Author Archives: richardbrenneman

That’s it. We’re officially on a brief hiatus. . .


This will be our last post until we get settled in our new digs in Los Angeles. Or maybe Redondo Beach. Or wherever.

We hope to be back up in a week or so, but until then, a little something for your amusement from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert:

Hungry For Power Games: Democratic National Convention Edition

Program notes:

Julius Flickerman and his pet weasel Caligula are back, descending into the belly of the beast to report from the DNC in Philadelphia.

Jeff Danziger: Headless


A fitting image of the departure of Fox News boss Roger Ailes, the victim of a flurry of sexual harassment allegations from a brilliant syndicated editorial cartoonist:

BLOG Danziger

The latest development in the story from the Los Angeles Times:

Roger Ailes has stepped down as chairman of Fox News, but the fallout from his controversial tenure won’t end anytime soon.

The swift action to oust Ailes may bring a speedy conclusion to a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by former anchor Gretchen Carlson against the former Fox News chairman.

But the move could embolden other women to file complaints against Ailes and expose Fox News to lawsuits over the conduct of the once powerful TV executive, legal experts said.

Employment law experts say a settlement or resolution in the Carlson case appears more likely since Ailes resigned last Thursday, although he did so without acknowledging the claims against him.

His departure came after an internal investigation by Fox News parent 21st Century Fox turned up other instances of harassment by Ailes from other employees, including star anchor Megyn Kelly.  Just two weeks earlier, Carlson had filed a lawsuit against Ailes alleging that he had sabotaged her career in retaliation for rebuffing his sexual advances and complaining about a hostile work environment.

Brazil wants elections, but not Dilma Rousseff


Brazil is the world’s sixth most populous country, trailing only China, India, the United States, and Indonesia. In terms of land area, Brazil is the fifth largest country in total land area, after Russia, Canada, the U.S., and China.

But for some strange reason, U.S. media largely ignore events in Brazil, save for the occasional Olympics and that titillating footage from Samba festivals and that Dionysian Carnival.

But Brazil is a major market for U,S. multinationals, especially Big Agra and its patented seeds.

So we’ve been regularly following events in the biggest neighbor to the South.

Dilma Rousseff, the former rebel who won election to the Brazilian presidency and took office on 1 January 2011, then was ousted in a legislative coup 12 May 2016, replaced by the opposing party’s Michel Temer, who had been serving as vice president.
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, her popular presidential predecessor, has already indicated he’s seriously contemplating an electoral curtain call, while Temer and his colleagues find themselves implicated in a whole welter of sandals of their own.

And now Brazilians want to hit reset.

From teleSUR English:

More than half of Brazil supports holding presidential elections this year, which contrasts with the findings from a recent controversial poll carried out by the Datafolha institute.

The Ipsos data, which was released by BBC Brasil on Tuesday, indicated that among the 52 percent of Brazilians who support holding presidential elections, 38 percent of respondents said that interim President Michael Temer should stay in office before early elections. Meanwhile, 14 percent stated that they would prefer seeing Dilma Rousseff return as their country’s leader before an early vote is held.

According to the Brazilian constitution, early elections cannot take place without receiving the approval from three-fifths of the country’s Congress or in the case of a joint resignation by Temer and Rousseff.

Meanwhile, opposition to Temer’s government, which began on May 12 when Brazil’s Senate suspended Dilma Rousseff for breaking budget laws, remained high with 68 percent of respondents saying that they either totally or somewhat disapproved of the interim president.

A string of recent scandals has weakened Temer as he seeks to build support in the Senate to definitively remove Rousseff, who has described her impeachment as a coup.

esnl favorite Abby Martin arrested in Philly


First, the event:

Abby Martin arrested in Philadelphia for “disorderly conduct.” Tweeted by her colleague, Mike Prysner.

Abby Martin arrested in Philadelphia for “disorderly conduct.” Tweeted by her colleague, Mike Prysner.

We’ve been following the career of teleSUR English journalist Abby Martin ever since she hosted her own show of Berkeley Community Television, the city’s public access channel.

She moved on to RT America, hosting Breaking the Set, a weekly half-hour show we often included in esnl posts, then moved on to teleSUR where she hosts The Empire Files, also featured frequently here at esnl.

And now she’s been initiated into a rite of passage that sometimes comes to reporters out to cover a story: Folks with badges denying you access and threatening arrest.

What hapopened next, from teleSUR English:

Abby Martin, host of “Empire Files,” was released by police on Monday after a violent arrest while covering DNC protests for teleSUR, but says that many more wait to be processed after “mass marches, mass protests and mass arrests and detentions,” despite police reports that no arrests have been made at the DNC.

Martin was on her way to a “Democracy Spring” event where there were reports of civil disobedience and arrests being made. The police had closed off all streets surrounding the action.

The police stopped them and told them to leave the area. As they were complying and leaving the area, another police officer grabbed Martin, twisted her arm, tore her dress and arrested her for “disorderly conduct.” Three cops “aggressively manhandled me,” she said, before throwing her in a police van and driving her to an elementary school to be processed alongside many protesters that had participated in the Democracy Spring action and others.

“I was just trying to accept my fate and how unreal what was happening was,” said Martin. “I just kept thinking about what people go through” in aggressive arrests every day in the U.S.

“It’s just really stunning to go through that experience and to know that this is what police do to people every day in this country.”

Democracy Now! has more on the event she was covering:

Outside the convention center, protests continued for a second day. At least 50 people were briefly taken into custody by police during a mass sit-in outside the convention center Monday. The demonstration dubbed “Democracy Spring” was protesting against the big influence of corporate money in politics. At least one journalist was arrested attempting to cover the protest. Police arrested TeleSUR journalist Abby Martin as she tried to access the blocked-off area.

Finally, another Mike Prysner Tweet with Martin after her release:

Graphic representation: Case of severe mail ego


What should’ve been Hillary Clinton’s victory lap at the Democratic National Convention has been clouded by the Wikileaks release of a massive cache of Democratic National Committee emails, confirmed that the party was actively working against Bernie Sanders.

Also included in the cache were emails disparaging a black committee staffer’s name, homophobic slurs, and much more.

Needless to say, it’s all fodder for editorial cartoonists [as in today’s earlier post].

We begin with an offering from the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

Steve Sack: Hillary’s pillory

BLOG H Sacks

A similar take from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Mike Luckovich: Confetti?

BLOG H Lucko

The FBI suspects Russian hackers were involved, as in this offering from the Arizona Republic:

Steven Benson: Hillary’s Red State bombshell

BLOG H Benson

But Edward Snowden remains agnostic, tweeting that “If Russia hacked the #DNC, they should be condemned for it. But during the #Sony hack, the FBI presented evidence.”

The Philadelphia Daily News editorial cartoonist portrayed the first casualty of the attack in the forced resignation of the Democratic National Committee chair:

Signe Wilkinson: A fall from great heights

BLOG H. Debbie

From the San Diego Union-Tribune, evidence in the emails depicted the former chair as actively working against Clinton’s rival, with a decisive result:

Steve Breen: Delivering an ass-kicking

BLOG H Breen

But Donna Brazile, her replacement as DNC chair, has been just as adamant in her opposition to Sanders, as revealed in an email Snowden Tweeted, with the message “Did the #DNC seriously just swap the Chair fired for anti-Sanders bias with a different anti-Sanders official?”:

BLOG Bernies

Maps of the day II: We’re all getting much taller


But Americans, once the third tallest men and fourth tallest women in the world in 1914 have fallen comparatively in the century since, now ranking 37th and 42nd tallest place respectively by 2014, according to a new global survey:

Relative global heights of men in 1914 [top] and 2014 [bottom]:

BLOG Ht men

And the keys for 1914, left, and 2014, right:

BLOG Ht men upper

BLOG Ht men lower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the same comparison for women, with 1914 above and 2014 below:

BLOG Ht women

And the relative scales for 1914 [left] and 2014 [right]:

BLOG Ht women upper

BLOG Ht women lower

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So just how much taller and where?

A report on the study from Imperial College London:

Dutch men and Latvian women are the tallest on the planet, according to the largest ever study of height around the world.

The research, led by scientists from Imperial College London and using data from most countries in the world, tracked height among young adult men and women between 1914 and 2014.

Among the findings [open access], published in the journal eLife the research revealed South Korean women and Iranian men have shown the biggest increases in height over the past 100 years. Iranian men have increased by an average of 16.5cm, and South Korean women by 20.2cm. Interactive world maps are available here.

To see a full list of the countries please click here.

The height of men and women in the UK has increased by around 11cm over the past century. By comparison, the height of men and women in the USA has increased by 6cm and 5cm, while the height of Chinese men and women has increased by around 11cm and 10cm.

The research also revealed once-tall USA had declined from third tallest men and fourth tallest women in the world in 1914 to 37th and 42nd place respectively in 2014. Overall, the top ten tallest nations in 2014 for men and women were dominated by European countries, and featured no English-speaking nation. UK women improved from 57th to 38th place over a century, while men had improved slightly from 36th to 31st place.

The researchers also found that some countries have stopped growing over the past 30 to 40 years, despite showing initial increases in the beginning of the century of study. The USA was one of the first high-income countries to plateau, and other countries that have seen similar patterns include the UK, Finland, and Japan. By contrast, Spain and Italy and many countries in Latin America and East Asia are still increasing in height.

Furthermore, some countries, particularly those in sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East have even seen a decline in average height over the past 30 to 40 years.

There’s lots more after the jump, including an explanation for humanity’s vertical explosion. . .

Continue reading

Grecopalypse Now! The meltdown continues


A story in six numbers from the Hellenic Statistical Authority:

BLOG Greece