being followed (which I doubt), the outcomes is such that clearly the intent of ICWA is being violated. I suspect the next party to get involved will be someone like NARF, since BIA is (once again, sigh) failing to enforce its own obligations with regards to tribal responsibilities.

    • taylor16

       /  October 27, 2011

      What. The. Fuck. That’s almost all I’ve got.

      Can’t someone from the Bureau of Indian Affairs or some such agency get involved? Or does this fall under the purview of some ACLU-like group?

      That is just horrifying.

      • Ah, you missed the bit where the reporter talked to the local BIA guy responsible for ensuring that ICWA was complied with: he thought everything was hunky dory, until they pressed him about the percentage of children being fostered/adopted with white families, at which point he stammered into silence. It was quite damning.

        • taylor16

           /  October 27, 2011

          Oh, I misunderstood that part of the article – thought that guy was part of a state agency.

          Well, that is just utter and complete crap. What’s next, making these parents the latest “Girls Who Went Away,” so that deserving white families can permanently keep their babies?? Bullshit.

          • corkingiron

             /  October 27, 2011

            I went to the same “book” memory when I heard that story.

    • SWNC

       /  October 27, 2011

      I heard about that on the radio this morning. It blew my mind. What killed me were the stories of children running away from foster care, home to the reservations and their families. And the number of Native American social workers who were willing to admit that they were hiding children with extended families rather than returning them to foster care. Mindblowing.

    • baiskeli

       /  October 27, 2011

      I don’t even know what to say other than WTF!

      Thanks for this. That is great investigative journalism.

    • I listened to that, too. Unbelievable and heartbreaking. I just read “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” a few weeks ago. It’s awful—first they took the land, now they take the children.

  12. David L

     /  October 27, 2011

    Last night, I heard Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” on an ad for a video game where, as far as I can tell, you play the part of a fighter at war.

    For those who are unfamiliar with the song, the chorus goes something like:
    If you got girl problems I feel bad for you son
    I got 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one

    Shall we count the ways in which this is horrible? I got three or four right off the top of my head.

    • not that it helps any, but i’m pretty sure the “bitch” in the song is a police dog, and not a woman.

      i’m actually kind of impressed that the company would market its game with a profane chorus hook. but that’s mostly coming from my own, profane, tv-censor-hating mind, and not from any position of rational perspective.

      • David L

         /  October 27, 2011

        They used an edit with the word “bitch” left out (it was during MythBusters, which probably has a pretty high number of under-18s watching), but I assume that their target audience knows what went in that gap.

        I wasn’t aware of the possibility that the “bitch” was literal. I’ve only ever really paid attention to the chorus. I’ve never really been able to get into Jay’s music.

        • scone

           /  October 27, 2011

          The whole second verse is about the police wanting to search his car. In the context of the first lines “If you’re having girl problems, I feel bad for you son/ I got 99 problems and a bitch ain’t one,” the “bitch” in question does seem like a woman. But at the end of the second verse, the line is ” ‘Well I ain’t passed the bar but I know a little bit/ Enough that you won’t illegally search my shit’/ ‘Well we’ll see how smart you are when the canine come’/ I got 99 problems but a bitch ain’t one – hit it.”

          (Side note: I spent a bit too much time think about this verse while studying for the bar – it is no longer current on its Supreme Court jurisprudence re: searching cars.)

          • aaron singer

             /  October 27, 2011

            I love Rick Ross’ production on that song, spare guitars and drum sound like little else in hip-hop.

    • This was a Big Effing Deal among the gamejourno/gamecrit circles when the commercial first launched, which means it was all the chatter for roughly 24 hours two or three weeks ago. (Short Attention Span Theatre among us pixel types it seems. Or really, there’s just always something new clamoring for attention.)

      Most of the chatter that I remember (and I’m biased) fell along the, “…really? This is what we’re doing now still?” lines.

    • theravenspoke

       /  October 27, 2011

      The game is Battlefield 3 and it’s promo budget is obscene. In terms of visual realism and production values, it may be the best game ever. Look at its trailers, they’re stunning. But it’s a first person shooter that maximizes kinetic violence, so it’s primary appeal, IMO, is that players can operate a variety of vehicles. I much prefer impersonal war (hence, the attraction of World of Tanks). Shooting people is dreary.

      Related: I’m halfway through Master and Commander (the historic novel upon which the movie of the same name was based) and its author, Patrick O’Brian, uses a battle/chase sequence to illustrate the line between personal and impersonal war. Our hero, Capt. Jack Aubrey, is pursuing a French ship. Gun crews are exchanging canon fire. The French commander picks up a musket fires a series of shots directly at Jack. A mano a mano attack, within the larger frame, across 150 yards of salt water, 200 years ago? Personal war.

      The book is simply brilliant. O’Brian makes sail technology captivating. The movie uses a different story but draws much of its dialogue from the book. In case we have anyone here who never saw the movie (which certifies you as a terrible person), here’s a two minute clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=OaLqDhbPySs

      • baiskeli

         /  October 27, 2011

        I haven’t read the book, but the movie is all kinds of fantastic (I own it, if it were a VCR tape rather than a DBD, it would be worn out by now).

        Also, the pensive scene where they play my one of my favorite composers (Ralph Vaughan Williams, Fantasia on a Theme) just put it over the top for me

  13. G’day, all. I’m a bad Hordian in that I never, or nearly never respond when people post personal stuff. I’m equally bad with the joys and the sorrows, but I take scant comfort from that. But I do read, pretty much everything, and I do notice zic’s house damage and Sorn’s fears and anibundel’s impending surgery and JHarper2’s surgery and dialysis and….

    But I think about all of you, probably more than is good for a person who should be spending 10 hours a day looking for work and another 3 finishing up with settling in to my new digs.

    I just wanted to say that.

    • Nora, we adore her.

      House is done, except for the painting, which will have to wait for spring. Insurance paid for it, no problems at all. Really, a minor inconvenience of hammering first thing in the morning for a few weeks and a shock at the fall. Mostly, mourning the tree that’s gone.

      Looking for work 10 hours a day, eight days a week, that’s frightening. I wish you employed. Happily, productively, beautifully gratified, appreciatively compensated employed. And I wish you comfort and safety and joy in your new home.

    • JHarper2

       /  October 27, 2011

      Nora, how are the new digs working out for you? I know that you looked hard for them to find an appropriate place to land.
      As to the responding to personal stuff, sometimes I just post because something is sitting on me so hard that writing it down and sending it off is the best way to breath a little and free up from the burden.
      A response is great, a silent like of sympathy and comfort buoys up my day. It is not necessary to say anything because one of the guidelines with hordeans is that is never necessary to say or share anything. Different people carry different burdens and are comfortable sharing different things, the world works that way. I hope you know that you are not a bad hordean; all anyone has to bring here is her ideas and her humanity.

  14. Horde, what are some ways OWS can survive the winter? What are some effective cheap winterizing techniques? If you had to be in charge of the winterization of your local OWS, what would you do?

    I ask because my friends and I (we sometimes develop apps) are considering doing a free app if it would be effective meeting people’s needs over the winter.

    • watson42

       /  October 27, 2011

      Make sure you have something waterproof under you wherever you sit or sleep, even if it’s just a tarp. Staying dry will go a long way to staying warm (and healthy).

      There’s a science surplus company that sells mylar sheets i.e. space blanket material for something like $2.50 per 6’x8′ sheet. The company is American Science and Surplus. (They have all kinds of funky stuff cheap for the geek in your life…)

      If this winter is anything like last winter, I’m not sure how Occupy will survive here in the Northeast. Maybe move to occupy the local offices of members of Congress?

      • aaron singer

         /  October 27, 2011

        American Science & Surplus has a store here in Chicago. What a great place.

    • Dry socks; and wool socks. (wool generates heat when moist, like from sticky feet.)

      Tarps with rain tarps over them, in other words, a hole cut in the top of the inner tarp, so that moisture goes through, and evaporates on the outer tarp. This prevents it from raining inside a tarp-made tent.

      Agreed on the waterproof underneath; but insulated underneath, too. Even a tarp, a few layers of cardboard, and another tarp are better then just a tarp.

      Lots of fat in the food; you need it to generate warmth when you’re constantly cold. Don’t skimp the butter, olive oil, coconut oil, whatever. I’ve seen hikers on the AT late in the season squeeze a half bottle of Parkay into their packages of dehydrated soup as they prepared it, to help keep warm, keep moving, and keep from starving. (I don’t recommend it, however. Real fats, lightly processed, not industrial fats, please.)

      Hats. Wool is best. And mittens. I think I need to start an OWS knitting group to supply these.

      Finally, any fiber that insulates is better than cotton. My sweetie used to work at the Mt. Washington Weather Observatory, and they’ve got a saying up there: Cotton kills. Jeans may be nice most of the time, but for extended stays outside, they’re really not that great. Polar fleece, wool, silk — they’re all better then cotton and denim.

      And a sweet little camp stove: take a short, fat candle, burning under a terra-cotta plant pot (that hasn’t been soaked in water, they’ll explode). Good for heating opened cans without a pot.

      • socioprof

         /  October 27, 2011

        This is awesome. Y’all are so smart about so many things.

  15. I’m feeling particularly petty and churlish today. I think it’s part weather, part overwork, and part exhaustion. And part actual churlishness. You know that feeling when you’ve done or created something that you’re particularly pleased with, and you just kind of want to stand back and admire it and have the whole world talk for a minute about how good it is and how great a job you did? And then when no-one does that, and you end up ignored or with a quick, “Yeah, nice” from someone who has no more time or energy to spare than you do?

    That’s how I feel today. Also I feel like we really did too much laying-off of people last year because I’m doing two full-time jobs this week and it’s driving me up a wall.

    • I have a new diagnosis for yesterday’s physical discomfort. All this crap is chilling your marrow.

    • I appreciate you, and I’m sure you did a bang up job, whatever it was. But boy do I empathize with “churlish.” Except I’ve moved past churlish to that whiney wimpering anti-Sally Field place, “you don’t like me, you really don’t like me,” whimpered, today, pretty much to the whole world (except zic, she likes me🙂.

      I know I’m smarter than the average bear. I know that anybody who put me in a temp job would look like a fucking genius for hiring me. I know that I deliver value in part (here’s the kids and lawn bit) because I don’t tweet, and I don’t FB and when I’m at a job I JUST DO THE FUCKING WORK.

      So if all of this is so utterly self-evident to me, why can’t anybody else figure it out, huh? The last 3 days I’ve been unable to make myself make a call or submit anything because I just can’t take one more “no.”

      The phone call I was stressing about last week did arrive. Very nice conversation. But she won’t submit my resume to any of the open jobs she has right now because I am not right this minute working for another law firm. This is the first “you can’t get a job if you don’t have a job” I’ve run into, but it pretty much ruined my entire week.

      In better news, I’ve read 5 novels in the last 3 days and I can heartily recommend the following:

      Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
      The Sentry by Robert Crais
      Our Kind of Traitor by John le Carré
      I’d Know You Anywhere by Laura Lippman
      Dead Spy Running by Jon Stock

      The last is a guilty pleasure in that it’s a British author and very British book and engages in a sly anti-Americanism (in our most imperialist modes) that I like very, very much. I love my country; I hate my government only a teaspoon less than I did four years ago.

  16. Alright, so I’m not a gay guy so maybe I’m totally off-base, but “American Horror Story” sort of seems like the gayest show in the history of the universe (gayest scripted show, at least). As in, it’s a show that’s entirely pitched towards a group of gay guys sitting around and gleefully but affectionately tearing it to shreds. Its batshittery does not exist in this dimension, or any dimension I can reasonably imagine. You know how I know Zachary Quinto is gay? Because he was on this show.

    • David L

       /  October 27, 2011

      It *is* Ryan Murphy, who also brought us the eminently heterosexual Nip/Tuck and Glee.

      • No, I know. This is his MO to some degree. It just feels like this is the show where he finally just said, fuck it. Glee is aimed pretty squarely at middle America, even though it’s obviously LGBT friendly. Nip/Tuck was a somewhat standard cable drama for a few seasons before it came unglued. This show, though, never even made the pretense of being anything but the gayest gay that ever gayed.

    • carlosthedwarf

       /  October 27, 2011

      It’s done by the same people who made Glee. You had to know it was going to be really, really, gay. That said, Glee at least had a good first half-season. From everything I’ve heard, American Horror Story is awful.

      • It depends on how you define “awful”. It is not a good television show, by any measure. But it is also not a boring television show. Crazy shit is happening. An hour of NCIS:LA holds together pretty well and is also a cure for insomnia. An hour of American Horror Story makes very little sense and is eye-rollingly stupid a lot of the time but it can easily hook you in.

  17. GOOD LORD PEOPLE.

    98 comments and it’s 10:45!

    Slow down just a bit so I can catch my breath.

    BTW, Belgian chocolates, anyone? I have a two-pound box at my desk (a gift from a vendor) and I don’t want any of it left after 12 noon, so stop on by.

    • David L

       /  October 27, 2011

      Sorry. My boss’s son and wife are starting a bakery, and we get their test recipe leftovers. I’ve already had two cupcakes this morning (one double chocolate with salted caramel buttercream, one key lime)

    • efgoldman

       /  October 27, 2011

      I’d be glad to, except…
      Today’s potluck in my office.
      mrs efgoldman, as she is wont to do, made a ton of cookies. Four varieties.
      Folks are already rolling around on the floor, and half of what i brought in is still here, and I don’t want to take them home, because if I do, I’ll eat them.

      So EAT MOAR DAMNED KOOKIES!

  18. David L

     /  October 27, 2011

    So, since we’ve talked about cats…

    A friend of mine made a fairly lengthy Facebook post about how pets will live up to (or down to) their names.

    My Newman, who came into the shelter the day after Paul Newman died, enjoys racing around, plans and executes elaborate escapes from his confinement, and engages in long conversations with Big Daddy (i.e., me) about mendacity.

    What about your critters?

    • caoil

       /  October 27, 2011

      I named my boy cat Neville so he might be braver when he got older. He was a semi-feral baby and very, very terrified when I got him.
      His littermate (though not biological sister) I named Minerva as she was a bit more independent and now she doesn’t take any guff from the other cats in the house.

    • Drake is named for John Drake, The Prisoner. Funny, he never wants to escape though. The one time he got outside we found him huddled under a bush, shivering in terror.
      Ani is short for Andromeda because she was all black with a little white spot under her chin. She thinks she’s a star.
      LuciFurr is a demon hellon who pees on everything and only likes her daddy.
      Mitzi and Kira aren’t really named for anyone, so they don’t really have the burden of living up or down to anything…

    • Spike was named after the vampire. Blond, blue eyes, bites people. (And that’s about all we know of the show; we’ve never seen more than a couple eps.) Also in the running was Peaches – soft, fuzzy exterior and a heart filled with poison.

      What we actually call him, however, is generally insulting and full of swears.

    • Guybrush is named for a roundabout-competent insult swordfighter prone to finding himself in awkward situations as he strives to become a Mighty Pirate.

      Guybrush-the-cat is certainly adventurous but almost never hears his real name, because when he’s bad or exasperating or perplexing he’s “CAT” and when he’s good and sweet and purring hes “kitty.” As in, “Cat! That is not where cats go! Get out of there cat!” and, “Awwww, hi kitty! Who’s a sweetie kitty yes you are.”

      He *does*, however, have the same adventure-game-character urge to (1) explore ALL the things, and (2) claim EVERYTHING for his personal inventory.

      (I am still finding grape tomatoes under things and proudly left as trophies. I last bought tomatoes six weeks ago and although I suspected there were fewer dry in the colander after 30 minutes than I actually washed, I have no idea how managed to secret at least 9 so far away into the cat pocket dimension for later retrieval.)

      • taylor16

         /  October 27, 2011

        Food presents from animals are the BEST, what are you talking about?

        My dog used to leave gummed-up half-eaten bagels (which she’d get as a treat on Sundays) in various places. Mostly down the couch cushions, but sometimes under my pillow on the bed … only to be found 12+ hours lter.

        She doesn’t get bagels anymore.

        • It took us about 15 minutes to figure out that the strange, dark, shriveled thing that he’d magicked up from nowhere and plopped into his water bowl was actually a month-old grape.

          • efgoldman

             /  October 27, 2011

            I figured it out: He’s stealing and leaving all those foodish things as bait, for smaller creatures than he, so he can hunt.

        • helensprogeny

           /  October 27, 2011

          I once received a dead bird from my kitty on Mother’s Day. Won the Weird Gifts from Relatives award.

    • WE have a cat named Clinton… after Bill Clinton. He’s gray and white with a pink nose, and he’s just the MACK FUCKING DADDY. He just charms everyone who comes into contact with him and is a total lover. Heh.

    • helensprogeny

       /  October 27, 2011

      As a currently cat-less cat lover, I’m so delighted that there are so many cat people amongst the horde. Please talk about them as often as possible.

      Also, I’m glad you clarified that Newman was after Paul, because all I could think of was Newman of Seinfeld and was potentially horrified at what the poor creature could be living down to. Paul is a different thing entirely.

    • wearyvoter

       /  October 27, 2011

      Our tabby is named Belle. (Which we swear she has interpreted as short for Belly, because she does carry a bit of extra insulation.) Our tortie is named Daphne, sort of after Daphne from “Frasier” because of the character’s flighty side. (Nickname=Daffy Cat.)

  19. socioprof

     /  October 27, 2011

    Hola, mes amis!

    I posted this hilarious link to gif of an aggressive baby meeting an aggressive cat.
    http://sologatos.tumblr.com/post/11909387983/kid-slaps-cat-gets-attacked

    Enjoy!

    • omg, this post MADE MY DAY.

      Baby vs cat. CAT WINS!

    • taylor16

       /  October 27, 2011

      Oh my god, I love that probably more than I should.

      Kids need to learn to be gentle with animals. That seems like a good way to drive home the message.😀

      • baiskeli

         /  October 27, 2011

        I’m going to replace “Boot to the Head!” with “Cat paw to the face!”


        You didn’t get me cat treats? Cat paw to the face!
        You’re not paying attention to me? Cat paw to the face!
        You were late feeding me? Cat paw to the face!
        You’re trying to get frisky with your significant other and thereby ignoring me?Cat paw to the face!
        You’re tired and want to sleep rather than play with me? Cat paw to the face!
        You’re trying to watch TV and thereby neglecting me? Cat paw to the face!
        You asked why I cat-pawed you in the face? Cat paw to the face!
        You asked why I cat-pawed you in the face after you asked me why I cat-pawed you in the face? Cat paw to the face!
        You object at my trying to sleep on your keyboard as you’re typing? Cat paw to the face!
        You brought a child into the world and now I have to compete for your attention? Cat paw to the face!

    • dave in texas

       /  October 27, 2011

      Reokied to this over at TNC’s open thread, and thought I’d put it here as well. There’s a whole website dedicated to just that kind of stuff.

      http://animalsbeingdicks.com

      • dave in texas

         /  October 27, 2011

        and the former professional proofreader didn’t proofread his post. That’s supposed to be …’replied to this’…not ‘reokied to this.

        • I was all: “Wait, ‘re-Okay-ed’?…’re-Okied’?….Okies are Oklahomans, how does one ‘re’ them?”

          It amused me, so it’s all good.

        • Dex

           /  October 27, 2011

          I’m not going to lie: I spent several minutes looking for a definition for “reokied”. I’m always on the lookout for words that I can add to my limited vocabulary. Anyway, the word shows up a bunch of times on the web, but try as I might, I could not find a definition for it. Thank you for solving the mystery for me.

      • socioprof

         /  October 27, 2011

        So cool. So distracting. Thanks (mostly).

      • And— there went 40 minutes of my lunch period.

  20. baiskeli

     /  October 27, 2011

    Crossposted from the OTAN, because what started as a small post turned into a beast of a post

    Even though its been about a year since Jason Vassell was given probation rather than a 20 year sentence, I ran into something that revived my interest in the case. Reading about this case really shows the nefarious ways that institutional racism and racism in general works. I just have to post this here because it is just so blantant. Someone once asked me for something that would viscerally explain institutional racism and this was my answer.

    Short version

    In February 2008, Jason Vassell was a student at UMass Amherst. His dorm room is on the bottom floor of the student housing. At 5:00am one morning, he was in his room with 2 white women friends (this will be relevant in a bit). One of the women noticed 2 intoxicated passer-bys (both white men) peering into the room and got creeped out. The men begun propositioning them and Jason told them to go away and shut the window. The men then proceeded to hurl racial insults at him, challenging him to a fight. Finally, one of them smashed the window.

    Jason calls a friend because he is scared (doesn’t realize these 2 men are not students and therefore assumes they will be able to gain access to the dorm and to his room), as he goes down to let his friend in, the two men come in behind his friend. They are still hurling racial insults at him, and calling him names. His friend tries to stop them. Jason is telling them to leave him alone. Scared, he pulls out a pocket knife (used for electrical work, his dad owns an electrical business) and brandishes it telling them to leave him alone. One of the men punches him in the face, breaking his nose. They continue punching him,, resulting in facial injuries and a concussion. He stabs the two men in defense. They continue hurling racial insults at him and he manages to retreat behind a door, which they proceed to try and break down. All this is captured on tape, finally the Umass police arrive. Subsequently State police arrive, statements are taken from the 2 men (Bosse and Bowes)

    And here is where it gets interesting. Police take statements, and to the lieutenant, its clear that this was a racist hate crime. However, one of the officers doesn’t believe this (in radio dispatches he can be heard calling Vassell a ‘donkey’ and a ‘drug dealer’, and calling the incident ‘a drug deal gone bad’, even though his own lieutenant tells him the crime was racially motivated). No one is taken into custody, witness statements are taken. Both Bosse and Bowes, intoxicated beyond the legal limit (and underage), claim that they were minding their own business and Vassell and an ‘unknown latino male’ attacked them, contradicting other witnesses and contradicting the video evidence.

    During the interviews, the police (Lt Thrasher, the same one who made the ‘donkey’ and ‘drug dealer’ comments) is positively collegial with Bosse and Bowes, even joking about sports. Keep in mind we have 2 highly intoxicated individuals, who are not students at the UMass Campus and are under-age drinkers. And they were both over the legal alcohol limit (Vassell had also been drinking, but he was way under the legal limit, and also of legal drinking age).

    When the police get in touch with Milton police, where Bosse and Bowes are from, they learn that both have a lengthy violent crime rap sheet, some of it racially motivated attacks against blacks (the latest incident being 9 days before they attacked Vassell). Somehow, they consider this irrelevant.

    Some excerpts from court documents.

    Nine days before the incident at UMass, Bosse was charged in Boston Municipal Court with the malicious destruction of property. (Id.) According to the police report, an off-duty, Hispanic police officer named Saro Thompson was driving down Milk Street at approximately 2:00 a.m. when Bosse jumped into the road preventing Thompson from continuing through the intersection. (Boston Police Incident Report, Compl. No. 080048340.) Thompson subsequently asked Bosse to remove himself from the street and, “a verbal argument ensued.” ( I d ) Bosse then proceeded to the passenger side of Thompson’s car and “kick[ed] the rear quarter panel,” causing visible damage to the vehicle. (Id.)

    As previously noted, on June 23,2005, John Bowes perpetrated a racist attack on two young black men that led to charges of assauit with a dangerous weapon and a civil rights violation.

    Vassell, right from the start, is treated with suspicion despite being a student who’d never been in trouble, and who had no rap sheet (apparently, not even a speeding ticket). Now, complicating matters is the fact that Vassell wore a ski mask when he came down, but that could be explained by the fact the thought these guys were students and didn’t want them to see his face for later reprisals. Not the smartest thing to do, but somewhat understandable given the circumstances and UMass Amherst’s history of racial violence. My sister in law went there, as did some people I know, UMass Amherst had a reputation back them. Granted, Vassell should not have stabbed the two men, but he was in fear of his life, as evidenced by his actions, and brandishing the knife beforehand in order to ward off their attack.

    Also, the District Attorneys office had a history of not prosecuting hate crimes, and in fact, in one case, prosecuting someone who came to help. (see *** below)

    So there’s definitely a pattern.

    Back to Vassell’s case.

    Things go downhill from there, they arrest Vassell, charge him with 2 counts of aggravated assault with a weapon, a charge carrying 30 years. UMass Amherst, rather than come to his defense, essentially gives him a choice of dropping out or getting expelled. John Bowes, was charged only with misdemeanors carrying a maximum 18-month sentence, he ends up serving 1 year of probation. Bosse is never charged.

    UMass is even more culpable. It has a history of racial assaults on African American students, especially after sporting events, so this could also explain why Vassell was so in fear of his life.

    Ultimately, through popular pressure (UMass Amherst administration was useless, but some UMass students and faculty members came to Jason’s support). After a lengthy court battle 2+ years, the court agrees to drop the charges if Vassell finishes serving his 2 1/2-year pretrial probation. He was also forced to sign an acknowledgement of regret saying that he stabbed Bosse and Bowes and that he ‘had other options’ he could have pursued (hindsight 20/20 and all that).

    Justice wasn’t really served. Jason Vassell was forced to drop out of Umass Amherst, and now has a criminal record. His attackers, (Bowes and Bosse) got away essentially scott free. If ever there was a case study in institutional racism this is it. Even at the announcement of the compromise, Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Dunphy Farris said the following, which beggars belief.

    Dunphy Farris said both men (Bosse and Bowes) have endured what she called an “unwarranted” attack on their character.

    No concern for their attempt to railroad Vassell.

    The web site
    http://www.justiceforjason.org/

    The motion to Dismiss (definitely worth reading)
    http://www.justiceforjason.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/motiontodismiss.pdf

    The Bill Dwight show had Vassells lawyers on in these 2 1 hour interviews

    http://billdwightshow.com/audio/the-university-of-massachusetts-should-be-ashamed-of-itself/
    http://billdwightshow.com/audio/its-almost-a-greater-sin-to-make-an-accusation-of-racism-than-to-be-a-racist/

    The second is pure gold as they read out Bosse’s and Bowes very lengthy violent criminal rap sheets.

    *** [Court excerpts to support the fact that the DA’s office had a history of ignoring hate crimes, in fact, they tended to charge the person attacked, and let the attackers go scott free. The case below was only dismissed because luckily there was video evidence

    In addition, it has recently come to the attention of defense counsel that this is not the first time that the Northwest District Attorney’s office has declined to prosecute the perpetrator of a hate crime at the University of Massachusetts. As will be discussed below, on May 7,2006, ten to fifteen white men viciously attacked and beat a black student while calling him a “nigger.” None were ever charged with a criminal offense; instead, the District Attorney chose to prosecute an African American man who attempted to rescue the victim and whose heroic, non-violent intervention was chronicled by the lone neutral eyewitness and captured on surveillance video. Even then, the DA’s office pursued charges against Vennell and it only got dismissed because none of the ten white men showed up for trial.

    In fact, when UMass police arrived at the scene of the above crime, they believed one of the attackers who claimed that the African American rescuer had actually attacked them, stuck a gun in the good samaritans face (Vennell), and arrested him (despite eye-witness reports from witnesses). And one of the officers hit one of the African American female witnesses in the head with his flashlight when she tried to give a statement. Her father called to complain but the officer was never disciplined.

    Shortly thereafter, University police officers arrived at the scene. (Id.) When they did, the white male who threw the first punch accused Veimell of striking his friend in the head with the flashlight. (Campana Statement; Chagnon Statement.) In response to this accusation, a UMass police officer put his gun in Vennell’s face then arrested him.

    (Campana Statement; Chagnon Statement) The police altogether ignored the explanation offered by Vennell and his three female companions that he had attempted to rescue a black student from the very men accusing Vennell of committing a crime. (Campana Statement.) In fact, when Chagnon tried to explain what she had witnessed, one of the officers hit her on the back of her calf with a flashlight – leaving a bruise – and told her to “shut the f*ck up.” (Chagnon Statement; Polk Aff. T[ 24.)”

    Surveillance video recorded the attack on Gern, as well as Vennell exiting his vehicle and pulling individuals away from the mob.

    ….
    “The District Attorney’s office did not pursue, let alone bring, any charges against Gem’s attackers.”

    …Instead, the Commonwealth charged Vennell with aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery, and disorderly conduct.

    In pursuing these charges, the District Attorney overlooked the fact that:

    a. the three women of color, a neutral African American witness [Kirksey],and Mr. Gem, all said that Mr. Vennell had done nothing but try to prevent a further beating of Mr. Gern by ten to fifteen white males;

    b. The white person allegedly struck by Mr. Vennell was highly intoxicated and told paramedics that he sustained the injury from a fall; and
    c. State laboratory testing revealed no blood on the flashlight.

    • As a UMass alum, I really, really wish I could say this all surprised me.

      I really wish I could say that. I also really wish I could say that I didn’t see that culture in effect from the administration and so on when I was there.

      I can’t say those, because they’re not true. Sigh.

    • baiskeli

       /  October 27, 2011

      This line

      And one of the officers hit one of the African American female witnesses in the head with his flashlight when she tried to give a statement.

      Should read

      And one of the officers hit one of the African American female witnesses in the calf with his flashlight when she tried to give a statement.

  21. baiskeli

     /  October 27, 2011

    My post got stuck in moderation. Goodbye oh valiant post!, you fought long and hard! We thank you for you service and sacrifice.

    I will now go cry in the corner😦

    • If it was the “black student at UMass” story, I shared it on Facebook.

      • baiskeli

         /  October 27, 2011

        Yes it was, I think the Moderation agent went “Whoah! them a lot of words. I’m gonna have to check with my owner about this.”

        • I think that’s what happened, because when I saw it there, I was all “but baiskeli is totally cool! What’s wrong with you, blog? I’ll just see what he… WHOAH! Them’s a lot of words!”

          Then, of course, I hit “approve.” Mais oui!

          • baiskeli

             /  October 27, 2011

            Thanks🙂

            Not the first time a moderation agent went tl;dr on me.

  22. efgoldman

     /  October 27, 2011

    OK, all you whippersnappers. Just to show that your generation didn’t invent snarkasm(tm), here’s the great James Thurber (quoted by the great Charley Pierce).

    This recalls nothing more than the conclusion of James Thurber’s “If Grant Had Been Drinking At Appomattox”:

    “I should like to have this over with as soon as possible,” said Lee. Grant looked vaguely at Shultz, who walked up close to him , frowning. “The surrender, sir, the surrender,” said Corporal Shultz in a whisper. “Oh sure, sure,” said Grant. He took another drink. “All right,” he said. “Here we go.” Slowly, sadly, he unbuckled his sword. Then he handed it to the astonished Lee. “There you are. General,” said Grant. “We dam’ near licked you. If I’d been feeling better we would of licked you.”

    Now get off my damned lawn… performing a Silly Walk as you go!

    • corkingiron

       /  October 27, 2011

      Or Beethoven’s comment to an aspiring composer:

      “I like your opera. I think I’ll set it to music.”

  23. theravenspoke

     /  October 27, 2011

    Hey people, guess what’s over @ Wired?

    A photo essay, from a book by photographer Lindsay McCrum, titled Chicks with Guns!

    http://www.wired.com/rawfile/2011/10/chicks-with-guns/?pid=1242

    McCrum says… “Usually women with guns are turned into comic book characters — Lara Croft, Kill Bill — and I thought it would be fascinating to find out who the real women in our country are who own guns.”

    Awesome photos!

    My fav is the 2nd pic (“Liz”), of a police officer, sitting in bed, holding a .40 Beretta in a well practiced grip, while wearing a look on her face that’s the definition of “badass”. She ain’t alone in bed, either, and I’m not talking about her gun.

    Wired sez: “If viewers don’t personally know one of these gun-toters, McCrum hopes the book serves as an introduction to a growing community of 15 to 20 million women in the U.S. who own and use guns.

  24. David L

     /  October 27, 2011

    Yet another British rugby player has come out of the closet. Quick blog post on why this matters.

    http://unreal-estate.net/bog/2011/10/27/another-out-rugby-player/

  25. caoil

     /  October 27, 2011

    For Emily: a song. I haven’t listened to it (am at work) but thought you might enjoy.

    • Aw man! Thank you! Just the other day I finally broke down and just printed out a picture of the final lines written in chalk on the pavement and taped the picture to my wall. Someday I’ll get something better.

      Though after all those years of listening to Raffi…not sure I would have chosen him…. Ahem.

    • Oh dear. It’s really rather awful.

      Oh well. He tried, Raffi did.

      • caoil

         /  October 27, 2011

        Hee! I will listen to it when I get home, and expect to have a raised eyebrow or two.

  26. Sorn

     /  October 27, 2011

    So I wanted to say happy birthday to Jharper, and to note that I’m happy his surgery went well. Also thanks to Nora for the mention.

    In other news I’m still stuck in Limbo, but here’s hoping it ends soon.

    And now, here’s Annie to brighten up everyone’s day:

    • Sorn

       /  October 27, 2011

      Wrong link:

    • LIMBO SUCKS.

      Yesterday I filled out applications at two bookstores, and bookstore applications are long, man. Lots of questions about favorite authors and what would you recommend and on and on, and by the time I’d filled out two, my hand reallyreally hurt! I better get a regular gig for my pain, that’s all I’m saying. (One place might be hiring part-time soon, so: Fingers crossed!)

      • I’m crossing my fingers – and my eyes – for you!

        Good luck. I hope it works out & you get what you need.

        I can think of no worse job for me than working in a bookstore – maybe a confectionery. In either case, I would never have a paycheck to take home. You don’t know how hard it is already not to buy every freakin’ book you all are recommending to me. (The King County Library system, while awesome, is sometimes sparse on books that get mentioned here. IYKWIM.)

  27. socioprof

     /  October 27, 2011

    So, I go to my RSS feed and I see an update from one of the blogs I subscribe to and I see this: http://thepublicintellectual.org/2011/10/27/occupy-wall-street-and-my-bicameral-mind/
    Yay, Emily!!!

    • Yay! This happened in the middle of bajillion other things yesterday/today and I barely have any idea what I agreed to yet, but it looks good and I’m very pleased! Tomorrow they’re running the second OWS post I wrote (yesterday’s). Very nice to get more eyeballs, and intellectual eyeballs at that! : )

      • theravenspoke

         /  October 27, 2011

        I’m further — and more deeply — weary of fucking nonsense. Such as (but one example): There has been some resistance to using the Occupy protests as a gathering point to register new voters, because a lot of people across the Occupy spectrum are ideological non-voters.

        Okee-dokee then. A) Thanks for eight years of Bush-Cheney and the current bicameral clusterfuck, and B) It is your constitutional right to make that choice, and I will fight to the death for your right to do so. But there are forces working very hard to deprive you of that right. There is absolutely zero risk that you will be forced to vote or even to register — please, for the love of God, get out of the way of the people who want to try to make our democracy work.”

        ‘Ya nailed it.

  28. It’s fucking snowing.

    Really.

    Six months of winter’s here in Maine.

  29. Bright sunshine yesterday.

    A few clouds today.

    50s.

    Not bad for Seattle. Not bad at all.