Bushboy’s Last on the Card Challenge, June 2022

Self is participating in bushboy’s Last on the Card Challenge.

Her Last on the Card for June 2022 is a real heartbreaker: Roman Ratushny’s obituary in The Economist of 25 June 2022.

A Ukrainian activist, Roman Ratushny volunteered the first day of the Russian invasion. He was killed near Izyum on 9 June. He was 24.

SCOTUS Votes 6-3 Again


Byline: Jess Bravin

Writing for the court, Justice Neil Gorsuch said coach Joe Kennedy’s prayers were private speech that couldn’t be construed as representing the school district and were protected by the First Amendment.

The court rejected arguments that the public devotions could be seen as coercive particularly to the players, who depend on the coach’s approval on matters ranging from time on the field to college recommendations.

Students who might feel discomfort with Mr. Kennedy’s evangelical Christian prayers should consider it a lesson, for “learning how to tolerate speech or prayer of all kinds is part of learning how to live in a pluralistic society,” Justice Gorsuch wrote.

Dissenting Opinion by Justice Sonia Sotomayor:

  • The First Amendment prohibits official “establishment of religion” to elevate another, in the clause protecting the “free exercise of faith.” The decision by the majority “elevates one individual’s interest in personal religious exercise, in the exact time and place of that individual’s choosing, over society’s interest in protecting the separation between church and state, eroding the protections for religious liberty for all.” This decision of the majority was “particularly misguided because it elevates the religious rights of a school official, who voluntarily accepted public employment and the limits that public employment entails, over those of his students, who are required to attend school and who this Court has long recognized are particularly vulnerable and deserving of protection.”

The Economist, 18 June 2022: Interview with Ukraine Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov

Self has such enormous respect for Reznikov. He was Defense Minister for only four months when Russia invaded. He expected “to busy himself with bureaucratic reforms.” Instead, on Feb. 24, he kissed his wife goodbye and went to work. For the next three weeks, he and his core team of advisers “moved around secret sites in the capital: One of the most uncomfortable things was waking up each morning in a new bed.”

No one expected Ukraine to survive. But those canny Ukrainians: in early February, they had already begun secretly moving military units out from their permanent bases. They “hid their air-defence systems and attack aircraft, replacing them with mock-ups.” They rapidly “enacted a new law on territorial defense to arm 100,000 civilians in three days.” Which means they never, not once, entertained the idea of surrendering. All of which would have been clear to Putin or to anyone who’d been paying attention.

Because of this level of preparation, Volodymyr Zelensky made his decision to stay in Kiev. He did not run and form a government in exile. And “with every victory on the battlefield, Western governments began to believe that Ukraine actually had a chance of winning.”

Four months of war. In February, Zelensky had no idea about the kind of wartime leader he would be. Talk about rising to the challenge! He became the leader Ukraine needed.

The Ukrainian people have shown such tremendous courage. “In some areas, Russian forces have ten times Ukraine’s firepower.” Ukraine has lost some territory (Severodonetsk), but whatever gains Russia has made have had to be ground out, inch by inch.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Guardian, 25 May 2022: Male Afghan News Anchors Mask Up To Support Female Staff

The article was written by Zahra Joya:

Male TV presenters in Afghanistan are wearing face masks on screen to show solidarity after the Taliban issued an order that all women on news channels must cover their faces.

In a protest called #FreeHerFace, men on Tolo News wore masks to mimic the effect of the face veil their female colleagues have been forced to wear after a Taliban crackdown.

The Taliban’s ministry of propagation of virtue and prevention of vice ordered all Afghan media outlets to use masks for female presenters. The decision was final and there was no room for debate, it said.

It follows a decree issued in early May that all women must cover their faces in public and male relatives face fines or jail if they do not adhere. Many women in cities such as Kabul defied the order.

Lema Spesali, 27, a news anchor for ITV in Kabul, said she was given the news of the Taliban’s latest decree on arrival at work on Sunday morning. “Two Taliban members came to our office and said the decision on compulsory masks for female anchors must be implemented.

“We had an office meeting and had to accept the Taliban order, but decided that male colleagues should also wear masks and stand by female colleagues.”

Professor K Ruminates

Sorry, dear blog readers. If you are interested in reading K: A Novel, you might as well know that self is reading at a snail’s pace because she keeps posting quotes (There is something she wants to quote on almost every page). She’s also reading Book # 4 in the Ruth Galloway mystery series, and she alternates between reading about Ruth Galloway or about Professor K.

When K: A Novel opens, Professor K is already in Kun Chong Prison. No idea how long he’s been there, but it’s long enough for him to have an established routine.

He thinks back to the months leading up to his imprisonment:

When did I cross the line?

In my fourth year I started sending students online news articles that were blocked in mainland China, say, a story about peasants in Anhui province getting bumped off their land with paltry compensation, while a Party official received a fat kickback from developers. Nothing new there. Some of my students were curious about international perspectives, so I’d send them an article or two, and they’d reply, “This is so inspiring. Thank you for the articles! I definitely will take it into account.

There is something very droll about the way Professor K recalls his interactions with his students, and it’s clear he was such a naif, so American. Wonder who reported him. Could it have been one of his students? One of those who thanked him for his lectures by saying, “This is so inspiring”?

Stay tuned.

Six-Word Saturday: Hackney City Farm, Goldsmiths Row, London

For the past week, self has been exploring East London. Well, maybe ‘exploring’ isn’t the right word: she’s been mostly reading and writing and sending stuff out and trying to get home sooner so she can vote in the California primary — it may seem funny to cut a trip short just to vote in a primary, but she takes nothing for granted these days.

Here are the positions up for vote: California U.S. Senate, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, Member of State Board of Equalization, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, U.S. Representative in Congress, State Senator, State Assembly Member, as well as other local candidates. She is, of course, voting Democrat all the way down the ballot. And if there’s one thing she’s proud about, it’s about raising a son who’ll vote Democrat all the way down the ballot, too!

These past six years have been exhausting: she’s cut off ties with friends she’s known for decades, because all of a sudden they’re calling Hillary “ugly” and say women should not be wearing pantsuits. Think it’s ridiculous? So does self.

Anyhoo, while knocking about East London (which is as far from tourist-y as you can get in London), she stumbled onto a working farm. You can smell the manure from a long way off, it is a little disconcerting, but at least all self had to do was follow her nose.

What a place, though! It sells cheese, grains, veggies — the usual stuff sold by an organic farm. And the minders look exactly like the people in California. In fact, they may even look slightly more hippie-ish than organic farmers do back home. East London hippies — self never knew such a type existed!

Posting this for Travel with Intent’s Six-Word Saturday Challenge.

Quentin Meets His Animal

Self has been moving at glacial pace through The Magician King. Honestly she thought she’d be done with this book by LAST WEEK. But the weather in Belfast today was too nice, so self spent a lot of time walking around.

This is such a cool city. Not to mention, her hotel is a landmark. A sign out front says it is “the most bombed hotel in Europe.” What, you mean during World War II? self asked someone. No, came the answer. During the Troubles. But, remarkably, despite the bombings, IT NEVER SHUT DOWN

(Self asked a waitress in the Piano Lounge about how the hotel was affected by lockdown. It shut down completely, for the first time since its founding)

Back to The Magician King!

In a previous section, Eliot told Quentin that he had sent along an “animal” for Quentin’s journey to Outer Island.

On p. 61, readers finally learn WHAT THAT ANIMAL IS.

Self actually laughed out loud in that part.

This is a momentous journey for Quentin, as Outer Island is full of Fenwicks who, we are given to understand, are very shady people. Not only that, Julia is along for the ride (Does the Quentin/Julia ship have legs? To go by what transpires on the ship, unfortunately, no)

Conclusions (Thus Far) from Reading We Are Bellingcat

Self is about 3/4 of the way through.

It is becoming quite clear that the scale of Russian disinformation in the months leading up to November 2020 was designed with one aim in mind: to sink Hillary Clinton. And Comey’s coming up with the e-mail angle in July 2020 — could that have been any better timing? Comey was a dupe — whether a deliberate dupe or an accidental dupe, who can say. But a dupe, nevertheless.

Recently, during the hearings for Judge Jackson’s nomination to the SCOTUS, the matter of child pornography was brought up repeatedly by Josh Hawley, Lindsey Graham, and Ted Cruz.

There were very strong echoes to the Hillary is a pedo and Joe Biden is a pedo line.

Do the GOP have pedo on the brain, or what?

Now, after reading this far in We Are Bellingcat, I now know why the GOP line is always calling a political opponent a pedo. Because it is undisputedly a line. A line they have been given. A line they all parrot like obedient children. None of it was arrived at by independent thinking. That is why it is always the same: pedophilia and child pornography.

None of them truly believe that Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden are pedos, but it’s a mark of their allegiance to the party line, to say it out loud. A mark of their loyalty.

The next GOP Senator who starts the Biden is a pedo line, you’ll know that person is utterly compromised.

Stay tuned.

Today’s Headlines, 3rd Tuesday of March 2022

WALL STREET JOURNAL, Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine — Russian forces are killing civilians and looting stores and homes across occupied parts of southern Ukraine, residents said, as Moscow arrested elected local leaders and sought to replace them with pro-Russian collaborators.

People arriving here from Russian-held areas over the weekend described hungry and undisciplined Russian troops shooting unarmed villagers, breaking into supermarkets and shops, and raiding homes in search of food and valuables as their own supply lines have failed.

“They just brazenly come in, without any shame, and take whatever they want,” said Valentyn Khodus, 64, who came to Zaporizhzhia from the small village of Myrne after days hiding in the cellar with her daughter and grandson as Russian troops went door to door ransacking houses.

Two neighbors who were driving a car with a Ukrainian flag were shot and killed by a Russian patrol last week, she said. “It’s still there, on the roadside, and their bodies are still inside,” Ms. Khodus said.

Russia said it isn’t planning an occupation of Ukraine and that its forces are liberating Ukrainians.

The Defeated Nation

Self is very, very afraid for Ukraine. Especially after reading this section of Aftermath: Life in the Fallout of the Third Reich. Sure we all admire the Ukrainians’ pluck. But — if it’s ugly now, it’ll be even uglier for them at the end. The Russians have to be driven out, before they do their worst.

Over the course of the war Germany had transported about 7 million foreign nationals as forced labourers, including POWs, to the Reich territory, to replace the huge numbers of workers who had been sent to the front. These slave labourers had experienced an intensified form of hell during the last few weeks of the war, when they were ruthlessly maltreated more than ever before. The forced labourers still toiling in the factories were viewed with mounting concern by the Nazi regime. The more uncertain the situation grew the more fearful the German authorities became of an uprising among their slaves. The regime had always been more afraid of this than of German resistance, but now that feeling turned into panic. When, towards the end of the war, it seemed as if the forced labourers were unlikely to be of any further use, German law enforcement officers simply killed them en masse. Some of the massacres were perpetrated for fear of the prisoners’ revenge, but some were the product of an “apocalyptic habit.” The security forces wanted to take as many “enemies” as possible with them into death, even if their victims were defenceless and unarmed.

Aftermath: Life in the Fallout of the Third Reich, 1945 – 1955, p. 47

« Older entries

Travel with Intent

A photographer's view of the world - words and images to inspire your travels and your dreams


A look at the stranger side of the greatest city in the world


The blogging challenge keep you motivated and start the new year on the "write" track!

Photos by Jez

Taking the camera for a walk!!!

Cath's Camera

life through my lens

The life of B

Mainly through the lens of a Nikon


welcome to my past, present and future mixed with whatever pops up right now

Iain Kelly

Fiction Writing

John's Space .....

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

nancy merrill photography

capturing memories one moment at a time

Rantings Of A Third Kind

The Blog about everything and nothing and it's all done in the best possible taste!

Sauce Box

Never get lost in the Sauce

GK Dutta

Be One... Make One...

Cee's Photo Challenges

Teaching the art of composition for photography.

Fashion Not Fear

Fueling fearlessness through style and inspiration.

Wanderlust & Wonderment

My writing and photo journey of inspiration and discovery


Decades of her words.

John Oliver Mason

Observations about my life and the world around me.


fiction, short story, writing, creative content

Insanity at its best!

Yousuf Bawany's Blog