June 21, 2015 archive

Summer Solstice 2015

Once again we are halfway through the year. I was up at dawn as the last Spring thunderstorms passed through, I watched as the sky lightened through thick clouds to bid good bye. After making some coffee, I went into the yard to check the gardens for damage from the torrential rains that fell through the night. I wiped off the table and dried a chair. I watched the sky as the clouds thinned could already feel the air getting warmer. Summer is here.

Summer officially arrived at 12:38 PM as the Earth tilted towards the sun at its Northern maximum, the Tropic of Cancer then quickly began its journey back to the south.

It is a but a moment in time significant for so many cultures, religions and countries. Here in the US there are many cities that will light huge fires in public places to celebrate the longest day of the year, Midsummer. The fires will be lit in the fire pit in my yard. I’ll fix a dinner tonight with some of the newly harvested vegetable that are available at the local markets and seasoned with the herbs from my garden.

A Solstice Approaches, Unnoticed By James Caroll

ONCE, HUMANS were intimate with the cycles of nature, and never more than on the summer solstice. Vestiges of such awareness survive in White Nights and Midnight Sun festivals in far northern climes, and in neo-pagan adaptations of Midsummer celebrations, but contemporary people take little notice of the sun reaching its far point on the horizon. Tomorrow is the longest day of the year, the official start of the summer season, the fullest of light – yet we are apt to miss this phenomenon of Earth’s axial tilt, as we miss so much of what the natural world does in our surrounds.

In recent months, catastrophic weather events have dominated headlines as rarely before – earthquakes and tsunami in Asia; volcanic cloud in Europe; massive ice melts at the poles; tornadoes, floods, and fires in America. “Records are not just broken,” an atmospheric scientist said last week, “they are smashed.” Without getting into questions of causality, and without anthropomorphizing nature, we can still take these events as nature’s cri de coeur – as the degraded environment’s grabbing of human lapels to say, “Pay attention!”

Cartnoon

On This Day In History June 21

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge.

June 21 is the 172nd day of the year (173rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 193 days remaining until the end of the year.

On non-leap years (until 2039), this day marks the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere and the winter solstice in the southern hemisphere, and this is the day of the year with the longest hours of daylight in the northern hemisphere and the shortest in the southern hemisphere.

On this day in 1964, Civil rights workers disappear.

In Neshoba County in central Mississippi, three civil rights field workers disappear after investigating the burning of an African American church by the Ku Klux Klan. Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, both white New Yorkers, had traveled to heavily segregated Mississippi in 1964 to help organize civil rights efforts on behalf of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). The third man, James Chaney, was a local African American man who had joined CORE in 1963. The disappearance of the three young men garnered national attention and led to a massive FBI investigation that was code-named MIBURN, for “Mississippi Burning.”

The Mississippi civil rights workers murders involved the 1964 lynching of three political activists during the American Civil Rights Movement.

The murders of James Chaney, a 21-year-old black man from Meridian, Mississippi; Andrew Goodman, a 20-year-old white Jewish anthropology student from New York; and Michael Schwerner, a 24-year-old white Jewish CORE organizer and former social worker also from New York, symbolized the risks of participating in the civil rights movement in the South during what became known as “Freedom Summer”, dedicated to voter registration.

The case also made salient the efforts of Jews in the civil rights movement.

The Lynching

The lynching of the three men occurred shortly after midnight on June 21, 1964, when they went to investigate the burning of a church that supported civil rights activity. James Chaney was a local Freedom Movement activist in Meridian, Michael Schwerner was a CORE organizer from New York, and Andrew Goodman, also from New York, was a Freedom Summer volunteer. The three men had just finished week-long training on the campus of Western College for Women (now part of Miami University), in Oxford, Ohio, regarding strategies on how to register blacks to vote.

After getting a haircut from a black barber in Meridian, the three men headed to Longdale, Mississippi, 50 miles away in Neshoba County, in order to inspect the ruins of Mount Zion United Methodist Church. The church, a meeting place for civil rights groups, had been burned just five days earlier.

Aware that their station wagon’s license number had been given to members of the notorious White Citizens’ Council and Ku Klux Klan, before leaving Meridian they informed other Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) workers of their plans and set check-in times in accordance with standard security procedures. Late that afternoon, Neshoba County deputy Cecil Price – himself a member of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan – stopped the blue Ford carrying the trio. He arrested Chaney for allegedly driving 35 miles per hour over the speed limit. He also booked Goodman and Schwerner, “for investigation.”

Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney were all denied telephone calls during their time at the jail. COFO workers made attempts to find the three men, but when they called the Neshoba County jail, the secretary followed her instructions to lie and told the workers the three young men were not there. During the hours they were held incommunicado in jail, Price notified his Klan associates who assembled and planned how to kill the three civil rights workers.

While awaiting their release, the men were given a dinner of spoonbread, green peas, potatoes and salad. When the Klan ambush was set up on the road back to Meridian, Chaney was fined $20, and the three men were ordered to leave the county. Price followed them to the edge of town, and then pulled them over with his police siren. He held them until the Klan murder squad arrived. They were taken to an isolated spot where James Chaney was beaten and all three were shot to death. Their car was driven into Bogue Chitto swamp and set on fire, and their bodies were buried in an earthen dam. In June 2000, the autopsy report that had been previously withheld from the 1967 trial was released. The report stated Chaney had a left arm broken in one place, a right arm broken in two places, “a marked disruption” of the left elbow joint and may also have suffered trauma to the groin area. A pathologist who examined the bodies at the families’ request following their autopsies noted Chaney also had a broken jaw and a crushed right shoulder which were not mentioned in the autopsy report. As the autopsy photographs and x-rays have been destroyed, the injuries could not be confirmed.

The Breakfast Club (Father’s Day )

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover  we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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Breakfast Tune: Father’s Day

Today in History

Breakfast News & Blogs Below

Rant of the Week: Jon Stewart – Charleston Church Shooting

There are no jokes, just Jon doing what he does like no one else in the midst of a tragedy.

“I didn’t do my job today. I apologize,” Stewart said, after explaining how his primary daily duty is to mock the daily news. “I’ve got nothing for you in terms of jokes and sounds, because of what happened in South Carolina. Maybe if I wasn’t nearing the end of the run or this wasn’t such a common occurrence, maybe I could have pulled out of the spiral. But I didn’t. And so I honestly have nothing other than just sadness once again that we have to peer into the abyss of the depraved violence we do to each other and the nexus of a gaping racial wound that will not heal but we pretend doesn’t exist.

“I’m confident though that by acknowledging it – by staring into that and seeing it for what it is – we still won’t do jacksh-t,” Stewart continued. “Yeah. That’s us. That’s the part that blows my mind. I don’t want to get into the political argument […] what blows my mind is the disparity of response between when we think people that are foreign are going to kill us and us killing ourselves.” […]

“We invaded two countries and spent trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives and now fly unmanned death machines over five or six different countries, all to keep Americans safe. ‘We gotta do whatever we can – we’ll torture people. We gotta do whatever we can to keep Americans safe,'” Stewart said. “Nine people. Shot in a church. What are you going to do about that? ‘Hey, what are you going to do. Crazy is crazy is, right?’ That’s the part I cannot for the life of me wrap my head around. And you know it. You know it’s going to go down the same path.”

Stewart pointed out how the media has already shied away from calling the murders a “terrorist attack.”

“I heard someone on the news say, ‘Tragedy has visited the church.’ This wasn’t a tornado. This was racist,” Stewart said. “I hate to use the pun, but this one was black and white. There’s no nuance here. But we’re going to keep pretending. We are steeped in that culture in this country and we refuse to recognize it.” […]

“Nine people were shot in a black church by a white guy who hated them who wanted to start some kind of civil war,” Stewart said, before laying into South Carolina for still having the Confederate flag flying over its state capitol.

“The Confederate flag flies over South Carolina. And the roads are named for Confederate generals. And the white guy is the one who feels like his country is being taken away from him. We’re bringing it on ourselves,” Stewart said. “Al Qaeda, all those guys – ISIS. They’re not sh-t compared to the damage that we can apparently do to ourselves on a regular basis.”

Your Moment of Zen

Tell FBI Director to Read the Law!

The murder of nine people in the AME Emanuel Church in Charleston, NC Wednesday night was a racially motivated hate crime. It was also an act of domestic terrorism, just not according to FBI Director and war criminal James Comey

“Terrorism is act of violence done or threatens to in order to try to influence a public body or citizenry, so it’s more of a political act and again based on what I know so more I don’t see it as a political act,” Comey said at a press conference Friday in Baltimore.

Authorities arrested Dylann Roof, 21, earlier this week in connection with the killing of nine members of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Some have called the incident an act of terror. The FBI’s official definition of terrorism is: “The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof in furtherance of political or social objectives.

The Department of Justice thinks otherwise

Federal officials are investigating the shooting at a historic black church in South Carolina as a potential “act of domestic terrorism” as well as a hate crime.

“The department’s investigation of the shooting incident in Charleston, South Carolina, is ongoing,” Justice Department spokeswoman Emily Pierce said in a statement Friday.

“This heartbreaking episode was undoubtedly designed to strike fear and terror into this community, and the department is looking at this crime from all angles, including as a hate crime and as an act of domestic terrorism,” she added.

Someone needs to tell the Director to rad the law. Here is the legal definition of “domestic terrorism” from 18 U.S. Code § 2331:

   (5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that –

     (A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;

   (B) appear to be intended –

     (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

     (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion ; or

     (iii) to influence the policy of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

   (C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.

What part of that law did Comey miss? The assassin, Dylann Roof made it abundant;y clear in his manifesto what his intentions were. On, wait, it’s a white guy that’s not a Muslim.