Bill Cosby, the serial rapist

Another icon of American culture turns out to be not just an idol with feet of clay, but something of a monster.

Actor Bill Cosby of clean stand-up comedian jokes and 8 years of playing an idealized black man — obstetrician Dr. Cliff Huxtable and wise father of 5 — in The Cosby Show, has been unmasked by one woman after another as a serial rapist.

Bill Cosby

Manuel Roig-Franzia, Scott Higham, Paul Farhi and Mary Pat Flaherty report for The Washington Post, Nov. 22, 2014, that 16 women have now come forth to publicly accuse Cosby, 77, of having sexually assaulted them. 12 of the 16 say he drugged them first; while one woman said he tried to drug her.

The Washington Post has interviewed 5 of those women, including a former Playboy Playmate who has never spoken publicly about her allegations. The women agreed to speak on the record and to have their identities revealed. The Post also has reviewed court records that shed light on the accusations of a former director of women’s basketball operations at Temple University who assembled 13 “Jane Doe” accusers in 2005 to testify on her behalf about their allegations against Cosby.

The accusations, some of which Cosby has denied and others he has declined to discuss, span the arc of the famous comedian’s career, from his pioneering years as the first black star of a network television drama in 1965 to the mid-2000s, when Cosby was firmly entrenched as an elder statesman of the entertainment industry, a scolding public conscience of the African American community and a philanthropist.

The saga of the abuse allegations is set in locales that speak to Cosby’s wealth and fame: a Hollywood-studio bungalow, a chauffeured limousine, luxury hotels, a New York City brownstone, and a Denver talent agency that referred two of Cosby’s future accusers to the star for mentoring.

The allegations are strung together by perceptible patterns that appear and reappear with remarkable consistency:

  • Mostly young, white women without family nearby.
  • Drugs offered as palliatives.
  • Resistance (by the women) and pursuit (by Cosby).
  • Accusers worrying that no one would believe them.
  • The victims’ lifelong trauma.
  • Cosby’s team of attorneys and publicists using the media and the courts to attack the credibility of his accusers, the latest being Martin Singer, an attorney for Cosby, who issued a statement on Friday calling the rape accusations “unsubstantiated, fantastical stories” “past the point of absurdity” and “increasingly ridiculous” against a “rich, powerful” man.

During an interview on Friday with Florida Today, Cosby said: “I know people are tired of me not saying anything, but a guy doesn’t have to answer to innuendos. People should fact-check. People shouldn’t have to go through that and shouldn’t answer to innuendos.”

If his accusers are to be believed, the earliest allegations against Cosby remained hidden for decades, artifacts of an era when women were less likely to publicly accuse men they knew of sexual misdeeds and society was less likely to believe them.

But the accusations have flared periodically throughout the past nine years, both because of changing attitudes and, particularly over the past month, because of social media’s ability to transform a story into a viral phenomenon almost impossible to suppress or control.

The allegations represent a stunning reshaping of Cosby’s legacy. Cosby built his fame on a family-friendly comedic persona. He has lectured black youths about proper behavior. He has been honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom and been lauded for making the largest donation ever by an African American to a historically black college, Spelman College in Atlanta.

Since the avalanche of accusations this month, there has been mostly thundering silence from his longtime allies, with only a few exceptions like Weldon Latham, a prominent Washington attorney and Cosby friend. Even the producers of the 1980s sitcom “The Cosby Show” that made Cosby famous as a family man, Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner, issued a brief but guarded statement: “These recent news reports are beyond our knowledge or comprehension.”

Cosby was on the verge of what appeared to be a comeback this year, but projects scheduled for NBC and Netflix are now postponed or canceled in the fallout. Several of Cosby’s upcoming comedy shows also have been canceled. Nevertheless, in the spirit of amoral racism — the same amoral loyalty given O.J. Simpson — whereby blacks rally to support a fellow black, regardless of right or wrong, the sold-out crowd for Cosby’s one-man show at Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne, Fla. on Friday night gave the accused rapist a standing ovation.

Cosby’s accusers include:

66-year old Joan Tarshis, who says when she was a 19-year-old comedy writer in 1969, Cosby spiked her drink, tried to take her underwear off, then forced her to give him oral sex. A few weeks later, he raped her in his hotel room.

63-year-old Linda Traitz, who in 1969 worked as a star-struck waitress in Cafe Figaro, a restaurant co-owned by Cosby in West Hollywood. Traitz says Cosby drove her to the beach in his Rolls Royce, offered her “pills” from a briefcase of assorted drugs to relax, then lunged at her, grabbing her chest. Traitz broke free and tumbled out of the car. Cosby took her home and “froze” her out. Traitz neither told her co-workers and her family what happened, nor reported the attempted rape to the police, because “this was a really big guy with a big PR operation and lawyers” who could and would “crush” her.

71-year-old Victoria Valentino, who was Playboy magazine’s Playmate of the Month for September 1963 when she was just 19. In January 1970, Valentino was introduced to Cosby at Cafe Figaro. Valentino says Cosby took her and her friend and roommate at the time, an aspiring actress named Meg Foster, to dinner. He offered them “red pills” “to make all of us feel better.” Cosby then drove the two women to an apartment in the hills above the Chateau Marmont hotel. Meg Foster passed out, but Cosby forced Valentino to perform oral sex on him, then raped her. Like Traitz, Valentino also did not go to the police. She explains, “What kind of credibility did I have? In those days, it was always the rape victim who wound up being victimized.”

But Valentino did tell Francesca Emerson, a fellow Playboy bunny and one of the first “chocolate Bunnies” of the 1960s, who had introduced Valentino to Cosby. Emerson, who now lives in Australia, has confirmed Valentino’s recollection in an interview with The Washington Post.

Barbara Bowman, age 19, in 1987

Barbara Bowman, age 19, in 1987

Barbara Bowman, who says Bill Cosby sexually assaulted her “multiple times” when she was a 17-year-old aspiring actress in 1985. Read her first-person account in The Washington Post, “Bill Cosby raped me. Why did it take 30 years for people to believe my story?,” Nov. 13, 2014.

See also DCG’s “Bill Cosby on the bandwagon to limit your Second Amendment rights.”

~Eowyn

2014 exit polls show Republicans and Democrats are very different peoples

america_divided

The AP reports that exit polls from the midterm election on November 4, 2014 confirm what surveys had shown in 2013 — that America is a bitterly divided country where “people who vote for Democrats and those who back Republicans seem to be living in different countries.

How Democrats & Republicans see the U.S. and the world:

1. On whether America is on the right track:

  • 88% of Republican voters think America is on the wrong track.
  • 54% of those who voted for Democrats said the country is headed in the right direction.

2. On whether the U.S. economy is in bad shape:

  • Nearly 9 in 10 of those who voted for Republicans, but just over half of Democratic voters, think the economy is in bad shape.
  • 8 in 10 Republican voters think the economy is bad, stagnant or getting worse, but two-thirds of Democratic voters think the economy is either in good shape or is improving.

3. On whether life for the next generation will be better:

  • 64% of Republican voters, but only 30% of Democratic voters, think life for the next generation of Americans will be worse than life today.

4. On “climate change”:

  • 86% of those who voted for Democrats see “climate change” as a serious problem.
  • Two-thirds of Republican voters said it’s not a serious issue.

5. On terrorism:

  • More than 8 in 10 Republican voters vs. 6 in 10 Democratic voters are worried about the threat of terrorism.

6. On marijuana use:

  • Nearly two-thirds of those backing the GOP say marijuana use should be illegal.
  • Most Democratic voters disagree.

Demographics:

1. Where they live: Republican voters are disproportionately likely to live in the South (38%, compared with 27% of Democratic voters) and less likely to live in cities (26%, compared with 39% of Democratic voters).

2. Race: Those who voted Republican tend to be white (87%), in contrast to 61% of voters backing Democratic candidates being white.

3. Gender: Women outnumbered men among the Democratic electorate, but among Republican voters the proportions were reversed. Nearly half of Republican voters, but only about one-quarter of Democratic ones, were white men.

4. Marital status: 70% of Republican voters are married, compared with 55% of Democratic ones.

5. Income: Those who voted for Republicans tend to be richer:

  • 20% of Democratic voters and 12% percent of Republicans made less than $30,000 a year.
  • One-third of those backing Republicans earned $100,000 or more last year, compared with about one-quarter of Democratic voters.

6. Religion:

  • 40% of Republican voters were white evangelical Christians and nearly half attend religious services weekly.
  • Among Democrats, only 11% were white born again Christians; a third attend services weekly.

The AP concludes that the two very different political groups have sharply divergent views on top issues, “making it difficult for lawmakers to discern a clear mandate for governing.”

The survey of 20,168 voters was conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks by Edison Research. This includes results from interviews conducted as voters left a random sample of 281 precincts Tuesday, as well as 3,113 who voted early or absentee and were interviewed by landline or cellular telephone from Oct. 24 through Nov. 2. Results for the full sample were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.

To see the exit poll results for yourself, go to: http://surveys.ap.org/exitpolls.

See also:

~Eowyn

Creation: Hoopoe

Hoopoe (Upupa Epops)

HoopoeHoopoe1

Pics by Ashutosh Dudhatra, in Rajkot, Gujarat, India

The hoopoe (Upupa epops) is a colorful medium-sized bird that is widespread in Europe, Asia, and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar. These birds have been seen at high altitudes during migration across the Himalayas. One was recorded at about 21,000 ft by the first Mount Everest expedition.

Like its Latin name upupa, the English name “hoopoe” is an onomatopoeic form which imitates the cry of the bird. Notable for its distinctive “crown” of feathers, the hoopoe is 9.8–12.6 in long, with a 17–19 in wingspan, and weighs 1.6–3.1 oz. 

The hoopoe has a characteristic undulating flight, which is like that of a giant butterfly, caused by the wings half closing at the end of each beat or short sequence of beats.

Hoopoes are monogamous, although the pair bond apparently only lasts for a single season. Chases and fights between rival males (and sometimes females) are common and can be brutal: Birds will try to stab rivals with their bills, and individuals are occasionally blinded in fights. 

The nest is in a hole in a tree or wall, and has a narrow entrance.The female alone is responsible for incubating the eggs.  In central and northern Europe and Asia the clutch size is around 12, whereas it is around four in the tropics and seven in the subtropics. The eggs are round and milky blue when laid.

Hoopoes have well-developed anti-predator defenses in the nest:

  • The uropygial gland of the incubating and brooding female is quickly modified to produce a foul-smelling liquid, and the glands of nestlings do so as well. These secretions, rubbed into the plumage, smell like rotting meat, and help deter predators and parasites and possibly even act as an antibacterial agent. The secretions stop soon before the young leave the nest. 
  • From the age of six days, nestlings can also direct streams of faeces at intruders, and will hiss at them in a snake-like fashion.The young also strike with their bill or with one wing.

The hoopoe is a solitary forager who typically feeds on the ground. They stride over relatively open ground and periodically pause to probe the ground with the full length of their long powerful bill. The diet of the hoopoe is mostly composed of insects, many of which are considered by humans to be pests. For this reason the species is afforded protection under the law in many countries. 

~Eowyn

Sunday Devotional: How are you using your talents?

The Parable of the Talents
Matthew 25:14-30

Jesus told his disciples this parable:
“A man going on a journey
called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them.
To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one–
to each according to his ability.
Then he went away.
Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them,
and made another five.
Likewise, the one who received two made another two.
But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground
and buried his master’s money.

After a long time
the master of those servants came back
and settled accounts with them.
The one who had received five talents came forward
bringing the additional five.
He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents.
See, I have made five more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said,
‘Master, you gave me two talents.
See, I have made two more.’
His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.
Since you were faithful in small matters,
I will give you great responsibilities.
Come, share your master’s joy.’
Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said,
‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person,
harvesting where you did not plant
and gathering where you did not scatter;
so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground.
Here it is back.’
His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!
So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant
and gather where I did not scatter?
Should you not then have put my money in the bank
so that I could have got it back with interest on my return?
Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten.
For to everyone who has,
more will be given and he will grow rich;
but from the one who has not,
even what he has will be taken away.
And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’”

creation-of-man

The homilies and sermons I’ve heard invariably define “talents” as natural aptitudes or skills, such as a “talent” for music, or math, or speech, or writing, or athleticism…. We are exhorted to make “good” use of our “talents” without explaining what “good use” means.

But if you think about it, in His parable Jesus did not define “talents,” nor did He restrict the word’s meaning to aptitudes or skills. In the context of the parable, the word “talent” clearly means “gift.”

So what “gifts” has our Creator given each of us? — All given generously, bountifully, and gratuitously, for being born with those “gifts,” none of us actually did anything to deserve them.

I can think of the following gifts, about which I ask myself if and how I have and am using them — to good? to disuse (“buried in the ground”)? or worse, to ill?

1. The Gift of Life: Life is precious and truly miraculous. We are to honor, treasure, and respect not just our own life (and not throw it away in suicide), but also all life, including the unborn still in their mothers’ wombs, as well as other life forms on Earth, for we are called to be good stewards of His creation.

2. The Gift of a Body: Our bodies are truly a miracle. It is only when a part of our body fails that we realize what a miracle it is — how each organ (just look at the eyeball!) is a fascinating and most intricate construction; and how every part must work in perfect coordination to keep us alive. We are to honor this fantastic gift by keeping our bodies intact (i.e., not mutilating it for no good reason via body piercing, tattoo, cutting, perverse amputation, vain cosmetic surgery….) and healthy, instead of abusing our bodies with gluttony, drugs, tobacco, alcohol, STDs and worse from promiscuity and bizarre sexual practices like anal penetration, fisting, rimming, fecal-ingestion (see “What they’ll never teach you in ‘homosexual education“).

3. The Gift of a Mind: We were created with a mind and with certain unique-to-each-of-us aptitudes and skills. We are to honor this awesome gift by keeping our minds pure instead of defiling it with thoughts of lust, greed, and hate. And as the Parable of the Talents reminds us, whether we’ve been given many aptitudes or few, our Creator expects that we put those aptitudes to good use and so multiply the “talents,” instead of being lazy and indolent (“burying the talent in the ground”) or, worse, using our intelligence and skills to ill purpose to deceive, defraud, mislead, destroy, or kill.

4. The Gift of a Soul: More precious than our body and mind is our soul, for our soul is our essence that remains and survives after our bodily death. Do we keep it holy, or do we allow our soul to become darkened and overladen with sin, like that grotesque portrait of Dorian Grey in the attic? (Doubt the soul’s existence? See “Study by 32 scientists show there’s consciousness after death”.)

5. The Gift of Family and Friends: We are each commanded to honor our father and mother. However imperfect they are (as if we are perfect!), they gave birth to us. 

6. The Gifts of Money, Home, and Food: Do we put our money to good and useful purpose? Or do we spend it on frivolous, purposeless indulgences, or worse — to evil (like Warren Buffet giving $millions for abortions)? Do we miserly hoard it, instead of helping those in need and donating to honest productive charities? How many of us waste food, instead of treating food with respect? (It never ceases to amaze me how much food diners leave on their plates in restaurants, when they can take it home in a doggy bag.) Do you know that Americans threw out 35 million tons of food in 2012, the most recent year for which we have statistics. That’s 20% more food than we tossed out in 2000, 50% more than in 1990, and nearly 300% more than in 1960 — which means, despite the preachings about global warming and saving mother Earth, we actually are wasting more food today than before there was an environmental movement.

Two last thoughts about the Parable of the Talents:

1. We are told that if we put our talents to good use, “Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities.” What a humbling thought…. But though our responsibilities will increase, we are also promised great joy: “Come, share your master’s joy.”

2. Jesus warns us that if we’re lazy and not make use of the gifts we were given but instead hide them (“buried in the ground”) and so live a “useless” life, then more will be taken away from us. At the end of our life, we will be thrown “into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” If this is what will happen to the indolent, I dread to think what the Creator will do to those of us who misuse our gifts for ill purpose. 

Some examples of His astonishing gifts from FOTM’s “Creation” page:

~Eowyn

My husband was no match for the fantasy hunk in my erotic novels… so I’ve ditched him

The single author..

The single author..

DailyMail: Her steamy, bestselling novels and strong male characters have seduced hundreds of thousands of female readers worldwide. But Jodi Ellen Malpas has revealed she has split from her own Mr. Right – because he no longer lives up to the fantasy she created. The 34-year-old, whose This Man trilogy has sold more than 500,000 copies, has left her husband of ten years after ‘falling in love’ with one of her characters.

Ms. Malpas, from Northampton, says: ‘All my fictional men are strong, successful, sophisticated and enigmatic. I guess it’s hard for any living, breathing man to live up to such a fantasy. ‘In This Man I created Jesse Ward, whose forceful personality was appealing to me. There is no denying I fell in love with him. After all, I created him and I made him the way he is for a reason. Every woman needs some fantasy lover to spice up the dull reality of her real life. I wanted to create my perfect love story.’

But the success of my books and the popularity of my male character led to the breakdown of my marriage. Sadly it was not solid enough to withstand the changes success has brought to my life.’

The mother of two, whom many believe is the new E. L. James, the housewife who wrote the Fifty Shades Of Grey trilogy, became a self-publishing sensation last year, swiftly rising to the top of the New York Times Best Seller List.

The This Man trilogy explores the love affair between young interior designer Ava O’Shea and playboy Jesse Ward. The second part of her new trilogy, One Night, has just been published by Orion.

‘I was 23 when Aaron and I got married, so we were both very young,’ she says. ‘I didn’t really know who I was. I got on with being a wife and mother.’

But over time I started to feel that something was missing – my normal everyday life had become a routine. I was bored. I guess that is what couples mean when they say they’ve grown apart. Aaron couldn’t understand why I wanted to write my fiction and I couldn’t understand why he didn’t understand.’

The couple have two children, Alfie, 14, and Patrick, ten. But although they divorced in August last year, Ms. Malpas says their relationship remains amicable. She is currently single and insists that she has no time to get involved in a relationship.

‘My children and my writing are enough for the moment,’ she adds. ‘In any case, I suspect some men might be a little intimidated by my independence and my success.’

And she insists she has no regrets. ‘It’s been crazy, but I’m loving the stronger more liberated me,’ she says.

grass

DCG

A girl’s gonna do what she needs to do to get her McGriddle…

Fight breaks out after women miss McDonald’s breakfast deadline in Philly

NJ.com: The jingle may be “I’m lovin’ it,” but two McDonald’s customers were doing nothing of the sort after apparently missing the deadline for breakfast, my9nj.com reports.

Video shot at 52nd and Chestnut in West Philadelphia last week shows two women who apparently missed the 10:30 a.m. breakfast cut-off and their shot at McGriddle sandwiches. The duo then directs their rage at a man who was nearby, physically attacking him and swinging chairs at him.

Weirder yet, it’s not clear if the man — who even had a broom broken over his head during the melee — was a security guard or customer.

The new America…

me

DCG

Home ownership increasingly out of reach for U.S. middle class

Home ownership is increasingly out of reach for America’s middle class.

In just one year, the percentage of all homes for sale considered affordable for the middle class has fallen from 62% in 2013 to 59% in 2014.

That’s the finding of a new report by Trulia, an online residential real estate site for home buyers, sellers, renters and real estate professionals.

U.S. home ownership

Mail Online reports, Nov. 21, 2014, that Trulia defines an affordable city as one in which the “total monthly payment, including mortgage, insurance, and property taxes, is less than 31% of the metro area’s median household income.”

By that definition, owning a home is increasingly hard to do for most middle class families.

Other findings in the Trulia report:

  • Most of America’s most affordable cities are around the Great Lakes.
  • Ohio is the state with three cities in the top ten most affordable cities.
  • The two cities where a middle class income is most likely to find you a home are Dayton, Ohio, followed by Rochestor, New York.
  • The least affordable cities tend to be on the coasts, with six on that list being in California.

Trulia economist Jed Kolko said the dream of owning a home is falling out of reach of many Americans: “Homeownership is getting less affordable for the middle class. Unless incomes increase substantially, home ownership will slip further beyond the reach of many households.”

elections have consequences

I’ve been meaning to ask this question to those who had reelected Obama to the presidency in 2012, in particular voters who are in business or in the military or are Christians:

Do you honestly think that if the pro-business and business-experienced, pro-military and military-supported, and Mormon Mitt Romney — who is not perfect — had been elected president, America’s economy, military, and Christianity would be in the sorry state they are today?

And do you honestly think that a President Romney would now be enmeshed in one scandal after another — IRSgate, Grubergate, Benghazigate, VA hospital-gate, Amnestygate, ad nauseum?

Stop being blindly partisan. Try and be honest, for once in your life.

See:

~Eowyn