Recently in Culture Category

The inmates are running the asylum

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And it is a local story too - from The Daily Caller:

College Writing Center Declares American Grammar A ‘Racist,’ ‘Unjust Language Structure’
An “antiracist” poster in a college writing center insists American grammar is “racist” and an “unjust language structure,” promising to prioritize rhetoric over “grammatical ‘correctness.'”

The poster, written by the director, staff, and tutors of the University of Washington, Tacoma’s Writing Center, states “racism is the normal condition of things,” declaring that it permeates rules, systems, expectations, in courses, school and society.

Christ on a Corn Dog - remember Ebonics from 1996? Thought not. The students should sue to get their tuition refunded - the U-Dub is setting them up for a big-time fail once they graduate and try to find work in the real world. Writing in dialect is fine to make a point but the little snowflakes should be able to diagram a sentence and be intimately familiar with Strunk and White (not that kind of white dammit!)

A little list

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A bunch of illegal immigrants were rounded up recently (about 680 people nationwide). People protested. What they did not know is that all but two (the two were mistaken identity and released) of these people were criminals.  John Binder writing at Breitbart has a list of the 41 people from New York City - here are just the first five:

    1. A 31-year-old El Salvador national with a criminal conviction for assault with a dangerous weapon in aid of racketeering and self-admitted MS-13 gang member. He was arrested in New Hyde Park, NY.
    2. A 49-year-old Jamaican national with a criminal conviction for first degree sexual assault of a victim under the age of 11. Convicted of sexual assault carnal abuse. He was arrested in Bronx, NY.
    3. A 60-year-old Mexican national with a criminal convicted for first degree sexual assault of a victim under the age of 11 and endangering the welfare of a child. He was arrested in Staten Island, NY.
    4. A 23-year-old Guyana national with a conviction of rape. He was arrested in Richmond Hill, NY.
    5. A 29-year-old Guatemala national convicted of rape. He was arrested in Bronx, NY.

Fine upstanding citizens - all of them.

Heh - Ivanka Trump

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Gerard provides this meme and a link to a great story:

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From the New York City FOX News affiliate:

Ivanka Trump brand tops Amazon Best Sellers list
First Daughter Ivanka Trump could be getting the last laugh at brick and mortar stores that have dropped her brand of clothing, shoes, perfumes and more.

On Friday morning, Ivanka Trump Eau de Parfum Spray For Women, 3.4 Fluid Ounce and the roller ball version of the perfume were number one and two top selling perfumes on Amazon's Best Sellers list.

This is wonderful - the fake news sites can spew all they want to but numbers do not lie.

Idiots - from Page Six:

Grammys producer wants stars to be political during speeches
In a fraught moment of political protest across the country, the live mic at televised award shows has become a potent weapon.

As such, Grammy Awards producer Ken Ehrlich has a message for those who will take the stage on Sunday’s ceremony: Bring it on.

Ehrlich has no reservations about political messages or anti-President Trump statements flying during CBS’ three and a half hour Grammycast. Artists expressing passionate opinions about real-life issues are the stuff of memorable moments, he said.

Boooooring... If I watch a show like The Grammys, it is because I want to be entertained by professional musicians showing us what they can do in a live venue. Their pathetic virtue signaling has absolutely zero interest to me. I am reminded of this epic rant:

Dear Hollywood celebrities: It’s time to wake up now. Get this! The only reason you exist is for my entertainment. Some of you are beautiful. Some of you can deliver a line with such conviction that you bring tears to my eyes. Some of you are so convincing that you scare the stuffing out of me. And others are so funny you can make me laugh uncontrollably. But you all have one thing in common. You only exist and have a place in my world to entertain me. That’s it. Nothing else!

You make your living pretending to be someone else. You play dress-up like a 5-year-old. Your world is a make-believe world—it is not real; it doesn't exist. You live for the camera while the rest of us live in the real world. Your entire existence depends on my patronage. I crank the organ grinder, and you dance.

Therefore, I don't care where you stand on issues. Honestly, your opinion means nothing to me. Just because you had a lead role in a movie about prostitution doesn't mean you know what it’s like to be a prostitute. Your view matters far less to me than that of a someone living in Timbuktu. Believe me or not, the hard truth is that you aren't real. I turn off my TV or shut down my computer, and you cease to exist. Once I am done with you, I go back to the real world until I want you to entertain me again.

I don't care that you think BP executives deserve the death penalty. I don't care what you think about the environment. I don't care if you believe fracking is bad. I don't care if you call for more gun control. I don't care if you believe in catastrophic, human-induced global warming. And I couldn't care less that you supported Hillary for President. By the way, she lost!!

Get back into your bubble. I'll let you know when I'm in the mood for something pretty or scary or funny. And one other thing. What was all that “I'll leave the country if Donald Trump wins”? Don't you know how stupid that made you sound? What did you think my reaction was going to be? Oooh! I better not vote for Trump or we'll lose Whoopi Goldberg? Al Sharpton? Amy Schemer? Rosie O’Donnell? Leave. Good riddance. I don't care! And don't let the door hit you in the keister on your way out. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Even scare me. But realize this: the only words of yours that matter are scripted — just like your pathetic, little lives. I may agree with some of you from time to time, but in the final analysis, it doesn't matter. In my world, you exist solely for my entertainment.

So, shut your mouth and dance, monkey, DANCE!

So true and yet, these poor people are so oblivious, they actually think their personal opinions matter to me.

President Trump's personality

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I have been reading Willis Eschenbach for a couple of years. The guy has led a fascinating life and writes about it and writes well. He started off posting at Anthony's but now has a blog of his own.

Today's post is a great insight into the personality of President Trump - stepping on toes, changing his mind, etc... Spot on:

The Building
Lately I’ve been considering why it is that I find it fairly easy to understand President Trump’s actions. Today I realized that we are both builders who are the sons of builders.

My dad, Benson Eschenbach, was an architect, a developer, and a builder. After WWII, he moved the family out to San Diego, California. There, he and a couple of partners developed one of the first architect-designed subdivisions where the houses were not just cookie-cutter boxes. He was instrumental in developing what was called the “San Diego Style” of architecture. Not all architects are builders, but he loved to work with his hands.

Much more at the site - just go and read. It will take about ten minutes - be sure to check out the comments too. Reading this will make a lot of things clear.

From the The Metropolitan Museum of Art:

The Met Makes Its Images of Public-Domain Artworks Freely Available through New Open Access Policy
Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, announced today its adoption of a new policy: all images of public-domain artworks in the Museum's collection are now available for free and unrestricted use. This updated policy, known as Open Access, utilizes the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) designation. This policy change is an update to The Museum’s 2014 Open Access for Scholarly Content (OASC) initiative. The Met’s Open Access policy facilitates the use of more than 375,000 images of public-domain artworks for both scholarly and commercial purposes. The Museum is collaborating with global partners to enable greater access to the collection.

In making the announcement, Mr. Campbell said: "We have been working toward the goal of sharing our images with the public for a number of years. Our comprehensive and diverse museum collection spans 5,000 years of world culture and our core mission is to be open and accessible for all who wish to study and enjoy the works of art in our care. Increasing access to the Museum’s collection and scholarship serves the interests and needs of our 21st-century audiences by offering new resources for creativity, knowledge, and ideas. We thank Creative Commons, an international leader in open access and copyright, for being a partner in this effort.”

The gateways can be found at Creative Commons and at GitHub

There are degenerate people everywhere - check out this from The Daily Caller:

NAACP Head And Convicted Murderer Says He’ll ‘Fire Back’ If We Report On Embezzlement
A high-ranking official convicted of murder threatened to “fire back” if The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group (TheDCNF) reported that a new branch president for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) embezzled during his tenure at a previous nonprofit.

Gerald Hankerson, president of the Alaska, Oregon and Washington State regional NAACP, told TheDCNF he wasn’t “authorizing” the disclosure because it “strikes a blow to the NAACP by indicating that we allow criminals at the leadership.”

The person in question:

TheDCNF reported Thursday that the Anchorage, Alaska, branch of the NAACP in November elected Kevin McGee, who had been convicted of using his previous position as president of a government employees union to steal from, as a court document put it, “the very people he was supposed to represent.” In a victim impact statement, the union called McGee “an opportunistic thief who has shown no remorse.”

Are people so blind that they would hire convicted criminals and give them positions of great power and authority. There were no checks and balances in that organization at all.

Running scared - Berkeley, California

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From San Francisco station KPIX:

Bay Area Conservatives Keep Meetups Secret Fearing For Their Safety
Some East Bay conservatives say they live a secret life. They can never tell anyone what they really feel like in fear of their safety.

Robert Ward is coming out conservative, but in a place he says is risky for those who share his beliefs.

“If you witness what happened in Berkeley, actually they are so violent on top of it. I mean being a conservative in the Bay Area is like being a heretic,” says Ward. “You lead a double life. You can never tell your friends and co-workers.”

Robert says several Bay Area conservatives have secret meet ups like the one KPIX 5 was invited to visit in the East Bay.

Robert had this to say:

“They seem to pride themselves on being diverse, and they are diverse about everything but their ideology,” says Ward. “I hope that in the future when people see Trump isn’t as scary as they think he is and a lot of the good things that happen and the prosperity comes back and the jobs come back, every one calms down a little bit.”

Do not count on it - the marching and rioting have always been run by the fringe and nothing satisfies them. As long as they have their Soros money lining their pockets, they will keep going. This is what defines them.

I love the Intel drones in the beginning act:

Great Hyundai ad - Super Bowl

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Best of the Super Bowl ads I have seen:

Major props to Lady Gaga

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She did the halftime show for the superbowl and had the chance to make a political statement - she was a Hillary supporter. Instead, she just sang. From Breitbart:

Lady Gaga Steers Clear of Politics in Super Bowl Halftime Show
Lady Gaga played several of her greatest hits and stayed away from making political statements during her performance Sunday night at the Super Bowl LI halftime show.

Opening with an a-capella mash-up of “God Bless America” and “This Land is Your Land” under a flurry of red, white and blue-colored drones, the 30-year-old singer dropped down from the roof into NRG Stadium in Houston and launched into her hit “Poker Face” from atop an elaborate tower structure.

Good move on her part. This did not go unnoticed. Her perofmance can be seen here - cannot embed the video. She was interviewed Saturday and said this:

“I believe in a passion for inclusion,” she said at a press conference in Houston on Saturday. “I believe in the spirit of equality, and the spirit of this country as one of love and compassion and kindness. So my performance will have both those philosophies.”

Great shot and chaser from Maggie's Farm:

I remember back in the old days, public conversations between liberals and conservatives usually went something like this:

1. liberal: says something
2. conservative: responds
3. liberal: you're a racist | sexist | bigot | pejorative du jour
4a. conservative: I am not a racist | sexist | bigot | pejorative du jour
4b. conservative attempts to give evidence for statement 4a.
5. liberal: not good enough
6. Go to step 3

The new, Trump-era "honey badger conservative" playbook appears to be this:

1. conservative: says something
2. liberal: you're a racist | sexist | bigot | pejorative du jour
3. conservative: fuck you.

These certainly are fun times.
(As I sit back in my chair and savor another drop of the finest spirit in the world - distilled from snowflake tears)

Fascism - a two-fer

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Saw on the web:

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Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data

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The title of a class to be taught at the University of Washington, Spring Quarter of 2017 and looking into ways of making the lectures broadly available, be it on YouTube or via a more formal MOOC platform.

From the website Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data

The world is awash in bullshit. Politicians are unconstrained by facts. Science is conducted by press release. Higher education rewards bullshit over analytic thought. Startup culture elevates bullshit to high art. Advertisers wink conspiratorially and invite us to join them in seeing through all the bullshit — and take advantage of our lowered guard to bombard us with bullshit of the second order. The majority of administrative activity, whether in private business or the public sphere, seems to be little more than a sophisticated exercise in the combinatorial reassembly of bullshit.

We're sick of it. It's time to do something, and as educators, one constructive thing we know how to do is to teach people. So, the aim of this course is to help students navigate the bullshit-rich modern environment by identifying bullshit, seeing through it, and combating it with effective analysis and argument.

What do we mean, exactly, by the term bullshit? As a first approximation, bullshit is language, statistical figures, data graphics, and other forms of presentation intended to persuade by impressing and overwhelming a reader or listener, with a blatant disregard for truth and logical coherence.

While bullshit may reach its apogee in the political domain, this is not a course on political bullshit. Instead, we will focus on bullshit that comes clad in the trappings of scholarly discourse. Traditionally, such highbrow nonsense has come couched in big words and fancy rhetoric, but more and more we see it presented instead in the guise of big data and fancy algorithms — and these quantitative, statistical, and computational forms of bullshit are those that we will be addressing in the present course.

Of course an advertisement is trying to sell you something, but do you know whether the TED talk you watched last night is also bullshit — and if so, can you explain why? Can you see the problem with the latest New York Times or Washington Post article fawning over some startup's big data analytics? Can you tell when a clinical trial reported in the New England Journal or JAMA is trustworthy, and when it is just a veiled press release for some big pharma company?

Bookmarking the page and will be checking it regularly. There is already a lot of wonderful reading there.

Obama's legacy - Education

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Failed. From The Washington Post:

Obama administration spent billions to fix failing schools, and it didn’t work
One of the Obama administration’s signature efforts in education, which pumped billions of federal dollars into overhauling the nation’s worst schools, failed to produce meaningful results, according to a federal analysis.

Test scores, graduation rates and college enrollment were no different in schools that received money through the School Improvement Grants program — the largest federal investment ever targeted to failing schools — than in schools that did not.

The Education Department published the findings on the website of its research division on Wednesday, hours before President Obama’s political appointees walked out the door.

“We’re talking about millions of kids who are assigned to these failing schools, and we just spent several billion dollars promising them things were going to get better,” said Andy Smarick, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who has long been skeptical that the Obama administration’s strategy would work. “Think of what all that money could have been spent on instead.”

This comes from doing what sounds good as opposed to doing what works well. It seems to be a big problem for liberals to tell the difference between the two.

From TMZ:

MARY TYLER MOORE DEAD AT 80
Mary Tyler Moore -- the television icon who charmed America with comedic brilliance and charisma on her hugely successful '70s show -- died in a Connecticut hospital ... TMZ has learned.

MTM's longtime rep, Mara Buxbaum, issued a statement to TMZ saying, "Today, beloved icon, Mary Tyler Moore, passed away at the age of 80 in the company of friends and her loving husband of over 33 years, Dr. S. Robert Levine."

"A groundbreaking actress, producer, and passionate advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Mary will be remembered as a fearless visionary who turned the world on with her smile."

Watched many an episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show while growing up. She was a classic.

An email

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Joe at Fat in Indiana received this email from his brother:

Dear Hollywood celebrities: It’s time to wake up now. Get this! The only reason you exist is for my entertainment. Some of you are beautiful. Some of you can deliver a line with such conviction that you bring tears to my eyes. Some of you are so convincing that you scare the stuffing out of me. And others are so funny you can make me laugh uncontrollably. But you all have one thing in common. You only exist and have a place in my world to entertain me. That’s it. Nothing else!

You make your living pretending to be someone else. You play dress-up like a 5-year-old. Your world is a make-believe world—it is not real; it doesn't exist. You live for the camera while the rest of us live in the real world. Your entire existence depends on my patronage. I crank the organ grinder, and you dance.

Therefore, I don't care where you stand on issues. Honestly, your opinion means nothing to me. Just because you had a lead role in a movie about prostitution doesn't mean you know what it’s like to be a prostitute. Your view matters far less to me than that of a someone living in Timbuktu. Believe me or not, the hard truth is that you aren't real. I turn off my TV or shut down my computer, and you cease to exist. Once I am done with you, I go back to the real world until I want you to entertain me again.

I don't care that you think BP executives deserve the death penalty. I don't care what you think about the environment. I don't care if you believe fracking is bad. I don't care if you call for more gun control. I don't care if you believe in catastrophic, human-induced global warming. And I couldn't care less that you supported Hillary for President. By the way, she lost!!

Get back into your bubble. I'll let you know when I'm in the mood for something pretty or scary or funny. And one other thing. What was all that “I'll leave the country if Donald Trump wins”? Don't you know how stupid that made you sound? What did you think my reaction was going to be? Oooh! I better not vote for Trump or we'll lose Whoopi Goldberg? Al Sharpton? Amy Schemer? Rosie O’Donnell? Leave. Good riddance. I don't care! And don't let the door hit you in the keister on your way out. Make me laugh. Make me cry. Even scare me. But realize this: the only words of yours that matter are scripted — just like your pathetic, little lives. I may agree with some of you from time to time, but in the final analysis, it doesn't matter. In my world, you exist solely for my entertainment.

So, shut your mouth and dance, monkey, DANCE!

Talk about speaking truth to power monkeys.

A new approach to Education

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Charter Schools are good but they are subject to the same bureaucratic meddling from governments that public schools are. Here is a private school started by a Libertarian businessman which charges one quarter what regular private schools charge and the kids get a better education:

Thales Academy from Infogalactic, the Academy website

This is fun - welcome aboard!

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It is not just bitter clingers and baskets of deplorables who are stocking up on food, water and ammo - from Vocativ:

Liberal Preppers Stock Up On Guns, Food As Trumpocalypse Looms
Colin Waugh bought a shotgun four weeks before November’s election.

An unapologetic liberal, he was no fan of firearms. He had never owned one before. But Waugh, a 31-year-old from Independence, Missouri, couldn’t shake his fears of a Donald Trump presidency — and all of the chaos it could bring. He imagined hate crimes and violence waged by extremists emboldened by the Republican nominee’s brash, divisive rhetoric. He pictured state-sanctioned roundups of Muslims, gays, and outspoken critics.

“I kept asking myself, ‘Do I want to live under tyranny?'” said Waugh, who supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary and later backed Hillary Clinton. “The answer was absolutely not.”

With Trump now days away from assuming the White House, Waugh’s preparing for the worst. He’s made “bug-out bags” stuffed with ammo, energy bars, and assorted survival gear for his wife and their three cats. He’s begun stowing water and browsing real estate listings in Gunnison County, Colorado, which he’s determined to be a “liberal safe-haven.” Last month, Waugh added a 9mm handgun to his arsenal.

This is the whole Y2K scare all over again. Back in 1999, people thought that civilization would come to a halt because it was found that some computer systems could not handle the date roll-over properly. That was fixed and life went on as usual. It was fun because there were lots of nice generators and guns and prepper gear for sale in late 2000 and early 2001 Cheap!

A bit more:

“We’re tired of being perceived as wusses who won’t survive when shit hits the fan,” said Stacy, a Texas Democrat who recently caught the prepper bug. She spoke with Vocativ on the condition we not publish her last name. “I, for one, don’t like to be thought of as some precious snowflake.”

After years cast as a fringe survival group, preppers entered a kind of golden age during the Obama presidency. A horrific housing crash and the spectacle of Hurricane Sandy helped give rise to reality television shows like Doomsday Preppers and Doomsday Bunker, and fueled a multi-billion dollar survival industry. Branded by some as a foreign-born, gun-grabbing socialist, Obama aroused deep suspicion among the patriot groups, right-wing conservatives, and apocalyptic Christians at the center of the growing movement.

Trump’s provocative posturing and unpredictability is now inspiring a fresh wave of panic on the left. Those who spoke with Vocativ have envisioned scenarios that could lead to military coups led by loyalists of the president-elect and internment camps packed with political opponents, bloody social unrest and an all-out civil or nuclear war. Sound bonkers? Perhaps. But, for many, so was the prospect of a President Trump.

You just go ahead - we will be more than happy to by your stuff off you for pennies on the dollar once prepping is no longer 'hip' or 'cool'. Besides, everyone knows that the real shit-hitting-fan moment will be on  03:14:07 UTC on 19 January 2038 - any questions? I will be in my bunker.

Good morning - a great meme

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Swiped from Bayou Renaissance Man who reminds us of H. L. Mencken's famous definition of puritanism: "The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."

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Heh - Michael Ramirez on Meryl Streep

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From his website: Michael Ramirez

Empathy and Meryl Streep

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A long wonderful essay on empathy by Bulldog at Maggie's Farm:

Has Lack of Empathy Been Pathologized?
I am not delving into the psychology of empathy. I'm not trained in it, and I don't know enough to make a statement from that position.  I can, however, write about its effect on my own experiences, from my own therapy, and from a recent event which sparked a challenging debate.

That event was Meryl Streep's Golden Globes acceptance speech.  I watched about 5 minutes of it, then left.  Because I can, and I chose to.  While I agreed with a bit, there was far more there than I was interested in hearing.  To begin with, I don't watch award shows, I happened to switch it on at just that moment and thought I'd like to see her receive her award.  If I am going to watch an awards show, I want to be entertained, not lectured.  I turned it off.  I did read the text the next day when the brouhaha around it began.  Mainly because New York, the center of 'if you disagreed with her, you're insane and wrong and must have something wrong with you' began to show its ugliness.  In other words, "Hillary lost and WE STILL HAVE NO CLUE HOW AND WHY IT HAPPENED SO WE MUST LASH OUT!"  Meryl was offered a moment to lash out, and she did.  Following some kind of empathic tribal code, her supporters rushed to demonize anyone who didn't 'feel' the same way Meryl did.

Before rejecting what Meryl had to say, I'll point out what I agreed with.  I do agree Trump needs to show more decorum, and engage better behavior, if he wants to be a good president.  He is thin-skinned and often disrespectful.  It's unbecoming.  I also agree the press does need to pay attention to what is happening and remain vigilant, and maintain its proper role as the Fourth Estate - a role it has given up in the last 20-odd years, unless a Republican is in office.  I agree the press and foreigners play an important role in society.  I agree we need to be civil toward each other, and not act like bullies.  If these simple statements were made, I'd have said "Nice speech."

But she said so much more.  The issue isn't just that she said more, but also where she said it from, and how she positioned herself in saying it.  I was left to think "Just who the hell does this person think they are?  They can't really be serious. How can she represent so many positions?"  Turns out she can't, but believes she can.

One more taste:

In other words, Meryl's lack of empathy was astounding.  Her inability to understand why others did not vote as she did leads her to make odd accusations and create false memes to help herself cope.  In her speech she exhibited everything that is wrong with Democrats right now.  A complete misunderstanding of what empathy is, and what it's meant to be used for.  For them, empathy is only understanding how they feel - they really don't give a damn how you feel.  Which is fine by me, because when it comes to politics, I don't let my feelings get in the way.  I need facts, not feelings.  Call me a heartless bastard, but using empathy to create a moral high ground from which to pass judgement on those you deem lacking empathy?  That is new to me.  It's uniquely fascistic, but I've seen this become more common.  It is frequently used in the workplace to chastise managers who try to get more out of Millenials.  We're simply not being "empathetic" about who they are.

Well worth reading the entire thing. The writing at Maggie's Farm is always excellent - a daily read for me.

Fake news again

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Social Justice warriors always lie - from the Baltimore, MD CBS affiliate:

Police Charge Student For Threat Made At Arundel High School
The Anne Arundel County Police Department has charged a 14-year-old girl with a juvenile citation for sending a threatening tweet related to Arundel High School.

Police began their investigation after Arundel High School officials told them about a suspicious Twitter account.

The account, named @KoolkidsKlanKkk, reportedly sent out a tweet that read, “We’re planning to attack tomorrow”.

This account used similar language to a racial petition that had been passed around Anne Arundel High School by the “Kool Kids Klan”.

Police worked with Twitter, and were able to identify the person who created the account and sent out the threatening tweet.

Aaaaand wait for it:

That person has been identified as a 14-year-old African American female who attends Arundel High School.

So the moke spreading the racism was black. Figures - this is always the case.

And we love you too - Melinda Byerley

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What a putz - from Heat Street:

Liberal CEO Slams Middle America: ‘No Educated Person Wants to Live in Sh*thole With Stupid People’
The CEO of a marketing and advertising firm in San Francisco has attacked Middle America in a bizarre rant on Facebook, saying “no educated person wants to live in a shithole with stupid people” and alleging that most residents are racist.

Melinda Byerley, CEO of TimeShareCMO and an apparent Hillary supporter, has posted an innocently titled Facebook post “What middle America can do to get more jobs in their area.” Instead of offering any reasonable solutions, the post turned into a vicious rant against Middle America, demanding “fiber internet” and a commitment “to not being bigots” before she can consider moving there.

She deleted this post and fire-walled her twitter account but fortunately, the internet is forever:

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Talk about living in a bubble. Here is the website for TimeShareCMO

Be sure to check out the 550+ comments

Coming soon to a county near you

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I have met the type - this is closer to reality than I care to think about...

Mariah Carey's New Year's performance

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She blew her lines lip-syncing and blamed it on a faulty monitor - the sound company has been doing this gig for many years and they say everything was running fine. Here is the real reason - the Russian's hacked her:

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Wonder if they have passenger service

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This would be quite the journey - from the UK Telegraph:

China launches freight train to Britain
China launched its first freight train to London on Sunday, according to the China Railway Corporation.

The train will travel from Yiwu West Railway Station in Zhejiang Province, Eastern China to Barking, London, taking 18 days to travel over 7,400 miles.

The route runs through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, Belgium and France, before arriving in London. The UK is the eighth country to be added to the China-Europe service, and London is the 15th city.

It would be especially nice if you could hop off and catch the next one - spend a week in an area.

A clever idea for Times Square

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From Auto Blog:

Dump trucks filled with sand will guard New Year's Eve revelers in NYC
On Saturday night, over two million people will crowd into New York City's iconic Times Square to say good riddance to the no good, very bad year known as 2016. And after worrying holiday attacks in Nice, France, and Berlin, Germany, keeping the revelers safe is job one for the Big Apple's government. Its solution? Dump trucks with a lot of sand in the bed.

When you tune into ABC, MTV (do people still watch MTV for New Year's?), NBC, or some other network's NYE coverage, don't be surprised to see large white or orange Department of Sanitation trucks filled with sand and conspicuously placed around Times Square. The trucks, based on our perusing of the Department of Sanitation's website, handle tasks like snow removal and salt or sand spreading as a day job. But for NYE, they're on security duty.

When filled with sand, the 16-ton trucks nearly double in weight. Considering ISIS carried out attacks in Germany and France by plowing trucks into crowds, the hulking DSNY trucks are a perfect mobile barricade that should give any plotters pause. And if a terrorist – home-grown or otherwise – attempts to detonate a bomb, the huge trucks are fully capable of absorbing blasts and shrapnel.

Very clever idea and cheap to implement.

Happy New Year Hogmanay

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From the Daily Express:

What is Hogmanay? How is New Year’s Eve celebrated in Scotland?
Hogmanay is the Scottlish New Year’s Eve celebration and for many Scots is more important than Christmas Day – which only became a public holiday in Scotland in 1958 after being effectively banned by the Protestant Reformation for 400 years.

The holiday dates back to the Vikings, who threw wild parties the celebrate the winter solstice in late December.

The Norse invaders began to incorporate elements of the Gaelic Samhain festival, which also contributed to the Twelve Days of Christmas – or the Daft Days as they became known in Scotland.

Would not mind being in Edinburgh tonight - maybe add that to the bucket list with a coulpe weeks in Iceland on the way.

A very nice gesture

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Russia suffered a major airplane disaster with 92 fatalities when a Tu-154 airplane crashed shortly after takeoff. This from Russia Today:

Major Russian bank wipes out Tu-154 plane crash victims' debt
State-run Sberbank has written off loans taken out by the victims of the Russia’s Tu-154 airplane crash last Sunday, according to Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov.

The minister confirmed victims’ relatives will have to apply either through Sberbank or offices assigned by the Defense and Labor Ministries.

Sokolov said that he will negotiate with other Russian banks to do likewise.

Sberbank will provide compensation payments to the victim’s families during the New Year holidays, said the minister.

Some branches will work during the holidays to implement the payments, the work won’t stop even after January 1,” said Sokolov.

That is just a really nice gesture. Bad enough that families lose loved ones and breadwinners. Nice that they will not be saddled with any debt incurred by the deceased.

Heh - from BoingBoing:

I resemble that remark!

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Swiped in full from Ace of Spades:

  • I was born white, which now, whether I like it or not, makes me a racist.
  • I am a fiscal and moral conservative, which by today’s standards, makes me a fascist.
  • I am heterosexual, which according to gay folks, now makes me a homophobe.
  • I am non-union, which makes me a traitor to the working class and an ally of big business.
  • I am a Christian, which now labels me as an infidel.
  • I believe in the 2nd Amendment, which now makes me a member of the vast gun lobby.
  • I am retired, which makes me useless.
  • I think and I reason, therefore I doubt much that the main stream media tells me, which must make me a reactionary.
  • I am proud of my heritage and our inclusive American culture, which makes me a xenophobe.
  • I value my safety and that of my family and I appreciate the police and the legal system, which makes me a right-wing extremist.
  • I believe in hard work, fair play, and fair compensation according to each individual's merits, which today makes me an anti-socialist.
  • I (and most of the folks I know), acquired a fair education without student loans (it’s called work) and no debt at graduation, which makes me some kind of an odd underachiever.
  • I believe in the defense and protection of the homeland for and by all citizens, which now makes me a militant.
  • Now, a sick old woman is calling me and my friends a basket of deplorables.
  • Please help me come to terms with the new me…because I‘m just not sure who I am anymore! I would like to thank all my friends for sticking with me through these abrupt, new found changes in my life and my thinking! .....I just can’t imagine or understand what happened to me so quickly!
  • Funny…it’s all just taken place over the last 7 1/2 years!
  • As if all this B.S. wasn’t enough to deal with….now I'm not sure which public restroom to use.

So true...

Who? He invented the Red Solo Cup.

His obituary here.

An oldie from Hope n' Change cartoons

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From 2015 but in light of the last few days - classic:

20161228-obama.jpg

From Variety:

Debbie Reynolds, ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ Star and Carrie Fisher’s Mother, Dies at 84
Debbie Reynolds, the Oscar-nominated singer-actress who was the mother of late actress Carrie Fisher, has died at Cedars-Sinai hospital. She was 84.

“She wanted to be with Carrie,” her son Todd Fisher told Variety.

She was taken to the hospital from Carrie Fisher’s Beverly Hills house Wednesday after suffering a stroke, the day after her daughter Carrie Fisher died.

Crap - 2016 has been a rough year.

Crap - RIP Carrie Fisher

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Not surprising given the nature of her heart attack but still. From TMZ:

CARRIE FISHER DEAD AT 60
Carrie Fisher died Tuesday morning ... days after suffering a massive heart attack on board a flight from London to LAX ... a family spokesperson has confirmed.

TMZ broke the story ... Fisher was on a flight from London to LAX Friday when she suffered the heart attack 15 minutes before landing. People on the plane tell TMZ she appeared lifeless.

A passenger who's an EMT performed CPR on Carrie and once the flight landed, paramedics rushed her to UCLA Medical Center where she remained in intensive care until her death.

Carrie had been on a publicity tour for her new book, "The Princess Diarist." The book recently made headlines because she wrote about having an affair with co-star Harrison Ford while shooting the original 'Star Wars' movies.

The world loses another good person.

From Lawrence Solomon writing at the Canada's National Post:

2016 was a great year, actually. It heralds a return to the old normal
My commiserations to those who found 2016 to be a horrible year. Horrible things certainly happened. But 2016 has also been heartening, a turning point — the first year in many that holds hope of a stop to more horribles, and their precursors.

2016 wrote the epitaph to political correctness, the most insidious of the evils facing society and also among the most toxic. To silence challengers to today’s orthodoxy, self-styled “social justice warriors” on the left have been quick to label dissenters as racists, sexists, homophobes or Islamophobes, unaware that in previous generations the dissenters from the orthodoxies — those who fought for emancipation of the slaves, women’s suffrage, gay and other civil rights — succeeded precisely because upholders of the orthodoxies were unable to silence dissent.

And global warming

2016 represents the final blow to true believers in global warming. Even before the overwhelmingly sceptical Republicans swept to power in the United States last month, Western governments were slashing subsidies for renewable energy, while freeing fracking and other fossil fuel developments. The Republican sweep will speed the demise of global-warming policies by gutting funding for its advocates and deregulating the energy sector, leading to a world awash in cheap energy – to the benefit of consumers and industry alike.

Much more at the site - some very good points.

Not getting the story right

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Fake News writ large when it is laughingly easy to check the facts. From Breitbart:

Fake News: ABC’s Dowd Repeats False Claim Joseph and Mary Were ‘2 Immigrants’ in Nativity Story
ABC chief political analyst Matthew Dowd jumped to his Twitter account to make the shop-worn and false liberal claim that Jesus Christ’s parents, Joseph and Mary, were “two immigrants” in Bethlehem in the tale of the first Christmas. It all amounts to fake news that is over 2,000 years old.

Going back thousands of years for his Christmas Eve fake news, Dowd skewed the Christmas nativity story by saying Joseph and Mary were “immigrants” who were turned away by many in the town. “Let us remember today,” Dowd wrote, “2 immigrants, a man and his very pregnant wife, sought shelter & were turned away by many. She gave birth in a manger.”

Excuse me - that would be the Book of Luke, Chapter 2 from the King James Bible:

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem because that is where Joseph had been born. It does not get clearer than that. Besides, their home town was Nazareth. Bethlehem is in the same country. You can only be an “immigrant” when you are leaving one country and entering another.

Markets for everything

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Including a $151,000 gold Trump iPhone - from CNN Money:

This store is selling gold-plated Trump iPhones to the super rich
This year, one option is an iPhone 7 encased in solid gold, encrusted with diamonds and bearing the face of Donald Trump.

Priced around $151,000, it's just one example of the mind-blowing bling sold by Goldgenie, a store in the United Arab Emirates where the super rich do their shopping.

"There are very wealthy, high-net-worth individuals all over the world and sometimes its very difficult to buy gifts for them because they have everything," said Frank Fernando, Goldgenie's managing director.

Good Lord - the moral poverty of spending that much for a trinket like that. But wait, there is more:

Since selling that first Trump iPhone, Goldgenie has received a further nine orders for gold-plated ones bearing his face.

The billionaire president-elect is proving to be good business for the store, which opened earlier this year. But the phones are far from the most expensive item on sale.

A gold-plated racing bike will set you back about $350,000.

Words... Fail...

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