landscape wallpapers, all your uterus belong to us, linnaeus and the teen troglodyte

tuscany spring wallpaper

tuscany spring wallpaper 1920×1080

storm break wallpaper

storm break wallpaper 1680×1050

marriage contract

Jewish marriage contract, manuscript, ink and paint on paper, dated 13 September 1871 at Itsfahan, Iran. I don’t know what the translation is. We’re not pass such things, prenuptial agreements are the modern era marriage contracts. While the history is interesting in light of modern day tensions with Iran and a Jewish couple wedding in the same territory over a hundred years ago, what drew my attention was the hand etched art.

Some organically grown links:

This SCOTUS decision didn’t make the headlines, A Legal Blow to Sustainable Development

While that may sound obscure, the decision in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District will result in long-lasting harm to America’s communities. That’s because the ruling creates a perverse incentive for municipal governments to reject applications from developers rather than attempt to negotiate project designs that might advance both public and private goals — and it makes it hard for communities to get property owners to pay to mitigate any environmental damage they may cause.

The IRS “Scandal” Was A Scam

Monday’s revelation that progressive as well as conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status had been singled out for review by the Internal Revenue Service left one pressing question: Why [[then]] did the inspector general’s report detailing improper scrutiny only mention conservative groups?

Last night we got the answer: The IG only reported on conservative groups because that’s what Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), the notoriously partisan chairman of the House Oversight Committee, told him to do.

That is some mighty fine corruption there Congress Critter Issa (R-CA), when you can get the U.S. Inspector General to spin reports for you.

Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778) was one of the great pioneers of what would become  modern science. That is not to say he was always right. In 1758 he tried to purchase a teenager in London as a scientific specimen. He thought she was a troglodyte

Wendy Davis Showed Texas’ GOP Boys How to Respect Women. Just as I read that story, a wire service reported that Gov. Perry (R-TX)  has called for another special session so his gerrymandered legislature can give him clear title of Grand Wizard of All Texas Uterus. Perry and Governor Kasich (R-OH) plan to have an annual convention of Conservative Men With a Uterus.

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beach tides wallpaper

beach tides wallpaper

beach tides wallpaper

 

Walmart has some very low moral standards, so if they refuse to do business with someone they must be pretty awful, Did a Slave Process the Shrimp in Your Scampi?

Over the past 20 years, the rapid rise of South Asian shrimp farms has transformed our relationship to the tasty mollusk, shifting it from an occasional luxury to an all-you-can-eat commodity. Twenty years ago, most of our shrimp came from domestic wild fisheries. Today, we import 90 percent of it, almost all of it farmed. But who works on these foreign farms and processing facilities—and under what conditions?  A new briefing paper by the well-respected International Labor Rights Forum and the Warehouse Workers United (WWU) alleges serious labor abuses, including illegal use of underage workers, at the Thai shrimp producer Narong Seafood, at least until recently a major supplier of Walmart and a leading shrimp processor for the US market, according to a recent analysis by the consultancy Accenture for Humanity United.

Narong, for its part, disputes the charges in the report. “We insist that Narong is against child labor or any unfair treatment to our staff or workers,” a company official wrote in an emailed statement.

Yet Walmart says it stopped buying from Narong in 2012, as a “result of our auditing process.” The Walmart press officer I corresponded with declined to divulge any details of the company’s audit, but added that “Walmart does not—and will not—tolerate child labor of any type in our supply chain.”

Accenture’s report on the Thai shrimp industry found that “exploitative labor practices have been established and institutionalized in an industry where significant export revenues and profits have accrued to transnational companies and to local elites.” And probably much lie America’s corporations and Chamber of Commerce these transnational companies and local elites will claim they are doing people a favor by creating jobs and critics are obviously anti-business commies. There has always been that low level corrupt segment of any population willing to sell-out their neighbors, like the union buster thugs that worked for the mine companies in the late 19th and early 20th century. What can be said for people who would treat their neighbors like trash so they can skim a little more for themselves. I feel like I have read a fair amount of literature on capitalism and the Austrian School of wackos aside, no reputable market theorist has proclaimed that a business owner of say a mutational corporation  has the right to exploit workers so they can, what live in a McMansion instead of a nice little home, drive a Lexus SUV,  live a decadent lifestyle – see Mitt Romney, the Koch brothers, the Walmart and Coors families.

Winter street, with car and lamppost

Winter street, with car and lamppost in the snow, on an Amsterdam street. 1939. By Wiel van der Randen.

Probably like most people I think of viruses as being pretty nasty. It turns out that some of them are not so bad after all, Fast-acting virus targets melanoma in mice

“After injection into the blood stream of mice, the virus finds melanoma on its own, and is fast and aggressive with tumors,” said Anthony N. van den Pol, professor of neurosurgery at Yale School of Medicine, investigator for the Yale Cancer Center and senior author of the study. “Because the virus replicates rapidly, it can kill the melanoma before the immune system responds and kills the virus.”

In the process of eliminating the virus, the immune system may also begin to target and kill tumor cells, he added.

Even more interesting in being injected with a cancer killing virus is that the virus seems to teach, to some degree, our body’s own immune system to attack the tumor.

bee and trumpet flower wallpaper, radical agendas depend on intimidation and lies

bee and trumpet flower wallpaper, spring

bee and trumpet flower wallpaper

The truth not only hurts, it makes things uncomfortable a radical agenda. 3  Bangladesh ‘bloggers’ arrested

Detective Branch (DB) of Police late on Monday night arrested three ‘bloggers’ in the capital for allegedly making inflammatory postings on the internet on sensitive religious issues.

…The government on Mar 13 had formed a committee to identify and take actions against those who make offensive statements against Islam and its Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH). The committee also opened an email account to receive allegations over such offensive statements.

Because this has worked at some time in history. That time was…Well there was no time that censoring, arresting or executing dissidents has worked in the long-term to stop people from questioning religious or political zealotry. Though the fundamentalists who approve of this kind of tyrannical behavior are probably not students of history. At least not a history that has not been highly redacted. American conservatives follow, ironically considering their hatred of all Muslims, pretty much the same recipe. Repeat lies over and over again. The cult of conservatism seems to believe the magic of repetition makes a lie a new truth, Conservatives Lying About Food Stamps

Just today, the Wall Street Journal had a report [2] on rising SNAP costs, with the provocative title, “Use of Food Stamps Swells Even as Economy Improves,” with the planted axiom being that there should be an inverse relationship between food stamps and the unemployment rate.

But as Jordan Weissmann points out [3] at The Atlantic, that’s a false premise:

[R]epeat after me: There are record numbers of Americans on food stamps today because there are record numbers of Americans in poverty (records begin in 1959.)

As of 2011, there were 46.2 million men, women, and children living below the U.S. poverty line. There isn’t much reason to believe that the last year of mediocre job growth has dented that number. And until it plunges, the food stamp rolls are going to stay full — plain and simple.

This is fairly easy problem to solve. Stop paying executives ridiculous salaries and bonuses, which they in no way earn, and start paying employees a  living wage. All American subsidize the profits of corporate America because they pay rank and file employees so little they need public food assistance and Medicaid to survive.

Overseer Artayou Carrier whipped me

This 1863 photograph of “Peter,” a former slave displaying scars from his overseer’s whippings, was widely reproduced as evidence of slavery’s cruelty. The image was sometimes paired with a photo or drawing of “Peter” after his enlistment in the U.S. Army. “Peter” was sometimes identified as “Gordon.”

“Overseer Artayou Carrier whipped me. I was two months in bed sore from the whipping. My master come after I was whipped; he discharged the overseer.” The very words of poor Peter, taken as he sat for his picture. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
4/2/1863

a new birth of reason remembered, the dancing couple by steen, abusive partners can sabotage contraception

An new article on a American statesman and free thinker who has almost been forgotten, A New Birth of Reason

Ingersoll emerged as the leading figure in what historians of American secularism consider the golden age of freethought—an era when immigration, industrialization, and science, especially Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by means of natural selection, were challenging both religious orthodoxy and the supposedly simpler values of the nation’s rural Anglo-Saxon past. That things were never really so simple was the message Ingersoll repeatedly conveyed as he spoke before more of his countrymen than even elected public leaders, including presidents, did at a time when lectures were both a form of mass entertainment and a vital source of information.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899)

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899)

Ingersoll was something of an oratory rock-star in his day commanding a dollar a ticket to his sold out lectures. According to one on-line calculator that would be about $15 a ticket in today’s dollars. This is from an essay by Ingersoll, Art And Morality by Robert G. Ingersoll. North American Review, March. 1888.

Actions are deemed right or wrong, according to experience and the conclusions of reason. Things are beautiful by the relation that certain forms, colors, and modes of expression bear to us. At the foundation of the beautiful will be found the fact of happiness, the gratification of the senses, the delight of intellectual discovery and the surprise and thrill of appreciation. That which we call the beautiful, wakens into life through the association of ideas, of memories, of experiences, of suggestions of pleasure past and the perception that the prophecies of the ideal have been and will be fulfilled.

Art cultivates and kindles the imagination, and quickens the conscience. It is by imagination that we put ourselves in the place of another. When the whigs of that faculty are folded, the master does not put himself in the place of the slave; the tyrant is not locked in the dungeon, chained with his victim. The inquisitor did not feel the flames that devoured the martyr. The imaginative man, giving to the beggar, gives to himself. Those who feel indignant at the perpetration of wrong, feel for the instant that they are the victims; and when they attack the aggressor they feel that they are defending themselves. Love and pity are the children of the imagination.

   The Dancing Couple,  Jan Steen, 1663. Oil on canvas

The Dancing Couple,  Jan Steen, 1663. Oil on canvas. ” Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:13

 

Why can’t people stop acting like jackasses, Abusive partners can sabotage contraception

When a husband hides a wife’s birth control pills or a boyfriend takes off a condom in the middle of sex in hopes of getting an unwilling girlfriend pregnant, that’s a form of abuse called reproductive coercion.

While researchers don’t know exactly how common such coercion is, it’s common enough – especially among women who are abused by their partners in other ways – that health care providers should screen women for signs at regular check-ups and pregnancy visits, says the nation’s leading group of obstetricians and gynecologists.

“We want to make sure that health care providers are aware that this is something that does go on and that it’s a form of abuse,” says Veronica Gillispie, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Ochsner Health System, New Orleans, and a member of the committee that wrote the opinion for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. It’s published in the February issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, out today.

Reproductive coercion occurs whenever a partner tries to prevent a woman from making her own choices about pregnancy, Gillispie says. That includes trying to get a woman pregnant against her will, through forced sex or other means; it also includes using pressure or threats to get a woman to continue an unwanted pregnancy or end a wanted one.

In studies cited by the committee, “birth control sabotage” was reported by 25% of teen girls with abusive partners and by 15% of women who were physically abused. Some men go as far as to pull out a woman’s intrauterine device (IUD) or vaginal contraceptive ring, the committee says.

dante’s tomb, astounding new finding magic can make words true, the third reich and nra gun control lie

  Tomb of Dante, c. 1898 by  John Russell Pope

  Tomb of Dante, c. 1898 by  John Russell Pope. During some religious-political infighting between Catholics, supports of the Pope versus supporters of those who wished to preserve and expand the former glory of the Holy Roman Empire. Dante supported the Pope and was ordered to pay a fine by the Empire supporters the Black Guelphs ( not related to ethnicity). If he did not pay the fine he was subject to execution by burning at the stake. Since he thought he was innocent of any wrong doing and the Black Guelphs had seized his assets he left in a kind of exile. Even in exile Dante invoked God to destroy the Black Guelphs. Though he also became disenchanted with the White Guelph because of their political infighting. Dante died while returning from a trip and was buried in the small town of Ravenna originally – pictured above. The residents of Florence came to regret Dante’s exile and asked that his remains be returned to Florence, where they built another tomb for him. The government of Ravenna refused and even hide his bones at one point. The tomb in Florence remains, but empty to this day. John Russell Pope (1874-1937) was an American architect. Apparently his rendering was just one of many studies he did of various works.

There are a few perspectives to choose from when thinking of Dante. As a horror fantasy writer is one way,

For one thing, Dante had a curiously modern sense of violent spectacle. The central dramatic technique of the Inferno is what Dante called the contrapasso—the fitting punishment that each sinner receives in the afterlife. In coming up with those punishments, Dante appealed to a basic appetite for fantastic violence—the kind that, today, is gratified by horror or science-fiction films. Take this scene (from the Robert and Jean Hollander translation) in which aman is morphed into a lizard and a lizard into a man:

First his calves and then his thighs began
to knit so that in but a moment
no sign of a division could be seen.

The cloven tail assumed the shapes
the other one was losing, and his skin
was turning soft while the other’s hardened.

I saw the man’s arms shrinking toward the armpits
and the brute’s forepaws, which had been short,
lengthen, precisely as the other’s dwindled.

Then the hind-paws, twisting together,
became the member that a man conceals,
and from his own the wretch had grown two paws.

 

 

    Birds, American paining c. 1840 century oil on canvas

Birds, American paining c. 1840 century oil on canvas. Artist unknown. I cannot name all of them, but there is an eagle, a brown thrasher, a hummingbird ( there are about 14 species native to North America), a quail, a bluejay, what might be the now extinct Carolina Parakeet. That red bird seems like a whimsical version of a cardinal or maybe a waxwing.

US Radio host: Same-sex marriage laws might force a resurrected Jesus to marry a man.

Linda Harvey, a host of the Ohio based Christian radio station WRFD has warned that the passing of same-sex marriage laws might cause Jesus Christ to marry another man.

The Christian radio host this month said that same-sex marriage encourages children to have gay sex and that gay people aren’t human and should therefore not be protected under the US constitution.

Lets out aside for the moment the doctrinal issues here, like humans being able to force the son of God or the earthly embodiment of God to enter into a civil marriage, pay for a marriage license or why he would even desire to wed a fleshly human. While it may not seem like it some days, we live in an empirical based world – we have to prove our bridges will not collapse with calculations and knowledge of materials science. We require testing of new drugs and medical procedures. We have to obey mathematical and physical laws to keep from injuring ourselves. We as a society, in other words, require proof of statements – our health and lives depend on it. Now, it seems in M’s Harvey’s world, proof is not required. saying the words magically makes them true. This is a remarkable phenomenon. I would venture to say earth shattering in its repercussions.

spiral staircase wallpaper, earth tones, architecture

spiral staircase wallpaper

Jess Dixon in his flying automobile.

Jess Dixon in his flying automobile. “Built by Jess Dixon of Andalusia, Ala. Can fly forward, backward or straight up or hover in the air. Runs on road or flys across country. 40 H.P. motor, air cooled, speeds to 100 m.p.h.” Original photo by Kobel Feature Photos (Frankfort, Ind.). This low resolution print is courtesy State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/17346. According to this site, Jess and his flying car appeared in Mechanix Illustrated Nov. 1941.

One of the WP neighbors has a wonderful photo essay on old closed American textile mills, ” The Thread That Connects Us All “

  Street in Venice  John Singer Sargent 1882 oil on wood

  Street in Venice, by  John Singer Sargent 1882. oil on wood.

Alex Seitz-Wald gives the NRA some history lessons, The Hitler gun control lie. Gun rights activists who cite the dictator as a reason against gun control have their history dangerously wrong

The 1938 law signed by Hitler that LaPierre mentions in his book basically does the opposite of what he says it did. “The 1938 revisions completely deregulated the acquisition and transfer of rifles and shotguns, as well as ammunition,” Betancourt wrote. Meanwhile, many more categories of people, including Nazi party members, were exempted from gun ownership regulations altogether, while the legal age of purchase was lowered from 20 to 18, and permit lengths were extended from one year to three years.

Logic can suck sometimes. It hurts our brains and sometimes it is boring, but it is one of the things that separates us from scorpions,

Besides, Omer Bartov, a historian at Brown University who studies the Third Reich, notes that the Jews probably wouldn’t have had much success fighting back. “Just imagine the Jews of Germany exercising the right to bear arms and fighting the SA, SS, and the Wehrmacht. The [Russian] Red Army lost 7 million men fighting the Wehrmacht, despite its tanks and planes and artillery. The Jews with pistols and shotguns would have done better?” he told Salon.

Governments, including ours can be heavy-handed. Though if the gov’mint, i.e. the FBI, the DEA or ATF come for your ass, best to get a good lawyer rather than grab a gun; see Ruby Ridge.

Ruby Ridge was the site of a deadly confrontation and siege in northern Idaho in 1992…It involved Weaver, his family, Weaver’s friend Kevin Harris, and agents of the United States Marshals Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation. It resulted in the death of Weaver’s son Sammy, his wife Vicki, and Deputy US Marshal William Francis Degan.

At the subsequent federal criminal trial of Weaver and Harris, Weaver’s attorney Gerry Spence made accusations of “criminal wrongdoing” against every agency involved in the incident: the FBI, USMS, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) for Idaho

I left out a sentence that claims the siege started because Randy Weaver refused to be an informant for the FBI. That is a ‘fact’ that is highly disputable.

 

a sinister kind of freedom, amber glass boat wallpaper, destroying pleasure and motivation

One of the neighbors is going to start his own business. He going to fit every employee with a state of the art surveillance camera so he can monitor them for proper behavior. He thinks bubble gum is a plaque on civilized society – its under tables in restaurants, under chairs at the theater. Anyone one he sees buying gum will have the same amount deducted from their paychecks. He hates dolls, especially the ones with the black lifeless eyes. He’s not sure, but suspects they’re evil so he’ll be deducting for that. he thinks high heels are provocative, so he will not be paying for those either. he feels badly for men who suffer from impotence so it’ll pay them a little extra if they have to get a prescription for impotence medication. His mom used to get yeast infections all the time so he’ll pay women who have to get treatment a few extra dollars as well. He really hates the south side of town so any employees that live there he is going to take the cost of their rent or mortgage payment out of their check. It is for their own good. he is merely encouraging them to do what is absolutely the right thing to do. These issues and many more are moral issues over which he and his religious council have prayed, discussed and given very deep thought, so one can hardly blame him for basing his pay on deeply held moral convictions, right? Hobby Lobby To Deny Contraception To Employees, Ignoring Court Order. Freedom.

rust marches on

rust marches on

More thoughtful morality and freedom, Islamic “justice” in Mali

BAMAKO, Mali — Moctar Touré was strapped to a chair, blindfolded, his right hand bound tight to the armrest with a rubber tube. A doctor came and administered a shot. Then Mr. Touré’s own brother wielded a knife, the kind used to slaughter sheep, and methodically carried out the sentence.

Souleymane Traoré had his right hand cut off by Mr. Touré’s brother, a police chief in the Islamist-held north.

“I myself cut off my brother’s hand,” said Aliou Touré, a police chief in the Islamist-held north of this divided nation. “We had no choice but to practice the justice of God.”

Such amputations are designed to shock — residents are often summoned to watch — and even as the world makes plans to recapture northern Mali by force, the Islamists who control it show no qualms about carrying them out.

After the United Nations Security Council authorized a military campaign to retake the region last week, Islamists in Gao, Mr. Touré’s town, cut the hands off two more people accused of being thieves the very next day, a leading local official said, describing it as a brazen response to the United Nations resolution. Then the Islamists, undeterred by the international threats against them, warned reporters that eight others “will soon share the same fate.”

This harsh application of Shariah law, with people accused of being thieves sometimes having their feet amputated as well, has occurred at least 14 times since the Islamist takeover last spring, not including the recent vow of more to come, according to Human Rights Watch and independent observers.

I’m an expert at skimming text. Though I am aware that in issues of importance, contracts, developing a moral philosophy is is best to take in the whole texts, not just the ones about vengeance, say like this one, Quran 18:29, “The truth is from your Lord”: it is the free will of any person to believe (in God) or to be an Infidel (Un believer). Muslims do get a mixed message from the Quran, at one point condemning Jews as jst so much human trash, yet at the same time citing Moses, Aaron, Yusuf (Joseph), David, Solomon, Zachariah, Younis (Jonah) as prophets, but they were all Jews. If one is going to treat religious doctrine as a buffet table – and most religions do – why not choose to emphasize the more virtuous and tolerant aspects.

amber glass boat wallpaper

amber glass boat wallpaper

Physicians in China treat addictions by destroying the brain’s pleasure center

The authors [of a new study], led by Guodong Gao, claim that the surgery is “a feasible method for alleviating psychological dependence on opiate drugs.” At the same time, they report that more than half of the 60 patients had lasting side effects, including memory problems and loss of motivation. Within five years, 53% had relapsed and were addicted again to opiates, leaving 47% drug free.

Conventional treatment only results in significant recovery in about 30-40% of cases, so the procedure apparently improves on that, but experts do not believe that such a small increase in benefit is worth the tremendous risk the surgery poses. Even the most successful brain surgeries carry risk of infection, disability and death since opening the skull and cutting brain tissue for any reason is both dangerous and unpredictable. And the Chinese researchers report that 21% of the patients they studied experienced memory deficits after the surgery and 18% had “weakened motivation,” including at least one report of lack of sexual desire. The authors claim, however, that “all of these patients reported that their [adverse results] were tolerable.” In addition, 53% of patients had a change in personality, but the authors describe the majority of these changes as “mildness oriented,” presumably meaning that they became more compliant. Around 7%, however, became more impulsive.

So if I understand this correctly they are asking people who had part of their brain removed to give an informed opinion of the benefits of that tissue removal. I was wondering how this works in terms of motivation. Few people are or can afford to be pure hedonists, but being able to feel pleasure – of the kind after you accomplish something like a finished work project, some pleasurable release to look forward to like relations with your partner or playing with your kids – are major life motivators. In at least some of these patients they no longer have that motivation or the ability to feel the reward.

The Diplomats of Solid Sound — Soul Connection

so comparatively i guess death threats against atheists are not that bad, stem cells from urine

The seven countries where the state can execute you for being atheist

 

-The annual “freedom of thought” report from the International Humanist and Ethical Union, an advocacy umbrella group that represents and seeks to protect non-religious people, details laws and practices around the world that punish or restrict atheism. The group presented the report to the United Nations today.

The seven countries where the state can execute you for being atheist

larger map

 

The report tracks, among other things, which countries have laws explicitly targeting atheists. There are not many, but the states that forbid non-religiousness – typically as part of “anti-blasphemy” legislation – include seven nations where atheism is punishable by death. All seven establish Islam as the state religion. Though that list includes some dictatorships, the country that appears to most frequently condemn atheists to death for their beliefs is actually a democracy, if a frail one: Pakistan. Others include Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan, the West African state of Mauritania, and the Maldives, an island nation in the Indian Ocean. These countries are colored red on the above map.-

Actual death sentences are rare, but obviously such blasphemy or heretic laws, have a tremendous oppressive effect on religious freedom and intellectual freedom. So I guess one should be grateful that we live in a country where being atheists will likely get you some death threats, will automatically disqualify you from elected office ( there have been some rare exceptions), may get you fired and keep you from getting a job ( though employers are generally clever enough to cite other reasons).

reach and grasp

reach and grasp

We’re all peepee heads now, From Urine to Neurons

-Chinese scientists have found a way to transform cells from human urine into neural progenitor cells that can become several different types of functioning brain cell. Published this week (December 9) in Nature Methods, the research offers a quicker and relatively easy way to generate neurons and glial cells that will be useful for studying neurodegenerative conditions, like Alzheimer’s, and for testing related therapies.-

I have my fingers crossed about breakthroughs in neruodegenerative diseases related to aging. I have issues with getting old, but none of them matches the dread of being severely cognitively impaired.

1950s city collage

1950s city collage

 

The Dave Brubeck Quartet “St Louis Blues”