Archive for Miscellaneous

Maryland’s Crossland Banner

Crossland bannerThe Maryland state flag‘s alternating quadrants consist of imagery from the Coats of Arms of the Calvert and Crossland families. William Cooke has blogged extensively about Maryland flags and banners, including the Crossland banner.

The Maryland state flag is one of only four state flags that doesn’t contain the color blue. It’s also the only one based on English heraldry.

At left is the Crossland Banner. You can purchase your own Crossland banner here.

The two symbols were first put together in 1648 by the second Lord Baltimore, Cecilius Calvert.

Here’s what Wikipedia notes about historical usage of the Crossland banner:

The red and white colored arms of the Crossland family, which belonged to the family of Calvert’s (Lord Baltimore’s) paternal grandmother, gained popularity during the American Civil War, during which Maryland remained with the Union despite a large proportion of the citizenry’s support for the Confederacy, especially in the central City of Baltimore and the counties of the southern part of the state and the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Those Marylanders who supported the Confederacy, many of whom fought in the Army of Northern Virginia of General Robert E. Lee, adopted the Crossland banner, which was red and white with the bottony (trefoil) cross (seen as “secession colors”) and often used a metal bottony cross pinned to their gray uniforms or caps (kepis). The black and gold (yellow) colors with the chevron design of the Calvert familywere used in the flags and devices and uniform pins of the Union Army regiments in the northern Army of the Potomac.

After the war, Marylanders who had fought on either side of the conflict returned to their state in need of reconciliation. The present design, which incorporates both of the coats of arms used by George Calvert, began appearing.

The current state flag with both the Crossland and Calvert heraldry include was first flown publicly in 1880 at a parade honoring the sesquicentennial of Baltimore. It was also flown in 1888 at ceremonies marking the erection of monuments at Gettysburg honoring the Union regiments from Maryland who fought there. The new state flag was officially adopted in 1904.

More on the Crossland banner

More from Cooke:

It is interesting to point out that the Crossland Banner has not attracted the negative attention that other Confederate flags have. I believe that this is because the design was created centuries before the Civil War and should not even be considered a Confederate flag, on its own. Rather it was just one symbol that Confederates in Maryland adopted. Hate groups have not used the Crossland Banner, thankfully. Flying the Crossland is not seen as controversial as it has such a rich history and has a prominent place on our State flag. Indeed, ultra-liberal Howard County, uses the Crossland Banner on their county flag.

Don’t forget to purchase your own banner here.

Bacon fire shuts down interstate

baconOn Monday evening, I-68 in Cumberland, Maryland was shut down for six hours after a truckload of bacon and other pork products caught on fire.

According to the Cumberland Times-News, “the truck was loaded with a variety of pork products including ribs.”

The fire shut down eastbound I-68 from 6 p.m to midnight Monday.

One county employee outside the Allegany County 911 Center reported smelling the aroma of bacon burning while outside. Fire Department officials told the media that “a portion of fire hose was damaged beyond repair by bacon grease than [sic] fell onto it.”

More on Bacon

In 2014, I wrote about a lobbying group that bought space on billboards in Allentown, Pennsylvania trying to get the Allentown IronPigs from selling bacon at their concession stands.

In 2015, with the help of IJReview, Senator Ted Cruz made machine-gun bacon:

In 2013, HuffPo reported on a company making bullets using pork:

South Fork Industries, based in Dalton Gardens, Idaho, claims its ammunition, called Jihawg Ammo, is a “defensive deterrent to those who violently act in the name of Islam.”

The bullets are coated in pork-infused paint, which the company states makes the ammo “haram,” or unclean, and therefore will keep a Muslim who’s shot with one of the bullets from entering paradise.

“With Jihawg Ammo, you don’t just kill an Islamist terrorist, you also send him to hell. That should give would-be martyrs something to think about before they launch an attack. If it ever becomes necessary to defend yourself and those around you our ammo works on two levels,” the company said in a press release earlier this month.

The company’s website bills the bullets as “Peace Through Pork” and a “peaceful and natural deterrent to radical Islam.” There’s a related line of apparel that feature slogans like “Put Some Ham in MoHAMed” and a target poster that says “Give Em a Spankin with some Bacon.”

It was also reported earlier this year that a Texas group is training to stop a Muslim “uprising” using bullets dipped in bacon grease and pig’s blood.

Brian Wilson of WMAL accused of harassment

Brian WilsonBrian Wilson is co-host, along with Larry O’Connor, of Mornings on the Mall on WMAL radio in Washington, DC. He previously worked at Fox News Channel as anchor and reporter.

On the heels of Roger Ailes’ departure from Fox amid sexual harassment allegations, an allegation has now been made against Brian Wilson by a former employee of the network.

The New York Times reported that Rudi Baktiar accused Wilson of improper behavior in 2006 and that she thinks she lost her job over reporting it. Wilson denied the accusation when contacted Friday.

Specficially, Bakhtiar claims that, while having coffee in her DC hotel lobby, Wilson told her he wanted to help her get a permanent job and then said, ““You know how I feel about you, Rudi.”

After that, Bakhtiar says Wilson repeated himself after her response. She alleges that she asked him what he meant and he responded:

“Well, I’d like to see the inside of your hotel room,” adding that he wanted a friends-with-benefits relationship.

Bakhtiar says she was told to report the incident to Human Resources and that her on-air appearances ended and she was eventually let go. The reason given for her firing was due to her job performance.

Wilson denied the allegations to the Times and said, “I take strong exception to the facts of the story as you have relayed it to me, period. Beyond that, I will have no further comment.”

Bakhtiar admits she is risking a lawsuit from the network for violating provisions of a settlement. She told the Times that her lawyer was contacted by Fox News after their inquiries.

The full story discusses an environment where sexual harassment was prevalent according to multiple former employees. These are the latest accusations following an internal investigation that started this week after former host Gretchen Carlson accused Ailes of harrasment. Reportedly, current host Megyn Kelly also alleged harassment by Ailes as part of the internal investigation.

More on Brian Wilson

Wilson’s departure from Fox News made news too.

Howard Kurtz, who was then at The Washington Post, wrote:

Fox insiders say Wilson has had temper issues. In one story involving guns, they say, Wilson was furious after a producer removed the sound of gunfire from his taped piece, even going so far as to knock over file cabinets.

Another story by Betsy Rothstein, who was the editor of FishbowlDC then, noted:

As some may know, Wilson had a very brief stint as the DC Bureau chief, but things were turbulent. He had a number of personnel problems, including temper tantrums and threatening producers in the newsroom with his outbursts.

Another story at FishbowlDC included more details:

Insider reports reveal that Wilson went haywire when a producer tried to replace a shot in one of his TV packages. Wilson reportedly “yelled” and “kicked a chair.” The producer then went to Human Resources to report the incident. Next thing you know, Diane Brandi, of legal affairs in New York, comes to Washington. Sources say Fox News employees said they wouldn’t feel comfortable if Wilson returned to Fox News.

Politico reported in June 2007 on Wilson:

Brian Wilson has been the Fox News D.C. bureau chief for less than six months and already he’s making an impact. Two weeks ago, he had to write an apology letter to Rep. John Conyers for using B-roll of him that was intended to be footage of indicted Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson.

Wonder Woman based on Margaret Sanger

Wonder WomanOver the weekend, I saw an article on largely unknown facts about comic books or comic book characters. I can’t find it right now, but it was on a click-bait site. It included a fact about Wonder Woman that I hadn’t heard before.

The fact I hadn’t read or heard before? That Margaret Sanger was the basis for Wonder Woman. It may be something that has been widely reported at some point, but I’d never heard it. The creator of the comic even did his best to hide that fact for as long as possible.

A 2014 article in Smithsonian magazine by Jill Lepore confirms the report. In 1942 it was reported that Wonder Woman’s creator was Dr. William Moulton Marston, “an internationally famous psychologist.”

The article includes a quote from Marston that, “Frankly, Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who, I believe, should rule the world.”

Smithsonian notes that Marston’s attitude was a response to the popularity of sexually violent comic books:

But at a time when war was ravaging Europe, comic books celebrated violence, even sexual violence. In 1940, the Chicago Daily News called comics a “national disgrace.” “Ten million copies of these sex-horror serials are sold every month,” wrote the newspaper’s literary editor, calling for parents and teachers to ban the comics, “unless we want a coming generation even more ferocious than the present one.”

Marston was hired as a consultant by the founder of All-American Comics, Maxwell Charles Gaines. Gaines wanted to use Marston to shield him from criticism.

A staff writer named Olive Richard interviewed Marston at his home for Family Circle magazine in 1940.

From that interview, via Smithsonian:

“Some of them are full of torture, kidnapping, sadism, and other cruel business,” she said.

“Unfortunately, that is true,” Marston admitted, but “when a lovely heroine is bound to the stake, comics followers are sure that the rescue will arrive in the nick of time. The reader’s wish is to save the girl, not to see her suffer.”

Lepore goes on to note that “Olive Richard” is the pen name for Olive Byrne, who already lived with Marston and his wife. More on Olive Byrne:

She was also the niece of Margaret Sanger, one of the most important feminists of the 20th century. In 1916, Sanger and her sister, Ethel Byrne, Olive Byrne’s mother, had opened the first birth-control clinic in the United States. They were both arrested for the illegal distribution of contraception. In jail in 1917, Ethel Byrne went on a hunger strike and nearly died.

Marston and Byrne met when she was a senior at Tufts and he was her psychology professor. They fell in love and he told his wife, Elizabeth Holloway, that Byrne could move in with them or he would be moving out. Marston fathered two children by each of the women in the household between 1928 and 1933. Holloway finally admitted  to Byrne’s sons in 1963 that Marston was their father. Gaines knew none of this when he hired Marston.

In case you’re having trouble keeping up, Lepore notes (via NPR), “So there was his wife, Elizabeth Holloway, his mistress, Olive Byrne and another woman named Marjorie Wilkes Huntley, who kind of was in and out of the family.”

Lepore discussed Sanger as inspiration for Wonder Woman in more detail in an NPR interview from 2014. That interview also notes that the costume for Wonder Woman was inspired by erotic pinup art.

Wonder Woman debuted in All-Star Comics in 1941 and appeared on the cover of Sensation Comics in 1942. In the Smithsonian article, Lepore notes that controversy ensued:

But in March 1942, the National Organization for Decent Literature put Sensation Comics on its blacklist of “Publications Disapproved for Youth” for one reason: “Wonder Woman is not sufficiently dressed.”

From the NPR interview:

But one of the things that’s a defining element of Wonder Woman is that if a man binds her in chains, she loses all of her Amazonian strength. And so in almost every episode of the early comics – the ones that Marston wrote – she’s chained up or she’s roped up. It’s usually chains. And then she has to break free of these chains, and that’s, Marston would always say, in order to signify her emancipation from men. But those chains are really an important part of the feminist and suffrage struggles of the 1910s that Marston was – had a kind of front-row seat for.

Also in the NPR interview, host Terry Gross and Lepore discuss the “big kind of fetishistic, sexual aspect to the bondage and the chains in Wonder Woman.”

A woman member of the advisory board for Gaines’ comics even sent a letter of complaint about Wonder Woman’s”“sadistic bits showing women chained, tortured, etc.” and Lepore agrees with her in the story:

She had a point. In episode after episode, Wonder Woman is chained, bound, gagged, lassoed, tied, fettered and manacled. “Great girdle of Aphrodite!” she cries at one point. “Am I tired of being tied up!”

Marston shrugged off the criticism and when Dorothy Roubicek, an editor who actually worked on Wonder Woman, complained, he said:

“Of course I wouldn’t expect Miss Roubicek to understand all this,” Marston wrote Gaines. “After all I have devoted my entire life to working out psychological principles. Miss R. has been in comics only 6 months or so, hasn’t she? And never in psychology.” But “the secret of woman’s allure,” he told Gaines, is that “women enjoy submission—being bound.”

Marston was hiding his relationship with Olive Byrne, his connection to Margaret Sanger, which tied into the images of bondage:

Hidden behind this controversy is one reason for all those chains and ropes, which has to do with the history of the fight for women’s rights. Because Marston kept his true relationship with Olive Byrne a secret, he kept his family’s ties to Margaret Sanger a secret, too. Marston, Byrne and Holloway, and even Harry G. Peter, the artist who drew Wonder Woman, had all been powerfully influenced by the suffrage, feminism and birth control movements. And each of those movements had used chains as a centerpiece of its iconography.

More details on the use of similar art in Sanger-related publications is included on the second page of the Smithsonian article.

Lepore sums up that section with this:

When Marston created Wonder Woman, in 1941, he drew on Sanger’s legacy and inspiration. But he was also determined to keep the influence of Sanger on Wonder Woman a secret.

More on Margaret Sanger:
the Inspiration for Wonder Woman

Wonder WomanMargaret Sanger was the founder of what is now the nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.

Sanger was known as a free love (e.g. the arrangement already mentioned that her niece was involved in) and birth control activist, but what her supporters want to cover up now is her support for eugenics.

Much of the quotes have been cited before by the modern pro-life movement. I’ll get to them in a moment but I thought that quoting her Wikipedia entry might be a good thing to do, since any edits to her biography there are highly scrutinized due to the controversy surrouding her.

From Wikipedia:

In “The Morality of Birth Control,” a 1921 speech, she divided society into three groups: the “educated and informed” class that regulated the size of their families, the “intelligent and responsible” who desired to control their families in spite of lacking the means or the knowledge, and the “irresponsible and reckless people” whose religious scruples “prevent their exercising control over their numbers.” Sanger concludes, “There is no doubt in the minds of all thinking people that the procreation of this group should be stopped.”

Sanger’s eugenic policies included an exclusionary immigration policy, free access to birth control methods, and full family planningautonomy for the able-minded, as well as compulsory segregation or sterilization for the “profoundly retarded”. In her book The Pivot of Civilization, she advocated coercion to prevent the “undeniably feeble-minded” from procreating.

 

National Right to Life has written more about Sanger and eugenics:

But if someone is truly “unfit,” he or she is too stupid or out-of-control to stop reproducing voluntarily. So, as Sanger wrote in 1921, governments should “attempt to restrain, either by force or persuasion, the moron and the imbecile from producing his large family of feeble-minded offspring.”

Now you understand Sanger’s support of forced sterilization of the “unfit,” something enthusiastically promoted by many of her friends and collaborators, such as former Planned Parenthood president Alan Guttmacher (after whom Planned Parenthood’s former research arm is named) or Clarence Gamble, who used his fortune to set up sterilization clinics throughout the South and Midwest.

Gamble was proud of his work promoting involuntary sterilization but complained in 1947 that there was much more to do: “For every one man or woman who has been sterilized, there are 40 others who can continue to pour defective genes into the State’s bloodstream to pollute and degrade future generations.”

Some Sanger quotes, from Life News (here and here):

  • “The most merciful thing that the large family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”
  • “Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race.”
  • “We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities.  The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”
  • “[We should] apply a stern and rigid policy of sterilization and segregation to that grade of population whose progeny is tainted, or whose inheritance is such that objectionable traits may be transmitted to offspring.”
  • “I accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan … I saw through the door dim figures parading with banners and illuminated crosses … I was escorted to the platform, was introduced, and began to speak … In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered.”
  • I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world – that have disease from their parents, that have no chance in the world to be a human being practically. Delinquents, prisoners, all sorts of things just marked when they’re born. That to me is the greatest sin – that people can – can commit.

The creator of Wonder Woman was living with two lovers, his wife, and their children. He thought women want to be submissive and bound and he admired Sanger, an advocate of free love and eugenics. I can see why he hid all of this from the people behind what became DC Comics.

Catholic graduation speaker is Planned Parenthood supporter

graduation

In the April 2016 edition of The Bulletin of Notre Dame of Maryland University (NDMU), President Marylou Yam announced the commencement speaker for graduation exercises this Sunday May 22, 2016, would be Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. Dr. Wen, pictured at left in blue holding the sign, will receive an honorary degree from the university.

A few sentences on Dr. Wen’s biographical data is included. Areas focused on include her work with youth health and wellness, opioid overdose prevention, and violence prevention.

Some of Dr. Wen’s other advocacy work, that goes against Catholic teaching, remains unmentioned:

  1. She is a supporter of federal funding for Planned Parenthood and wrote that the group is “saving lives”
  2. She is health commissioner in a city that has taken action to persecute pro-life pregnancy centers.
  3. She has been praised by the local NARAL director and the director of the Baltimore Abortion Fund.
  4. She supports giving contraceptives to elementary school students at city schools without their parents’ consent.
  5. She wrote that physician-assisted suicide is an “important aspect of care” and that “assisted death” is “compassionate.”

If you want to let Dr. Marylou Yam know what you think about Dr. Leana Wen being honored by NDMU, you can email her at  or call her office at 410-532-5300.

She was appointed to her post by Mayor Stephanie-Rawlings Blake in late 2014. Rawlings-Blake has been a long-time friend of both Planned Parenthood and NARAL. As City Council President, Rawlings-Blake introduced legislation regulating pro-life pregnancy centers that became law. The law required the centers to post signage saying that they did not provide referrals for abortions or face penalties. The Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns filed a federal lawsuit. The law is not currently being enforced until the matter is settled.

Dr. Wen’s City Department of Health falls under the purview of Deputy Mayor Dawn Kirstaetter. Kirstaetter served as the executive director of a Berea, Kentucky affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She was also President of the Kentucky Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates.

On September 29, 2015, Wen made a Facebook post that included several pictures (including the one above) showing her at a rally in support of Planned Parenthood in downtown Baltimore.

Her message read (emphasis added):

As a doctor, I applaud Planned Parenthood for improving health and saving lives. As a public health leader, I join officials across Maryland including Congressman Van Hollen, State Senator Nathan-Pulliam, and Delegate Rosenberg to #‎standwithPP. As a woman and a citizen, I am proud to stand strong for ‪#‎pinkoutday to support reproductive rights.

In June 2015, she wrote a letter to Members of Congress asking them not to cut funding to Title X programs including Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. Wen said the cuts “would have grave impacts on Baltimore’s public health.”

Dr. Wen was praised by the director of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland and the board president of the Baltimore Abortion Fund in a letter to the editor in The Baltimore Sun in June 2015. The writers thanked Wen for increasing the availability of contraceptives in city schools. They also chastised City Councilman Carl Stokes, who compared offering Norplant and Nexplanon in city schools to the Tuskegee syphilis experiment.  Stokes also was criticized in the letter for calling the issue of giving out contraceptives without parental consent a violation of parents’ rights.

That letter came after a news story that Wen’s health department had started implanting Nexplanon in girls at health centers in Baltimore City Schools. Nexplanon is a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) like Norplant. Baltimore City Schools were the first in the nation to provide Norplant for students in the 1980s.

LARCs are not the only contraceptives being distributed at the health centers in city schools. Condoms, oral birth control pills, Ortho Evra patches, Depo-Provera shots, NuvaRing, and Plan B are also available in the school-based health centers.

Despite claims to the contrary by some activists, the Food & Drug Administration requires labeling for Plan B to note that the “morning-after pill” as it is known can inhibit ovulation or implantation. NuvaRing has been the subject of controversy and lawsuits related to pulmonary embolisms that led to the disabling and death of women using it.

African-American ministers have also been critical of the Implantation of Norplant and Nexplanon in Baltimore City schools. One of them, Rev. Gregory Perkins, even made allegations of racism and asked why African-American girls were being targeted.

Dr. Leana Wen is also well-known for starting “Who’s My Doctor?” which advocates for the Total Transparency Initiative. Among other things, this initiative wants doctors to disclose information about payments from pharmaceutical companies and other sources of potential conflicts of interest.

One author writing for Forbes was critical of the part of that initiative that asks doctors do disclose their political viewpoints. Wen responded with a list of views on healthcare issues that were all that was included in that disclosure. Two of them were “end-of-life care” and  “women’s health.” We already know that Dr. Wen advocates for positions against church teachings on women’s health. In 2006, Leana Wen was president of the American Medical Association. She made a statement then that “physician-assisted suicide is an important aspect of care” and that “assisted death is an extension of compassionate medical care.”

Despite her advocacy for positions against church teachings, Dr. Leana Wen is scheduled to receive an honorary degree and speak at commencement exercises on the morning of May 22, 2016 at Royal Farms Arena

NDMU was founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1873. It became the first Catholic four-year college for women in 1896.

Other graduation speakers at Catholic schools

The University of Notre Dame in Indiana was criticized for plans to honor Vice President Joe Biden at its commencement this  year. After the controversy ensued, former House Speaker Boehner was also invited as a joint recipient of the Laetare Award. Previously. the school in Indiana was criticized for honoring President Barack Obama at its graduation.

The Cardinal Newman Society has more on Catholic colleges and their graduation speakers.