440 Year Old Maps — Filled With Footprints and Hoofprints

❝ At the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Texas, 19 maps, nearly 440 years old, are on display — and they look spectacular. “Works on paper are delicate so we’re only allowed to put them on display for nine months out of 10 years,” says Blanton Museum communications director Carlotta Stankiewicz.

❝ The Mapping Memory exhibition contains work by indigenous mapmakers from the late 1500s. The maps demonstrate a very different sense of space than maps drawn by Europeans. They’re not drawn to scale; instead, they’re deeply utilitarian.

A map of Culhuacán, for example, shows rivers running straight, with tiny arrows in the middle, indicating which way they flow. The pathways curve like snakes, with footprints or hoofprints indicating whether the paths can be walked or ridden.

❝ Throughout the colonial period and particularly in the late 1500s, “the indigenous ways were very much alive,” says Rosario Granados who curated this exhibition. She believes it’s important to stress that “the conquest didn’t mean a complete destruction of that splendor.”

Not that Imperial Spain didn’t try.

Thanks, UrsaRodinia

One Republican blocked disaster aid for states and territories like Puerto Rico

❝ A vote to pass a $19 billion disaster aid package stalled in the House, after Republican Congressman Chip Roy of Texas objected Friday morning. House leadership was trying to pass the bill by unanimous consent. The Senate passed the same measure Thursday with a vote of 85 to 8.

The bill, which would include much-needed assistance to states struck by floods, storms and fire, and aid for Puerto Rico, which suffered substantial damage in 2017 from Hurricane Maria, the most powerful storm to hit Puerto Rico in almost 90 year, will now be held up until early June, when lawmakers return to Washington…

He offered a few reasons why he shut down the vote. IMHO, the only one that counts in the dim political world he inhabits is “insufficient funding” to be used against migrants crossing the border into America.

❝ The failure to pass the bill comes as most members have already left Washington for Memorial Day weekend and the president was about to depart for his overseas trip to Japan.

Our fake president even said he’d sign the bill if it didn’t contain the extra dollar$ requested by Republicans to halt undocumentados from entering the United States.

Why not fine men $100 every time they masturbate?


“What if men had to undergo the same intrusive procedures as women?”

❝ A Texas lawmaker has proposed a bill that would fine a man $100 each time he masturbates.

The bill also imposes a 24-hour waiting period if a guy wants a colonoscopy or a vasectomy, or if he’s in the market for some Viagra.

Rep. Jessica Farrar, a Democrat, knows her bill isn’t going to get very far. But she proposed it last week to make a point and give male lawmakers a taste of their own medicine

❝ Farrar has long been an advocate of women’s health in a state that has made it extremely difficult for women to get abortions. And the bill, by pointing out a sexist double standard, is meant to shine a light on the obstacles women deal with when it comes to their health care.

Say, “amen” sisters and brothers!

Army unit cancels ban on “rubbing, humping, grinding” for sexual gratification

❝ For nine harrowing days, one Grafenwöhr, Germany-based Army unit was barred from engaging in a laundry list of sexual acts and forms of physical contact, all in the name of vehicle and equipment upkeep…

❝ “Effective immediately, personnel are prohibited from engaging in sexual intercourse, acts that are sexual in nature, or acts that are done with the intent to sexually gratify any person in the Grafenwoehr Training Area,” according to the memo, which specified “agricultural cleaning and preparing our vehicles, equipment, and personnel to return to Fort Hood, Texas” as the reason for the coitus crackdown…

❝ It remains unclear whether this was a problem before. Could this battalion — the identity of which was redacted in the memo — have so severely neglected basic duties in favor of sexual escapades that a 17th century Quaker abstinence policy was warranted?

And why are other sex-having service members around the world perfectly capable of performing these bare essentials?

No doubt, having sex with anything from mules to motor vehicles would have been acceptable once they returned to Texas.

Texas coppers seize sign depicting GOP elephant groping a girl with its trunk

❝ Texas police have seized a political lawn sign that showed a GOP elephant with its trunk up a girl’s dress and the message: “Your Vote Matters.”…

❝ Homeowner Marion Stanford, who made the sign, said she was stunned at the involvement of police in her town of Hamilton, 100 miles southwest of Fort Worth.

“Here we have a political party that is using women,” Stanford told The Dallas Morning News last week. “I thought the sign represented what is going on now, and we can’t just stand quiet. I wanted to tell people we could stop it with voting.”…

Legal experts told the Dallas newspaper that police likely violated Stanford’s First Amendment rights.

“I stand with those women. I stand with the women who want change, who have a voice and are making their voice heard,” Stanford told The Washington Post…

Apparently, one of Texas’ creepier Republican politicians called the coppers. He was offended. Hey, how would you expect your local coppers to respond? Who do you think they would listen to? Do they know there are more than gun rights in the US Constitution

Supreme Court decides legislators are always innocent of racism


Justice Alito thinks this is a normal equal opportunity voting district
[Texas Republicans spell about as well as they honor the Constitution]

❝ The Supreme Court held on Monday that white lawmakers enjoy a presumption of racial innocence, even when they draw legislative districts that empower white voters at the expense of racial minorities.

The thrust of Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion in Abbott v. Perez is that the “good faith” of a “state legislature must be presumed,” even when there are very serious allegations of racial gerrymandering. The facts of Perez are unusual and unlikely to repeat in the future, but Alito’s presumption of white racial innocence could have a significant impact on future cases…

❝ …Alito’s conclusion is that the 2013 (Texas voting district) maps weren’t enacted to preserve a racial gerrymander; they were enacted to shut down litigation challenging a racial gerrymander. And, somehow, this distinction matters.

Sophistry is only nitpicking as far as racist politics is concerned. There are few discussions and decisions more charged with politics than an unencumbered right to vote. Unencumbered rejects racism and bigotry in most folks’ view of the American Constitution as it stands. Especially considering the Voting Rights Act.

Will Ted Cruz take a DNA test to prove he’s not reptilian?

❝ Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was asked an unexpected question Tuesday by a woman. The video of his reply has gone viral.

❝ The video uploader, who identified herself as Tammy Talpas, first explained that she was really worried about missing out on healthcare benefits because she had seven pre-existing conditions.

“If you force me into a high-risk pool, you will either bankrupt me or kill me,” she said. “I take these threats of medical aggression personally and seriously, and I can assure you I’m not the only Texan who does. My question is: Will you pledge to submit to a DNA test to prove that you’re human?

Har!

Texas ‘Baby Jails’ Can Ignore Regulations Protecting Children — Senate Republicans Say So


Click to enlarge

❝ …The state Senate has passed SB 1018, which would license immigrant family detention centers — also called ‘baby jail — as child care facilities. The bill would allow prison firms to ignore regulations that other child care facilities must follow, and was written by GEO Group, Inc., the nation’s second-largest for-profit prison corporation.

❝ Currently, mothers and children such as the ones fleeing violence in Central America and seeking asylum are only held in “baby jails” for weeks at a time, but the new bill would allow facilities to detain mothers and children for the duration of their asylum cases. It would also give the Department of Family and Protective Services broad authority to waive any minimum standards necessary in order to license the facilities…

❝ In the last month, dozens of people have testified against the legislation — while only four spoke in favor, and three of those four were employees of the GEO Group. The bill’s author, Bryan Hughes, admitted that he’s never been to a family detention center and had only “seen pictures”.

Texas Republicans prove, once again, they’re ready, willing and able to pass corrupt regulations that benefit sleazy corporations – as long as it pays.

Scientists photographed Bambi snacking on a human carcass


That’s a human rib bone in Bambi’s mouthMeckel et al., J Forensic Sci

❝ Forensic scientists have to do a lot of weird things in order to solve crimes and identify bodies. Sometimes that involves leaving corpses outside to rot, to better understand what happens during and after decomposition. In fact, there are entire facilities devoted to studying the decay of donated human remains, like the 26-acre Forensic Anthropology Research Facility in San Marcos, Texas.

❝ In July 2014, researchers left a body in a wooded part of FARF. They wanted to learn about how different scavengers leave their marks on human remains, so they set up a motion-sensitive camera to see who would stop by. In this part of Texas, it’s not unusual to see foxes, turkey vultures, raccoons, coyotes, and other carrion-gobblers picking at a corpse. But after a few months, someone new came to the table.

On January 5, 2015, the camera caught a glimpse of a young white-tailed deer standing near the skeleton with a human rib bone in its mouth. Then it happened again on January 13 — the camera caught a deer with another rib sticking out of its mouth like a cigar. It’s not clear whether it was the same deer in both cases, but it’s certainly possible first one came back for seconds…

❝ It is not, however, the first time we’ve seen deer violating their vegetarian diets. In fact, they’re known to have a taste for blood. Previously they’ve been spotted eating fish, bats, and dead rabbits. Scientists think deer and other herbivores may occasionally seek out flesh to get minerals — such as phosphorus, salt, and calcium — that may be missing from their regular diets, especially in wintertime…

Still, for folks whose knowledge of science is as limited as, say, our so-called president, those whose guide through life is superstition and spells – this may be a sign of the End of Times.

Bwa-ha-ha-hah!