31 August 2015

Now I Know Why Jewish Bakers are So Cranky

I just began making my first bagels ever.

Actually, it's my first bread baking ever.

I'm not done, they need to proof for 12-48 hours in the fridge, and then they are boiled (Real bagels are never steamed, f%$3 you Lenders) and baked.

Bagels use high gluten flour, and have a rather low ratio of water to flour, and to make them properly, you roll them into a sausage shape, and then then wrap them around the back of your hand to seal the ends together.

This, along with the fact that I did this without a stand mixer, means that my hands are wicked tired.

I also started some Gravlax, salmon cured in sugar, salt, and spices..

Since, I couldn't find any Akavit at the liquor store, I added caraway seeds to the salt/sugar/spice mix, and I added ginger because Sharon* likes her Gravlax with ginger, and grains of paradise ……… just because I felt like it.

*Love of my life, light of the cosmos, she who must be obeyed, my wife.

Why I Love Taking Mass Transit to Work

Today, commuting was a little bit f&$@ed up.

The Metro train was constantly stopping between stations, and finally discharged everyone to go to another train.

Why is this so wonderful?

If I were driving, this sort of sh&@would happen at least as often, but the feline option, saying, "F&$@ this, I'm taking a f&$@ing nap," would not be available to me because I would be driving a car.

I took a nap on my commute, and it was good.

Posted via mobile.

30 August 2015

Why Does this Guy Teach at West Point?

William Bradford, an assistant professor at West Point is calling for the assassination anyone who opposes his view of the world, as well as the law schools where they work.

Additionally, he wants Islamic holy sites bombed, just because:
An assistant professor in the law department of the US Military Academy at West Point has argued that legal scholars critical of the war on terrorism represent a “treasonous” fifth column that should be attacked as enemy combatants.

In a lengthy academic paper, the professor, William C Bradford, proposes to threaten “Islamic holy sites” as part of a war against undifferentiated Islamic radicalism. That war ought to be prosecuted vigorously, he wrote, “even if it means great destruction, innumerable enemy casualties, and civilian collateral damage”.

Other “lawful targets” for the US military in its war on terrorism, Bradford argues, include “law school facilities, scholars’ home offices and media outlets where they give interviews” – all civilian areas, but places where a “causal connection between the content disseminated and Islamist crimes incited” exist.

“Shocking and extreme as this option might seem, [dissenting] scholars, and the law schools that employ them, are – at least in theory – targetable so long as attacks are proportional, distinguish noncombatants from combatants, employ nonprohibited weapons, and contribute to the defeat of Islamism,” Bradford wrote.

West Point is the revered undergraduate institution north of New York City where the US army educates its future officer corps. It prides itself on the rigor of its curriculum. Representatives from the school said Bradford had only begun his employment there on 1 August.


In the paper, Bradford identifies himself as an “associate professor of law, national security and strategy, National Defense University”, seemingly his previous job before West Point. But a representative of the National Defense University said Bradford was a contractor at the prestigious Defense Department-run institution, “never an NDU employee nor an NDU professor”.

It appears not to be the first time Bradford misrepresented his credentials. He resigned from Indiana University’s law school in 2005 after his military record showed he had exaggerated his service. (Among his paper’s criticisms of supposedly treasonous lawyers is “intellectual dishonesty”.)

Why is this guy not asking if we want fries with that for a living?

Why is he working at West Point?

Why was he a contractor at the National Defense University before that?

This is particularly troubling when one considers that his record before both of these jobs was clouded by credible allegations that he had consistently lied about his life story.

Why does this guy continue to get jobs in the national security establishment?

More of This

Hillary Clinton just compared the Talibaptist wing of the Republican to the Taliban, and she used the T-Word (Terrorist), and the whiny bitches in the Republican Party are having a sad:
Hillary Rodham Clinton likened Republican presidential candidates to fundamentalist terrorists with brutal or repressive views about women on Thursday, a significant escalation of her rhetoric about GOP positions on abortion that her campaign sees as a major vulnerability in the general election.

"Extreme views about women? We expect that from some of the terrorist groups. We expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world," Clinton said. "But it’s a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States."

Clinton did not say which terrorist or militant groups she meant as a comparison. Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria have held women as sex slaves and chattel, while the Taliban in Afghanistan refused to allow girls to attend school.

"They espouse out of date and out of touch policies," Clinton said of the current Republican field. "They are dead wrong for 21st Century America. We’re going forward. We’re not going back."
Republicans have spent the past 50 years describing Democrats as fellow travelers of Communists, terrorists, feminists, etc., who are determined to destroy America.

Now that a major Democratic Party justifiably observes that Republicans want to turn the United States into Saudi Arabia on social issues, they are lamenting the loss of civility in politics.

They need to go Cheney themselves.

29 August 2015

The Very Modern Model Of a Modern Moron Pundit Class

Donna Brazile, last seen mismanaging Al Gore's Presidential campaign in 2000, is now praising George W. Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina.



This is the Best Job Ever!!!!

If you love cats, and you've considered running away to join the circus, then the fact that a Cat Circus Looking for a Tour Assistant is like ……… well ……… catnip:
Has your dream always been to run away with a cat circus? Then here's the job for you! Samantha Martin and the Acro-Cats are looking for a tour assistant to travel cross-country with a troupe of trained cats (plus a groundhog, a chicken and a few rats) as they purr-form at venues in cities across the United States.

Job Requirements:

1. Animal care experience - Daily, weekly and monthly cat care duties - including but not limited to general and advanced cleaning and care/welfare of animals and their living environment.

2. Out-going personality, a keen sense of humor, the ability to roll with the punches, a flexible schedule, a high comfort level engaging with crowds of cat lovers, open to new experiences, lots of fun and craziness. We travel in a tour bus and share RV/hotel rooms.

3. Physically fit - able to lift and transport up to 50 lbs of show props and animal carriers from tour bus to stage and back.

4. Theater experience a plus - purr-form front and back of house duties, stage management, operate the light and sound, and help on stage with animals and prop placement.

5. Work with volunteers - wrangle and train volunteers who help with the shows.

Pay varies by show and includes per diem. No cat allergies. MUST LOVE CATS!
Serious applicants only. This job is a LOT of work and time on the road, but also the opportunity of a lifetime.
BTW, it appears that this is on the level, as you can see at their web site, which puts the lie to that old cliche "As difficult as herding cats."

Least Surprising News of the Day

There has been a study of the now infamous Planned Parenthood vids cobbled together by right wing activists, and has determined that the videos were deliberately deceptively edited:
Planned Parenthood on Thursday gave congressional leaders and a committee that is investigating allegations of criminality at its clinics an analysis it commissioned concluding that “manipulation” of undercover videos by abortion opponents make those recordings unreliable for any official inquiry.

“A thorough review of these videos in consultation with qualified experts found that they do not present a complete or accurate record of the events they purport to depict,” the analysis of a private research company said.


Planned Parenthood denies the charges and says that the videos were deceptively and misleadingly edited.

The analysis was by Fusion GPS, a Washington-based research and corporate intelligence company, and its co-founder Glenn Simpson, a former investigative reporter for The Wall Street Journal.


A transcription service was hired to transcribe the videos, without being told that Planned Parenthood was the client, to compare with transcripts publicized by the anti-abortion group. That comparison, the analysis said, showed “substantive omissions” in the group’s version. Mr. Simpson was assisted in the analysis by several others, including a video forensics expert, Grant Fredericks, and a television producer, Scott Goldie.

According to the investigation, the reviewers could not determine “the extent to which C.M.P.’s undisclosed edits and cuts distort the meaning of the encounters the videos purport to document.”

But, it said, “the manipulation of the videos does mean they have no evidentiary value in a legal context and cannot be relied upon for any official inquiries” unless C.M.P. provides investigators with its original material, and that material is independently authenticated as unaltered.
This is exactly the same thing that happened with James O'Keefe and Acorn.

The 'Phants are threatening to shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood.

The response to this threat should be 3 words, "Bring it on."

Never stop your enemy from stepping on their own dick:  Planned Parenthood is one of the most popular organizations in America, and the shutdown crap has never worked.

28 August 2015

Lazy Wankers! They Can Work, I Don't Care If They Are Dead!

The Tories Must Be Channeling Monty Python and the Holy Grail
A study by the Department for Work and Pensions in the UK has revealed that over 2,000 people died almost immediately after being declared being fit for work.

The Tories have stopped even trying to pretend that they aren't evil motherf%$#ers who glory in causing pain to the less fortunate:

Nearly 90 people a month are dying after being declared fit for work, according to new data that has prompted campaigners and Labour leadership contenders to call for an overhaul of the government’s welfare regime.

Statistics released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) revealed that during the period December 2011 and February 2014 2,380 people died after their claim for employment and support allowance (ESA) ended because a work capability assessment (WCA) found they were found fit for work.

Ministers insisted that the data could not be used to link claimant deaths to its welfare reforms, but the figures focused attention on the government’s fit-for-work assessment process, which has been dogged by controversy in recent years.

Anita Bellows, researcher with campaign group Disabled People Against the Cuts, said it would take time to fully analyse the figures, but added the group was “very worried by the number of people who died within two weeks of being found fit for work” [see footnote].

Letters: If I can’t decide which biscuits to buy, would you want me making decisions about how much morphine to give your mother?

The mortality data was compiled in response to freedom of information requests, and was released by the department only following a ruling by the Information Commissioner’s Office in April.
 But it gets even better:
The WCA, currently administered by private outsourcing firm Maximus, having for most of the last government been run by Atos, has been widely criticised as error-prone and mechanistic, often causing harm to the sick and disabled claimants who are obliged to undergo it. It has been dogged by administrative delays, which have often left claimants stressed and penniless, and there have been hundreds of thousands of appeals against fit-for-work decisions in recent years, about four in 10 of which have succeeded.
So, not only are they killing people, they are allowing their buddies in business to make a profit out of public money doing it.

At the rate this is going, Dick Cheney is going to have to up his game, or people will begin to think that he is a bleeding heart liberal.

27 August 2015

The Ashley Madison Breach Reveals Something Interesting

Most of the women members appear to be sock puppets:
When hacker group Impact Team released the Ashley Madison data, they asserted that “thousands” of the women’s profiles were fake. Later, this number got blown up in news stories that asserted “90-95%” of them were fake, though nobody put forth any evidence for such an enormous number. So I downloaded the data and analyzed it to find out how many actual women were using Ashley Madison, and who they were.

What I discovered was that the world of Ashley Madison was a far more dystopian place than anyone had realized. This isn’t a debauched wonderland of men cheating on their wives. It isn’t even a sadscape of 31 million men competing to attract those 5.5 million women in the database. Instead, it’s like a science fictional future where every woman on Earth is dead, and some Dilbert-like engineer has replaced them with badly-designed robots.

Those millions of Ashley Madison men were paying to hook up with women who appeared to have created profiles and then simply disappeared. Were they cobbled together by bots and bored admins, or just user debris? Whatever the answer, the more I examined those 5.5 million female profiles, the more obvious it became that none of them had ever talked to men on the site, or even used the site at all after creating a profile. Actually, scratch that. As I’ll explain below, there’s a good chance that about 12,000 of the profiles out of millions belonged to actual, real women who were active users of Ashley Madison.


It’s also a matter of public record that some percentage of the profiles are less than real. A few years ago, a former employee of Ashley Madison sued the company in Canada over her terrible work conditions. She claimed that she’d gotten repetitive stress injuries in her hands after the company hired her to create 1,000 fake profiles of women in three months, written in Portuguese, to attract a Brazilian audience. The case was settled out of court, and Ashley Madison claimed that the woman never made any fake profiles.

Still, there is a clause in the Ashley Madison terms of service that notes that “some” people are using the site purely “for entertainment” and that they are “not seeking in person meetings with anyone they meet on the Service, but consider their communications with users and Members to be for their amusement.” The site stops short of saying these are fake people, but does admit that many profiles are for “amusement only.”


But the second most popular IP address, found in 80,805 profiles, was a different story. This IP address,, is well-known to anyone who works with computer systems as a loopback interface. To the rest of us, it’s known simply as “home,” your local computer. Any account with that IP address was likely created on a “home” computer at Ashley Madison. Interestingly, 68,709 of the profiles created with that IP address were female, and the remaining 12,000 were either male or had nothing in the gender field.


Then, three data fields changed everything. The first field, called mail_last_time, contained a timestamp indicating the last time a member checked the messages in their Ashley Madison inbox. If a person never checked their inbox, the field was blank. But even if they’d checked their messages only once, the field contained a date and time. About two-thirds of the men, or 20.2 million of them, had checked the messages in their accounts at least once. But only 1,492 women had ever checked their messages. It was a serious anomaly.

The pattern was reflected in another data field, too. This one, called chat_last_time contained the timestamp for the last time a member had struck up a conversation using the Ashley Madison chat system. Roughly 11 million men had engaged in chat, but only 2400 women had.

Yet another field, reply_mail_last_time, showed a similar disparity. This field contained the time when a member had last replied to a message from another person on Ashley Madison. 5.9 million men had done it, and only 9700 women had.

What all these fields have in common is that they measure user activity. They show what happened after the account profile was created, and how an actual person used it by checking messages, chatting, or replying to messages. They measure what you might call signatures of real human behavior. Only a paltry number of women’s accounts actually looked human.


Overall, the picture is grim indeed. Out of 5.5 million female accounts, roughly zero percent had ever shown any kind of activity at all, after the day they were created.


Either way, we’re left with data that suggests Ashley Madison is a site where tens of millions of men write mail, chat, and spend money for women who aren’t there. 
There are two questions raised here:

The first question is whether or not Ashley Madison was a fraud from the get go.

The second question is how many other of the social networking sites out there are doing the same thing and sucking money from venture capitalists.

We need the someone to go Lisbeth Salander on all of these "Web 2.0" companies, because I think that this sort of fraud is the rule, not the exception.

H/t JR at the Stellar Parthenon BBS for the Gary Larson cartoon.

We Are Sooooooo F%$#ed

I knew that global warming would cause problems in the future, but the fact that sea levels have risen 3 inches over the past 23 years just boggles the mind:
A panel of NASA scientists said Wednesday that new data shows sea levels are, on average, three inches higher than they were in 1992 due to melting ice from both mountain glaciers and the polar ice caps, as well as warmer oceans.

The data was collected from NASA satellites. NASA also released a video that shows a visualization of rising sea levels.

The changes are concerning and “it’s very likely to get worse in the future,” Steve Nerem, a University of Colorado geophysicist and a member of the panel, said in a conference call, Reuters reported. In 2013, a United Nations panel reported sea levels were projected to rise between 1 and 3 feet by 2100; the NASA panel said data indicates the level rise would be on the higher end of that projection.
 I may have beachfront property before I die.

The Best Case of, "Our Work is Done Here," this Presidential Campaign

The "Stop Chris Christie" PAC has closed its doors.

It appears that they believe that, through the efforts of Chris Christie, they have been rendered redundant:
A super PAC opposing Chris Christie's (R) presidential bid said Tuesday that it planned to shut down, citing the New Jersey governor's poor performance in the polls.

The treasurer of the Stop Chris Christie PAC, Thomas Bjorkland, made the announcement in response to a letter from the Federal Election Commission that warned the super PAC must change its name or else clarify the nature of the committee. Bjorkland wrote in a letter to the FEC that "based on recent polling and the miserable showing of the candidate in question," the committee decided to instead wind down its operations.
That's some sweet Schadenfreude.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Even as his campaign has shown remarkable staying power, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is dogged by the perception that there isn’t much to him beneath the bluster and the glitz. But he may have inadvertently steered the race into important territory, at least when it comes to Wall Street and taxes.

In interviews over the last several days, Trump made blistering comments about inhabitants of a corner of the financial industry who have grown accustomed to criticism. “I know a lot of bad people in this country that are making a hell of a lot of money and not paying taxes,” Trump said in an interview with Time, in apparent reference to hedge fund and private equity fund managers. “The tax law is totally screwed up.”

"They're paying nothing and it's ridiculous," he added on CBS a few days later. “The hedge fund guys didn't build this country. These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky." He went on: “They’re energetic, they’re very smart. But a lot of them, it’s like they’re paper pushers. They make a fortune, they pay no tax...The hedge funds guys are getting away with murder.”

“The hedge fund guys didn't build this country. These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky.”
Donald Trump is in agreement with me, and with Bernie Sanders, and Barack Obama that the carried interest loophole is bullsh%$, and it needs to be repealed immediately.

Let me be clear about this, Donald Trump is a bigoted nativist, or at least he does a remarkable job of playing on on TV, but a lot of Trumps positions, whether about welfare for hedge funds, social security, or healthcare (see my earlier previous post) he is literally the best Republican in the race right now.

As I've said before, Trump is not a political outlier.  This is the Dixicrat politics of Strom Thurmond, George Wallace, and Theodore Bilbo.

26 August 2015

I Wish that Heath Ledger Were Alive and Playing Donald Trump in a Biopic

It would be glorious.

I'm not sure whether Heath Ledger channeled Donald Trump in his glorious performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight, of if Donald Trump is channeling Ledger's Academy Award winning performance, but I definitely see the Joker in Trump's eyes.

I didn't realize this until I saw the Joker meme image on the Internet.

It is "The Donald".

H/t DC at Stellar Parthenon for the image.

Gee, What a Surprise………

The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating allegations that military officials have skewed intelligence assessments about the United States-led campaign in Iraq against the Islamic State to provide a more optimistic account of progress, according to several officials familiar with the inquiry.

The investigation began after at least one civilian Defense Intelligence Agency analyst told the authorities that he had evidence that officials at United States Central Command — the military headquarters overseeing the American bombing campaign and other efforts against the Islamic State — were improperly reworking the conclusions of intelligence assessments prepared for policy makers, including President Obama, the government officials said.

Fuller details of the claims were not available, including when the assessments were said to have been altered and who at Central Command, or Centcom, the analyst said was responsible. The officials, speaking only on the condition of anonymity about classified matters, said that the recently opened investigation focused on whether military officials had changed the conclusions of draft intelligence assessments during a review process and then passed them on.

The prospect of skewed intelligence raises new questions about the direction of the government’s war with the Islamic State, and could help explain why pronouncements about the progress of the campaign have varied widely.
This is an artifact of rampant careerism in the US military, and is a recipe for military disaster.

We have a senior officer corps that is more interested in PR than the truth, and the more that this compromises the the transfer of information up and down the chain of command, the more our military looks like the Egyptian army circa 1967.

A Very Thought Provoking Essay………

Over at the Archdruid's crib, there is a must read post on the requirements for overturning an existing order. You want to read the whole thing, but here is a sample:
The first and most essential step in the transformation of any society is the delegitimization of the existing order. That doesn’t involve violence, and in fact violence at this first stage of the process is catastrophically counterproductive—a lesson, by the way, that the US military has never been able to learn, which is why its attempts to delegitimize its enemies (usually phrased in such language as “winning minds and hearts”) have always been so embarrassingly inept and ineffective. The struggle to delegitimize the existing order has to be fought on cultural, intellectual, and ideological battlefields, not physical ones, and its targets are not people or institutions but the aura of legitimacy and inevitability that surrounds any established political and economic order.
He also quotes what may be Isaac Asimov's most enduring bit of prose, "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."

It is an very interesting essay why's and wherefores of violence and non-violence for any revolutionary movement.

Damn! Genuine Emotions………

One of the criticism of Hillary Clinton is that she is, or comes across as artificial and emotionally detached.

She was talking about the shootings today, and as this clip from CSPAN shows, she appears to be genuine and emotionally attached to the issue of sane gun laws.

If she wants the win the nomination, she needs to can the "Ice Queen" bullsh%$ and show more of this.

Another Day, Another Shooting

I am citing this Tom Tomorrow cartoon, way too often
Another, another spate of senseless gun violence, this one on live TV: (No, I will not post this video, ever!)
The tragic killing of two US journalists in Virginia has shocked America, but could be particularly traumatising for those who watched the murder happen live on television.

For those watching WDBJ at 06:45 (10:45 GMT) on Wednesday, it suddenly became clear that something terrible was unfolding.

WDBJ TV reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were starting a breakfast TV interview about tourism in the town of Moneta, when it was suddenly interrupted by the sound of gunfire.

Viewers heard female screams and "Oh my God!". The camera spun and dropped to the ground, before the feed cut back to a visibly disturbed anchor in the newsroom, who said: "OK not sure what happened there. We will of course let you know as soon as we find out what those sounds were."
Of course, now is not the time about sensible gun laws, because the National Rifle Association has told us that it is too soon to talk about sensible gun laws.

It never is, of course, and nothing will change, because that is what the NRA wants, and the NRA gets what it wants.

Seriously, if you are a disturbed individual with a chip on your shoulder and a gun, how about visiting an NRA board meetin? g

Testing the Resilience of a Deceased Feline

After an atrocious 6 days in the market the market did very well today.

In all, this means nothing.

As the saying goes, "Even a dead cat will bounce if it falls from a great height."

Seriously, if you are now feeling euphoric, after 6 days of panic, chill the f%$# out.

Seriously stop.

You don't want me to turn this car around, because I will.

Ear Worm

I've got another classic rock song stuck in my head.
This time, it's Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody.

Posted via mobile.

25 August 2015

Some Good Law Enforcement News for Today

The new judge in charge of the Ferguson Missouri municipal court has rescinded hundreds of arrest warrants, and has promised to make the court less abusive on poor and black people:
A new municipal judge in Ferguson, Missouri, on Monday ordered sweeping changes to court practices in response to a scathing Justice Department report following the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown a year ago.

Municipal Court Judge Donald McCullin, appointed in June, ordered that all arrest warrants issued in the city before Dec. 31, 2014 be withdrawn.

Defendants will receive new court dates along with options for disposing of their cases, such as payment plans or community service. Fines may be commuted for indigent people.

The changes come five months after the U.S. Department of Justice strongly criticized city leaders in its report, saying the police force and court worked together to exploit people in order to raise revenue.

The Justice Department specifically said Ferguson's municipal court practices caused significant harm to many people with cases pending as minor municipal code violations turned into multiple arrests, jail time, and payments that exceeded the cost of the original ticket many times over.
Here is hoping that the reforms stick, but I doubt it.

In the long run, there is too much money in shaking poor black people in Ferguson for it to end without an outside agent forcing them to do so.

Live in Obedient Fear, Citizen!

So, the cops raid the house looking for a felon who is already in custody, and hold the naked mom and her kids at gunpoint as a result.

Anyone wanna guess if anyone involved in this fiasco is going to suffer any consequences but this family?

Silly rabbit, accountability is for civilians:
Police terrorized a naked woman and her children at gunpoint last week during a no-knock raid on the wrong apartment.

Marianne Diaz said she was awakened about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday by SWAT officers knocking down the door to her Worcester, Massachusetts, apartment as officers wearing helmets and shields burst inside and pointed “big guns” at her head, reported the Telegram & Gazette.

“Stop f*cking crying and take care of your f*cking kids,” one officer commanded, Diaz said.

Diaz said her 7-year-old daughter was shaking in terror as she held her 18-month-old daughter in her lap, and she said officers would not allow her to cover up for about 10 minutes — after a woman officer frisked her nude body.


Prosecutors said Friday that police acted on the “best information” they had before obtaining a search warrant from a Central District Court judge, but court documents show the man police were looking for had been arrested nearly two weeks earlier and listed another address as his home.


Diaz has asked the city and police department to investigate why the raid was permitted in the first place, but prosecutors have already said it “was executed in the manner it was for the safety of all involved.”

The young mother said she still couldn’t believe what had happened.

“Before they left, one (officer) said, ‘We treated you with respect,’” Diaz said. “They didn’t even apologize.”
There will be on consequences.

There are never any consequences, which is why we have police acting like an occupying force.

Today in IP Insanity

The city of Inglewood, California attempted to use copyright to prevent people from posting videos of their city council meetings.

Thankfully, thee judge called bullsh%$ on the town's arguments:
Joseph Teixeira doesn't like Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts, so he makes Youtube videos featuring City Council meeting footage.

The Mayor and Council decided to silence their critic by paying to register the videos of their city meetings with the US Copyright Office, then spending $50,000 in taxpayer money to retain a lawyer to sue Teixeira for copyright infringement.

The court was unimpressed with Inglewood's leaders: it ruled that the council meetings weren't copyrightable; that councils can't make money from public records; and that the videos -- in the event that they used anything copyrighted -- were fair use. Now they face the possibility that Teixeira will recover fees for his pro bono counsel -- more tax dollars flushed away in an illegal bid to prevent a critic from speaking.

Then there's the Streisand Effect: in bringing this action, the City of Inglewood increased traffic to Teixeira's videos by five hundred percent.
(emphasis original)

It's nice that the judge slapped them down firmly.

Increasingly, IP is used to censor criticism and to privatize the public space, and it is a bad thing.

Least Surprising News of the Day

Analysts at the University of Pennsylvania have shown that black students are expelled from school at a disproportionate rate:
With the Obama administration focused on reducing the number of suspensions, expulsions and arrests in public schools, a new analysis of federal data identifies districts in 13 Southern states where black students are suspended or expelled at rates overwhelmingly higher than white children.

The analysis, which will be formally released Tuesday by the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania, focused on states where more than half of all the suspensions and expulsions of black students nationwide occurred. While black students represented just under a quarter of public school students in these states, they made up nearly half of all suspensions and expulsions.

In some districts, the gaps were even more striking: in 132 Southern school districts, for example, black students were suspended at rates five times their representation in the student population, or higher.


Still, “I am actually shocked that there is not more outrage,” said Shaun R. Harper, associate professor of education at the University of Pennsylvania and the executive director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education who was a co-author of the analysis.


“This is at least partly attributed to people having these racist assumptions about black kids,” Mr. Harper said. “We argue that too little happens in schools of education to raise consciousness about that.”
This is an outrage, and it is also not even a little surprise.

We have already had the story of the three year old son of an upper middle class black woman who has been suspended 5 times, while her white friends at the preschool noted that their kids had done worse with no consequences.

We are still a deeply racist society.

Good News Everyone

Good news everyone!

I invented a device that makes you read this in your head using my voice!
A federal judge just told the FBI that he did not care what the NSA's illegal searches discovered, they cannot use a warrantless search: (Ok, the NSA bit was me)
Remember the 4th Amendment? We hear it's making a comeback. Back in May, we had a story about another court explaining to the government that, contrary to popular belief within Homeland Security, the 4th Amendment does still apply at the border, and thus Border Patrol can't just take someone's laptop without a warrant.

The case involved a guy named Jae Shik Kim, who the government suspected was shipping items to China that were then being forwarded to Iran. Because of that, DHS grabbed his laptop as he was leaving the US (on a flight to Korea). The DOJ argued that the laptop was a "container" subject to search at the border. The court disabused the DOJ of this notion:

After considering all of the facts and authorities set forth above, then, the Court finds, under the totality of the unique circumstances of this case, that the imaging and search of the entire contents of Kim’s laptop, aided by specialized forensic software, for a period of unlimited duration and an examination of unlimited scope, for the purpose of gathering evidence in a pre-existing investigation, was supported by so little suspicion of ongoing or imminent criminal activity, and was so invasive of Kim’s privacy and so disconnected from not only the considerations underlying the breadth of the government’s authority to search at the border, but also the border itself, that it was unreasonable.
Given an opportunity to respond, the DOJ has dropped the entire case.
Good.  I hope that whoever instigated this search is writing parking tickets now.

What part of, "Fruit of the poisoned tree," don't you get?

My Son's Worst Nightmare

Charlie has a mild arachnophobia, a fear of spiders, and I just told him about a spider that sounds like his worst nightmare.

It's a jumping spider, it's aggressive, it's favorite food is human blood, and follows our smell.

Sounds scary, even to someone like me who finds spiders to be a fascinating member phylum Arthropoda.

It turns that this little 8 legged beast is actually good for people.

His lust for human blood is limited to human blood inside of the body of an anopheles mosquito:

A new study by researchers at New Zealand's University of Canterbury and the International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology looked at what these spiders like to eat. They found, reiterating what previous studies have also, that these "mosquito terminators" shouldn't be feared at all — they should be viewed as friends.

(I know, friends sounds like quite a stretch. But follow me here.)

Female Anopheles mosquitoes carry and spread malaria. It's a preventable yet deadly disease that's responsible for about 500,000 deaths a year. Even though that figure has dropped significantly since 2000, allowing half a million preventable deaths is still, by any measure, unacceptable.

Here's the good news: The Evarcha culicivora has a specialized craving for those female Anopheles mosquitoes.

Feasting on our blood gives these spiders an odor that attracts mates. So, naturally, they're gunning for it. But earlier — when I said these spiders love our blood — I didn't say it had to be in us. Funny story: These spiders' mouths aren't even equipped to bite humans.
They can, however, snack on human blood carried by malaria-transmitting mosquitoes.

"This is unique," Fiona Cross, who co-authored the study, told The Guardian. "There's no other animal that targets its prey based on what that prey has eaten."
Not quite as scary now, huh?

24 August 2015

Another Reason to Support Bernie Sanders

In a rally a few days ago, the distinguished gentleman from Vermont has said that he will be introducing legislation to ban private for profit prisons:
Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is taking his criminal justice reform platform from the campaign trail to the Senate with a plan to introduce legislation outlawing private prisons when Congress returns from August recess.

Daily Kos first noted that at his Reno, Nevada, rally on Tuesday night, the Independent senator told a gathered crowd of 4,500 supporters that “when Congress reconvenes in September, I will be introducing legislation, which takes corporations out of profiteering from running jails.”

Sanders, who is opposed to building any new prisons, has long advocated against draconian sentencing laws, voting in favor of investments in alternative sentencing and telling the Nevada crowd that he also plans to tackle mandatory minimums for certain crimes:
We want to deal with minimum sentencing. Too many lives have been destroyed for non-violent issues. People that are sent to jail have police records. We have got to change that. Our job is to keep people out of jail, not in jail.
Our system of private gulags is deeply and ineluctably evil.

They serve to create a system where taxpayer money goes to increased incarceration by private companies, who then use political contributions to secure their rents.

It is thoroughly corrupt, and it needs to end now.

Because I Refuse to Panda

I have now placed all members of the species Ailuropoda melanoleuca at the national zoo in Washington, DC on my list of They Who Must Not Be Named:
A giant panda at a zoo in the United States has given birth to twin cubs.

Keepers at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC only discovered Mei Xiang was pregnant during an ultrasound scan last week. The zoo said both cubs appeared healthy.

Giant pandas are one of the most endangered species in the world and are notoriously hard to breed in captivity.

The National Zoo is one of only four zoos in the US to have pandas, which are on loan from China.
Call me a traditionalist, but if I want to overload you with cuteness, I will use cats.

F%$# Me! I Agree with Bill Kristol!

Though for completely different reasons.

You see, while lamenting the weakness of the Republican field, something that I laud, Bill Kristol made a suggestion for a Presidential candidate:
But all this is a sideshow. I present to you now the most correct thing that Bill Kristol will ever write:
And there are distinguished conservative leaders from outside politics; Justice Samuel Alito…
Let me be clear: I cannot possibly endorse this more strongly. Alito should run. He should be the nominee. The discussion should be over. And needless to say the ticket should be balanced with the nation’s most prominent African-American conservative. ALITO/THOMAS ’16! Make it happen.
I'd love to see Alito run for President.

Anything to get those antediluvian ratf$#@s off the f%$#ing court.

On Friday, I Said Chill the F%$# out about the Dow………

Today, over at Bloomberg, equity analyst and gadfly Barry Ritholtz puts some useful historical data behind my sentiment:
China's markets set the tone for the day (and perhaps the week) with an 8.5 percent blood-letting. Global stocks followed suit, which came after last week's 5 percent tumble.


Finally, let's put into broader context the frequency of corrections. U.S. markets average one 10 percent correction every 20 months. On average, we should expect these declines to take 71 trading days to play out (about three months).
Seriously, just chill.

Get a F%$#ing Grip

I was reading Talking Points Memo, and came across a very overwrought article titled, "Christie And Cruz Hammer Cancer-Stricken Jimmy Carter On The Trail."

Seriously. This is a bit much.

Cancer or no cancer, it is OK to criticize a former President's policies.

There is nothing wrong, for example, with my saying that I was stunned to discover that Jeb Bush was the stupid Bush brother, and it is fine to say this regardless of the health status Jeb, or George W., or George H.W. or any of the Bush Crime Family.

They disagree with the foreign policies of the Carter administration, I do too, but on the opposite side of the issue: They felt that Carter was too unwilling to use military force, while I consider Jimmy Carter to be a war criminal for the evil that he inflicted on Afghanistan.

The validity of these viewpoints has nothing to do with his health.

If they were making jokes about his cancer, I could see a cause for outrage, but this is a different kettle of fish.

We Live in Remarkable Times

I was getting off the Metro on the way to work, and, not for the first time, noticed the green light underneath the escalator.

So I fired up search on my phone, "Why is there a green light under an escalator?" and immediately found the answer: the lights are there to limn the edges of the steps, so as to reduce the possibility off placing one's feet between stairs, which might cause a fall.

This is a technical development that was unimaginable to the most technologically forward looking science fiction author just 30 years ago.

Of course those same authors had me commuting to work with a jet-pack, which has not yet happened.

I still want that jet-pack, damn it.

Posted via mobile.

23 August 2015

Yep, We are Getting Sick of Erdoğan

In addition to pulling Patriots out of Turkey, we now have our Secretary of Defense calling out the Turkish disinterest in fighting ISIS:
The Pentagon's top official said Thursday that Turkey must "do more" to help in the fight against the Islamic State militant group, commonly known as ISIL or ISIS.

US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter called Turkey's participation in anti-ISIL operations "overdue." And while the decision by Turkey to help with the air campaign against the militant group is welcome, Carter specifically called out the need for Turkish forces to secure the border with Syria in order to stop the flow of supplies and ISIL operatives.

"We need them — also, as a neighbor to this conflict zone, as longtime NATO ally and a responsible member of the anti-ISIL coalition — to control the border, the long border that they have with both Syria and Iraq, more than it has been controlled over the last year," Carter said. "It is a border over which logistics for ISIL and fighters cross, and so we're looking for them to do more in that regard as well, and we're in active discussions with them in that regard."

For the last year, Turkey avoided large-scale engagement with the militant group. However, after an ISIS suicide bomber killed 32 people on a Turkish town bordering Syria on July 20, the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan decided to clear US airstrikes from inside its territory.
I think that the Turkish government's priorities, basically promoting Sunni Islamism and bombing the crap out of the Kurds, are clearly not serving the interests of their NATO allies.

I'm wondering if we are going to engineer a coup to remove Erdoğan.

Certainly, military takeovers have been a regular feature of Turkish politics, so if there were a coup, it would not be unprecedented.

22 August 2015

Best Letter to the Editor Ever!

For those of you who don't see the image, it is a Washington Post reader noting that the only place where Donald Trump hasn't appeared in the paper is the weather page.

H/t Jim Romenesko.

Amateurs Talk about Tactics, but Professionals Study Logistics

The Chinese are ordering their civilian merchant marine to be upgraded for military applications:
China's government has passed new guidelines requiring civilian shipbuilders to ensure their vessels can be used by the military in the event of conflict, state-run media said on Thursday.

The regulations require five categories of vessels including container ships to be modified to "serve national defence needs", the state-run China Daily newspaper said.

The regulations "will enable China to convert the considerable potential of its civilian fleet into military strength", it said.

The report said that China had about 172,000 civilian ships at the end of last year, suggesting the measure could be a major boost to China's navy.

China's government will cover the costs of the plan, it added.
This is actually more significant than the Chinese naval expansion.

You cannot project power if you cannot support it, and the fact that the Chinese are implementing something very much like the US Maritime Security Program implies that they are getting serious about power projection.

21 August 2015

Merkel Got What She Wanted

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has resigned and called snap elections:
Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has announced he is resigning and has called an early election.

Mr Tsipras, who was only elected in January, said he had a moral duty to go to the polls now a third bailout had been secured with European creditors.

The election date is yet to be set but earlier reports suggested 20 September.

Mr Tsipras will lead his leftist Syriza party into the polls, but he has faced a rebellion by some members angry at the bailout's austerity measures.

He had to agree to painful state sector cuts, including far-reaching pension reforms, in exchange for the bailout - and keeping Greece in the eurozone.
A portion of Syriza has responded by splitting off into a new party:
Hardline rebels have confirmed an irreparable split in Greece’s ruling Syriza movement and broken away to form a new anti-austerity party as the country heads towards its fifth general election in six years.

The long-awaited move by up to 29 dissident Syriza MPs on Friday followed the resignation of the prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, who stepped down on Thursday to pave the way for a snap poll widely forecast to strengthen his hold on power.

The new Popular Unity party, headed by the former energy minister Panagiotis Lafazanis, said it would fight the promises of further austerity and far-reaching reform that Tsipras made to Greece’s international lenders to secure a new €86bn (£62bn) bailout package.

Lafazanis told a press conference the party would offer a realistic alternative to the deal. He said: “A new power is coming to the fore. We aim for government ... and we will not fall victim to blackmail. We want to become a great movement that will sweep the bailouts aside.”

The veteran former Communist party member listed Popular Unity’s key objectives as cancelling Greece’s three bailouts, writing down its mountain of debt and leaving the eurozone “if necessary” to help the country recover.
This is significant, because we will now have a non-fascist party in the election that saying that there are worse things than leaving the Euro zone.

I don't think that the Greek populace is willing to leave the Euro ……… yet, but Euro skeptic parties appear to be on the upswing.

When there is no politically alternative to a poorly conceived, and insanely managed common currency, those feelings have to go somewhere.

Now that Merkel, who said that Tsipras resigning was, "Part of the solution, not of the problem," it's clear that the replacement of social democratic parties with the, "We don't suck quite as much," policies of Tony Blair and their ilk has left a large political vacuum.

I just hope that Fascist parties don't fill this vacuum, but I fear that they will.

Time to Chill the F%$# Out, Everyone

I get it. Stocks fell a lot today, but on a percentage basis, it's not even in the top 20:
Stock prices around the world continued to plunge on Friday, threatening to end one of the longest bull runs in the history of the United States stock market.

A searing six-year rally in United States stocks had advanced into the summer months, shrugging off challenges like the dispute over Greece’s debt that nearly led to the country crashing out of the euro. But in the last two weeks, world markets tumbled as investors grew increasingly concerned about economic conditions in China, which unexpectedly devalued its currency last week, and the outlook for the economies of other large developing countries.

As the selling accelerated Friday afternoon, some benchmark indexes were at or near 10 percent below their recent peaks — a “correction” in Wall Street parlance. “This is likely going to go down as the first meaningful correction in four years,” said David Rosenberg, an economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff.

Sell-offs in the financial markets need not cause harm in the real economy. In many cases in the postwar period, the United States stock market has recovered after reacting negatively to problems overseas. Strong employment numbers and other economic indicators suggest that the United States economy remains resilient.

Still, fear in financial markets can feed on itself. And the declines in the markets are coming not only as China struggles, but also as the Federal Reserve is winding down its huge stimulus efforts. Trillions of dollars of cheap money from the Fed has fueled economic growth and helped push markets higher around the world. Now, the question is whether the world can stay on the recovery path without the Fed’s largess.

Such concerns on Friday helped push stocks far below the peaks they reached just weeks ago when investors were ebullient. The Dow Jones industrial average is more than 10 percent below the high it reached in May. At Friday’s close, the index was down 530.94 points, to 16,459.75, a loss of 3.1 percent on the day.

The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, a broader benchmark, fell below the psychologically important 2,000 mark. It was down 3.2 percent on the day and more than 7 percent below its recent peak. It fell 64.84 points, to 1,970.89. The index lost $1.14 trillion in value this week, according to S.&P. Dow Jones Indices.
In fact, according to the Wiki, the 20th largest percentage fall of the Dow was more than twice what happened today.

If this has you freaking out,  you need not to be investing in the stock market.

Seen on Twitter

What the f%$# is wrong with us?

20 August 2015

Well, Duh!

Over at The New Republic, Andrea Flynn states the obvious, that "Carly Fiorina Is a Trojan Horse in the GOP's War on Women."

Her record in politics is one of failure, and her record in business is one of fraud and failure, so the only reason that she would be a more credible candidate than, for example, Limberbutt McCubins, a Tabby cat from Kentucky is that her double-x chromosome gives the Republicans some (not particularly) plausible deniability against accusations of engaging in a war on women.

Marie Le Pen Will Probably Be the next President of France

We know this because the National Front Party, sick and tired of party founder Jean Le Pen aggressively bigoted antics, have expelled him from the party.

The kicking his ass out was done by his daughter, Marine Le Pen:
Jean-Marie Le Pen, a co-founder of France’s far-right National Front, was expelled from the party on Thursday after he repeatedly angered its current leader, his daughter Marine, by reviving the party’s anti-Semitic past, which she is eager to shed.

The party’s executive board voted to kick him out after hearing three hours of arguments from Mr. Le Pen, 87, a former paratrooper who for years has symbolized the most retrograde strain of French politics, including hatred of immigrants and nostalgia for the days of colonial rule in Algeria.

Under his daughter’s leadership, the National Front has broken into the political mainstream, and Mr. Le Pen has increasingly become an embarrassment to her, especially after repeating his familiar views on the Holocaust. He has repeatedly told interviewers that the gas chambers were a “detail of history” and has said the wartime collaborator Marshal Philippe Pétain was not a “traitor.”

The Le Pens have been tussling in public for five months, with Ms. Le Pen saying in April that she was “in profound disagreement” with her father after his latest remarks on the Holocaust. France has been treated since then to a father-daughter political feud of rare virulence, one that at first riveted the French public but more recently has seemed to irritate it.
The National Front is the only credible Euroskeptic party in France, and now that they are consistently getting double digit numbers in elections, the fact that they have made a clean and dramatic break with their racist and anti Semitic origins means that they become a much more credible political player in the French electoral system.

It's not a big move.  It's basically their moving from Strom Thurmond to Ronald Reagan:  Still racist as f%$#, but respectably so, but Reagan did win the Presidential election, twice, and Nicolas Sarkosyn used oblique appeals to bigotry in both of his his Presidential bids.

Considering that Holland is currently polling lower than a case of the Clap, and the leader of the center right French Republican Party, the aforementioned Nicolas Sarkosy has still not recovered from his Presidency, and so polls about the level of a visit to a proctologist.

Current polling, taken before Jean Le Pen's ouster, had Marine Le Pen about 10 points behind both of them, and I figure that removing that albatross from her neck is probably good for at least that.

What Danielle Brian and Pete Sepp Said

Specifically, they said that, "To Safeguard the Military, Congress Must Protect Whistleblowers:
This year the Department of Defense requested $585.3 billion from taxpayers, but it is no secret that Pentagon spending is rife with waste, fraud and abuse.

As Congress considers raising the debt ceiling yet again this fall, it’s essential for taxpayers to know that this money will be spent responsibly and that leaders are setting budgetary priorities instead of rubber-stamping wish lists.

Necessary oversight depends upon the ability of those on the front lines to blow the whistle on waste and mismanagement of funds without fear of reprisal. However these courageous military whistleblowers are endangered, not by some far-flung enemy, but by their own superiors.

The Department of Defense is the only federal agency unable to pass a single audit since the government began the practice over 20 years ago. Congress’s watchdog, the Government Accountability Office, has identified more than 1,000 recommendations for reforms to save taxpayer dollars that the Department of Defense has yet to implement.


The former Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction told the Center for Public Integrity that he largely credits tips from whistleblowers for his ability to uncover crimes on overseas government contracts in Iraq. However, most of those whistleblowers were not willing to be identified in court documents due to their fear of retaliation.

Military whistleblowers are vital to managing our enormous investment in the Pentagon. Even more important, they are key to protecting our national security and the lives of our service members.

However, these brave Americans face a unique set of challenges when they come forward to report fraud, waste, abuse and illegality within the armed services. Congress addressed many of the most significant shortfalls for civilian whistleblowers when it passed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act in 2012. But the safeguards for members of the military to exercise their constitutional rights remain hopelessly antiquated.

One expert told a Senate committee last month that such provisions remain “the lowest common denominator in the U.S. code for accountability.”
The Pentagon is arguably the worst run bureaucracy in in the Federal government, and it desperately needs to be fixed.

I am not sure here whether "Fixed" means mended, or if it means spayed or neutered, but either would be an improvement.

Oh, Sh%$………

Down in Korea, they are playing a game called stupid human tricks with artillery:
South and North Korea traded artillery fire across their heavily militariZed border on Thursday, in a rare exchange that left no casualties but pushed already elevated cross-border tensions to dangerously high levels.

North Korea followed up with an ultimatum sent via military hotline that gave the South 48 hours to dismantle loudspeakers blasting propaganda messages across the border or face further military action.

The South's defense ministry dismissed the threat and said the broadcasts would continue.

Direct exchanges of fire across the inter-Korean land border are extremely rare, mainly, analysts say, because both sides recognize the risk for a sudden and potentially disastrous escalation between two countries that technically remain at war.


In a detailed press briefing later in the day, the South's defense ministry said the nuclear-armed North initially fired a single artillery round over the border shortly before 4:00pm (0700 GMT).

Minutes later it fired several more in the rough direction of one of the South's loudspeaker units, but the shells fell short on the South's side of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) — a four kilometer-wide buffer area straddling the actual frontier line.

The South Korean military retaliated by firing "dozens of rounds of 155mm shells" which the ministry said were also aimed to land in the North's section of the DMZ.
Seriously? You broadcasting propaganda across the border?

Everyone in that peninsula is f%$#ing nuts!

Ashley Madison Hack Data Goes Live………

I think that a fair amount of thought went into the how it was released, which is why is why they released the data on BitTorrent:
Gigabytes worth of data taken during last month's hack of the Ashley Madison dating website for cheaters has been published online—an act that could be highly embarrassing for the men and women who have used the service over the years.

A 10-gigabyte file containing e-mails, member profiles, credit-card transactions and other sensitive Ashley Madison information became available as a BitTorrent download in the past few hours. Ars downloaded the massive file and it appeared to contain a trove of details taken from a clandestine dating site, but so far there is nothing definitively linking it to Ashley Madison. User data included e-mail addresses, profile descriptions, addresses provided by users, weight, and height. A separate file containing credit card transaction data didn't include full payment card numbers or billing addresses.
The way that BitTorrent works is that someone puts a file up, and as people download it, they each get a little bit of the file, and then share it amongst themselves, which means two things:
  • There is not a central server to get hammered.
  • Once the whole file is loaded into this distributed network, it takes a long time for it becomes unavailable, because multiple copies of the various bits float around the impromptu network.
In fact, the protocol was developed to help with software firms that saw their servers hammered when they made popular new releases.

After the release, of course, it was applied to songs, movies, bootleg software, etc.

See the picture below for a graphic of how this all works.

It has already outed one prominent Christofascist asshole, who I will not name, because he is on my list of They Who Must Not be Named, so I will experience my Schadenfreude privately.

19 August 2015

Meet the Clampetts

Cue the Banjos
Down in Oklahoma, some bigot declared that their gun shop was a "Muslim Free Zone", the 1964 Civil Rights Act be damned.

This brought in the usual suspects who dedicated themselves to "protecting" the establishment.

One of these products of generations of first cousins marrying dropped his gun and shot himself:
The Muskogee County sheriff said a member of the group guarding an Oktaha gun shop accidentally shot himself Tuesday.

Sheriff Charles Pearson said the man dropped his gun and a bullet hit him in the arm. The sheriff did not identify the man or offer any other details about what happened.

The group of armed citizens and veterans is standing guard outside the Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gear store after the owners said they received death threats from all over the world for putting up a sign saying Muslims weren't welcome.

"I saw several of those gentlemen out there yesterday," Pearson said. "The way they were holding their weapons, with the fingers on the triggers, you can tell a couple of these gentlemen have no idea about weapons safety. It's like the Clampetts have come to town," Sheriff Pearson told muskogeenow.com.
According to the Supreme Court, there is a fundamental right to own firearms.

We also have a fundamental right to eat Ghost Peppers, which have a heat rating of over eight hundred thousand Scovilles.

Just because you have a right to do this does not make it right, though.

This gentleman should not own a gun, because he is too stupid to own a gun.

This is Interesting………

The US and Germany have , apparently because Turkey has been using the operations against ISIS to bomb the crap out of the Kurds, in effect aiding ISIS:
The U.S. announced Sunday that Patriot anti-air and missile batteries and 400 troops deployed to Turkey will be withdrawn following a similar move by NATO ally Germany seen as a protest against Turkish airstrikes on the Kurds.

The Pentagon put out a joint statement by Washington and NATO ally Turkey saying that the Patriot batteries, which were sent to Turkey in 2013 to protect against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, would return to the U.S. by October.

Turkey asked for the deployment of the Patriots following the shoot down in 2012 of a Turkish fighter by Syrian air defenses.


The Turkish airstrikes have come under increasing criticism in Europe, where the agreement on use of Incirlik is seen by some as a move by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to gain cover for the airstrikes and bolster his support in maneuvering for new elections to regain a parliamentary majority.

Turkey has said that the airstrikes against the PKK were in response to terror attacks in Turkey that have killed civilians, police and troops.


The U.S. is concerned that Turkey also might move against the Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units), the military wing of the Kurdish PYD (Democratic Union Party), which is allied with the PKK.

YPG fighters have proven to be among the most effective of local forces in the fight against ISIS. The YPG earlier this year successfully defended the Syrian border town of Kobane against ISIS with the help of U.S. airstrikes. The YPG later took the border towns of Tal Abyad and Hasakah to the east while advancing to within 50 miles of Raqaa, considered the ISIS capital in Syria.
I think that maybe Recep Tayyip Erdogan's policy of supporting Sunni Islamic extremists and rolling back civil rights has finally outweighed his support for Wall Street friendly economics.

I guess that actively supporting ISIS has kind of crossed the line.

What Is Depressing Is That This Isn't Even the Craziest Thing Said by a Republican This Week

The craziest Mother f%$#er in the Republican Presidential contest ……… No, the other one, ……… No, the other one, ……… No, not Donald Trump.

OK, it's Ben Carson, alright?

Well, the other day, he was talking immigration, and he suggested that we should use missile strikes to secure the border against illegal immigration:
Another day. Someone else surges near the top of the polls. Another nutball comes to the border and loses his mind. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present your current second-place contestant in the Republican presidential derby.
On Wednesday morning, Carson responded to a question about whether he would be open to the possibility of drone strikes on American soil to secure the border. "The take home point is this. We have excellent military leaders," he said. "We need to employ their expertise because this is a war we are fighting. That's the bottom line."
Look out, El Paso. Sometimes, mistakes are made. Sorry about that junior high that used to be there.
It's batsh%$ insane, it's needlessly cruel, and it is is a relentlessly bigoted demonization of the other, but it's not as bad as deliberately accusing mothers of poisoning their children for free rent.

America's Finest News Source

Over at The Onion, they quote the Amazon CEO's response to the New York Times story revealing the internet marketplace's toxic workplace, "Jeff Bezos Assures Amazon Employees That HR Working 100 Hours A Week To Address Their Complaints."


18 August 2015

Pay Them More Money, You Stupid F%$#ing F%$#s!

It appears that are having a problem finding and keeping experienced cooks:
Behind the swinging doors of restaurant kitchens around the country, things are getting a bit more chaotic. It’s not the sort of thing diners would not have noticed, because it’s happening behind the scenes, out of view. Orders are still coming in, and plates are still coming out. But there’s a growing problem that chefs and restaurateurs are talking about more these days.

Good cooks are getting harder to come by. Not the head kitchen honchos, depicted in Food Network reality shows, who fine-tune menus and orchestrate the dinner rush, but the men and women who are fresh out of culinary school and eager.

The shortage of able kitchen hands is affecting chefs in Chicago, where restaurateurs said they are receiving far fewer applications than in past years. “It’s gotten to the point where if good cooks come along, we’ll hire them even if we don’t have a position. Because we will have a position,” Paul Kahan, a local chef, told the Chicago Tribune last week.

It’s also an issue in New York, where skilled cooks are an increasingly rare commodity. “If I had a position open in the kitchen, I might have 12 résumés, call in three or four to [try out] in the kitchen, and make a decision,” Alfred Portale, the chef and owner of Michelin-starred Manhattan restaurant Gotham Bar and Grill, told Fortune recently. “Now it’s the other way around; there’s one cook and 12 restaurants.”
Gee, why is it so tough to find good cooks?

Maybe it's this:
One of the clearest obstacles to hiring a good cook, let alone someone willing to work the kitchen these days, is that living in this country’s biggest cities is increasingly unaffordable. In New York, for instance, where a cook can expect to make between $10 and $12 per hour, and the median rent runs upward of $1,200 a month, living in the city is a near impossibility. As a result, people end up living far from the restaurants where they work. Add to that how late dinner shifts can end, causing people to arrive home well into the night.

Top it all off with the fact that culinary school graduates are often working through significant amounts of debt, and the burden can be insurmountable.
It's markets, baby.

You cannot find cooks to underpay and abuse because ……… Oh, I don't know ……… Maybe there are fewer illegal workers out there to depress wages:
And then there’s another subtle but significant change happening across America that doesn’t bode well for the restaurant industry. After years of steady inflows of Mexican immigrants, who have proved both eager and talented cooks, the trend is reversing itself. The number of unauthorized immigrants living in the United States has leveled off over the past decade (it peaked eight years ago in 2007). By 2012, net migration to Mexico was already zero, or even negative, meaning that more Mexicans were moving out than moving in.
So you want your employees to go heavily into debt at cooking schools, you want to work them mercilessly, and you don't want to pay them well, and now the guys that you can use the threat of La Migra to keep them in line have gone home.

The pay sucks, and they are treated like crap, so people are not flocking to the profession,

You find the same thing in other fields where this has happened, like, for example, airline pilots.

We have been eating our seed corn in terms of skilled professionals for over a generation, if we are finding it hard to find new guys, the solution is not more gastarbeiters (H1B, L1A, etc.), it is to strengthen worker rights, strengthen union rights, and raise the minimum wage.

America, F%$# Yeah!

Say what you will about America, but we lead the world in firearms related stupidity:
Flamethrowers were gruesome weapons of war and so controversial that the U.S. military stopped using them after Vietnam.

But as crazy as it may sound, they are available for sale to the public.

A Cleveland startup called Throwflame is selling flamethrowers for $1,599 that can shoot fire for 50 feet. Another company, Ion Productions Team of Detroit, is selling $900 flamethrowers that can eject flames for 25 feet. Both companies started selling them this year.

The flamethrowers are marketed not as weapons, but as fun devices.

“We always have the people who just want it for fun. Impress the neighbors at the BBQ,” said Throwflame founder Quinn Whitehead.

Both Whitehead and Ion CEO Chris Byars said their flamethrowers have caused no injuries, and safety is a priority. But Ion notes on its website that the flamethrower “may result in injury or even death.”
A flamethrower may result in injury or even death?

Gee, you think?

One bright spot, for me, anyway:
Still, flamethrowers could run afoul of state or local laws. They are banned outright in Maryland. California considers them “destructive devices,” which are illegal, but the state does issue permits for use on movie sets.
So these lunatics are not selling their weapons of death in my my state.

I'm now beginning to wonder how this country ever managed to survive our occasional bouts of peace.

There are times that I wonder if we are more of an episode of Jackass than we are a nation.

H/t Naked Capitalism.

17 August 2015

This Guy Deserves to be Horsewhipped

It's such a joy having Governor Ratf%$# running Maryland.

Case in point, Kenneth Holt, Governor Hogan's secretary of Housing, Community and Development is claiming that black mothers are feeding their children lead to get free housing:
Gov. Larry Hogan's top housing official said Friday that he wants to look at loosening state lead paint poisoning laws, saying they could motivate a mother to deliberately poison her child to obtain free housing.

Kenneth C. Holt, secretary of Housing, Community and Development, told an audience at the Maryland Association of Counties summer convention here that a mother could just put a lead fishing weight in her child's mouth, then take the child in for testing and a landlord would be liable for providing the child with housing until the age of 18.

Pressed afterward, Holt said he had no evidence of this happening but said a developer had told him it was possible. "This is an anecdotal story that was described to me as something that could possibly happen," Holt said.

He offered no specific proposals, but said he hoped to limit the liability of landlords in lead paint cases. He said his department is working with the Maryland Department of the Environment to draft legislation for the 2016 General Assembly session.

Health advocates reacted by saying they would fight any effort to weaken lead paint protections — and Holt's suggestion that parents might poison their children to gain housing benefits provoked outrage.

"To me it's beneath contempt," said Ellen Silbergeld, a professor of environmental health science at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health.
Of course it's beneath contempt.

Just when I think that Republicans cannot get any more evil, they outdo themselves.

This guy so needs to get fired ……… Out of a cannon, into the sun.