Posts tagged: News
Several neighborhoods have reportedly been reduced to rubble as the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad wages a massive ground assault to retake control of Aleppo. According to activists, more than 20,000 people, mostly unarmed civilians, have died in the last 17 months of fighting and tens of thousands have fled the country. On Thursday, almost 2,000 people reached neighboring Turkey as refugee flows continue to rise. About a quarter of a million of Syrians have left the country for neighboring states over the course of the conflict. We go to the Turkey-Syria border to speak with Reese Erlich, a freelance foreign correspondent who has reported from Syria on several occasions. “Apparently, the pattern is, if a neighborhood was the scene of a free Syrian army take over, or even previous demonstrations there, the civilian neighborhood is bombarded from the air all by artillery and that’s forced a lot of people to leave, the one U.N. estimate was 250,000, just over the last week or so, mostly internally displaced,” Erlich says. [Includes rush transcript]
I’m sure this will not be new to many of you, and you’ll be bound to hear it covered in sickening detail on tonight’s televised news. The link above is only a gruesome ‘highlight’ of the most brutal acts of mass violence and murder committed over the past half-century; but the excerpts below are some of the initial reports and commentary being offered, all immediately following the tragedy but cast in differing light.
This first article focuses on the perpetrator and the reactions of the victims, paying closest attention to the “similarities” between the gunman and the film series’ antagonist, the Joker.
[taken from ‘Dark Knight Rises’ screening shooting in suburban Denver leaves 12 dead, 59 injured: police,Christina Boyle, Joe Kemp & Rich Schapiro in New York, Judith Crosson, Tiffany Lopez & Carly Reynolds in Denver, New York Daily News]
AURORA, Colo. — The heavily armed gunman who shot 71 people - killing 12 - at a midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” near Denver boasted to cops that he was Batman’s arch nemesis.
[…] The suspect - identified as James Holmes, a 24-year-old grad school dropout - was arrested shortly after the rampage at a movie complex about 10 miles east of Denver.
“He said he was the Joker, enemy of Batman,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said after conferring with his counterpart in Aurora hours after the massacre.
“He had his hair painted red,” Kelly added.
The gunman burst into the packed theater through an exit door 20 minutes into the film, set off two tear gas canisters and opened fire, authorities said.
“I thought it was pretty much the end of the world,” theatergoer Robert Jones, 28, told the Denver Post.
Witnesses described the black-clad shooter methodically picking off his victims, stopping only to reload. He was packing three guns, including an assault rifle, and outfitted in full body armor and a gas mask.
“There were bullet (casings) just falling on my head,” Jennifer Seeger told the Associated Press.
This next article primarily concerns the reactions of the directors, producers, actors and studios to the tragedy, and also seeks to juxtapose the responses of Hollywood to this tragedy to that of the death of actor Heath Ledger in 2008.
[taken from ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ screening shooting in Aurora, Colo. leaves Hollywood reeling, Ethan Sacks, New York Daily News]
The deadly rampage at a Colorado movie theater that targeted fans inside a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” has left Hollywood reeling.
At the time of the shooting that left 12 movie patrons dead and 59 others wounded, director Christopher Nolan and actors Christian Bale, Anne Hathaway and Morgan Freeman were in France, preparing for the Paris premiere of the film. Warner Bros., the studio behind “The Dark Knight Rises,” immediately cancelled the event - as well as a morning press conference featuring the A-listers.
“Warner Bros. and the filmmakers are deeply saddened to learn about this shocking incident,” the studio said in a statement. “We extend our sincere sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims at this tragic time.”
This article deals entirely with how the shooting can affect the film commercially, publicly, and aesthetically.
[taken from ‘Dark Knight Rises’ draws $30.6 million at midnight opening, Scott Bowles, USA Today]
The Dark Knight Rises scored a healthy $30.6 million at midnight screenings Friday, the second highest opening on record, according to studio estimates.
How the massacre at an Aurora, Colo., theater showing the film affects the rest of its commercial run is up in the air, analysts say.
“There’s a distinct possibility that the movie could get hurt, especially among families who were going to turn out,” says Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations, an industry ticket-tracking firm.
Bock says that the film’s violent tone may be too much for some audiences, especially those who keep up with current events.
“The movie is so dark, it could be hard for people to put their minds around this.”
There are also several reports on a victim who is reported as having been in a similar shooting situation in Toronto back in June, as well as many commenting on the White House responding to the incident on a national scale, and innumerable opinions of varying degrees over what should be done concerning gun control as a reaction across the media.
I urge everyone to look into this as much as you can; pay attention to the phrasing of headlines, the words used in lead paragraphs, and the order and weight of importance attributed to the story of each article. The effects and ramifications of this event will only continue to develop, so stay watchful and informed.
Farmers across the United States hoped for rain in July 2012 as a drought of historic proportions parched key commodity crops, including corn, soybeans, and wheat. On July 11, the United States Department of Agriculture announced that more than 1,000 counties in 26 states qualified as natural disaster areas—the largest total area ever declared a disaster zone by the agency.
The extent of the damage to crops is depicted in this vegetation anomaly map based on data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. The map contrasts plant health in the central United States between June 25 and July 10, 2012, against the average conditions between 2002 and 2012. Brown areas show where plant growth was less vigorous than normal; cream colors depict normal levels of growth; and green indicates abnormally lush vegetation. Data was not available in the gray areas due to snow or cloud cover. The image is based on the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), a measure of how much plant leaves absorb visible light and reflect infrared light. Drought-stressed vegetation reflects more visible light and less infrared than healthy vegetation.
The most severe damage to crops appears to be centered on Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Crops in much of the upper Midwest—southern Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, southern Illinois, western Kentucky, and western Tennessee—also show signs of strain. States in the Mountain West that are in the midst of a busy wildfire season—Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado—have also experienced marked declines in the health of vegetation. The drought has been less severe in Iowa, a key corn-growing state.
This drought, like all extreme weather events, has its direct cause in a complex set of atmospheric conditions that produce short-term weather. However, weather occurs within the broader context of climate, and there’s widespread agreement among scientists that the climate is changing due to human activity.
Conservative radio host Janet Mefferd recently warned her listeners that a report about CNN host Anderson Cooper revealing he was “proud” to be gay could literally make them vomit.
“I don’t know about you, when your kids are sick like mine sometimes are and they’ll come down in the middle of the night, ‘Mommy I have a stomach ache,’ I always give them the same words of advice, ‘Get a bucket, put a little bit of water in it and put it next to your bed and that way if that upset stomach does what it might do, you’ll be prepared,’” Mefferd explained to her listenersearlier this week.
“So in that vein, I would like to give you the same advice. Given what I’m about to talk about, you might want to get yourself a bucket with a little water in it and that way if you feel a little sick and it manifests itself in a physical way you’ll be prepared,” she continued.
Mefferd went on to explain that Cooper’s announcement was the “the neo-pagan story of the day” and compared it to Jerry Sandusky pedophilia case.
“If this were pagan, Ancient Rome, Jerry Sandusky wouldn’t have been in trouble at all because homosexuality and man-boy love was so common and so accepted that outrage would’ve been inconceivable,” she insisted. “It is only the vestiges of Christianity in our culture that give people the moral framework by which you can look at a Sandusky and feel revolted. And you know what the way we are going, Jerry Sandusky, 30 years from now may be a normal thing.”
“Anderson Cooper did receive from God an ability to love, but not that kind of love,” the radio host added. “That’s not love, it’s not love. All you need to do is go back to Romans Chapter 1. This is an absolute pagan expression that has twisted love beyond recognition and turned it into something that is not God’s design at all. This is a lie from the pit, and we must oppose it.”
Listen to this audio from the Janet Mefferd Show via Right Wing Watch, broadcast July 3, 2012.
This can stop right now.
I refuse to permit this kind of intolerable bullshit to be spread any further, especially when it is due to the advent of something so socially taboo as a public figure publicly revealing their true sexuality, when its only purpose of existence is to deny and remove any rights that figure has to, god forbid, be who they actually fucking are.
I think it’s safe to assume the vast majority are well to moderately-acquainted with who Anderson Cooper is, but let’s for a moment get a sense for this Mefferd character. This is no ‘fringe’ talk show host rabidly spewing from a pulpit on the periphery of public media. This is a person whose voice is heard by over a hundred broadcasters across the country, who regularly interviews personalities as infamous as Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and Herman Cain. This is a person who is so batshit insane that she sincerely believes Pagans destroyed marriage, and that gay Pagans are now working to destroy it again. This is a person who not only believes that only the bible is totally trustworthy, but warps and manipulates that sole keeper of truth with a mixture of neo-conservatism of apocalyptic proportions and good old-fashioned White American apathy and ignorance to conform with her own ideologies.
Her manipulation is easily evident in any of her broadcasts, dialogues, or writings. Hell, a brief glance at the excerpts above are more than revealing of her own very real and very obvious agenda. Apparently ancient Rome was a hotbed of child molestation and homosexual orgiastic sin; allegedly our own empire can expect these levels of moral corruption in the next generation. Somehow, what little moral decency our society clings to is due entirely to Christianity, the sole beacon of good will on all earth. Inexplicably, an act as simple yet virtuous as honesty is not only comparable with something as abhorrent as child molestation, but even more unforgivably (in this ideology), equitable with Satanic evil. In her own framework, her rampant hatred and absolute intolerance is impossible to ignore.
She was right to precaution her words with preparing readers for sickness; I feel like vomiting when I’m forced to confront such vile, insidious hatred aimed at someone so undeserving of scorn. I have deep respect for Anderson Cooper; as a white male American citizen whose wealth and heritage greatly exceeds most other white male Americans, he works far more honestly than most other public icons I’m familiar with, not ever ignoring his numerous privileges but acknowledging and speaking to them wherever appropriate, balancing discretion with moderation. To me he exhibits true morality, far beyond many I wished held more in relation to the positions they keep. Yet to a person as entrenched in egotism and discrimination as Janet Mefferd, his faults outweigh his virtues, because not only does Cooper have the audacity to be a homosexual, but he now bears the irrevocable sin to be a homosexual in public—a crime not only self-inflicting in its punishment, but to her one that further damns our whole society.
But I forgot that criticizing someone’s bigotry—especially when that someone is a public figure—is the same thing as persecuting their religious beliefs; that being offended by someone’s intolerance for myself and others is vastly more importantly offensive against those people who actively hate.
I forgot that the bible, a book written by people who also absolutely did have an agenda, would obviously provide an unbiased and infallible account of history better than modern scientists and researchers ever could.
I forgot that how someone loves is always a choice, should never be exempt from public scrutiny, and yet ironically only ever under scrutiny or deemed a choice when the love in question doesn’t conform to Judaeo-Christian dogma.
Please forgive my forgetful mind and absolve it of its trespasses.
As we forgive those who trespass against us
And lead us not to cruelty,
But deliver us from evil.
“The State Department of Agriculture came in and inspected our hives 4 times, 3 times when we were not home, and without due process. I have never received or found a Search Warrant. I own four businesses. I am here all the time. Yet they took our bees and hives when we were not home. What did they do, sit up on the hill and watch until we left? We had not yet had our day in court to prove that our hives did not have foulbrood!”
Here’s the gist of this story … a beekeeper has his bees stolen from him by the Illinois Department of Agriculture without a warrant claiming his bee hives were infected with “foulbrood” a bee disease. He was able to go to court regarding this incident 3 weeks after all of his bees were taken. One of the bee hives that was taken was the main hive that Terrence Ingram used for his research of the impacts of Monsanto pesticides on bees. Love the part in the video where Mr. Ingram talks about the supervisor from the Illinois Department of Agriculture “going ballistic” any time someone says they won’t use chemicals to manage their bee hives. Lovely.
Bottom line – this man’s property was stolen and the evidence that his bees were infected was stolen and perhaps destroyed. The state has violated this man’s constitutional rights in numerous ways and they have yet to give him access to his bees to prove they were incorrect. They did this without a warrant and it’s completely unacceptable. The relationship between the Agriculture Department and Monsanto is too comfy … but it’s undeniable that there is a dwindling population of bees all of a sudden and for some reason … we can’t seem to figure out why.
You can start reading part 1 of this story HERE:
Unfortunately, it was not his knowledge of eagles that the Illinois Department of Agriculture sought when they paid an unannounced visit to his home in March. It was his bees.
I received a phone call from an area County Farm Bureau manager about the article, asking how I had come across the information. He knew that the equipment was not stolen, but “destroyed” by the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDofA). The hives were infected with foulbrood, and Ingram was doing nothing about it.In the March 21, 2012 issue, The Prairie Advocate published a news release from Ingram that reported the theft of $5000 of his bees and bee hives on March 14. Ingram said that before they had left for their granddaughter’s wedding in Texas, the hives had been cleaned and made ready for new spring swarms.
It was not until during a hearing at the IDofA in Springfield on April 4th that Ingram found out who “the culprit” was. The hearing, held 3 weeks after the IDofA removed most of his bees and hives from his property, was to determine whether or not Ingram had American Foulbrood in his hives.
Dr. Mercola explains his research into the affects of Monsanto’s Roundup on bees HERE:
Ingram believes the destruction of his bees and hives is more likely to be related to his research into the effect of Roundup on honey bees. He claims some 250 of his colonies have been killed off over the years by Monsanto’s broad-spectrum herbicide, used in large quantities on both conventional- and genetically engineered crops. Ingram’s research shows that Roundup can lead to what’s called chilled brood, which is an entirely different scenario.
According to Ingram, quoted from Kocal’s article:
”When Round-Up kills the adult bees there are not enough bees left in the hive to keep the young bees (brood) warm, and the young bees die from the cold (chilled brood). I tried to prove that just because foulbrood can be detected once the hive has been disturbed, doesn’t mean the hive has foulbrood.
Inside a honeybee hive is one of the cleanest places you can find. Anything that is a problem, if the bees can’t remove it, they cover it with propolis, which is an antiseptic… When you go into the comb and cut it up, disturb it like the investigators did, then send it to a lab, it exposes foulbrood to the world. In the beehive, it’s covered up. The bees aren’t affected by it. But you can find it by sending it in to a lab.”
And as the Huffington Post points out - Monsanto bought a large respected bee research company HERE:
While these studies strongly suggest that herbicides are a culprit, scientists caution that colony collapse disorder is a complex phenomenon with multiple causes, ranging from the loss of wild bee habitats to the weakening of bee immune systems as a result of poor diet (commercial bees are frequently fed pesticide-laced corn syrup instead of their own honey) and also the techniques of modern beekeeping, which include the artificial insemination of queens, and the resulting loss of genetic diversity in the bee population.
Some have also pointed the finger at the pollen from genetically modified Roundup Ready corn which bees ingest, and which contains a powerful insecticide within its genetic structure. Roundup seeds are manufactured by Monsanto, and are currently planted across wide swaths of the American Midwest and elsewhere.
So with Monsanto products themselves amongst the key suspects in Colony Collapse Disorder, one might ask: Why has the multinational bought a company which has been a key player in researching this disorder as well as Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus, another scourge of bees?
NationofChange shares this quote HERE:
“Owning a major organization that focuses heavily on the bee collapse and is recognized by the USDA for their mission statement of ‘restoring bee health and protecting the future of insect pollination’ could be very advantageous for Monsanto.”
The number of honeybee colonies is declining throughout the country … and no one knows why. If only we could ask a respected bee research company to explain. Chart can be found HERE.
The NY Times details how these bees have gone missing … and explains how many plants and crops will be affected by a declining bee population HERE:
The sudden mysterious losses are highlighting the critical link that honeybees play in the long chain that gets fruit and vegetables to supermarkets and dinner tables across the country.
Beekeepers have fought regional bee crises before, but this is the first national affliction.
Now, in a mystery worthy of Agatha Christie, bees are flying off in search of pollen and nectar and simply never returning to their colonies. And nobody knows why. Researchers say the bees are presumably dying in the fields, perhaps becoming exhausted or simply disoriented and eventually falling victim to the cold.
They are also studying a group of pesticides that were banned in some European countries to see if they are somehow affecting bees’ innate ability to find their way back home.
With Greek economy in collapse and looking like it might have to remove itself from the Euro, some are seeing this as the first domino to fall in the single European currency. After Greece could come Spain and Italy and eventually the whole thing. And if it happens, it will be bad, and the UK, which is not a Eurozone country, could bear the weight of the whole thing falling— riots, markets dropping, huge waves of immigration etc. So in case that happens, Britain is drawing up plans for the possibility.
[further reading taken from above]
[Diplomats are preparing to help Britons abroad through a banking collapse and even riots arising from the debt crisis.
The Treasury confirmed earlier this month that contingency planning for a collapse is now under way.
A senior minister has now revealed the extent of the Government’s concern, saying that Britain is now planning on the basis that a euro collapse is now just a matter of time. “It’s in our interests that they keep playing for time because that gives us more time to prepare,” the minister told the Daily Telegraph.
Diplomats have also been told to prepare to help tens of thousands of British citizens in eurozone countries with the consequences of a financial collapse that would leave them unable to access bank accounts or even withdraw cash.
Fuelling the fears of financial markets for the euro, reports in Madrid yesterday suggested that the new Popular Party government could seek a bail-out from either the European Union rescue fund or the International Monetary Fund.
There are also growing fears for Italy, whose new government was forced to pay record interest rates on new bonds issued yesterday.
The yield on new six-month loans was 6.5 per cent, nearly double last month’s rate. And the yield on outstanding two-year loans was 7.8 per cent, well above the level considered unsustainable. Italy’s new government will have to sell more than EURO 30 billion of new bonds by the end of January to refinance its debts. Analysts say there is no guarantee that investors will buy all of those bonds, which could force Italy to default.
The Italian government yesterday said that in talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Prime Minister Mario Monti had agreed that an Italian collapse “would inevitably be the end of the euro.”
The EU treaties that created the euro and set its membership rules contain no provision for members to leave, meaning any break-up would be disorderly and potentially chaotic.
If eurozone governments defaulted on their debts, the European banks that hold many of their bonds would risk collapse.
Some analysts say the shock waves of such an event would risk the collapse of the entire financial system, leaving banks unable to return money to retail depositors and destroying companies dependent on bank credit.
It was really only a matter of time before the rickety Euro came down, and it could be gone in less than 10 years. Part of the thinking behind the Euro was that a common currency and common markets could not only compete against the dollar, but could bring stability to a continent that has spent much of the last several centuries periodically tearing itself apart through war. But if the Euro does collapse, things could get pretty nasty.
wow this is far more serious than I thought, and much more sudden
we’ve all for the most part been pretty aware of Greece’s unfortunate financial collapse, rioting, and ensuing trouble politically; the last I’d heard, Spain was faring better than the last few years; though I’m not sure how able Spain’s People’s Party will be. If the IMF becomes involved, it will be a new chapter in globalized finances; certainly the fact that a country like Spain, which has held a more prominent place in the IMF, would be inadvertently creating a shift in the historic creditor/borrower divide.
Also this more recent exposure of Italy’s precarious situation financially to effectively pay off debt does not sound like it will amount to much. Strange how quickly the optimism of the Euro has nearly completely dried up, replaced with everyone in the EU is expecting it to collapse.
Quote of the Day: Gavin Newsom really doesn’t like being Lt. Gov. of California.
This is only what’s being tweeted and mentioned on livestreams. I have yet to see an actual news report on it.
I’m seeing nothing about this on the local news. Consider this a wild rumor until something solid develops.
Well yeah, obviously. OP said it was a rumour in the first place. Just something to keep an eye on.
The Greek poet Hesiod described the Five Ages of Man in mythology.
They progress from the Golden Age, when people lived among the gods, through the warlike Bronze Age and on to the Heroic Age. His narrative ends with the Iron Age, a period of toil and misery for mankind.
Science has now replaced these mythologies. We are at the point where we look at the entire universe as a grand series of game-changing leaps toward our emergence as an intelligent species. It is an epic story more compelling than anything from creation mythology.
Peter Goodspeed: Dying as a political act: Centuries-old Buddhist tradition of self-immolation continues in China
“This was not the random act of a disturbed individual, but rather a single manifestation of a deeply rooted set of ideas and ideals in Chinese Buddhism that blossomed again and again in the history of pre-modern China.”
Photo: Tibetan exile Janphel Yeshi, 27, runs as he is engulfed in flames after he set himself on fire to protest an upcoming visit to India by Chinese President Hu Jintao, March 26, 2012, in New Delhi. Yeshi suffered life-threatening burns. (AFP/Getty Images)