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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 76,318

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The Sheriffs Honored by America's Foremost MAGA Think Tank Just Keep Getting Creepier

(Slate) This past November, some of the most controversial sheriffs from around the country gathered for a week at a luxury waterfront hotel in Huntington Beach, California, for what is becoming an annual ritual: the Claremont Institute’s Sheriffs Fellowship. For the past two years, the MAGA-aligned think tank has hosted a choice selection of county sheriffs as honored fellows to fill their minds with frothy far-right intellectualism, hoping these humble, heavily armed servants will return home newly emboldened to implement proto-authoritarian policies in their local communities. The 2022 class of Claremont Sheriffs Fellows are perhaps even more frightening in their personal ideology than those of two years ago.

The acceptance letter for the eight 2022 Claremont Institute Sheriffs Fellows thanked each one for “uphold[ing] the very foundation of western civilization,” while also promising a $1,200 travel stipend and $1,500 honorarium. On the last evening of the six-day training session, Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb, a possible Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Arizona next year and a 2021 Claremont Sheriffs Fellow, received a John Wayne statuette for what Claremont called the American Sheriff Award as part of a closing reception and dinner.

For the 2022 Sheriffs Fellowship, Claremont opted not to post the names of the honored sheriffs online, which differs from the public recognition granted as part of every other Claremont fellowship. Because sheriffs are elected officials and draw a salary from the state, though, public records requests obtained by American Oversight, a nonpartisan, nonprofit transparency watchdog organization, produced the Claremont schedule and list of fellows. The principal change from the 2021 curriculum was an increased focus on guns and the premise of a near-unlimited right for Americans to own them.

The only sheriff to publicly announce his fellowship was Dar Leaf of Barry County, Michigan, who forwarded his acceptance letter to Richard Mack, the founder and ex-president of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, the day he got it and appeared on Sam Bushman’s radio show Liberty Roundtable. (Bushman is currently the CEO of CSPOA and its national operations director.) Leaf was an understandable choice for the fellowship, given his pre-fellowship radicalism.

In May of 2020, Leaf appeared onstage at an anti-mask rally with at least one of the militia members who was later prosecuted for an attempted plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat. After the 2020 election, Leaf was one of the first sheriffs who claimed widespread voter fraud. Even though his county voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump, the sheriff sent an investigator to demand that local election officials submit their voting machines for a forensic examination. He is now himself the subject of a state investigation for tampering with voting tabulators. .............(more)


"Patients would come 9 or 10 times": What we can learn from the first time abortion was banned

"Patients would come 9 or 10 times": What we can learn from the first time abortion was banned
Author Jennifer Wright on abortionist Madame Restell got rich in the 1900s — before the right drove her to suicide

Senior Writer

(Salon) It's a historical fact that has been buried for far too long, but is now more relevant than ever: In the 19th century, abortion was extremely popular.

Abortion was so popular, in fact, that it became the source of wealth for one of the richest women in the country at the time, Ann Trow Lohman, who was better-known by her advertising moniker, Madame Restell. Over decades of running an abortion empire from her home in New York City, Madame Restell was able to amass a massive fortune and so much fame that "Restellism" became the Victorian-era term for terminating an unwanted pregnancy. But then, as now, she faced deeply misogynist opposition by those appalled at a woman who helps other women control their bodies. Madame Restell died in 1878 by suicide, after being hounded legally by the self-appointed guardian of American sexual morality, Anthony Comstock.

In her new book, "Madame Restell: The Life, Death, and Resurrection of Old New York's Most Fabulous, Fearless, and Infamous Abortionist," author Jennifer Wright uses the wild story of Lohman's life as a lens to examine not just how Victorians thought about sex, motherhood, and gender roles, but how modern people still struggle with these issues. Wright spoke to Salon about her book and why this history matters even more now that abortion is being banned across the nation again.


I know there's probably no way to know this, but it seems to me that women got more abortions in the 19th century than they do now.

The estimate is that about one in five pregnancies ended with abortion. One anti-abortion crusader at the time said that he thought that, in New York, it was closer to one in four. Also, people would not have just one abortion. Madame Restell had patients who would come 9 or 10 times. Without good birth control, abortion was how you avoided having a baby. So there would be many repeat customers, for years.


A lot of people don't know that abortion was quasi-legal for much of America's early history.

Yeah, it got more illegal as the 19th century went on. One factor is the medical establishment. The American Medical Association comes out against abortion by 1859. A great new number of medical schools were producing doctors, but the doctors they were training didn't really have much expertise on how to work with female patients. Doctors were encouraged to avert their eyes whenever they were examining a female patient, to "respect" her modesty. You would never see a pregnant woman when you were at medical school. So a lot of people still preferred to work with midwives when it came to giving birth or otherwise having their female needs addressed.


After nearly 50 years of abortion being legal in the U.S., Roe was overturned in June. I I know you were working on this book before that happened. What do you think people can learn from Madame Restell's experiences? She lived through the same thing, watching abortion become more criminalized. It eventually took her life, this crackdown on abortion.

When Madame Restell started working, women were assumed to have sexual appetites and to not want an unlimited amount of children. She lived to see that freedom taken away entirely. And I think if she had lived longer, she would've also seen the negative consequences of that. Because as women are forced to bear children, it was not good for their health. We're beginning to see the consequences of that again, in our own age. Maternal death rates go up in the states that have criminalized abortion, and we're going to keep seeing that. Throughout the later decades after Madame Restell, people didn't stop having abortions. They just increasingly tried to perform them upon themselves, often with disastrous results. .........(more)


Jimmy Kimmel hits back over report that Trump White House pressured Disney to censor his jokes

(Salon). Former President Donald Trump had his staff pressure Disney to crack down on late-night host Jimmy Kimmel's show, according to Rolling Stone.

Trump in early 2018 was "so upset by Kimmel's comedic jabs that he directed his White House staff to call up one of Disney's top executives in Washington, D.C., to complain and demand action," according to the report.

Disney is the parent company of ABC, which airs "Jimmy Kimmel Live!"

Trump aides placed at least two separate phone calls at the time to convey the "severity of his fury with Kimmel," former administration officials told the outlet. Aides pushed Disney to "rein in" Kimmel and said that Trump felt Kimmel had been "very dishonest and doing things that [Trump] would have once sued over," a former official told Rolling Stone. .............(more)


Christian and Muslim groups want faith protections added to LGBTQ rights bill

(Detroit Free Press) Christian and Muslim groups are raising concerns about a state bill supported by Democrats and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer that seeks to include LGBTQ people as a protected group under a civil rights law.

Catholic, Protestant, Muslim and Republican leaders say that state Senate Bill 4, introduced last month, could lead to discrimination against religious people and groups, exposing them to potential lawsuits if they articulate conservative views on marriage and sexuality. They're asking supporters of the bill to include a section that explicitly protects the rights of religious groups, something they said 22 other states included when they passed laws to add sexual orientation as a protected category.

"We strongly believe Michigan should include protections for religious organizations in Senate Bill 4 to avoid faith-based organizations, particularly those who believe marriage is between a man and a woman, from being targeted for litigation," Tom Hickson, vice president for public policy and advocacy for the Michigan Catholic Conference, said this month to the Senate Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety Committee. "Every state that has amended its anti-discrimination law ... has included protections for religious organizations. Unfortunately, Michigan appears to be going in an opposite and unprecedented direction."

The Michigan Catholic Conference, which is the main lobbying and advocacy arm of the Catholic Church in Michigan, said it is extending an "olive branch to supporters" of the bill to find a resolution.

"We will try to find common ground on this topic," Hickson said. ...............(more)


What to expect from this year's CPAC: Biden bashing, 2024 primary chatter and lawsuit gossip

(Guardian UK) Its impresario is facing allegations of sexual assault. Its headline act is a twice impeached former US president under criminal investigation. And its after-dinner speaker is a local news anchor turned far-right election denier.

Welcome to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which claims to be the biggest and most influential gathering of conservatives in the world. It is also a perennial window to the soul of the Republican party.

After going on the road to Florida and Texas because of their more relaxed coronavirus pandemic restrictions, CPAC returns to the Washington area on Wednesday for the first time since 2020, offering a four-day festival of political incorrectness, Maga merchandise and Joe Biden-slamming bombast.

But this time the cavernous corridors of the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, will fill with chatter about the Republican presidential primary in 2024 – and gossip about CPAC’s own organiser and public face, Matt Schlapp.

An unnamed Republican staffer has filed a lawsuit accusing Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, of groping his genitals as he drove Schlapp to a hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, last October. The man, who is in his late 30s, is seeking nearly $9.4m in damages in a complaint that included screenshots of purported text messages. ...........(more)


'You're not forgotten': how the right racialized the Ohio train disaster

(Guardian UK) Until 2 February it was business as usual in the small rural community of East Palestine, Ohio. The local paper carried obituaries and sporting results, interspersed with stories of a homecoming queen, an abusive puppy mill and the driver in the Toughest Monster Truck Tour who was arrested for human trafficking.

The next day it all went up in flames.

“Train derailment sparks massive fire, prompts evacuations.” “Videos show major fire raging after tanker train derails.”

The derailment of a 50-car freight train carrying toxic materials on 3 February shattered daily life in East Palestine and sent a pall of black smoke over the region. Potentially lethal chemicals spewed into the air, ground and water.

Three weeks into the disaster, a new set of headlines has started to billow up from right-wing outlets and commentators. Now the tragedy of East Palestine has morphed into a racialized lament for the “forgotten” people abandoned by the uncaring “woke” Biden administration. ..............(more)


Angela Davis shows us why "Finding Your Roots" complicates and strengthens the American story

Angela Davis shows us why "Finding Your Roots" complicates and strengthens the American story
If you only watch the viral clip revealing Davis' link to the Mayflower, you're missing the full story

TV Critic

(Salon) The blonde girl's face squinted up at me from the bottom of a bedside table's drawer, looking as if she were as surprised to be found as I was to unearth her. My mother and I were decluttering her bedroom down to its cracks and corners. That meant emptying the places where she'd stuffed items that she didn't want to lose but may have been comfortable forgetting for a while. Objects like this faded photo, its scalloped edges framing the figure of a child I'd never seen before, standing in some yard I had never visited and grinning into the sunshine.

I asked my mother who it was, and she stopped whatever she was doing to peer at the picture. "That's your cousin," she said, blithely as she would have identified an obsolete utensil – that goes there, you can throw that out – as opposed to a whole flesh-and-blood relative I'd never met.

She tried to resume her busy work, but I pressed her for an explanation. To the best of what I can recall, here's what she said. Sometime in the 1950s or '60s, a family member moved to another state and passed for white. This was his kid. "Finding Your Roots" host Henry Louis Gates, Jr. might call her a page on my book of life.

That was all she saw fit to disclose, and if I were better at reading my mother's hesitation, I would have recognized this to be a sensitive topic. But I was either a clueless teenager or in my thoughtless early 20s, and reduced it to its potential as material, as if life were an "In Living Color" sketch. When I floated the fantasy of what would happen if I tracked her whereabouts, my mother sternly shut that down. "Don't be cruel," she said. "Can you imagine what that would do to her life?"


The viral video clip from Tuesday's episode of "Finding Your Roots," showing Angela Davis' incredulity at hearing she is a Mayflower descendant, should be a reminder that the weight of hereditary discovery lands heavier on some than others.


Other replies predictably reflected the careless truculence that fuels most Internet discourse: Cheap jokes from white supremacist half-wits trolling for attention or elated to have a small piece of information they can twist out of context to discredit Davis' legacy of anti-racism. Fury toward Gates for appearing to present this information incautiously or for referring to the Mayflower's passengers – colonizers – as "people who laid the foundation for this country." Also, anger and honest confusion at Davis for being upset.



Together their histories tell us much about the complex, messy manuscript that is the American story. The level of passion incited by less than a minute of it demonstrates why that story is constantly being edited and contested. .............(more)


German Ballet Director Formally Apologizes For Smearing Feces In Critic's Face

BERLIN (AP) — A German ballet director issued a public apology on Tuesday for smearing dog feces on the face of a newspaper critic whose reviews he had taken exception to.

Marco Goecke was suspended from his post as ballet chief at the Hannover state opera following the weekend incident. T he theater’s management called on him Monday to apologize “comprehensively” and explain himself.

According to the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Goecke approached its dance critic, Wiebke Huester, during the interval of a premiere at the opera house on Saturday and asked what she was doing there.

The newspaper said that Goecke, who apparently felt provoked by a recent review she wrote of a production he staged in the Netherlands, threatened to ban her from the ballet and accused her of being responsible for people canceling season tickets in Hannover. He then pulled out a paper bag with the feces and smeared her face with the contents. ...............(more)


Alligator rescued in New York City park has bathtub stopper stuck in body

(Guardian UK) The alligator discovered in a New York City park reportedly has a bathtub stopper stuck in her body, and her caretakers have been unable to remove it because of her poor state of health.

The 4ft-long female reptile, rescued from a lake in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park on 19 February, was named “Godzilla” because of her size. However, her health was in a dire state when she was recovered, and she was “extremely emaciated”, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) said in a statement on Wednesday.

Godzilla weighed about 15lbs when found, a little less than half the weight of an alligator this size. According to the image of a radiograph from the Bronx Zoo, where Godzilla is receiving treatment, there is an object stuck in the right part of her stomach: a 4-inch wide bathtub stopper, WCS said in its statement.

The stopper cannot be removed because of the alligator’s “weakened” status, presenting a hurdle for the animal’s recovery. ..............(more)


US man dies from stroke days after realtor found him but didn't call for help

(Guardian UK) A US family has demanded an investigation after its patriarch reportedly died within days of having a stroke in his home and being found but left on the floor by a real estate agent who never called anyone for help.

Loved ones of the dead man – 69-year-old Randy Vaughan of North Carolina – are raising questions about whether the realtor should have been expected to do more. The state agency that oversees realtors in North Carolina has indicated it is opening an inquiry into the case and is scheduling interviews with Vaughan’s family about his death, the Winston-Salem Journal newspaper reported Friday.

“It’s about basic decency, caring for your fellow human beings and being a professional,” Vaughan’s brother, Doug, said to the Journal.

The realtor, for her part, reportedly told the Journal she has “an attorney involved” and has “no liability”. ..............(more)


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