Hailstorm carpets parts of Guadalajara in a 1.5m layer of ice

Yesterday, Guadalajara's 30'C heatwave broke suddenly when, at 1:50AM, the nighttime temperature suddenly plunged from 22C to 14C, causing small, sub-1cm hailstones to form and fall in great profusion, carpeting parts of the city in an 1.5m-thick layer of ice. Read the rest

Listen to what is likely the only voice recording of Frida Kahlo

The National Sound Library of Mexico has found an audio recording of what is most likely painter Frida Kahlo reading her essay "Portrait of Diego" in the early 1950s. It was recorded for the pilot episode of radio show El Bachiller. From The Guardian:

The episode featured a profile of Kahlo’s artist husband Diego Rivera. In it, she reads from her essay Portrait of Diego, which was taken from the catalogue of a 1949 exhibition at the Palace of Fine Arts, celebrating 50 years of Rivera’s work...

In the press release, Mexico’s secretary of culture, Alejandra Frausto, said if it is indeed Kahlo’s voice – a claim which authorities continue to investigate – it could be the only audio recording of the artist that exists...

“Frida’s voice has always been a great enigma, a never-ending search,” (library national director Pável) Granados told a press conference. “Until now, there had never been a recording of Frida Kahlo.”

Read the rest

Listen to (what's most likely) the only recording of Frida Kahlo's voice

We've seen her art. Her face is instantly recognizable. But, we've never heard Frida Kahlo's voice before. Until now, that is. The National Sound Library of Mexico has shared (what they believe to be) the only known recording of Frida's voice to the world.

The New York Times:

In the recording, a woman’s voice describes Diego Rivera, Kahlo’s husband and fellow artist.

“He is a huge, immense child, with a friendly face and a sad gaze,” the woman says. “His high, dark, extremely intelligent and big eyes rarely hold still. They almost pop out of their sockets because of their swollen and protuberant eyelids — like a toad’s.”

Rivera’s eyes seem made for an artist, the woman adds, “built especially for a painter of spaces and crowds.”

Admiration for Rivera is clear in the recording, which is said to be originally a text from an exhibition catalog. Rivera is said to have an “ironic, sweet smile,” “meaty lips” and “small, marvelous hands.” The voice concludes by calling Rivera’s unusual body shape, with its “childish, narrow, rounded shoulders,” as being like “an inscrutable monster.”

The recording is from a pilot edition of “The Bachelor,” a 1950s radio show in Mexico, recorded for Televisa Radio, the National Sound Library said in a statement on Wednesday. In 2007, thousands of tapes from Televisa Radio’s archive were given to the library to be digitized and stored.

The recording is thought to be of Kahlo partly because the voice is introduced as the female painter “who no longer exists.”

Listen for yourself (she speaks in Spanish, of course): Read the rest

How Mexican labor unions tried to rescue Freud from the Nazis

Anar writes, "Writer and scholar Rubén Gallo sheds light on a fascinating, obscure bit of history: After the press reported Freud’s troubles in Nazi Austria — his daughter was briefly detained by the Gestapo and he was under pressure by friends to flee — several activists and Mexican labor unions (including the Union of Workers in the Graphic Arts, the Union of Education Workers, the Union of Metal Miners, and the Union of Mexican Electricians) urged then-Mexican president Lázaro Cárdenas to bring Freud to Mexico." Read the rest

Lawyer involved in suits against Israel's most notorious cyber-arms dealer targeted by its weapons, delivered through a terrifying Whatsapp vulnerability

NSO Group is a notorious Israeli cyber-arms dealer whose long trail of sleaze has been thoroughly documented by the University of Toronto's Citizen Lab (which may or may not be related to an attempt to infiltrate Citizen Lab undertaken by a retired Israeli spy); NSO has been implicated in the murder and dismemberment of the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi (just one of the brutal dictatorships who've availed themselves of NSO tools), and there seems to be no cause too petty for their clients, which is why their malware has been used to target anti-soda activists in Mexico. Read the rest

Trump to armed border agents: “If judges give you trouble, say, 'Sorry, judge, I can't do it.'”

Trump told border agents to break U.S. law and ignore judicial orders, CNN reported.

El Chapo went down because his sysadmin sold him out

Here's something to remember come the next Sysadmin Appreciation Day: Mexican drug lord El Chapo was only caught because his systems administrator flipped and started working for the feds, backdooring El Chapo's comms infrastructure and providing the cops with the decryption keys needed to eavesdrop on El Chapo's operations. Read the rest

Trump's lying, there is no terrorism crisis on the US-Mexico border.

As Donald Trump prepares for his 8-minute “The Wall” remarks, which will be televised live by all major U.S. networks, read Nicholas Rasmussen's take in Just Security on the so-called terrorism crisis at the southern border. Spoiler. There is none.

“Bottom line,” says Rasmussen, a career defense professional who was the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center from 2014 to 2017:

“There is no crisis, and anyone who says there is probably trying to mislead or scare the American people.” Read the rest

Math against crimes against humanity: Using rigorous statistics to prove genocide when the dead cannot speak for themselves

Patrick Ball and the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG) (previously) use careful, rigorous statistical models to fill in the large blank spots left behind by acts of genocide, bringing their analysis to war crimes tribunals, truth and reconciliation proceedings, and other reckonings with gross human rights abuses. Read the rest

Triple amputee veteran starts GoFundMe for Trump's border wall

Brian Kolfage is an Air Force veteran who lost both legs and an arm in Iraq in 2004. He is the most severely wounded Airman to survive any war and has spent the past several years as a motivational speaker and supporter of Cadet Bone Spurs aka Donald Trump. Yesterday, Kolfage launched a GoFundMe to pay for Trump's border wall. "We The People Will Fund The Wall" aims to raise one billion dollars.

No, this is not The Onion.

From GoFundMe:

Like a majority of those American citizens who voted to elect President Donald J Trump, we voted for him to Make America Great Again. President Trump’s main campaign promise was to BUILD THE WALL. And as he’s followed through on just about every promise so far, this wall project needs to be completed still.

As a veteran who has given so much, 3 limbs, I feel deeply invested to this nation to ensure future generations have everything we have today. Too many Americans have been murdered by illegal aliens and too many illegals are taking advantage of the United States taxpayers with no means of ever contributing to our society.

I have grandparents who immigrated to America legally, they did it the correct way and it's time we uphold our laws and get this wall BUILT! It’s up to Americans to help out and pitch in to get this project rolling.

Is there anything more 2018 than a veteran raising millions of dollars to fulfill the wet dream of a racist draft dodger? Read the rest

Enjoy the animated art of Chacalall Orozco

Chacalall Orozco is a graphic designer from Mexico. Read the rest

Trump orders 5,200 more troops & 1,500 miles of concertina wire to U.S.-Mexico border

The U.S. will deploy an additional 5,200 troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, said White House officials today. The deployment will more than triple the military presence there, and is presumably a Trump administration response to the so-called “Migrant Caravan,” about which white supremacists in the United States are currently fixated. Read the rest

Mexican forces seize control of entire Acapulco police department

Mexico's governance crisis continues: beyond the clandestine mass graves, the kidnapping of elected officials (and assassination of political candidates) and coordinated attacks on anti-corruption candidates, there's the well-known problem of corrupt police officers and whole departments, including, it seems, the Acapulco police department, who have been raided and disarmed by federal forces, with two officers charged with murder and the rest under investigation. (Image: Tomascastelazo, CC-BY-SA) Read the rest

Migrant parents are refusing to be reunited with their kids, citing safety concerns

According to the ACLU, the nightmare perpetuated against immigrants and refugees attempting to find safe harbor in the United States has taken a new, unexpected turn for the worse: the parents, separated from their children as part of the Trump administration's drive to make migration into the United States as miserable as possible, are refusing to be reunited with their children. The reason is absolutely heartbreaking:

From Reuters:

Immigrant parents separated from their children by the Trump administration and returned to their homes are refusing to be reunited with their children because their countries are so dangerous, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union told a court on Friday.

Gelernt said parents who refused to be reunited tended to have older children who could be recruited by violent gangs if they returned home. In addition, some children have relatives in the United States and are unlikely to end up in foster care.

The ACLU contacted parents in Central America of 162 children and said 109 refused reunification, according to a court filing.

According to Reuters, Gelernt recently spent time in Guatamala attempting to help parents separated from their kids by U.S. Immigration officials to reunite their families. Of the 300 parents that Gelernt spoke to, roughly two-thirds preferred to let their kids take their chances in the United States where they'd have a greater expectation of safety and prosperity.

I'm not a parent, so I can't even begin to imagine the sort of painful parental devotion it would take to leave a child behind, in the name of keeping them safe, in a country that despises me enough to have torn my family apart rather than providing them with refuge from harm. Read the rest

Let me tell you about living my life on the road

In passing, I've talked about the fact that my wife and I are full-time nomads. Lemme expand on that.

A few years back, we bought a 21-year-old RV with the intention of living in it while my wife completed her degree in Vancouver, Canada. Typically, winters in Vancouver are mild by comparison to the rest of the country. The climate is similar to what you see in Seattle. Not so while we were there. It dropped to below freezing for weeks at a time. Snow, a largely unknown commodity in British Columbia's lower mainland, hung around for months. We were cold. We blew through hundreds of dollars worth of propane trying to stay warm.

We were poor.

Shortly before we were to make the drive over the mountains, I was informed that, after five years of service to a site that I had built, my services were no longer needed. It shattered me emotionally and financially. I was sent scrambling to find enough work, piecemeal, to make end's meet. There was cash coming in barely enough to keep afloat. Staying in a campground in the lower mainland costs around $800 per month. We couldn't foot the bill. We made do. Weekly, we would sneak into a local university sports complex for a shower. On one occasion, we had to decide between buying food or propane for heat. We chose food. This ended up costing us $1200, money that could have kept us going for months, to replace our hot water tank as it iced up and cracked in the cold. Read the rest

Mexico: 166 human skulls found in Veracruz clandestine mass grave

[Warning: Post contains graphic images.] Mexican investigators said Thursday they have discovered 166 human skulls in a clandestine burial pit in a central area of the Gulf state of Veracruz. Read the rest

Médecins Sans Frontières is on the front lines of the Mexican drug war

The northwestern Mexican state of Guerrero’s ocean side vistas, Mayan and Zapotec heritage and mountainous terrain would make it a postcard-pretty place to be—if it weren’t for all the murder and financial destitution.

Because of the extreme poverty in the region, the state has one of the lowest life expectancy rates in the nation. According to the Guardian, close to 70% of the people who call Guerrero home, live in poverty. This misery experienced on a daily basis by those living in Guerrero is compounded by an ongoing turf war between cartels and the Mexican military resulting in one of the highest murder rates per capita, in the world. The violence is so extreme that most professionals who can afford to pick up and relocate, have done so. The loss of lawyers? Meh. However, having no Doctors or other medical staff to care for a population trapped in an already untenable situation is nightmare.

Thankfully, with little fanfare, Médecins Sans Frontières is on the scene, trying to make a difference.

From The Guardian:

Before patients are seen, the clinical team – three doctors, two psychologists and a nurse – explain that MSF is neutral, independent, free of charge and available to anyone as long as weapons are left outside.

This is the standard pep talk in the state of Guerrero, where MSF has taken over 11 primary health clinics that have closed or are limited by the security crisis in communities long neglected by the state.

In addition to regular clinics, MSF provides rapid response interventions in the aftermath of grave incidents like mass kidnappings, gun battles and massacres, which leave displaced or trapped communities in psychological turmoil.

Read the rest

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