Recently in Culture Category

RIP - two of the 1960's greats

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So true - moon landing

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Fred Reed said it best: Are White Men Gods?  A most excellent rant and he does have a very valid point when you look at the historical record...

So true - 50 years of "progress"

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Michael Ramirez has a perfect example of the progress we have made in 50 years:

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Glad to see that we are clawing our way back to some semblance of sanity...

Quite the discovery - this is huge

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From The Times of Israel:

A ‘game changer’: Vast, developed 9,000-year-old settlement found near Jerusalem
An unprecedentedly vast Neolithic settlement — the largest ever discovered in Israel and the Levant, say archaeologists — is currently being excavated ahead of highway construction five kilometers from Jerusalem, it was announced on Tuesday.

The 9,000-year-old site, located near the town of Motza, is the “Big Bang” for prehistory settlement research due to its size and the preservation of its material culture, said Jacob Vardi, co-director of the excavations at Motza on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, “It’s a game changer, a site that will drastically shift what we know about the Neolithic era,” said Vardi. Already some international scholars are beginning to realize the existence of the site may necessitate revisions to their work, he said.

And the scale of the site:

Roughly half a kilometer from point to point, the site would have housed an expected population of some 3,000 residents. In today’s terms, said Vardi, prehistoric Motza would be comparable to the stature of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv — “a real metropolis.”

More at the site including some photographs. This is similar to the discoveries of Machu Picchu or Chichen Itza

Big wildfire on Maui

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Heard about it today - 9,000 acres burned. Arson and they got the moke that did it - from Hawaii News Now:

Suspect arrested in Maui arson incident that triggered massive wildfire
Police officials on Maui have arrested a man suspected of starting a wildfire that burned more than 9,000 acres of land and forced temporary evacuations for some Kihei and Maalaea residents.

County officials say Holden Bingham was arrested just before 7:30 p.m. Monday evening on suspicion of first-degree arson.

The 28-year-old man, who has no local address, was released pending further investigation, but is still being held on unrelated arrest warrants, according to Maui County.

Bingham is a convicted felon who has previously been incarcerated at the Maui Community Correctional Center. He recently agreed to be interviewed by Hawaii News Now for a story on the conditions at the overcrowded facility.

Gotta love that last line: for a story on the conditions at the overcrowded facility

Hey, if you are in jail, you did something against society or one of its citizens. Jail time is supposed to be punishment and not three hots and a cot. They need to bring back hard labor - not chain gangs but I bet that if Mr. Bingham were made to clean up some of his mess, he might not be so cavalier in the future. Pay something back to society.

And the numbers show it - from FOX News:

CNN mired in a credibility crisis as ratings continue to collapse, experts say
CNN is suffering a credibility crisis as viewership for the once-proud network continues to crater with no apparent plan in place to fix things anytime soon, according to media watchdogs and insiders.

CNN’s audience shriveled in the second quarter of 2019, averaging only 541,000 total viewers, less than half Fox News Channel’s 1.3 million average. But CNN struggled even more during the primetime hours of 8-11 p.m. ET, finishing as the fifteenth most-watched network on basic cable behind networks such as TLC, Investigation Discovery and the Hallmark Channel. CNN averaged a dismal 761,000 primetime viewers while FNC averaged 2.4 million.

When you do not broadcast what people are wanting, they will move to other sources. Like the title says...

As California continues to shake (about 50 quakes today, nothing under 2.5 Mag and very very shallow), Commander Zero has some words of advice regarding his own experiences with the 1994 Northridge quake (not mentioning the 1989 Loma Prieta quake, a stronger one; also in an urban setting):

California rolls
California shimmied like a little hula figurine on the dashboard. I have virtually no experience with earthquakes except for that one time I was flat on my bed in a hospital, with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel, and we had the strongest earthquake in 60 years. Its a very queer feeling when something as ‘rock solid’ as the ground beneath you suddenly becomes Jell-o. Its like watching the sun set in the north, or seeing water flow uphill…your brain just cannot comprehend it.

I’ll be cruising the usual discussion boards looking at peoples AARs. It is always good to learn at other peoples expense. Still trying to figure out how the California politicians will blame this on Trump…

Moral of the story: It happens. You’re not wasting your time and money by being ready for it. It DOES happen.

AAR is an After Action Report - people involved in preparedness and communication always debrief after whether it's a training exercise or the real thing. This is where you find the flaws in your system and work to improve them for the next time. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Raconteur Report takes this and offers their own précis:

TL;DR?

    1. No one is coming to help you. YOYO. Plan accordingly.
    2. 72 hours of supplies? AHAHAHAHAHAHA.  Try 14-30 days, minimum. Yes, really. IMHO, if you're not ready for 60 days totally self-sustained, you're selling yourself short.
    3. Northridge utilities/situation overview:
      • Power: Nada. For 11 days. They weren't even sure they could reboot an entire city from scratch when they flipped the switches, but it worked. That time.
      • Water: Boil water orders for 30+ days, thousands of breaks in water mains (18" from sewer mains, btw). 25 years later and L.A. still hasn't found and fixed them all. (Doubt me? Google "L.A. sinkholes" since 1994-yesterday. The prosecution rests, your Honor.)
      • Heat: It was sunny the day after, even in January. If this had been cold, wet winter, like anywhere in 49 other states, or half of even this one, we would have started loosing people to exposure within two-three days.
      • Communication: Ha. Pre-cell era. No POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) for a week. Now, >50% of people don't even have landline POTS. (Might want to rethink that clever strategy, kids.) And cell towers have far less capacity, and maybe 24-72 hrs battery back-up. Maybe.
      • ATMs: AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Cash in hand, or do without.
      • Retail business: AHAHAHAHAHA. For two weeks. Only when the power came back on.
      • Transportation grid: Hundreds of normal overpasses condemned.  The I-5 down to one lane in each direction for a month, and 300 yards of 100-foot-tall overpass gone.
      • Gasoline: Did I mention there was no power for 11 days??  You had the gas you had, until it ran out, or you drove 50 miles away to fill a tank, out of the affected area. So, imagine that was not possible, or a lot farther away than 50 miles.  And remember, hundreds of freeway overpasses were out.
      • General destruction: they were still pulling bodies and victims out of rubble two days later, and than was with less than 100 actual rescues or fatalities, and everyone within 200 miles helping out.  Now imagine 1000, or 10,000 victims.

Most of the preparedness strategies are dead simple - buy a few extra cans of food when you go grocery shopping. Save milk/juice containers and refill them with water and a drop of Clorox. Go here and spend about two months, a few hours a week, memorizing the questions and answers and become a licensed amateur radio operator. You can buy a really decent transceiver kit for under $50 (this has a much better antenna, an additional battery and the programming cable - you use free software to set up for your local frequencies instead of having to use the internal keypad). Make sure you have some books and a radio to keep you occupied as well as a source of light and maybe something to heat your food. Do a little bit of this every week and you will be set sooner than you realize it.

Hmmm - something screwy here

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Earlier today I linked to a story regarding a senior center on San Juan Island (about 40 miles from me as the crow flies) not allowing members of the American Legion to salute our Flag.

Just for the hell of it, I Googled their website URL and went there, only to find this:

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Very odd that the website would redirect to another commercial entity entirely and get their 404.
Looked up the address at ARIN and got this:

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ARIN is the central database for the USA which stores what website is stored on whose server or IP Address. For it to return: "No results found." means that someone totally yanked the plug for the whole thing and that Cirque Du Soliel just happened to be the next website being hosted by that server. Many websites (including this one and all of my others are hosted on a single server that also hosts several hundred other sites).

They did not just redact their site, they yanked it out by the roots. It will be interesting to follow this.

Classical projection - California

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From The Hill:

California governor says Republican Party is headed 'into the waste bin of history'
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) in an interview published Monday said the Republican Party is headed for the “waste bin of history.”

In an interview with Politico, Newsom compared national Republicans to the GOP in California in the 1990s.

California Republicans were once a force, but have seen their power disappear over the last two decades.

Washington Republicans will "go the same direction — into the waste bin of history, the way Republicans of the '90s have gone. That’s exactly what will happen to this crop of national Republicans,” Newsom told Politico.

I would call this a classical example of Projection:

Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is habitually rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude. It incorporates blame shifting.

Nails it.

A nice metric - money

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From Bloomberg:

The DNC Has Spent More Money Than It’s Raised This Year
The Democratic National Committee has a money problem. And that could hurt its nominee’s chances of beating President Donald Trump in 2020.

In the first four months of 2019, the party spent more than it raised and added $3 million in new debt. In the same period, its Republican counterpart was stockpiling cash.

They have nothing that us normals want so they have to fall back on constant drumming of their narrative through the complicit media.

Mark Levin's latest book is Unfreedom of the Press. He excoriates the mainstream media and specifically, in chapter six, he takes the New York Times to the woodshed for their history of many distortions and outright inaccurate reporting.

The book came out on May 21st and was an Amazon Best Seller almost immediately. It was not listed at the NYT for several weeks. Now this has to grind their gears:

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This is the voice of We The People. This is the voice of numbers, not narrative.

Quote of the day

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Great one from an American master:

"If everybody was satisfied with himself there would be no heroes."
--Mark Twain

Representing the news these days

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Sadly, so true - swiped from Magie's Farm:

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Social media - Yelp

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An interesting story about the dark side of Yelp - from business website The Hustle:

The restaurant owner who asked for 1-star Yelp reviews
In 2014, chef Davide Cerretini advertised a special that would forever change his fate: Anyone who left his restaurant a 1-star review on Yelp would get 25% off a pizza.

See, his Bay Area-based Italian joint, Botto Bistro, was at a crossroads. Like many small businesses, it was enslaved to the whims of online reviewers, whose public dispatches could make or break its reputation.

He’d had enough: It was time to pry the stars from the “cold, grubby hands of Yelpers” and take control of his own destiny.

But the move would set Cerretini at the center of a long-standing battle between Yelp and disgruntled business owners — a battle including cries of “extortion,” review manipulation, and predatory advertising tactics.

The reason for his strategy:

By the time Botto Bistro opened its doors in 2009, Yelp boasted some 26m unique visitors per month. And whether intentionally or not, the platform had entrenched itself as the controller of every small business’s online reputation — and fate.

In the months after Botto Bistro’s grand opening, Cerretini began receiving dozens of calls from Yelp salespeople, who implored him to buy ads.

According to Cerretini, when he rebuffed these offers, he’d often notice that freshly posted 5-star reviews would be removed from his page — often no less than 24 hours after getting off the phone with a Yelp rep.

“I came from Italy, and know exactly what mafia extortion looks like,” he says. “Yelp was manipulating reviews and hoping I would pay a protection fee. I didn’t come to America and work for 25 years to be extorted by some idiot in Silicon Valley.”

And the upshot:

Soon, he came to a realization: “What if I don’t give a shit about reputation? What if I take away their power by actually making it worse?”

One morning in September of 2014, he placed a simple sign in front of Botto Bistro: Give us a one star review on Yelp and get 25% off any pizza! Hate us on Yelp. (The discount was later increased to 50%.)

Much more at the site - an amazing story. Classic case of the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz Yelp.

From the station:

WBTV to end each broadcast day with the national anthem
North and South Carolinians are proud of our country, and of the men and women who serve or have served.

WBTV will soon join with our sister Gray Television stations across the nation to end each broadcast day by playing the National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Up until television stations went to 24-hour operations in the 1980s, playing the anthem was traditionally how American television stations went off the air and returned back to the airwaves the following morning.

They broadcast 24/7 but:

WBTV will air the National Anthem shortly before 4 a.m. each day, which signifies the switch to a new broadcast day. We will also feature the national anthem during our newscast on the 4th of July.

The Gray Television stations network comprises 34 individual stations. Some of these are popguns: KXJB in Valley City, ND runs at 2 Kilowatts, but a large number of them are full-power 1,000 KW and one: WSWG in Valdosta, GA runs at a blistering 1,700 KW.

I remember growing up that all of the stations would do this. Returning to this tradition is a very nice touch.

And the universe did not implode

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From AV Club:

Jack Black and Jack White meet, at last
Fulfilling the prophecy laid down lo these many years ago—presumably nine seconds after the very first Twitter account was formed—musicians Jack Black and Jack White have finally provided the world with photographic proof that they have, in fact, met. Sharing the haunted looks of men who’ve had to field a lifetime’s worth of “Wouldn’t it be funny if you and Jack ____ hung out?” jokes in the span of a few short years, the pair (and Kyle Gass, spared the hell of their collective shared-namery) met up while Tenacious D and The Raconteurs were both on their respective European tours recently, with the encounter immortalized forever in the annals of Instagram.

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Cracking a safe

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Fun story out of Vermilion, Alberta - from the Canadian Broadcasting Company:

Safe sealed for 40 years until museum visitor spins the dial
What was locked inside the safe was a 40-year mystery.

The combination had defeated locksmiths and befuddled former employees at the hotel it once occupied.

That was till two weeks ago.

That's when the safe was opened by an unwitting visitor to the Vermilion, Alta., museum, where the safe sits in the basement.

"I had moved on to the next item on the tour when he just went down on knees and started playing with the dial," recalled Tom Kibblewhite, a longtime volunteer at the town museum.

"It couldn't have been more than two minutes, he tried the handle and the safe opened," Kibblewhite said in an interview Monday with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM. "I was in total shock. And he was too.

"I asked him if he was a professional safecracker. He said, 'No, I'm a machinist. I work in Fort McMurray.'"

The one-ton safe came from the town's old Brunswick Hotel which closed in the 1970s.

Hidden treasure? Not so lucky:

Alas, there was no valuable treasure inside the safe, just a few documents from its final days inside the old hotel. There was a dusty pad full of restaurant orders and a forgotten payslip from 1977.

"It listed 4½ hours at time and a half, seven hours of straight time and $42 deducted for meals and it came to a total payout of $9 and some cents."

Fun story though - more at the site.

From Outside Magazine:

The Weirdest Stories We've Ever Told
Weird” is an ill-defined term. Does it mean uncanny? Gross? Extraordinary? Supernatural? Here at Outside, it means all of the above. Our editors came together to find some of our weirdest stories from the archive. The result: a collection that ranges from spooky middle-of-the-night bigfoot hunts to an investigation into mysterious shrunken heads.

Looks like some fun reading...

Get woke, go broke

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Not that much into comics although there is some excellent work out there (I did buy and loved Five Fists of Science when it came out in 2006 - Nikola Tesla is one of my idols and love that Edison and Marconi are portrayed as the villans they are). Looks like one publisher recently started promoting social justice and their sales dropped into the bucket. From Bounding Into Comics:

Rumor: DC Comics to Shut Down Vertigo Comics
A new rumor indicates DC Comics will shut down their Vertigo Comics imprint.

The rumor comes from Rich Johnston and Bleeding Cool who notes he “has been informed by a number of sources.” He also states that the shuttering of the iconic comic imprint has “come from on high rather rapidly.”

About the origin:

Vertigo Comics was founded in 1993 by Karen Berger and focused on the horror and fantasy genres with comics targeted toward a more adult audience that featured violence, drug abuse, sexuality, nudity, profanity, and other controversial topics. It would eventually house crime, social commentary, and other genres.

The imprint saw success in a number of now famous comic book series including Sandman, Preacher, Y: The Last Man, 100 Bullets, Animal Man, V for Vendetta, American Vampire, Fables, DMZ, Doom Patrol, Swamp Thing, iZombie, and Hellblazer.

Many of the Vertigo Comics titles have been adapted into live-action television and films with Bill Willingham’s Fables series seeing a successful video game adaptation in The Wolf Among Us from Telltale Games.

Vertigo Comics TV series include Constantine, iZombie, Lucier, and Preacher. A Y: The Last Man series is currently in development. As for films they include Constantine, A History of Violence, V for Vendetta, The Fountain, The Losers, and the upcoming adaptation of The Kitchen.

Some major titles there - good bonafides. And their downfall?

While Vertigo Comics has a storied past, it’s current incarnation is anything but. DC Comics announced a relaunch of the imprint under Senior Editor Mark Doyle in 2018 that featured a number of extremely controversial creative teams including Zoe Quinn, Robbi Rodriguez, Ramon Villalobos, Eric Esquivel, Rob Sheridan, and Richard Pace among others.

Did these changes hurt the sales much?

And while the creators themselves were making controversial statements, their books were not selling. Quinn’s first issue of Goddess Mode only shipped 17,471 copies. The second issue shipped 8,116. It wouldn’t get any prettier.

Esquivel and Villalobos’ Border Town would only ship 15,259 copies of the first issue. The second issue shipped 8,847. You can already see the trend forming.

Hex Wives by Ben Blacker and Mirka Andolfo would only 17,158 copies of issue one. The second issue shipped 9,869.

Sheridan’s High Level #1 shipped 16,824 copies. The second issue shipped 8,155 copies.

American Carnage would only ship 12,891 units for its first issue. The second issue only shipped 7,434 units.

Like they say: Get Woke, Go Broke. Social Justice is toxic for the bottem line.

Two different generations

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In memory of D Day - 75 years ago today. From Michael Ramirez:

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A meme from China

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Regarding Huawei phones:

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If you build it, they will come

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Provide free shit to people who do not like working and you will drain the rest of the nation. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle are doing the rest of this nation a great big favor. From Los Angeles station KTLA:

Number of Homeless People Jumps 12% Across L.A. County to Nearly 59,000
The number of homeless people counted across Los Angeles County jumped 12% over the past year to nearly 59,000, with more young and old residents and families on the streets, officials said Tuesday.

The majority of the homeless were found within the city of Los Angeles, which saw a 16% increase to 36,300, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority said in presenting January's annual count to the county Board of Supervisors.

The people running these cities are not addressing the core problems - mental health, entitlement and just basic laziness.

Great quote

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From the master:

"No matter where or what, there are makers, takers, and fakers."
--Robert Heinlein

Good riddance

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This moke has spent too much time in the public forum - from FOX News:

California state bar moves to suspend Avenatti's law license, saying he poses 'substantial threat of harm to clients or the public'
The California State Bar, which oversees discipline for all California-licensed attorneys, issued a "consumer alert" Monday evening concerning Michael Avenatti, saying it was moving to suspend him from the practice of law because his alleged conduct "poses a substantial threat of harm to clients or the public."

The sudden development further accentuated Avenatti's dramatic public fall from grace -- he was once celebrated in liberal media circles as a potential challenger to President Trump -- as he faces numerous federal criminal charges in both California and New York courts for allegedly trying to blackmail the clothing giant Nike, impersonating a client, misappropriating client funds for personal purchases, and related matters.

His fifteen minutes are well over. Next?

Happy Killdozer Day

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Today is the fifteenth aniversary of Marvin Heemeyer's rampage. From Infogalactic:

Marvin John Heemeyer (October 28, 1951 – June 4, 2004) was an American welder and an automobile muffler repair shop owner most known for his rampage with a modified bulldozer. Outraged over the outcome of a zoning dispute, he armored a Komatsu D355A bulldozer with layers of steel and concrete and used it on June 4, 2004 to demolish the town hall, the former mayor's house, and other buildings in Granby, Colorado. The rampage ended when the bulldozer got stuck in the basement of a Gambles store he was in the process of destroying. Heemeyer then killed himself with a handgun.

Heemeyer had been feuding with Granby officials, particularly over fines for violating city ordinances and a zoning dispute regarding a concrete factory constructed opposite his muffler shop.

And the Killdozer?

In 2001, the zoning commission and the town's trustees approved the construction of a cement manufacturing plant. Heemeyer appealed the decisions unsuccessfully. For many years, Heemeyer had used the adjacent property as a way to get to his muffler shop. The plan for the cement plant blocked that access. In addition to the frustration engendered by this dispute over access, Heemeyer was fined $2,500 by the Granby government for various violations, including "junk cars on the property and not being hooked up to the sewer line".

Notes found by investigators after the incident indicate that the primary motivation for the bulldozer rampage was his fight to stop a concrete plant from being built near his shop. These notes indicated that he held grudges over the zoning approval. "I was always willing to be reasonable until I had to be unreasonable", he wrote. "Sometimes reasonable men must do unreasonable things."

Words to live by - more:

The machine used in the incident was a Komatsu D355A bulldozer[9] fitted with makeshift armor plating covering the cabin, engine and parts of the tracks. In places this armor was over 1 foot (30 cm) thick, consisting of 5000-psi Quikrete concrete mix sandwiched between sheets of tool steel (acquired from an automotive dealer in Denver), to make ad-hoc composite armor. This made the machine impervious to small arms fire and resistant to explosives: indeed three external explosions and more than 200 rounds of ammunition fired at the bulldozer had no effect on it.

For visibility the bulldozer was fitted with several video cameras linked to two monitors mounted on the vehicle's dashboard; the cameras were protected on the outside by 3-inch (76 mm) shields of bullet-resistant plastic. Onboard fans and an air conditioner were used to keep Heemeyer cool while driving, and compressed-air nozzles were fitted to blow dust away from the video cameras. He had made three gun-ports, fitted for a .50 caliber sniper rifle, a .308 semi-automatic, and a .22 long rifle, all fitted with a half-inch-thick steel plate. Heemeyer apparently had no intention of leaving the cabin once he entered it. Authorities speculated he may have used a homemade crane – found in his garage – to lower the armor hull over the dozer and himself. "Once he tipped that lid shut, he knew he wasn't getting out", Daly said. Investigators searched the garage where they believe Heemeyer built the vehicle and found cement and armor steel.

Afterwards the modified bulldozer came to be known as "Killdozer", although only Heemeyer was killed in the event by a self-inflicted gun shot.

On June 4, 2004, Heemeyer drove his armored bulldozer through the wall of his former business, the concrete plant, the Town Hall, the office of the local newspaper that editorialized against him, the home of a former judge's widow, and a hardware store owned by another man Heemeyer named in a lawsuit, as well as others. Owners of all the buildings that were damaged had some connection to Heemeyer's disputes

Quite the bit of American History.

Make it hurt financially - from the Associated Press:

Trump announces new Mexican tariffs in response to migrants
In a surprise announcement that could derail a major trade deal, President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he is slapping a 5% tariff on all Mexican imports, effective June 10, to pressure the country to do more to crack down on the surge of Central American migrants trying to cross the U.S. border.

He said the percentage will gradually increase — up to 25% — “until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied.”

The decision showed the administration going to new lengths, and looking for new levers, to pressure Mexico to take action — even if those risk upending other policy priorities, like the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a trade deal that is the cornerstone of Trump’s legislative agenda and seen as beneficial to his reelection effort. It also risks further damaging the already strained relationship between the U.S. and Mexico, two countries whose economics are deeply intertwined.

Yeah - it will make things difficult for a while but when you consider that Mexico is aiding and abetting this open flood of illegals across our border, something needs to be done. The long-term cost will be a lot lower than handing these people free food, medical care, education and money for the next 30 years.

To the moon

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Great video mashup - Stanley Kubrick and the moon program:

There is a wonderful movie from that period called The Dish - well worth checking out.

Modern urban design

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A sobering look at a new need for design - from Failed Architecture:

Making Anti-Terror Infrastructure Pretty: The Most Depressing New Urban Design Challenge
Urban designers are increasingly being tasked with an emergent ‘design challenge’ for public spaces: how best to deliver anti-terror infrastructure while generating a pleasant urban environment. By allowing themselves to be drawn into this challenge, and by dutifully working to respond with creative and constructive solutions, they are inadvertently helping to normalize a creeping ‘fortification’ of our cities that in turn contributes to a wider process of ‘bordering’ across the world.

The trend comes in the wake of a succession of fatal and horrific vehicle-based terror attacks over the past few years in several cities across the Global North, most notably London, Nice, Strasbourg, and New York. Following such attacks, knee-jerk urban design interventions have often involved the haphazard insertion of protective infrastructure into public spaces in the form of reinforced steel fences, cement blockades, and guarded entryways to pedestrian walkways and bike lanes. For example, following the vehicle attack that killed eight people in lower Manhattan on Halloween of 2017, New York’s Mayor, Bill de Blasio, reserved $103 million in the infrastructure budget “to install permanent barriers, bollards, granite blocks, [and] concrete blocks at well-trafficked central areas.”

Of course, this is nothing new for Israel - even their children's playgrounds have bomb shelters.

From Eastern Washington - the Wenatchee World:

Trouble snowballs for man who shot himself
A convicted felon accidentally shot himself in the genitals last month at an apartment in Cashmere. His problems didn’t stop there.

Cameron Jeffrey Wilson, 27, had a pistol tucked into his front pocket April 5 when the gun discharged, sending a bullet through his testicles and into his thigh, according to a probable cause affidavit filed April 16 in Chelan County Superior Court.

Instead of heading directly to a hospital, Wilson instructed his girlfriend to first drive to Lincoln Park in Wenatchee, where he gave the pistol to a friend, the affidavit said. A 13-time convicted felon, it is illegal for Wilson to possess a firearm.

As doctors and nurses performed surgery at Central Washington Hospital, a balloon containing marijuana slipped out of his anus, the affidavit said.

Chelan County sheriff’s detectives were notified that Wilson had suffered a gunshot wound and then responded to the hospital. They searched the car and found a bag of methamphetamine inside a pair of blood-stained jeans he’d taken off before entering the hospital.

More at the site - shades of yesterday's lament: The Stupid! It Burns!

Great quote

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"Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility."
--Sigmund Freud

A good list - 88 Truths

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From raptitude.com - Getting better at being human:

88 Important Truths I’ve Learned About Life
Everyone gets drilled with certain lessons in life. Sometimes it takes repeated demonstrations of a given law of life to really get it into your skull, and other times one powerful experience drives the point home once forever. Here are 88 things I’ve discovered about life, the world, and its inhabitants by this point in my short time on earth.

A couple that caught my eye:

01. You can’t change other people, and it’s rude to try.
05. Everyone likes somebody who gets to the point quickly.
16. Cynicism is far too easy to be useful.
55. By default, people think far too much.
83. The fewer possessions you have, the more they do for you.

83 more at the site - some obvious stuff, some not so obvious, some downright insightful...

Trash Talking

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From NPR comes this story of a garbage war:

Philippines' Duterte Talks Trash (Literally) To Canada, Threatening War Over Garbage
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte wants Canada to come get tons of trash that was wrongly sent to his country — and he's threatening extreme steps if Canada doesn't clean up the situation. "We'll declare war against them," Duterte said Tuesday.

The president was referring to a large shipment of municipal trash that has sat in Manila since its arrival in 2013 and 2014. The more than 100 shipping containers had been declared to hold recyclable plastic. But when the doors were opened, customs officials found "household trash, plastic bottles and bags, newspapers, and used adult diapers," according to Filipino news outlet ABS-CBN.

"I will not allow that kind of s***," Duterte said at a news conference Tuesday, adding that Canada has attempted to provide educational grant money to the Philippines — on the condition that it also accept the garbage.

Duterte said he wants the trash gone within a week, even if he has to return it by force.

I like Duterte - zero bullshit. All of the Philippine people I ever met have been really nice. Would not mind visiting there sometime. Besides, they have the world's only pipe organ made out of Bamboo.

A new town in Israel

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From The Jerusalem Post:

NETANYAHU: 'I WILL NAME A GOLAN TOWN AFTER TRUMP'
If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has his way, alongside Katzrin, Ramot and Ramat Magshimim on the Golan Heights, there may someday soon be a community named Kiryat Trump.

Netanyahu, who on Tuesday toured the Golan with his wife and sons, said a community or neighborhood on the Golan Heights should be named after US President Donald Trump in appreciation for his decision last month to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the strategic plateau.

“I am here with my family and many citizens of Israel at the foot of the Golan Heights, happy with the joy of the holiday and our beautiful country,” Netanyahu said in a video post. “And there is more joy - a few weeks ago I brought President Trump’s official recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights forever.”

A very nice tribute to a truly great man.

From Town and Country:

The Royal Family Celebrates Queen Elizabeth's Birthday With Sweet Messages on Instagram
This morning, Queen Elizabeth turned 93. The British monarch celebrated her birthday by attending Easter church services in St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle alongside several members of her family. Prince William and Kate were in attendance, as were Princess Anne and her two children, Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall and their spouses. Prince Andrew, Princess Beatrice, and Prince Edward and his family were all there as well.

But there were still a few missing faces in the crowd. While Harry walked down the hill alongside his cousins, his wife Meghan stayed home, likely as she is just days away from her due date. Prince Philip also skipped this morning's events, as did Prince Charles and Camilla, who are currently in Scotland.

But regardless of who was at the church this morning, the royal family also turned out for the Queen's big day on social media, sharing tributes to their matriarch on Instagram.

God Save (and Bless) The Queen. She is one of a kind.

Now this looks wonderful

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We focus on his hobbit books but J. R. R. Tolkien lived a very rich and interesting life. Comes out May 10th.

Looks like Georgetown University is circling the drain. From the New York Times:

Georgetown Students Agree to Create Reparations Fund
Students at Georgetown University voted on Thursday to increase their tuition to benefit descendants of the 272 enslaved Africans that the Jesuits who ran the school sold nearly two centuries ago to secure its financial future.

The fund they voted to create would represent the first instance of reparations for slavery by a prominent American organization.

I am fine with this AS LONG AS those receiving the monies agree to pay $1 for every cell phone call they make. Why? Cell phones were invented by a white guy. Television? Same thing. The encryption process that secures online commerce? Two white guys.

Fred Reed has just a partial list:

Euclidean geometry. Parabolic geometry. Hyperbolic geometry. Projective geometry. Differential geometry. Calculus: Limits, continuity, differentiation, integration. Physical chemistry. Organic chemistry. Biochemistry. Classical mechanics. The indeterminacy principle. The wave equation. The Parthenon. The Anabasis. Air conditioning. Number theory. Romanesque architecture. Gothic architecture. Information theory. Entropy. Enthalpy. Every symphony ever written. Pierre Auguste Renoir. The twelve-tone scale. The mathematics behind it, twelfth root of two and all that. S-p hybrid bonding orbitals. The Bohr-Sommerfeld atom. The purine-pyrimidine structure of the DNA ladder. Single-sideband radio. All other radio. Dentistry. The internal-combustion engine. Turbojets. Turbofans. Doppler beam-sharpening. Penicillin. Airplanes. Surgery. The mammogram. The Pill. The condom. Polio vaccine. The integrated circuit. The computer. Football. Computational fluid dynamics. Tensors. The Constitution. Euripides, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Aeschylus, Homer, Hesiod. Glass. Rubber. Nylon. Roads. Buildings. Elvis. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. (OK, that’s nerve gas, and maybe we didn’t really need it.) Silicone. The automobile. Really weird stuff, like clathrates, Buckyballs, and rotaxanes. The Bible. Bug spray. Diffie-Hellman, public-key cryptography, and RSA. Et cetera.

'Nuff said... This observation is not racism. It is a simple fact. Truth is color blind and if you try to bend the narrative around this (all hail diversity) than YOU are being racist.

Immigrant gangs - MS-13

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Just wonderful - from the Houston Chronicle:

‘A ticking time bomb’: MS-13 threatens a middle school, warn teachers, parents, students
The boys had once been friends before MS-13 began recruiting one of them. Now, as other students streamed to class one April morning at William Wirt Middle School in Riverdale, Maryland, the two teens squared off in the third-story bathroom - a fight captured by another student on his cellphone.

A bit more:

Gang-related fights are now a near-daily occurrence at Wirt, where a small group of suspected MS-13 members at the overwhelmingly Hispanic school throw gang signs, sell drugs, draw gang graffiti and aggressively recruit students recently arrived from Central America, according to more than two dozen teachers, parents and students. Most of those interviewed asked not to be identified for fear of losing their jobs or being targeted by MS-13.

Although administrators deny Wirt has a gang problem, the situation inside the aging, overcrowded building has left some teachers so afraid that they refuse to be alone with their students. Many said they had repeatedly reported incidents involving suspected gang members to administrators, only to be ignored.

And of course:

Rhonda Simley, the principal at Wirt, declined repeated requests for an interview.

Discovery is a bitch

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Trials can turn out really bad at times - the dicovery process can uncover things that people do not want uncovered. When you see a very public lawsuit and then a very quick out-of-court settlement, you can bet that the concept of discovery was not fully understood by one or more parties. From Karl Denninger writing at The Market Ticker:

Jussie Gets 'In The Butt' Smollett
I'm going to grab a big bowl and sit back to watch the ****show...

Chicago is vowing a civil suit against Jussie Smollett after the "Empire" actor "refused to reimburse" the city for the cost of investigating his controversial case.

He's gonna lose, and badly -- the standard of proof is preponderance of the evidence in a civil suit, not beyond a reasonable doubt.

But more to the point he's got a much bigger problem -- discovery.

The so-called "sealed records" are worthless in this regard, especially considering that the CPD released them before the sealing order was filed. Those are usable in a civil trial and what's worse since the criminal charges were dismissed I doubt he can get anywhere trying to take the 5th either.

That's the real bitch when you pull something and whoever you screw gets mad enough to sue; they get to file for discovery and damn near anything they want that is relevant to the case, they get -- and its public. You can try to have things sealed but you're likely to lose that motion; there are only a few legitimate ways to seal discovery in a civil suit other than by agreement (e.g. trade secrets, etc) and none of them are going to work in this case. "I don't want anyone to see it" doesn't get there.

Were I Jussie I'd have negotiated the invoice from the city and forked over the money rather than go down this road. Once they sue him he gets to pay the lawyers, even if he settles later, and that isn't going to be cheap.

It would be one thing if he had a reasonable chance of prevailing -- but I give him one chance in 10. Trying to throw the two brothers under the bus isn't likely to work, given that they have the check from Jussie. If it was one word against another, maybe -- but there's documentation and that's going to be damn hard to explain. Never mind that the civil trial record will likely bury any chance of him working ever again. Would you hire someone who gets nailed on a civil judgement for a hate-crime hoax when said person is a minority?

Heh - the wheels of justice may grind slow but they leave a very fine ash in their wake.

Passages - RIP Dan Robbins

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Dan Robbins? From the Toledo Blade:

Toledo-area artist who created paint-by-numbers pictures dies
An artist who created the first paint-by-numbers pictures and helped turn the kits into an American sensation during the 1950s has died.

Dan Robbins, whose works were dismissed by some critics but later celebrated by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, died Monday in Sylvania, said his son, Larry Robbins. He was 93.

A bit of Americana - sales peaked in 1955 at 20,000,000

Life in today's America

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Interesting story - from The Daily Wire:

61-Year-Old Woman Gives Birth To Own Granddaughter For Gay Son Using His Husband's Sister's Egg
Last week, a 61-year-old woman carrying her own granddaughter via a surrogacy pregnancy gave birth in a Nebraska hospital.

Cecile Eledge carried her gay son's daughter to term; the six-pound baby girl, named Uma Louise Dougherty-Eledge, was conceived through in vitro fertilization with her son Matthew Eledge's sperm and his husband's sister's eggs.

According to NBC News, Matthew and his husband Elliot Dougherty decided to have a child using Elliot's sister Lea Yribe's eggs via surrogacy but were "hesitant to go into agencies" due to the conservative nature of the state.

“Nebraska is a bit more conservative, and we were hesitant to go into agencies, and had a bit of fear that maybe some things would hold us back being a gay couple,” Matthew said, according to the outlet.

So, Matthew’s mother offered to carry the baby. “I just never hesitated. I was just so excited to be able to be part of this adventure with them. … It was just unconditional love," she said.

That is going to make family reunions interesting...

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