A Reuters photographer at Trump’s failed coup attempt

Leah Millis, a senior photographer for Reuters, was one of the journalists capturing events on the ground. She took over 1,000 photos that day, including a striking shot of the Capitol’s exterior. At dusk, a police flash-bang munition went off, casting a warm orange glow on the facade and silhouetting rioters with unfurled Trump flags on the platform below—the same platform used for inaugurations. At that moment, Millis clicked her shutter

Millis started her day at around 11 a.m. ET on the east side of the Capitol, where protesters gathered in the morning. But after receiving a message that rioters were attempting to breach the west side a few hours later, she ran to document the scene, afraid that police would block it off and she wouldn’t get access…

Millis recalls hearing the crowd “chanting some kind of encouragement and realized they were probably breaking into the doors.” She climbed onto some of the scaffolding that’s set up for Inauguration Day to see what was going on. “That’s when I saw them battling with the police for an extended period of time,” she says. “It wasn’t until a different force showed up that they started firing flash-bangs and tear gas to actually disperse the crowd. And that’s what that photo is. The flash-bang going off.”

Great photo. Dangerous opportunity. Just like working around gangs and gangsters, photographers covering Trump’s Republican Party now run the risk of their gear smashed…and personal attacks.

Coppers using Tasers for Torture


Police Sergeant using taser on handcuffed prisoner

❝ Corporal Matthew Stice pointed his Taser at Martini Smith’s bare chest.

Smith was 20 years old, pregnant and stripped nearly naked, standing in a cell in the Franklin County jail in Columbus, Ohio. She had been detained on charges of stabbing a boyfriend she’d accused of beating her. Stice and a deputy had ordered her to disrobe, take off all jewelry and don a prison gown. But she hadn’t been able to obey one command – remove the silver stud from her tongue.

❝ “Take the tongue ring out,” Deputy Shawnda Arnold said. Smith continued struggling to unscrew the ring, inserting fingers from both hands into her mouth. No luck. Her fingers were numb, she protested: She had been cuffed for six hours with her hands behind her back.

“I will Tase you,” Stice said. The ring was slippery, Smith said, asking for a paper towel. The deputies refused. “I just want to go to sleep,” Smith cried.

Stice warned her again, then fired. The Taser’s electrified darts struck Smith’s chest; she collapsed against the concrete wall and slid to the floor, gasping, arms over her breasts.

❝ “Why did you Tase me?” she moaned. “I wasn’t harming nobody. I can’t just take it out.”

Five days later, Smith had a miscarriage…

Reuters identified 104 deaths involving Tasers behind bars, nearly all since 2000 – 10 percent of a larger universe of more than 1,000 fatal law enforcement encounters in which the weapons were used. Some of the in-custody deaths were deemed “multi-factorial,” with no distinct cause, and some were attributed to pre-existing health problems. But the Taser was listed as a cause or contributing factor in more than a quarter of the 84 inmate deaths in which the news agency obtained autopsy findings.

RTFA and begin to understand why most poor or non-white or just ordinary workingclass folks consider our police departments to be something other than institutions chartered to “serve and protect”.

Earthprints: Lake Powell


Click to enlarge — Photo Essay by Rick Wilking

Where the Colorado River falls from the snow-capped Rocky Mountains into the arid U.S. Southwest, lies Lake Powell.

More than 150 meters deep in places and with narrow side canyons, the shoreline of the lake is longer than the entire West Coast of the United States. It extends upstream into Utah from Arizona’s Glen Canyon Dam and provides water for Nevada, Arizona and California.

But a severe drought in recent years, combined with the tapping of the lake’s water at what many consider to be an unsustainable level, has reduced its levels to only about 42 percent of its capacity, according to the U.S. space agency NASA…

Scientists from NASA and Cornell and Columbia universities warned earlier this year that the U.S. Southwest and Central Plains regions are likely to be scorched by a decades-long “megadrought” during the second half of this century if climate change continues unabated.

Forecasting that there is an 80 percent chance of an extended drought in the area between 2050 and 2099 unless aggressive steps are taken to mitigate the impacts of climate change, the researchers said their results point to a challenging – and remarkably drier – future.

RTFA for details, descriptive photos in wide-ranging formats. Worth the time spent to learn and reflect.

Pic of the day


Click to enlargeReuters/Gene Blevins

Lightning bolts light up night skies during a time exposure of the Daggett airport during a monsoon storm passing over the high desert early Wednesday, north of Barstow, California July 1, 2015.

Wow!