Our exQuisite Corpse commissions the Huichol people of Western Mexico to create these awesome beaded works of art. Huichol artisans painstakingly cover human and animal skulls with intricate patters of tiny, colorful beads. Because each one-of-a-kind piece is beaded using wax, they need to be kept away from heat and the sun.
The finished Human Skulls (made of resin, not bone, just in case anyone was wondering) all appear deliriously happy. The longer we look at them, the more we can’t help starting to grin right along with them.
While they’re all gorgeous, our favourite piece has got to be the stunning life-sized replica Giraffe Skull complete with beaded vertebrate.
Fast and Furious in a nutshell: “U.S. guns have been widely used by Mexican drug cartels. While U.S. gun dealers aren’t supposed to sell weapons to the cartels, a lot of dealers have been selling guns to straw purchasers who smuggle the guns to the cartels. The ATF could arrest and prosecute some individual gun smuggler, but solving the problem requires building a case against the big fish gun dealers who know their guns are going to the cartels. The idea was to follow the little guys until they meet up with the big bad guys. This sometimes meant preventing local law enforcement from arresting the guy they were using as bait. In the end, they were supposed to…arrest everybody and grab all the guns. Then they could build a legal case against some seriously bad guys.” Read more
Jake Sherman and John Bresnahan of Politico report this morning: “[T]he House is expected Thursday to vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress for failing to fork over thousands of pages of internal Justice Department documents detailing why federal officials allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. […] If the House approves the measure, it will be the first time in U.S. history that one of the chambers has voted to hold a sitting attorney general in contempt. Adding to the political pressure: The National Rifle Association said in a letter to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) that it would use the contempt vote in its influential political scorecard.“
From a former ATF agent: “The National Rifle Association (NRA), one of the most powerful lobbies in the US, has relentlessly tried to destroy the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) since it was created in 1972. They came close under Ronald Reagan in 1981, when the NRA pushed legislation to abolish the agency. Realizing that federal gun law enforcement would transfer to the then much esteemed Secret Service, the NRA scuttled the proposal. [… the NRA’s] support of the national database for criminal background checks was conditioned on prohibiting local ATF offices or other law enforcement agencies from accessing this information… the NRA also required that all records pertaining to the background checks be immediately destroyed. The NRA’s Republican allies in congress also blocked legislation that would ban cop-killer bullets and assault weapons and close the gun show loopholes.”
Republican Rep. Darrell Issa admitted yesterday: The congressman heading an investigation into a botched gun-trafficking case said on Sunday he had no evidence the White House was involved in a cover-up about the operation or in providing misleading information to Congress. That’s despite what “several Republican lawmakers, including House Speaker John A. Boehner(R-Ohio), charged last week that President Obama’s decision to invoke executive privilege over documents related to the probe suggested that top administration officials were involved in withholding information.”
History: ATF ran a series of “gunwalking” sting operations between 2006 and 2011.This was done under the umbrella of Project Gunrunner, a project intended to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico by interdicting straw purchasers and gun traffickers within the United States…
An Arizona sheriff says five bodies found burned beyond recognition inside the shell of a charred SUV are likely the result of drug cartel violence. The bodies and vehicle were found in the Vekol Valley, a rugged, mountainous desert area that’s a well-known smuggling corridor for drugs and illegal immigrants headed from Mexico to Phoenix and the U.S. interior. The bodies were so badly burned that investigators couldn’t immediately determine their gender or ethnicity. While it’s unclear whether the victims were from Mexico, the sheriff’s office has notified the Mexican Consulate.
Hoekstra Says Feds Should Check Birth Certificates (but it’s not about Obama) – Michigan U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra (R) said he’d like to “create a federal office in Washington that would verify that presidential candidates meet the minimum requirements to hold the office,” the Detroit Free Press reports. Said Hoekstra: “This is not brain surgery. It should be an FBI person, maybe a CIA person. If you want to run for president, you’ve got to go with the proper documentation and get it certified that you meet the qualifications to be the President of the United States.”– Political Wire
CNN Host Confronts Pete Hoekstra Over Birther Commission Proposal– Baldwin aired a clip of an infamous Hoekstra ad that aired during this year’s Super Bowl, since pulled from his website, in which an actress depicted a Chinese villager thanking Hoekstra’s opponent in broken English for running up the national debt. “Critics called you a racist for that ad,” Baldwin said. “Do you realize that critics might use this office, this proposal for this office, as further proof?” Hoekstra was not happy to see the old wound reopened. “I don’t know why they would take it in that direction,” Hoekstra said. – TPM
Romney surrogate: CNN ‘should be embarrassed’ for covering birther story — Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, who is now a surrogate for Mitt Romney, on Wednesday blasted CNN host Soledad O’Brien for reporting on the presumptive Republican nominee’s link to birthers like billionaire Donald Trump. –Raw Story
Fox News host Sean Hannity on Tuesday denied he was a “birther,” but found it “odd” that President Barack Obama took so long to release his birth certificate. “You know, I’ve never been a birther,” the Fox News host declared. “You know, it was odd that they didn’t release the birth certificate to me. I’m like, you ask me for my birth certificate, it’s pretty easy to get.” […] During his 2008 bid for the White House then-Sen. Obama did release his short-form birth certificate. FactCheck.org concluded at the time that “it meets all of the requirements from the State Department for proving U.S. citizenship. … Obama was born in the U.S.A. just as he has always said.” After billionaire Donald Trump and other prominent birthers refused to drop the issue, the White House released the president’s long-form birth certificate in April 2011. –Raw Story
“There is no more naked celebrity in America than Donald Trump. He doesn’t do subtlety. He doesn’t do ‘thought.’ To say he has a political calculus is a wild overstatement. His strategy amounts to no more than junior high school algebra. The equation is: Trump + infantile public statement x infinite repetitions on TV and Twitter = maximum publicity for flailing Trump products and insatiable Trump ego.” — Frank Rich
Romney’s birth certificate evokes his father’s controversy – Willard Mitt Romney, the certificate says, was born in Detroit on March 12, 1947. His mother, Lenore, was born in Utah and his father, former Michigan governor and one-time Republican presidential candidate George Romney, was born in Mexico. So on a day when real estate and media mogul Donald Trump was trying to help Mitt Romney by stirring up a new round of questions about whether Democratic President Barack Obama was born in the United States, Romney’s own birth record became a reminder that in the 1968 presidential campaign, his father had faced his own “birther” controversy. –Reuters
Where’s Mitt Romney’s Long-Form Birth Certificate? – Just one problem: The document released by Mitt Romney’s campaign is titled “Certificate of Live Birth.” This is, to be clear, the same thing as a birth certificate (it just has a couple of extra words in there and the order is flipped around). But according to three years of commentary from top conservative media and politicos, it’s not enough. “There’s a difference between a birth certificate, apparently, and a certificate of live birth,” said Fox News host Jeanine Pirro in a segment last April on the President’s supposedly missing paper trail. The President’s certificate of live birth, reported Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy, “is not the exact birth certificate.” Sarah Palin suggested that the certificate of live birth was insufficient proof of citizenship. As one leading conservative activist put it, “A ‘birth certificate’ and a ‘certificate of live birth’ are in no way the same thing, even though in some cases they use some of the same words.” That was Donald Trump. – Mother Jones
The Romney campaign tossed a little dog-whistle to the birthers yesterday too – The same day Romney planned to appear with noted birther Donald Trump at a Las Vegas fundraiser, the campaign released a copy of Mitt’s birth certificate. — Buzzfeed
This awesome creature (yes, this really is a living thing, not a piece of candy or glass) is a Jewel Caterpillar (Acraga coa) spotted by naturalist and photographer Gerardo Aizpurunear Cancun, Mexico. No word if it tastes like a gummi worm, but we’ll let you take the first bite. Here’s Gerardo’s own description:
“Photo take in a mangrove area , found this Stoning translucent caterpillar lay on a Red Mangrove tree leaf this morning early. Just can believe there is some species like this around the world. looks like made of glass whit small red mushroom inside every pic. about 3 cm long.”
The bottom image, as you might’ve surmised, shows the bright and impressively furry moth that this wicked little caterpillar eventually becomes. Transforming from one sort of awesome creature into another different, but still entirely awesome, creature? We’re seriously impressed.
As the Republican Teaparty has taught us since Barack Obama won the presidency, the background of a candidate is completely fair game — particularly if that background doesnot involve the candidate’s ancestors being passengers aboard the Mayflower (and specifically if one’s ancestors are any race other than white). Fact: these are the people Romney panders to.
The write-up wraps with this: “Romney’s father, George, was born in Mexico and moved to the United States as a child. He went on to become the governor of Michigan.” Which… doesn’t tell us what’s being discussed. Let’s go back to what Schweitzer told Jacobs.
While discussing swing states, Schweitzer said Romney would have a “tall order to position Hispanics to vote for him,” and I replied that was mildly ironic since Mitt’s father was born in Mexico, giving the clan a nominal claim to being Hispanic. Schweitzer replied that it is “kinda ironic given that his family came from a polygamy commune in Mexico, but then he’d have to talk about his family coming from a polygamy commune in Mexico, given the gender discrepancy.” Women, he said, are “not great fans of polygamy, 86 percent were not great fans of polygamy. I am not alleging by any stretch that Romney is a polygamist and approves of [the] polygamy lifestyle, but his father was born into [a] polygamy commune in Mexico.”
Schweitzer did not say that Romney’s “dad’s dad was a polygamist.” He said that Romney’s dad was born into a “polygamy commune in Mexico.” This is true. In the 1880s, Miles Romney — the great-grandfather of the current GOP candidate — established a commune in Mexico with the express purpose of allowing the church to continue that practice after the United States cracked down on it. Miles took another wife in 1897, while living in the colony. Gaskell Romney, his son, didn’t engage in plural marriage. So both Romney and Schweitzer, talking past each other, are right.
Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) is causing a bit of a stir with his comment that Mitt Romney’s family came from a “polygamy commune.”
In an interview with the Daily Beast on Thursday, the outspoken governor suggested Romney could identify with Latinos better if he talked about his family’s roots in Mexico.
It’s “kinda ironic, given that his family came from a polygamy commune in Mexico, but then he’d have to talk about his family coming from a polygamy commune in Mexico, given the gender discrepancy,” Schweitzer said. (Schweitzer noted that women, in particular, object to polygamy, or the practice of having multiple wives.)
[…] The truth is that Romney should be able to draw on his personal history for ammunition to fight back on issues such as the Latino vote and his image as a fat-cat businessman. But in both cases, fighting back would require reminding people that he’s a Mormon.
Romney has given more than $11 million to charity over the past 12 years, but 80 percent of it went to the Mormon Church, according to a recent Boston Globe report. So even if Romney wanted to talk about the $1.8 million that went to other causes, he would probably have to broach the Mormon issue — at least a little bit.
What if we request that Willard Romney educate us all a little better on his full family history and his religious faith: Mormonism — and by the same exacting standards and with all the careful insight, civility, and respect as was provided by the base of his own party.
In 2008, Romney calls Osama bin Ladin “Barack Obama” –
More from Romney:
“Unfortunately, possibly because of the people the president hangs around with, and their agenda, their secular agenda – they have fought against religion,” Romney said. [Feb/2012]
“I think there is in this country a war on religion. I think there is a desire to establish a religion in America known as secularism. … We are now all Catholics. Those of us who are people of faith recognize this is — an attack on one religion is an attack on all religion. It’s one more reason we need to get rid of Obamacare. It’s also one more reason we need to get rid of Obama.” [Romney, Apr/2012]
Romney’s Message: Obama’s Not a Real American | David Corn – Romney doesn’t call Obama a commie. He doesn’t question his birthplace. He doesn’t say the president is a criminal. He doesn’t suggest he’s Muslim-y. He doesn’t declare that Obama hates America or harbors anti-American views. But Romney has welcomed the backing of those who make these types of claims, and he has even courted these over-the-top Obama foes (as he did with Nugent, after the gun-lovin’, aging rocker had violently threatened Obama and Hillary Clinton). He legitimizes and exploits those who engage in Obama hate-mongering and who debase the political discourse Romney claims to care about. More important, with his own words, Romney has attempted to reinforce the notion that Obama is not truly part of the nation he leads. He has mainstreamed the Obama-ain’t-really-American meme of the right. And that is hardly civil.
Earthquake in Mexico: Powerful, destructive but not deadly - As of early Wednesday, there were still no reports of deaths from Tuesday’s magnitude-7.4 quake centered near the border between the southern states of Oaxaca and Guerrero, even after 10 aftershocks. Interior Secretary Alejandro Poire said Tuesday night that nine people were injured in Oaxaca and two in Mexico City. […] There were reports of damaged buildings but none were reported to have collapsed on the Oaxaca side of the border, said civil protection spokeswoman Cynthia Tovar said. In Guerrero, home to Acapulco where little damage was reported, officials say about 800 homes were damaged and 60 collapsed. [image: ABCNews]
Meanwhile in the U.S. — Colorado is not well, apparently (above)
Bird flu researchers suspend study of deadlier mutations - Researchers studying a potentially deadlier, airborne version of the H5N1 influenza virus, or bird flu, have voluntarily suspended their research for 60 days, according to a letter published in the journals Nature and Science on Friday.
China Reports 2nd H5N1 Bird Flu Death in Month - Both of the deaths in China were notable because neither victim reported any contact with birds in the month preceding his illness. The virus is known to spread through contact with infected birds, eggs or bird feces, but experts said a pandemic could occur were it to mutate into a form that was more easily spread.
Swine flu death toll hits nine in Mexico as cases almost double - Nine people have died from an outbreak of swine flu in Mexico, with the number of cases almost doubling in a week. Health officials have identified 573 cases of A (H1N1), up from 333 instances on Thursday. The strain represents 90 per cent of influenza cases in the country, the health ministry said in a statement yesterday. Authorities brushed aside suggestions of a new health emergency.
Apparently there was a second Bush-era gun-trafficking sting operation in which ATF allowed weapons to cross the border into Mexico in hopes of tracking them to high-level smugglers. Doesn’t sound like any more of a good idea then than when ATF under Obama launched another such sting. The difference is Republicans are pillorying the Obama administration for it. (via David Kurtz)
THE LESSON HERE, AND ONE WE’RE ALL FAMILIAR WITH, is that Republicans and the right wing Teaparty will have a problem with something ONLY when a Democrat is president. Otherwise, it’s all good. Invading Iraq without reason, and without any legal consequences for anyone in the Bush Administration (and without any outrage from American conservatives, then or now), will always be the definitive confirmation of such right wing hypocrisy. Everything else is bullet points.