ISIS affiliates in Libya have released video of their members executing Ethiopian Christians en masse. Below is a non-graphic image from the video. Does anyone else notice something remarkable about the image or is it just me?
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Over at George R. R. Martin's Not a Blog blog I've been following the latest blow up in the SF community - the Sad Puppies "Scandal". Essentially, a group of writers and fans believe that the Hugo Awards voters only hand out awards to the SJW crowd. (I've followed enough of this in recent years to believe that there is some truth to it, though the WorldCon isn't quite as monolithic as presented by the Puppies.) So they banded together, put together a voting slate, and stuffed the ballot boxes for Hugo nominations - all in a way that was perfectly legal by the regulations governing the awards. They did such a superb job of it that ONLY their approved candidates are up for any awards this year. [Edit: That's not true. But some categories ARE all Puppies, and most if not all categories are majority Puppies.] Doh!
(The Hugos are the biggest award in SF. They're voted on by the fans that attend the WorldCon or buy a voting membership, or something like that. If you really care you can look up the procedures here.)
Anyway, the SF community is having what has become a rather expected event: a complete and total breakdown along political/ethnic/gender/orientation/[insert alleged marginalized status here] lines of bilious factions trying to destroy each other. No point going into prior events, as I don't care that much, but I've seen them roll through the SF community of fandom and authors regularly for what seems like several years running now. (At a guess they come about every nine months or so.)
I'm on the periphery of fandom, by way of a few blogs that I occasionally read and occasionally from something someone else (mostly my wife*) will tell me about it. So I'm not in the depths of it. But everything from rules to make conventions 'safe' to trying to drive out writers and editors who have "genuinely offended" someone to the latest ballot stuffing actions and responses to it** have left me wondering, "Why would I want to be a part of THAT?"
I think I'll just stick to reading the damned stories and leaving it at that.
* Kim's not really in the fandom, not anymore in any event, but like me she pokes around in it occasionally.
** Personally I find the latest kind of funny. The people who have been campaigning for everything to be divvied up by ethnicity, gender, orientation and/or oppressed status, in other words, the voices of factionalism, just took both barrels to the body when the biggest faction of all (straight white guys and allies) decided to act in concert. Balkanization is a bitch.
Monday, February 02, 2015
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Each year, the nation accepts one million new [legal] immigrants, or roughly five million since 2009. That total includes roughly 3.5 million working-age immigrants, which is slightly less than the number of Americans — 4.3 million — who turn 18 each year.
Also, companies annually hire roughly 450,000 blue-collar guest workers and roughly 200,000 white-collar guest workers. Most of these guest workers stay for less than a year, but many stay for six years. [emphasis added]And he didn't even kiss us.
One final bit:
The surplus of domestic and foreign job-seekers also helps ensure that U.S. median wages have flat-lined since 2000. Economists — including Obama’s top economic adviser — say that wages stall when the labor supply is larger than the supply of new jobs.So remember that they known goddamned well & good what they're doing to American workers by opening the floodgates even wider for more immigration. It works to reduce employment and wages for the native born.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Taken from a series of comments elsewhere. I'm not going to edit them, just leave them as the stream of consciousness-data spewing that they were, with a few minor formatting changes:
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Today the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made a categorical statement about the new case of Ebola in Texas. The CDC Director, Dr. Tom Frieden, made the following statement:
At some point, there was a breach in protocol, and that breach in protocol resulted in this infection. The (Ebola treatment) protocols work. ... But we know that even a single lapse or breach can result in infection.However, the CDC went on to state that they had spoken with the nurse and could NOT determine what the failure in procedures was. They do not know what, if anything, the nurse or anyone else did wrong.
While it is most likely true that this new case was a result of a failure to observe safety protocols, the CDC should not be making categorical statements. And here's why.
Taken from the President's remarks on September 16, 2014 [the President's remarks are in block quotes, my responses are not]:
First and foremost, I want the American people to know that our experts, here at the CDC and across our government, agree that the chances of an Ebola outbreak here in the United States are extremely low.Within three days, an asymptomatic infected person was on his way to the USA via plane. So much for the consensus view of the experts.
We’ve been taking the necessary precautions, including working with countries in West Africa to increase screening at airports so that someone with the virus doesn’t get on a plane for the United States.Wrong. See previous comment. The methodologies for screening were so rigorous that lying and Ibuprofen could beat them. Given how easily Duncan entered the country, the chances of this happening were not "extremely low."
In the unlikely event that someone with Ebola does reach our shores, we’ve taken new measures so that we’re prepared here at home. We’re working to help flight crews identify people who are sick, and more labs across our country now have the capacity to quickly test for the virus.This one appears to be true. Thank God some of it was.
We’re working with hospitals to make sure that they are prepared, and to ensure that our doctors, our nurses and our medical staff are trained, are ready, and are able to deal with a possible case safely.So prepared that they got an Ebola victim and sent him home with anti-biotics. And so prepared that according to the CDC itself the medical staff at the hospital in Texas were too poorly trained to implement the procedures correctly.
Three out of four sentences wrong, although at least the President's speech writers stuck in a slight qualifier in the first sentence.
This is why the CDC should not have made the categorical statement they made regarding the new case in Texas. By doing so they look arrogant, and look especially stupid in light of the President's comments from September 16th, which were no doubt made after the relevant people from the CDC had made their views known to the President and his staff. As it is, they look like the jerk-off NASA administrators who said that the chance of a shuttle failure resulting in catastrophic loss of life and equipment were one in millions or less. It erodes their credibility, and does not reassure the public.
NOTE: I am not implying the President or his advisers were lying on September 16th or today. Perhaps they are, but that isn't proven and I will give them the benefit of the doubt. But the remarks from September 16th have serious credibility issues, and today's comments left them no wiggle room should the new statement be incorrect. And even if their belief is correct, today's statement projects arrogance, which is off-putting to say the least.
Instead, the CDC should have released a statement worded something like this:
We’re confident that our safety protocols are effective and believe that one or more of these protocols were likely breached resulting in this additional case. We are working with the infected nurse and her coworkers to determine exactly what happened. We will work diligently to insure no further breaches of established best practices, or if we need to revise our protocols.That would have been reassuring without projecting know-it-all arrogance.
Friday, October 03, 2014
Much is being made of the new jobs report, and how it signals how wonderful the economy is.
Well, that's bullshit. Here are some of the more pertinent facts, as compiled from the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank's FRED database:
On the job front, we’re still approximately 2.6 million full time jobs behind where we were at the prior peak. This after more than five years of ‘recovery’.
Also, looking at FRED data I see that people ages 25-54 have over 4.85 million fewer jobs now than at the prior peak. But that population has only dropped by 1.4 million. Overall, the employment percentage for that group has dropped 3% points since the prior peak.
Again, this is after almost five years of 'recovery'. This expansion will not last forever, and it will likely end before we reach the old peaks of full time jobs and jobs of any kind for people in their prime working years. Which hurts those folks immensely, as it will negatively impact everything from total life-time earnings to starting new families. And new household formation has been a classic and strong driver of economy growth in the past. As new household formation falls, that reduces prospects for future growth.
Just try and remember all of this when people state how wonderful a job Obama is doing, and how wonderful the current 'recovery' is. Politeness may force you to have to listen to it, and you may not even be able to object lest you lose your job or other standing, but you don't have to believe it. And if you decide to punch the speaker in the face repeatedly, know that there are several million good reasons to do so. And that's BEFORE looking at the wage numbers, which present their own horror story....
Links to data here:
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
For the week of 9/14/2014 to 9/20/2014
I done forgot all about it. Having too much fun cutting stuff down and playing chess.
Friday, September 19, 2014
For the week of 9/7/2014 to 9/13/2014
This is disheartening. I'm not sure I've ever seen a dumber media frenzy than this one. People are madder at Goodell for punishing Ray Rice than they are at Ray Rice for knocking out his girlfriend and dragging her around by the hair.
They're mad at Goodell for meting out punishment and have no problem with the fact that the government did NOTHING about this save assign some counseling. Gee, would I rather go to prison, or get counseling? Would I rather pay a fine, or get counseling? Would I rather wear one of those ugly orange jumpers and pick up trash on the side of the road as my community service, or get counseling?
And worst of all, when the public got mad about all this, it was over a video that showed NOTHING that wasn't already known. Months back the story was that Rice hit his then fiancee (and now wife) knocking her out cold, and dragged her around by the hair. This is what the video showed. Nothing new was learned by the publication of the video. But NOW people are getting worked up about this. Unbelievable.
Worse, many other players in the NFL, both current and former, have committed worse acts that aren't getting any play at all. I think Donte Stallworth killing someone while driving drunk is probably more serious than the Ray Rice incident, but you wouldn't know it from the reaction of the public right now. Stallworth was suspended for one season. Rice has been suspended indefinitely.
And it has been particularly revolting to see Ray Lewis and Trent Dilfer comment on the matter. Ray Lewis was charged with two counts of murder many years back. He and two friends were involved in an incident in Buckhead Georgia which resulted in two much smaller men being stabbed to death. Lewis and his friends were all indicted. Lewis eventually plead guilty to obstruction of justice and testified against his friends in order to get the charges dropped. His friends later got off anyway.
Trent Dilfer was Lewis's teammate. Dilfer now talks about how he couldn't play with someone like Rice. Lewis talks about he is a much better person than Rice and wouldn't want to be teammates with him. They're both full of shit.
Ultimately, this is moral outrage as a positional good. People are feeling better about themselves by being more outraged than their neighbors. What a load of horse shit.
I wanted to write something more in depth about this matter, but ultimately I just can't get over the stink of the rank hypocrisy and phony moral outrage that surrounds this and related matters. You know it's all bullshit, because very little outrage is being directed at people who have done worse, but are now lauded for what exemplary human being they are. (Ray Lewis was the face of the NFL his last few seasons in the league, and is now one of ESPN's most notable TV stars.)
Further, you get cases like US District Judge Mike Fuller. Just look that one up for yourself. You will find that the Senators demanding that Goodell be fired for not doing enough to punish Ray Rice are doing nothing about a federal judge who beat the Hell out of his wife. Not only are they not taking care of the import matters of war and economics that fall within their purview, they're not even going after the wife beater that only they, as a constitutional matter, can go after. They won't even mention it. Worst Congress ever.
I just can't write more about this, as it just makes me sick to my stomach, both for the crimes at the heart of the matter, and the way they're being handled and manipulated by the elites of the country in order to distract from small matter like war. Revolting.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
At the time I'm writing this, about 2:20 PM on Thursday September 11,
2014, CNN's top stories include a story about a local police matter in
Missouri, TWO about whether or not the NFL saw a video of one of its
players KTFOing his girlfriend, a story about an obscure king-maker in
South Carolina's Presidential Primary of 2016, another story about a big
solar storm headed this way, another account reminiscing what it was
like to be with President Bush on 9/11/2001, and only then a story about
Obama's proposed new war in Iraq and Syria.
Really, it couldn't be more revolting to follow US news outlets these days. It's not like everything is going well and there's nothing else to talk about.
The old lady was wrong: it's nothing but squirrels all the way down.
[Set to publish much later tonight.]
The old family motto came from a comment by my mother:
We're not crazy; we're just mean.
Too true. But since I've either disowned my family or been disowned by them (and good riddance either way), I want a new motto. Today, in a text to my wife, I may have hit upon it.
If I'm going to be a fluffy pink poodle with purple sequins, I'm going to do it the right way.
Context might help you understand it, but why worry about that? Should probably make it first person plural, though....
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Watched the San Diego-Arizona game Monday night. Got to hear Trent Dilfer talk about the Ray Rice situation, and how he tells the children he coaches that they need to win on the field and off.
This from a man who has a Super Bowl ring because he played with a man who admitted that he attempted to help two friends get away with murder. That's what he admitted to - e may well have been the killer himself.
The moral preening around the Ray Rice case is particularly disgusting. More on that later.
Tuesday, September 09, 2014
September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.
My wife, Kim, has asked me to broadcast this information. More than a
decade ago she lost her father to prostate cancer, so this matter is
near and dear to her heart.
So to all the gentleman, and other males, out there, go get a finger shoved up your ass by a professional. It might just save your life. And it might spare your daughters, wives, sons and other loved ones from a feeling of loss due to your absence.
PSA = Public Service Announcement
PSA Test = Prostate-Specific Antigen Test, a blood test to help detect prostate cancer; used in conjunction with Digital Rectal Exams for screening purposes.
More information can be found here and here.
Monday, September 08, 2014
Same old same old from the Harvard Business School:
“Many business leaders see smoother waters ahead, with the promise of stronger and steadier growth in America,” Harvard Business School professors Michael E. Porter and Jan W. Rivkin wrote in a report on the poll.Essentially, if you're in the top ten percent, you're golden. If you're in the bottom 90%, you're getting the golden shower from your betters. And THIS makes those folks feel good about themsleves and life in general.
The country’s recovery, though, is bifurcated, according to the report. Large and mid-size companies have rallied strongly from the worst recession since the Great Depression, while middle- and working-class Americans and small businesses are struggling.
“The U.S. is competitive to the extent that firms operating here do two things: win in global markets and lift the living standards of the average American,” Porter, who is co-chair of Harvard Business School’s U.S. Competitiveness Project, said in a press release. “The U.S. economy is doing the first of these but failing at the second.”
There are two likely endings to this scenario, and neither of them are good.
Sunday, September 07, 2014
For the week of 8/31/2014 to 9/6/2014
Okay, okay, Jennifer Lawrence's butt isn't really the squirrel, but that's click-bait.The real Squirrel of the Week includes Jennifer Lawrence's butt, however. That squirrel you saw flittering around last week was Celebrity Skin. (Which is an album by Courtney Love's band Hole, BTW.)
That included the big iCloud hack that revealed photos that celebrities wanted kept private, and also Joan Rivers, who had died before the week before.
I don't really have much to say about either that hasn't been said over and over again. Regarding the former, people need to not put things into a digital format if they don't want those things all over the internet. Because everything can be hacked. Apple's reputation for security has really been more about the fact that Apple products occupied a much smaller niche of the market than Micro$oft products, and the hackers tend to focus their efforts on the biggest possible returns. But now that Apple has become a much bigger deal, the hackers will rake them over the coals as well.
As for all the Celebrity Skin photos and video, I haven't looked and I don't intend to. Not because I'm some sort of shirking violet, or because I'm respecting their privacy. It's just that I don't think it is worth it. I'm not sure how many people are "on the internet", but it is probably over two billion people. And approximately one billion of those people have put up homemade erotica/porn. There's an awful lot of unknown amateur skin out there, and some of it looks quite good. And that doesn't include the professionals! I'm sure Jennifer Lawrence's butt looks quite nice, but I'm pretty sure I've seen plenty that look just as nice. It's just not worth the effort.
As for Joan Rivers: You either liked her, or you didn't. I actually did, and part of the reason for that was that she was as brutal with herself as she was with the other targets of her wit. That counts for something to me.
Sunday, August 31, 2014
The other day we decided to switch my daughter from her five-point harness child seat to a booster seat configuration. This required removing her seat. That proved hard because the LATCH system anchors were synched in tight. So I had to work hard to get it out. Ultimately I had to move the front passenger side seat all the way forward.
(Incidentally, when I'm God-Emperor, I'm going to ban child safety seats for children over the age of 1. Let the little devils sit on their dad's laps while he drives, smokes and drinks beer at the same time. It's how we were all raised and we all survived to adulthood. It'll toughen 'em up!)
This was all well and good until the next morning when we got in the car, and the passenger side seat was stuck in the forward position.
We have a 2003 Toyota Camry XLE, and it turns out that running the electric seats all the way forward often causes them to get stuck.
I wish I had known that.
So, the choices became letting the missus sit in the back (which we did for the day), taking it to a dealer to get it fixed (more on that shortly), or trying to fix it myself.
Turns out I just happened to have a Chilton's Manual for this car from the library. Kim read through that while I drove yesterday. No help in the manual. So then she hit the internet.
First she found that this was a common problem. And she also found that many people were being given quotes from their mechanics that the fix (involving removing the seat and replacing the electric motor) in the $1,000 to $1,300 price range. Yowza! Don't have the money, and wouldn't want to spend it anyway.
Bu she also found solutions. The easiest way involved using a hammer. Unfortunately, that didn't work. I suspect that method would work, though, if you stopped fiddling with the seat once it was stuck, which I didn't do.
But that got to the method that DID work. There was even a helpful YouTube video! This worked. The only thing I had to do was get an S2 drill bit. (I may have had one somewhere, but didn't find it.) So yesterday morning, while out on another errand, I stopped in at Sears and picked up an S2 drill bit. (Along with 100 other bits, as this handy Craftsman 100-Pc. Drilling and Driving Kit was on sale for $14.99.) That, and the video, and about five minutes were enough to fix the seat.
And since I needed more masonry drill bits anyway, the big drilling and driving kit was also a win. (It's good to have all those bits in one place anyhow. I have some stuff here, some there, a lot in my main tool boxes, some security Torx bits in my computer repair kit, etc.)
Thus the internet saved me a lot of money AND inconvenience.
But this gets me to an interesting point. This is the kind of issue one could use to test one's mechanic for both knowledge and honesty. Fixing this would cost you some money at the mechanic. The mechanic WOULD be using his time and equipment. But it should come in around $50-$100 if he knows what he's doing AND is honest. If, on the other hand, he comes back and tells you it will cost $1,000+, then you know something is wrong, and perhaps you should get a new mechanic.
For the week of 8/24/2014 to 8/30/2014
This week I briefly thought the Brangelina marriage wold be the squirrel. But then, Joan River's collapsed! Surely THAT would be the squirrel.
But no, it was not to be. Showing how he dominates the US media (but little else), Obama provided his own squirrel this week:
The tan suit.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, file)
The suit obscured Obama's comments about the wars in Ukraine, Iraq and Syria, possible US involvement in those wars, the threat of terrorism to Americans abroad and at home. It especially obscured the fact that his comments undercut his State Department, Defense Department and his intelligence agencies.
The President also admitted he didn't have a strategy for dealing with ISIS.
But the only thing that mattered was the tan suit.
What the Hell happened to America?
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
... and the best we can come up with to run for governor are Rick Scott and Charlie Crist. The amazing thing about this race will be the combination of the negativity, which will be high, and the fact that most of the negative comments about both contenders are true.
But it must be particularly depressing for Democrats. Seriously, the best candidate they can find is the worst governor in living memory, who happened to be a Republican up until he couldn't win Republican primaries?
Even by the current debased and degraded standards, this is awful.