Grammy’s Open Thread

I realized my inane babbling stomped all over Anne’s Grammy open thread, so here is a new one.

BTW- Taylor Swift has the most perfect skin and is breathtakingly beautiful even if I couldn’t name one of her songs. Because I am human, I always check out the tabloids when I am waiting in line at the grocery, and I read a couple of trash gossip sites (The Superficial is my favorite), and it just seems like there are a lot of people out there who hate her, Cameron Diaz, and Gwyneth Paltrow, and I have never really figured out why, mainly because I don’t really care to spend too much time figuring out why they hate them.

But they just seem like such a weird group of essentially decent and harmless people who do their own thing and are popular, but there is some sort of simmering resentment towards them that I have casually noticed.








Why Do People Do This

This is another vacation option I will never understand:

U.S. health officials on Sunday boarded a cruise ship docked in the U.S. Virgin Islands to investigate an illness outbreak that has stricken at least 300 people with gastrointestinal symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that 281, or nearly 10 percent, of the 3,050 passengers aboard Royal Caribbean International’s Explorer of the Seas have reported getting sick during a Caribbean cruise that left Cape Liberty, New Jersey, on Tuesday. Twenty-two crew members also reported feeling ill.

I really don’t understand cruise ships in general. The point of a vacation is to go some place and relax, not to go on a vacation that consists of basically doing nothing but roaming around aimlessly on a floating 150k ton listeria petri dish. All you do on these god damned cruises is eat (cruise ships and their endless buffets are kind of a mobile, international, and successful diabetes starter kit), try not to get diarrhea, and then try not to get robbed by the natives in whatever shithole you are ported in for twelve hours.

It really makes no sense to me. Boats are a form of transportation to get you from A to B. No one in their right mind would would sign up for a ten day plane flight where all you did was eat and disembark the plane for a few hours to get robbed by locals.

And seriously, if I am going to get a life-threatening infectious bacterial disease, it better be from snorting cocaine off an exotic escort’s tanned breasts on a tropical island, and not from bad shrimp at an all you can eat buffet surrounded by blue hairs, fat mid-western newlyweds, and a bunch of underpaid and likely abused Bandgladeshi shipmates on a fucking Royal Carribean cruise ship in some shithole port in the ass of the Caribbean.

And that is all I have to say about that.








Walk in Beauty, Carter Camp

Via commentor Aji, a beautiful tribute by Kossack ‘Navajo’ honoring a beautiful warrior:

Much has been written about Carter, but many have not heard of him. He was one of the original organizers of the American Indian Movement, a pan-Indian movement sparked in part by the civil rights movement of African Americans. He led our people on the Trail of Broken Treaties caravan in 1972 from the West Coast to Washington, D.C., to protest the hundreds of broken treaties and other agreements the U.S. Government forced the tribes or their chiefs to sign. Nixon officials refused to meet with them. That led to AIM’s seven-day takeover of the BIA headquarters in Washington, D.C., which ended with some government concessions. It also led, as Meteor Blades recalls, to the liberation of BIA documents that were passed along to journalists and lawyers. “We carried out box after box of documents,” inspired by the people who “stole documents from the FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania,” in March 1971.

In the winter of 1973, Carter and other AIM leaders took over the small town of Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge reservation. Gun battles during the 71-day stand-off with federal officers left three dead. Wounded Knee was chosen for the takeover because it is the location of a massacre of at least 150 Miniconjou and Hunkpapa Lakota Indians in 1890. After their bodies had lain on the frozen ground for days, they were dumped into a mass grave by the 7th Cavalry. It was a historically appropriate site for the American Indian Movement to bring national attention to the struggles of the Lakota and all Native peoples…

Carter’s sister, Casey Camp-Horinek said that unlike other AIM leaders, Carter remained at Wounded Knee throughout the entire siege with his warriors. He was also the only leader to spend two years at Leavenworth federal prison for disputed actions during the siege. For him there would be no book deals, no film roles, no adoring groupies just service to the Indian people and the respect of those who knew of his sacrifice…

Carter Camp’s own words:

In 1973 the fires of our traditional peoples were burning low and everyone thought they would soon die out. But a “Movement” happened across the USA led by young people who were determined not to allow that to happen. It took many years and plenty of fighting and struggle with a determined enemy who wanted our disappearance to solve his own “Indian Problem.” But quitting or stopping was not an option when so much was at stake.

We won, and our ways are no longer endangered with extinction. Our people have many battles yet to fight as you [Meteor Blades] and Navajo outline each week in this powerful series. But the flames of our fires now burn from shore to shore on this, our turtle island, and they will never go out.

At Wounded Knee in 1890 the Americans thought they had won a final solution. But, at Wounded Knee in 1973 we showed the world how wrong they were as we relit the ancient fires of the Nations. I’m proud of that.

Much more at the link.








Gabby Giffords Is A Genuine Bad-Arse


Via the Washington Post. Apparently skydiving was one of the pleasures it was assumed Ms. Giffords would never again enjoy. Jumping out of a perfectly good airplane may not be my idea of a good time, but kudos to her for not letting a sadsack with a gun stop her. Yesterday, in the NYTimes:

…[T]hree years ago, dispatched to an almost certain death by an assassin’s bullet, I was allowed the opportunity for a new life. I had planned to spend my 40s continuing my public service and starting a family. I thought that by fighting for the people I cared about and loving those close to me, I could leave the world a better place. And that would be enough.

Instead, I’ve spent the past three years learning how to talk again, how to walk again. I had to learn to sign my name with my left hand. It’s gritty, painful, frustrating work, every day. Rehab is endlessly repetitive. And it’s never easy, because once you’ve mastered some movement or action or word, no matter how small, you move on to the next. You never rest.

I asked myself, if simply completing a normal day requires so much work, how would I ever be able to fulfill a larger purpose? The killing of children at the school in Sandy Hook a little over a year ago gave me my answer. It shocked me, it motivated me, and frankly, it showed me a path. After that day, my husband and I pledged to make it our mission to change laws and reduce gun violence in a way that was consistent with our moderate beliefs and our identities as proud gun owners. We knew it wouldn’t be easy, that special interests were arrayed against us, that congressional dysfunction was an enemy…

We will seize on consensus where it exists, on solutions big or small. We will fight for every inch, because that means saving lives. I’ve seen grit overcome paralysis. My resolution today is that Congress achieve the same. How? Step by step: Enhance enforcement by passing a law making gun trafficking a serious crime with stiff penalties. Make it illegal for all stalkers and all domestic abusers to buy guns. Extend mental health resources into schools and communities, so the dangerously mentally ill find it easier to receive treatment than to buy firearms. And even as we lay the groundwork for expanding background checks, pass strong incentives for states to ensure the background-check system contains the records of the most dangerous and violent among us…

Sure, it’ll never give Mark Halperin a glow in his tire-swing neurons (unlike watching a Repub yell at teachers or throw his subordinates under the bus), but who would you rather have on your side?








Just a tiny figure, rigid and restrained, blue eyes filled with pain…

The decision of the Supreme Court to grant a stay of same-sex marriages in Utah shouldn’t really come as a great surprise, whatever the actual merits of the stay application.

The attorneys from the Utah AG’s office have shown no particular signs of competence. Take, for example this passage from Judge Shelby’s decision denying the State a stay on December 23:

The court had a telephone conversation with counsel from both parties a few hours after it issued its order. The State represented to the court that same-sex couples had already begun marrying in the Salt Lake City County Clerk’s Office and requested to the court to stay its Order of its own accord. The court declined to issue a stay without a written record of the relief the State was requesting, and asked the State when it was planning to file a motion. The State was uncertain about its plans, so the court advised the State that it would immediately consider any written motion as soon as it was filed on the public docket.

Now, that all sounds fairly innocuous but, although I’m not a constitutional lawyer, I’ve been in and out of a few court rooms in my day, and those last two sentences are like a silk-wrapped brick around the ears. When a judge politely asks you exactly when you were planning on actually filing the motion you are seeking, the correct answer is never, ever, “We’re not sure”. My lawyers call that a CLM.

Rachel Maddow blamed it on incompetence, and I don’t disagree. However, I suspect there may also have been an element of hubris, a misplaced confidence that Shelby (National Guard, Desert Storm, the United States Army Achievement Medal and the National Defense Service Medal; a BA from Utah State and a Juris Doctorate from University of Virginia; a law firm practice in commercial litigation and personal injury; a registered Republican with a wife and two kids, who was endorsed by Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee for his qualifications and his “unwavering commitment to the law” when he was appointed to the District Court, if you believe the wikipedia) wouldn’t do anything so silly as letting the gays get married. Not in Utah, surely.

The AG’s office has spent the last two weeks desperately trying to stick the ferret back in the bag where the ferret don’t want to go. Their stay application to the Supreme Court (which you can find here, along with the couples’ response here) parroted the usual guff – that the same sex marriages occurring in Utah are an “affront” to the rational interest of the State in banning same-sex marriage, because the ban somehow makes straight, married people have more babies, and that the couples seeking to be married are seeking a new right called “same-sex marriage”, rather than the established right of “marriage” which right, they note, the gays are perfectly free to use as long as they marry someone whose genitals revolt them, like in the bible.

Still, on one front they are right – this is a question that the Supreme Court needs to decide and, until they do so, the better position is probably to preserve the pre-decision status quo in Utah, no matter how touching the photos of gay Utahnanians getting hitched, or how entertaining the freakout by the godbotherers about the gays touching marriage and getting dirty fingerprints all over it.

With the stay issue out of the way, one would like to think that we might be able to get back to talking about the substance of Shelby’s decision, at least until that Duck Dynasty guy gets caught cottaging or one of Mitt Romney’s grandkids turns out to be asian.

[I’ve put the illustration for this post below the fold, for this is a family blog, and I don’t want the sight of two naked breasts to scare the horses.]

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