Four former Blackwater mercenaries have been convicted of murder or manslaughter but George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Don Rumsfeld remain at large and their whereabouts well-known.
From the police tapes concerning the recent Thrilla in Wasilla:
In one of the recordings, a witness could be heard talking to an officer about the fights that night. At one point the man paused, and wanted to make sure the officer knew the severity of the situation.
"The lady that came up with the glasses," the man said. "That was Sarah Palin."
The cop let out an audible sigh, and said, "Okay."
"I know. Nice evening," the man said.
"Yeah," the officer said. "Sounds like it."
It's such a God thing, to be sure.
posted by gyma
You spend half a million dollars to buy your dream home, only to discover shortly after moving in that it's actually your nightmare home!
The home was infested with between 4,500 and 6,000 brown recluse spiders, according to one estimate.
The new owners tried to eradicate the spiders but when that didn't work they abandoned the house and filed for bankruptcy.
Good to know the American dream lives on.
posted by gyma
Americans know what's important and it isn't family values.
Amount Americans spent last year on UNICEF donations to trick-or-treaters : $3,731,057
On Halloween costumes for their pets : $330,000,000
I pity the pets.
posted by gyma
A certain Alaskan politican wannabe has a PAC so her faithful rubes can donate money to her. They'd like her to run for President but since that isn't likely she has to do *something* with that money.
Donate to candidates who could use a financial boost? Doubtful, although a few (Zach Dasher, Bob Johnson, Barry Loudermilk, Tom Emmer, Paul Gosar, Clint Didier, Joe Carr, Pat Roberts, and Joe Miller) have benefited to the tune of a whopping $5,000 each.
Use it to pay for first class airline tickets, SUV rentals and 5-star hotels? Now we're talking.
For the record, she doesn't believe in giving any money out of her own purse either. The last time she donated to a federal candidate was a decade ago (two lucky duckies were the receipients of her largesse) and said donations totaled all of $628.
posted by gyma
Today mr. gyma and I moved money from one local bank to another local bank. We decided to move the money because bank #1 sends us obnoxious letters once a year advising us our account is going to be placed in inactive status because we haven't made a withdrawl or deposit in the last 12 months. This account happens to be our emergency fund account which is why there isn't any activity on it.
Because interest rates are so pathetically low, I've moved all the rest of our money into online banks like Ally and Discover Bank. The online banks are paying 10x to 20x as much in interest so it's worth not having immediate access to the money.
When we opened the new account this morning, the "personal bankster" advised us that we could make 4 "free" withdrawals per month but additional withdrawals would cost $1.00. WTF?
And the interest rate? A measley .01%. The only benefit is this savings account is with the same institution as our checking account so money can more easily be moved back and forth.
This just ain't right.
As a rule, when filmmakers/television makers decide to throw every silly idea that enters their noggins on the screen absolute crap results. But every rule has an exception and the exception to this one is Fox's Sleepy Hollow:
Tom Mison plays Ichabod Crane, the type of plummy, deferentially charming Brit who exists solely in the imaginations of swooning Americans. Crane is an Oxford professor turned spy in the American war of independence, and the 1781-set prologue sees Crane facing Death – both conceptual and corporeal – on the battlefield, where he manages to decapitate the Horseman before succumbing to wounds sustained during their dust-up. Crane then awakens in Sleepy Hollow in 2013, as does Death, albeit with a severely impaired ability to wear interesting hats. The Horseman promptly takes an axe to Sleepy Hollow’s sheriff, bringing his murderous, bonce-less antics to the attention of Lieutenant Abbie Mills. Mills (Nicole Beharie, one of the depressingly few black female lead actors in American TV) forms an unlikely alliance with Crane, and the two battle the Horseman’s plans to resurrect his three Apocalyptic Horsemates and bring about the End of Days. Crane and the Horseman’s fates are entwined, you see, for daft and largely irrelevant reasons that gradually unspooled over the show’s riotously entertaining first season.
It’s a hard sell. But Sleepy Hollow is brilliant.
For those of us who are up-to-date and are feverishly awaiting the season two premiere[*], Crane is still buried alive, his son is the second Horseman of the Apocalypse, Abbie is trapped in a doll house in purgatory, and it’s all looking grim.
And for anyone who hasn’t been watching, I appreciate that must look like a very stupid sentence indeed.
"Brilliant" is too strong a word, I think, but I can't recall a show that is so thoroughly entertaining without any pretensions at being more than it is. And as for historical accuracy, who knew that Benjamin Franklin built a Frankenstein's Monster with which he hoped to battle Moloch the Destroyer?
So it's educational, too!
*For us Americans, the fourth episode of the season aired this past Monday.
posted by gyma
Now *this* is what I call a souvenir!
...[O]ne Scottish backpacker had a shock when she returned home from Vietnam with a three-inch leech up her nose, reports the Daily Record.
Doctors said the leech had been living in her right nostril for a month.
She even named the leech... Mr. Curly!
Ewwwwww! There are photos for the curious.
South Carolina gives away the game:
In the cases of women who claim they feared for their lives when confronted with violent intimate abusers, prosecutors say the Stand Your Ground law shouldn’t apply.
“(The Legislature’s) intent … was to provide law-abiding citizens greater protections from external threats in the form of intruders and attackers,” prosecutor Culver Kidd told the Post and Courier. “We believe that applying the statute so that its reach into our homes and personal relationships is inconsistent with (its) wording and intent.”
On October 3, Circuit Judge J.C. Nicholson sided with Jones and granted her Stand Your Ground immunity, meaning she is exempt from trial on the charge. In response to Kidd’s argument that individuals could not invoke Stand Your Ground to defend against violence in their own homes, Nicholson said that dynamic would create the “nonsensical result” that a victim of domestic abuse could defend against an attacker outside of the home, but not inside the home – where the most vicious domestic violence is likely to occur.
Kidd is unsatisfied with this reasoning, and is appealing the case to argue that Jones and other defendants like her can’t invoke the Stand Your Ground law so long as they are in their home. The Post and Courier reports that there are two other similar cases coming up the pike that are being pursued by the same prosecutor’s office. In one, a judge who dismissed a murder charge against a women who stabbed a roommate attacking her called the charge “appalling.” In another, the defendant’s attorney plans to ask for a Stand Your Ground hearing.
Solicitor Scarlett Wilson, the top prosecutor for that office, is also siding with Kidd.
So making with the bang-bang (or, in the case above, the stab-stab) applies only to white (Christian?) men. Good to know.
And so, apparently, does domestic terrorism involving guns:
There's a horrific story out tonight about Anita Sarkeesian, the feminist, blogger and gaming critic, who has pulled out a speech she was going to give at Utah State University after an emailer threatened a "Montreal Massacre style attack" if her speech wasn't canceled … University officials, in consultation with law enforcement, had apparently decided that it was safe to proceed with the event. But Sarkeesian, not unreasonably, asked for extra security, including pat downs at the gate and metal detectors.
If I'm reading Sarkeesian's tweets correctly, University officials seem to perhaps agree to this (not clear on this point). But whatever searches they did, if they found people coming into the event with firearms they would not disarm them "as long as attendees [had] a valid concealed firearm permit in accordance with Utah law."
The "Montreal Massacre style attack" refers to to the massacre of 28 people, mostly women, by Marc Lépine at the École Polytechnique in 1989. One can understand why Ms. Sarkeesian might be worried about armed men attending her talk.
The confluence of gun nuts and misogynists is just another example of life today in These United States. Be sure to salute the flag when passing one.
Conservative legal activist Larry Klayman has filed a lawsuit against President Obama for “providing material support and aid to international terrorism and facilitating terrorism” by not implementing a travel ban on people from countries facing an Ebola outbreak.
“I do not advocate violence, and I want Obama to be taken alive to be deported and pay for his inadequacies under the rule of law,” Klayman writes. “But he must be forced from office as soon as possible, before all is lost.”
[WorldNetDaily columnist Mychal] Massie contends that undocumented immigrants may bring Ebola and other diseases into the U.S., arguing that Obama will give “a free pass for illegals who are invading our borders” and offer “safe harbor for those he has to know are infected disease carriers” in order to create chaos in America.
Then, Obama might use the resulting chaos as a pretext to cancel the election, declare “martial law to prevent a run on banks and to allow government-controlled media blackouts.”
Massie, of course, insists he is just asking the question about Obama’s secret plot.
JAQing off, to use a neologism.
Plenty of private interests are funding boys and their toys:
Across the nation, private foundations are increasingly being tapped to provide police with technology and weaponry that -- were it purchased with public money -- would come under far closer scrutiny.
In Los Angeles, foundation money has been used to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of license plate readers, which were the subject of a civil-rights lawsuit filed against the region's law enforcement agencies by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. (A judge rejected the groups' claims earlier this year.)
Private funds also have been used to upgrade "Stingray" devices, which have triggered debate in numerous jurisdictions because they vacuum up records of cellphone metadata, calls, text messages and data transfers over a half-mile radius.
New York and Los Angeles have the nation's oldest and most generous police foundations, each providing their city police departments with grants totaling about $3 million a year. But similar groups have sprouted up in dozens of jurisdictions, from Atlanta, Georgia, to Oakland, California. In Atlanta, the police foundation has bankrolled the surveillance cameras that now blanket the city, as well as the center where police officers monitor live video feeds.
Not to mention so-called civilian police boards:
"There's very little discretionary money for the department," said Steve Soboroff, a businessman who is president of the Los Angeles Police Commission, the civilian board that oversees the LAPD's policies and operations. "A grant application to the foundation cuts all the red tape, or almost all of the red tape."
Civilian police review boards are supposed to be one of those strips of red tape but here we are.
Let's get to the point:
"We run the risk of policy that is in the service of moneyed interests," [Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union] said.
And now let's get to the other point:
Police boosters say there's no need for public debate over these types of acquisitions.
A disturbing number of people are authoritarians.
The NYT takes a look at the battle between retail behemoth Amazon and Hachette - Bezos' internet retailer* is making it difficult to find and purchase books published by the publishing giant - but this bit jumped out at me:
A delay in shipping may not be censorship. But what if the book is hard or even impossible to find on Amazon, which sells nearly half the books in America? That seems to be what happened in August to Representative Paul Ryan, one of Hachette’s most prominent authors.
The day after publication of “The Way Forward,” the host of CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Andrew Ross Sorkin, told Mr. Ryan, “Very hard to buy your book, by the way, right now on Amazon.”
“I know,” a clearly frustrated Mr. Ryan answered. “Because that is what Amazon is doing with Hachette.”
Wait, what? I thought that the youthful, blue-eyed Ryan, schooled in the gentle philosophy of Ayn Rand, believed that a free market, unshackled by government or any normal standards of conduct, would produce the optimal results for liberty-minded individuals. But Mr Ryan seems to be taking a contrary position here.
But fear not for Ryan is a Very Important Person!
Not long after Mr. Ryan’s appearance on CNBC, any problems with his book’s visibility ended. It started shipping without delays, in sharp contrast to many other Hachette books.
It would appear that authors who are not Paul Ryan, prominent member of the 113th Congress, can go pound sand.
It goes without saying.
*I don't believe we'll be seeing stories sympathetic to Hachette and its authors in the Washington Post.
posted by gyma
FOX News is on full-scale Ebola alert, so it shouldn't take them long to start reporting that Obama is responsible for the outbreak because he wants to delay the 2016 elections so he can remain President forever and ever.
posted by gyma
Vegetarians can head to Phuket, Thailand, to participate in the annual vegetarian festival, held in September. Although you've missed this year, you'll have plenty of time to prepare yourself for next year.
This is a festival unlike any others:
The festival, featuring face-piercing, spirit mediums and strict vegetarianism celebrates the local Chinese community's belief that abstinence from meat and various stimulants during the ninth lunar month of the Chinese calendar will help them obtain good health and peace of mind.
It's the face-piercing that's WTF Wednesday worthy, but the images are so disturbing, I chose an arm piercing instead. For those of you with a sense of the macabre, here's a link to some of those images.
Premise: George Will writes a column declaring that women look forward to being raped so they can claim a "coveted" victim status. Subsequently, George Will finds himself disinvited from speaking at a California women's college.
Conclusion: George Will is the real victim here.
If people are mentioning capitalism in something other than respectful terms, it's not because George Lakoff told them to, but because of what are regrettably still current events: While capitalism may have been possible to overlook when it was just quietly picking our pockets, it became impossible to overlook when it started breathing hard, thrashing, and foaming at the mouth. And the rich were not an issue until the ranks of the poor and verge-of-poor grew to include nearly all of us, and many more than previously began to recognize that the 1% were not just lovable drunks from Dudley Moore movies, but an interest group whose interest ran directly and sometime violently counter to their own.
A reckoning will come but I'm not optimistic about the outcome.
The Supremes refused to reverse rulings legalizing same-sex marriage in three separate circuits.
While I wouldn't put anything past this particular Supreme Court, it would be awfully difficult for the justices to reverse themselves in cases bubbling up from more conservative appeals courts.
Game over, it would seem.
posted by gyma
I suppose if you don't have a degree in botany you could mistake okra for MJ, especially if you were identifying it from a freaking helicopter. It's the response that's the problem.
For the record, I hate okra.
posted by gyma
Just in time for the season premiere of "The Walking Dead":
A British chef has created a burger that tastes almost exactly like human flesh.
Almost exactly, but hmmm, what's missing? I bet you're wondering how the chef knew the taste of human flesh.
He reportedly read 1920s journalist William Seabrook's book "Jungle Ways" as part of his research.
Seabrook, who persuaded a medical student to give him a chunk of flesh to devour, wrote: "It was like good, fully developed veal, not young, but not yet beef."
Thomlinson also used an account by Japanese cannibal killer Issei Sagawa, who said the human meat "melted in my mouth like raw tuna at a sushi restaurant."
Thomlinson will be giving away his cannibal burgers on Tuesday, but you'll have to head to East London to get one.
Alternatively, you can make your own by following Thomlinson's recipe!
How to make The Walking Dead 'Human Flesh' burgers:
*makes 6-8 burgers*
400g pork mince
400g veal mince
200g bone marrow (minced)
Salt and pepper to taste, the less seasoning you use the more it tastes like human flesh!!!
Mix together the pork, veal and bone marrow in a large bowl
Firmly grind together the meat until evenly mixed
Add salt and pepper to taste, fry a little of the meat in a pan to taste and adjust seasoning accordingly
Shape the burgers using a 90mm cutter - if you don't have one then shape by hand. You should use around 150g of the mixture per patty
Cook the burgers in a frying pan on a medium hot temperature, frequently turning the meat often until you reach your desired colour
Finish off in the oven at 180 for 6 minutes, or more if you like your human flesh well done
One nominee proposed reclassifying single parenthood as child abuse. Another suggested that four “blood moons” would herald “world-changing, shaking-type events” and said Islam was not a religion but a “complete geopolitical structure” unworthy of tax exemption. Still another labeled Hillary Rodham Clinton “the Antichrist.”
Congressional Republicans successfully ended their primary season with minimal damage, but in at least a dozen safe or largely safe Republican House districts where more mild-mannered Republicans are exiting, their likely replacements will pull the party to the right, a move likely to increase division in an already polarized Congress.
And note that the NYT delicately indicates the outgoing Republicans are more mild-mannered. Additionally, all of the profiled candidates are likely, even a lock, to win in November.