Friday, April 29, 2016

Music for a Contested Convention...

What would you pick as the theme music for the 2016 Republican National Convention?  Here are a few to get you started.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Flawed Arguments - Flawed Tickets

Photo: Gage Skidmore
The argument for Ted Cruz goes like this:  The majority of Americans don't want Donald Trump.  The problem with this argument for Ted Cruz is that a greater majority of Americans don't want Ted Cruz.  Carly Fiorina isn't going to fix this as an even greater majority of Americans don't want her either.

And the Republiclown car rolls on.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Right & Wrong vs. Legal and Illegal

Photo: Continentaleurope

Monday's post underscores a critical divide in thinking among people and societies.  

Do you see a difference between what is moral, what is ethical, what is right, what is legal; and what is immoral, what is unethical, what is wrong, and what is illegal?

Society has in certain instances recognized a higher arbiter of behavior than what is simply legal or illegal.  It is certainly in all cases legal for a citizen to take up arms in the organized defense of his society, and in many if not the majority of cases to refuse to do so is considered illegal.  Then there are conscientious objectors, to refuse to defend one's self and fellow citizens out of fear, or simple inconvenience is almost universally recognized as illegal, to refuse to do so out of a belief in a higher moral code is a recognized exception that does not necessarily need to involve religion.

There are three types of people in this world:

Those that will do what is right, regardless.

Those that do what is right out of fear of punishment or shame.

Those that will do whatever they want, regardless.

There is a saying, and I've seen it attributed to Lao Tzu:

Highly evolved people have their own conscience as pure law.

Law can never encompass the totality of what is right, moral, or ethicalSlavery was once legal, would any of you argue that at that time it was right, moral, or ethical? Law can not be the final arbiter of behavior, machines can run code, conscience is what makes us human.  The law should be the hard limits of human behavior, it cannot be the only limits.

Whether it's Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, or Bernie Sanders... you shouldn't be asking yourselves is what they did legal, you should be asking yourselves is what they did right.  Do you want a leader who always does what is legal? Or do you want a leader who always does what is right?

Justice is blind in more ways than one.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Mindless Drones in Action

So this is how far we have come, children in a public school visiting a public space silenced for... pick one:

1. Political Correctness

2. $35.00

Monday, April 25, 2016

Ars gratia artis... part II

Back in August of 2013 we posted an article concerning photographer Arne Svensen gallery showing of "The Neighbors".  The Neighbors was a collection of photographs taken covertly of people inside their apartments and lofts.

Well the case has finally wended its way through the legal system, an appellate review upholding the original judge's decision tossing the case against the photographer. ~MSN

Take a look at the pictures, what do you think today? Art or invasion of privacy?

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Maybe this is the flag that should come down...

State flags bearing confederate imagery including the flag of the State of Mississippi will no longer hang in the tunnel at the US Capitol.  Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich Chairwoman of the House Administration Committee said:

“I am well aware of how many Americans negatively view the Confederate flag, and, personally, I am very sympathetic to these views."

Well, given that Congress has an 14% approval rating perhaps you took the wrong flag down!

In a previous Gallup poll (July 8, 2015) 54% of Americans view the confederate battle standard as a symbol of southern pride. Now that's down from 59% in 2000 and 69% in 1992. Democrats however have shifted from 61% in 1992 to only 32% holding that view today. Still the approval rate of Democrats for confederate emblems still exceed the approval rating of the US Congress.

Perhaps Congress should address its own approval rating before taking on the burden of the states and the flags that they choose to fly. Before all you liberals (and some conservatives) go off your rockers I am not advocating disbanding the union or eliminating the stars and stripes... I am simply pointing out how foolish congress-critters actually are. More people approve of the stars and bars than approve of congress (14%), the president (48%), the economy (46%), foreign policy (37%), the direction the country is heading (26%), and the health care law (37%).  Perhaps you should pull your head out of your... before you take down the Mississippi flag.

Just sayin...

Friday, April 22, 2016


 The Artist formerly known as

 died this past Thursday, here are some of his more famous works:

PRINCE 1958 - 2016

Thursday, April 21, 2016

You've got to be Kidding me

Photo: Leoboudv

Tribune Publishing, which owns the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, turned on SolidOpinion’s software for the San Diego Union-Tribune’s website over the weekend. Readers can earn points, which can be used to buy more prominent placement for their comments at the end of news stories, by posting comments, visiting the site regularly, or spending real money. The newspaper sells 800 points for $10. The minimum price of a promoted spot is 15 points.

Tablet magazine, a New York-based Jewish publication, started charging people to post any comment on its website. Readers can pay $2 a day, $18 a month, or $180 a year.


So, what do you think? Would you pay to comment?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Intel inside...

Intel, a powerful advocate lobbying the government for an expansion of the H1B Visa program because it just can't get enough qualified American workers, announces plans to lay off 12,000 employees.

USA Today

In the past Intel's Immigration Policy Director (No, I'm not making that up), lamented:

"in an increasingly competitive global marketplace for talent our nation's outdated immigration laws hamper our ability to attract and retain key employees," Muller continued. "One example is the rule that spouses and dependents of an employee on an H-1B visa are not authorized to work until that employee achieves a permanent work visa"

Advocating that not only the spouses, but the children of H1B employees be allowed to work as well.

Intel DHS Letter 

Roughly 3% of Intel's workforce are H1B because "it can't find enough workers with advanced technical skills in the United States." 

Intel inside... like a tapeworm! 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

...and the Camel You Rode In On

The "Kingdom" of Saud is threatening to unload 750 Billion in US assets in an attempt to influence our government and our courts.  I say let them, in response the Fifth Fleet shall no longer be at your beck and call, US military forces shall no longer defend your "kingdom", and the US shall no longer supply spare parts to your (our) modern aircraft and missile defense systems. 

In other words:


Want to engage in economic warfare against us?  American oil production is at a 43 year high albeit slowed slightly by OPEC overproduction.  Want to see US overproduction?  Want to see American government subsidized production? Want to see 1930's oil prices? How does $10 a barrel sound?  


The only thing the "Kingdom" of Saudi Arabia exports is oil and terrorism, and frankly we no longer need either. There is no reason on God's green earth that America needs to prop up this hereditary dictatorship.  It's time to welcome Spring to the Arabian Peninsula.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Reality Check

While driving home from a weekend in the Poconos, my rather delightful Sunday afternoon was disturbed by a story on the radio concerning the transfer of 9 detainees from Gitmo to Saudi custody. What was incredulous was not the report itself, the actions of the current administration baffles any understanding, but the reporters rather outrageous description of these "gentlemen" as, and I quote; "political prisoners".

 To my mind at least, a political prisoner is someone incarcerated, justly or unjustly, for political activities. Dr. King in a Birmingham jail? Certainly. The Chicago 7? Arguably. These guys? NOT!!!

 A little research into the background of these "gentleman" reveals these actors were engaged in anything but legitimate political activities, unless you agree with Mao that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. Civil disobedience is not in their repertoire.

  All 9 were associated with either the Taliban, or Al Qaeda. Several of them were members of "The Dirty Thirty", captured while fleeing the bin Laden compound at Tora Bora.  Four of the nine were assessed as being "high" risk to pose a threat to the US, it's interests, and allies. The others a "medium" risk.

 Given the known recidivism rate of previously released Gitmo detainees why are we letting them go at all? A legitimate question perhaps but not my point, which is what has happened to our sense of self preservation that our view of mortal enemies has been so dramatically transformed?

 Legitimizing the aspirations of those who are trying to kill you, by comparing them to arguably commendable, legitimate, actors, is suicidal at best.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Welcome to Byzantium

The NSC is a cabinet body established in 1947 as the Cold War began to discuss and coordinate policy as directed by the president... And, as it has evolved, its main task has become to make sure that foreign relations do not get the president in trouble in Washington.

It originally had no staff or policy role independent of the cabinet. Kennedy’s initial NSC staff numbered six men, some of whom, like McGeorge Bundy and Walt Rostow, achieved infamy as the authors of the Vietnam War. Twenty years later, when Ronald Reagan took office, the NSC staff had grown to around 50.  By the time Barack Obama became president in 2009, it numbered about 370, plus another 230 or so people off the books and on temporary duty, for a total of around 600....

In many ways, the NSC staff has evolved to resemble the machinery in a planetarium. It turns this way and that and, to those within its ambit, the heavens appear to turn with it. But this is an apparatus that projects illusions. Inside its event horizon, everything is comfortingly predictable. Outside — who knows?— there may be a hurricane brewing. This is a system that creates and implements foreign policies suited to Washington narratives, but detached from external realities often to the point of delusion, as illustrated by America’s misadventures in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. And the system never admits mistakes. To do so would be a political gaffe, even if it might be a learning experience.

Read the entire article here at War on the Rocks: The End of the American Empire by Chas W. Freeman Jr.


Friday, April 15, 2016

I Wish a Buck was still Silver

So long, Merle...

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The Game is Rigged

Photo: Steve Hopson

Democratic legitimacy is not just about following the rules as written. It's about having a set of rules designed to produce a result in line with voter preferences. In some states, the Republican nominating rules are designed to ignore the will of the voters. Business Insider

What we are witnessing — for the first time on a large scale — is the political establishment’s true role in selecting the president of the United States. The illusion of choice has become apparent. The establishment anoints their two picks for president, and the country proceeds to argue vehemently over the two candidates they are spoon-fed.

“The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum.” Noam Chomsky

Bernie Sanders has won eight of the last nine primary contests by double digits, but Clinton still came out on top with more delegates. This is primarily because of the Democratic Party’s superdelegate system, which has come under harsh condemnation in this election for being thoroughly undemocratic. This unelected party nobility, which overwhelmingly backs Hillary Clinton, entrenches establishment politics and can undermine the candidate democratically chosen by the party’s mass base.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Photo: Kevin Case
So for today's pop quiz it is one simple question:

Who thinks the White House would be defending Donald Trump if he cracked a joke about "C.P Time" (Colored People's Time)?

If you don't know what C.P Time is... from Wiki regarding a 1973 episode of Maude: Maude asks Florida, what's "WPT"? Florida responds "White People Time. If he didn't mean 9:00 sharp he would have said CPT. That's Colored People Time. Which means 'shuffle on in when you feel like it"


Burn the Party Down

Steve House, Colorado Republican Chairman: 

"Go Ahead and Burn the Party Down"

This in a little temper tantrum after being called to task for cutting Colorado voters out of the candidate selection process.

Well sir, you ought to look around you... people, Republican people in Colorado are pissed and it is not the people of Colorado lighting the fire.  It is folks like yourself, folks that think they know better than everybody else, folks who are throwing the 2016 election away. Frankly at this point I wouldn't vote for a Republican if they were the only thing running.

As the saying goes... and the horse you rode in on! 

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Machinations of Propaganda

Fair Use
Is this the Boston Globe or the Onion?

Can't say I'm surprised as the Boston Globe rises to the journalistic standards of the National Inquirer.  If anyone had any doubts as to whether the Globe was nothing more than a propaganda rag those doubts are gone now.

From headlines of Market Crashes, Deportations, Military Revolt, and Libel Changes the paper gives one (perhaps a few) staffers view of their coming apocalypse.  Not really the function of a major urban newspaper. Opinion is opinion but opinion disguised as news is something else entirely.  This is the material of The Onion, Mad Magazine, and related publications, not normally found in serious journalistic outlets.  Remember these are the same people who think millions are too stupid to figure out how to get a government photo ID, what do they really think of these millions ability to discern the difference between satire and news published in bold headlines with full color photos?

"This is Donald Trump’s America.
What you read on this page is what
might happen if the GOP front­runner 
can put his ideas into practice, his words 
into action. Many Ameri­cans might find this 
vision appeal­ing, but the Globe’s editorial 
board finds it deeply troubling"
Meanwhile, Obama deploys B-52's to the Middle East and all is hunky dory.

I have to admit I dislike Trump and like satire, and this is funny, no doubt about it, but does it belong in the Boston Globe? Is this humorous satire or dark political propaganda?  Either way, The Onion is funnier.

Billionaire reading name in the Panama Papers, 
totally forgot he had money in the Seychelles. 

Clinton campaign Treasurer crushed to death
after stack of campaign funds topples over.

But it was a good spoof/great stunt... can't wait to see next Sunday's Hillary Clinton issue... oh, wait...

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Panama, it's the new Switzerland

Mossack Fonseca, Photo: Valenciano
Amid the scandal known as the Panama Papers politicians may rise or fall.  Protestors are calling for the British Prime Minister David Cameron to resign. The Icelandic PM has resigned and a new one has been sworn in. Ties have been identifed with FIFA, UEFA, and some two hundred Americans have been identified with links to the bank.

Banks, sports, companies, governments... the fallout continues to spread and the people, worldwide, are growing discontent with the monied classes and their shenanigans.  

What do you think?


Friday, April 8, 2016

Friday Sessions

Given yesterday's post, these seemed fitting.

Somehow I don't think we'll be listening to songs about self-driving cars twenty years hence.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Self-Driving Cars

TESLA Model 3
From Tesla to Google Self-Driving Cars are coming. Would you buy one? Ride in one?

They practically drive themselves already with collision avoidance, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot information systems... all that remains is hooking the navigation system to the steering box.

Our new car has collision avoidance... theoretically it won't let me rear-end anyone or drive into a stationary object, although I haven't had the cojones to test it.

Tesla offers Auto-pilot: an adaptive cruise control/lane keeping assistant that can even be instructed to change lanes for you.  No hands on the wheel, no feet on the pedals. 

Business Insider estimates there will be ten million self driving cars on the road by 2020.  Would you be comfortable sharing the road with them?  Would you even know they were driving themselves?

For me, with a 40 mile commute to work each way it's tempting, kick back in the seat and listen to music, maybe read.  I don't think I'm ready to close my eyes, climb in the back seat and take a nap yet.  What about you?

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Do you think they can do it?

At the time of this writing the media outlets have called Wisconsin for Cruz and Sanders.  At this point it appears that the Republicans are heading to a brokered convention (Trump needs 57% of the remaining delegates to win outright).   Sanders needs over 60% of the remaining delegates... but does he?  Does he need to beat Clinton's delegate count or does he simply need to win the majority of elected delegates to get super-delegates to switch?  

It's distinctly possible that large numbers in both parties are going to be dissatisfied with the results of their convention.  

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Not Politics

Photo: Lizard10979

Is this a sad commentary on the state of the American educational system, or not?

Currently raging on the interwebz is the following math problem and the teacher's response.

8. Reasonableness
Marty ate 4/6 of his pizza.
Luis ate 5/6 of his pizza.
Marty ate more pizza than Luis.
How is this possible.

The student's answer was "Marty's pizza was bigger than Luis'"

Sounds reasonable to me.

The teacher however marked that wrong.  Stating "That is not possible because 5/6 is greater than 4/6 so Luis ate more".

That so? Tell you what Teach... I'll eat 5/6ths of a 12 inch diameter pizza if you eat 4/6ths of a three foot diameter pizza.

If I understand what the question was attempting to elicit... the ability to discard unreasonable answers (what about unreasonable questions)... the student's answer was a reasonably correct answer.

Bad question, bad teacher, good student.

What do you think? 

I think I miss real New York Style Pizza.  There is a place here that serves New York Style but in my opinion it's not quite right as the sauce is too sweet.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Squid Pro Quo

By Hugh Farnham

Yet another Naval officer was convicted this last Friday for a metastasizing sex - for - secrets scheme that continues to unravel.  

Captain Daniel Dusek, skipper of the Bonhomme Richard, confessed at sentencing that he "succumbed to temptation" by offering classified information to Glenn Defense Marine Asia, a port outfitter.  Glenn Defense had its own pleasure ship, the Glenn Braveheart, to service visiting naval personnel with lavish feasts, alcohol, and Thai strippers.

Dusek was initially introduced to Glenn Defense by a superior - which in my view was indicating to Dusek that the Navy itself approved of the seedy relationship it had with the defense contractor.  

This investigation has roped in two Admirals, one of which is the Chief of Naval Intelligence by the name of Vice Adm. Branch.  This three-star Admiral has been forbidden to come in contact with classified information based upon this investigation.  Again, he's the Chief of Naval Intelligence.

Zoomie Pro Quo? 

No discussion of official military procurement corruption would be complete without mentioning SES bureaucrat Darleen Druyun, a Clinton appointee.  

She was the deputy undersecretary for acquisition for the Air Force.  In other words, she handled billions of tax dollars, allegedly for the benefit of our nation's defense. 

Boeing seemed to be the right house on red-light row for Druyun.  After getting her daughter and her fiance sweet jobs at Boeing, it must have become clear there was some paydirt there.  The crime that forced her into jail was inflating the price of the contract for a new Air Force aerial tanker to benefit Boeing, and passing on the competing bid by EADS to Boeing.

Unknown to many, Druyun's greed also affected Space Command.  In her headlong rush to service Boeing, she deeply cut space programs in order to reallocate the monies into Boeing contracts.  

I managed an Air Force program that was broken because of her.  The daily frustration level was such that I was literally clogging my sink and shower drains with the hair that was falling out.  

This program was with Lockheed-Martin - and on the LockMart side, it was managed by a former General of the same command I was in!  Talk about a revolving door.

While LockMart never laid out scrumptious feasts or prostitutes, it was well known in the acquisitions field that if you treated your contractor well, you had a good chance at getting a job with them on the other side.

I kicked that in the teeth.  Instead I rode 'em hard and put 'em away wet.  Surely there is an employment blacklist at LockMart, and I'm proudly on it.

The issue here is accountability and integrity.  In the case of Captain Dusek, it was obvious there was a long existing culture of corruption and he was the last guy holding the bag.  With our sweet Darleen, who on her staff stood in the way and said "no"?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Cultural Appropriation?

A female student of color assaults a white male for appropriating her culture... dreadlocks.

The white student is wearing a hairstyle with roots in ancient Greece, India (he is Caucasian after all), the Nordic (Viking) countries, and the Jewish Nazarites.

The black girl is apparently upset that he is wearing a hairstyle that was appropriated by Rastafarians followed by black Americans in the 70's.

So the key question is how much of this girls culture has been appropriated from others?  How much of her culture is African?  Very little I would guess.  Glass houses and all...


Dreadlocks have varied origins, it is a hairstyle worn by some African tribes, it also has independent origins in cultures as far ranging as Europe and Asia.  

Is a white male guilty of racism for wearing dreadlocks?  Is a black female guilty of racism for attacking him over it?  Or is it just stupidity?  


Friday, April 1, 2016