Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Assault on Constitution

These are two videos produced by the people who run the Conservative Treehouse that summarize their investigative work.

The first video outlines the historic pattern of FISA-702 surveillance abuse by President Obama's top officials within the DOJ and FBI. The second video  how a specific application for Title-1  surveillance warrant to the FISA court was intentionally misrepresented.

Former U.S. attorney Joseph diGenova says he expects former top FBI officials to be charged criminally.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Overheard at Lem's, a couple of times

Our resident poet laureate emeritus, ricpic, commented on a recent post of mine, writing:


Never once did The Bubba sigh and say to us, "Ah, The Shtetl, how I miss it;"
Safe and distant how we praise that s**thole from the perch of our joys illicit!

That poetry got me interested in doing some online research into the specifics of my family's origin. Turns out my family had been settled in England since the reign of King Athelstan (c.895–939). They had a timber castle, Castle Hylton (at times Hilton) and it was subsequently re-built in stone by Sir William Hylton between 1376 and 1435. This info, along with a lot more, is all available in Wikipedia, so you know it is accurate.

So, not exactly a Shtetl, but on the other hand, once one has a large enough number of offspring eventually the family outgrows even a nice suburban split level. So some of us wandered away from the old home place, and by the 1660s one guy in particular, had sailed to the New World and named an island after himself.

But between say, circa 900 and 1660-something I know very little of what went on. There were predations, wanderings, knavery, banishments, invasions and the usual things that go with that, which dovetails nicely with Chip's early post about Vikings and Saxons. My oldest brother always said I look like a Viking, all I needed was the hat, but alas, I never got the horned hat, nor a title to a castle or so much as a house on a golf course on our namesake island. Nope. I got doodly squat. Well, other than an attitude and a desire to go Viking, but I am mostly over the latter at this stage of my life.

This is what the castle looks like now - pretty hokey, when you get right down to it.

And this is a family picture from over 100 years ago. The distinguished gentleman with the long white beard is my great-grandfather, a Civil War veteran, the man in the back seat of this photo studio touring car is my grandfather who died before I was born, and the little dude with his finger up his nose is my uncle - I knew him, used to hang around with him when he and his family lived in this country. He was a Foggy Bottom guy and spent years living in South America. One more tidbit - after he researched our family tree and discovered that we had descended from Capt. William Hilton, he retired to Hilton Head Island and lived out his days there. Oh, to be a wealthy government drone, eh? Okay, tidbit number two - I look so much like my GGF that it kind of freaks me out. But once again, I can't find a hat that looks like his.

Netflix: The Last Kingdom vs. Vikings Unearthed

I resisted clicking on the The Last Kingdom because I thought it was about China.

It turns out to be about the earliest kings of England at the period of Viking invasions. The protagonist is a half Saxon and half Viking named Uhtred of Bebbanburg. Several men existed with that name and ruled Bebbanburg (Bamburgh Castle) and author Bernard Cornwell is descended from them. He wrote a series of novels based on historic events called the Saxon Stories. This show is based on those books. The show is gritty and real, noisy, obnoxious, filthy, poor, basic, and violent, rudimentary, sexual and very funny in spots. If you watch closely you'll notice several repeated scene elements, a man in the darkened background sharpening a blade at a stone wheel, for example. It is well researched. This is the beginning of things. Food, clothing, housing, farming implements are all very basic, even among royalty. Old sayings and phrases and terms are used throughout. I learned a whole bunch of new words. Old words, actually.

The story is set in the 9th century AD when England is divided into seven kingdoms.  The kingdoms are overrun one after another by Danes and the last remaining stronghold is Wessex. We observe the Wessex king grow in his position. He is an obnoxious weakling forced to become strong with a very serious and limiting attitude about worshipping God. We see the early kings and their offspring as real people of the types you will know from work. Basically creeps with more sneaky ambition than ability, people born in control of other people with more innate ability than themselves. Others born to power who cannot handle it. And it is weirdly interesting checking Wikipedia and seeing the names and the portraits of the actual people and comparing them with their depictions on this show. I imagine it's impossible to list early kings of England satisfactorily as there were so many ruling concurrently. (scroll to the bottom) The graph shows a period of Danish rule in yellow. The names in yellow and preceding the yellow are the names used in the show.

Fresh with all this new information about how the Vikings took over England, what made them better more vigorous people, made me more open to viewing Vikings Unearthed for an actual scholastic historic perspective.

Vikings Unearthed is dry as dust. It takes them a full episode to get around what The Last Kingdom presents in a single sentence delivered on horseback. The show reviews how it was discovered that Vikings landed in Canada based on bits of iron nails and remnants of early foundries that used very poor found ore spread around. Coming off of the Last Kingdom it takes too much patience to watch. "Could the satellite images actually be the remains of a long hut or is the arrangement simply a natural phenomenon?" We're watching the show for answers, not questions. Just show us the proof and not the aching process of how the tiny bits were put together and how the team got its government funding to continue research. It takes them forever to get down there and dig. And when they do, they make a gigantic deal out of a rock cracked by fire while the Last Kingdom shows how a castle is burned down, and how an entire fleet of Viking ships is destroyed by a single person.

The Last Kingdom shows endless fighting. It shows the physical differences between the Danes, near giants, with hipster tattoos and stylized hair and beards, compared with frail skinny effete Saxons with limp stringy hair and scraggly beards. Through these many characterizations the Danes are shown to be an altogether more dynamic and healthier people. Viewers prefer the Danes to prevail.

In other terms, the difference between the two shows is any random textbook on Egyptian language set against Norman Mailers Ancient Evenings. One is studying a rock cracked by heat and the other is a seething steaming riotous orgy with magnitudes more elements of action and life.

The Last Kingdom: recommended
Vikings Unearthed: yawn

I rarely go to the movies...

...but Troop's earlier post that included the word "Rocinante" got me to thinking about a movie I saw last year. Rocinante was Don Quixote's horse and, like a lot of us, he was a hard worker who kept on keeping on. Back in June I went to a nearby film festival and saw a movie entitled "Donkeyote". It too, was a simple tale of a man and his quadruped sidekicks who go on a journey that might be described by an outsider as being quixotic. It was very entertaining and not even a bit topical nor political - just a nice story with a couple of laughs, it has a donkey, a dog, a man, his wife and very few other humans. What could be better, right? Well, I enjoyed it.

Springtime in my backyard.

I will resist the urge to cut and paste any music from Man of La Mancha, that is too clichéd even for me. Rather I shall attach some music from here in the Flatt lands. It kind of relates to one crucial scene in the movie.

7 Things you should know before talking about guns

This is a video by comedian Lou Perez. I thought the 7 things would be things about guns, but they're bits of advice like his last one, if you are for gun control then stop calling Trump "Hitler" because calling for gun control while Hitler is in office sounds suicidal. That is the title of the post at Legal Insurrection, the post over there chosen because it has the most comments.

I thought AR in AR-15 stood for assault rifle because that's what it looks like.

And I thought silencers silenced guns, toof toof, like in the movies. A muffler for guns.

His point about assault rifles being the gun that can take down both a deer in the woods and government raises a point were gun owners and 2nd Amendment antagonists will never agree. Some gun owners believe citizens must stay armed to keep government checked. While the idea of actual confrontation between population and government sounds mental to most other people.

He doesn't mention anything about bump stocks. I'm assuming a bump stock converts a semi-automatic into automatic weapon.

Fergie sings national anthem

Ha ha ha ha ha.

Who's Fergie? A princess? She's a singer with the Black Eyed Peas. But what are the Black Eyed Peas? They're a delicious legume cooked with smoked ham hoc and onions.

I listened to 5 whole seconds, transported to childhood, holding a ladle for a microphone imitating a cocktail club torch song singer, but with all my information from cartoons. And laughed. Pleased with having not been there.

I double-dog dare you to click it.

Democrat party will actually allow their children to be killed in order to repeal the Second Amendment.

There is no denying that now.

It is apparent in the organized push that uses surviving children to make their archaic political points. From their point of view, common sense that is so basic even children can grasp it. So, children it is from one end to the other. It's wall-to-wall children instructing gun owners, a new generation repeating the litany.

And it is proven by methods they used to cripple the legal system.

This is a bit odd for a person who despises firearms, but I'm an American citizen who despises even more the Party perversions of public institutions for its own cynical aims and its psychologic obsessions. They must not be allowed to pervert laws so that laws cannot work then use that failure to gain power.

The writers at the Last Refuge crystalized this resolve. I did not know they have the resources to spend thousands of dollars to pry information through legal channels. They never beg for money as other websites do. They never brag about their activities behind their website. They just write. I thought so. But now I understand they do a good deal of research and legal digging. They're a lot more active than I had imagined.

They are writing that they warned Broward County school board members this would happen five years ago. They discovered a set of alarming policies through researching the Travon Martin shooting. They discovered policies enacted by Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. The policies were called "diversionary programs" that stopped High School students from being arrested. Law enforcement was instructed by the school board to defer criminal conduct to school administrators.

That can only happen if both school board and police department are run by Democrats who can agree on such a distortion of process and hold that distortion over time.

Their process has led to catastrophe. And like the dog that sniffs your finger when you point to something in the distance, the regular Democrat citizen blames guns and does not see the political distortion that their own Party with tremendous specificity caused this particular catastrophe. Again, the guns didn't change. You did.

Democrats in the school board and within the police department caused this catastrophe. Not guns.

There is much more to this story, here. The point is, Democrats working in concert through school board and police distorted the legal system such that records were altered to record untruths, and troubled kids were not given the proper legal application. They were not removed from the system, their own police records were protected from marring their future. Their legal system was perverted. And now they are using their own failure to advance their enduring political objective made clear over a series of lies about sensible incremental restrictions with the ultimate aim of repealing America's Second Amendment. The Democrat Party wants the American population subjected to its government. It's the only way they can govern by ruling. Without it we are ungovernable in the sense they comprehend governance.

The article is long and thorough and the comments even longer and broader and even more thorough. Commenter James F writes, "The incompetent sheriff's handling of this situation is starting to make more sense after seeing who his buddies are.

This is why conversation doesn't work and why national discussion of panels of emotional surface citizens is pointless. The discussion must be about the immediate event, through proxies of children and late night comedians, and entertainment and sports celebrities while the real political battle is beneath all that and behind these proxies who cannot recognize what they are really fighting for.

I woke up, turned on the t.v., first thing, a fourteen-year-old on a panel of children is stating flatly with tremendous certainty, "There is no place for automatic weapons in modern society."

I thought that same thing at age fourteen. Except I thought absolutely no guns belonged in modern society. And then I learned how the Democrat Party does things. I grasped the Democrat Party cynicism, too deep and too dark to accept. So my answer to this fresh-face political scientist is, "There is no place in modern society for a political party that works together through various departments and ends up distorting law to protect the record of young criminals that leads to catastrophes that advances to their political goals. Sorry, sharp bright young person, you're conflating advanced unAmerican political manipulation with modernism. There can be no ratcheting compromises in the direction of Democrat long term political objectives such as we see acted out repeatedly, through you. Your brilliant surface-level political position reflecting like the electrum cap to your Party's white granite clad pyramid is rejected. "

Food desert

I'm bummed out and intrigued at the same time.

On Monday I told the women working downstairs I was heading off for a walk. I intended on going to Tony's so I asked them if there is anything I can bring back for them. This question never fails to flummox because they cannot shift to imaging anything they might want in the future so I offer suggestions, "Like some top ham to nibble on, with some fantastic cheese, perhaps." They both lit up, "Yeah!" So off I went. Got to Tony's. Closed. For good.

Now I feel bad because I had promised.

So I come back. Hop in my truck and go to Whole Foods. Nearby but just too far to walk that day, having already walked. It's a small one. Sort of a mini Whole Foods. No cars in the lot and that's just crazy. It too is closed. For good.


I live in a top end food desert. Now there are only ordinary places around me. I sure hope something similar sets up in those places.

Trader Joe's set up just a few blocks away. I went there. They have only ordinary ham. I managed to get a few interesting thing and had a great time with the people there. So, no complaints. But what happened to Whole Foods? Did the Amazon team do a cost analysis and determine the place isn't worth the trouble? Did they want something better? Did they need a bigger place? I went online and searched Whole Foods Denver and discovered a new shop set up in the area growing rapidly clustered behind the Union Station.

That whole thing started with an urban renewal push to restore Larimer Square. That was so successful it expanded outward to the adjoining blocks. My favorite places were destroyed for bigger newer buildings. High rise apartments and new businesses filled the old run-down locations that could not be restored. Coor's stadium went in and there went more of my favorite places. The area beyond across the Platte River was built up with similar upscale apartments and shops. Now all the ugly railroad tracks are cleaned up. The Union Station was restored with new line added to the airport. The salvage yards behind the station were all scraped over and built up, a new street added where junky lots existed with a few busy nightclubs. And there went more of my favorite places.

A viaduct was built over the desolation, over the railroad tracks and over the Platte, then a ramp in the center of the viaduct took you down into the depths of that particular hell with enough flat undeveloped area for parking to service two very popular clubs. I used to stand in a crowd on the outside patio at the outer edge of the city beyond the railroad tracks and look at the city from the outside and imagine it as a painting. The composition was perfect. Ground-level railroad tracks crossing from two cardinal directions and an elevated track on an aged rusted bridge, with the new city shining beyond it like Oz, with the railroad cars and the tracks it was a harshly uncompromising super realistic scene. It would make an admirable painting. If that were happening now then my wide angle lens could bring it all. Too late. They're gone now. There is another newer upscale scene taking its place.

I opened Google Earth and pretended to drive there. It's going to be a real mess. Construction all over the place, judging by photos, malls where I need streets to be, construction cones right at the critical spots. I can approach from both sides as pincher movements, but direct access is denied both directions. Either way a last minute detour around the block is required due to some blockage or another. A straight direct path is also available, that one is the most exhausting. A straight walk down Broadway to the corner of 16th where the street bends to accommodate the downtown angle. It's like a large circle set into the grid and the whole grid of streets within the circle rotated 45°. Then take the free mall bus the full length of the mall and walk the remaining blocks behind Union Station. It would be a fun excursion. But I'd be limited to what I can stuff into my backpack.

The new Whole Foods there looks like food heaven. It takes the two floors of a new high rise apartment building. The new street is named Wewatta. Next to Wazee. See, the street needed to start with an X but they added the name of another native Indian tribe starting with W that nobody ever heard of. The new buildings are changing the edge of the city skyline.

173 photos on Yelp.

WKRLEM TV: Everything I know about Ancient Egypt I learned from TV

I don't know much about Egypt like Chip but I know that King Tut was a big deal.

So I don't tut-tut his contribution to our civilization.

Whose That Girl

She was the babe on just about every TV series in the 1960's and 1970's. Married to an Immortal she was also a muse to Quinn Martin who made some of the most iconic TV shows of the era.

She was just the consummate professional each and every day. She made it her mission to be the best actress she could be even though she thought it was impossible with her admittedly modest talent and training.

But I think she was great. I had rubbed out a few to her in her hey day. Some girls have it. Sheree North. Victoria Principal. Adrienne Barbeau. A slutty used sensuality that rocks you to your core.
And by George I think she's got it!

Whose that girl?

Monday, February 19, 2018

Whose That Author

We're all children. We invent the adult facade and don it and try to keep the buttons and the medals polished. We're all trying to give such a good imitation of being an adult that the real adults in the world won't catch on. Each of us takes up the shticks that compose the adult image we seek. I'd gone the route of lazy, ironic bravado, of amiable, unaffiliated insouciance. Tinhorn knights of a stumbling Rocinante from Rent-A-Steed, maybe with one little area of the heart so pinched, so parched, I never dared let anything really lasting happen to me. Or dared admit the the flaw.
The adult you pretend to be convinces himself that the risk is worth the game, the game worth the risk. Tells himself the choice of life style could get him killed — on the Daytona track, in the bull ring, falling from the raw steel framework forty stories up, catching a rodeo hoof in the side of the head.

Adult pretenses are never a perfect fit for the child underneath, and when there is the presentiment of death, like a hard black light making panther eyes glow in the back of the cave, the cry is, "Mommy, mommy, mommy, it's so dark out there, so dark and so forever.

The scribe of the gate

This is an exercise in Allen's book on Middle Egyptian. It's one of five exercises examined this week. Only ten students turned in their work. Their individual interpretations into English are listed below, to show you how much spin must be put on these. Their discussion is technical and based on their meta language about the presumed grammar of other languages.

1) It is the scribe of the gate, Ahanekhet Nekhet’s son who makes these pictures, when he is coming with the quarry overseer, Sobekemhat, to collect alabaster.

2) It is the scribe of the gate Nakht's son, Ahanakht who makes these images.
He is coming in order to bring alabaster together with quarry overseer Sobekemhat.

3) It is the scribe of the gate, Nakht’s son, Ahanakht who makes these pictures,
when he is coming to get alabaster with the quarry overseer, Sobekemhat.

4) It is the scribe of the gate Nakht, son of Ahanakht who make these picture when he comes to fetch alabaster with overseer of the quarry sobeku-em-hat

5) It is scribe of the gate Nakht's son Ahanakht who makes these pictures
when he is coming to get alabaster with quarry-overseer Sebekemhat

6) It is scribe of the gate Nakht’s son Ahanakht who makes these pictures when he is coming to get alabaster with quarry-overseer Sebekemhat

7) It is the scribe of the gate, Nakht’s son, Ahanakht, who makes these pictures
when he is coming to get alabaster with the quarry-overseer, Sebekemhat.

8) It is scribe of the gate Nakht's son Ahanakht who makes these pictures
when he is coming to get alabaster with quarry-overseer Sobekemhat.

9) It is a scribe of the gate, Nakht’s son Ahanakht, who makes these pictures and he (his face) is coming in order to get alabaster together with quarry overseer Sebekemhat

10) It is the scribe of the gate Zanekhet Ahanekhet who makes these pictures, while coming to fetch alabaster with quarry-overseer Sebekumhat.

One of the teachers of one of the groups is taking a break for a few weeks. She's off to Egypt. She writes to the group:
Greetings from Aswan, Egypt!  I just got back from visiting Ramesses II’s temples at Abu Simbel, Hatshepsut’s unfinished Obelisk and the Philae temple.(where our tour-guide misread some hieroglyphs to the group.  I kept my mouth shut), and the Aswan high dam.  Both Abu Simbel and Philae temples would have been submerged in Lake Nasser had not UNESCO moved the temples to higher ground.
I think that's very funny. It tickles me. It makes me think of all the people who think that. Who know that. I think of all the people who know more than the tour guides, and just stand there silently without saying anything.