Saturday, May 30, 2015

Sonic Youth - Incinerate


 
Link to video

cartoons on Powerline

PowerLine published a page full of collected political cartoons today. The post began reasonably enough, "the week in pictures: liberal crack up edition." I expected actual photographs of news events it took me awhile to catch on they are not all about this week and not all current. They begin incisively then peter out to things like this:


Yeah, funny. There is not much I can do with that but the thing that gets me is how the man's face, the rounded semi-sphere shape of the entire mouth with a horizontal line drawn through it and two little hooks on each end remind me of a chimpanzee mouth and how I would spray paint that *pssssssst* one centered spray for the whole mouth the shape of half an orange except pink. And that's what I see as the essence, everything happens around that, like this:  


Small pop theory

Martin O'Malley

His website is clear as a whistle no shirtless pictures; He's ready, new leadership, sign up, give him money.
Bio, vision, latest, volunteer. Donate now.

His plan, his vision for the future is building an economy that works for everyone where everyone participates and everyone's voice is heard and a government that gets results.

Learn more: And so we do. There is a list of challenges. Each category begins with standard axiom. Stripped of pedestrian adage, premise, the uncontested truth nuggets that begin all common liberal reasoning eliminates 2/3 to get at specific proposal saved for the last sentence in each. It's annoying. Because it's the same thing heard at every cocktail party, every single gathering that endures long enough for it to devolve to Democrat caucus if it hasn't begun as such. It is a stroking. A verbal stroking that must happen to reaffirm reality. Restate it, rebuild it with each conversation LEGO brick for LEGO brick. A sort  annoying tribal primate grooming, the picking at mites and eating them while discussing politics. Example, but only one to limit your annoyance:
Bringing undocumented workers out of the shadows
 That term! Used for avoidance of established immigration law. The term is rejected. "Out of the shadows" Goddamnit, that's what stupid cliquish girls do, latch onto a phrase like that and hammer it repeatedly, exclusively, as received wisdom and redelivered again as if fresh. Rejected. They're avoiding our laws. Your laws. Knock it off with the shadow people talk, it annoys me, not your voters, they eat that nonsense up like cotton candy, but the truth that we all know is the workers here illegally' are squatters in our country, just as we would be in theirs, jacking our employment system so that you conflate beginning starting wage with living wage, as we would be theirs, and pushed ahead of people who are trying to immigrate legally and making a sick sorry joke of the whole thing and doing this forever that legislators like you enable for your own profit. As seen right here. I am quite sick and tired of having this perennial discussion. You are the ones keeping it alive.
will grow our economy, expand our tax base, create jobs and lift wages -- benefitting our country as a whole. We must boldly advance immigration reform, while also using executive action to it full authority to end unnecessary detentions and expand deferred actions. As Americans, when refugee children arrive on our doorstep, we shouldn't turn them away -- we should act like the generous, compassionate people we are.
Stop flattering me. I'm not so generous that it's okay with me for my party's principals presently in power to travel about and make speeches in Central America touching on executive intention to take action on so-called "dreamers." Only mentioning the obvious emotional manipulation with that phrasing, that positively invites children to risk their lives climbing the tops of trains that traverse an entire nation complicit in this population restructuring program and with its own incredibly stringent immigration policies. The obvious manipulation is quite incredible. And you MR. Martin O'Malley are a very large part of it. This gas lighting here is evidence of this emotional manipulation. Of course we are compassionate toward children. Why your party invited such tragedy is clear also to observers. And it is why you are being put out. Why your candidacy will fail, and fail hard. You are a joke. Your party is a joke. Your supporters, though, they are a serious problem.

So that's one. They're all like that. Stripping the bullshit is easy. It's all the things typical Democrats say, and say it such you almost believe they actually do believe it themselves and  I am a bit surprised O'Malley avoided "our immigration system is broken and must be fixed." Because that would fit perfectly for his adage-addled audience. Here are the rest minus their axioms. You could write all of it yourself on a coffee break by simply trying to be silly, pull an Onion piece by writing your most inane impulses, and talking to retarded children about politics and what to expect from their government. Vapid and misguided as Ed Miliband's stone pledge. He actually had that crap chiseled in stone.

Fight for better wages. That means raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour, increasing threshold for overtime pay to $1,000 a week and restoring collective bargaining power.

Bring accountability to Wall Street. Reinstate Glass-Steagall, empower regulators, break up banks.

Expand equality of opportunity for next generation. Affordable childcare and universal pre-K and college debt-free for all. Modernize high school, empower students to graduate with year of college credit, apprenticeships, certificates or credential for high-pay, high-skill job.

Strengthen cities. Return to better choices of investments in infrastructure, mass-transit, housing near good jobs and good schools.

Support Women and Families.  Maternity leave, paternity leave, equal pay, child care.

Break down barriers that keep families in poverty. Greater investments in communities, public education, Earned Income Tax Credit.

Protect dignity of retirement.  Expand benefits so all seniors can retire with dignity.

Jobs Agenda for climate challenge.  Limit cargbon emissions, set targets for renewable energy, drive innovation, seed new industries, create good local jobs.

Put elections back in hands of American voters. Fix Citizens United. Embrace citizen-funded elections. Match small donors six-to-one or more , reward through refundable tax credit. Make it easier to vote. Restore Voting Rights Act. Tear down barriers like ID requirements.

Insist on transparent, accountable high-performing government.  Have clear goals. Have way to measure success. Less lobbyist influence. 

Donate now  5, 10, 25, 50

Sign up.

There you have it. 

Back to front page. The story of our country's best days is not a history book, because this generation of Americans is about to write it.

Donate now 5, 10, 25, 50 

Items to read:

Martin O'Malley Attempts a Politics of Moral Duty [read more]
Immigration as 2016 Issue Upped with Martin O'Malleys Candidacy [read more]
Martin O'Malley Returns to a Baltimore He Barely Recognizes. [read more]

Are you in? 
Sign up.

My Twitter timeline is having a field day with his speech today. I could fill pages with just that. Line for line Fisking, the whole thing is ridiculous, especially so as ex mayor of Baltimore. 

"The longest prison sentence ever handed out ..."

"... was to a postman who failed to deliver 42,768 letters (9 years for each letter)"

Top Reddit comments...
a) How does he not deliver that many letters
b) How can one get nine years for not delivering a letter

So it's hard to find info on this guy, but here's a Spanish language site that, based on the translation, suggests some kinda serious shit went down.
The dude arranged for mail to be re-routed to different locations so he could steal the checks and valuables inside. He stole €50,000 and ultimately was sentenced to 14 years, 2 months.

Darron Bennalford Anderson's accomplice, McLaurin, was sentenced to 21,250 years, but upon appeal, his sentence was reduced by 500 years.
Boy, he sure dodged a bullet there.
Newman!

"Judge orders woman to walk 30 miles..."

"...the length of trip, for bailing on cab fare"
Prosecutors say Bascom called a cab to take her from Cleveland to Painesville. After arriving at her destination, she bailed without paying.

Bascom was found guilty so Judge Cicconetti gave her a sentence of her choice: either serve 60 days in the Lake County Jail or walk 30 miles within 48 hours. Why 30 miles? That is how far the taxi drove her... Bascom was also sentenced to four months probation and ordered to pay United Cab $100 in restitution.

Ulbricht, founder of Silk Road sentenced to life in prison

Lem posted about this twice, October 2013 and January 2015. The verdict is in and the conviction is for all seven counts and the sentence is the harshest possible. Murders such as Jordan Van Der Sloot get less in 3rd world countries than Ulbricht received in the United States. The conviction is made by a jury, the sentence is delivered by a judge. This judge was particularly not taken with Ross Ulbricht's defense. Citing the six deaths related to drugs purchased through his site she told Ross he didn't differ from any other criminal although he does not fit the profile for one, he is still no better than any other drug dealer.

Drug broker.

Judge Forest said the harsh sentence is necessary to show others that may follow that there are very serious consequences.

Make an example.

Commenters on Twitter are 100% against the case, the conviction, the ruling, the sentence. The page is endless.

It is a jealous god, government. It brooks no other deities. It does not like artificial scrip in place of its own artificial scrip, it brooks no commerce within its space that it does not regulate or tax.

It wasn't a web site for drugs, it was a web site for anything black market, drugs being the largest category. His own emails are damning indeed. He was paying $50,000 a week to hackers who threatened to take down his site. Cherubic and attractive and as privilege-y Puritanically white and sweetly gay as he appears, he still contracted for the murder of people who threatened his Silk Road, one of them being a federal agent.

But the agencies have their own problems with the case. Agents for both the DHS and the Secret Service are also indicted for embezzling bitcoins related to this case.

Judge Forest has a point. Sweeping away Silk Road cleared the way for its competitors, not following in Ulbricht's footsteps, rather, already there and already competing, ready to fill the void. Not a dent is made in demand nor in supply and if its imagined that violence is reduced then that would be wrong.


Probably not the best way to present this data but you get the idea.

The items that were sold across Silk Road are outrageous. Once you flip through and see all the drugs, serious drugs, and all the rest of the things entered as evidence then you start thinking maybe shutting it down is not such a bad idea.

Silk Road homepage.

Marijuana was the biggest drug by far. Firearms and hacking kits are problem.

Beyond Ross Ulbricht, a Map of Dark Net Arrests Around the World. Click on a circle on the interactive map and details of the case open. You can see why authorities want to shut down Silk Road and all others like it.

Lovefool - Vintage Jazz Cardigans Cover ft. Haley Reinhart


 
Link to video

Friday, May 29, 2015

War In Eastern Europe

It could happen this summer, says the author of  this article.
Of course, moving thousands of troops is a difficult thing to hide completely in this day and age, and yesterday Reuters broke the story that large numbers of Russian troops, armed with tanks and artillery, have been sighted near the Ukraine border, more or less opposite the strategic city of Mariupol on the Sea of Azov. Worse, Russians have been seen removing unit insignias from their vehicles and uniforms, in emulation of last year’s “little green men” episodes in Crimea and Southeast Ukraine. Putin is either readying to launch a renewed offensive in Ukraine or he wants the world to think he’s about to. Deception, what Russians call maskirovka, is a well-honed art there, so it’s possible this is yet another saber-rattle. But we don’t know yet. Though I suspect we’ll find out soon enough.
Meanwhile, some additional US forces are being quietly deployed to Poland.  Article here.

Russia is trying to hide its involvement in the war in The Ukraine.  Typical of the Russian government, they say the war is between Ukrainian nationalists and Ukrainian separatists, and that it doesn't involve Russian soldiers.  And Russia has sent mobile crematoriums to the area to dispose of the bodies of dead Russian soldiers so that they aren't sent home, confirming a Russian presence in a war.    Article here.

Russian long-range bombers have been conducting flights in or near American airspace from the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico.  Article here.  It's like they are trying to provoke a war by having one of their aircraft  shot down.

Keep your eyes on the Middle East, but don't lose sight of Eastern Europe, especially now that the US military has been pared down to such an extent that it lacks the resources to fight a war on two continents.  The time is right for an aggressive Vladimir Putin to assert Russian control over the old Soviet Bloc nations.

Hastert Hush Money Raised Flags

"Legal experts said extortion cases can be tricky."
In mulling over whom to charge, prosecutors often must decide whether the person being extorted or the person doing the extorting is most victimized, said Chicago-based attorney and former federal prosecutor Phil Turner.

"In most instances you would view someone being extorted as the victim because they are being shaken down," he said. "But prosecutors have enormous discretion and, in some instance, may see the person doing the extortion as a greater victim. Those are factors that can be weighed."

Investigators questioned Hastert on Dec. 8, 2014, and he lied about why he had been withdrawing so much money at a time, saying he did it because he didn't trust the banking system, the indictment alleges.

"Yeah, ... I kept the cash. That's what I am doing," it quotes Hastert as saying.
So, what do you think got Hastert in hot water? What did he do, that was so heinous, that only 3.5 millions would make it go away.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Texas Flood


UIW statue receives national attention

University of the Incarnate Word, no kidding, that a real thing. Erk *brakes* full stop.

That should be the post right there. Incarnate, that means "in the body," right? Then "word." So, "university of the word that becomes human form." That's what they're calling themselves. It's a private Catholic school then because no one else would do that. Although odd, I admit the name is a better than some of the other slightly more macabre names that Catholic schools proudly display that I pass and wonder, that's a bit odd; The Collected Study Halls for the Eternally Bleeding Flogged & Punctured Body of Crucified Christ Pre-Elementary School for Little Girls. Their tendency in nomenclature is a bit sanguinary sometimes.

A young feminist noticed a statue at the school that stood out to her and that she didn't like. It's one of these statues of a bench with a person that invites you to sit and join them, but then you'd be in limited space in the middle of a conversation going on between two statues with you as flesh bologna to their metallic Wonder bread sandwich and there you'd be sitting in the middle of a path with no shade where an ornamental statue would go.

For a feminist there is much to object to about this statue at this university in this state. It reminds them of so many other similar statues and similar things they don't like and that get on their nerves like Catholic Schools and like Texas. So much to get busy in Instagram and ridicule. It does fit a pattern and that pattern is annoying once noticed and damaging besides as it persists through time with new art. Here are the things that they say. Follow their links if you like and see other statues of mansplaining and manspreading and men domineering all over the place. They may seem charming to you but pisses them off.

Fine.

Annoying person. Not my issue. Not my conversation. Not my school not my state not my hangup not my problem. Here, I'll fix it.


Arizona man planning "Draw Mohammad" event outside Phoenix mosque

A tweet directs readers to Bare Naked Islam that details a story covered on Right Wing News. They both say the same thing with slightly different angles. They both refer to each other.

An Arizona man, a biker named John Ritzheimer is responding to the incident incited by Pamela Geller in Garland Texas (that was incited by an Islamic group hosting a free speech conference at that same site.)

The difference here is Ritzheimer is taking his effort directly to the Arizona mosque where to two jihadists went. He is bringing together an armed biker group for the purpose of intimidating mosque attendees directly.

His plan has a serious hole in it right at the start in that he expects a large group of bikers to meet in the parking lot of a nearby Denny's. One hundred twenty-eight so far on his Facebook page. Dragging Denny's into his act seems a bad idea. Those worshippers might even be Denny's customers. Plus they intend to monopolize the lot to hold their own drawing contest. I don't see that working.

The Bare Naked Islam site lists objections that liberals make to all this. It's a bit confusing, he does indicate where he switches from supporting the event to showing the objections of opponents. He provides his own commentary in red along with it. Comments are all for the provoked confrontation.

Right Wing News makes a point of discussing the essential differences between the Geller event in Garland and this one completely out of her hands, inspired by her,  planned for Phoenix Arizona.

So, what of this outside the little localized circular storm that popped up on the radar of Twitter?

[John Ritzheimer +Arizona] Oh. Look at you. Now I know everything.

Lessons from boyhood. There is no state religion around here and there never will be for if there were then in that moment we cease to exist by becoming something else, and not becoming like a butterfly metamorphosizes into something more splendid airborne and beautiful, more like digested food becoming undirected energy and whole lot of stinking vestigial poop. The reason for that original setup, the genius of it, arises from paranoia, the fear of one person or party accumulating excessive power by attaining both political and religious positions like that French guy, Cardinal Richelieu. That's what the framers avoided, our system consuming itself and turning our system to poop by allowing religious power to cross over and pervade political power.

The thing is, Islam has its laws and we have ours. And now you chose to insert yours within ours and that's fine. It's fine for Muslims to obey both laws. It it not fine for Muslims to impose theirs upon ours. In any way whatsoever. Even the smallest and most easily conceded ways. Even if there was never any intention. No. Flat no. Those extra laws, whatever they are, no matter how tiny, do not apply to anyone other than Muslims who accept them.

Shave a goat. Kill a sheep a certain way. Eat only certain things. Fast when told to. Avoid consuming certain things always. Avoid smoking specific things. Dress a particular way. Avoid dressing in particular ways. Speak in certain ways. Avoid speaking of specific things. Limit architecture and art to geometric patterns and designs only. Whatever your extra religious law, do, enjoy them. Live by them. But do not even think about imposing one single element on anyone else while here. You will get nothing but resistance and that resistance will escalate immediately and exponentially with the slightest input of energy.

Knowing all this makes the slightest religious proscription by you the greatest provocation against me and everyone else. I'll want to kill you myself and I'm a gentle person. I don't even have firearms. They do. I'm gentle sweet and kind and patient to an extent. They're not. I avoid conflict. They look for it and invite it. Just know that your religious proscriptions invite immediate and violent conflict so best to just sit quiet and exercise your pinched religion however you wish. While here.

Boys, I don't know why we set up army men on opposite sides of the room and shoot rubber bands and throw them at each other, but we do. I don't know why we hold Superman in one hand and Godzilla in the other and smash the two together and see which breaks, but we do. I don't know why we toss toys over the roof and assess the damage we make on the other side, but we do.  I don't know why we break into teams and shoot paintballs at each other, but we do. I don't know why as boys we devise every weapon possible with materials at hand and use them on each other, but we do. It's a thing that boys do and now the boys are provoked into action and if it happens I can fairly guarantee it will not be clearly thought through.

"Man Threatens Suicide, Police Kill Him"

"Justin Way was in his bed with a knife, threatening self-harm. His girlfriend called a non-emergency number to try to get him into a hospital. Minutes later, he was shot and killed in his bedroom by cops with assault rifles."

 
Via Reddit - Top voted comments...
"Denise Way, Justin's mom, said that the detective relayed to her that 'they told Justin to drop the knife and he didn't—so they shot him because that's what we do.'”
Not including all the other issues with the police, the day has come where a cop's first weapon is the gun, and not words. No negotiating, no waiting period for a response from a drunk depressed person, just killing people in their beds for having a really bad day.
I truly hope that soon we seriously start to not tolerate this. We need cops that are able to think for themselves, not ones that use a defined criteria on when to kill someone.

This family needs to seek a wrongful death suit. Saying "I hope cops change their ways" isn't going to change anything.

"Way’s parents said they do not ever want to call the police again—for anything."
If the good and responsible cops don't start "policing" their own, this shit is just going to get worse: More citizens are going to be killed, more cops are going to be killed, and there's going to be a schism between the two groups wider than even the "white v. black" schism has ever been.

"US military pilots complain hands tied in ‘frustrating’ fight against ISIS"

Making the world safe for ISIS...
U.S. military pilots carrying out the air war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are voicing growing discontent over what they say are heavy-handed rules of engagement hindering them from striking targets.

They blame a bureaucracy that does not allow for quick decision-making. One Navy F-18 pilot who has flown missions against ISIS voiced his frustration to Fox News, saying: "There were times I had groups of ISIS fighters in my sights, but couldn't get clearance to engage.”

He added, “They probably killed innocent people and spread evil because of my inability to kill them. It was frustrating." (read more)
Meanwhile, The Free Beacon reports Al Qaeda in Syria is "Tweeting Jihad to Over 200,000 Followers"
Though al Qaeda’s ongoing operations have taken a backseat to the exploits of IS, the group founded by Osama bin Laden is thriving on Twitter, according to MEMRI.

“It should be noted that as Twitter’s removal of accounts on its platform linked to the Islamic State (ISIS) has gotten a lot of attention, accounts belonging to many other Designated Terrorist Organizations, notably to Jabhat Al-Nusra (JN), Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria that was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department in December 2012, have not received any attention, and its many accounts, which have a total of over 200,000 followers, are thriving,” MEMRI wrote in a recent report.

“This is another reminder of Twitter’s failure to effectively address this issue and its lack of a true strategy for doing so,” the group concluded.

"The Code of Federal Regulations: The Ultimate Longread"

"Regulations have piled up and piled up to the point where no individual can make sense of them all."

The average adult reads prose text at a rate of 250 to 300 words per minute. If you read the Code of Federal Regulations at 300 words per minute on a full-time basis, it would take you nearly three years to get through just the version of the CFR published in 2012. That’s about 58 times longer than it would take to read through the five volumes currently published in George R. R. Martin’s fantasy saga, A Song of Ice and Fire. Or 220 times longer than it would take to read through The Lord of the Rings from the original R. R. of fantasy—J. R. R. Tolkien.

CLICK TO ENLARGE

Pinterest



They brag about the oddest things.

Pinterest is an awesome resource. You can look up pretty much anything and usually there will be a full page of photographic results for you right there to peruse. Say, [olive penguins] for example. I don't know if you must have an account to view results. Too bad if you do. Maybe the page will be partially blocked to tease you. 

How about, [350 v-8 combustion engine] Oof. Disappointingly low results. 

How about [custom harley] Endless scrolling page.

How about [betta fish] Noice. I knew that one would be spectacular.


["hang glider"] Yes. 

[pierogi] Goodness gracious, now I'm really hungry. It's another page that scrolls forever. You get to the bottom and it loads more. Clicking through for best dough: 

2.5 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
3 tablespoons sour cream
3/4 cup warm water

See? In an instant you get a million ideas on presentation. You know, a person could get fat very easily very quickly on pierogis. 

Why is the United States policing FIFA?

FIFA officials have always been accused of bribery, kickbacks and corruption. So what? It's not an American sport anyway. Everybody knows international bodies invite graft. Especially after Russia and Qatar were awarded the World Cup. FIFA held their own investigation and cleared themselves. What's to know? They're not even Americans.

Why is the U.S. even involved?

Because the cabal planned their crimes in the United States. They used United States banking system and they are growing the American market and simultaneously targeting it.

CNN

The arrests came after a three year investigation. The FBI concentrated on Chuck Blazer, the American growing fat on his efforts of encouraging soccer in America becoming mainstream sport. Literally grew fat, taking on the appearance of Santa Clause, so fat that he can no longer walk. He is described as having a fleet of runabouts to ferry him from buffet to buffet in New York. His lavish lifestyle includes two apartments at Trump Towers with views of Central Park, one of them for his cats. He flies private jets all over the place. He spent 29 million on his FIFA card and he is 11 million dollars behind on his U.S. taxes. He simply failed to pay taxes for years in a row.

The Australian has more juicy details on his lifestyle and his downfall.

Twitter trend #FIFA 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Carly Fiorina runs circles around Andrea Mitchell

Newsbusters, by Kyle Drenen


'Running circles around' sounded good. That's all.

Andrea Mitchell tries to defend Hillary through her blandly general semi-truisms and Fiorina delivers sharp specifics to the contrary. Example question:
She's had a lifetime, though, in public service.  Going back to before she was first lady in Arkansas. She can argue that she's got a record of women's issues, from the Beijing Women's Conference to all of her work with the Children's Defense Fund going up through the senate, senator from New york, that's a record. Secretary of state. How do you compare yourself to her?
Oh boy. So much to Fisk so little time. Fiorina attacks Hillary Clinton's tenure at State. 
It's also true that as secretary of state she took women's rights and human rights off the table for discussion with China. It's also true as secretary of state that she called Bashar al-Assad a “positive reformer.” It’s also true in 2011, when she was secretary of state, she said that Iraq was a “free, stable, sovereign nation” and now we have a nation falling apart, Iranian influence growing, ISIS growing. It’s true that she said that she could reset our Russia – our relationship with Russia and Vladimir Putin is on the march. So I think all of those things I just named go fundamentally to what is her track record.


Of course they do. There is no dispute. You're talking about the splendid specimens that ran the gauntlet of birth control regimens, and condoms, vaginal dams, spermicidal gels, after-morning pills, abortifacients, abortionists, organizations arrayed against their very being, Planned Parenthood, insurance companies, political parties, work demands and family. This is all agitation right here and it's in the wrong place and to the wrong people.

Dostoevesky's Shade will be interested when they're on MLK, and that reminded me.  More, if you care to.

"When Family-Friendly Policies Backfire"

"... these policies often have unintended consequences."
In Chile, a law requires employers to provide working mothers with child care. One result? Women are paid less. In Spain, a policy to give parents of young children the right to work part-time has led to a decline in full-time, stable jobs available to all women — even those who are not mothers.

Elsewhere in Europe, generous maternity leaves have meant that women are much less likely than men to become managers or achieve other high-powered positions at work...

They can end up discouraging employers from hiring women in the first place, because they fear women will leave for long periods or use expensive benefits.
Via GaltsGirl 

"Who Are the Racists: Conservatives or Liberals?"


queen speech


"New Study: The world's a lot more violent than reported"

On his Twitter page Harvard's Niall Ferguson calls it "hugely important."
In the paper ["On the tail risk of violent conflict and its underestimation."] Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the author... argues that "Violence is much more severe than it seems from conventional analyses and the prevailing 'long peace' theory which claims that violence has declined."
Contrary to current discussions, all statistical pictures thus obtained show that 1) the risk of violent conflict has not been decreasing, but is rather underestimated by techniques relying on naive year-on-year changes in the mean, or using sample mean as an estimator of the true mean of an extremely fat-tailed phenomenon; 2) armed conflicts have memoryless inter-arrival times, thus incompatible with the idea of a time trend. Our analysis uses 1) raw data, as recorded and estimated by historians; 2) a naive transformation, used by certain historians and sociologists, which rescales past conflicts and casualties with respect to the actual population; 3) more importantly, a log transformation to account for the fact that the number of casualties in a conflict cannot be larger than the world population.
The authors base their article on the methods of extreme value theory.

A striking chart accompanying the article dramatically shows the impact of violence on all periods of recorded history. The chart measures conflicts featuring more than 50,000 deaths relative to today's world population. (Thus, 50,000 deaths today = 5,000 deaths in the eighteenth century.)

"Bill Clinton company shows complexity of family finances"

"None of the proposals detailed how much Bill Clinton would be paid." Excerpts...
While Bill Clinton's lucrative speeches have provided the bulk of the couple's income, earning as much as $50 million during his wife's four-year term as secretary of state in the Obama administration, the former president has also sought to branch out into other business activities in recent years. Little is known about the exact nature and financial worth of Bill Clinton's non-speech business interests...
WJC, LLC was set up in Delaware in 2008 and again in 2013 and in New York in 2009, according to documents obtained by The AP. The company did not appear among holdings in the Clintons' financial disclosure released last week or in previous Hillary Clinton disclosure reports between 2008 and 2013, when she resigned as secretary of state. Bill Clinton signed a document as its "authorizing person" in a corporate filing in Delaware in 2013...
In February 2009, Clinton's counselor, Douglas Band, asked State Department ethics officials to clear Bill Clinton's consulting work for three companies owned by influential Democratic party donors. Memos sent by Band proposed that Bill Clinton would provide "consulting services regarding geopolitical, economic and social trends affecting the entity and philanthropic opportunities" through the WJC, LLC entity.

State Department officials approved Bill Clinton's consulting work for longtime friend Steve Bing's Shangri-La Industries and another with Wasserman Investments, GP, a firm run by entertainment executive and Democratic party donor Casey Wasserman. The ethics officials turned down Bill Clinton's proposed work with a firm run by entertainment magnate and Democratic donor Haim Saban because of Saban's active role in Mideast political affairs.
If understand this right, it sounds like Bill had a "shell" company. What's the point of having a shell company (if he did) when you also have a charity foundation?

KLEM FM

The Aqua Velvet's music sounds a bit like musical scores for imaginary spaghetti westerns. This one is a theme for an imaginary "spaghetti eastern:"

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

"U.S. Appeals Court Rules Against Obama on Immigration Plan"

NY Times breaking news email...
A federal appeals court on Tuesday denied the Obama administration’s request to lift a hold on the president’s executive actions on immigration, which would have granted protection from deportation as well as work permits to millions of immigrants in the country illegally.

Two of three judges on a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, left in place an injunction by a federal district judge in Brownsville, Tex. The ruling comes in a lawsuit by 26 states against actions President Obama took in November. Many of the initiatives were scheduled to take effect this month.

The appeals court found that Texas and the other states did have sufficient legal grounds to bring the lawsuit and that the administration had not shown it would be harmed if the injunction remained in the place and the programs were further delayed.

Things I will NOT do before I get old, or, Reverse Bucket List

AllenS: I had to share this --

Sitting on the Trolltunga rock in Norway.
 
Jumping on the Trolltunga rock in Norway.
 
Extreme skiing in Wyoming.
 
Skywalking on Mount Nimbus in Canada.
 
Extreme kayaking at Victoria Falls ..
 
Diving 30 meters through a rock monolith in Portugal.

Standing on the Edgewalk inToronto .
 
Cycling in Norway.
 
Sitting around at Yosemite.
 
Glacier boarding anywhere.
 
Biking on the Cliffs of Moher.
 
Fortunately, I am ALREADY old.
I didn't get this way by being stupid

Tennessee logo

Cost a lot of money for not much at all, but that's government for you. Government didn't draw the logo, they used collective money to pay a firm to do what any employee could have done right there at their government desk in thirty seconds of a regular working day.



"Despite Border Patrol’s best efforts, our border is still wide open"

"It’s a cat-and-mouse game, and the mouse is still winning."
On our second day we caught a glimpse of a shadowy figure disappearing down the back of a mountain inside the U.S. border; it was a cartel “scout.” The “scouts” operate on the mountains and monitor the movement of the Border Patrol and let the smugglers know when it is safe to bring across drugs and human cargo. Keep in my mind they operate in the mountains on U.S. soil as far as 100 miles inside our border.

Sasabe is in the Tucson Sector, which extends 262 miles from the New Mexico border in the east to the Yuma (Arizona) County line in the west. The Border Patrol apprehended 87,915 illegal aliens in fiscal year 2014 in this sector. In the same fiscal year, 479,371 illegal aliens were apprehended across the whole 1,954-mile length of the Southwest Border.

So, how many get through? Chris Cabrera, vice president of National Border Patrol Council #3307, estimates in a recent video that only 30 percent of illegal aliens coming across the border are apprehended.

I asked him, in exasperation: “Why the hell aren’t we stopping everyone coming across the border?”

His answer: “We are waging a war with a shift mentality.”

He was referring to the fact that the cartels operate 24/7 while the Border Patrol, with shift changes, have gaps in their coverage. Border Patrol agents are further hampered by the Obama administration’s “open border” policy, such as the acceptance of the tens of thousands of unaccompanied alien children last year; the suspension of the Secure Communities program in November 2014, the use of “prosecutorial discretion,” and the sharp decline in Interior Deportations from 236,000 in 2009 to 102,000 in 2014.

The drug cartels are well financed, crafty and “they have better intelligence,” according to Sgt. Randy Merrell of the Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office in New Mexico.

"Can Racism Be Stopped in the Third Grade?"

"An experiment at Fieldston, which starts when 8-year-olds are sorted by race, has some very liberal parents fuming."
The form arrived in an email attachment on the Friday after winter break.“What is your race?”it asked. And then, beneath that, a Census-style list: “African-American/Black,” “Asian/Pacific Islander,” “Latina/o,” “Multi-racial,” “White,” and “Not sure.”

The email, signed by the principal of Fieldston Lower School, urged parents to talk about these categories with their children at home because the next week, in school, the kids would have to check the box that fit them best. “I know there may be some nervous feelings about this program,” the email concluded, but “I am confident that once you hear more details about it … the value and importance of this work will become clear.”

The parents at Lower, as it’s called, are a bighearted, high-maintenance, high-achieving group. They are also, by the standards of the New York City private-school universe, exceedingly liberal — educators and social workers, as well as hedge-fund tycoons. They love the school, and trust it, mostly. But this communication seized their attention. “I was like, Wait. What?” remembers one mother. Another quizzed her 11-year-old daughter as they were driving. “We have to go in our race groups” was how the girl explained it. The mother hoped her daughter had misunderstood. (read more)

Keep your eyes

on the cross.

A friend of mine worked with mental patients for awhile and he told me one day during political season he walked into a room while a group of patients were cracking up laughing at politicians debating on television. I's fair enough to say none of the patients understood much about the issues being discussed but when asked what was so funny to them they all found the outright lies absurd, the way nothing matched was tremendously funny to them. Surely these people were comedians.

I notice a similar thing with this latest television and the way it pauses on frame to change channels. Whenever a man is speaking and the frame freezes his face in speech, wherever the frame freezes and with 100% regularity the visage is frozen in a ridiculous lie. It just is. The women far less so. They lie so beautifully. But when female political pundits are pulling it out of their butts as men do with everything, any sales, and all male television discussions are some form of sales, then the women are bad as the men always are. The very weird freeze-frame ridiculous lie-face thing that is revealed with each channel change makes me feel like a mental patient watching t.v. perceiving nothing but straight up continuous stream of lies.

This is different though, some sort of brain data moshing where the shape of the next face is distorted by predictions from the previous face, and all those are distorted unnaturally with surgery. Lies. You notice it takes a moment to get going. Whereas the channel change freeze-frame lie detector captures real facial expressions delivered in stream.  I'm going to miss that with the next television.

Monday, May 25, 2015

road trip

John Basilone

Military service...

Guadalcanal

During the Battle for Henderson Field, his unit came under attack by a regiment of approximately 3,000 soldiers from the Japanese Sendai Division. On October 24, 1942, Japanese forces began a frontal attack using machine guns, grenades, and mortars against the American heavy machine guns. Basilone commanded two sections of machine guns that fought for the next two days until only Basilone and two other Marines were left standing. Basilone moved an extra gun into position and maintained continual fire against the incoming Japanese forces. He then repaired and manned another machine gun, holding the defensive line until replacements arrived. As the battle went on, ammunition became critically low. Despite their supply lines having been cut off by enemies in the rear, Basilone fought through hostile ground to resupply his heavy machine gunners with urgently needed ammunition. When the last of it ran out shortly before dawn on the second day, Basilone held off the Japanese soldiers attacking his position using his .45 pistol. By the end of the engagement, Japanese forces opposite their section of the line were virtually annihilated. For his actions during the battle, he received the United States military's highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor.
Afterwards, Private First Class Nash W. Phillips, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, recalled from the battle for Guadalcanal:

Basilone had a machine gun on the go for three days and nights without sleep, rest, or food. He was in a good emplacement, and causing the Japanese lots of trouble, not only firing his machine gun, but also using his pistol.
Iwo Jima

John Basilone's headstone in Arlington National Cemetery
After his request to return to the fleet was approved, he was assigned to Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 27th Marine Regiment, 5th Marine Division during the invasion of Iwo Jima. On February 19, 1945, he was serving as a machine gun section leader in action against Japanese forces on Red Beach II. During the battle, the Japanese concentrated their fire at the incoming Marines from heavily fortified blockhouses staged throughout the island. With his unit pinned down, Basilone made his way around the side of the Japanese positions until he was directly on top of the blockhouse. He then attacked with grenades and demolitions, single-handedly destroying the entire strong point and its defending garrison. He then fought his way toward Airfield Number 1 and aided a Marine tank that was trapped in an enemy mine field under intense mortar and artillery barrages. He guided the heavy vehicle over the hazardous terrain to safety, despite heavy weapons fire from the Japanese. As he moved along the edge of the airfield, he was killed by Japanese mortar shrapnel. His actions helped Marines penetrate the Japanese defense and get off the landing beach during the critical early stages of the invasion. He was posthumously awarded the Marine Corps' second-highest decoration for valor, the Navy Cross, for extraordinary heroism during the battle of Iwo Jima.
Based on his research for the book and mini-series The Pacific, author Hugh Ambrose suggested that Basilone was not killed by a mortar, but by small arms fire that hit him in the right groin, the neck and nearly took off his left arm completely.

More than 100 people are on the waiting list

To become caretakers for graves of fallen American soldiers in a small Dutch town called Margraten. 

This is the most beautiful story I ever read. Written by Ian Shapira for Washington Post. More beautiful than the story of Vincent Speranza who tells it himself so humbly, so grippingly and so touchingly about how he delivered a helmet of beer to stricken soldiers against the wishes and under fire from his own commanding officer and against common sense, to have the town name a beer after him with its own ceramic mug in the shape of an American helmet.

At Margraten each grave of an American soldier is adopted by a family and tended. At the annual ceremony 6,000 people pour into the 65 acre burial ground situated next to an orchard, the town near the German border. 

Seventy-year old Arthur Chotlin went to Margraten from Annapolis, Md to meet the couple caring for his father's grave and was awestruck by the devotion of the Dutch to this project. Chotlin was the only American to speak on Sunday.
“What would cause a nation recovering from losses and trauma of their own to adopt the sons and daughters of another nation?” “And what would keep that commitment alive for all of these years, when the memory of that war has begun to fade? It is a unique occurrence in the history of civilization.”
The old man stood in front of his father's grave of Army Staff Sgt. Max Chotin with its Star of David headstone, teary-eyed, next to Boy Naajkens the Dutch health food store who adopted it in 2006 and had tended the grave since. This was the first time they paid their respect together. 

Comments:  allisoncox 8:44 AM MDT
Last summer, while in the Netherlands I went to the Liberation Museumhttp://www.bevrijdingsmuseum.nl/basis.aspx?Tid=746... and our tour guide was a man who was a 5 year old boy when the American planes first arrived. He described running out of his house and looking up at the sky for 2 hours at the constant stream of planes. WWII and the battles that were fought at this time became a life long obsession; his love and gratitude for the Americans who served was constantly bubbling over. Meeting him was one of the highlights of my 21 day European trip.

Dams and Bridges

[originally posted here a few years ago. I changed some the time references as the trip was some time ago now]

A few years ago my wife and I took our kids on a crazy road trip adventure to retrace the history of water conservation in the Great American Southwest. The trip was inspired by our reading Colossus, which retells the story of taming the Colorado River and building the Hoover Dam.

First stop was the Salton Sea which is just a little over a 100 years old and was created by accident when an irrigation canal went awry in 1906. I traced down the exact spot where the accident happened which was right outside of Yuma, Arizona. There wasn't much to see. We drove on a levee alongside the old Colorado River bed, following an old 1906 map and Google Earth. Two Border Patrol agents' trucks were parked nose-to-nose on the levee as we peered into Mexico. We drove the Chevy to the levee but the levee was bone dry. The Border Patrol guys gave us such mean looks that I was afraid to even take a photo.

We stayed overnight in Yuma which is a very old and dusty town bisected by what's left of the Colorado River. I took some high-res ("artsy") photos of an old hotel there which I'll post separately. Heading further upriver, we reached the Hoover Dam:

Hoover Dam taken from Tillman Bridge
The last time I was at Hoover Dam was pre-9/11. In the old days, the main route between Phoenix and Vegas still passed over the dam. We did that journey then with one kid and one in the oven while driving our glorious 1963 Thunderbird (that car deserves more that passing mention so I won't mention it further). There was something new this time that wasn't there in 1999--the new Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge:*

Tillman Bridge taken from Hoover Dam
The bridge is stunningly gorgeous. It's part of the main road now between Vegas and Phoenix, but you can park and walk it too for no charge. I felt a little acrophobic as I took that photo of the dam from the bridge.
____________________
*I dedicate this blog post to Corporal Patrick Daniel "Pat" Tillman (November 6, 1976 – April 22, 2004).

Added:  A 1930's artist captured the same view of Hoover Dam from the imaginary bridge:


More old stamps:

KLEM FM

I was in Patsy Cline kind of mood tonight and wanted to post her version of "Crazy" along with a clip of Willie Nelson on Dave Letterman's show recalling how he "sold" that song to her back in 1962. I'd seen the clip awhile ago but the Nelson/Letterman video is now protected and unavailable. Fuck you Letterman.  I'm glad you're gone.

Plan B:

I knew that something like this must exist. So I went looking and found it. It's a video of a guitarist covering the Duane Allman solo from "In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed." There is no extant video of Allman playing that version, but that version from their Fillmore East double LP is the definitive version. The solo is longer than most pop songs and is a classic:


Eurovision

Mans Zelmerlow, Sweden's entry won first for Heroes.



My favorite part is "hummingbirds." 
He said go dry your eyes and live your life like there is no tomorrow, Son, and tell the others to go sing it like a hummingbird the greatest anthem ever heard: We are the heroes of our time but we're dancing with the demons in our mind.
Small point, hummingbirds don't actually sing as songbirds do, they more scream territorially, or demandingly, they have flowers to protect. 

Russia won second with Polina Gagarina's A Million Voices. Wrought with Disneyesque or possibly Romani costume of the sort the princess cannot move from her spot. Inclusive, entirely inclusive, nothing whatsoever personal as some other entries, she'd like to buy the world a Coke.




Oh? 



Tell me why when I think, I only think of you
Tell me why when I love, I only love you
Tell me why when I live, I live inside you... great love

A few years ago Amanda Yesilbas writing for 109.com drew together a wonderful roundup of then recent Eurovision musical videos concentrating on the wildest most insane. One of her favorites was linked yesterday on a British site and favored so the Ukrainian act had and held their attention for its bizarre recombinations; sequined lamé, dancing Nazis, folk beer hall type song run through electronics. Verka Serdyuchka is the drag character of comedian Andriy Mykhailovych Danylko. It's quite a video and it makes the point I am about to make better than any of them. Ukraine entry for 2007, Dancing Lasha Tumbai sung in four languages. The performance was controversial at the time. Its title is nonsense.

Commenters to Amanda's piece back then linked to Kpop (Korean) videos along a similar vein. And those are interesting indeed. BigBang, Fantastic Baby and Block B, Nillili Mambo for two examples.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sensible shoes

Every time I hear any public service announcement my single prevailing thought is, "Oh, shut up."

Because I'm paying for something and getting something else.

So to retaliate after refusing yours I'll deliver my own: always wear sensible shoes and especially for anything public, doubly especially on any uncertain surface. Women, do not wear anything high. Men, don't ever wear flip-flops unless you actually are at a bathhouse.



"One man's trash is another man's treasure"...

"...would be a terrible way to let your child know that they're adopted."

Reddit top voted comments...
Or to say to your wife when she talks about her ex - husband

"All the kids who were not adopted please step forward"
kid tries to step forward
"Whoa there, not so fast Timmy"

But one man's junk is another man's treasure would be great for a penis transplant though.

When I was very young (before knowing what sex was), my parents use to say they found me in a garbage can. Definitely fueled some childhood attachment issues..

"My Son Died for Ramadi. Now ISIS Has It"


"Debbie Lee says she’s sickened that the city her son sacrificed his life defending has fallen—and furious at the Joint Chiefs chairman’s insistence Ramadi is ‘not symbolic in any way.’"
A continuing comfort to her is her son’s last letter, an email that arrived a fortnight before his death. She had been amazed by the depth and power of these words from the homeschooled son who had always needed extra nudging when a subject did not interest him.

“Language was not one of the strong ones,” she recalled on Monday.

His was now a soul seared to eloquence.

“You can feel the deep impact of being in Ramadi, being in the war zone,” his mother said.

In the letter, the son wrote of the elusiveness of glory and of the enormity of violent death.

“I have seen death, the sorrow that encompasses your entire being as a man breathes his last,” he said. “I can only pray and hope that none of you will ever have to experience some of these things I have seen and felt here.”

But amid the worst, he had seen the importance of kindness and decency, moments when America was at its shining best. He urged those back home to do their part in the struggle to make our country realize its full greatness:

Ask yourself when was the last time you donated clothes that you hadn’t worn out. When was the last time you paid for a random stranger’s cup of coffee, meal or maybe even a tank of gas? When was the last time you helped a person with the groceries into or out of their car?

Think to yourself and wonder what it would feel like if when the bill for the meal came and you were told it was already paid for.

More random acts of kindness like this would change our country and our reputation as a country.

It is not unknown to most of us that the rest of the world looks at us with doubt towards our humanity and morals.

I am not here to preach or to say look at me, because I am just as at fault as the next person. I find that being here makes me realize the great country we have and the obligation we have to keep it that way.

The 4th has just come and gone and I received many emails thanking me for helping keep America great and free. I take no credit for the career path I have chosen; I can only give it to those of you who are reading this, because each one of you has contributed to me and who I am.

However what I do over here is only a small percent of what keeps our country great. I think the truth to our greatness is each other. Purity, morals and kindness, passed down to each generation through example. So to all my family and friends, do me a favor and pass on the kindness, the love, the precious gift of human life to each other so that when your children come into contact with a great conflict that we are now faced with here in Iraq, that they are people of humanity, of pure motives, of compassion.

This is our real part to keep America free! HAPPY 4th Love Ya

Marc Lee

P.S. Half way through the deployment can’t wait to see all of your faces
 
On August 2, 2006, Lee and his team got into a gun battle with a large force of insurgents in south-central Ramadi.

Big Bang Theory

Without laugh track.

Louis de Funes

Classic gag from 1966. Subtitles are their own joke.