Sunday, July 31, 2016

Free For All

With a little less than 100 days to the election, now is the time to air your issues.  What do you think will be the driving issues behind this election?  The economy? Terrorism? Health care? 

What's your beef?

Friday, July 29, 2016

Yup, Still Summer

Many of you may be familiar with the Buster Poindexter version of this song.  It is considered Soca Music which is an offshoot of Calypso.  This version by Arrow is the original:

Bebel Gilberto: Summer Samba

A Bossa classic performed by two classics Elis Regina and Tom Jobim: Águas de Março

Lest you get confused about the waters of March remember that Brazil is in the southern hemisphere and Summer runs from December to March thus the song is about the rains at the end of summer.

Thursday, July 28, 2016


The entire concept of racial guilt is of itself racist.  

I am white, and for the record my people were oppressed by white Anglo-Saxon and Anglo-Normans starting in 1177 until about 1546 when things took a dramatic turn for the worse.

According to the Transatlantic Slave Database cited in an article in The Root 388,000 slaves were shipped directly to America and another 60-70,000 were subsequently shipped here from the Caribbean in follow-on transactions over the entire course of slavery in the Americas.  Between 1649 and 1653, a span of a mere four years Cromwell killed more of my people than were sold as slaves in the US.

In the years preceding the US Civil War in the 1840's and 1850's between a million and a million and a half were starved by their British overlords. Many of those that didn't starve, fled and a large number of those fled to the US.  

In 1860 census there were 385,000 slave owners out of a population of 31,183,582 or 1.23%, roughly 3,000 of those slave owners were black holding between them some 20,000 slaves. In total those 385,000 people owned around 4 million slaves, none of them were my ancestors.

What did my ancestors do after fleeing famine and coming to the US? They joined the Union Army and fought to free the slaves, not one of them owned slaves. Roughly 150,000 fought in the Union Army and roughly 50,000 died. So before you come to me with your hand out invoking the guilt of my ancestors, get your facts straight and ask yourself what do you owe me for the fact that my ancestors liberated your ancestors.

From a historical perspective your ancestors were in all likelihood taken as slaves by some other black persons ancestors and sold to the British.  Regardless of color or race none of our ancestors are guilt free if you look hard enough or far enough back.  Slavery continued in Africa long after it was outlawed in the white nations of the west.  

We think this trade must go on. That is the verdict of our oracle and the priests. They say that your country, however great, can never stop a trade ordained by God himself. The King of Bonny in present day Nigeria @1807

The slave trade is the ruling principle of my people. It is the source and the glory of their wealth…the mother lulls the child to sleep with notes of triumph over an enemy reduced to slavery… King Gezo of the African Kingdom of Dahomey. @1840's

Here are your reparations

Photo: Andrew Bossi

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Father Jacques Hamel

"A good priest who did his job to the end"

"Good and Humble"

"This man was a good man"

"Very discreet"

"He did not like to put himself forward"

"He was old but always available to everyone"

"He was quiet, didn't like attention"

"He was a simple, faithful priest,
  quietly serving God and his people"

"He was someone who was treasured by the community"

"This man was a good man"

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Screwed like a Housecat?

I have to admit, I never heard the title of this post until I read it last night, and I have no idea what it means excepting a literal interpretation (although I could understand it better if it was an alley cat given their yowling).  Lest I be accused of plagiarism like Melania Trump I must immediately attribute it to a Silverfiddle comment yesterday.

So, now that the cat is out of the bag I'll stop pussyfooting around and get down to it.

Should Bernie Sanders stage an Independent run? Or is he and the country best served by what SF described in that same comment as "kissing Hillary's ass"? (Now that is something that is guaranteed to ensure that I am suffering from nightmares and PESD well into 2017, that is Post-Election Stress Disorder, not to mention the overwhelming desire to pluck out my eyeballs with a spork).

Personally after the Tammanyesque shagging he received from the DNC I couldn't blame him one bit if he did.

So not only what do you think he should do, but what would you do if you were in his shoes? 

Here's a little theme music for the convention.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Signs go up in Philly for DNC

From crowds chanting "Hell No DNC, We Won't Vote for Hillary" to the resignation of Debbie Whatshername Schultz the cesspool that is today's Democratic Party is overflowing in the City of Brotherly Love.

Bernie, good little foot soldier that he is, is pretending that the top down corruption didn't steal the nomination from him and is pressing full speed ahead supporting the Tammany Hall approved ticket as DNC cleaners are hard at work outside the convention hall.

 Inside, Everything is ready for the Convention


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Ted Cruz

Well, the convention is over and Donald Trump is the Republican nominee. The question is this:

Did Ted Cruz commit political suicide on national TV at the Republican National Convention?

Was Trump the better man for having invited him and given the opportunity to speak?

Was Cruz petty and shallow in his refusal to endorse?  Should he have just stayed home if he wasn't going to endorse?

What do you think of Ted Cruz now?

Friday, July 22, 2016

It's still Summer

Fredrick Delius: A Song of Summer

Alexander Glazunov: Summer

Felix Mendelssohn: 
Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

What if you gave a protest

and nobody came

Protesters at the RNC are down in the dumps over the lack of protesters.  

“Look, I’ll say this: It’s not a good thing people aren’t here in a bigger force when an openly fascistic candidate is being nominated,” Revolutionary Communists

"not sure why relatively few people showed up to protest" Code Pink

“With all events there have been fewer protesters than were anticipated -- even ours was lower than we anticipated,” Organize Ohio

US News 

In a fitting example of Karma, one protester lit himself on fire trying to burn the American Flag.



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

It's Official!

Photo: Michael Vadon

How about a little celebratory music?

I kid you not, when I first clicked on this piece of music on Youtube the advertisement that I got was a Trump-Pence ad.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

But He's Democratically Elected !!!

Photo: Rama
President Barack Obama urged all sides in Turkey to support the democratically elected government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan amid a military takeover of the key NATO ally.

Why?  I find it hard to believe if there were a Putsch in the Kremlin or in Tehran he'd be urging everyone to support their democratically elected governments.  

A UN Security Council resolution failed to pass after Egypt objected to similar language with the argument that the council was "in no position to qualify, or label that government — or any other government for that matter — as democratically elected or not" and suggested other language that urged all parties to "respect the democratic and constitutional principles and the rule of law".  They do after all have a valid point, there are many governments around the world that are technically "democratically elected" yet that do not adhere to democratic and constitutional principles and the rule of law", and frankly the government of Recep Ergodan is one of them.

Why does Ergodan get a pass? When most probably Putin and Rouhani would not? Me? I was rooting for the Turkish military which has historically been the defender of the Turkish Constitution laid out on secular grounds by Mustafa Atatürk.

In the immediate aftermath of the coup the Ergodan government has arrested 7500 and relieved (fired) 9000 others with such rapidity as to prompt an EU commissioner to suggest that the list was prepared well before the coup ever started.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Red Stick

3 Cops dead, 3 wounded.

So who else thinks Black people shooting cops is not the way to get cops to stop shooting Black people?

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Strange Days Indeed

Turkey: Don't Let a Crisis go to Waste

An interesting coup attempt in Turkey perhaps somewhat reminiscent of the Reichstag fire. There have been many coups in Turkey by the military which sees itself as the protector of Atatürk's secular legacy, oddly this doesn't seem to have been one of them. This coup seems to have come from a limited sector of the Turkish military, a sector that Ergodan is happy to blame on an exiled cleric in Pennsylvania who has denied any involvement and condemned the coup.

Ergodan is no friend of ours other than one of expediency and he is certainly no friend of democracy and of constitutional government.  I wouldn't call him an enemy, but simply Ergodan is in it for Ergodan.  In the immediate aftermath of the coup Turkish TV announced a purge of some 2,745 judges, a rather convenient consequence for a man accused of corruption.  This coup will be the opportunity to purge anyone and everyone in government who is opposed to Ergodan and his "Justice" and Development Party.

You can't make this stuff up!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Congress Fiddles while Zika Burns

282 cases of Zika in Florida, 2,500 in Puerto Rico.

Funding is stalled as House Republicans in a conference committee inserted provisions unrelated to Zika such as limits on Obamacare, restrictions on abortions, funding cuts for birth control, and the lifting of environmental restrictions.

There have been 599 cases of Zika among pregnant women in the United States and its territories and seven infants have been born with Zika-related birth defects.

Read more here:

This is why I am no longer a Republican.  Grow the eff up and govern will you? I don't know which bloodsuckers are worse, the mosquitoes or the politicians.

Photo: Geoff Gallice
 I don't know, seemed fitting ;)

Read more here:

Read more here:

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

South China Sea


Established in 1899 and revised in 1907 by the Hague Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes of which China is a signatory member, The Permanent Court of Arbitration has ruled that China's claims to roughly 90% of the South China Sea are Invalid.  In response, China laughed. While the decision was unanimous and is considered legally binding, there is no mechanism for enforcement and China has already said they are going to pay it no mind.

Who you gonna call?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Photo: WaddleDee72
Philando Castille was stopped 52 times by police.

How about you?

I have been driving for 32 years and have been stopped 7 times.

Ten year old 1976 red and black, bondo'd Camaro; never stopped.

New 1987 dark blue VW Fox; never stopped. It was totaled in an accident but the other driver was cited based on witness testimony.  I don't count this as a stop.

Used 1982 six year old beige AMC Spirit; never stopped.

New blue 1990 Mazda Miata; (1) stopped once for speeding, no citation, although it was a legitimate stop for me going 15 over.  (2) Stopped a second time for speeding at 2:00 A.M after the clubs closed with a drunk friend in the car.  I wasn't speeding and hadn't been drinking, and think the cop just pulled me over because of the time of night; no citation.

New 1992 Mazda 626; never stopped.

New 1995 Ford Windstar; never stopped.

Used 3-yr old 1987 Jeep Cherokee (not Grand); never stopped. Had the Cherokee for seven years overlapping time we had the Miata, 626, and Windstar.

New 1998 Ford F-150; (3) stopped for speeding (ten over) and cited. At the time the cop claimed he had me on radar I was being passed by another vehicle going around a curve, to this day I swear the radar reading he got was from the other car. I was doing five over.

New 2000 Subaru Impreza; (4) stopped for speeding and cited, seven over - legitimate stop.

New 2003 Land Rover LR2; never stopped.

New (well 1 yr old) 2005 Dodge Ram 2500;  (5) stopped in NM coming out of the mountains on a dirt road after four wheeling.  Came out on the highway about a quarter mile from a border patrol checkpoint and was stopped by the border patrol. I wasn't doing anything illegal, yet the BP was suspicious of me being a Coyote. I had four BP cars on me that time.

New 2007 Jeep Wrangler; (6) stopped once when I first got it because the cop wanted to look at the newly released four door Wrangler and even admitted that's why he pulled me over. ( I counted this as stop though). Wrangler's been on the road for nine years so far.

New 2008 VW Beetle Convertible; never stopped.

New 2010 Mercedes C300; (7) stopped once coming back from a dinner party with a burned out headlight.  It had just burned out that night, which I explained to the officer; no citation - legitimate stop. Car was on the road for six years.

New 2015 Mercedes GLA bought this year; I've never been stopped but my wife has been stopped once for speeding, her first time ever stopped, insists she wasn't speeding.

I include the make, model, age of vehicle because it is potentially relevant.  Although people claim that older used cars (poorer drivers) are stopped more frequently; I've never been stopped in one of my older cars, although I do maintain my cars in good working order.  The Jeep has a perpetually cracked windshield, and although I do replace it I've never had one last longer than three months without a crack (fair warning if you want one). It was brand new and not cracked at the time I was stopped in it. I generally try and stay within 5 of the speed limit, keeping up with the general flow of traffic, meaning I'm not weaving in and out but I may be in the left hand lane.

What are your experiences with the police and traffic stops?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Crime Statistics


The first question you need to ask is why did the government stop publishing statistics on interracial crime in 2008.

The second question you need to ask is why doesn't the government publish crime statistics correlated to both race and economic factors.

Our government does a horrible job of publishing accurate and meaningful crime statistics.

Examining data from 2012-2013 the Manhattan Institute derived the following statistics:

Violent Crime Victims:

White 42.9, Black 22.4, Hispanic 14.8, Other 12.1, Unk. 7.8

Violent Crime Perpetrators:
In 56% of the cases Whites were the victims of other Whites.
In only 13.7% were Whites the victims of Blacks and in 11.9% were they the victims of Hispanics.

In 62.2% of the cases Blacks were the victims of other Blacks. In only 10.4% were they the victims of Whites and in 4.7% were they the victims of Hispanics.

In 38.8% of the cases Hispanics were the victims of Hispanics.  In only 21.7% were they the victims of Whites and in 21.2% were they the victims of Blacks.


In 2013 there were 5680 murders in the US according to the FBI

3005 victims were White, 2491 victims were Black, and 227 were other or of an unknown race.

83.5% of White homicides were committed by other Whites, only 13.6% were committed by Blacks.

90% of Black homicides were committed by other Blacks, only 7.5% were committed by Whites.

For what it is worth 43.6% of Other/Unknown homicides were committed by Other/Unknowns, while only 25% were committed by Whites and 19.3% were committed by Blacks.


Between 2003 and 2013 565 Police Officers were "feloniously killed" according to FBI statistics.

51.5% of the Officers were killed by White/Hispanic offenders, 43% were killed by Black offenders.  97.5% of the offenders were male. Only 1.4% of the offenders were Asian/Pacific while in 2010 they were roughly 5% of the population.

Since the FBI lumps Whites and Hispanics into the same category:

77% of the US population is White/Hispanic

13.2% of the US population is Black

In 2015 990 people were shot by police officers.

80% of those shot had a deadly weapon

5.5% of those shot were presumably using a vehicle as a deadly weapon

3.5% of those shot had a toy gun 

9.4% of those shot were unarmed

2.7% of the shooting circumstances were termed "unknown".

Of those shot 67% were White/Hispanic, 26% were black.

Go back to that original figure relating to police officers killed.  43% of police officers killed in felonious assault were killed by Blacks. Police officers kill Blacks at a rate twice as high as their proportion of the population but Blacks kill police officers at a rate three times as high.

If you are a police officer your chances of getting killed by a White or Black offender are almost equal despite the differences in demographics.  
“Adjusted for the homicide rate, whites are 1.7 times more likely than blacks die at the hands of police,” he said. “Adjusted for the racial disparity at which police are feloniously killed, whites are 1.3 times more likely than blacks to die at the hands of police.” Moskos-Wash Times
What remains a gaping hole in all of this are the socioeconomic factors, what do the numbers look like when adjusted to income bracket and race?

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Police & Violence

Be Warned: This video is the most disturbing of them all

It appears like we have an ongoing problem with policing in this  country that seems to be getting worse.  SF summarized it nicely in a comment yesterday:
Law enforcement at all levels often goes directly to violence in a non-violent situation.

It does seem that way. In the Louisiana Alton Sterling shooting the video is kind of blurry but he doesn't seem to be in a position in which he posed an immediate and direct threat, reports are that after the shooting police officers removed a gun from his pocket.

In the Minnesota Philando Castile shooting, the shooting itself is not on video, the report is that when asked for his license and registration he reached for his wallet while informing the officer that he was armed and licensed to carry, when the officer said "don't move", he went to raise his hands and the officer fired.

In the Pennsylvania David Kassick shooting the police officer was acquitted of all charges.

Crime in the US peaked in roughly 1991 at  5897 per 100,000 people, that year violent crime also peaked at 758 per 100K.  Today (2014 data) the crime rate stands at 2971 per 100K, a rate not seen since before 1967's rate of 2989 per 100K.  Violent crime stands at 375 per 100K  a rate not seen since 1971's 396 per 100K.

Let's just look at violent crime since that would presumably get one shot by a police officer.

In 1971's era of 396 violent crimes per 100,000 in population police officers fatally shot 248 people.  At the peak of 1991 with violent crime at 758 per 100K police officers fatally shot 149 people.  In 2014 with the violent crime rate 375 per 100K police officers fatally shot only 122 people.

Let's summarize that:

1971 - 248 people killed by police - 396 violent crimes per capita
1991 - 149 people killed by police - 758 violent crimes per capita
2014 - 122 people killed by police - 375 violent crimes per capita

What is the difference between 1971, 1991, and 2014? The prevalence of personal, portable video recording devices.  Watching the videos elicits a visceral emotional response.  To be honest I thought we had a problem, when reading SF's comment "Law enforcement at all levels often goes directly to violence in a non-violent situation" I initially agreed with it, after examining the statistical data I'm not so sure anymore, and I must admit I was surprised.

The per capita death by cop rate:

2014 - .04 per 100,000
2004 - .06
1994 - .07
1984 - .08
1974 - .13

1964 - .09
1954 - .08
1944 - .06
1934 - .18
1924 - .23
1914 - .11
1904 - .10
1890 - .09
1880 - .06
1870 - .05
1860 - .03

So as you can see, you have to go all the way back to somewhere in the 1860's to achieve as low of a rate as we have today. I'm not saying that we don't have any problems, that policing can't be better, that it couldn't be improved greatly.  

Perception is a strange thing.  When I was a child in the summertime we were kicked out of the house after breakfast, allowed back in for lunch, and kicked out again until dinner. We roamed all over the neighborhood pretty much unsupervised.  If lucky, after dinner and after dark we would get to go out and catch lightning bugs or play what we called flashlight tag (think hide and seek in the dark with a flashlight). Today parents wouldn't dream of doing that with their kids, and if they do they may get arrested for child endangerment.  They call that style of parenting today "free range" and people question the sanity of the parents, but  statistically, it is far safer today then it was when I was a child.

This post is specifically addressing the general climate and makes no attempt to address socioeconomic, cultural, or racial factors.  We'll save those for another post.



Thursday, July 7, 2016

Crime and Punishent

"When it comes to crime, our prison industrial complex is a self-fulfilling cancer on the society and we should be shamed for it." Jersey Mc Jones

 Why? Who is inflicting that cancer on society? And why should we be ashamed?

 I dare say that most of us are law abiding citizens.  We commit no wrongs against our neighbors. Damn few torts, fewer misdemeanors, and even far fewer felonies than any denizen of your local, state, or federal correctional facility. For the most part, the average American citizen has limited experience of any sort of crime, and that mostly second hand. And far fewer have run afoul of the judicial system, and let's be honest, we believe those in such straights, probably deserve it. Being personally innocent, we may feel for those misguided souls, but can't escape the feeling that they have brought it on themselves.

 They invariably have!

I write this as the brother of a victim. Not of a crime, but of the consequence of one.

 My sister once had a fiance. A brilliant man. Friendly, sociable, witty, philosophical, a student, a teacher, a scholar. In short, one of us. Already had a Masters in Economics, and was working on a Doctorate. Taught that subject at a local community college, and to help make ends meet moonlighted as a cab driver. One night he picked up a fare. That cancerous soul, recently paroled from Jersey's "prison-industrial-complex" otherwise known as the New York State Correctional Facility at Singsing decided that the easiest way to rob this particular cabbie, was to shoot him in the head first. He was found slumped over the steering wheel. The perp, when finally apprehended three year later, was already serving 8 to 12 years for yet another armed robbery in NY.

 This happened around 35 years ago. By now that poor victim of the "prison industrial complex" is probably once again among us.

 What is it again we should be ashamed of?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


John Deutch was CIA director during the mid-nineties.  A CIA investigation found that he stored and processed hundreds of files of highly classified material on unprotected home computer.  A report by the Inspector General found that Deutch had failed to follow "the most basic security precautions".  Deutch apologized for his actions and was pardoned by President Bill Clinton.

Bryan Nishimura was a former naval reservist found with classified information on his home computer.  FBI agents found classified information in both hard copy and electronic forms.  Nashimura also admitted to having destroyed some information.  Nishimura pleaded guilty to unauthorized removal and retention of classified materials. A judge fined him $7,500, and he was ordered to surrender his security clearance.  The violation was a technical and unintentional one, but one that the Justice Department nonetheless thought it needed to punish "to make its point."

We, as a nation, are beyond redemption.


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Rape of Europa

Yesterday's discussion with FT on the merits and flaws of Sefjan Steven's Start Spangled Banner got me thinking outside the political box of Hillary Clinton burning her schedules and murdering mewling kittens in her basement.  Wouldn't the world be a very boring place if we were all Michaelangelos painting with the same old brush?

The paintings are in order: Claude Lorrain (1655),  Felix Valloton (1908), Fransisco Toledo (1972), Francois Boucher (@1733), Valentin Serov (1910), Peter Paul Rubens (1630), Ryuzaburo Umehara (Unk).

All of these paintings are on the same theme "The Rape of Europa"... fitting following the Brexit eh?  See how politics creeps into everything?  They all produce a response in us and evoke emotion and thought. Is there any one in particular that you would hang in your living room or burn in your fireplace?

Oddly enough as I sit here writing this, although I didn't like it at first the Umehara (bottom) is growing on me.  Me? I have these hanging in my living room, reproductions of course ;)

Paul Cornoyer - The Plaza after Rain
Jean Baptiste-Camille Cerot - Ville d'Avray
What does our 'art' say about us?

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy 4th

Holy cow patties it's only 10 years to the Sestercentennial!

Full disclosure: This is not our national anthem 

For the traditionalists among you, here's the original version:

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Jesus: The Remake

Sermon on the Mount: Carl Bloch
Jesus VR filmed in 360 degree 4K with Enzo Sisti who was the executive producer of The Passion of Christ will be available this Christmas for anyone with a VR Headset (Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear, Oculus Rift, PlayStation VR and the HTC Vive).



Friday, July 1, 2016

Mack Rice 1933-2016