The Widdershins

A murderer and an abuser walk into a locker room…

Many activists in the field of domestic violence feel that the qualifier “domestic” is one thing that helps enable its persistence. If we were just to call it “violence” when one partner physically assaults the other, would we see these heinous acts as more serious, more criminal?

What if the two didn’t know each other? Would the subtext of “She was asking for it” still be there?

Think about it. What if you saw that infamous Ray Rice video on your local news station, and it was presented this way:

“This horrifying video of a man beating a woman unconscious in an elevator was sent to the police and released to Eyewitness News in the hopes of identifying the criminal. Please call 311 if you have any information about who this person is.”

After that story, wouldn’t you be hoping to next see that man in handcuffs, doing the perp walk, instead of, say, at a high school football game in New Rochelle?

Ray Rice made his first public appearance with his family Saturday since being released by the Ravens and indefinitely suspended from the NFL. Rice, along with his wife Janay and daughter Rayven, returned to his hometown of New Rochelle, New York to watch his old high school team play. Rice’s middle school in New Rochelle removed Rice’s framed jersey from the gymnasium, which drew a mixed reaction from students.

See, right there. Removing the jersey “drew a mixed reaction from students.” The man beat the sh*t out of his wife! The very LEAST he deserves is to have his f*cking jersey removed from the middle school he attended! And sorry, no, the idea that Ray Rice hit his wife like this only once, is about as credible as the idea that Chatblu and Fredster will stop watching college football and take up the harp instead. (Sorry guys, couldn’t resist. :-))

Oh, but it gets worse. MUCH worse.

New Rochelle [high school] head coach Lou DiRenzo said that the team stands behind Rice in a statement to the media at halftime.


“The New Rochelle football program is a very strong program, and once you’re a member of that program, you’re a member of that program for life. Ray is a part of our family and a part of this program, and that’s why I’m very happy that he’s here today. He made a mistake — and he made a very terrible mistake — but I know the character of the man, and he will rise from this. The mistake that he made will be erased by the good deeds that he will continue to do.”

If you saw that video presented in the way discussed above….would you say he “made a very terrible mistake?” Or would you want him locked up, and the key thrown into the Marianas Trench?

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What a week! The gut wrenching anniversary of 9/11 always does a number on my psyche. I’m not sure I have ever mentioned it, but within 36 hours of the original 9/11, a State Fair winning ribbon of shingles came for a nice, long 6 weeks visit to my temple shanty of a body.

The wrongheaded decisions in the aftermath of 9/11 caused the President this week, now thirteen years later, to reluctantly speak to the nation about terrorism. To everyone’s surprise, the terrorism he was talking about wasn’t in the NFL.

It seems the all too sad realities of domestic violence only become a national topic of conversation when there’s a video of the actual roundhouse punch. I guess we can delude ourselves into believing a woman being dragged out of an elevator like a lifeless sack of flour is the victim of a freak Muzak overdose — unless and until we see the actual haymaker delivered by her soon-to-be husband.

It’s been nice not having the Congress around for five weeks or so. As good Congress critters should, I’m sure they’ve been diligently studying social policy and science especially the Old Testament parts. For those whose expertise is in foreign policy, I’m sure they have been emailing a certain Nigerian Prince about his current financial liquidity problems.

With Congress coming back to D.C., I find myself wanting to escape to the movies, but good movies this summer have been as rare as hen’s teeth. The two biggest movies of the summer have been Guardians of the Galaxy, a movie about a gang of misfits thrown together sorta like the Tea Party caucus, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or Mitch McConnell, the Early Years.

What has been somewhat amazing is that the end of life as we know it didn’t happen this summer. Remember, Obamacare was supposed to herald the end times — pestilence-ridden streets where insurance CEOs had to scrape by on meager eight-figure salaries. Then there was the southern invasion of what Rep. Steve King termed, an influx of cantaloupe-calved 8 and 9 year olds. Luckily, quick thinking Homeland Security professionals had plenty DVDs of Mitch McConnell, the Early Years to assuage these pint-sized invaders.

Putin was a problem this summer, but that is to be expected when you have a megalomaniac who would be denied a quarter pounder based upon shirt requirements. One positive this summer, Kim Jong Dumb’Un has been relatively quiet — I guess killing your uncle gives one pause to reflect.

There was bad news and then good news associated with the African outbreak of the Ebola virus. The bad news was there was an outbreak of the Ebola virus. The good news is there seems to be some new type of medication that might be able to help or at least it looks that way. The medicine is fabricated through the genetic altering of tobacco. I’m sure the tobacco companies are already test-marketing Joe Camel vs. the Mozambique Man.

So all in all, this summer has been one big “meh” — nothing great, nothing so disastrous that it didn’t have the potential for something positive. Sadly, we lost two “greats” this summer — Robin Williams and Joan Rivers. Having grown up with them, I feel as if I somehow knew them and so their passing seems to hurt more than other celebrities.

Last Tuesday I had the sentence in my E I E I, Oh… post, “Unfortunately, the innocence of childhood is not a chronic condition and likewise, the opportunity for twilight atonement is a fast-passing blur of missed fortunes.” I was kinda proud of that sentence until my lifelong best friend gently, as only as best friend can, told me, “That sentence sucks!”

What I was trying to say was this: It’s too bad maturity eats away at our innocence because there’s never enough time to right our inevitable wrongs. The key is what we do in between those two milestones.

So for your weekend viewing pleasure, I leave you with a couple of examples from the greats we lost this summer. One who never lost his child-like innocence and the other one, who never seemed to regret.

Have a great weekend.




Good Thursday, Widdershins.  September 11th is the 254th day of the year.  It is also the anniversary of one of the worst attacks on American soil.  This is one of those days, like Pearl Harbor and the Kennedy Assassination, that anyone alive at the time remembers where they were and what they were doing forever.  I also cannot forget the ensuing years that trapped us in a long and tortuous was that depleted our blood, our treasure, and our standing in the world.

Last night I listened to the President’s speech.  As usual, it was well-delivered, but this time relatively free of soaring rhetoric.  He has decided to authorize airstrikes against ISIS/ISIL, and hopes that Congress will see fit to back him in this venture.  He stated that he would hunt down terrorists, that there would be no safe havens.  We know that to be the case, as evidenced by Osama bin Laden. None can fault him there, and superficially, this sounds fine.

The President then announced that he was sending 475 troops over to ask as advisers.  This also sounds okay, until you realize that whether you are killed holding a clipboard or killed driving a tank, you are just as dead.  Further, “advisers” are likely making their umpteenth trip back, and leaving their families behind again.  Even worse, the VA system has been catastrophically messed up for forty years, so it is safe to assume that if these “advisers” are injured, things won’t have cleared up enough to help them either.

Further, Obama is again counting on a “coalition of nations” to help.  I still cringe when I remember the infamous “coalition of the willing”, some of whom had contributed fewer than 20 troops to the Iraq debacle.  Please, let them be a bit more willing with troops and treasure this time.  Said coalition will strike back at the terrorists and make the world a better place if they do, and I am in complete agreement with that premise at face value.  However, history suggests that the vacuum will promptly be filled with some entity that rapidly manages to become even more repugnant than its predecessor, and this time there is the real possibility that we could manage to help Assad return to power.  I am becoming more and more convinced that the more we try to fix this, the worse it becomes.

A number of Congress folk have been muttering about action against ISIS/ISIL.  Dick Cheyney and the neocons have been making the rounds to crank everybody up about the need for further warfare.  However, I have to wonder if Congress can be realistic about the cost of war and the necessity to raise the revenue necessary to finance said activity.  The President seems confident that the initial Authorization for Use of Military Forces (2001) would cover him, but I really do believe that it’s time for Congress to get off the sidelines and declare themselves.  Decrying his position and catcalling has worked beautifully for years, but the time has come to stand up and be counted.

I have never been fond of Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA).  However, as he is on his way out having run for and lost the Republican primary for Governor (Georgia is one of those states that prohibits you from running for two offices at once), he had a moment of abject truthfulness with the New York Times:

“A lot of people would like to stay on the sideline and say, ‘Just bomb the place and tell us about it later,’ ” said Representative Jack Kingston, Republican of Georgia, who supports having an authorization vote. “It’s an election year. A lot of Democrats don’t know how it would play in their party, and Republicans don’t want to change anything. We like the path we’re on now. We can denounce it if it goes bad, and praise it if it goes well and ask what took him so long.”

We’ll see how this goes, now that Congress needs to go on the record.  It will be interesting to see how all of the various Senators and Representatives vote, now that the bright light is shining on them six weeks prior to the midterms.  I just hope that we are not racing toward another debacle for fear of meeting ISIS at the supermarket.  Let’s just say that I am “shock and awe”-d that we find ourselves back at square one.

That said, today is a day of remembrance.  A lot of good people lost their lives on 09/11, and on many days thereafter.  If you think of it, say a prayer for them.  If you have one, light a candle for them.   Above all, think of those they left behind.

This is an open thread.


unbalanced scale

So maybe not so much on the “justice for all” part these days…especially if you are poor.  And probably also if you are black.  You can take the case of Nicole Bolden for example.  Nicole lives in St. Louis county Missouri.  One day as she was driving, a car made an illegal U-turn in front of her.  She did her best to avoid the accident but it happened nonetheless.  Nicole wasn’t at fault and didn’t want to call the police but the other driver insisted on it and that’s when Nicole’s problems started.

A police officer arrived and Nicole said he was fairly nice at first.  But then, when he ran her name and information he changed his attitude.  The officer changed his attitude because when he ran Nicole’s information, he found she had outstanding warrants in four different jurisdictions in St. Louis County.  The warrants were for failures to appear in court for traffic violations.  The reason she didn’t appear for the court hearing was because she didn’t have the money to pay the fines.

A couple of those fines were for speeding, one was for failure to wear her seatbelt and most of the rest were for what defense attorneys in the St. Louis area have come to call “poverty violations” — driving with a suspended license, expired plates, expired registration and a failure to provide proof of insurance.

Because these warrants were in different towns or municipalities in St. Louis County, each of which had it’s own little court system, Nicole had to go through all of them.

The Florissant officer first took Bolden to the jail in that town, where Bolden posted a couple hundred dollars bond and was released at around midnight. She was next taken to Hazelwood and held at the jail there until she could post a second bond. That was another couple hundred dollars. She wasn’t released from her cell there until around 5 p.m. the next day. Exhausted, stressed, and still worried about what her kids had seen, she was finally taken to the St. Charles County jail for the outstanding warrant in Foristell. Why the county jail? Because the tiny town of 500 isn’t large enough to have its own holding cell, even though it does have a mayor, a board of aldermen, a municipal court and a seven-member police department. It’s probably best known locally for the speed trap its police set along I-70.

By the end of the line, so-to-speak, in St. Charles County it had been 36 hrs since the time of the accident.  Oh and Nicole asked about what was going to happen to her kids who were with her and the officer replied she better arrange for someone to come and get them.  She was fortunate that another officer stayed with the kids until Nicole’s mother and sister could get them.

This was Nicole’s second arrest.  She had had another in 2009 on a warrant for a speeding ticket.  She was in jail for three days for that one.  This time Michael-John Voss of ArchCity Defenders explained that the town of Foristell only held municipal court every two weeks.  As Voss explained:

“She was crying as I explained the situation to her,” Voss says. “So then I started to cry as I explained it her. One of the really frustrating things about what’s happening here is that this system is breaking good people. These are people just trying to get by, just trying to take care of their families.” Voss’s eyes well up as he talks about Bolden. This isn’t just an attorney defending his client. It’s a guy who is concerned about what’s happening to another human being. Bolden is a single black woman with four kids. She has several tattoos. It’s easy to see how cops might target her, or court officials might dismiss her. But Voss points out that she had already earned an associate’s degree in medical assistance. And while dealing with all of the arrests and the harassment, she earned another in paralegal studies.

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You are probably wondering why I would title this post after the refrain from my first grade debut PTA performance — think Eddie Munster with Kathy Bates bangs gone bad. Even at the vintage age of six, knowing my singing was cat-cringingly awful, I had no other option but to turn the “E I E I O” part into an Oscar-worthy overly dramatic reading. That was a harbinger of the diarrheal wordiness of someone whose screen name is Prolix.

The other title I mentally work-shopped (I really need to get a life) was not in keeping for my usual standards of Bob in Shades Drivingobliqueness bordering on the opaque. The other title was, “Old McDonnell lived a fraud“ — a bit too obvious for my tastes, but now you know the topic. I just couldn’t allow the salacious Bob McDonnell trial and verdict to slither away into the ether without comment.

It wouldn’t surprise me if you are thinking, “Yeah, that’s all well and good Prolix, but what separates Bob McDonnell from any of the other legion of fallen pols who have splayed themselves before us?” There’s Anthony Weiner whose electronic communication was always identifiable since he sent along anatomical proof of his surname. There’s John Edwards who believed a potential president ought have both a first and a second family. There’s so many D.C. examples I’m not sure why Viagra commercials aren’t just still photos of the Washington Monument — after the scaffolding came down that is.

With that said, I still think Bob McDonnell is different from all the rest — both quantitatively and qualitatively. Just in sheer numbers, the volume of McDonnell’s bad decisions puts all other comparisons to shame. From the engraved Rolex to the beggar’s loans to the New York shopping sprees to the Ferrari joyriding to the $15K of fried chicken for his daughter’s wedding to his cockamamie defense, McDonnell’s cavalcade of horrendously bad decisions should be an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. The inexorable result of his anorexic judgment is the Olympic equivalent of an ever accelerating bobsled team forgetting their brakeman at the top of the hill.

Bob and RolexIn terms of the quality of his bad decisions, no one holds a candle to the caliber of his impeccable insipidity. Just one example is needed here: Who could possibly think it is a grand idea to forego a one-count non-corruption guilty plea for a roll-of-the-dice defense centering around unmercifully trashing the mother of your children and wife of thirty-eight years? Who? Someone whose posterior should be immortalized on the “Mt. Rushmore of Inglorious Assholes“.

That tells us the “how” of the long “can’t take my eyes off it” fall, but nothing of the “why” — so I fired up the old googling machine. I started with the supposition that like many politicians, McDonnell labored under a hyper-extended sense of “Significance”. In positive psychology, Significance is akin to classical extraversion — getting your self-esteem from the way others see you.

You probably know people with Significance. They are the people with the most pristine lawns in the neighborhood. They have the largest or newest or most exotic cars that are always shiny enough to perform open heart surgery on their hoods.

People with Significance are devoid of self-esteem until they are filled with words of admiration, adulation, or jealousy by onlookers. They are emotionally fragile and cold unless they are warmed by the envy of others. It goes without saying, in such an internal vacuum there is little habitable space for others.

So I asked the googling machine for clues to support my hypothesis. It didn’t take long for the ones and zeroes to report Bob Prayingback aplenty. The first clue was McDonnell being a Notre Dame and Boston University educated, middle-aged Catholic man who calculatedly enrolled in the 700 Club’s Regent University. Quickly McDonnell became a protégé of Pat Robertson and a regular on the 700 Club teevee show. Robertson was a heavy contributor and an inevitably inane early cheerleader for McDonnell in his Virginia political rise.

Another clue might have been the 93-page thesis he wrote while cultivating his culturally conservative creds at Regent University. The paper entitled, The Republican Party’s Vision for the Family, contained unforgettable pearls of wisdom like:

Working women are detrimental to families. The government should favor married people over cohabitators, homosexuals, or fornicators. The government must restrain, punish, and deter the exercise of liberty when it takes the shape of pornography, drug abuse, or homosexuality. Birth control should be constrained and discouraged for married people.

Another clue might be McDonnell, once the trial began, started bunking down with a priest for appearance’s sake in keeping with his trifling defense. This was the same priest who happened to have pleaded guilty to a sex crime “arising” from an arrest the day before Thanksgiving for giblet nibbling in a parked car at a local park. I’m quite certain the priest didn’t hear McDonnell’s confession about leading a Commission for the recriminalization of sodomy. For those with unbridled Significance like McDonnell, situational morality is genetically imprinted.

Bob and MaureenThere is no greater clue of what makes McDonnell tick than allowing his wife to be labeled a “nut bag” in need of medication who was out of her league as First Lady of Virginia. Where can you go from there? McDonnell saw such limitations as a challenge and he didn‘t stop there, he stooped even lower by actually having his children testify as to his wife’s, their mother’s, peculiarities and foibles.

Obviously in his Regent University education, McDonnell either failed to read or failed to understand Ephesians, Colossians, or I Peter, where cherishing, honoring, and not being harsh to your wife is pretty succinctly explained. But then again, consistency in values is not a hallmark of those with Significance.

Without so much as even touching upon the policies McDonnell championed as Governor, he paints a pretty vivid self-portrait of self-indulgent opportunistic hedonism. The lesson here is that politics didn’t create the beast — the beast merely came to feed at the trough of politics.

Unfortunately, for people like McDonnell the innocence of childhood is not a chronic condition and likewise, the opportunity for twilight atonement is a fast-passing blur of missed fortunes. It’s too bad he’s filled the years in between by trying to fill a unrequitable chasm of insecurity. For anyone who is not above using anyone or anything, whether it be a wife, children, or religion in the furtherance of their own Don Quixotesque quest for love, acceptance, or respect, it is indeed a fool’s errand.

On the positive side, he has the years that come with eleven federal convictions to figure out what we just learned by asking, “Why?” Perhaps in the years to come he will too.

Take this conversation wherever you would like since this is an open thread.

Have a Widderful Tuesday.

Good Monday, Widdershins. I hope everyone had a relaxing weekend and enjoyed all the football, both college and pro.

I came across an article this weekend that caught my eye. Despite all the happy talk about the improving economy, the sense that we never recovered from the 2008 crash has always been with me, and with many readers of this blog as well. This feeling was not only reflected in my own experience, but also by some of the more truthful stories and posts about the effects of long-term unemployment, and the changing of the job market to a much more part-time/no-benefits model.

Per the linked article, it seems that these feelings have a basis in reality.

The number of long-term unemployed in the world’s major economies has increased by 85% since the financial crash, according to the latest employment monitor by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD).

More than 16 million people have been out of work for at least a year in the first quarter of 2014, up from 8.7 million before the crisis, or more than one in three of all unemployed across the OECD‘s 34 member countries, the report said.

The Paris-based forum gave a stark warning to countries such as Spain, Portugal and Greece, which recorded the biggest increases in unemployment after the 2008 crash. It said there is growing evidence that part of what was originally a cyclical increase in unemployment has become structural and “will thus be more difficult to reverse during the economic recovery”.

It said: “Therefore, tackling unemployment where it remains high and driving down long-term unemployment remain key policy priorities.”

Paul Krugman warned that this would happen. Does he ever get tired of being completely right, and having no one pay attention? From an April 21, 2013 NY Times post entitled “The Jobless Trap:”

… Five years after the crisis, unemployment remains elevated, with almost 12 million Americans out of work. But what’s really striking is the huge number of long-term unemployed, with 4.6 million unemployed more than six months and more than three million who have been jobless for a year or more. Oh, and these numbers don’t count those who have given up looking for work because there are no jobs to be found.

It goes without saying that the explosion of long-term unemployment is a tragedy for the unemployed themselves. But it may also be a broader economic disaster.

The Krug’s bleeding liberal heart feels for the long-term unemployed, and he writes from their perspective. The article in the Guardian takes a wider view, and focuses more on how the members of the EOCD should fix the structural issue of long-term unemployment from a policy perspective. To me, the recommendations are a little confusing.

The main message from the report is that governments need to work harder to equip workers with the skills needed to cope with a fast-changing economic landscape.

Um, huh? I like the idea of investing in job training, but I remember hearing this trope from both GWB and Obama and not buying it then. How difficult is it to learn to say “Welcome to Wal-Mart, how may I help you?”

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Good Friday to you Widdershins.  We’ve come to the end of another week with a lot of awful and ghastly news in it so let’s once again take a lot at some of the odd, funny or unusual things I’ve come across on the web.

So you think there is air rage now with reclining seats?

Well it would appear that Airbus is thinking waaay beyond the concept of reclining seats colliding with passenger knees in the seat behind.  Airbus has indeed patented this concept.  You won’t need to worry about things like tray tables, reclining seats or anything of the sort.

Plane manufacturer Airbus has filed a patent for small seats with short backrests that can fold up when not in use.

“In effect, to increase the number of cabin seats, the space allotted to each passenger must be reduced,” the patent application reads.

Gone are the tray tables and cumbersome seat cushions, which means even more passengers could be crammed in an aircraft for short flights. Instead, the diagrams show chairs that resemble bicycle saddles and the opportunity to get up close and personal with your neighbor.

The patent application goes on to say that the “reduced comfort remains tolerable for the passengers in as much as the flight lasts only one or a few hours.”

Another way to pack more people onto planes would be to reduce the distance between two seats, the patent filing says.

But adds, “it is difficult to continue to further reduce this distance between the seats because of the increase in the average size of the passengers.”

Airbus kind of pooh-poohed the idea saying:

“Many, if not most, of these concepts will never be developed, but in case the future of commercial aviation makes one of our patents relevant, our work is protected,” spokeswoman Mary Anne Greczyn told the Los Angeles Times. “Right now these patent filings are simply conceptual.”

Well I say b.s. on that.  If they’ve drawn these plans up, they’ve got an idea of trying to use them.  I think if they’ve gone to the trouble of designing some piece of torture equipment like this, they’ve got the idea of using it.  Can you imagine sitting on something like that for a few hours?  Oy!

Can you be “passive-aggressive” with a watermelon?

I dunno, but it seems a woman in Connecticut thought so.  It seems that maybe this woman had a guy working at her house and for whatever reason decided to check out what was in his tool box and discovered some marijuana and “other drugs” in the toolbox.  She went to the police and reported it but nothing was done.

They say she later returned home to find the watermelon on the counter with a butcher’s knife in it. She reported that Cervellino then entered the room and began carving the watermelon. She called the incident passive-aggressive and menacing.

I dunno.  At least it wasn’t sensuous or wasn’t done in a sexy way or anything.   :roll:

Is this one of those “how dumb can they get” stories?

Yes, I would think it fully qualifies for that category.  Poor Oscar Aguillar who hailed from Mexico City.  All he was wanting to do was to pose for a selfie when things didn’t quite work out as intended.

A man’s attempt to take a dramatic selfie reportedly turned tragic earlier this month when the loaded gun with which he was posing went off and killed him.

According to Mexican newspaper Excelsior, Oscar Otero Aguilar, a 21-year-old man from Mexico City, had been drinking with friends before the incident occurred. The friends reportedly said Aguilar had grabbed a gun with the intention of posing with it for a selfie, which he intended to post on Facebook.

Police said Aguilar had “borrowed the gun and was waving it around” as he attempted to take a photo, WFTS-TV reports.

The gun, however, went off, and Aguilar was shot in the head. He died soon afterward.

I’m not sure if I agree with that phrasing from HuffPo.  “Aguilar was shot in the head”.  Hmmm..more like Aguilar shot himself in the head.  Whether by accident or intention, he was the one who did it.  Just sayin’…..

Some assorted youtube clips

I like this first clip.  Seems these two guys working a power company somewhere were clearing a right of way for power lines when they found this little deer caught up in brush and thorns.  He/she was pretty shaken up so they decided to pick the little critter up and rub it’s belly to try to calm it down.  That worked well.  That worked very well because every time the guy try to put the deer down it starts raising hell.  Now, the power company guy looks sorta cute fro the little you can see what with his sunglasses and the hard hat, so if he were holding me and rubbing my belly I might bleat out a “Noooo” too.  :lol:

This next clip, a guy is swimming in a pool and then starts to swim down some underwater.   Well this just tears Tucker the Viszla all to pieces and Tucker has to jump into the pool to “rescue” his master.

Here’s another clip with a Viszla who is definitely not a morning dog.  You might want to turn your volume down.

Okay this last one has a cute little Chihuahua who is completely laid out with a newspaper while getting what seems to be a very relaxing head massage.  The dog seems to be just completely enjoying the entire thing.

Okay that’s going to about do it for me Widderfriends. I’m still taking it a bit easy with the back.  I had to go to the grocery earlier so I made sure I had taken a dose of Aleve and had it working in me before going to the store.  And then I was reaaaaally careful getting the bags out of the truck.

So anyway, it’s a completely open post so comment on whatever you wish to. This post will be up until Monday.


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