ISIS Smashes Priceless Ancient Artifacts

I so want to use all the words that I think are not professional or suited for blogging.  You have no idea what I want to type about this matter.     My heart sank tonight as I watched and heard Scott Pelly report the news.   I had to rewind the DVR to really believe that the ISIS forces are working to destroy historic sites in Nineveh and the remains of the ancient wall of Mosul.

Using a great amount of explosives ISIS forces blew away pieces of the wall considered the most important historical monument of the Iraqui province and the whole region, dating back to the civilization of the Assyrian kings in the eighth century BC.

Barbaric uneducated slime.

To Matt Walker–We Are Not Scared Of Scott Walker, We Are Appalled

I was not sure if I was to laugh at the words from Scott Walker’s son, or to sneer.  In the end I guess there was some of each upon hearing that Matt Walker believes that the left is scared of the Wisconsin governor.

“I think that those on the left are afraid because he has been able to fight on behalf of the people and win.  He stood up for what he believes in and the people of Wisconsin stood up with him. Every time they have gone after him, it has only made him and this reform movement stronger.”

Well that is one way to see events.  There is the fact that Walker did win three statewide elections in four years, and that his legislative agenda has slipped into law like a hot knife through butter.   Except for court battles to shine light on questions of constitutionality  much of what Walker has wanted he has been able to achieve.   If that was the only way to judge political success than the words from the young Walker would be all that is required to know.

But of course there is more to ponder.

It is always easy for a politician to play to the base feelings of the electorate.  We have seen that play out numerous times with such notables in our history such as Huey Long striving for class resentment and Richard Nixon’s racial play aimed at undercutting our political fabric.  Walker hopes to cast himself in such a starring role.  But if we turn the pages a bit further on our national story we see the downside of being tempted by those who seek to divide the electorate for their own political aims.

And that is exactly what Scott Walker has done.  And continues to do.

The labor strike that has consumed this state was designed to split and fracture who we are as a people.  To create such deep divisions within communities and families that bowling buddies spar with each other and holiday meals around the table are ripe for political explosions of emotion might have made Walker noticed on the national stage.  But he failed at leadership if one defines it as bringing people together and thinking about state policy that lasts longer than a politician’s term of office.

The threat of damaging and eroding the prized educational institution that is the UW System, and severely harming UW-Madison is presented to show to early primary states that Walker has political machismo.  Harming large sectors of Wisconsin and throwing back progress may cheer those of limited understanding on a cold caucus night in Iowa in 2016 but it does not make for a profile in courage.

The Young Turks in the Republican Party may view Walker with great pride as they have not much experience or sense of history from which to view the political landscape in Wisconsin.  If they think, as they look at the recent past, and try to size up the mood of liberals that we are scared let me be the first to state most empathically that is not the case.

We are not scared of Scott Walker, we are appalled by him.

One only needs to look at the condition of our public schools after deep funding cuts, the demotion of science at the Department of Natural Resource’s, the undermining of voting rights, and the harm being done to women’s health care rights to make the case of how Walker has used our state to position himself for the conservative primary voters he will need to win the nomination.

I for one am not scared, but energized to make sure this country knows the full story of Walker’s time as governor.  By the time we all have had our say I suspect if will be the Walker Team who will be scared of the political outcome.

An ISIS Must Read From Time Magazine

March’s The Atlantic was the first of the must-reads this month about ISIS.  But now there comes the cover story from Time, and it too ranks as an article that meets the needs of those who wish to see more clearly the twists and turns required to be pondered as we move forward.  And forward, we must move.  And smartly forward, even better.

“ISIS is luring the world into a trap. Always troubled, the Middle East faces crisis on all fronts. ISIS has tentacles in all these troubles. It won’t be easy to pry those tentacles loose without making everything worse. Which is exactly what ISIS wants: to make matters worse. … The question is not beating ISIS. It’s what comes after that.”


New York City Jewish Policy On Metzitzah B’peh Is Just Wrong!

It seems to me that sound medical science has been jettisoned in New York City for wacky political interests.  I often write of my concerns that some conservatives turn away from science and that such moves are lunacy.    The same line can be drawn from the liberal mayor of New York City to the policy regarding metzitzah b’peh.

The de Blasio administration is giving up on the controversial policy of requiring a written consent form from parents before a mohel can perform metzitzah b’peh, the circumcision ritual that involves orally suctioning blood from the wounded penis. … The deal: In exchange for abandoning the consent forms, which were really never enforceable, the coalition of rabbis negotiating with City Hall agreed that if a baby is diagnosed with H.S.V.-1, the community would identify the mohel who performed the bris, or circumcision, and ask him to undergo testing. If the mohel tests positive for H.S.V.-1, the city’s health department will test the D.N.A. of the herpes strain to see if it matches the infant’s. If it does, the mohel will be banned from performing the ritual for life.

If it doesn’t, the health department will work to find the source of the virus. If that source can’t be identified, there are no rules in place to keep that mohel from performing metzitzah b’peh, even though he has tested positive for H.S.V.-1.

Dr. Jonathan Zenilman, a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and chief of the infectious diseases division at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, also filed an affidavit saying, “it is my professional opinion that suctioning of the fresh circumcision wound puts uninfected infants at risk of acquiring HSV-1 and developing serious illness.”

City health officials linked 17 cases of neonatal herpes to direct oral suction in the last 15 years. Of those, two have died and two more suffered brain damage.

Chinese Rocket Disintegrated Brightly Over Western United States

This would have been a sight to see!

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On Monday night, Feb. 23-24, sky watchers in the western half of North America witnessed a spectacular cluster of fireballs and meteors. We now know it was the re-entry and breakup of a Chinese rocket body, specifically stage 3 of the CZ-4B rocket that launched the Yaogan Weixing 26 satellite in Dec. 2014. Donny Mott photographed the glowing debris from Spirit Lake, Idaho.

Mott was watching a display of auroras around 10 pm local time when the fragments flew by. “It was super bright,” he says. “You can see it breaking up in these 4 images I took 10 seconds apart.”

Another photographer, John Arnold, caught the meteor flying over Craig, Montana: photos.

According to satellite tracking expert Ted Molczan, “there are confirmed sightings from Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana, British Columbia, Alberta. The most southerly observation I have noted so far was from Scottsdale, Arizona; the most northerly from Didsbury, Alberta. That spans nearly 3000 km of the descent.” Molczan has prepared a map of sightings along with the ground track of the decaying rocket body.

Chicago Still Produces A Great Political Show

The Chicago mayoral election Tuesday is the political story of the day.  The ballots cast in one my favorite cities has caused Mayor Rahm Emanuel great heartburn.   Emanuel was unable to get a majority plus one vote in the election thereby forcing a runoff election in April against Jesus “Chuy” Garcia.

The Chicago Mayor had unions and businessmen and even President Obama on his side but failed to garner the biggest need that his campaign required.  He failed at being liked by his city in the way and to the depth required to win an election against his far less-known opponents.

I have said to James throughout this election what I will write here.  At the end of the election cycle Emanuel will win.

I will now have to add, based on what happened yesterday, that the win will be ugly in being attained.  For the next six weeks some of the most intense and even brutal politics will be out in the open to be watched as the two finalists put all they have into the election.

I am not sure how Emanuel makes himself into a political commodity that is seen to be more ‘warm and engaging’, and if he really made such an attempt if would make the issue of being phony more a problem than his real-life  brusque foul-mouthed nature.    I am not sure how he more fully can address some of the issue like school closing an violence without opening wider divides in the electorate.     But in reality he needs to do both.  He needs to find a way to better connect with voters and address what needs to be top and center of this race.

When Emanuel talked about such matter in debates as schools and violence  he could know the limited time to get past surface issues played to his campaign tactics.  And with the weak lineup running against him there were great expectations of getting 50% plus one yesterday so he did not need to wade into the deeper more troubling waters surrounding some of these issues.

But now everything has changed.

More money will be needed to run a highly negative race and more thought given to how a far more unified anti-Emanuel bloc of voters must be handled come April’s election.

But of course many of these same problems needs to be addressed by Garcia.  He needs money, more meat on the issues that he wants to tackle, while also needing to find a way to connect more personably with the electorate.

This all sets up a hard-nosed and noisy spring election in Chicago and presents to us one grand political show to watch.

What Happens To Gun Violence Victims With No Health Insurance?

James and I talk a lot about health insurance type issues as it is a topic that continually makes for headlines.  We have often remarked what happens to all those who are shot in gun violence and have no health insurance or could be involved with an act of terrorism and are not covered?  Who pays their bills?  What happens to their financial life, even if they survive the wounds?

Republicans never address these issues and yet they are front and center for concern for many in this nation.  Thanks to the Affordable Health Care Act there is a way to have health care.  But the GOP continues to work to undermine the only program that aims to make it possible for everyone to be covered.

While Republicans work to make it easier to have a gun on the one hand they work to remove health coverage so those shot and maimed have no way to pay their doctor bills.

Michael Mitchell, 24, was shot at Pride Auto Sales in Grandview, shortly after he arrived at work for the day. His sister, Tara Mitchell, said her brother thought the shooter had come to buy a car.

“His very first word whenever he opened his eyes was, ‘I’m alive,” Tara Mitchell said.

She said her brother hasn’t said much else since Friday.

“Michael can’t even spit out more than two or three words because he’s out of breath,” she said.

She said the bullet missed her brother’s heart and lungs by a fraction of an inch.

“He’s going to need round-the-clock care,” she said.

Because her brother was new to the job, he didn’t have health insurance.

“It’s going to be a long road, financially. A very long road,” she said. “Probably a longer road than the actual physical recovery.”


Bill O’Reilly Caught In Another Lie

How does Bill O’Reilly keep all these tall tales straight?  Here are the details.

Chalk up another Bill O’Reilly exaggeration. In 1977, O’Reilly was a 28-year-old TV reporter in Texas investigating the assassination of John F. Kennedy. O’Reilly wrote in his 2012 book Killing Kennedy that he was knocking on the door of a CIA asset with ties to the Kennedys and the Oswalds when he heard the asset shoot himself to death. Pretty dramatic, but it’s entirely false, says Jefferson Morley, a former Washington Post editor and author of JFK assassination book Our Man in Mexico. O’Reilly is heard on phone calls obtained by Morley telling an investigator that he would fly to Florida from Texas the next day to cover the suicide.