Sunday, July 31, 2016

British Progressive Indie Pop

The May Birds circle up and perform "Inside Out"

The Road To The Rio Games

From the pen of Brian McFadden


Those little things that mean so much

When you add up the small results of all the small towns that do it, just like with real voting you get a big number and depending on which side you sit, the result you want or not.
The majority-white Hancock County Board of Elections and Registration was systematically questioning the registrations of more than 180 black Sparta citizens — a fifth of the city’s registered voters — by dispatching deputies with summonses commanding them to appear in person to prove their residence or lose their voting rights. “When I read that letter, I was kind of nervous,” Mr. Flournoy said in an interview. “I didn’t know what to do.”

The board’s aim, a lawsuit later claimed, was to give an edge to white candidates in Sparta’s municipal elections — and that November, a white mayoral candidate won a narrow victory.

“A lot of those people that was challenged probably didn’t vote, even though they weren’t proven to be wrong,” said Marion Warren, a Sparta elections official who documented the purges and raised an alarm with voting-rights advocates. “People just do not understand why a sheriff is coming to their house to bring them a subpoena, especially if they haven’t committed any crime.”

The county attorney, Barry A. Fleming, a Republican state representative, said in an interview that the elections board was only trying to restore order to an electoral process tainted earlier by corruption and incompetence. The lawsuit is overblown, he suggested, because only a fraction of the targeted voters were ultimately scratched from the rolls.

“The allegations that people were denied the right to vote are the opposite of the truth,” he said. “This is probably more about politics and power than race.”

But the purge of Sparta voters is precisely the sort of electoral maneuver that once would have needed Justice Department approval before it could be put in effect. In Georgia and all or part of 14 other states, the 1965 Voting Rights Act required jurisdictions with histories of voter discrimination to receive so-called preclearance before changing the way voter registration and elections were conducted.
Now that the Supremes have declared racism dead, the various towns where racism was always practiced quietly can now come out into the open.

America almost caught a break

But sadly, Colorado firefighters responded and rescued Benedict Donald Trump from a stuck elevator.
The Colorado Springs Fire Department says that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump had to be rescued from an elevator that was stuck between the first and second floors of a resort.

In a statement released Saturday, the department says that it was called at 1:30 p.m. Friday to rescue about 10 people, including Trump, trapped inside the elevator at The Mining Exchange, A Wyndham Grand Hotel & Spa resort.

The department says the firefighters opened the top elevator hatch and lowered a ladder into the elevator. Trump and the others used the ladder to climb out of the elevator to the second floor. The department says no injuries were reported.

Trump’s security team was given control of the hotel’s elevators during the event, said Perry Sanders Jr., an attorney who co-owns the hotel.

“The party were model guests but security insisted on having manual control of the elevators,” Sanders said.

After the occupants were rescued, technicians for the company that services the elevator determined that the machine became stuck because someone turned the manual key while the car was in motion, Sanders said.
Not sure if Trump's security was stupid or malevolent but the diligence of the local firefighters means that the elections must go on.

Time to check your moral compass

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Spare, clean and harmonious

Emily Barker, Amber Rubarth and Amy Speace call themselves Applewood Road and make some simply delicious music.

As long as Hillary is a woman...

From the pen of Jeff Danziger

Teabag Thom Tillis to skate on fraudulent election law

He was Speaker of the North Carolina House and a prime mover in getting the law passed but now that he is sitting 'fat and sassy' in the US Senate, Teabag Thom Tillis need not expect any negative consequences from the federal court ruling throwing out his baby.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday ruled North Carolina’s voter ID law is discriminatory, with justices saying it was designed and passed by state lawmakers with the intent of making it harder for African-Americans to vote. The law included provisions requiring photo IDs at the polls, shortened early voting periods and eliminated same-day voter registration.

The ruling is subject to appeal but comes just three months before the general election, meaning North Carolina officials will need to move quickly to get a stay in the case or the law will not be in effect Nov. 8.

Tillis, along with Republican N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory and others, has argued that the 2013 voter ID law serves to restore confidence in elections and guard against voting fraud, though state government records show cases of fraud are rare. Tillis’ office also noted Friday that several public opinion polls have shown that a majority of North Carolinians support the contested voter ID law.

Within hours of the Friday decision, Democratic candidates and liberal groups in North Carolina pounced on the court news, claiming a victory and saying the ruling proves GOP lawmakers intended to disenfranchise minority voters with the law.

Such a rebuke from a court, Rohde said, is damaging to the Republican brand and could influence how independents vote in North Carolina in November.

But Tillis himself – whose legacy as N.C. speaker of the House includes shepherding the contentious law through the Republican-controlled Legislature – isn’t on the ballot this year. He assumed office in the U.S. Senate in 2015 after defeating Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan.

A negative outcome for North Carolina’s voter ID law in the courts could give Tillis’ next challenger an opening to criticize him, Rohde said.

Already, one law Tillis championed in the state Legislature has been tossed out by the Supreme Court. Amendment One, a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, is no longer valid in North Carolina after the high court found such laws to be violations of the U.S. Constitution.

Tillis “was House speaker during a time in which many controversial laws passed,” said David McLennan, political science professor at Meredith College. “Both (the voter ID law and Amendment One) raise questions about Sen. Tillis’ support of civil rights, as well as his judgment in allowing legislation that he was warned might be ruled unconstitutional.”
No doubt about it, Teabag Thom Tillis is a real North Carolina Shitheel, but unless he experiences a stream of adverse rulings of his legislative actions until the next election, it is unlikely that voters will remember just how big a shit he really is.

The Notorious HRC

Bill Maher posits a campaign strategy for Hillary Clinton,

Campaign pin

Friday, July 29, 2016

Don't know what she did with the Sun

But Luella was performing "When You Hear My Home Going" at Music City Roots the other day.

Beware small hands and fine print

From the pen of Kevin Siers

Local mosquitos now spreading Zika in Florida

And Republicans sat on funding for Zika research and will probably continue to do so when they return from their summer long break.
Four cases of Zika infection in Miami are highly likely to have been caused by infected mosquitoes, the state Department of Health said Friday — the first documented instance of local transmission in the continental United States.

Officials in Florida believe that the area of active transmission is limited to a one-square-mile area just north of downtown Miami. No mosquitoes tested have been found carrying the Zika virus, and the department is going door to door in the neighborhood collecting urine samples to test residents.

Miami-Dade County is one of the busiest ports of entry into the United States from countries where the Zika virus is circulating. Health experts have long described it as one of the areas most at risk for an outbreak of the disease.

Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement that the four cases involve three men and one woman. He did not indicate whether the woman was pregnant.

“While no mosquitoes have tested positive for the Zika virus,” Mr. Scott said, the Health Department “is aggressively testing people in this area to ensure there are no other cases. If you live in this area and want to be tested, I urge you to contact the county health department.”

Of the four people infected, he said, “They are all active Zika cases and have not exhibited symptoms to be admitted to the hospital.”

The neighborhood that the authorities are focusing on is in the Wynwood area, bound by Northwest Fifth Avenue, U.S. 1, Northwest/Northeast 38th Street and Northwest/Northeast 20th Street.

The virus, transmitted by mosquitoes or by sex with an infected person, causes brain damage and neurological disorders in babies born to mothers who contracted it in pregnancy. In rare cases, it can also cause a form of temporary paralysis.
So far it is localized but when has that ever lasted long?

Another GOP election fraud stopped

A three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has decisively slammed the North Carolina voter ID law. In its decision, it pulled no punches as to how the judges felt about the law.
The sweeping decision, by a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, was unusually speedy: A judge in Winston-Salem, N.C., upheld the law in April. The appeals court, which sits in Richmond, Va., made its decision clear in the opening pages of a lengthy ruling, questioning the reasoning of the lower court judge.

In holding that the legislature did not enact the challenged provisions with discriminatory intent, the court seems to have missed the forest in carefully surveying the many trees,” the Fourth Circuit panel said of the district court ruling that upheld the law passed by the Republican-controlled General Assembly. “This failure of perspective led the court to ignore critical facts bearing on legislative intent, including the inextricable link between race and politics in North Carolina.”

The appeals court added later, “Faced with this record, we can only conclude that the North Carolina General Assembly enacted the challenged provisions of the law with discriminatory intent.”

In addition to an identification requirement, the law also abolished same-day voter registration and ended preregistration, which had permitted some teenagers to sign up for the voting rolls before they turned 18.

Republicans argued the law protected against fraud, but critics said it was an effort to disenfranchise certain voters, particularly black and Hispanic ones.
That 'forest for the trees' remark in their opening was an out and out kick in the nuts to the legislature and the previous court that upheld it. North Carolina can still appeal to the court en banc but a stay of the law based on this decision would be likely and kill the law for this election.

Slime and poo expected in great quantities this election

And not just because that megalomaniac fabulist and notorious thinskined vulgarian Benedict Donald Trump is running. However he is expected to be a major contributor.
America’s about to endure the closest, nastiest, most unpredictable presidential election in more than three decades.

Not since Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan ran against each other in 1980 has the choice been so stark, the warnings from each candidate about the other so dire, the likely outcome so murky.

As this year’s political conventions end, there’s no clear favorite. But watch the polls next week. The leader in the first polls conducted entirely after the convention ends has won the White House every time since 1948.

There’s potential for another sort of email drama. Republicans won’t let voters forget about Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state.

“We've known from the beginning of this campaign that Clinton's personal political history was going to be a drag on her candidacy,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute in New Jersey.

Clinton will counter by painting Trump as inept, incompetent and all but insane.

“Imagine him in the Oval Office facing a real crisis. A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons,” she said in her convention speech Thursday. “I can't put it any better than Jackie Kennedy did after the Cuban Missile Crisis. She said that what worried President Kennedy during that very dangerous time was that a war might be started – not by big men with self-control and restraint, but by little men – the ones moved by fear and pride.”

Stoking fear about an opponent is a time-tested tactic. President Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 “daisy ad” suggested Republican Barry Goldwater would involve the nation in a nuclear war. In 1980, Jimmy Carter made the same insinuations. In his October, 1980, debate with Ronald Reagan, Carter used the word “dangerous” six times to describe his Republican opponent.
Despite the loss of Roger Ailes, the GOP still has the fully functioning disinformation bureau he made of Fux Nooz in place. And the lies they have told the last 30 years have done a good job poisoning the minds of the young.

Benedict Donald comes out with his lover.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Not as far as the end of the universe

Over The Rhine does "Meet Me At The Edge Of The World"

Yesterday Pearls Before Swine was censored

For this. I wonder if my NSA monitor laughed at it?

Did Trump plagiarize Putin's slogan, too?

From the pen of Jim Morin

R.I.P. Jack Burton Davis, Jr.

One of the original "Usual Gang Of Idiots" of Mad Magazine". I would not be what I am today without you.

Perhaps He will outsource the Office

Having yesterday called upon his owner Vladimir Putin to hack US government servers to find some mythical e-mails, Donald "Wormtongue" Trump has once again called Putin a better leader than President Obama.
Donald J. Trump called President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia “a better leader” than President Obama, offering the praise in an interview with “Fox and Friends” on Thursday, just a day after saying he hoped Russian intelligence services had successfully hacked Hillary Clinton’s email.

Asked about comments he had made Wednesday at a news conference in Florida, where he said, “Putin has much better leadership qualities than Obama,” Mr. Trump reiterated his views in slightly starker terms.

“I said he’s a better leader than Obama,” Mr. Trump said. “I said he’s a better leader than Obama, because Obama’s not a leader, so he’s certainly doing a better job than Obama is, and that’s all.”

Mr. Trump also tried to walk back, in part, comments he made Wednesday about Russia hacking Mrs. Clinton’s emails — an extraordinary moment in which the Republican nominee basically urged Russia, an adversary, to conduct cyberespionage against a former secretary of state.

Mr. Trump seemed to be conflating the roughly 30,000 emails on Mrs. Clinton’s private server during her time as secretary of state, which her lawyers deleted as personal, and the roughly 20,000 emails Democratic National Committee emails that had been hacked.

Mr. Trump’s comments Wednesday about Russian hacking set off a firestorm of criticism, and his efforts to recalibrate his remarks began just hours after he looked into a bank of television cameras and declared, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

Mr. Trump posted on Twitter on Wednesday that he was simply urging Russia — if it had indeed hacked Mrs. Clinton — to hand her emails over to the proper authorities. “If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the F.B.I!” Mr. Trump wrote.
Despite his minions crawling out everywhere to deny he meant what he said, some Trumpoons actually think turning over government information to a foreign dictator is a good idea. Trump may think Putin is a better leader but he fortets that Putin would never let one of his minions say anything so stupid and live. It is becoming very obvious that Trump would be such a bad leader that he would have no choice but to outsource the Office of the President to someone better able to deal with it.

Benedict Arnold, Donald Trump, cut from the same cloth.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Singing under some old tree in Texas

Lake Street Dive does "Stop Your Crying"

Computers change everything

From the pen of Jack Ohman

No sweat, I got Narcan

Junkies have never been known to be the most thoughtful or cautious people, but now with the advent of naloxone, trade name Narcan, they have no reason to avoid what they know will kill them.
Every day across the country, hundreds, if not thousands, of people who overdose on opioids are being brought back to life with naloxone. Hailed as a miracle drug by many, it carries no health risk; it cannot be abused and, if given mistakenly to someone who has not overdosed on opioids, does no harm. More likely, it saves a life.

As a virulent opioid epidemic continues to ravage the country, with 78 people in the United States dying of overdoses every day, naloxone’s use has increasingly moved out of medical settings, where it has been available since the 1970s, and into the homes and hands of the general public.

But naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan, has also had unintended consequences. Critics say that it gives drug users a safety net, allowing them to take more risks as they seek higher highs. Indeed, many users overdose more than once, some multiple times, and each time, naloxone brings them back.

Advocates argue that the drug gives people a chance to get into treatment and turn their lives around. And, they say, few addicts knowingly risk needing to be revived, since naloxone ruins their high and can make them violently ill.

With drug overdoses now killing more people than car crashes in most states, lawmakers in all but three — Kansas, Montana and Wyoming — have passed laws making naloxone easier to obtain. Its near-universal availability reflects the relatively humane response to the opioid epidemic, which is based largely in the nation’s white, middle-class suburbs and rural areas — a markedly different response from that of previous, urban-based drug epidemics, which prompted a “war on drugs” that led to mass incarceration, particularly of blacks and Hispanics.
But even junkies don't like dancing with death, not the least because it has hash after effects.
Yet most users loathe naloxone’s effects. By blocking opiate receptors, it plunges them into withdrawal and makes them “dope sick,” craving more heroin or pills.

“I hate it,” said Melissa Tucci, 44, a heroin user here who has been revived seven times. “When I start withdrawing, I vomit, you get diarrhea, you sweat profusely, your nose will run, you sneeze and have runny eyes, and you ache so bad you can’t even walk.”

She said she has overdosed so often not because she relied on naloxone to save her, but rather because she underestimated how potent the heroin was. And she said she keeps using heroin to avoid the agony of withdrawal.
She hates the effect of naloxone but she keeps on shooting up to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal which puts her in a position sooner or later to get another load of naloxone which makes her feel so bad. No one ever accused junkies of being the sharpest knife in the drawer.

Most people would say, "Who Me?"

But the arrogance of The Great Orange Fungus, Donald Trump allows him to believe that he can say whatever he wants without fear of consequences. Witness GOFDT's response to questions about Donald's friend Putin having organized theDNC hack.
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump openly called on Russia to hack his opponent Hillary Clinton after speculation Moscow may be responsible for a security breach at the Democratic National Committee.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said in a press conference Wednesday. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Trump was referencing the approximately 30,000 emails Clinton deleted from the private server she used while secretary of state, which she said were personal in nature. The remaining emails were turned over for an FBI investigation over whether Clinton broke the law by dealing with classified information in unsecured emails.

When asked by a reporter on whether he has any qualms about asking a foreign country to hack his political opponent, Trump said definitively, “No, it gives me no pause.”
Nope, no way that Putin's Puppy has any second thoughts about it, he never had any first thoughts! His response to those who do have qualms about giving away his country to a foreign dictator is simple. He ignores them and his followers make note of who to eliminate later.

Please help him recover his money

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

An old Tom Paxton favorite

Puss N Boots (Jones, Dobson & Popper) does "Leaving London"

Trump explains himself

From the pen of Jen Sorensen

Not quite bad enough to walk on

But the venues for several Olympic watersports are the sadly still polluted waters of Guanabara Bay and so far the best advice for any participants is to keep their mouths closed when in or on the water.
Health experts in Brazil have a word of advice for the Olympic marathon swimmers, sailors and windsurfers competing in Rio de Janeiro’s picture-postcard waters next month: Keep your mouth closed.

Despite the government’s promises seven years ago to stem the waste that fouls Rio’s expansive Guanabara Bay and the city’s fabled ocean beaches, officials acknowledge that their efforts to treat raw sewage and scoop up household garbage have fallen far short.

In fact, environmentalists and scientists say Rio’s waters are much more contaminated than previously thought.

Recent tests by government and independent scientists revealed a veritable petri dish of pathogens in many of the city’s waters, from rotaviruses that can cause diarrhea and vomiting to drug-resistant “super bacteria” that can be fatal to people with weakened immune systems.

Researchers at the Federal University of Rio also found serious contamination at the upscale beaches of Ipanema and Leblon, where many of the half-million Olympic spectators are expected to frolic between sporting events.

“Foreign athletes will literally be swimming in human crap, and they risk getting sick from all those microorganisms,” said Dr. Daniel Becker, a local pediatrician who works in poor neighborhoods. “It’s sad, but also worrisome.”

Government officials and the International Olympic Committee acknowledge that, in many places, the city’s waters are filthy. But they say the areas where athletes will compete — like the waters off Copacabana Beach, where swimmers will race — meet World Health Organization safety standards.

Even some venues with higher levels of human waste, like Guanabara Bay, present only minimal risk because athletes sailing or windsurfing in them will have limited contact with potential contamination, they add.
And the good thing about 'finless brown trout' is they do not bite. We can only wish good luck and good health to those who participate in any of the affected activities. As least you don't have to worry about peeing in the water, someone else did it for you.

Peru trying to do the impossible

Trying to stop gold miners from utterly destroying an otherwise rich and diverse nature preserve, the Tambopata Nature Reserve.
Trying to protect one of the most biologically diverse places on earth from an army of illegal miners that has carved a toxic path through the rain forest, the Peruvian government is setting up outposts and stepping up raids along the Malinowski River in the Tambopata Nature Reserve.

But some experts wonder whether it is far too little too late.

To get here, a remote front line in Latin America’s battle against illegal mining, I hiked nine and a half hours through the jungle, at times in water up to my armpits. But any sense of being in a pristine wilderness was lost at the river’s edge. Already, the miners had done so much damage that the water ran the color of milky coffee. The landscape was worthy of a “Mad Max” movie. Huge sandy craters, mounds of pebbles and poisoned waterways were everywhere. Garbage — rags, plastic bags, plastic foam food containers — clung to the freshly cut tree branches piled up in the river’s nooks and crannies.

With the price of gold high for years, illegal mining has blossomed in many parts of Latin America, not just in Peru. But in this country, one of the world’s major gold producers, the problem has gotten particularly bad.

The amount of gold collected by unlicensed miners is far larger than elsewhere in Latin America. And it is ballooning so quickly that environmentalists fear that even a remote reserve like this one — home to thousands of species of plants and animals, some perhaps not even identified by humans — has little chance of survival.

For all the environmental damage done by corporate mining, illegal miners are far more destructive, experts say. While mining companies tend to concentrate on areas with rich underground veins of gold, illegal miners move swiftly across vast amounts of territory. They cut down broad swaths of jungle, sifting through perhaps 200 tons of topsoil to find enough flecks of gold for a single wedding ring.

Without help, some experts say, the areas they leave behind — robbed of all topsoil and loaded with mercury — could take 500 years to recover.

The miners use so much mercury to process the gold that the government declared a health emergency in much of the Madre de Dios region in May. Tests in 97 villages found that more than 40 percent of the people had absorbed dangerous levels of the heavy metal. Mercury poisoning affects people in many ways, from chronic headaches to kidney damage, but it is most harmful to children, who are likely to suffer permanent brain damage.

“The next generations will pay for what we are doing now,” said Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, who heads the Peruvian Ministry of the Environment.
The lure of untold riches usually ends with the riches still untold, but the damage done in the greedy scramble for them remains long afterwards. And seldom has anybody been able to stop the eager vandals from doing that damage when gold is their goal.

Samantha Bee autopsies the Republican Convention

The less you know the better...for him

Monday, July 25, 2016

No Matter Who

Margaret Glaspy

He hits all the "high" points

Tom Tomorrow looks back at the Republican Orange Convention and remembers the hilights of every bigots favorite shit show.

A Hat Tip to Betty Bowers Today

R.I.P. Marni Nixon

You heard her voice a hundred times but it was always someone else's mouth that was moving.

Texas pissants lose another court case

This time it was their unconscionable refusal to provide birth certificates to children of undocumented mothers. This particular piece of asshattery was supposed to be a response to an increased influx of Central Americans.
Last year, Ms. Hernandez and about two dozen other immigrants sued, saying they could not obtain the documents Texas officials were demanding to prove their identities. On Friday, Texas agreed to a settlement that will expand the types of documents parents can present, allowing those without legal immigration status to obtain certificates for their children again.

The babies whose parents brought the federal suit were born in Texas medical facilities, so it was not in doubt that they were citizens. Lawyers for the parents said the settlement would be “life-changing” for them.

“The bottom line is, there was a category of people who were being locked out of obtaining a birth certificate to which they are entitled constitutionally as citizens born in the United States just because of the immigration status of the parents,” said Efrén Olivares, the legal director of the Texas Civil Rights Project’s South Texas office and a lead lawyer in the lawsuit.

In the settlement, Texas made no changes to the basic rules for birth certificates, which it argued were designed to ensure that the essential documents were correctly issued. But the state agreed to accept several documents from parents that it had started to reject.

The change in practice by Texas registrars dated to 2013, when state leaders were taking steps to stem a surge in illegal border crossings by families from Central America. The next year, Texas sent National Guard troops to the border. Texas led 26 states in a federal lawsuit in 2014 to halt President Obama’s immigration programs to shield undocumented immigrants from deportation, which state officials said encouraged more illegal crossings. A tie decision by the Supreme Court in June effectively ended those programs.

The Republican presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump, added new fuel to the debate about the children of undocumented immigrants, saying he would cancel their right to citizenship if he became president.
The Great Orange Fungus seeks to become Der Trumpenfuehrer so He, Alone can decide who will be a citizen of the country he rules over. Trump's position proves you don't have to be from Texas to be a Grade A Schmuck, just a Texas size ego.

John Oliver Autopsies the GOP Convention

Don't Use Our Songs

John Oliver has the artists response to unauthorized use of their music by politcos.

Do you think they know something?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Who writes a song for their soon to be Ex?

Kris Kristofferson wrote "For The Good Times" for Rita Coolidge when their marriage ended.

Damned if they do and damned if they don't

From the pen of Chan Lowe

Having been stymied in their efforts for war with Iran

Israel is looking north again for a victim to unleash all the military goodies we have been sending them since time immoral. Only this time they expect a savage no holds barred struggle to be waged on the backs of the Lebanese.
When Israeli army commanders describe how the next war against Hezbollah could unfold, they often search for words not used in military manuals. The future conflict, they warn, will be “ferocious” and “terrible.”

For both sides, the Israelis fear.

Yet far worse for Hezbollah and the civilians of Lebanon, they promise.

Ten years after Israel and Hezbollah fought a bloody but inconclusive 34-day war that left more than 1,000 soldiers and civilians dead in July and August of 2006, the Lebanese Shiite militant group has been transformed.

Hezbollah is now a regional military power, a cross-border strike force, with thousands of soldiers hardened by four years of fighting on Syrian battlefields on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad. There are 7,000 Hezbollah fighters in Syria, Israeli commanders say.

Hezbollah troops have been schooled by Iranian commanders, funded by Tehran and have learned to use, in combat, some of the most sophisticated armaments available, such as fourth-generation Kornet guided anti-tank missiles. They pilot unmanned aircraft and fight alongside artillery and tanks. They have taken rebel-held villages with Russian air support.

More than 1,000 Hezbollah fighters have died, the Israelis say; they do not describe Hezbollah as “demoralized” but “tested.”

“In 2006, Hezbollah fought a guerrilla war. Today, Hezbollah is like a conventional army,” said Elias Hanna, a retired Lebanese army general who teaches at the American University of Beirut.
Hezbollah made be like a conventional army now, but I doubt they have forgotten the advantages of guerrilla tactics when called for. The real question is whether Israeli arrogance will overpower the lessons learned the last time they were beaten in Lebanon?

Bloomie picks Hillz

He left the Democratic party in 2000 and became a Republican of Convenience to take over NYC as its mayor. He has since gone Independent and in has announced his choice for President.
Michael R. Bloomberg, who bypassed his own run for the presidency this election cycle, will endorse Hillary Clinton in a prime-time address at the Democratic convention and make the case for Mrs. Clinton as the best choice for moderate voters in 2016, an adviser to Mr. Bloomberg said.

The news is an unexpected move from Mr. Bloomberg, who has not been a member of the Democratic Party since 2000; was elected the mayor of New York City as a Republican; and later became an independent.

But it reflects Mr. Bloomberg’s increasing dismay about the rise of Donald J. Trump and a determination to see that the Republican nominee is defeated.

Mrs. Clinton is seeking to reach out to middle-of-the-road swing voters and even moderate Republicans uneasy about Mr. Trump. Polls show that significant numbers of Republicans remain wary of Mr. Trump, and question his fitness for the presidency.

Mr. Bloomberg will vouch for Mrs. Clinton “from the perspective of a business leader and an independent,” said Howard Wolfson, a senior adviser to Mr. Bloomberg.

Mr. Bloomberg, who has been sharply critical of Mr. Trump’s views on immigration and the economy, may fortify Mrs. Clinton’s appeal to the political center.

And with the Republican nominee basing his campaign on his background as a businessman, Mr. Bloomberg, a billionaire media executive and philanthropist, may help counter the Trump sales pitch.

It is unusual, but not unheard of, for a speaker who is not a member of a political party to address that party’s convention. Mr. Bloomberg is expected to speak on Wednesday, the same evening as President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Mr. Bloomberg and Mrs. Clinton are not personally close, but had a positive working relationship when he served as mayor and she as a senator from New York.
I am not sure why this is unexpected. Bloomie may be rapacious but he does follow a code of conduct most of us would be familiar with. And there was never any love lost betweenhim and The Great Orange Fungus.

Trump finds an acorn

Don't take the easy way

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A simple Pennsyltucky recipe

The Hello Strangers divulge "What It Takes To Break A Heart"

Missing the ring of the original

From the pen of Darren Bell

Report of first Zika Republican baby

New York has announced the first case of Zika related microcephaly in the city.
Health officials on Friday reported the first baby born in New York City with the Zika-related birth defect known as microcephaly, a condition marked by an abnormally small head and impaired brain development.

The virus has caused more than 1,500 children to be born with birth defects around the world, mostly in Brazil. As it continues to spread, doctors are struggling to understand the virus and to prepare for its effects.

The baby in New York is one of a growing number of children born in the United States with microcephaly, a condition that requires intensive care and can lead to a variety of other problems, including seizures, vision and hearing loss and intellectual disability.

There have been reports of about a dozen children in the United States being born with Zika-related microcephaly since the spring, including cases in New Jersey and Florida.

As in those instances, the mother in New York is believed to have been infected while traveling to one of the roughly 50 countries where Zika is endemic.

Health officials said that the baby with microcephaly tested positive for the virus after being born at a hospital in the city this month. They declined to provide additional details about the case, including whether the virus had been previously diagnosed in the mother, or if she was monitored as part of a national registry created to track pregnancy outcomes for those who become infected.

At a news conference on Friday, officials said the case should serve as warning to anyone who considered the virus to be just a theoretical threat and once again urged all pregnant women not to travel to countries where Zika is endemic.

“While not surprising, given the travel trends of our global city, this case is a strong reminder of the tragic consequences of the Zika virus,” Dr. Mary T. Bassett, New York City’s health commissioner, said in a statement. “We are monitoring the baby’s health closely and connecting the family with the necessary services to take care of their child.”
Despite the airy promises of the Congressional Republicans. Zika is not a hoax nor is it likely to stop spreading across the United States. And like most diseases, being rich may minimize the possibility of contracting it, but not really. The truth of Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" still holds true.

Murder wrapped on a religious veneer

The Masters Of Middle Eastern Murder, Daesh, has struck again. This time is unleashed one of it's "holy" suicide bombers in the midst of a peaceful demonstration in Kabul. And the sin that the demonstrators committed in the eyes of these "holy" murderers was to be Shiite.
Two explosions rocked a peaceful demonstration in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, on Saturday, organizers and eyewitnesses said, with the government reporting at least 80 dead.

The Afghan ministry of the interior, in a statement, reported the casualties and said 231 had been wounded in the blasts.

The Islamic State, in a statement through the group’s Amaq News Agency, claimed the carnage as a “martyrdom attack on Shias.” The Taliban, who are often behind major assaults in Afghanistan, denied any involvement.

Afghan security officials said that while Kabul remained under constant insurgent threat, they had no prior intelligence on a particular threat to the protest.

Much of the city was already under lockdown; the government had stacked shipping containers to block routes to the presidential palace in anticipation of the demonstration by Hazaras, an ethnic minority group. They had gathered in the west of the city to demand that a proposed electricity transmission line be routed through the Hazara-dominated central province of Bamian.

The Hazaras have only in the past decade tried to shake off a long history of oppression. The protest leaders claimed the government remained rife with “systematic bias” against the Hazaras, and had routed the electricity transmission line elsewhere, depriving the central Afghan region not only of electric power but also of the roads and other infrastructure that would come with it...

Muhammad Ali, a protester at the site of the blast whose clothes were covered in blood, said he had loaded dozens of dead bodies into trucks.

“People were going toward a prayer break when two explosions happened — one near the truck where speeches were given,” Mr. Ali said.

Hundreds of protesters returned to the site immediately after the carnage, cordoning off the area with a large Afghan flag they had carried in their march earlier, lowering the cordon only to allow ambulances to pass. When the armored vehicle of a government official approached, angry men chased it away.

As tempers flared at the government, protesters also pushed away anti-riot police forces who had provided security earlier in the day.

Saturday’s attack was the deadliest of the past 15 years on the Hazaras, a largely Shia group. In December 2011, a suicide-bombing in a Shia shrine in Kabul killed at least 63 people, mostly Hazaras.
Make no mistake, this attack was not about religion, the leaders of Daesh have long shown themselves to be deluded apostates. This was pure murder for the fun of killing people seeking a better life and getting to say you are pure and holy to is only window dressing.

Finally the end of the 50's

Bill Maher pinpoints The Great Orange Menace's last failing.

From a guy who really is worth Billions

Friday, July 22, 2016

Didn't even need a plank

From the pen of Jim Morin

Turkey suspending human rights "temporarily"

In the aftermath of the attempted coup against Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, his purge of secular elements has included the suspension of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Turkey will temporarily suspend the European Convention on Human rights as it implements a three-month state of emergency, the country's deputy prime minister said.

The emergency state was implemented following a failed coup last weekend during which over 250 were killed.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said on Thursday that the state of emergency could end before the three months are up and may only last for one to one and a half month, according to broadcaster NTV.

Turkey will follow in the footsteps of France, which also opted out of some of the convention's aspects during an emergency state implemented in November 2015 after terrorist attacks in Paris killed 130 people.

President Tayyip Erdogan said the state of emergency, which he announced on Wednesday, would enable the authorities to act more efficiently to bring those responsible to justice.

Turkey tried to assure its citizens and the outside world on Thursday that there will be no return to the deep repression of the past, even though Erdogan has imposed the first nationwide state of emergency since the 1980s.

With Erdogan cracking down on thousands of people in the judiciary, education, military, and civil service after last weekend's failed coup, a lawmaker from the main opposition party warned that the state of emergency created "a way of ruling that paves the way for abuse".
The Turkish government says it will only be for 3 months but this sort of thing has a way of stretching itself out and will probaly last until the end of Mr Erdogan's upcoming caliphate.

The NBA is as good as they promised

The NBA said they would move their All Star game from Charlotte NC if the Teabagger legislature did not change their discriminatory law, HB2. The peckerwoods in North Carolina called their bluff only to find out it wasn't a bluff.
The National Basketball Association on Thursday dealt a blow to the economy and prestige of North Carolina by pulling next February’s All-Star Game from Charlotte to protest a state law that eliminated anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

The move was among the most prominent consequences since the law, which also bars transgender people from using bathrooms in public buildings that do not correspond with their birth gender, was passed in March.

The league, which has become increasingly involved in social issues, said that both it and the Hornets, the N.B.A. team based in Charlotte, had been talking to state officials about changing the law but that time had run out because of the long lead time needed to stage the game. The N.B.A. said it hoped the game could be played in Charlotte in 2019, with the clear implication that the law would have to be changed before then.

“While we recognize that the N.B.A. cannot choose the law in every city, state and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by the current law,” a statement by the league said...

In taking the action it did, the N.B.A. is following the path already taken by others. A number of musicians, including Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr and Itzhak Perlman, canceled concerts in North Carolina to protest the law, and there have been calls for repeal of the legislation by a number of businesses, some of which have canceled plans to create new jobs in the state.

All-Star weekend is one of the flashiest and most lucrative events on the league’s annual schedule. In addition to the game, the league arranges three days full of activities for fans. There is a separate game for the league’s rising stars, a dunk contest and a 3-point contest.
The governor responded with a statement saying that discrimination in The Shitheel State is good discrimination and how dare the NBA criticize it or something like that. Whatever, they blew it big time and for the people of North Carolina, just in time to make electoral changes.

The Orange Also Rises

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Out of the Great Northwest

Sera Cahoone sings "Deer Creek Canyon" from her album of the same name.

DC tours in the slow season

From the pen of Joel Pett

Has the Navy forgotten how to build ships?

Following hard on the heels of the debacle of the Navy's much touted Littoral Combat Ships, such poor performers that they have been labeled Little Crappy Ships, the latest and most expensive aircraft carrier, the $12.9B USS Gerald R. Ford has been deemed "not ready for warfare" which is its only reason to exist.
The U.S. Navy’s newest aircraft carrier isn’t ready for warfare.
The $12.9 billion USS Gerald R. Ford -- the most expensive warship ever built -- may struggle to launch and recover aircraft, mount a defense and move munitions, according to the Pentagon’s top weapons tester. On-board systems for those tasks have poor or unknown reliability issues, according to a June 28 memo obtained by Bloomberg News.

“These four systems affect major areas of flight operations,” Michael Gilmore, the Defense Department’s director of operational test and evaluation, wrote Pentagon and Navy weapons buyers Frank Kendall and Sean Stackley. “Unless these issues are resolved, which would likely require redesigning” of the aircraft launch and recovery systems “they will significantly limit the CVN-78’s ability to conduct combat operations,” Gilmore wrote, using a technical name for the carrier.

More Delays
The reliability woes mean that delivery of the Ford -- the first of three carriers ordered up in a $42 billion program -- will probably slip further behind schedule. The Navy announced last week that the ship, originally due by September 2014, wouldn’t be delivered before November this year because of continuing unspecified testing issues.
The service has operated 10 carriers since the retirement of the USS Enterprise in 2012. Extended deployments of the remaining ships have placed stress on crews and meant added strain meeting global commitments from the battle against Islamic State to ensuring freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, home to $5 trillion in annual trade.

A prolonged delay could also hamper the military if a new conflict arises.

“Based on current reliability estimates, the CVN-78 is unlikely to conduct high-intensity flight operations” such as a requirement for four days of 24-hour surge operations “at the outset of a war,” Gilmore wrote.

As delivery of the Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. vessel approaches, “my concerns about the reliability of these systems remain and the risk to the ship’s ability to succeed in combat grows as these reliability issues remain unresolved,” Gilmore said.
When the launch and landing gear technology is suspect, an aircraft carrier has a serious problem. Problems with the radar and elevators are irrelevant if you can't launch and land the aircraft. Given the naval version of the F-35 Flying Brick is not yet capable either, the Navy could make it the world's largest helicopter carrier.

Trump has trouble with commitments

He is a man on his third wife, notorious for stiffing his business associates and failing to pay any contractors without mob connections and now he has a new set of commitments he wants to avoid.
Donald J. Trump, on the eve of accepting the Republican nomination for president, explicitly raised new questions on Wednesday about his commitment to automatically defending NATO allies if they are attacked, saying he would first look at their contributions to the alliance.

Asked about Russia’s threatening activities, which have unnerved the small Baltic States that are among the more recent entrants into NATO, Mr. Trump said that if Russia attacked them, he would decide whether to come to their aid only after reviewing if those nations “have fulfilled their obligations to us.”

“If they fulfill their obligations to us,” he added, “the answer is yes.”

Mr. Trump’s statement appeared to be the first time that a major candidate for president had suggested conditioning the United States’ defense of its major allies. It was consistent, however, with his previous threat to withdraw American forces from Europe and Asia if those allies fail to pay more for American protection.

Mr. Trump also said he would not pressure Turkey or other authoritarian allies about conducting purges of their political adversaries or cracking down on civil liberties. The United States, he said, has to “fix our own mess” before trying to alter the behavior of other nations.

“I don’t think we have a right to lecture,” Mr. Trump said in a wide-ranging interview in his suite in a downtown hotel here, while keeping an eye on television broadcasts from the Republican National Convention. “Look at what is happening in our country,” he said. “How are we going to lecture when people are shooting policemen in cold blood?”
None of it really makes any sense unless you realize that he has a fear of commitments and will run away from them whenever possible. Then the life of Donald Trumps begins to make sense.

Samantha Bee does a bus trip

fullfrontal072016 by lookatmyshirt

Headline of the Day

From McClatchy:
Chris Christie ‘turned over his political testicles long ago,’ Cruz campaign manager says

The nominee's resume

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Kelly Willis covers a song that should be a classic

The late Kirsty MacColl wrote "Don't Come The Cowboy With Me Sonny Jim" and Kelly does it justice.

Nice work if you can get it

The Iraqistan War should be claiming another victim today but it probably won't. The Department of Justice has filed charges of defrauding the public on contracts it held to train police in Iraq and Afghanistan. DynCorp, a major mercenary corporation was accused of overcharging for services that may have been rendered.
Papers filed in a Washington DC federal court on Tuesday allege that DynCorp, a fixture of wartime US contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, knowingly inflated costs during a four-year stretch when the company held a contract with the US state department for training Iraqi police.

Since 2010, DynCorp has held a contract with the US defense department for training Afghanistan’s ministry of defense and its own national police. DynCorp essentially inherited that contract thanks to a prior deal for the same Afghan police training with the state department that began in 2003.

The company received an extension on that contract in March under limited competition. Although in the past the contract was worth approximately $1bn over three years, the dollar value on the reaward, a far shorter period, was redacted.

The fraud allegation against DynCorp stems from a subcontractor it used, Corporate Bank, during a period from 2004 to 2008 when it held the Iraqi police training contract. According to the justice department complaint, DynCorp was aware that rates from the subcontractor – for hotels for US government officials, local security personnel, drivers and interpreters – were “unreasonable”, yet the firm billed them to the state department anyway.

“DynCorp’s invoices, which reflected these inflated subcontractor rates, and DynCorp’s own fees and mark-ups, were false and fraudulent claims,” the complaint alleges.

DynCorp, which provides private security guards as well as aviation and logistics services, was not among seven contractors awarded state department contracts in February to protect its diplomats. It was a departure for state, which has included the security company on its previous awards of its Worldwide Protective Services contract, most recently in 2010.

Yet the firm currently holds contracts with the US department of defense, according to a federal contracting database, atop the Afghanistan interior ministry training deal.

Among them is an air force contract for supplying materiel relevant to a training aircraft for which DynCorp was the sole bidder, and an army contract for support services at a base in Honduras. A different contract, with the navy for maintenance on test aircraft, is set to expire on 31 July.

According to the justice department complaint, DynCorp management called its subcontractor Corporate Bank’s labor and hotel rates “expensive” during an internal presentation, without the subcontractor providing evidence justifying the costs. DynCorp allegedly presented those rates to the state department as justified by “historical data” or a “vendor quote”, and is alleged to have billed the government for unoccupied hotel rooms.
They were making $Millions 'legitimately' with their contracts, this is only attributable to unrestrained greed. However they are a genuine "defense contractor" so they will skate on this with a penalty of perhaps 10 cents on the dollar at the end.

Parents job just got harder

From the pen of Berkeley Brethed

R.I.P. Garry Marshall

Thanks for all the laughs. We sure could use some now.

Trump found a scapegoat

Mrs. Donald Trump made a speech at the Republican convention. It was composed, in part, of segments copied from another speech made at another convention without saying who first said it.After severals days of running around blaming everyone they possibly could, the Trumpoons have finally settled on a scapegoat for this horrid failure.
A longtime employee of the Trump Organization took responsibility for lifting two passages, from a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama, for Melania Trump’s address on Monday at the Republican National Convention, saying that it was an innocent mistake.

The employee, Meredith McIver, who has worked on some of Mr. Trump’s books, is the first person to publicly apologize for an error at any point during the Trump campaign. The New York Times on Tuesday night identified Ms. McIver as playing a role in the speech, although the extent of her involvement was unclear, and the Trump campaign declined to answer questions. Ms. McIver was brought in after Ms. Trump discarded the majority of a draft written by two professional speechwriters.

Ms. McIver identified herself in an unusual statement posted on the Trump campaign’s website, hours after the chief strategist, Paul Manafort, said the issue was manufactured by the news media. And it breathed new life into a story now in its third day.

“In working with Melania on her recent first lady speech, we discussed many people who inspired her and messages she wanted to share with the American people,” Ms. McIver wrote.

“A person she has always liked is Michelle Obama,” she added. “Over the phone,” Ms. Trump “read me some passages from Mrs. Obama’s speech as examples. I wrote them down and later included some of the phrasing in the draft that ultimately became the final speech. I did not check Mrs. Obama’s speeches. This was my mistake and I feel terrible for the chaos I have caused Melania and the Trumps as well as to Mrs. Obama. No harm was meant.”

She said that she had “offered my resignation to Mr. Trump and the Trump family but they rejected it,” and that “Mr. Trump told me that people make innocent mistakes and we learn and grow from these experiences.”
And after all his surrogates were promising to drink the blood and eat the guts of all those they choose to hate, The Great Orange Saviourgot to show his magnaminity by not accepting the scapegoat's resignation. That was mighty Orange of you, Mr. Trump

No, they are not equal

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

It's hard to get along without Linda

Linda Ronstadt sounding most beautiful with thanks to Nelson Riddle. "I Get Along Without You Very Well"

Filling out the ticket

From the pen of Rob Rogers

The GOP has pissed on family values so long

That they no longer mind the stink of their corrupted, dysfunctional lives. And the shining example of Republican regard for "family values" is their current standard bearer, Donald Trump.
In this deeply conservative part of Ohio, full of cornfields and horse-drawn Amish buggies, people know all about Donald Trump’s two very public divorces, his extramarital affair with a beauty queen who became his second wife and his five children from three marriages.

But more surprising to many voters than the complexity of Trump’s “Modern Family” personal life is that it is not stopping them from voting for him.

“The other day I was thinking: Why doesn’t it bother me that he has had three wives?” said Carole Shetler, 66, a pastor of a Christian church who also works at the Wholesome Valley Farm store. “We have been desensitized.”

Only one other president, Ronald Reagan, had ever been divorced when he sought the White House. But Reagan had only one ex-wife. And unlike Trump, he did not have women publicly feuding over him — nor appear on the cover of Playboy magazine.

A messy private life — at least, when it’s known — has long been viewed as a disqualifier for a run for the highest office. Just ask former senator John Edwards, the North Carolina Democrat whose 2008 White House bid imploded following revelations that he’d had an affair.

But in 2016, millions of voters are merely shrugging about personal lives that once seemed scandalous.

Many ordinary Americans wind up divorced. Then there’s the fact that the marriage of Democratic rival Hillary Clinton is viewed as far from perfect. Both are key reasons people gave in interviews here that explain why they no longer weigh a candidate’s personal life as seriously as they once did.

“Let’s face it — there is not a lot of choice,” said Shetler, a Trump supporter who recalled the sex scandals around former president Bill Clinton. “We have to have change. I know other pastors, and they are for Trump, too.”
Republicans don't need corkscrews, they twist their words to much they can open any bottle. Sadly, the result is that those who listen, even so-called church people, no longer care about what should be the heart of their morality. And Donald Trump is the result.

Stating the obvious, again

New York has filed a suit against Volkswagen asserting that the emissions cheating evolved from corporate corruption that extended all the way to the top.
But the New York civil complaint, drawing on internal Volkswagen documents, emails and witness statements, depicts a corporate culture that allowed a “willful and systematic scheme of cheating.” The evidence paints the most detailed picture yet about how the deception unfolded and who was responsible.

For the first time, the New York complaint connects Volkswagen’s chief executive, Matthias Müller, to the scandal. Mr. Müller, according to the suit, was aware of a 2006 decision to not equip Audi vehicles with equipment needed to meet American clean-air standards. To save money, the company opted instead to install defeat devices in the cars. The suit stops short of accusing Mr. Müller of having specific knowledge of the device.

At the time, Mr. Müller was head of project management at Audi, Volkswagen’s luxury car division. He became chief executive of Volkswagen in September, replacing Martin Winterkorn, who resigned days after the Environmental Protection Agency accused the company of the diesel deception in September.

The New York complaint claims that more than two dozen Volkswagen engineers and managers were involved in the deception, including Wolfgang Hatz, the former head of engine and transmission development at Volkswagen and Audi; Ulrich Hackenberg, former head of development for Audi; and Heinz-Jakob Neusser, former head of development for the Volkswagen brand. While several executives have been identified by the news media, German prosecutors, because of the country’s strict privacy laws, have named only one suspect, Mr. Winterkorn.

The suit, filed in New York State Supreme Court in Albany, also criticized Volkswagen’s supervisory board for awarding 63 million euros (about $70 million) in salary and bonuses to Mr. Müller and other members of the management board last year. “Recent actions,” the complaint said, “demonstrate that the company’s culture that incentivizes cheating and denies accountability comes from the very top and, even now, remains unchecked.”

The deception, the complaint described, was an “iterative process,” saying there were six separate defeat devices in more than a decade.

While scrutiny has focused on the Volkswagen brand, the use of defeat devices was pioneered by Audi, according to the complaint. Engineers at Audi had developed a way to eliminate the clattering sound that diesel engines tend to make after starting. But the solution increased pollution to impermissible levels.

So Audi in 2004 programmed its diesels in Europe to turn off the noise reduction technology when software recognized that the cars were undergoing emissions tests, the complaint said. The defeat device was euphemistically labeled the “acoustic function.” The same software was later adapted after engineers determined that a new generation of diesel motors could not meet American emissions standards, according to the complaint.

The New York complaint is the first to explicitly present evidence that top managers, at the very least, were aware of the engineering problems that led to the use of defeat devices.

According to the New York suit, Mr. Müller and Mr. Winterkorn were informed in 2006 that Audis with 3-liter diesel engines needed additional equipment to meet American standards. Specifically, they needed a larger tank to hold the chemical solution used to neutralize nitrogen oxide emissions in the exhaust.

But Volkswagen and Audi, the complaint said, did not want to spend the money necessary to redesign the cars to accommodate larger tanks. Instead, the company decided to deploy defeat devices. Both Mr. Winterkorn and Mr. Müller held senior positions at the Audi unit at the time.
Muller and Winterkorn got to the top by succeeding with their emissions cheats. And the ones who got away with it are the ones who rewarded those two for their efforts.

Samantha Beesplains the Republican convention

Their god moves in perverted ways

Monday, July 18, 2016

Blues Monday Again

So we can let Samantha Fish get that "Bitch On The Run"

The Trump goes round and round

And none of the different parts is going to change

Hurry, hurry it's about to begin

From the pen of Tom Toles

Too late now

The man who actually wrote Donald Trump's fantasy of his business brilliance, "The Art Of The Deal" has now developed writers remorse as he has witnessed the growth of the fungus Trump.
Donald J. Trump has regularly boasted about “The Art of the Deal,” his best-selling autobiography, as a business bible that demonstrates the sharp negotiating prowess he would bring to the presidency. The book, released in 1987, details his rise to the top of New York’s real estate world; it helped spawn his career as a reality television star and cemented his image as a winner with a golden touch.

But Tony Schwartz, the book’s ghostwriter, who spent 18 months in the 1980s interviewing and shadowing Mr. Trump, says that it is really a work of fiction.

In an interview with The New Yorker magazine for its July 25 issue, Mr. Schwartz explained publicly, and for the first time, what he learned from living in Mr. Trump’s world.

Mr. Schwartz, a former magazine writer who said he worked on the book because he needed the money, told the writer Jane Mayer that he painted Mr. Trump in the most positive light that he could, thinking that a sympathetic character would be better for the book’s sales than a story about a cruel tycoon. If he could do it over again, however, Mr. Schwartz said the book would be titled “The Sociopath.”

“I feel a deep sense of remorse that I contributed to presenting Trump in a way that brought him wider attention and made him more appealing than he is,” Mr. Schwartz said. “I genuinely believe that if Trump wins and gets the nuclear codes, there is an excellent possibility it will lead to the end of civilization.”

“He’s a living black hole!” Mr. Schwartz said he used to tell his wife after long days with Mr. Trump. He described Mr. Trump as a painful interview subject who could not handle questions that required any depth to answer and who had little recollection of his youth. When pressed, Mr. Schwartz said, Mr. Trump would grow fidgety, angry and sometimes quit despite the fact that they were ostensibly working together on the book. He had no attention span, Mr. Schwartz said.

“If he had to be briefed on a crisis in the Situation Room, it’s impossible to imagine him paying attention over a long period of time,” Mr. Schwartz said of Mr. Trump’s inability to focus.
And the list goes on. The sad part is those who support the Orange Turd probably read no more that Donald himself does and will never see this.

Something for the Gunhumpers to consider

The New York Times asks a vital question, in this day and age how do you tell a terrorist from a deranged individual. And if you say by the color of their skin, eat shit and die. In light of recent events it is an urgently serious question that may never have a complete answer.
In December 2014, a middle-aged man driving a car in Dijon, France, mowed down more than a dozen pedestrians within 30 minutes, occasionally shouting Islamic slogans from his window.

The chief prosecutor in Dijon described the attacks, which left 13 injured but no one dead, as the work of a mentally unbalanced man whose motivations were vague and “hardly coherent.”

A year and a half later, after Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel slaughtered dozens of people when he drove a 19-ton refrigerated truck through a Bastille Day celebration on Thursday in Nice, France, the authorities did not hesitate to call it an act of Islamic terrorism. The attacker had a record of petty crime but no obvious ties to a terrorist group, yet the French prime minister swiftly said Mr. Lahouaiej Bouhlel was “a terrorist probably linked to radical Islam one way or another.”

The age of the Islamic State, in which the tools of terrorism appear increasingly crude and haphazard, has led to a re-imagining of the common notion of who is and who is not a terrorist.

Instances of wanton violence by deranged attackers — whether in Nice or in Orlando, Fla. — are swiftly judged to be the work of terrorists. These judgments occur even when there is little immediate evidence that the attackers had direct ties to terrorist groups and when they do not fit a classic definition of terrorists as those who use violence to advance a political agenda.

“A lot of this stuff is at the fringes of what we would historically think of as terrorism,” said Daniel Benjamin, a former State Department coordinator for counterterrorism and a professor at Dartmouth College. But, he said, “the Islamic State and jihadism has become a kind of refuge for some unstable people who are at the end of their rope and decide they can redeem their screwed-up lives” by dying in the name of a cause.

Mr. Benjamin said this also led the news media and government officials to treat violence like the Nice attack differently from other mass attacks, like shootings at schools and churches that have been carried out by non-Muslims.

“If there is a mass killing and there is a Muslim involved, all of a sudden it is by definition terrorism,” he said.

The spectrum of terrorism is widening and now includes attacks loosely inspired by the Islamic State, those carried out by its affiliate groups and attacks directed by the group’s leadership. All have drawn public condemnation and concern, but the plots organized and executed by the Islamic State usually prompt greater concern from the authorities.
Is there a difference between inspiring and organizing an attack? And with a desperate ISIS trying to show it still has a sting, does their claim of ownership of the Nice attack ring true? And bringing it back to the Gunhumpers, how do you tell a bad guy from a crazy guy. Is it the same as when cops try to decide who is a good guy and who is a bad guy? In the end, maybe your personal invisible sky demon will be the only one who can tell the difference.

Now is the time to ask them

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Better than ever

Liz Longley covers "Moondance"

Preview of Coming Attractions

From the pen of Brian McFadden


More elastic than Spandex

Donald Trump's version of the truth has a stretchability unrivaled in the natural world. To hear him tell it, everything is perfect and getting better.
As Mr. Trump prepares to claim the Republican nomination for president this week, he and his supporters are sure to laud his main calling card — his long, operatic record as a swaggering business tycoon. And without question, there will be successes aplenty to highlight, from his gleaming golden high-rises to his well-regarded golf resorts, hit TV shows and best-selling books.

But a survey of Mr. Trump’s four decades of wheeling and dealing also reveals an equally operatic record of dissembling and deception, some of it unabashedly confirmed by Mr. Trump himself, who nearly 30 years ago first extolled the business advantages of “truthful hyperbole.” Indeed, based on the mountain of court records churned out over the span of Mr. Trump’s career, it is hard to find a project he touched that did not produce allegations of broken promises, blatant lies or outright fraud.

Under the intense scrutiny of a presidential election, many of those allegations have already become familiar campaign fodder: the Trump University students and Trump condo buyers who say they were fleeced; the public servants from New Jersey to Scotland who now say they rue the zoning approvals, licenses or tax breaks they gave based on Mr. Trump’s promises; the small-time contractors who say Mr. Trump concocted complaints about their work to avoid paying them; the infuriated business partners who say Mr. Trump concealed profits or ignored contractual obligations; the business journalists and stock analysts who say Mr. Trump smeared them for critical coverage.

Taken as a whole, though, an examination of Mr. Trump’s business career reveals persistent patterns in the way Mr. Trump bends or breaks the truth — patterns that may already feel familiar to those watching his campaign.

First and foremost is Mr. Trump’s tendency toward the self-aggrandizing fib — as if it were not impressive enough to be paid $400,000 for a speech. What also emerges is a nearly reflexive habit of telling his target audience precisely what he thinks it wants to hear — such as promising Trump University students they will learn all his real estate secrets from his “handpicked” instructors. And finally, there is the pattern already deeply familiar to his political opponents — making spurious claims against adversaries under Mr. Trump’s oft-stated theory that the best defense is a scorched-earth offense.

Equally striking is his Houdiniesque ability to wiggle away from all but the most skilled and determined efforts to corner him in an apparent lie. In interviews, lawyers who have tangled with Mr. Trump in court cases are sometimes reduced to sputtering, astonished rage, calling him “borderline pathological” and “the Michelangelo of deception” as they attempt to describe the ease with which Mr. Trump weaves his own versions of reality.

“He’s a bully, and bullies aren’t known for their veracity,” said Richard C. Seltzer, a retired senior partner at the law firm Kaye Scholer who confronted Mr. Trump in three real estate lawsuits.
It is impossible to catch a bullshitter like Donald in a lie because when you try he is already 6 lies ahead of you and not looking back.

Meet the Center Of The Universe

It was a fairly simple and straightforward political exercise that has been performed multiple times before, the formal introduction of the Vice Presidential candidate. Previously, the big guy would do the honors and then let his mini-me have a turn in the spotlight. The big guy, however, has never been Donald Trump, a man never known to share or relinquish a spotlight willingly.
It was a vice presidential announcement unlike any in modern times.

You may have missed Donald Trump’s introduction Saturday of Mike Pence as his running mate, because it turned into another nationally-televised, rambling demonstration of how the Republican campaign is all about Trump. Trump spoke for 28 minutes, alone on the stage, rarely mentioning the Indiana governor before eventually introducing him..

Some of his disconnected monologue was an effort to write, or rewrite history—Pence’s endorsement of rival Ted Cruz this spring was “really more of an endorsement for me,” Trump said.

Some was Trump explaining why Democrat Hillary Clinton is responsible for the world’s turmoil.

Some was Trump careening between boasting about his “landslide” wins, plugging his new Washington, D.C. hotel, being right on Brexit and immigration, and so on.

When he finally got to Pence, Trump didn’t convey much excitement, and eventually read from notes that described the wonders of Indiana’s economy and how Pence made it so.

It was all a vivid reminder that this campaign is largely a solo act, and that once Pence gives his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, he may rarely be noticed nationally again.

He first mentioned Pence by saying he was “my first choice,” though he reportedly was having doubts just hours before he tweeted the pick Friday morning.

Trump hardly sounded excited about his own choice. “One of the reasons is party unity, I have to be honest,” he said. “Because I’m an outsider. I want to be an outsider. I think it’s one of the reasons I won in landslides. This wasn’t close.”

Indiana? “I won Indiana big. Indiana was going to the firewall,” he recalled. Correct. Indiana’s May 3 primary was where Cruz aimed to stop Trump’s momentum. Trump won by 17 points, and Cruz dropped out that night.

Pence endorsed Cruz just before the primary. People misread that endorsement, Trump insisted.

“I learned that when Governor Pence, under tremendous pressure from establishment people, endorsed somebody else, but it was more of an endorsement for me, if you remember,” Trump said.
28 minutes of Donald Trump explaining his greatness and then "here's Mikey!" after which he fled the stage not to be seen again. I hope the popcorn growers have a bumper crop this year.

A pick-me-up for Sunday

Saturday, July 16, 2016

What you call a Texas girl on Cape Cod

"Washashore Cowgirl" is the name of Monica Rizzio, her album and this song.

It's simple, really

From the New Yorker

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