The News

The News, remembered, one day later.

Please be advised: the News is mostly depressing.

Day 1: Sunday, October 5th, 2014

sources: NY Times, life

The sun rose.  On a street in Philly, two men and one woman assaulted a gay couple.  One of the victims had to get their jaw wired.  The perpetrators claim it was not gay bashing, the victims say otherwise.  An 18 year-old white woman from Northern Virginia disappeared two weeks into her first semester at UVA and a black man has been arrested and charged with abduction and intent to molest.  This encapsulates two central tensions of Charlottesville: a campus hostile and unsafe for women, and a town sharply divided between the upper class white students who move there and the long-time African-American community that lives next door.  The young woman is still missing.  Gauthier is retiring from ready-to-wear collections.  While some lament the loss others say his once ground-breaking pieces have become a tired recycling of ideas.  He is photographed with a model wearing a tutu and bustier composed of blue butterfly wings.  Will Gauthier ever be photographed in tutu and bustier?  Probably not.  He will continue to work in “couture.” ISIS, or ISIL, draws its violent roots from “Wahhab-ism,” a cleric’s teachings from the Saud peninsula. Saudi Arabia and numerous other countries are trying to protect and distance themselves from the attacks and ideology.  Whereas fundamentalist Islam uses violence as a means to an end, Wahhab-ism sees violence as a “purifying act,” an end in and of itself.  If I only read this article I could assume that Islam has two branches, violence as duty, or violence as pleasure.  France has a long-standing policy of paying to get hostages back and spends large sums of money on it.  The New York Times/ U.S. seem to frown upon this policy.  According to the Times, Islamic militants now use this as a source of funding.  It is very easy to find the phrase, “Islamic militant,” at my fingertips.  I don’t know what the word for Islamic peace activist is.  France refused to pay out for the mountaineer who went hiking in Algeria and was killed.   The U.S., under Obama’s directives, is enlarging its nuclear arsenal, thus endangering the entire planet.  By mixing and matching nuclear parts they are going against the spirit of the nuclear test ban treaty and non-proliferation treaties, both international treaties the U.S. has signed on to, while simultaneously creating even more dangerous weapons that have not been tested.  A memorial to Michael Brown was burned in Ferguson amidst more fighting between two white cops and five black community members.  The Google workforce is seventy percent male and they are trying to remedy this with anti-bias training.  There was a headline about Jeter but I have no idea what it said.  He exists.  Bloggers are getting tired of/bored of/stressed out by blogging, and some of them have to renovate houses and raise children too, and some of their house renovations are boring and unoriginal, although people like their perky husband-and-wife, how-to instructional videos.  Obama has decided to take a bite out of fundamentalist Muslim violent crime.  In Scott County, Alabama, when you go to jail you don’t have to have a trial or a lawyer.  The Bills won in the last four seconds!  I fixed the furnace by blowing through a little rubber tube and poking parts of it with a paper clip, and we turned the heat on for the first time.  Positive reactions continue to roll in following the inspired collaboration, “In the Shadow of Sacred Heart.”  Porter Simon still has big feet.

Day 2: October 6, 2014

sources: Buffalo News

Ebola is very bad, almost as bad as bureaucracy.  In Liberia government  bureaucrats are refusing to admit a shipment of medical supplies donated to combat ebola because proper protocol was not followed.  It was delivered in August.  According to sources at the dinner table, ebola is contagious only through liquid not air.  Ebola is increasing exponentially in Liberia.  A refugee brought ebola to Dallas after having helped a neighbor in Liberia.  He was trying to get back together with an old girlfriend.  Now he is in the hospital and the ex-girlfriend, along with children and grandchildren, are in quarantine.  A Dallas philanthropist donated a basketball hoop to them.  The predatory coyote business continues to extort those seeking to emmigrate to the U.S. by using house and land deeds as collatoral, thus beginning a cycle of debt which causes even more family members to try to come to the U.S. The Liberian man who brought ebola to Dallas was a quiet man back home who lived in small apartment in a cement house with a corrugated roof.  There were two other units.  He liked to ride his motorcycle and lived an hour from work.  Query: did someone go to Liberia to see his house and find out about his hobbies?  Something about the Bills in the sports section.  Nothing about Jeter. There were protests for democracy in Hong Kong.  The Supreme Court delayed hearing cases for months and gay marriage passed in more states, including Virginia.  State breakdown: 30 pro, 20 anti.  One resident of Buffalo thinks that the whole Peace Bridge plaza would be a boon for everyone, and who are those crazy people trying to fight it.  In Google autofill results for 2014, “I want a …”, “house,” “a car” and “stock” come in at first, second and third; in fourth place “I want a gun” has been supplanted by “I want a drone.”

Day 3: October 7, 2014

source: Democracy Now

Sadly the real news is even worse than the fake news.  Twenty percent of small ammunition being used by ISIS was made in the U.S. and recovered from Iraqi defense forces, along with U.S.-made weapons. The Center for Arms Research writes in their report that the U.S. “gifted much of this material to ISIS.”  Three thousand refugees died trying to cross the Mediteranean Sea this year.  Guards in a south Texas detention facility for immigrant woman and children are sexually abusing the women and promising them help with immigration papers in return for sexual favors. Also in Texas: the state passed legislation which compelled numerous abortion clinics to close, including all clinics in the Rio Grande valley.  Nearest clinics to the Rio Grande valley are a four-hour drive. Also sadly I can’t remember half of what I read, both because it has been days now and also because it was on the computer, which encouraged my speedy and superficial scanning.

Interlude

Last week a 45 year-old Mexican fisherman was discovered floating in his styrofoam cooler after his boat was wrecked in a storm.  He had been adrift in the cooler for eight or nine days; his fishing companion, a man in his sixties, perished.  The remains of a seagull that he had caught, his only sustenance, had to be pried from his hands.

The polar vortex is coming.  It’s going to be a harsh winter.  It’s going to be an easier winter.  It’s going to be warmer than usual until December and then snowier than usual after.  We’re going to get more snow than last winter.  Heating bills will be less this year. It was supposed to be a hot September.  It was supposed to be a cool September.

October 20th, 2014: the end

Obviously I did not make it through fourteen days of assiduous news reading and report back.  There was a trickle of sporadic news gleaning, and then nothing.

While I was on vacation this weekend I did read news, however.  This will be my last post.

warning: this round of news contains a lot of assault and violence

Young men who play sports at a school somewhere south of NYC are being investigated for hazing practices which include anal penetration, which one victim referred to as “poking.”  The Bills beat…someone… maybe Madison?, 17-16.  Ebola continues to inflame the overheated imaginations of certain parts of the country.  Parents at a school in Mississippi refused to let their children attend until the principal was placed on paid leave because the principal had recently been to Zambia.  That’s right, AFRICA.  Another teacher at a school in Maine was placed on leave because they had recently been in or near Dallas, though they were not exposed to ebola.  A Liberian family have placed themselves in quarantine because they know people are scared of their daughter, recently arrived from Liberia, though she does not have ebola.  A real wing-nut i.e. wholesome conservative woman in Kentucky will not go out because a possible ebola victim may have flown through Cleveland, a mere three hours away.  I can’t find any information on how it actually spreads, except that health profession are supposed to avoid contact with victims.  Under the circumstances I think that every article should contain information on actual risks in light of the wingnut anti-African responses.  The last newspaper I read had maybe five articles on ebola alone, including one on how perceived and imagined risk created more stress and anxiety than the actual risk, at least in the U.S. Cuba is sending medical professionals to Liberia.  The U.S. is considering a travel ban on Liberia which experts (not sure who) believe would make the epidemic worse (not sure how).  A nuclear reactor in Tennessee is set to open to quiet fanfare, after a mere forty years in the making.  Wave of the future.  Pope John Paul the III was beatified, with note of his sweeping church reforms.  The man who died from ebola in Dallas was remembered for always lending a hand to others and, once again, for his love of motorcycles.

A journalist who had emigrated from Liberia with family returned to report on the resilient community trying to continue with their lives.  At the end of the journalist’s visit, they and a government official were traveling back on a deserted dark road when they saw a body.  The official stopped the car and got out.  Upon return he reported that it was merely a drunk person; he had woken them and sent them home.  The journalist was shocked that he had risked ambush or ebola; he replied, is this what you do in America? Pass by a body in the road?

The disappearance of UVA student Hannah Graham appears to be approaching a devastating resolution, with a web of connections emerging.  Police found a body in the woods, only five miles from where Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington was found.  The suspect in custody has links to both young women; Morgan Harrington’s assault and death has been linked to an attempted rape in northern Virginia.   Two sources report that the suspect in custody has a history of publicly aggressive attention towards women at Charlottesville bars, including the night of Hannah Graham’s disappearance.  I referred to two long-standing tensions in Charlottesville previous to this, but feel that I have missed the point: now I see the longest-standing tension, that of the whole spectrum of violence towards women, from aggressive behavior passed off as acceptable flirtation all the way to murder.

Back to other news- In an effort to clean up government corruption in China, secret teams torture suspects until they confess.  Numerous North African refugees die at sea each year trying to escape by boat.  A clump of cordgrass might be the oldest organism near NYC.  Two years after Hurricane Sandy Rockaway remains in rough shape, with many properties boarded up and construction moving slowly in other parts.  The library is still operating out of a trailer parked in front the of the actual library which is being remediated.  Ballerina Wendy Whelan is retiring from her company but not from dance.  A forty-year-old Bronx man who was unofficial historian for his neighborhood was found in the river.  Though he detailed Bronx history for all who knew him, his own history remains unknown.  He was estranged from all family after coming out and while he fought for his community history, he felt the lack of support for gay black men in his Bronx community.

I will not be reading the news for a while.  I do not want to be ignorant but I find it incredibly sad and distressing.  Every day, like the tides, the news comes in and goes out again, comes in and goes out, and we are supposed to let it wash up and back.  Probably writing, as well as the means by which I wrote- through recall- has caused the news to imprint more deeply.  For example, I probably won’t ever forget the Mexican fisherman and his seagull.  However, forgetting is exactly what we are supposed to do with this material.  To remember would be the mental equivalent of people who keep every edition of the newspaper until they can no longer live in their house.  Forgetting the news is as important as reading it.

 

 

 

 

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