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This guy summed up the entire Bible in one Facebook post, and it was perfect

This guy summed up the entire Bible in one Facebook post, and it was perfect
posted by DeadState November 22, 2014 Featured, Religion


Is this what Babylonians listened to?

Thu Dec 25, 2014 at 06:00 PM PST
Is this what Babylonians listened to?
by Joan McCarterFollow for Daily Kos

VIDEO: (Can't embed, sorry.) http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/12/25/1353452/-Is-this-what-Babylonians-listened-to#comments

That's the result of a project by singer and composer Stef Conner on her album, The Flood. Translating the ancient cuneiform poems and writings of Babylon fascinated her, but she wanted more, to know what it sounded like.

So she teamed up with Andy Lowings, who reconstructs ancient instruments and plays a mean lyre, a musical instrument with strings that resembles a harp. The two set out to create music that brings ancient Babylonian poetry to life, and The Flood is the result. [...]

But how does one reincarnate music that no human voice has uttered for millennia? Conner says a key step was to really understand the language. She carefully studied historical analysis of the stresses and intonations of Babylonian and Sumerian for hints as to how it may have sounded, and researched how language is converted into music in similar Semitic languages. Then, after choosing and memorizing a piece of writing or poem, Conner collaborated with Lowings to create the melody.

This may or may not be what the Babylonians sang or heard, but it's still beautiful and still a fascinating project.


We have a choice.

I grew up in Georgia. My early years were spent in a small college town located next door to Plains, GA - what later became known as Jimmy Carter country. It was the early 60's and my family had always been politically active democrats. My father and Jimmy Carter were good friends, he even wrote about my father in one of his books. I don't want to go into any real detail about how they became friends or all they accomplished together, but I will say that they seemed like heroes to me. They were fighting for civil rights during my childhood, and as an education and trial lawyer, my father found himself at the heart of the civil rights movement. The myriad ways segregation impacted my life still resonates with me today, and even trickles down to my children. For example, one fine Sunday morning around 1965, Congressman Elijah Cummings and 3 other African Americans tried to enter our all-white Methodist Church in my hometown. They were blocked from entering, so they knelt on the ground in front of the marble steps and soaring columns and prayed. There is a famous photo of that day. Large white men are standing between the columns looking like thugs, with 4 African Americans, dressed in their Sunday best, at the bottom of the steps, kneeling in prayer. My father was given a copy of that photograph. It's a powerful image. That was my last day of church. I vividly remember my father protesting what was happening with the words, "God welcomes all of His children in His home." A few days later, the church elders sent a lackey to our house requesting that we not return. I never a joined a church again.

My father came from a large family with 8 kids. One of my uncles became the Secretary of the State of GA and served honorably for over 30 years. The democratic party wanted my uncle to run for Governor. Because he was so popular, there was no question that he would win. But he refused, saying that if he were to run for Governor he would have to become a politician, and he never wanted to be that. He wanted to serve the state he loved so dearly as a "statesman". He was a colorful character and truly loved by so many, but one reason he was so loved was because he did what was best for Georgia. He followed the law, not his party, and not the political whims of the powerful. There is a famous story about the 3 Governors Controversy of GA. It is a wild tale and involved my uncle:

The Three Governors Controversy took place from 1946 to 1947. Eugene Talmadge was elected to be the next governor of Georgia, but he fell ill and died before he was inaugurated. Because of this, the General Assembly decided to elect Herman Talmadge, the son of Eugene Talmadge, to be the new governor of Georgia. However, two other people wanted the position. Ellis Arnall, the governor who was about to leave office, decided to stay governor and refused to leave...The other man was Melvin Thompson, the just elected lieutenant governor.[4] Ben Fortson, who was secretary of state at this time, was in charge of the state seal.[1] Neither man could do official government actions without this seal so Fortson hid the seal and refused to tell anyone where it was until the government issue was resolved. This caused the council to take action.[3] After the dispute ended, he revealed the location of the hidden seal. Fortson had put the seal under a cushion in his wheelchair and had been sitting on it during the dispute. Fortson later quoted that he was "sitting on it like a setting of duck eggs."[1] The controversy ended with Melvin Thompson being named the new Governor by the Georgia Supreme Court.[4]

My uncle died in office, and I remember the headlines of the Atlanta Journal: "Georgia's Last Statesman Has Died". He was given a state memorial, and his coffin was on display in the capitol rotunda. There are buildings and highways named after him today, and people still remember his stories. I have always been very proud of him.

All of my uncles and my father served in the military. I remember so well my Uncle Charles talking about World War II. He was stationed on a small island in the Pacific. As he puts it, it was the dullest post of the entire war. He never saw any real action. I don't recall the exact story of how the Americans gained control of the island, but I do know that there were some Japanese soldiers who had been left behind, or perhaps had deserted. They lived in the jungle and were afraid of becoming prisoners of war. They were no threat to the Americans. My uncle told me that he and the other American soldiers sometimes saw them and were aware these Japanese men were emaciated and starving. So, the Americans stationed on that island placed blankets and food and other sundry items where these men could get them. In this way, they helped them survive in the wild until the war was over. Before they left, they went into the jungle and tried to let them know the war had ended and they could come out.

In the mid-1980's, I moved to Berlin. I lived with a large and wonderful family during my first few months in Germany. The father of that family had also fought in WWII. He had been captured by the Russians and lived for 5 years in a Russian POW camp. His family told me that he refused to talk about that time of his life. I have no idea what hardships he endured. I lived in Berlin for 12 years, and during that time, I heard a multitude of war stories. I learned an awful lot about the Germans, and understood their remorse and shame around the Holocaust. As an American, however, the Germans wanted me to know one thing - as the Russians and the Americans were marching toward Berlin - one from the east and the other from the west - the Berliners hoped the Americans would get there first. The Russians were brutal in war, and the Americans were known for being fair. We did not torture our prisoners, and we did not commit crimes against humanity. We were the good guys. As it happened, the Russians and the Americans finally met at the River Elbe, where it was decided that the Russians would take Berlin.

These are the stories and the heroes that have shaped my identity as an American and a Democrat. As a nation, we have had segregation, but the good guys fought it. We have had elections that were unsettled, but the Secretary of State and the Supreme Court did the right thing. We have been the good guys in war, and held the beacon of light for freedom.

Today, I weep for Trayvon and Michael, Eric, John and Tamir. I watch as my Supreme Court decides almost all cases along party lines, including, at one point, the Presidency. I hear about my country waterboarding and rectally feeding and threatening to rape mothers of prisoners...Oh my heart breaks. What have we become?


My teenage daughter recently lied to me and a teacher about a paper she was supposed to write. She wasn't done with it so she came up with a tall tale about how Google docs ate her paper. The teacher granted her another day. That evening, as I tried to help my daughter retrieve the phantom paper from Google docs, she tearfully confessed her sins. I told her she had a choice. She could quickly write a paper and turn it in, and, with her talent in writing, she would probably get a hundred. But how would she feel about that hundred? I told her there was only one path to salvation: she had to go in the next morning and confess to her teacher. I told her it would be hard, and the teacher might give her a zero; but, one thing I was certain: she would own that zero with honor. And, I told her, it would probably be the most important grade of her entire school years ever. My daughter knew what she had to do. She was very frightened and asked me to walk into the building with her that morning for support. I am so proud of her for ultimately doing the right thing. The teacher was very gracious and was so moved by my daughter's honesty that she gave her another chance.


We, as a nation...we have a choice.

CIA: None Dare Call It Rape

Tue Dec 09, 2014 at 10:34 PM PST
CIA: None Dare Call It Rape
by zootfloggin

I thought I could not be shocked by the CIA torture report until I listened to NPR's Audie Cornish interview with the former Deputy CIA director John McLaughlin:

CORNISH: What about the issue, then, of the brutality itself? Another charge here is that the program was just much more brutal than the CIA represented to law makers or to the public, and gets fairly graphic in terms of things like abuse of detainees rectally and things like that. I mean, what's your response to the idea of the brutality being far worse than represented?

MCLAUGHLIN: Well, people need to read the CIA rebuttal on this.

We live in a never-never world of Newspeak, where waterboarding of American prisoners by the Japanese soldiers in WWII was prosecutable torture but only "enhanced interrogation" when performed by the CIA.
Now it appears that CIA interrogators were raping suspects as well. "According to the Senate report: "At least five CIA detainees were subjected to "rectal rehydration" or rectal feeding without documented medical necessity."

This is emphatically clear--there was no sane medical reason to rectally insert anything into these prisoners. Do not let McLaughlin and others lie their way out of this. In a premeditated manner the interrogators planned the rape and humiliation of these prisoners. Their only justification was to break the victim emotionally, the same goal that all rapists have.

When feeding or rehydrating someone who cannot or will not be fed or rehydrated, every beginning medical student knows that you use a nasogastric tube to deliver fluids. The tube goes in the other end, down the mouth so that liquids are naturally processed by the digestive tract. It is common to see prisoners on hunger-strike being force fed with a naso-gastric tube, so the technology was not completely unknown to the interrogators. And they didn't just accidentally get it wrong.

Except in very unusual circumstances, sticking this tube up someone's rectum is medically contraindicated since you don't get efficient large bowel absorption of water and nutrients and you end up giving the patient an enema. As any first year med student knows, you would have to be a moron to do this. Or a sick rapist bastard. And this was part of their interrogation tactics.

Place yourself in the detainee's position for a moment. They strip you, beat you, threaten and humiliate you. And then they start forcing something up your ass. Regardless of the value of your information that could stop a crime, can you imagine this occurring in any police station in the United States? Fortunately, when the perpetrators are caught and convicted, they go to jail for a very long time.

Is it justifiable to rape someone to get actionable intelligence to stop terrorism? This takes the debate to another, more twisted plane than simply beating, threatening, waterboarding and sometimes killing detainees. Somehow, abusing and torturing a terrorist suspect seems less evil, more morally equivalent. But to rape with premeditation the prisoners? What demented soul thought that this was a good patriotic American thing to do?

How do these interrogators live with themselves? These CIA interrogators were Americans and were paid by taxpayers like you and me a living wage to rape individuals in the course of their work. Legally. Some of these folks may be your neighbors or coaches on your kids' Little League teams. I wonder what kind of hell they live in if they have any kind of self-reflection. I only wish Cornish had used the word "rape" in her interview instead of her clinically-detached description, just as I wished reporters would have had the guts to use the word "torture" instead of "enhanced interrogation" eight years ago in their reporting.

The irony of this is too great--with the ongoing debate over college rape and Aaron Sorkin and the rest. Apparently, it can be, under some circumstances, reasonable for US officials to rape prisoners under United States policy. Sirs, do you have no shame?


BREAKING: Koch Brothers "Project Snow" SECRET Tax Scam, Dodges Taxes, Hides Money In Luxembourg

Wed Dec 10, 2014 at 04:52 AM PST
BREAKING: Koch Brothers "Project Snow" SECRET Tax Scam, Dodges Taxes, Hides Money In Luxembourg
by Tasini

Overnight, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists broke open a new scandal involving the Koch Brothers intricate plan, dubbed "Project Snow", to dodge taxes.

I've previously written about the ICIJ's ground-breaking work revealing how hundreds of international companies cut secret deals with Luxembourg's tax authorities to avoid paying taxes.

The Koch Brothers revelations, however, are new, and involves other big companies like Disney and Skype. It's a scam enabled by the four largest accounting firms: Price WaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, Deloitte and KPMG. Here are the details:

Koch’s Luxembourg transactions revealed by the new documents involved its chemicals and polymers subsidiary Invista BV, which makes Lycra-brand fiber and Stainmaster-brand carpets.

The Koch documents, also prepared by Ernst & Young, describe “Project Snow,” a 26-step restructuring of Invista designed, they say, to simplify the company’s structure, centralize its cash flow into Luxembourg, and pay down debt.

The restructuring was worked out in a series of four meetings in late 2008 and early 2009 between Ernst & Young employees and Marius Kohl, head of the Bureau d’imposition Sociétés VI, part of Luxembourg’s revenue authority, according to the tax ruling. Kohl, now retired, approved thousands of tax deals over 22 years that helped save companies billions of dollars.

The documents show that in the restructuring, which took place starting in September 2008, the subsidiaries of Invista passed hundreds of millions of dollars back and forth, converting shares to debt and occasionally dissolving firms. Tax-free “hidden distributions” among subsidiaries are just one type of head-spinning transaction included in the confidential tax ruling approved by Luxembourg authorities. Another section describes a $736 million loan that gets passed from company to company until a U.S.-based subsidiary becomes “both the debtor and creditor of the same debt,” and the debt is canceled.

Each step in the tax ruling includes a separate interpretation of how it will impact the company’s taxes in Luxembourg. In most instances, the transactions are exempt.

Central to Koch’s restructuring deal is an internal company bank, Arteva Europe S.à.r.l., which manages the cash flows of the company’s European operations through Luxembourg. Arteva had established a Swiss branch that likely benefited from low tax rates in Switzerland. Luxembourg officials agreed to treat the Swiss branch as separate from the Luxembourg company, according to the tax deal.

From 2010 through 2013 the company paid $6.4 million in taxes on $269 million in profits. Its highest annual tax rate was 4.15 percent.

Arteva reported no staff costs in its annual financial reports filed in Luxembourg. In Switzerland, Arteva’s branch shares an address in Zurich with a firm called Tax Partners AG, whose principals are also listed in public filings as the deputy branch managers of Arteva, according to reporting by ICIJ partner, The Guardian. The branch manager of Arteva Switzerland describes himself on the web site LinkedIn as “tax director, Europe” for Koch International Shared Services.
(emphasis added)

By the way, one of these companies was part of a U.S. election fraud:

Koch Industries admitted in 2011 that one of the key companies in its Luxembourg holdings, Invista S.à.r.l., had funneled a dozen illegal campaign contributions to state political candidates in Virginia, Delaware and Kansas and to the U.S. Democratic Governors Association. The company agreed to pay a fine of $4,700.

In its submission to the Federal Election Commission the company said that “the violations resulted from a general lack of knowledge among company personnel of either the nature of Invista's legal structure or of the restrictions that applied to it as a foreign company.”

Just to recall, what the Koch Brothers is doing is part of the general robbery of the U.S. Treasury undertaken by many companies who keep money stashed abroad--that amount is now almost $2 trillion--through a variety of scams, particularly through so-called "tax inversions" (which I've written a number of pieces about including here, here and here)

So, now, let every potential Republican presidential candidate in 2016 (oh, and, alleged "Democratic" governor of New York State, who received more money from the Koch Brothers than Scott Walker) answer the simple question every voter might want to know: when you pocket the Koch Brothers money, can we assume that you support the fleecing of American taxpayers, who, unlike the Koch Brothers, have to pay their taxes in a transparent way?


Tom Tomorrow Cartoon: Lessons learned

Mon Dec 08, 2014 at 07:00 AM PST
Cartoon: Lessons learned
by Tom Tomorrow


When I asked my mother if Santa was real, she just smiled joyously and said,

"Santa is real, if you believe he is real."

When I asked if she was Santa, she just laughed, and said, "Do I look like Santa?" I knew she was.

Still, I love that she let me hold on to the fantasy a little longer. I came from a big family, and we didn't have a lot of money growing up. But Christmas morning was always magic. I never felt betrayed. Or lied to. I felt loved. Santa came every year until the last child was gone. Then, he started coming for the next generation of children.

To the author of the OP, my advice would be this: Don't spoil the fun. Not for you and not for your child. They'll figure it out on their own. And being Santa really is magical.


This is an opinion column that was written back in August. Excellent article.

Ferguson isn’t about black rage against cops. It’s white rage against progress.
By Carol Anderson August 29

Carol Anderson is an associate professor of African American studies and history at Emory University and a public voices fellow with the Op-Ed Project. She is the author of “Bourgeois Radicals: The NAACP and the Struggle for Colonial Liberation, 1941-1960.”

On Aug. 17, police in Ferguson, Mo., wait to advance after using tear gas to disperse a crowd protesting the shooting death of Michael Brown. (Charlie Riedel/Associated Press)

When we look back on what happened in Ferguson, Mo., during the summer of 2014, it will be easy to think of it as yet one more episode of black rage ignited by yet another police killing of an unarmed African American male. But that has it precisely backward. What we’ve actually seen is the latest outbreak of white rage. Sure, it is cloaked in the niceties of law and order, but it is rage nonetheless.

Protests and looting naturally capture attention. But the real rage smolders in meetings where officials redraw precincts to dilute African American voting strength or seek to slash the government payrolls that have long served as sources of black employment. It goes virtually unnoticed, however, because white rage doesn’t have to take to the streets and face rubber bullets to be heard. Instead, white rage carries an aura of respectability and has access to the courts, police, legislatures and governors, who cast its efforts as noble, though they are actually driven by the most ignoble motivations.

White rage recurs in American history. It exploded after the Civil War, erupted again to undermine the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision and took on its latest incarnation with Barack Obama’s ascent to the White House. For every action of African American advancement, there’s a reaction, a backlash...


...So when you think of Ferguson, don’t just think of black resentment at a criminal justice system that allows a white police officer to put six bullets into an unarmed black teen. Consider the economic dislocation of black America. Remember a Florida judge instructing a jury to focus only on the moment when George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin interacted, thus transforming a 17-year-old, unarmed kid into a big, scary black guy, while the grown man who stalked him through the neighborhood with a loaded gun becomes a victim. Remember the assault on the Voting Rights Act. Look at Connick v. Thompson, a partisan 5-4 Supreme Court decision in 2011 that ruled it was legal for a city prosecutor’s staff to hide evidence that exonerated a black man who was rotting on death row for 14years. And think of a recent study by Stanford University psychology researchers concluding that, when white people were told that black Americans are incarcerated in numbers far beyond their proportion of the population, “they reported being more afraid of crime and more likely to support the kinds of punitive policies that exacerbate the racial disparities,” such as three-strikes or stop-and-frisk laws...


St. Louis Rams Come Out with 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot' Salute

Sun Nov 30, 2014 at 04:09 PM PST
St. Louis Rams Come Out with 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot' Salute
by joelal

While taking the field today to play the Oakland Raiders, several St. Louis Rams players decided to mimic the 'Hands Up, Don't Shoot' gesture used by many protesters since the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in nearby Ferguson, Mo. in August.

Despite winning the game, 52-0, the Rams find themselves at the receiving end of fury from many in the fan base as evidenced by some of the comments posted at their Facebook page. This could be the most significant political statement made at a major sporting event since the 'Black Power' salute at the 1968 Sumner Olympics.

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