Thursday, October 31, 2013

Goth Said Let It Be Dark

"Last week, “South Park” devoted an entire episode to mocking “those goth kids.” The compliment was perhaps backhanded, but it is a testament to the staying power of a countercultural identity that had its heyday in the mid-1990s. “Goth never truly dies,” said Lauren M.E. Goodlad, a professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana, and an expert on goth culture. “Part of its aesthetic is undeath.” And yet, the goth “look” remains surprisingly difficult to pin down. Contemporary goths put together a collage of styles drawn from a variety of fringe influences. “‘Wear that! Do this!’ That would be a goth’s worst nightmare,” Professor Goodlad said. “And I don’t mean that in a good way.”

Beginning paragraph of an article on the Style Section of the NY Times written by Jennifer Daniel and Alicia DeSantis.

Lileks Candy

Needed: Spooky Music Suggestions For Halloween

Here is one:

"Americans keep moving to states with low taxes and housing costs"

"Where are Americans moving, and why? Timothy Noah, writing in the Washington Monthly, professes to be puzzled. He points out that people have been moving out of states with high per capita incomes -- Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland -- to states with lower income levels."

"“Why are Americans by and large moving away from economic opportunity rather than toward it?” he asks."

"Actually, it's not puzzling at all. The movement from high-tax, high-housing-cost states to low-tax, low-housing-cost states has been going on for more than 40 years, as I note in my new book Shaping Our Nation: How Surges of Migration Transformed America and Its Politics."

"Between 1970 and 2010 the population of New York state increased from 18 million to 19 million. In that same period, the population of Texas increased from 11 million to 25 million."

"The picture is even starker if you look at major metro areas. The New York metropolitan area, including counties in New Jersey and Connecticut, increased from 17.8 million in 1970 to 19.2 million in 2010 — up 8 percent. During that time the nation grew 52 percent."

"In the same period, the four big metro areas in Texas — Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin — grew from 6 million to 15.6 million, a 160 percent increase."

"Contrary to Noah’s inference, people don’t move away from opportunity. They move partly in response to economic incentives, but also to pursue dreams and escape nightmares."

Michael Barone - Washington Examiner

"Belgium considering whether to allow sick CHILDREN to end their own lives"

"Euthanasia is already legal for people over the age of 18 in the country and now it may be extended to cover children which is something no other country has done."
The same bill would offer the right to die to adults with early dementia.
''It is strange that minors are considered legally incompetent in key areas, such as getting married, but might (be able) to decide to die,' Catholic Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard testified."

Bedknobs And Broomsticks

Where does the flying broomstick myth for the Halloween witch come from?  Is it related to hallucinogenic drugs...or is it a clever and subversive plot to undo a Christian tradition -- The Legend Of La Befana?

You decide:

"Study says 'Cash for Clunkers' created few jobs"

"Washington — The nearly $3 billion “Cash for Clunkers” program approved by Congress in 2009 did little to boost the environment and created few jobs, a new study released Wednesday found."

"A Brookings Institution study found the $2.85 billion program “provided a short-term boost in vehicle sales, which were pulled forward from sales that would have occurred in subsequent months. There was a small increase in employment but the implied cost per job created ($1.4 million) was far higher than other fiscal stimulus programs.”

"The study — from researchers Ted Gayer and Emily Parker — said the “Car Allowance Rebate System,” or CARS did little to boost employment. This is at least the fourth major study since 2012 that has raised questions about the value of the program."

From The Detroit News

"Sources: White House told insurance execs to keep quiet on Obamacare"

"White House officials have pressured insurance industry executives to keep quiet amid mounting criticism over Obamacare's rollout, insurance industry sources told CNN."
After insurance officials publicly criticized the implementation, White House staffers contacted insurers to express their displeasure, industry insiders said.
Multiple sources declined to speak publicly about the push back because they fear retribution.
But Bob Laszewski, who heads a consulting firm for big insurance companies, did talk on the record.
"The White House is exerting massive pressure on the industry, including the trade associations, to keep quiet," he said.
Insurers, he said, warned the White House that the regulations would lead to discontinued policies.
"One of the things I think is clear here is the Obama administration has no trust in anything the health insurance industry is telling them about how to run a health plan," Laszewski said.

It's the smiley face that did it

Two engineers close to Google exploded in profanity when they saw this sketch. This is a slide from an NSA presentation called "Google Exploitation" It depicts the point where "Public Internet" meets "Google Cloud," the point where all the juicy user data resides. 

Story at washingtonpost

The Snowden revelations of NSA secretly breaking into the main connections linking Yahoo and Google (this is different from the sketch above) and intercepting emails, documents, and other electronic communications (that would be pictures) between companies has shocked representatives and intelligence officers and are inflaming the relationship between the Obama administration and American technology companies.

They say "likely to inflame" but I changed it for drama. 

American companies.

They're driving business elsewhere. Entire nations are moving business elsewhere. 

One place to go is a Chinese company Huawei. 

Chinese, and it's the same thing all over again. It has to be and yet within the comments here at cableforeignpolicy a Huawei representative claims otherwise. I thought that was interesting that they would pop up like that in comments to an article and sell themselves with a good pitch, and have that pitch batted right down with a sharp rebuke attached to it, "Bull." 

If you Like the Philosophy You Have, You Can Keep It

“You can’t compare my experience with his lack of experience,” said Mr. Lhota, a onetime Wall Street financier, a deputy mayor in the administration of Rudolph W. Giuliani and a former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority."
Mr. de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, scoffed at that assessment, arguing that what really mattered to voters was not executive savvy, but philosophical worldview.
“You have to look at the values that each of us brings to this,” he said. “It’s not just what job titles you’ve held.”
Snipet of a NY Times article, covering the final debate between Bill de Blasio and Joseph J. Lhota for the mayoralty of New York City.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dumb ways to die

Reports are kids love this. They howl, apparently. Catchy tune. One man said he'd like it more were he not subjected by younger members of his family singing it four days straight. Sixty-three million views over there on YouTube, two or them are mine. Nearly ninety-four thousand comments, and that is a lot of comments. 

Seven Days In November

Trooper York said...

Seven Days In November

Oval Office Wednesday November 9, 2016

“Well the election results are in Mr. President” said Jay Carney “It’s a replay of Bush vs Gore.”

“What do you mean Jay?” said the President as he played with his Blackberry. It was never too early to work on his NCAA brackets. “Spell it out for me please.”

“Hillary won the popular vote but it seems that maniac Ted Cruz won the electoral. They are contesting Florida in court and demanding a recount. So it is still up in the air.”

“Either way the country loses Mr. President” piped up Valarie Jarrett who was commonly referred to as Rasputin behind her back. As much for her facial hair as her Svengali like powers over the lazy Chief executive. “Your agenda and legacy will be trashed by either of them. That racist Cruz will destroy Obamacare and wipe out Food Stamps and clean energy. He will be a disaster. The Tea Party will destroy this country and everything we have built. Hillary will be worse. After the way she attacked us and threw you under the bus about Benghazi you know she is going to let loose the dogs to investigate everything that happened during our time of office. We can’t let that happen. It will be a witch hunt. And who is a bigger witch than Hillary?”

“Listen to them Barry” intoned his wife Michelle as she flexed her arm muscles and broke a walnut. She was not referred to as Rasputin even though in fact she actually was a beard. “We have to think outside the box. I mean who says we really have to step down when the country is in chaos? Either one of those damn fools will destroy the America that we have built.”

“Yes that’s true” murmured the distracted President as he tried to figure out how to get the PGA standings on his phone. “Bring me some options on what we can do. But first I have one important question. Jay?”

“Yes sir?”

“What is my tee time today?”

(to be continued)

Reflections on the Old and the New

"Diamonds, dance classes and dramas at the debutante ball: Behind-the-scenes at London's most prestigious society event"
"Queen Charlotte's Ball sees the daughters of some of society's most prestigious families make their social debut"
"The event was introduced by King George III in 1780 as a way to celebrate his wife’s birthday
Historically the event was to help the ladies find a suitable husband, but is now more of a social event"

Mail on Line

Larison on Santorum's foreign policy

"That brings us to Santorum and “strong foreign policy,” which means something radically different to him than it does to most of the rest of us. [George] Will doesn’t talk about Santorum’s foreign policy in the column, because there is probably nothing complimentary Will could say about it. If Romney’s foreign policy agenda last year could be fairly described as “omni-directional belligerence,” Santorum would probably say that Romney was far too timid and cautious in what he said. Santorum would probably agree with Bolton et al. that Romney agreed with Obama too often and didn’t attack him enough on these issues.
While someone could argue that Romney was just pandering to hard-liners during the campaign, Santorum truly is one of the hard-liners on foreign policy, so much so that he turned his re-election campaign into a referendum on his alarmist views and thereby guaranteed a landslide defeat. Shortly following his defeat in 2006, he restated the hard-line views that did so much to doom his campaign in this article. As Santorum saw it, even Bush and Gates were too weak-willed and feeble...
...Nothing has changed for Santorum in the years between his 2006 loss and today. If Santorum is the one defining what “strong foreign policy” means, we should very much hope that the GOP will be rid of it soon."

For the birds

Here is a 'no melt' suet mix, that reportedly can be put out in the summer. Thus far, I've only ever put up pine cones smeared with a lard/peanut butter mix and rolled in bird seed.. As there is plenty of food available during the warm months, I do this only during the cold months. It is important to not use only peanut butter, as some birds may choke on it.

Please share your bird feeding adventures with us. 

Hot Weather Suet

1 lb. lard
16-20 oz crunch peanut butter
3/4-1 c. raisins (optional)
3/4- 1 c. bird seed
6 c. cornmeal
5 c. flour

Melt lard in pan. Cool, then mix with peanut butter. Stir in remaining ingredients. Line appropriate-sized containers with plastic wrap, press in mixture, freeze. Remove from containers, finish wrapping, store in freezer.

"Teacher Fired For Allowing Students To Share Needles During Experiment"

SPRING LAKE, N.C. (AP) — A Harnett County teacher has been fired after school officials said she allowed biology students to prick themselves with lancing needles as part of an experiment and reusing the needles with other students.

Officials said Miyoshi McMillan of Overhills High School in Spring Lake conducted a lab Oct. 24 on blood typing.

School spokeswoman Patrician Harmon-Lewis says McMillian used a lab kit that included synthetic blood and seven lancets used to obtain drops of blood for testing.

Harmon-Lewis says McMillan provided the lancets for each lab group. She said after the students used the needles, they used alcohol swabs and saved the needles for the next class to use.

The school sent letters home with every student in the biology classes.

McMillan began as a substitute teacher in 2009.

CBS Charlotte

"What did President Obama know and when did he know it?"

Is a trending question being parodied in Twitterverse. My sense is that it is not being asked with the specter of the original history behind that question, the scandal that led to the resignation of president Nixon. But more of an attempt, by way of insinuation, to describe the scenario we are currently in, with an already familiar background to many of us.

Dana Milbank of the Washington Post elaborates...
For a smart man, President Obama professes to know very little about a great number of things going on in his administration.
On Sunday night, the Wall Street Journal reported that he didn’t learn until this summer that the National Security Agency had been bugging the phones of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other world leaders for nearly five years.
That followed by a few days a claim by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that Obama didn’t know about problems with the Web site before the rest of the world learned of them after the Oct. 1 launch.
It stretches credulity to think that the United States was spying on world leaders without the president’s knowledge, or that he was blissfully unaware of huge technical problems that threatened to undermine his main legislative achievement. But on issues including the IRS targeting flap and the Justice Department’s use of subpoenas against reporters, White House officials have frequently given a variation on this theme.
Question: What did Obama know and when did he know it?
We may never know for sure. We could, however, put together clues from the time when Obama was not yet the President of the United States. Clues that may very well help us transition from insinuation and speculation to... if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

Kerry Picket of Breitbart elaborates...
President Barack Obama made it no secret he was a proponent of a single payer health care system in America when he first came on to the national scene. However, he explained to his supporters over the years that a "potential transition" would be necessary to break away from the current system. 
Interestingly, as the implementation of the Obamacare exchanges face problems and millions begin to lose coverage from their private insurers, something President Obama promised would not happen, Democrats and their liberal allies are now beginning to suggest a single payer system as a solution to the rickety exchanges. 

3 year old Matthew reads to 1 year old Noah in ASL

Colors and signs.

Well. One word per page, but still. There are letters involved and decoding, and common sense, and we see Noah doing the signs before his older brother reads them and cues him. Their little fingers are adorable.

Superboy Tyler shows his new pajamas

SNAP drops back to pre-stimulus rates

"The exact reduction that families will see beginning Nov. 1 depends on the recipients' situation, but a family of four with no changes in circumstance will receive $36 less per month, according to the USDA.

...Others are less worried about the immediate cuts. Parke Wilde, associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition at Tufts University, said that in real dollars, the cuts brings the program's aid levels back in line with where they were in the mid-2000s, before benefits were boosted as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

"That's neither great nor terrible," Wilde said.

He said the bigger issue is the debate in Congress over whether, and how much, the SNAP program could be cut in years to come. The House of Representatives passed a bill in mid-September that would eliminate about $39 billion form the SNAP budget over 10 years, while the Senate has approved a bill that makes much smaller cuts to the program."


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Omidyar/Greenwald: new media venture

In order to short-circuit the traditional alliance between governments and news outlets, Glenn Greenwald is going to leave The Guardian to begin a new "media venture" with eBay founder, Pierre Omidyar: 
On the one hand, people like Assange, Greenwald and Snowden need newspapers or similar media outlets. Without some such outlet, they are voices in the wilderness. On the other hand, exactly because newspapers play a crucial political role in validating knowledge, they have complicated relationships with governments and politicians. This leads them to actions which people like Assange and Greenwald are likely to see as compromises with power.
 And this is why the new venture is so interesting. It will likely shape up as a serious journalistic enterprise. Capital of USD $250 million can hire some very good people. The venture has the potential to become the kind of news source that can turn information into knowledge. Yet it doesn’t sound as if it’ll be bound by the kinds of political relationships that most newspapers are embedded in... 
Today it was announced:

Kasha Varnishkes

Kasha Varnishkes is an Ashkenazi Jewish recipe that originated in Eastern Europe. Kasha, in case you're not familiar with it, is buckwheat. Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum) is a plant, related to rhubarb & sorrel, whose fruit is used as a food. Even though buckwheat fruit is not an actual cereal grain, it is dried and hulled in the same manner as cereal grains such as wheat (to which buckwheat is unrelated) and rye. The product of this hulling process is called buckwheat groats (no, not the medieval coin groat), or kasha. Kasha can be cooked to make a porridge, just like cereal groats; it's very hearty and healthy and since it's not a grain, is a good fiber-rich, gluten-free food. It has a unique, slightly bitter flavor, like other related plants, and a very chewy texture so you might need to get used to it. Kasha is also a common filling for knishes.

Buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum)
Kasha varnishkes was originally little kasha-stuffed dumplings, sort of like Yiddishe ravioli, but since the early 20th century it's usually a blend of kasha and Farfalle pasta. The dish is easy to make, the ingredients can be found in most grocery stores— look for kasha in the "Kosher" or "International Foods" aisle of your supermarket; the most common brand is Wolff's, which comes in a small black and gold box that you can see in the pictures accompanying this recipe. Get the "medium" texture kasha.

First off, you need schmaltz to make this recipe properly. Schmaltz is simply rendered chicken fat. If you live in a town with a good Jewish deli or store, you can buy a container of schmaltz, but it's very easy to make. Click "Read more" below for the technique & the recipe for Kasha Varnishkes.

Super Human Strength Pull Ups.

And core body strength, and leg strength, and balance, and improvisation and coordination and more! Playground antics, building better bodies.

This video is suggested at the end of the Ozell Williams video, and frankly I find it equally awesome.

This post is inspired by Eric the Fruit Bat's physical fitness improvisation.

I loved those monkey bars wherever I found them. The playground bars at Tachikawa were the best. And I mean best! That is where a girl showed us how, by grabbing the fabric of her dress and using it to slip-slide, she could clamp the bar with both hands and with centrifugal force of her upper body vs legs twirl completely around the bar multiple times spinning and always end upright. Impressive. At that age where girls outpace boys, she was bigger than most boys.

We were not to be outdone. This hit right where it hurts, ego. By example, by outdoing us, without a word, without a common language, she taught the whole playground at that school for that year how to twirl around a bar, how to not fear the bar. Basically, she showed us any girl can do it. You are the first people I ever mentioned this to. I'm a bit embarrassed. That girl shamed us. I recall now, you can initiate a twirl forward by boldly lifting your full weight upon the bar and thrust it upward, forward and outward as if you fully intend to smash your face into the ground. That's the brave part. If you hold on tight enough and slam forcefully enough then you twirl around instead of smashing and the second twirl takes much less power, the next twirl no power at all. Rub dirt on your hands if you haven't a dress to pull up tight around your bottom side . Other times you'll want hand-traction, but not with a twirl.

"Spears is on the front lines of fighting piracy"

"That's right. According to U.K. Merchant Naval Officer Rachel Owens, British ships patrolling the coast of Africa have taken to blaring Spears's tunes to ward off pirates. "Her songs were chosen by the security team because they thought the pirates would hate them most," Metro (a free UK tabloid) reported on Sunday. "These guys can’t stand Western culture or music, making Britney’s hits perfect," said Owens."

"Wondering if this story is true, or merely a publicity ploy for Spears' upcoming album release (the single, "Work Bitch" is already out there. You're welcome.) I called the London-based Security Association for the Maritime Industry (SAMI). The Metro story quotes SAMI Maritime Director Steven Jones: "Pirates will go to any lengths to avoid or try to overcome the music." He adds, "I’d imagine using Justin Bieber would be against the Geneva Convention."

"SAMI is embracing this titillating story rather than wishing it would go away - if only for the chance to raise awareness about the problems of piracy."

In an email, Molica-Franco later followed up with some fascinating background on the use of music to deter pirates:
We were approached after it emerged that some private maritime security guards on merchant vessels were using music tracks to 'blast' at pirate skiffs which were approaching their ship. This was a trend, which began a few years ago, in which Long Range Acoustic Devices (LRAD) were used to try and supposedly 'deafen' pirates. The equipment was first used by US police/military to quell rioters ashore, but it has been adapted for maritime use. However just as protesters ashore often use gas masks to counter tear gas, the wily pirates can also use ear defenders to counter noise.
The LRAD is not solely about causing discomfort or injury; it is an excellent device for hailing or communicating across a distance – so ideal for telling suspected pirates to "back off." There is a suggestion, therefore, that the LRAD sound does not actually overpower the pirates, as claimed in the rash of news stories over past days."
Instead, more likely the music shows the pirates that the vessel has security guards onboard. It then loudly demonstrates that the pirates have been spotted and the security team are ready to act against them if they proceed closer.
She added:
So rather than Britney actually making them break off their attack, it could be they are instead going to seek a softer unprotected target – one which may not be so vigilant or protected. While the artist choice does not appear to overly important, if the music is distasteful to the pirates, then it perhaps gets the message over a little quicker that their presence is not welcome – hence the Britney back-catalogue being a popular choice.
portions of an article by Jordan Strauss / Invision / AP as it appeared in The Star dot Com

"World's first Bitcoin ATM goes live in Vancouver Tuesday" (today)

"What's believed to be the first Bitcoin ATM in the world is expected to go live Tuesday in Vancouver, operated by Nevada-based Robocoin and Vancouver's Bitcoiniacs."

Mitchell Demeter, co-founder of Vancouver bitcoin trading company Bitcoiniacs and part-owner of Robocoin, has invested in five such machines to be placed across Canada."

Bitcoins are an emerging digital currency that isn't controlled by any authority such as a central bank. It’s an idea that is moving into the mainstream, despite the scandal surrounding Silk Road, an anonymous online marketplace for illegal drugs and other illicit goods that used Bitcoins."

While some have doubted Bitcoin's validity and others have raised concerns that the unregulated currency is being used for nefarious means, a U.S. judge ruled last month that Bitcoin, which has been around since 2009, is a real currency."

CBC News Canada

Duck Dynasty shoe project

I want these shoes with springs in them. They look stupid. But so do yours. Everybody's shoes look stupid to me. So, stupid as these look they will not stick out. In fact, they're camouflaged.

Boing,  boing, boing, like a kangaroo already, I'm starting to feel it over here by this picture. You can see how it will soften the impact on the heel and return the energy propelling you forward. I want to try that.

I know. That's the bad part. 

The good part is they're only $100.00 to pre-order. The project has already raised $400,000.00 which apparently is 409%, well, off to a good start then, and they're cheaper if you pre-order more than one pair. The project funding ends 11/18, I would imagine with excess funding they've already begun. 

I like these Duck Dynasty because I noticed them first, but the spring idea is not new. Apparently web browsers were presenting ads for shoes with WaveSpring by Spira built inside the heels. They all look like this with different logos, a leaned over McDonald's arches, a cartoon sperm. They're all the same thing and more expensive than these. 

I do not like this kind of synthetic shoe at all, but I'm willing to wear them for a few hours to bounce around. Who knows? 

I might change my whole attitude.

Out shopping a while ago a small child glided right past me on wheels, his shoes were fitted with rollerblades, ordinary shoes with the blades built in. He was having a great time on the smooth floors, staying out of trouble under his father's watchful eye, the whole thing a touching family father-son outing. He was moving faster than everyone else around him, in his own time phase like a Star Trek episode, out of sequence with everybody else, whizzing past moving at greater speed, 

"Hey no fair! I want to do that too!"

"Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha," as he smoothly sails down the aisle. Nothing beats getting one over adults. 

When I was his age I could not understand why everybody did not travel on rollerblades. They're brilliant. For a while I didn't want to take them off. I still think that. Impractical for everyday use, yes, I realize that now, but I didn't then, and it does make perfect sense to children, the impracticality of them on steps and stones and carpets and such more a challenge than a bother.

When I see people wear rollerblades at work like in warehouses and the places where waitresses wear them, except for carrying things, they make sense. 

I believe these spring type shoes would make you want to get out and walk your dog longer than usual. I'm willing to give them a try just to see. For the fun of it. 

"At Kosherfest, a 40-pound chicken nugget and a Conservative hechsher"

"The 25th-annual, two-day kosher food expo kicks off in Secaucus, N.J., tomorrow [today] and is expected to draw more than 6,000 people, all of them ready to nosh."

Kosherfest will feature products from over 300 companies and more than 20 countries.

For the first — and perhaps last — time, the expo will also include a kosher supervisory agency run by a non-Orthodox rabbi. Rabbi Jason Miller’s Kosher Michigan certifies more than 50 businesses and is one of only a handful of non-Orthodox supervising agencies in North America. In an email interview, Menachem Lubinsky, Kosherfest’s founder and co-producer, said that Kosher Michigan is “the first non-Orthodox agency that has even attempted to exhibit at the show” and that it “fell between the cracks.”

“The sales people did not realize that Michigan Kosher was not an Orthodox agency,” he said. “The show is under the kosher supervision of the Association of Kashrus Organizations (AKO) and there will be signs posted throughout the show that AKO takes responsibility only for those booths that are either AKO members or offer products that meet AKO standards. He is clearly not a member and his products do not meet AKO standards. Show management will take steps to assure that only AKO approved exhibitors participate in the show in 2014.”

Interviewed by phone, Miller, who is based in suburban Detroit and certifies over 50 companies, most of them in the Midwest, emphasized that he had not hidden his Conservative identity; in fact, Kosher Michigan’s exhibitor blurb, which he said has been on the Kosherfest website for months, states in the first sentence that the agency was founded in 2008 by a Conservative rabbi.

“Certainly the ultra-Orthodox do not want to believe a non-Orthodox rabbi is able to run a successful kosher certification agency, but the facts on the ground are that that’s what’s happening,” he said. “The marketplace — the consumers — have the loudest voice in this industry so the market will dictate which certification agencies are authentic and which are not … My goal has always been to increase the number of kosher options without increasing the cost.”

portions of an article written by 


Turkey Bacon with Mayo & Tomatoes and a Cherry Coke

Troops Subs (former Frills) Clifton, NJ

"Pa. boy dresses as vagrant for class, is suspended"

(AP) -- A high school student who dressed as a homeless man for a drama assignment was so convincing that he fooled school officials -- and ended up getting suspended.

It began with an assignment last month, senior Michael Bodomov, 17, said: Create a character and be that person for an entire day at Mount Lebanon High School, just outside Pittsburgh.

"I wore like a couple layers of coats and some sweatpants," Bodomov said. He added a pair of fingerless gloves, mismatched shoes and plastic bags for socks. He also smeared ink on his face to make it look dirty.

"I had to kind of think on my feet," Bodomov said, since he didn't want to break character before the school day even began.

"I kind of mumbled" and "said I need to talk to some people," Bodomov recalled, adding that in retrospect that might have made officials think he was mentally unbalanced.

"At one point, I think I said, 'I might be a student here,'" and a school official responded, "No, you can't be. You look like you're 30 and you haven't showered in 10 days."

He also tried showing them the garbage bag he was carrying, since it contained his school backpack. But his attention to character detail thwarted that, too. The bag was also filled with empty plastic bottles, and that's apparently all the officials saw.

"It's not like this entire time I wasn't trying to let them know I was a student," Bodomov said. "It was pretty funny to me."

Then the police showed up.

After staying in character for a little longer, Bodomov explained the whole situation. The police left, and an administrator said he was suspended for insubordination and for breaking a rule that students must identify themselves to an administrator when asked.

KEVIN BEGOS Associated Press

Book: "How Adolf Hitler Prevented 'Subject Races' from Possessing Arms"

"When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, he seized gun registration information that had been compiled by Germany's previous government under the premise that the information would not fall into the wrong hands or be used for an all-out confiscation scheme. But as gun scholar Stephen P. Halbrook makes clear in his new book, Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and "Enemies of the State," Hitler's hands were the wrong hands. And Hitler and the Nazi movement used all the information they could find—as well as the threat of brute force and death—to force Jews and others to hand over their firearms."

As Halbrook put it: "The Nazis thought it was pretty important to be sure the Jews weren't armed."

Gun Control in the Third Reich covers gun control under Hitler but, perhaps more importantly, it covers the methodology of that gun control in great detail."

Halbrook also shows how propaganda was used to further gun control and how terms like "assault rifle" did not exist until Hitler created them."

According to Halbrook, this is the fight that has to be fought—the fight to keep such information from being gathered in the first place."

Said Halbrook: "The Nazi example is not a warning of what will happen but of what could happen. We can't dismiss it by saying, 'Germans didn't have a Second Amendment tradition to defend them like we do.' We have to minimize government information on gun owners."

Breitbart's AWR Hawkins

"'We're Really Screwed Now': NSA's Best Friend Just Shivved The Spies"

"One of the National Security Agency's biggest defenders in Congress is suddenly at odds with the agency and calling for a top-to-bottom review of U.S. spy programs. And her long-time friends and allies are completely mystified by the switch."

"We're really screwed now," one NSA official told The Cable. "You know things are bad when the few friends you've got disappear without a trace in the dead of night and leave no forwarding address."

In a pointed statement issued today, Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Dianne Feinstein said she was "totally opposed" to gathering intelligence on foreign leaders and said it was "a big problem" if President Obama didn't know the NSA was monitoring the phone calls of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She said the United States should only be spying on foreign leaders with hostile countries, or in an emergency, and even then the president should personally approve the surveillance."

It was not clear what precipitated Feinstein's condemnation of the NSA. It marks a significant reversal for a lawmaker who not only defended agency surveillance programs -- but is about to introduce a bill expected to protect some of its most controversial activities."

Excepts from an article by Shane Harris and John Hudson as it appeared in Foreign Policy

Update: White House OKd spying on allies, U.S. intelligence officials say

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things —
  For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
    For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
  Landscape plotted and pieced — fold, fallow, and plough;
    And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
  Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
    With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
                Praise him.


Ozell Williams

Monday, October 28, 2013

10-year marriage contracts

It works like this: On the onset of the marriage the parties lay out the goals of the relationship. A prenup, but more. Decide the financial terms during the marriage, as well as how money will be dealt with should it end. Same with kids. But more than that, the contract establishes broad goals for the marriage itself: Is it for companionship? A passionate love? To bring children into the world? Build financial equity or a business?
Then, when the marriage nears year No. 9, the parties are forced to make a decision. Do they decide — amicably — that the marriage has run its course? If so, the contract has paved a path for a low-animosity split (thanks to the prenup), and the possibility for celebrating a partnership that was successful while it lasted.
Or, the couple decides to sign another 10-year contract, but with changes. Study after study find that a lack of communication is the No. 1 reason people divorce. A forced conversation about the future of a marriage can only be good for any relationship. Gone will be the days of the couch potato marriage, where everyone simply waits out the clock without actually working on the relationship.

ObamaCare Double Whammy

"Sue Klinkhamer has a problem. It’s called Obamacare."

"And the irony of her situation is not lost on her. In a recent email addressed to her former boss, Illinois Congressman Bill Foster, and other Democratic colleagues, she wrote:
“I spent two years defending Obamacare. I had constituents scream at me, spit at me and call me names that I can’t put in print. The congressman was not re-elected in 2010 mainly because of the anti-Obamacare anger. When the congressman was not re-elected, I also (along with the rest of our staff) lost my job. I was upset that because of the health care issue, I didn’t have a job anymore but still defended Obamacare because it would make health care available to everyone at, what I assumed, would be an affordable price. I have now learned that I was wrong. Very wrong.”
For Klinkhamer, 60, President Obama’s oft-repeated words ring in her ears: “If you like your health plan, you will keep it.”

Chicago Sun Times via Iowahawkblog

Census Bureau: Means-Tested Gov't Benefit Recipients Outnumber Full-Time Year-Round Workers

( - Americans who were recipients of means-tested government benefits in 2011 outnumbered year-round full-time workers, according to data released this month by the Census Bureau. They also out-numbered the total population of the Philippines.

There were 108,592,000 people in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2011 who were recipients of one or more means-tested government benefit programs, the Census Bureau said in data released this week. Meanwhile, according to the Census Bureau, there were 101,716,000 people who worked full-time year round in 2011. That included both private-sector and government workers.

That means there were about 1.07 people getting some form of means-tested government benefit for every 1 person working full-time year round.

When the people who received non-means-tested government benefits from programs such as Social Security, Medicare, unemployment and non-means-tested veterans compensation are added to those who received means-tested government programs such as food stamps, Supplemental Security Income and public housing, the total number of people receiving government benefits from one or more programs in the United States in 2011 climbs to 151,014,000, according to the Census Bureau.

Portions of an article by Terence P. Jeffrey for CNS News dot com

Any suggestions?

Evi L. Bloggerlady said...
Santorum is not electable as President. Now that said, I agree that Republicans need to pay attention to all the legs of the stool. National Security, Social Conservative and Business...but there is a fourth leg and that is Freedom-libertarian (basic Tea Party principles).

We need a candidate who can articulate all those positions in a manner voters will get. It is really not so hard (the issue is balance).

Cruz is a good man. I agree he was a bit hamfisted in this latest fight--but he did not embarrass himself like that dottering old fool John McCain (who soiled himself). As for Santorum, Cruz did not lose Texas by 17 points.

"Zalipie: Poland’s Painted Village"

"The secluded village of Zalipie in southeastern Poland is home to a charming tradition. Over a century ago the women of the village began to paint their houses: however, it was not the single, uniform color one might expect from a traditional and conservative society. The village, through the intricate and vibrant paintwork of its womenfolk, bloomed."
This is my favorite
"Although no one is completely sure how and when this tradition began, it dates from when the smoke from stoves escaped through little more than a hole in the ceiling of the house. Women would paint over the spots of soot with whitewash. Yet the spots would still be partially visible and it is believed that the women, in order for their house to appear immaculate for religious festivals, took to covering the remnants of soot stains with paintings of flowers. Once modern cooking and better ventilation came in to practice, these cover-ups were no longer necessary. Yet instead the flower patterns became gradually more and more sophisticated."


Andrea Peyser: ‘Uncomfortable truth’ in Matthew Shepard’s death

"Stephen Jimenez didn’t set out to be the most dangerous journalist on earth.
Or, more to the point, the most dangerous gay journalist.
But Jimenez unearthed a story that few people wanted to hear. And it calls into question everything you think you know about the life and death of one of the leading icons of our age.

Matthew Shepard, college student. Killed, at 21, for being gay.

Or was he?

Jimenez’s “The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard,” out last month, challenges every cultural myth surrounding Shepard’s short life and unspeakable death. After some 13 years of digging, including interviews with more than 100 sources, including Shepard’s killers, Jimenez makes a radioactive suggestion:

The grisly murder, 15 years ago this month, was no hate crime.

Shepard’s tragic and untimely demise may not have been fueled by his sexual orientation, but by drugs. For Shepard had likely agreed to trade methamphetamines for sex. And it killed him.
New York Post

"The Wellcome Trust 2013 winning entry: where did syphilis come from?"

"Did Columbus bring the disease back with him from the New World, or was it in Europe all along? Katherine Wright, winner of the Wellcome Trust science writing prize 2013, investigates"

Here are some excerpts
In the 1490s, a gruesome new disease exploded across Europe. It moved with terrifying speed. Within five years of the first reported cases, among the mercenary army hired by Charles VIII of France to conquer Naples, it was all over the continent and reaching into north Africa.
As its many names attest, contemporaries of the first spread of syphilis did not know where this disease had come from. Was it indeed the fault of the French? Was it God's punishment on earthly sinners?
Another school of thought, less xenophobic and less religious, soon gained traction. Columbus's historic voyage to the New World was in 1492. The Italian soldiers were noticing angry chancres on their genitals by 1494. What if Columbus had brought the disease back to Europe with him as an unwelcome stowaway aboard the Pinta or the Niña?
... [S]cientists, anthropologists, and historians still disagree about the origin of syphilis. Did Columbus and his sailors really transport the bacterium back from the New World? Or was it just coincidental timing, that the first cases were recorded soon after the adventurers' triumphant return to the Old World? It seems increasingly likely that Columbus and his crew were responsible for transporting syphilis from the New World to the Old.
Of course, Treponema pallidum was not the only microbial passenger to hitch a ride across the Atlantic with Columbus. But most of the traffic was going the other way: smallpox, measles, and bubonic plague were only some of the Old World diseases which infiltrated the New World, swiftly decimating thousands of Native Americans. Syphilis was not the French disease, or the Polish disease. It was the disease – and the revenge – of the Americas.

The Guardian and The Observer

"7 ridiculous restrictions on women’s rights around the world"

'"With Saudi Arabian women behind the wheel since Saturday to protest their country's refusal to grant driver's licenses to women, they’re challenging not only long-standing restriction, but also a the larger system of Saudi Arabian gender-based laws, some of the harshest in the world."

"According to one measurement, though, there are actually several countries that rank lower on women's rights than Saudi Arabia."

Here are other remarkable legal restrictions against women, from Asia to Latin America:

1. India (some parts): Road safety rules don’t apply to women.

2. Yemen: A woman is considered only half a witness.

3. Saudi Arabia and Vatican City: Women can’t vote... still.

4. Ecuador: Abortion is illegal, unless you’re an “idiot.” 

5. Saudi Arabia and Morocco: Rape victims can be charged with crimes. 

6. Yemen: Women can’t leave the house without their husbands’ permission.

7. Saudi Arabia: Women can't drive.

Washington Post  

Anthony Howe

More sculptures, Anthony speaking, the history of it. 

street artist

Seen on reddit.

Welcome To My Nightmare

This video used to be quite popular on YouTube until White Zombie stepped in to enforce copyrights. I remember the YouTube thread by the original maker and his story of having to take it down. Here it is, back somehow:

The synchronization of the video and audio is striking; I especially like the part beginning right around 2m 34s where the slow motion underground explosion heaves the earth and "burps through."

 BTW, these are not "atomic" bombs but rather H-bombs.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

"Squirrel caught vandalizing Estherville, Iowa, professor's bicycle"

"A strange case of vandalism was solved Thursday, when a squirrel was caught vandalizing a math professor's bicycle at Iowa Lakes Community College.

The ravenous rodent chewed through two tires, a bicycle seat, a headlight and a taillight in incidents Wednesday and Thursday."

“There was no damage done to any metal,” said Strom, an associate professor of mathematics. “It was all soft materials like plastic and rubber.”

Shortly after the police left, aviation instructor Ron Duer spied a squirrel chewing on the seat of Strom's bike. He took a photo of the animal chewing on a tire."

The photo solved a mystery of how anyone could repeatedly vandalize Strom’s bicycle in front of a busy building entrance without getting caught, said Iowa Lakes spokeswoman Tricia Morfitt.

"If somebody is walking by doing this, how is nobody seeing them doing it?" she said."

Portions of a Sioux City Journal cot com Article by Molly Montag via Iowahawkblog

Santorum Gets In Front Of Cruz

Well of course he's not going to get behind Cruz because that would be icky.

GOP factions to duke it out

"LaTourette's Defending Main Street group has identified its first project: defending Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho. The Club for Growth threw its support to a tea-party challenger, Bryan Smith, because Simpson backed the $700 million Wall Street bailout, raising the debt ceiling, and a budget deal that staved off the fiscal cliff.

...Along with LaTourette's group, another player in the battle for control of the Republican Party will be the Conservative Victory Project, an arm of the Crossroads super PAC founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove. The group plans to vet GOP primary candidates with the goal of sending the most viable conservative to the general election.
"We want to avoid situations like 2010 with (Delaware Republican nominee) Christine O'Donnell, where a candidate gains momentum and the skeletons come out after the primary," said Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio. "If skeletons exist, we'll make every effort to make sure they're known to every group that spends money long before the primary."
...The latest round of polling offered evidence of this exile: 64 percent of Americans had an unfavorable view of the Republican Party in a new CNN/ORC International poll. The party's image also sunk to an all-time low in the latest Washington Post/ABC News survey.
The damage to the party is obvious in the Virginia governor's race, where two weeks before the election, Republicans are already writing off Cuccinelli, their tea-party-backed nominee. As he lags behind Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the polls, Republicans are condemning the state party for choosing its nominee at a convention dominated by conservative activists instead of in a regular primary. The decision prompted Lt Gov. Bill Bolling, who has strong ties to the business community, to drop out of the race."
Click through to see the races the anti-Tea Party Republicans are targeting in the future.

OSU Marching Band Marches.

Full screen, please.

Lou Reed RIP

Too soon, Man too soon. Some places, it's never too soon.

I hope the link works. One time a link there disappeared. If so I'll edit.

Though they have not been officially linked... seems reasonable that problems with the website are another impetus to delay penalty enforcement so every citizen can get enrolled and avoid paying fees. If this isn't one of the motivations it is at least a convenient byproduct of the deadline modifications.

Lily Hay Newman serves room temperature pablum to Gizmodo readers. The shallowest description of the state of affairs that I've seen to date. This, on the most important development bearing on the subject of their magazine, their reason for being. In importance bearing on their readers, this beats a new Apple rollout by a magnitude of order and yet this is the surface reading assembled  from USA Today, The Verge, and Market Watch.

One expects more. I'm disappointed in Gizmodo. What else is as shallow? 

Commenters write the article that needed to be written, so the subject is covered.  All except one. One commenter over there is still  stuck in the trees, too thick to step out of partisan fog. I picture a copse shrouded in fog, the sounds coming from it, "bonk" someone hitting a tree. 

The Infernal City

 "a man who lives by exhibiting to travellers his grandmother's corpse" 
~James Joyce's personification of Rome. 

 And yet, Rome is eternal

Like love is.

Shock: NYT Editorial Board Endorses Bill de Blasio for Mayor

"The rise of Bill de Blasio, New York City’s public advocate, has been remarkable. In a clamorous primary campaign against better known, more seasoned candidates, he won the Democratic nomination without a runoff, by appealing directly and doggedly to struggling New Yorkers who see a city of lofty wealth rising out of their reach. With the election only 10 days away, Mr. de Blasio is polling so far ahead of the Republican, Joseph Lhota, that commentators have already anointed him leader of a national rebirth of left-wing populism."

For the rest of the editorial click here

"To Move Drugs, Traffickers Are Hacking Shipping Containers"

"The scheme sounds like a work of near science fiction. But police in the Netherlands and Belgium insist its true, and say they have the evidence to prove it: two tons of cocaine and heroin, a machine gun, a suitcase stuffed with $1.7 million, and hard drive cases turned into hacking devices."

The plot, which began in 2011, reportedly involved a mix of international drug gangs and digital henchmen: drug traffickers recruited hackers to penetrate computers that tracked and controlled the movement and location of shipping containers arriving at Antwerp's port. The simple software and hardware hacks—using USB keyloggers and more sophisticated purpose-built devices—allowed traffickers to send in drivers and gunmen to steal particular containers before the legitimate owner arrived."

The scheme was first noticed last year, when workers at a container terminal in Antwerp began to wonder why entire containers—said to contain cargo like bananas and timber—were disappearing from the port."

"I'm really not surprised at these practices," said Jim Giermanski, a former FBI agent and chairman of Powers International, a transportation security technology company. "The reality is that most shippers don't have a clue as to what to do to secure a container" from tampering by smugglers and terrorists, who, Giermanski warns, could use them to conceal dirty bombs.

Portions of an Article by Alex Pasternack as it appeared on Motherboard

"All the Wrong People Are Getting Obamacare"

"The state insurance exchanges have been the highlight of a so far dismal rollout process for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. When Obamacare's supporters are challenged on the law's merits, that’s where they point to show that the new insurance markets can work -- if governors are committed to making them work."

But a CBS News report discusses a growing source of disquiet: In almost half the states with exchanges, the overwhelming majority of enrollments are coming from Medicaid, not the new insurance markets -- 87 percent in Washington, 82 percent in Kentucky and, last time I looked, 100 percent in Oregon (which delayed opening its insurance exchange in order to work out technical bugs). The Medicaid expansion side of the bill seems to be working fine in the states that opted for the expansion. But the private insurance side doesn’t seem to be getting a lot of pickup...

... [W]e shouldn’t be too worried about this just yet. In the early days of the program, who would we expect to be rushing to sign up? People who have had long-time difficulties in obtaining insurance.

If we don’t see a spike in purchases starting on the day after Thanksgiving, we should get really, really worried. But that’s still a long way off.

Portions of an article by Bloomberg's Megan McArdle , via Instapudit

ObamaCare's Weather Update: Half a milllion Californians could lose their health care under Obamacare next year

"Egyptian Satirist Returns to TV With Careful Barbs"

"As his popular television show returned to Egypt’s airwaves on Friday after a long hiatus, Bassem Youssef, an Egyptian satirist, took a swipe at the country’s new military leadership in perhaps the only manner such criticism remains possible: with great care.*"

"After playing a recently leaked video clip of Egypt’s defense minister, Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, talking to colleagues about influencing the news media, Mr. Youssef responded with mock indignation. “Nobody can tell us what to say or not to say,” he said, as a disembodied arm appeared from beneath his desk, stole his script and replaced it with a new text."

“We want freedom,” Mr. Youssef added, as the arm, a stand-in for Egypt’s powerful security agencies, slapped him in the face."

NY Times , *Althouse link

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Feline Power

phx said...I would like to see more Bob Dylan posts here if you please.


Liz Cheney's Senate Bid

Daniel Larison of the American Conservative questions the logic of some Republicans primary challenges:
The trouble here isn’t that incumbents are facing primary challengers, which can be a good and necessary thing, but that they are frequently facing challenges that seem to serve no purpose. The Cheney challenge to Enzi [in Wyoming] is the absurd extreme of this phenomenon: someone with a lifetime ACU [American Conservative Union] rating of 92.7 has to head off a challenger whose sole reason for running is self-promotion. It is fairly harmless, but also completely useless. Challenging Alexander or Cochran might be more justifiable based on their voting records (their lifetime ACU ratings are 78 and 79 respectively), but even if successful they wouldn’t make it that much more likely that conservatives will be able to advance their agenda in Congress.
Larison makes the point that party money could be more practically spent in attempts to unseat Democrats, but I think it can be argued that she would be useful in a run for the presidency in a few years.  Straightforward in speech, nice looking, iconically blonde, and with five children to boot, she will be 54 in 2020. She has worked in government in foreign relations. But she has received criticism for only recently moving to Wyoming in 2012 before making her bid:
On July 16, 2013, Cheney announced that she would be running for the Senate in 2014 from the state of Wyoming as a Republican, challenging the incumbent Republican senator Mike Enzi.[30] The National Republican Senatorial Committee says the group plans to back Enzi, as is policy.[31] Cheney is expected to receive strong fundraising, but faces concerns about the fact she moved to Wyoming in fall 2012.[32] In the video announcing her candidacy, she noted that the Cheney family first came to Wyoming in 1852.[32] Her father served Wyoming in the House of Representatives from 1979 to 1989.[32]
She was also ticketed by a game warden for obtaining a Wyoming fishing license before she had completed one years' residency:
In August 2012, Cheney purchased a resident fishing license despite living in the state for only a few months. After a newspaper article in August 2013 pointed out that she should not have been eligible for a resident license, Cheney was ticketed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.[34] Cheney released a statement, saying "On August 3, 2012, I spent the day on the Snake River with a group of wounded warriors and the Rivers of Recovery organization. ... When I went in to purchase a license, the clerk asked if I was a resident. I said yes because I was living in Wyoming. It was my mistake not to realize there was a 365-day requirement to hold a resident license. The clerk did not ask how long I had lived in Wyoming. August 3, 2012 was, unfortunately, the only day I had the opportunity to fish in Wyoming last year. When I realized that I had not fulfilled the residency requirement, I met with officials from Game and Fish in Jackson and I paid the requisite fine on August 14."[35] The Wyoming Game and Fish Department concluded its investigation after Cheney paid the fine. A department spokesperson said, "The investigation did not reveal any intent to provide false or misleading information."[36]
Hillary Clinton winning the presidency in '16 is a big If. I think it is highly likely, given that there may be a groundswell of women of all stripes to push her over the top, but there are few people so hated by so many as she and Bill are. If she fails in her bid, I can see Liz Cheney stepping in with the help of the nation's female vote, and I think the Republican party already has this gamed out.