Sunday, June 26, 2016

Bensonhurst harmonies

The DiGiallonardo Sisters show off their Harmonious Chops with "Soft Place To Land"

Karma is not always a bitch

From the pen of Jim Morin

Imagine you are a greedy, bigoted pussbag

Now imagine you say things that please a skypilot with a very easy to please imaginary sky demon, a veritable roundheels savior. Chances are good that skypilot will save your soul through the imaginary intercession of his ISD when you say you believe and are born again into the cult of the ISD. Now you can go forth continuing to be a greedy, bigoted pussbag safe in the knowledge that the cult will let you be born again as often as you want. Such is the position that Donald Trump finds himself in.
That is the suggestion of James C. Dobson, one of America’s leading evangelicals, who said Mr. Trump had recently come “to accept a relationship with Christ” and was now “a baby Christian.”

Dr. Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family and one of the country’s most prominent social conservatives, gave his account at a meeting Mr. Trump had in New York on Tuesday with hundreds of Christian conservatives.

In an interview recorded at the event by a Pennsylvania pastor, the Rev. Michael Anthony, Dr. Dobson said he knew the person who had led Mr. Trump to Christ, though he did not name him.

“I don’t know when it was, but it has not been long,” Dr. Dobson said. “I believe he really made a commitment, but he’s a baby Christian.”

Mr. Anthony posted the interview to his blog on Friday. Dr. Dobson could not be reached on Saturday, and Hope Hicks, the Trump campaign spokeswoman, did not respond Saturday to a request for details.

Mr. Trump stumbled at times last year when speaking about faith. At one point he said that he had never asked for God’s forgiveness. And after repeating on the campaign trail that the Bible was his favorite book, ahead of his own “Art of the Deal,” Mr. Trump declined to name a favorite verse. “The Bible means a lot to me, but I don’t want to get into specifics,” he told Bloomberg Television.

Mr. Trump, a Presbyterian, questioned the faith of Hillary Clinton, a Methodist, at a meeting with a smaller group of evangelical leaders on Tuesday, saying, “We don’t know anything about Hillary in terms of religion.”

During the New York meeting, Mr. Trump made no mention of being born again. It is a possibility certain to cause chortles in some corners, but it could also open doors in others for the thrice-married presumptive Republican nominee for president.

For evangelicals, “accepting Christ” is at the heart of becoming a genuine Christian, and refers to acknowledging sin and declaring the need for Jesus Christ as savior.

“The expectation evangelicals have is of a radical change, a 180-degree turn from the life of sin to following Christ,” said Kedron Bardwell, a political science professor at Simpson College in Iowa, who is the son of an evangelical pastor.

With new believers, this is often done in prayer with another Christian, which may have been what Dr. Dobson was referring to when he said that he knew the person who had “led him to Christ.”

Mr. Trump won a majority of evangelical voters in the Republican primaries, though some prominent conservative Christian leaders kept their distance. Dr. Dobson endorsed Senator Ted Cruz.

Since Mr. Trump clinched the nomination in May, some of those leaders have rallied to him, including Ralph Reed.
It helps that the Cult of the ISD embraces the same hate that Trump does and he is supported by most of the leading money changers of that cult. This is probably just a recognition of one of their own.

Today's Sunday Lesson

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Oz invaded Nashville back in the 60's

When Diana Trask from Melbourne showed up in Nashville. Her rendition of "I Fall To Pieces" charted in 1970 at #37.

To operate ear plugs, pull trigger

Fom the pen of Steve Benson

Private equity can make money

But they do so largely by running the entities they buy very poorly because why spend money that can go to profit. And with the invasion of private equity into owning but not really providing public services, the quest for profits can have disastrous consequences.
Today, people interact with private equity when they dial 911, pay their mortgage, play a round of golf or turn on the kitchen tap for a glass of water.

Private equity put a unique stamp on these businesses. Unlike other for-profit companies, which often have years of experience making a product or offering a service, private equity is primarily skilled in making money. And in many of these businesses, The Times found, private equity firms applied a sophisticated moneymaking playbook: a mix of cost cuts, price increases, lobbying and litigation.

In emergency care and firefighting, this approach creates a fundamental tension: the push to turn a profit while caring for people in their most vulnerable moments.

For governments and their citizens, the effects have often been dire. Under private equity ownership, some ambulance response times worsened, heart monitors failed and companies slid into bankruptcy, according to a Times examination of thousands of pages of internal documents and government records, as well as interviews with dozens of former employees. In at least two cases, lawsuits contend, poor service led to patient deaths.

Private equity gained new power and responsibility as a direct result of the 2008 crisis. As cities and towns nationwide struggled to pay for basics like public infrastructure and ambulance services, private equity stepped in. At the same time, as banks scaled back their mortgage operations after the crisis, private equity firms — which face lighter regulation than banks, and none of their rainy-day capital requirements — moved in there as well.

The power shift has happened with relatively little scrutiny, even as federal authorities have tightened rules for banks. Unlike banks, which take deposits and borrow from the government, private equity firms invest money from wealthy individuals and pension funds desperate for returns at a time of historically low interest rates.
Years of directing the flow of income upwards left the private equity field with the money governments need to operate their services. The only problem is that to make a profit, the services must become more expensive or grossly underfunded, because PE does not make small profits.

Nobody really knows what to do, yet

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel is in no hurry to effect to separation. For her, getting it done right is more important than getting it done fast. Others may seek to advance their own schedule.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel sought on Saturday to temper pressure from Paris, Brussels and her own government to force Britain into negotiating a quick divorce from the EU, despite warnings that hesitation will let populism take hold.

Eurosceptics in other member states applauded Britons' decision to leave the European Union in a referendum that sent shockwaves around the world, with far-right demands for a similar vote in Slovakia underlining the risk of a domino effect.

With the referendum decision finally made on Thursday and Prime Minister David Cameron having announced his resignation, European politicians and institutions felt free to shower demands on Britain over its future outside the world's largest trading bloc.

The European Central Bank said Britain's financial industry, which employs 2.2 million people, would lose the right to serve clients in the EU unless the country signed up to its single market - anathema to "leave" campaigners who are set to lead the next government in London.

Almost alone in continental Europe, Merkel tried to slow the rush to get Britain out of the EU door. Europe's most powerful leader made clear she would not press Cameron after he indicated Britain would not seek formal exit negotiations until October at least.

"Quite honestly, it should not take ages, that is true, but I would not fight now for a short time frame," Merkel told a news conference.

"The negotiations must take place in a businesslike, good climate," she said. "Britain will remain a close partner, with which we are linked economically."

Britain's decision to leave the EU is the biggest blow since World War Two to the European project of forging greater unity. But Merkel appeared more conciliatory than others within her coalition government and elsewhere in Europe.
Britain's financial strength and its own currency should cushion the financial impact that will come from severing the close financial ties members of the EU enjoy.
Villeroy delivered a warning over the City of London financial center which handles trillions of euros of business even though it lies outside the ECB's jurisdiction.

That was at risk, including the "passport" arrangement under Europe's single market rules which allow London banks to do business with clients in the euro zone, even though Britain never joined the common currency.

"If tomorrow Britain is not part of the single market, the City cannot keep this European passport, and clearing houses cannot be located in London either," he told France Inter radio. The only way around this was for Britain to follow Norway, which lies outside the EU but has joined the single market.

This means signing up to the rules, including the free movement of workers - likely to be opposed in Britain where the "leave" camp promised to control immigration from the EU.
Much will be written about what will happen next but until the necessary agreements are finalized, everybody is just talking.

As long as all the fucks have been given

Bill Maher suggests President Obama finish with a Grand Apology Tour.

Because there were no good guys with refrigerators

Friday, June 24, 2016

Hot Stuff from the 80's

The Bangles performing "Walk Like An Egyptian"

And the ingredients are cheap

From the pen of Walt Handelsman

Famous for being short sighted

American drivers are once more dumping their high mileage vehicles for oversized overpriced gas guzzlers that, in their eyes, shows off the size of their balls in a way they never could otherwise.
The single most effective action that most Americans can take to help reduce the dangerous emissions that cause climate change? Buy a more fuel-efficient car.

But consumers are heading in the opposite direction. They have rekindled their love of bigger cars, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles, favoring them over small cars, hybrids and electric vehicles, which are considered crucial to helping slow global warming.

So far this year, nearly 75 percent of the people who have traded in a hybrid or electric car to a dealer have replaced it with an all-gas car, an 18 percent jump from 2015, according to, a car shopping and research site.

In 2008, President Obama set a goal of a million electric cars on the road by 2015 in the United States, but the total is now around 442,000, including plug-in hybrids. This year, electric and hybrid sales have dropped to 2.4 percent of new-car purchases.

Falling gas prices have made big, heavy cars fashionable again, said Michael Sivak, the director of sustainable worldwide transportation at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute. In fact, demand for trucks, S.U.V.s and vans has rebounded to historic levels after they dropped sharply in 2008, when gas was $4 a gallon.

“People have very short memories about the price of gasoline,” Dr. Sivak said.

That spells trouble for the environment. So-called light-duty vehicles, including S.U.V.s and pickups as well as cars, account for 16.2 percent of all greenhouse emissions produced in the United States, Dr. Sivak’s research shows, making them the biggest source of emissions that individuals control.

Reducing tailpipe emissions “is perhaps the most important thing Americans can do,” said Andrew Jones, a co-director of Climate Interactive, a think tank. “We’re doing the opposite.”
Of course we are doing the opposite. We may say that climate change is important to us but we are Americans, climate change takes a back seat to showing off our manhood. And if the price of gasoline goes up again, we will blame whoever is in the White House and switch back what we are dumping now.

Brits force Borowitz to be a journalist

Or to put it another way, reality has caught up with the satire Andy Borowitz is famous for. Under a headline of "British Lose Right to Claim That Americans Are Dumber" Borowitz declared
Luxuriating in the superiority of their intellect over Americans’ has long been a favorite pastime in Britain, surpassing in popularity such games as cricket, darts, and snooker.

But, according to Alistair Dorrinson, a pub owner in North London, British voters have done irreparable damage to the “most enjoyable sport this nation has ever known: namely, treating Americans like idiots.”

“When our countrymen cast their votes yesterday, they didn’t realize they were destroying the most precious leisure activity this nation has ever known,” he said. “Wankers.”
O how right he was. Not only has the Prime Minister said he would step down because of the vote, but the other major party the Liberals have shown themselves to be a bunch of gormless twits with their lackluster support for staying in the EU. Indeed it was only the Fascist/Racist IKIP party that showed any determination with the result that Boris Johnson (Britain's answer to Trump) is now a rising politcal star.
“Dare to dream that the dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom,” Nigel Farage, the leader of the U.K. Independence Party, one of the primary forces behind the push for a referendum on leaving the European Union, told cheering supporters just after 4 a.m.

Withdrawing from the European Union is a lengthy process that Mr. Cameron will largely leave to his successor. It will mean pulling out from the world’s largest trading zone, with 508 million residents, including the 65 million people of Britain, and a commitment to the free movement of labor, capital, goods and services. It has profound implications for Britain’s legal system, which incorporates a large body of regulations that cover everything from product safety to digital privacy, and for Britain’s economy.

One reason the City, London’s financial district, shuddered on Friday is that it is a hub for trading in euro-denominated securities, activity that may now shift to rivals like Frankfurt and Paris.

It was also not clear that the United Kingdom could survive withdrawal from the European Union intact. There was immediate pressure for another referendum on independence from Britain for Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to stay with Europe.

“I think an independence referendum is now highly likely,” said Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who said it would be “democratically unacceptable” for Scotland to be pushed out of the European Union when a majority of Scots want to stay in.

Keith Vaz, a Labour legislator, said: “This is a crushing decision; this is a terrible day for Britain and a terrible day for Europe. In 1,000 years, I would never have believed that the British people would vote for this.”
And so Britain goes from an economic union capable of dealing with the US and China as an equal to a piddly little country ripe for exploitation and economic colonization. A hearty Well Done to all the numbies who voted to leave.

Difficult but necessary

Thursday, June 23, 2016

All My Rain

Pieta Brown from her 2014 album Paradise Outlaw

You can hardly see their lips move

From the pen of Jim Morin

R.I.P. David Thatcher

The last but one survivor of the crews that flew with Jimmy Doolittle in his famous raid on Japan. Only slightly injured in the crash landing of his plane, he was instrumental in the survival of his more seriously injured crewmates who all survived. Richard Cole, Doolittle's co-pilot is the last one left.

We shall not see his like again.

NY Daily News Page 1

Public masturbation

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

I think Hoyt would like this

Shelby Lynne does a fine solo performance of Hoyt Axton's "Never Been To Spain"

Present company...

From the pen of Kevin Siers

Maybe Donny can send him for some Yuge Macs

The state of New Jersey
is facing a large financial problem, above and beyond the governor's legal bills. It faces huge transportation expenses with a matching shortfall of funds to pay for it. So the talk of Trenton is to raise the gasoline tax which in New Jersey is as famously low as North Carolina tobacco taxes.
A new proposal from leading Democrats is forcing a showdown with Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican who has resisted calls to increase prices at the pump even as the state’s transportation trust fund is set to run out of money at the end of the month. Under the proposal, the tax could rise by about 23 cents a gallon, bringing it closer to what neighboring states collect.

The fate of New Jersey’s dwindling transportation funding has been entangled in recent years with Mr. Christie’s political ambitions. Even as the state’s bridges and roads are falling apart and New Jersey Transit is struggling with a series of financial problems, he has avoided tackling the issue.

But state lawmakers now face a confluence of factors that could make an increase possible: a pressing deadline, gas prices hovering near $2 a gallon and growing contempt in New Jersey for Mr. Christie, whose office recently denied a report that the governor had become a McDonald’s-fetching “manservant” for Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

“We are very much in crisis if this thing shuts down,” Stephen M. Sweeney, a Democrat and the State Senate president, said, referring to the transportation trust fund.

The transportation funding proposal announced in New Jersey this month included a sweetener meant to attract Republican votes: the repeal of the state’s estate tax, which kicks in at a lower amount than in many other states.

Even with that concession, Mr. Christie, who has about a year and a half left in office, said he opposed the proposal. He described part of the plan that would increase transportation aid to counties and municipalities as a “payoff” by Democrats to local officials. But despite his characteristically blunt rhetoric, the governor appeared open to negotiation.

“There is a lot of work that needs to be done,” Mr. Christie told reporters last week. “There is a lot of show-me that has to be done. But as you know, at the end of any session, miracles happen.”

Several Republican lawmakers have already expressed support for the proposal. Democrats, who control both the Senate and the Assembly, hope to pull together enough votes to override a potential Christie veto.
The legislature will pass the increase, hopefully with enough votes to override the Jersey Whale's veto. Or maybe, in return for letting him build the Trump Trenton hotel, Donny will send JW out for a Yuge McDonald's order so the bill can become law without him.

Corporations aren't tribes

Samantha Bee on the next screwing Indians can expect.

When your expenses reduce your taxable income

It works in business, why not use it in politics?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Crescent City

Lucinda Williams


From the pen of Tom Toles

That drone in the sky

May soon be the sound of a commercial drone flying over your house on the way to completion of its assigned task. They won't be carrying your latest Amazon order, unless you live with in sight of the pilot, but ahy time during the day you may see one.
The rules also would effectively lift the lid on flights by other potential operators who have held off using the technology — ranchers who want to count cattle, research scientists, and companies that inspect infrastructure like bridges, oil platforms and smokestacks, to name a few.

Under the new rules, operators would register their drones online, pass an aviation knowledge exam for drone pilots at an FAA-approved testing center and then they're good to go. That's a big change since operators currently have to have a manned aircraft pilot's license.

Operators also would have to follow many of the rules that apply to model aircraft hobbyists like keeping drones within sight at all times and not flying over people or higher than 400 feet.

Other important limitations also remain in place. Drone flights will be permitted only during the day and at twilight. Drone industry officials have long complained that restricting drone flights to daytime precluded a great many uses like some search and rescue operations, agricultural operations best done after dark and roof inspections of commercial building roofs that use heat sensors.

Operators could still seek waivers to restrictions like nighttime flights, flights beyond sight of the operator and flights over people.

The rules permit commercial transport of goods by drones for the first time, but the other restrictions on flights beyond sight of the operator and over people still apply.

That precludes delivery drones flying across cities and suburbs clasping small packages as envisioned by Amazon. Amazon and Google are working on drone delivery systems for goods purchased online. Google officials have said they expect deliveries to begin sometime in 2017.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said the agency is researching how drone deliveries might safely be accomplished, but he declined to set a timetable for such rules.

What's missing from the rules is an enforcement mechanism, said Sarah Kreps, a Cornell University professor. "It is hard to see how the (FAA) actually can ensure that these rules are followed," she said.
Lack of enforcement is a serious problem because there will always be someone pushing for an edge and damn the rules. I strongly recommend joining a skeet club, it is great practice for a moving target.

Another week, another NRA clip

From Samantha Bee

Language changes

Monday, June 20, 2016

If you can't hold on to him

At least get a good song out of his wandering like Ruthie Collins with "Ramblin' Man"

Time for the Talk

The one we all get to hear after multiple people are murdered by someone who should never have had a military grade weapon. Tom Tomorrow does the honors.

Got a mortal lock on it

From the pen of Paul Fell

A little sense from the Courts

The Supreme Court rejected an appeal of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decision to uphold the Connecticut ban on the sale and possession of certain types of firearms.
The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear a Second Amendment challenge to a Connecticut law banning many semiautomatic rifles. The law, enacted in 2013 in the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., made it a crime to sell or possess the firearms, which critics call assault weapons.

The decision not to hear the case, not long after the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., does not set a Supreme Court precedent. But it is part of a trend in which the justices have given at least tacit approval to broad gun-control laws in states and localities that choose to enact them.

The case, Shew v. Malloy, No. 15-1030, was brought by four individuals, a business and two advocacy groups. They said the ban was irrational, ineffective and unconstitutional.

“Connecticut dubs a semiautomatic firearm” with one of several common features “an ‘assault weapon,’ but that is nothing more than an argument advanced by a political slogan in the guise of a definition,” they told the Supreme Court in their petition seeking review.

Last October, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York, upheld the ban almost entirely. It acknowledged that the affected weapons were in common use and assumed their possession was protected by the Second Amendment. But the appeals court ruled that the Connecticut law passed constitutional muster.

The law was “specifically targeted to prevent mass shootings like that in Newtown, in which the shooter used a semiautomatic assault weapon,” Judge José A. Cabranes wrote for the court.

“Plaintiffs complain that mass shootings are ‘particularly rare events’ and thus, even if successful, the legislation will have a ‘minimal impact’ on most violent crime.

“That may be so,” Judge Cabranes continued. “But gun‐control legislation ‘need not strike at all evils at the same time’ to be constitutional.”
It is good to see a court acknowledge the fact that some weapons pose a greater threat to public safety and may be subject to reasonable controls without denying anyone the right to own a gun, if for no other reason than the police should be allowed an edge over the evildoers.

About that Brexit thing

John Oliver explains Brexit as well as any news program has done.

Dead giveaway

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