Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Trump Problem

Quinnipiac Poll (emphasis mine):

Twenty percent of registered Republican voters said they would vote for Trump in the Republican primary, with 13 percent favoring Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) and 10 percent choosing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R).

However, Trump also dominated the “no way ” list, with 30 percent of Republican voters saying they would never vote for Trump in the presidential primary, while 15 percent said they would never vote for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) and 14 percent said they would not vote for Bush. The real estate mogul also has a low favorability rating, with just 27 percent of voters viewing him positively.

You just can’t win if 30% of your own party will “no way” vote for you.

Medical procedures are usually icky, and abortions are medical procedures. That’s the crux of the PP videos. Nothing more.

Endangered Animals On The Empire State Building

This could be cool:

TRAVIS Threlkel was standing on the roof of a building on Fifth Avenue and 27th Street looking uptown at his canvas. It’s hard to miss: It’s theEmpire State Building, and on Saturday evening he and his collaborator, the filmmaker and photographer Louie Psihoyos, will project digital light images of endangered species onto the building in an art event meant to draw attention to the creatures’ plight and possibly provide footage for a coming documentary. Although the men refer to the event as a “weapon of mass instruction,” Mr. Threlkel explained: “We’re going to try to create something beautiful. Not bum people out.” He added later: “Hopefully, this is one big domino. If we can tip it, it would be great.”

On Saturday, using 40 stacked, 20,000-lumen projectors on the roof of a building on West 31st Street, Mr. Threlkel and Mr. Psihoyos, director of the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove,” will be illuminating the night from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. with a looping reel showing what Mr. Psihoyos calls a “Noah’s ark” of animals. A snow leopard, a golden lion tamarin and manta rays, along with snakes, birds and various mammals and sea creatures will be projected onto a space 375 feet tall and 186 feet wide covering 33 floors of the southern face of the Empire State Building — and beyond, thanks to cellphones and Internet connections.

esbanimals

RT @USFWS: We’re investigating the killing of #CecilTheLion. Will go where facts lead. We ask Dr. Palmer or his rep to contact USFWS immedi…

Praying that I don’t see anyone I know in these videotaped New Hampshire voter focus groups where they gush over Donald Trump

The Hubbub About Cecil

Seems like the Internet went absolutely bonkers yesterday about how a policeman killed a completely innocent black man dentist killed a completely innocent lion.  It’s important to understand exactly what he did.  He didn’t merely shoot and kill a lion who was iconic to the region and the center of a research study; he poached it:

ciceldentistWalter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil the Lion, closed his practice and went into hiding after a worldwide firestorm erupted over him killing Cecil. Palmer claims he misunderstood the rules. The circumstances around Cecil’s death, Palmer’s barbaric past, and the fact that he has gone into hiding tells the story.

Palmer’s hunting guides, Theo Bronkhorst and Honest Ndlovu, appeared before a court in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and were charged with receiving a $50,000 bribe to help Palmer stalk and kill the animal. The operative word is “bribe.” Just the basic definition of the word alludes that Palmer had prior knowledge that he was committing an illegal act. Although Bronkhorst and Ndlovu have been charged, Palmer hasn’t even received a court summons for this atrocity.

Palmer used illegal hunting tactics to track and kill Cecil. During night hours, Palmer and his guides used a dead animal tethered to their vehicle to lure Cecil out of the park because they thought doing that would make the kill legal. Not so much. Baiting animals while hunting in the region is illegal, as is night hunting. Nothing about this “hunt” was legal. Hell, it’s unethical even from a sporting perspective.

Once they lured Cecil out of the park, they flashed a spotlight so Palmer could shoot the lion full of arrows. Palmer tracked Cecil for 40 hours, and then found the lion weakened from his injuries. Palmer finished off this slaughter with a gunshot.

“This is much closer to assassination than hunting,” said hunter and journalist Jonny Miles. “The trophy aspect is subordinate to the experience, to the knowledge required and the knowledge gained, to the very ancient relationship that you are experiencing with an animal that you are hunting for food.”

Miles added that, even by hunting standards, Palmer falls short of being ethical. Palmer has a past of unethical and illegal hunting practices. In 2008, he pleaded guilty to a license violation regarding the illegal killing of a black bear in Wisconsin. He killed the bear in an illegal location, similar to Cecil’s killing. He was charged with a felony but was only given a $3,000 fine and one year of probation.

Since being identified, Palmer has gone into deep hiding. He closed his dental practice, deleted any social media account associated with him, and is avoiding the press. He may be hiding from the public, but his silence is as telling as an admission of guilt.

His dental office:

The dentist is being condemned and rightly so, although perhaps the more healthy response is to donate to the researchers that had been tracking Cecil. These guys.

U.C. Officer shoots and kills Sam DuBose

Ray Tensing is the first officer in Cincinnati to face murder charges for killing someone in the line of duty.

The video proved to be crucial evidence to the grand jurors who indicted Tensing, and it stunned city officials, prosecutors and the relatives of shooting victim Samuel DuBose.

It also was a reminder that video, whether captured by witnesses on smart phones or by police officers themselves, is transforming the way fatal encounters involving police are investigated and perceived around the nation.

“It’s an absolute tragedy that anyone would behave in this manner,” Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said after publicly releasing the video. “It was senseless. It’s just horrible.

“He purposefully killed him.”

The video shows that Tensing, who stopped DuBose in Mount Auburn on July 19 for driving without a front license plate, speaks to him for a little less than two minutes before the fatal shot is fired.

When Tensing asks DuBose to take off his seat belt, DuBose says “I didn’t even do nothing” and turns his ignition key, starting the car. Tensing then reaches into the car with one hand and, with the other, fires a single shot into DuBose’s head.

DuBose did not appear to be belligerent or aggressive toward the officer before the shot was fired, though his lawyer, Stew Mathews, said Tensing feared he would be run over.

Mathews said charging his client with murder was “absolutely unwarranted.” He said he expected an indictment, but on lesser charges. “Murder is the purposeful killing of another,” Mathews said. “There wasn’t any purpose to kill this fella.”

Tensing, 25, faces 15 years to life in prison if he’s convicted.

Tensing claimed he was “dragged” by DuBose’s vehicle following an altercation during a routine traffic stop, and was therefore forced to open fire, shooting DuBose once in the head.

The conservatives at Legal Insurrection have tried to somehow come to Tensing’s defense with a breakdown of the video.  Certainly, their argument is likely to parallel that of Tensing’s attorneys at trial, i.e., Tensing had a reasonable fear that he would be dragged and since that fear was reasonable, he had a right to shoot in self-defense.  I don’t think that’s what the video reveals, and even the Legal Insurrection folks can’t make that claim stick

What’s worse for Tensing is what happens in the aftermath of the shooting, but still caught on the full video (not in the particular video above).  As The Guardian pointed out, you could see Tensing’s co-officers start to justify the shooting with amounts to be an obvious lie:

A Guardian analysis of the nearly 28 minutes’ worth of Tensing’s body-camera footage released by the prosecutor’s office also shows the aftermath of the shooting and reveals that on three occasions, two other police officers repeat Tensing’s account that he was dragged by DuBose, and one of these officers claims to have witnessed it occurring.

Tensing repeats, multiple times throughout the footage, the claim that he was dragged by DuBose’s vehicle. But at five minutes and 44 seconds into the video, he states: “I think I’m OK. He was just dragging me.”

To which a second officer, who stands out of the frame, replies: “Yeah, I saw that.”

Tensing continues: “I thought I was going to get run over. I was trying to stop him.”

Then, at six minutes and 54 seconds into the footage, while Tensing is seemingly conversing with the same officer, he states: “He was dragging me, man.”

The officer replies, “Yeah.” To which Tensing continues: “I got my hand and my arm caught inside.” The officer then replies, “Yeah, I saw that.”

The identity of this officer is not immediately clear. A copy of the University of Cincinnati police division’s information report on the shooting names university police officer Phillip Kidd as a witness to the entire event.

The information report, written by UC police officer Eric Weibel, states: “Officer Kidd told me that he witnessed the Honda Accord [DuBose’s vehicle] drag Officer Tensing, and that he witnessed Officer Tensing fire a single shot.”

Weibel’s report continues: “Looking at Officer Tensing’s uniform, I could see that the back of his pants and shirt looked as if it had been dragged over a rough surface.”

About 14 minutes into the video, while Tensing is still at the site of the shooting, but has now moved further away from DuBose’s crashed car, he is instructed by a third officer to indicate where the altercation had started.

This officer appears to be a member of the Cincinnati police department and wears a sergeant’s lapel on his arm. He states: “You can talk about anything you want except for what happened [sic]. The only thing that I ask of you is where did it start?”

Tensing replies: “I initiated the traffic stop at Vine and Thill.”

The two officers then clarify the direction Tensing was driving. The sergeant then states: “And, it looks like you got dragged if I’m understanding, looking …”

To which Tensing replies: “Yes.”

Tensing has pled not guilty.  It’s not clear whether the other officers are being investigated for complicity or conspiracy after the fact.  But they should be.

RT @LOLGOP: FOX NEWS: TOM BRADY TARGETED BECAUSE HE’S A PATRIOT

Well, obviously the way to prevent this is to get rid of gun-free zones and arm all the lions. #CecilTheLion

Remains Of The Day

Cool new archaeological discoveries at Jamestown announced today:

jamestownArchaeologists have uncovered human remains of four of the earliest leaders of the English colony that would become America, buried for more than 400 years near the altar of what was America’s first Protestant church in Jamestown, Virginia.

The four burial sites were uncovered in the floor of what’s left of Jamestown’s historic Anglican church from 1608, a team of scientists and historians announced Tuesday. The site is the same church where Pocahontas famously married Englishman John Rolfe, leading to peace between the Powhatan Indians and colonists at the first permanent English settlement in America.

Beyond the human remains, archaeologists also found artifacts buried with the colonial leaders — including a mysterious Catholic container for holy relics found in the Protestant church.

The Jamestown Rediscovery archaeology team revealed its discovery at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. The museum is helping to study and identify those buried in the church. The burials were first uncovered in November 2013, but the scientific team wanted to trace and identify its findings with some certainty before announcing the discovery.

Archaeologists have been studying the site since 1994 when the original James Fort — long thought to be lost and submerged in the James River — was rediscovered.

The team identified the remains of the Rev. Robert Hunt, Jamestown’s first Anglican minister who was known as a peacemaker between rival colonial leaders; Capt. Gabriel Archer, a nemesis of one-time colony leader John Smith; Sir Ferdinando Wainman, likely the first knight buried in America; and Capt. William West, who died in a fight with the Powhatan Indians. The three other men likely died after brief illnesses. They were buried between 1608 and 1610.

Read the whole thing.

Dumbest Gotcha Of The Day

Hillary Clinton is a hypocrite.  You know why?  Because after she gave her speech on climate change, she…. wait for it…. GOT ON A PRIVATE JET to take her to her next destination!

That’s the “story” from the right wing today as evidenced by, among other places, The Daily Mail which even provided video of Hillary’s hypocrisy (Look!  She’s boarding a private plane!).

I’m not sure what sure what this criticism is saying.  So Hillary Clinton is LYING when she speaks in opposition to climate change?  She’s actually a rightie on that issue?

Or maybe, Hillary is in favor of fighting climate change, but she doesn’t want to make sacrifices herself?  So, therefore, in order to show that she is TRULY against climate change, she is supposed to walk or ride a bike from Iowa to New Hampshire?

This is silly pointless criticism.

It should be stressed that the model of the private jet that Clinton was riding on, the Dassault Falcon, is one of the most ecologically efficient private jets on the market.  The particular model, the 900B, is a little old, but it still exceeds many modern ones in terms of its small carbon footprint.

As the Daily Mail points out, it gets burns 347 gallons of fuel per hour.  What the Daily Mail doesn’t say is that the Falcon has a cruising speed of 590 miles per hour.  That comes out to 1.7 miles per gallon.  A lot you say?  Consider that the jet is carrying 16 people (not including the crew).  16 people at 1.7 miles per gallon is fairly good.  For flight.

It’s also amusing the the Daily Mail makes a lot of the fact that Hillary boarded a FRENCH-made aircraft.  Like that has to do with climate change how?

 

Trump’s Lawyer May Be Dumber Than Trump

Another day, another Trump scandal.

This one is a little different.  Rather than Trump sending the media into a fervor, it was the reverse.

Trump, as we all now, has been making hay out of the supposed “rapists” that the government of Mexico is sending into America.  There’s no evidence that undocumented Mexicans are any more responsible for rape than any other group, and there’s no evidence that the government of Mexico is intentionally sending rapists to the United States.

But it’s Trump.

Anyway, The Daily Beast published an article quoting from a book written ages ago about Trump.  The book, from 1993, is titled Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump, and in it, Ivana Trump (his first wife) reportedly made a statement during a deposition pursuant to the Trump divorce — that she was raped once by Donald Trump.  The details, according to the deposition according to the 1993 book according to the Daily Beast, can be read at the link.

Ostensibly, not much of a headline grabber, especially when Ivana releases a statement essentially denying the incident:

Ivana

So there it is.  And that would have been it, had Donald Trump and his staff just let it go.

But noooooo.

Trump’s campaign adviser and legal counsel weighed in:

Michael Cohen, special counsel at The Trump Organization, defended his boss, saying, “You’re talking about the frontrunner for the GOP, presidential candidate, as well as a private individual who never raped anybody. And, of course, understand that by the very definition, you can’t rape your spouse.”

“It is true,” Cohen added. “You cannot rape your spouse. And there’s very clear case law.”

Uh, what?

Of COURSE a man can rape his spouse.  Sure, there used to be a “marital rape exemption” in almost every state, but now, non-consensual sex is, of course, illegal in all 50 states whether or not the perpetrator is married to the victim.

In New York, the marital rape exception was down away with in 1984, long before Donald and Ivana Trump divorced.  (FYI: In 1993, we saw the last state repeal the old rule holding that a husband could not rape their wife.  That state was North Carolina)

So Trump gets dinged by his own staff’s spread of misinformation.  How ironic.

But Mr. Cohen was undeterred from laying into The Daily Beast:

“I will make sure that you and I meet one day while we’re in the courthouse. And I will take you for every penny you still don’t have. And I will come after your Daily Beast and everybody else that you possibly know,” Cohen ranted, according to the news website. “So I’m warning you, tread very f—ing lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be f—ing disgusting. You understand me?

Nice.

In further irony, Trump is distancing himself from Cohen.

“Mr. Trump speaks for Mr. Trump and nobody but Mr. Trump speaks for him,” a campaign source told CNN.

Cohen probably comes from that segment of conservative thought that believes there should be no such thing as marital rape.  In fact, there is a long history of conservative opposition to the very concept of marital rape. Recognizing that rape occurs within marriage requires believing that husbands don’t have automatic sexual rights over their wives’ bodies.

Conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly has been a Republican delegate to eight national conventions, including in 2012. She ran for Congress on the Republican ticket, twice. She also has repeatedly said she doesn’t believe that marital rape exists.

“I think that when you get married you have consented to sex,” she said in a 2008 interview. “That’s what marriage is all about, I don’t know if maybe these girls missed sex ed.”

Trump Surge Continues Unabated

A new Economist/YouGov poll finds Donald Trump way ahead of the GOP presidential field with 28% support, followed by Jeb Bush at 14%, Scott Walker at 13%, Ben Carson at 7% and Rand Paul at 5%.

Key finding: “There is clearly a core group of registered voters who identify as Republicans that has coalesced around Trump’s tough talk and proposals. He is even more clearly in first place than he was two weeks ago”

Also interesting: “A separate YouGov poll completed Wednesday suggests a reason why the McCain controversy may not have affected Trump as much as some expected. Two out of three Republicans view McCain as a war hero. But fewer say they have a favorable opinion of him.”

A new CNN/ORC poll is the latest showing Trump at the top of the gigantic GOP field nationally, at 18%, with Bush at 15% and Walker at 10%.

I still maintain that Trump will not be the nominee.  He simply cannot go for months on end without saying something — eventually — that permanently puts his foot in his mouth, and offends even the base.

But if you want to hear some “experts”, read this Politico article: “HOW DOES TRUMP END?  16 experts from across the political spectrum share their visions”.  Surprisingly, a lot of think he can and will stick around as long as he wants, even becoming an independent third-party candidate.

Whatever happens, when historians try to explain how Trump could have happened at all, I think David Atkins has hit the nail on the head.  It is one of the best, most coherent explanations of the Trump phenomenon that I have ever read:

The Republican Party is locked into an autocatalytic cycle of increasing and self-reinforcing extremism.

The blue-collar white males who make up the GOP base are struggling more and more as business-friendly trickle-down economic policies continue to rob them of their economic security–but their inherent racism, sexism and distrust of government leads them to inherently reject reasonable liberal solutions in the fear that someone they don’t like might get a “handout” with their tax dollars. Hardcore political Republican partisans are slowly realizing that they no longer hold a silent majority in the country if they ever did, that every passing year demographic change makes their electoral prospects increasingly difficult, and that only a combination of gerrymandering, small-state-favoritism and accidental geographic political self-selection allows them to hold onto the House and Senate for now. And conservatives of all stripes can feel the ground shift underneath them irrevocably as liberals continue to win battles on social issues even as unfiltered left-leaning economic populism becomes increasingly mainstream.

Unwilling and unable to moderate their positions, the Republican base has assumed a pose of irredentist defiance, an insurgent war against perceived liberal orthodoxy in which the loudest, most aggressive warrior becomes their favorite son. It is this insurgent stance that informs their hardline views on guns: many of them see a day coming when their nativist, secessionist political insurgency may become an active military insurgency, and they intend to be armed to the teeth in the event that they deem it necessary. The GOP electorate isn’t choosing a potential president: they’re choosing a rebel leader. The Republican base doesn’t intend to go down compromising. They intend to go down fighting.

That’s why Donald Trump is so popular. That’s why the Republican Party’s brand is weak even among conservatives–because it’s too extreme for everyone else, but not extreme enough for them. And that’s why every other Republican candidate is saying increasingly outrageous things just to get noticed.

Rick Perry thinks the solution to guns in theaters is MORE guns in theaters. Yes. What could possibly go wrong with that policy?

RT @LOLGOP: If everyone had a gun, we wouldn’t have to worry about gun violence. This is why war zones are noted for their safety.

RT @GuyEndoreKaiser: Cosby’s a rapist.
Hogan’s a racist.
If I find out Mr. Rogers had even one overdue library book, I give up.

Louisiana Movie Theater Shooting Update

Again.

The gunman who opened fire inside a packed movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana, Thursday night, was John Russel Houser, police said at a news conference this morning.

Houser, 59, who killed himself, is among three people who died, police said. The other two were Mayci Breaux, 21, of Franklin, Louisiana, who died at the theater, and Jillian Johnson, 33, of Lafayette, who died at the hospital.

Nine others were injured, including one who was in critical condition, police said.

Gov. Bobby Jindal praised two New Iberia teachers as heroes. One leaped over the other to shield her and pull a fire alarm:

“Her friend literally jumped over her, and in her account actually saved her life,” Jindal said during a press conference. “If she hadn’t done that … that bullet, she believed it would have hit her in the head.

“Even though she was shot in the leg, she had the presence of mind to pull the fire alarm to help save other lives.”

The gunman had a history of criminal/mental problems.  How he managed to get a semi-automatic handgun is not known yet.

Nothing will happen to change gun laws.

UPDATE:  Raw Story did some Internet digging on the shooter.  Confederate flag-waving right-wing nut?  You bet kids:

John Russell Houser, of Phenix City, Alabama, posted frequently across a variety of online forums — from political discussions to message boards for Oldsmobile enthusiasts — where he complained about “moral decay” and media brainwashing.

“America is so sick that I now believe it to be the enemy of the world,” he wrote under the name Rusty Houser in a December 2013 comment on Fellowship of the Minds. “I know next to nothing about Iran, but the little I do know tells me they are far higher morally than this financially failing filth farm.”

The 59-year-old Houser was less active on Facebook and Twitter, although he left behind some clues about his beliefs on those social media networks.

“If you don’t think the internet is censored, try reading a newspaper from a country that hates liberals the way I do,” reads his second — and last — Twitter post, from June 2013. The first argues that “Westboro Baptist Church may be the last real church in America [members not brainwashed].”

His Facebook account shows just two likes — the “I hate liberals!” political organization, which uses an avatar that reads “Stand with Rand,” and the Crossroads Irish-American Festival.

Posts on his Facebook page reveals an interest in limiting women’s influence over the church, a hatred for American culture, and complaints about liberals “brainwashing” Americans into hating their own country.

“The bible doesn’t ask me to like what it says, only to obey it,” Houser wrote. “Death comes soon to the financially failing filth farm called the US.”

Houser signed up for an account with Tea Party Nation in June 2013, but he was not an active commenter.

Posts on other forums reveal Houser’s belief that the U.S. was racist against white people, sterilization should be mandatory for welfare recipients and former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke was a more historically significant figure than the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Hitler accomplished far more than any other through ‘pragmatically forming,’” Houser posted in January 2015.

He wrote something of a manifesto in March 2013, when he asked for help channeling his anger and frustration as a white Christian man living under President Barack Obama.

1 Recognize a lost cause.It is too late.The US is oozing the puss of foolishness and perversion.

2 Find a positive way to exert your energies.I recommend laughing as often as possible.Here is something that is truly funny: since I accepted this it came to me that the president is doing exactly what Tim McVeigh did,only the president is much more effective.The way I see it,the faster he wrecks this nation, which in no way resembles what it’s founders envisioned,the faster working people with morals may re-assume command.ie I was for his re-election. I like his spending habits.etc……Truth and death always go hand in hand, and in our brave moments we can laugh. Whatever truth requires, I will accept.

3 Encourage whatever takes us forward. Right now, down is forward.

4 For the few who will understand this, it is my hope that you will see to one preparation for the coming downfall, which will be worse than a Mad Max scenario. That preparation is not storing up canned goods, munitions,etc, but to gather what will be necessary to put in your families food to insure a painless and certain death should the need arise.,if there are no cell phones,no TV,no power,gas,no stores,no police,etc.

5 If you are male, fight until the end, and enjoy it.People are good at what they enjoy, and your Maker would want it that way.

Houser argued in a January 2014 forum post that the United States needed a right-wing party like Greece’s neo-Nazi “Golden Dawn” faction to restore its greatness.

GOP Candidate Ted Cruz Weighs In On…. Captain Kirk?

Ted Cruz gets interviewed for The New York Times Magazine and this exchange occurs:

You’re also a fan of ‘‘Star Trek.’’ Do you prefer Captain Kirk or Captain Picard?
Absolutely James Tiberius Kirk.

** a question or two later **

If you were a journalist interviewing you, what would you ask?
Who knows, I might well ask, ‘‘Kirk or Picard?’’ I’ve never been asked that before, and I actually have a strong opinion on it.

Well, that goes with being a Kirk person.
It does indeed. Let me do a little psychoanalysis. If you look at ‘‘Star Trek: The Next Generation,’’ it basically split James T. Kirk into two people. Picard was Kirk’s rational side, and William Riker was his passionate side. I prefer a complete captain. To be effective, you need both heart and mind.

I thought your critique might go in a different direction, because ‘‘Next Generation’’ is more touchy-feely in its politics than the original.
No doubt. The original ‘‘Star Trek’’ was grittier. Kirk is working class; Picard is an aristocrat. Kirk is a passionate fighter for justice; Picard is a cerebral philosopher. The original ‘‘Star Trek’’ pressed for racial equality, which was one of its best characteristics, but it did so without sermonizing.

Do you have a suspicion about whether Kirk would be a Democrat or a Republican?
I think it is quite likely that Kirk is a Republican and Picard is a Democrat.

Yeah.  I don’t know that Kirk was “working class” and Picard was an “aristocrat”.  Seems like both series had pretty much done away with class, at least for Earth and other planet members of the Federation.

But Kirk a Republican?  Why?  Because he was working class?

And Picard a Democrat?  Why?  Because he didn’t fight and he used his brain?

Bill… help me out…

Don Lemon, the dumbest man on CNN, asked what crimes the dead shooter can be charged with.

RT @amyschumer: My heart is broken and all my thoughts and prayers are with everyone in Louisiana.

RT @cnnbrk: Shooter in Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theater incident died of self-inflicted gunshot wound, police confirm. http://t.co/ZL6Ap…

Jesus. ANOTHER Mass Shooting

Happened within the past few hours. A shooting at a movie theater in Lafayette Louisiana. 2 are confirmed dead. The shooter is dead. 8 appear to be wounded. It happened 20 minutes into the movie “Trainwreck”.

Ironically, President Obama had taped an interview for the BBC which was going to air in a few hours. In the interview, President Obama stated that his biggest frustration during his presidency was being unable to get any effective gun laws passed. Yep.

UPDATE: Eyewitness says the shooter was a middle age white man, and he was chasing a barefoot woman. Others say shooter stood up as movie was starting and began shooting indiscriminately.

UPDATE:3 confirmed dead, which includes the shooter, a 58 year old man.

RT @cnnbrk: Prosecutor to hold news conference about Sandra Bland autopsy findings around 3 p.m. ET. Watch live at http://t.co/HAhU3MmiMf

On The Ashley Madison Hack

So, a few days ago, the website Ashley Madison was hacked and its 37 million customers could soon have their data leaked online by a crew calling themselves The Impact Team.  Ashley Madison, for the uninitiated, is a site that lets spouses cheat on their partners — kind of like a match.com for adulterers. The Impact Team has threatened to release a huge trove of data beyond the snippets of information they already leaked from Avid Life Media, the owner of Ashley Madison and related properties Established Men and Cougar Life, if the cheating site was not shut down.

Why is Impact Team doing this?  Well, it seems they were particularly aggrieved at a service launched by Ashley Madison last year, promising it could delete users’ information so it was irrecoverable for $19. The hackers claimed that service didn’t do as advertised, and customers’ names and addresses were still stored on ALM’s servers.

“Full Delete netted ALM $1.7mm in revenue in 2014. It’s also a complete lie,” The Impact Team said in a notice alongside the leak, in which they also claimed to have taken complete control of ALM’s “office and production domains”, as well as “all customer information databases”.

If that is true, I think they have a point.

Now, I suppose the news of the leak is ho-hum news to a lot of people, but to 37 million — wait…. let’s just contemplate that number.

Wow.

Ok.  Well to them this is potentially… bad.  REAL bad.

What disgusts me are people like Christian evangelist Franklin Graham, who posted a message on his Facebook page about the matter Wednesday afternoon, stating:

The Bible says, “be sure your sin will find you out.” Ashley Madison, the website for people who want to cheat on their spouses was hacked this weekend. Their slogan is: “Life is short. Have an affair.” Hackers threatened to reveal personal data related to 37 million users. I have news for all those worried cheaters out there wringing their hands—God already knew! His holy Word says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). Times may have changed, but God’s laws and standards never change—all sin has a price. The New York Daily News calls this an “‪#‎adultery‬ website.” Isn’t it a shame that immorality is such big business?

You know what?  F you, Franklin Graham.

Not being married nor inclined to cheat, I’m not personally affected by this hack, but it does establish a terrible precedent.  We don’t want to snicker at the cheaters who got caught because you never know what could be out in the dark hidden recesses of the web that reflects badly on you or. . .  and this is important . . . someone with the same name as you.  So I think we need to pay attention to this type of thing a little more closely.

“Thanks to the Ashley Madison leak, I found out that my wife and I both like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain.” – Rupert Holmes

New Sandra Bland Revelations

This just came out:

Sandra Bland, the black woman found hanging dead in a Texas jail days after a traffic stop, smoked or possibly swallowed a large amount of marijuana while in custody, her family’s attorney reported the district attorney as saying.

Waller County District Attorney Elton Mathis made the disclosure in a text message to attorney Cannon Lambert, who has called the state’s autopsy on the Chicago-area woman defective, Lambert said.

“Looking at the autopsy results and toxicology, it appears she swallowed a large quantity of marijuana or smoked it in the jail,” Mathis said in a text message to Lambert that the attorney provided to Reuters.

Reuters could not immediately verify the authenticity of the text. Repeated calls to Mathis’ office were not returned.

“This will of course be very relevant in any future criminal or civil litigation,” the message from Mathis to Lambert said.

This doesn’t look good for the police of Waller county.  Even if actual murder is a leap, we KNOW this:

(1)  The dashcam, nor the eyewitness video, supports the officer’s account of what happened.  We don’t see her assaulting the officer.

(2)  The arrest was unwarranted.  Bland was under no legal obligation to extinguish the cigarette in her own car, even with a traffic stop.

(3)  If, as the Waller county police assert, Sandra Bland had attempted suicide in the past (she told them in her admittance paperwork), they should have put her on a suicide watch.  They did not do this.

(4)  If the toxicology of the autopsy is correct, how did marijuana get in her cell?

UPDATE – several hours later:

Medical examiners ruled the death of Sandra Bland a suicide by hanging, and the autopsy uncovered no evidence of a violent struggle,according to the Texas prosecutor Warren Diepraam, the first assistant district attorney of Waller County:

Diepraam said there were no defensive injuries on Bland’s hands. He said there were about 30 cuts on her wrists, and that the scarring suggests they were made two to four weeks ago, well before her arrest.

Diepraam said that toxicology tests found marijuana in Bland’s system, but he said further tests would be necessary to determine when she ingested it.

Jail intake forms filled out for Bland appear to show that she told jailers she tried to commit suicide last year, and that she had been “very depressed” in the past. But the answers on the forms are inconsistent.

Apparently, reporters were walked through graphic photos.  There is a concurrent investigation going on as to what happened at the roadside.

 

Major Earthquake Predicted “Any Day Now”

There was a 4.0 earthquake the other day in California yesterday morning.  The 2:41 a.m. earthquake on the border of Fremont and Union City occurred on the Hayward Fault at a depth of 5 miles.  Fremont and Union City are in the San Francisco and Oakland area.

That’s not the news.  The news is this: Tom Brocher, a scientist with the USGS, told CBS that the Hayward Fault is due to produce a major earthquake “any day now.”

Per CBS:

“The population is now 100 times bigger in the East Bay, so we have many more people that will be impacted,” said Tom Brocher, a research geophysicist with the USGS.

“We keep a close eye on the Hayward Fault because it does sit in the heart of the Bay Area and when we do get a big earthquake on it, it’s going to have a big impact on the entire Bay Area,” Brocher said.

While a 2008 report put the probability of a 6.7-magnitude or larger earthquake on the Hayward-Rodgers Creek Fault system over the next 30 years at 31 percent, Brocher said the reality is a major quake is expected on the fault “any day now.”

“The past five major earthquakes on the fault have been about 140 years apart, and now we’re 147 years from that 1868 earthquake, so we definitely feel that could happen any time,” Brocher said.

Why isn’t everyone fraking out?  Why isn’t this front page news everywhere?

Two reasons.  Earthquake prediction is horrible.  The earth’s crust moves at a geologically slow rate.  Geologically slow.  So trying to predict when a major quake will come is tricky.  It has never been done with success.

The other reason? Bocher has been sounding the alarm on the Hayward Fault for a while now. In 2008, he was the lead author of a USGS report that described the fault as a “tectonic time bomb” and warned that a 6.8-7.0 magnitude quake could “could cause hundreds of deaths, leave thousands homeless, and devastate the region’s economy.” Among the factors that lead the report’s authors to suggest that the Hayward Fault is the country’s most dangerous one are the facts that it is the “single most urbanized earthquake fault in the United States” and that “critical regional gas and water pipelines and electrical transmission lines cross.”  You can read the full report here [pdf].

So when he says “any day now”,  you have to remember he is a geologist.  And to a guy who thinks in geological terms, “any day” doesn’t necessarily mean “within the next week”.  It means, literally, “any day”.  Could be tomorrow or maybe a couple of centuries from now.

 

Why Kasich Can’t Be President

John Kasich, the former governor of Ohio, became the newest GOP presidential candidate earlier this week. He’s number 16 now — the 16th GOP presidential candidate.  I didn’t comment on it on this blog because… well, because he’s number 16 now.

And he seems reasonable by comparison to the others, except… not so much.  Let’s let Kasich himself recount the story, as told in his 2006 book:

84221218832128c6_fargo3.xxxlargeI was in my local video store looking for a movie to watch with my wife, Karen, during one of our few quiet evenings together at home. The clerk in the store recommended Fargo, a perversely dark crime story that had played to generally enthusiastic reviews. The movie even earned a Best Actress Oscar for Frances McDormand for her role as a pregnant Midwestern sheriff, and the guy behind the counter at Blockbuster assured me it was a great movie and that I should probably rent it.

So I did. Walked right over to that shelf where they had their general titles, grabbed a copy and took it home, and when Karen and I got to the part where they chop up a guy in a grinder we looked at each other and thought, What the heck are we watching here? It was billed as a comedy, but it wasn’t funny. It was graphic, and brutal, and completely unnecessary, and it rubbed us in so many wrong ways we had to shut the thing off right there in the middle… Next morning, I got on the phone to Blockbuster and demanded that they take the movie off their shelves.

Kasich writes that while he was “a fairly prominent local customer,” he didn’t demand any special treatment — “I was personally offended, and it had nothing to do with any kind of political stand.” He says someone in charge at the local Blockbuster agreed to label movies with graphic content more clearly, but he heard from friends that they didn’t actually change very much. So he called again:

I couldn’t say firsthand whether the situation had gotten any better, because I had taken my business elsewhere, but from all accounts not much had changed, so I called the store again to remind them of our deal, and it got to where Karen had to tell me to back off because I was driving everyone crazy. I’d made my point, she said, and it was time to move on, so I did, but not before the columnist George Will picked up on the story.

“On reflection,” Kasich wrote, he wasn’t “entirely sure that [this story] paints me in the best light,” and admitted, “In fact, it’s possible to look on my actions as the rantings of a wild man.”

Indeed.

Updates To Sandra Bland Death Including Possible Dash Cam Edits

Background is here — Unfortunately, not a new story.  Black person gets pulled over in a southern town and dies in police custody.  The person was Sandra Bland, a vibrant educated 28 year old woman from outside Chicago, who as down in Houston for a job interview, which she got.  After a verbal exchange with police following a traffic stop for failing to change lanes on July 10, she was arrested.  She was dead 3 days later.  Police say she hanged herself with a plastic bag inside the Waller County Jail.

There was video of the arrest from a passerby.  We now have the police dashcam video.  Here it is in full:

Yeah, I know it’s 52 minutes.  So I understand if you don’t want to watch.

But there is something funky about the video…. in two places.

At one point, a tow truck driver exits his vehicle and walks around State Trooper Brian Encinia’s car. Within seconds, the truck driver is seen making the same exit and walk, but Encinia, who can be heard recalling the traffic stop encounter in detail, is uninterrupted.

Minutes later, a white car appears on the screen and disappears two times, before reemerging and making a left turn.

In both cases, audio of Encinia’s voice continues without interruption. Watch the two clips:

One explanation could be that the equipment was faulty, but authorities have agreed to investigate whether or not officers tampered with the evidence.

My sense it is not edited, if only because it so obvious and bad.  But we’ll find out.

Of greater concern, is what wasn’t edited out of the video.  What you have his this officer following and following Bland, as if looking for a pretext to pull her over.  Driving while black, anyone?  And then she fails to make a signal while changing lanes.  And he pounces.  Bam!

And then, contrary to arresting officer’s affidavit that Bland “was swinging her elbows at me and then kicked my right leg in the shin,” causing “pain in my right leg and small cuts on my right hand,” the video clearly shows Brian Encinia being unnecessarily hostile to Bland — who is, by her own admission, annoyed that he had tailed her until he could manufacture a reason for pulling her over.

Encinia aggressively enters her vehicle, telling her that he will “yank you out of her” if she doesn’t comply with his directive “to step out of the car.”

“Step out or I will remove you,” he said.

“I’m getting removed for a failure to signal?” she asked.

“Get out of the car or I will remove you,” he replied.

“I’m calling my lawyer,” she said.

“I’m going to yank you out of here,” Encinia replied, and proceeded to do exactly that, at which point the situation quickly escalated.

A FURTHER THOUGHT:  Over at FDL, a blogger makes a reasonable argument why police may be culpable, even if the death was a suicide.

RT @jaketapper: July 27-30 2007 national poll:

Giuliani 33%
Thompson 20%
McCain 17%
Romney 11%
Paul/Thompson/Brownback 2%
Huckabee/Hunter/…

RIP Theo Bikel

Broadway’s original Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music; also Teyve in Fiddler on the Roof.  Also a good folk singer.  He was 91

Publicly giving out the cell phone number of someone who calls you a “jackass” makes you a jackass if you weren’t one before.

Trump/Fox Thoughts

Another day of all-Trump news.  Only because some new polls showed him way ahead, but only one day of that poll was taken after Trump’s McCain comments.

I guess the latest is that Trump gave out Lindsay Graham’s phone number in a speech.  Intentionally.  Serious douche.

But the only thing I wanted to add was how Fox is handling the Trump story.  And the answer is….. delicately.  They don’t want to call him a jackass too much and alienate their viewers in the base.  So they just end up asking questions, i.e.,

Fox News Person:  Is Trump going to hurt the Republican party?  If only by sucking air from the other candidates?

Fox News Expert Guest:  Well, only time will tell.  He certainly has a strong following.

Fox News Person:  The polls don’t seem to have much to say about the backlash after insulting McCain.

Fox News Expert Guest:  They don’t, although whether something will happen in the future is the $64,000 question.

…. and so on.  Aaaaaaaalllll day.

It’s pretty funny.

RT @LOLGOP: My favorite is when people in the media interprets Trump’s rise as anything other than the GOP base’s fondness for hazing the unfortunate.

WaPo-ABC poll: Trump polls at 32% among voters with no college degree, and only 8% among voters with a college degree. #HesWithStupid

Sarah Palin says both McCain and Trump are heroes. All right, then.

Still obsessed with Chuck Jones’ coyote/roadrunner rules. Awesome to so clearly, concisely define your characters. http://t…
rt-amosposner-still-obsessed-with-chuck-jones-coyoteroadrunner-rules-awesome-to-so-clearly-concisely-define-your-characters-httpt 

George Coe, the actor who played on The West Wing, has died at age 86. http://t.co/PSjSgC5EY2

The Great Donald Trump Performance Art Piece Is In The Last Act

SCENE:  A boardroom in Trump Towers.  Present is Donald Trump pacing the floor, and three senior executives sitting at the desk (Mr. A, Mr. B, and Mr. C).  Also sitting is one wet-behind-the-ears junior executive, Mr. Z.  Trump is on his cell phone.

TRUMP:  Tell him to go fuck himself!  No, tweet this: “Chris Matthews is STUPID!  And capitalize the word STUPID!”

[pause]

Right.  Three exclamation points — same as usual!  No, make it FOUR!”

[The three senior executives murmur quietly “Ooooooh, four”]

[TRUMP hits the off button on his phone] 

TRUMP:  I love Chris.  Smartest journalist on the left.  [Gets an idea.  Hits intercom button.]  Savannah, call Chris and Kathy.  Set up a time when they can come for dinner.  Cafe Des Artistes. [Sits and addresses men at table]  Gentlemen, the immigration experiment has run its course.  I think we’ve found the xenophobic sweet spot of the base of the Republican party.  You fuckin’ nay-sayers thought the people would revolt and throw me out of the party.  Well, once again, I was right and you were wrong.  So apologize.

MR A:  Sorry, The Donald

MR B:  Sorry, The Donald.

MR C:  Sorry, The Donald.

[All look at Mr. Z]

MR Z:  I… Hi…. Um…. I wasn’t at that meeting.  I guess.  Sorry. I just… I just was hired last week.

[All look at TRUMP, who is frowning.  Then, a smile]

TRUMP:  Kid’s got brass balls. [Laughter from the senior executives]  I like that.  Hey, kid, you know why they’re called “brass balls”?

MR Z: Uh… No.  I don’t know.  W-why do they call them “brass balls”?

[Long pause]

TRUMP: [Stands, hits intercom button]:  Savannah, find out if there’s a joke about “brass balls” and why they’re called that.  Check the Joan Rivers archives.  If it ain’t there, call Gilbert Gottfried and ask him. [to execs] Funniest fucker that ever lived. [Sits]  Okay, gentlemen.  So what’s next for the campaign?  Any ideas?  Nothing too crazy for an idea.  In fact, the crazier the better.  I got fuckin’ 70% of the party in my hand.  Now what?

MR Z:  [clears throat]  Actually, Mr Trummm — The Donald — they told me to come to this meeting prepared with some ideas.  Now, I don’t claim to know everything about economics and I wouldn’t presume to know your views, but it seems to me —

TRUMP:  Whooooooa…… Mr. Brass Balls trying to make a name for himself.  I like that.  It seems to you what, Mr. Brass Balls?

MR Z:  Thank you, sir.  It seems to me that you’ve got the base in the palm of my hand, as you say —

TRUMP:  — Eatin’ it from right there.  Right from the palm of my hand.  I can pick up a doughy load of monkey poop and they would eat it right up.

MR Z:  Yyyyes, sir.  The base is eating poop outta your hand —

TRUMP:  [correcting him]  Monkey poop.  Keep going.

MR Z:  Right. Uh, so I was thinking we do something unexpected.  A shift.  But a surprise still.  To keep your name in the headlines.  Something nobody would expect.

TRUMP:  Like a shift?  But a surprise?  Like a shift surprise, you’re saying.  It will keep my name in the headlines.

MR Z:  Right.

TRUMP:  I don’t know what you’re saying.

MR Z:  Hear me out, sir.  A five point economic plan to address income equality.  Or a six point plan.  Or how-many-ever points you want.  But the point is to come out with a serious economic policy proposal.  And call it the, whatever, five-point plan to… I don’t know…. to return Dollars To The People.  Something like that.  Something serious.  And people will go, “Whoa.  We just thought he, you know, was a firebrand.”  Which is a good thing to be.  But now we surprise ’em, see, with something serious. And they all go, “Whoa that guy is a firebrand AND a serious thinker and a statesman.”

TRUMP:  Something serious….

MR Z:  Yes, sir.

[Pause]

TRUMP:  Da fuck?

MR A:  What I think our young associate here is trying to say is —

TRUMP:  know what he is saying.  He’s saying let’s kiss the asses of the Harvard fuckin’ Yale elites.

MR A:  Well, it’s —

TRUMP:  I didn’t get to the top of the polls by kisses the asses of the bluebloods.  Get the fuck out of here, kid.

MR Z:  Sir, if you would allow me to explain —

TRUMP:  Get the fuck outta here.  And tell Savannah to forget Gottfried.  I’m revoking your brass balls, and giving you STUPID balls.

MR Z:  Am I fired?

TRUMP:  Did I say — (fuckin kids these days!) — Did I say “You’re fired?”  No. I did not.  Get the fuck outta here.  To your desk or cube or whatever. [MR Z leaves]  Did I or did I not just explain about monkey poop?

MR B:  You did sir.  I was here.

TRUMP:  You were here.  Was he here?

MR C:  Apparently not.

TRUMP:  Apparently not.  [Pause — laughs very loudly and for a long time]  “Apparently not.”  That’s great.  That’s great!  I like that!  [laughs more, chokes a little]  “Apparently not” he says. [wipes tears from eyes with a very expensive monogrammed handkerchief]  “Apparently not” [Types something into on his cellphone, presumably “apparently not”.  All wait patiently until he’s done]   Okay, gentlemen.  Here’s the problem.  It’s no surprise that my poll numbers are through the fuckin’ roof and you and everybody else is wrong about me.  BUT, I don’t want to do this fuckin’ debate and they say that if I’m in the top ten, I gotta debate.  And of course, I’m in the top one?  Right?

EXECS:  Right, of course, you bet, etc.

TRUMP:  So I gotta start working now to bring my poll numbers down cuz I don’t wanna debate.  I mean, guys, I did this for a lark. To get my name in the papers.  Grease the skids of a few deals I’m working on.  Stuff that needs regulatory approval.  Nothing like having 70% of the base on your side to get the assholes in D.C. behind you, am I right?  “Mr. Chairman, to whom I give generous contributions to, did you know that 59 percent of the people in your district think I am the shit?  And while you contemplate that, could you tell your dickless friends at the FTC to approve my fucking merger already?”

[All laugh]

TRUMP: So what is it, boys?  Let’s brainstorm.  How can I still be outrageous and make headlines, and still be the darling of some of the base, but get lower in the polls?

[After a pause]

MR B:  Kick an aborted fetus through the goal posts at the Meadowlands?

MR A: Jee-zus, Stan.

MR B:  Too much?

MR A:  He has a bad back!

TRUMP [at the same time as Mr A]:  I have a bad back!

MR B:  Oh, right.

TRUMP:  [Under his breath….]  Meadowlands. [Then, in normal voice] No.  I need to say something.  Something really offensive.  It’s my mouth.  My golden mouth.  That’s my strength.

MR C:  But sir.  You’ve insulted an entire race of people and an entire country, an ally sir.  How can you top that?

TRUMP:  Fuck.  That was easy.  I took the base where it already wanted to go.  It’s not like I attacked any Americ–

[His face goes solid with surprise.  An idea!]

TRUMP:  I need to attack America.

MR A:  Like how the liberals attack America?

TRUMP [slapping A]:  No, not like how the liberals attack America.  I need to attack a sacred American cow of the right wing.

MR A:  Wall Street!

MR B:  Reagan!

MR C:  Fox News!

TRUMP:  Can’t be Fox News.  I need them to cover my outrageous attack.

MR A:  How about attacking drill baby drill?

MR B:  Or Sarah Palin?

MR C:  Our troops?

TRUMP:  Hmmmm, Sarah Palin.  Eeeh.  Our troops…… wait, wait, wait.

[Trump thinks harder.  Then the penny drops.  Yes!  The expression copies itself to Mr. A.  Yes!  Then to Mr. B.  Of course!]

MR C:  What?  What?!?  What is it??!?

trump mccain

Aaaaaand scene. I guess that was a little long.

But sure enough, Donald Trump went there.  Here it is:

Yes, this is particularly abhorrent.  Let’s go back to 1968.  Here’s McCain and Trump.

mccainetrump

Trump was 21 years in 1968.  Vietnam?  Not for Donald.  He avoided the Vietnam War draft by getting repeated student deferments.  Opposed to the war, Trump was on his way to earning an Ivy League degree. And he had a job in his father’s real estate company.

When he graduated from college, Trump had a net worth of $200,000 ($1.4 million in today’s dollar). Meanwhile, John McCain was in a small North Vietnamese prison cell. His body was busted up from a plane crash — injuries that were only made worse by torture.  How did he get there?

On Oct. 25, 1967, McCain had destroyed two enemy MiG fighter planes parked on a runway outside Hanoi. He begged to go out the next day, too.

But as he flew into Hanoi again on Oct. 26, his jet’s warning lights began to flash.

“I was on my 23rd mission, flying right over the heart of Hanoi in a dive at about 4,500 feet, when a Russian missile the size of a telephone pole came up — the sky was full of them — and blew the right wing off my Skyhawk dive bomber,” he wrote in a 1973 account of his ordeal. “It went into an inverted, almost straight-down spin. I pulled the ejection handle, and was knocked unconscious by the force of the ejection.”

McCain regained consciousness when his parachute landed him in a lake. The explosion had shattered both arms and one of his legs. With 50 pounds of gear on him and one good limb, he struggled to swim to the surface.

North Vietnamese dragged him to shore. Then stripped him to his underwear and began “hollering and screaming and cursing and spitting and kicking at me.”

“One of them slammed a rifle butt down on my shoulder, and smashed it pretty badly,” he wrote. “Another stuck a bayonet in my foot. The mob was really getting up-tight.”

He was interrogated for four days, losing consciousness as his captors tried to beat information out of him. But he refused.

He shot enemy planes.  That’s a hero.  He survived a plane crash, beating and torture, and never talked.  That’s  a hero.

And that is saying nothing of the horrendous and valiant survival at the Hanoi Hilton and his long painful road to recovery.

A lot of people, myself included, believe that the Vietnam War was a mistake.   But people who haven’t been in war, in my view, are not in a position to question the valor of people who have.  This holds true for Trump.

Many people have already identified what Trump is doing — he is swiftboating — the very thing done to John Kerry in 2004 by the dirty trickster, Karl Rove.  I think all the Republicans who say they are outraged at Trump’s comments need to step up and apologize to John Kerry if they didn’t, as McCain did, defend him from the swiftboaters.  But I don’t expect it to happen.

UPDATE:  Hey, remember this….

This lovely one from Ann Coulter:

“Max Cleland should stop allowing Democrats to portray him as a war hero who lost his limbs taking enemy fire on the battlefields of Vietnam,” she writes, claiming that he “lost three limbs in an accident during a routine non-combat mission where he was about to drink beer with friends. He saw a grenade on the ground and picked it up. He could have done that at Fort Dix. In fact, Cleland could have dropped a grenade on his foot as a National Guardsman …. Luckily for Cleland’s political career and current pomposity about Bush, he happened to do it while in Vietnam.”

Cleland won the silver star for the battle of Khe Sanh.

Funny, I don’t remember any Republicans taking either Chambliss or Coulter to task for that one.

THIS IS INTERESTING UPDATE #2:

This was the entire announcement from the people at Huffington Post. Lets look at it:

[Huff Post Politics] A Note About Our Coverage Of Donald Trump’s ‘Campaign’

Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief for The Huffington Post
Danny Shea, Editorial Director, The Huffington Post

After watching and listening to Donald Trump since he announced his candidacy for president, we have decided we won’t report on Trump’s campaign as part of The Huffington Post’s political coverage. Instead, we will cover his campaign as part of our Entertainment section. Our reason is simple: Trump’s campaign is a sideshow. We won’t take the bait. If you are interested in what The Donald has to say, you’ll find it next to our stories on the Kardashians and The Bachelorette.

Yup.  Like Pat Paulsen for President (1968) or Stephen Colbert for President (2008).  This is entertainment.

Gawker Is Imploding

More fallout from this debacle:

Tommy Craggs, the executive editor of Gawker Media, and Max Read, the editor-in-chief of Gawker.com, are resigning from the company. In letters sent today, Craggs and Read informed staff members that the managing partnership’s vote to remove a controversial post about the CFO of Condé Nast—a unprecedented act endorsed by zero editorial employees—represented an indefensible breach of the notoriously strong firewall between Gawker’s business interests and the independence of its editorial staff. Under those conditions, Craggs and Read wrote, they could not possibly guarantee Gawker’s editorial integrity.

Excuse me?  “Editorial integrity?”

Another Jailed Black Person “Hangs Herself”

Are you buying this?

ckdydifweaqiucf.jpg.CROP.rtstoryvar-medium

According to authorities, an 18-year-old girl hanged her self in an Alabama jail. The inmate has been identified as Kindra Darnell Chapman by the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office.

Chapman was arrested on a first-degree-robbery charge for allegedly taking a cellphone and booked at Homewood City Jail Tuesday around 6:22 p.m., AL.com reports. She was last seen alive at 6:30 p.m by jailers and found unresponsive at 7:50 p.m. Officials report that Chapman used a bed sheet to hang herself.

Chapman was pronounced dead at Brookwood Medical Center. Homewood police are currently investigating this death.

This was Tuesday, the same day the story broke about Sandra Bland.

Now, we know very little about the facts.  But check it out.  Assuming the allegations are true, she hung herself because of a cellphone.  And while you are mulling the probability of that, consider that she was only in the 80 minutes between when she was last seen and when she was found dead, this girl had figured out and executed her own suicide with resources in the cell.

Is it all possible?  Sure.  But this is Alabama.

UPDATE:  I found this picture of her… a fuller one of the picture above.

11665436_1605262543084328_7958366986817489714_n

Apparently, Kindra was pretty bad-ass.  (I found other pictures of her making the same gesture).

And a picture of her apparently with a gun.

11391234_1599209640356285_415513889676746719_n

Although, these pictures make it LESS likely that this girl would kill herself.  Obviously, she wasn’t weak.  I’ll bet she gave some sass.

Gawker Does The Right Thing . . . Too Little, Too Late Though

I was going to write about a certain story, but I didn’t want to promote it.  Basically, the Gawker news site put a story up online about a certain person you have never heard.  And it doesn’t matter who it is.  But he is the brother of someone in Obama’s cabinet, and the CFO of a major publishing company.

And the story was long and detailed, but the thrust of it was simple: this man, who has a wife and kids, paid $2,500 to have sex with a male escort.  How did Gawker get the story?  The male escort was trying to blackmail the man-in-question, and passed on texts and emails to Gawker.  Which Gawker published last evening.  They basically outed a guy and destroyed his personal and possibly his career.

Gawker’s story, written by Jordan Sargent, instantly and almost universally provoked unbridled scorn, and rightfully so.  The story had many problems — including the question of whether the subject was prominent enough to be covered at all.  And for the LGBTQ community in particular, the story brought back memories of people effectively weaponizing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity for blackmail and other threats.

Gawker’s editor-in-chief Max Read defended the story in a way that is utterly laughable, and it’s grounded in a premise that is very common when people want to wallow in others’ private lives, yet incredibly toxic.  He tweeted:

Ugh. Gawker wants you to think it is simply on the prowl to locate and punish adulterers who are vandalizing the sanctity of their marital vows. It’s just about solemn retribution for sinners. They are posing as the chivalrous defender of this man’s wife. (And note the sexist attitude of the tweet — what if a “married c-suite executive is cheating on her husband?)

But in truth, they are are hoping for clicks and pageviews so they can get revenue from their advertisers.  That’s all.  It’s not news — it is cllick-bait.

Even if you buy Read’s justification, you know it is a lie.  Read has no idea whether the CFO’s wife knew about the adultery or not. To justify the article, Read is feigning knowledge that he in fact completely lacks: the private, intimate understanding between the CFO whose life he tried to destroy and the wife whom he has deluded himself into believing he’s protecting.

A good rule of decency is to stay out of the private, personal, and sexual lives of consenting adults, absent some very compelling reason to involve yourself (such as damaging hypocrisy on the part of a political figure). The temptations to intrude into and sit in judgment of those aspects of other people’s lives are powerful, but they’re almost always lowly, self-degrading and scummy. If you have any doubts about that, reading that vile Gawker post will permanently dispel them.

So…..

I was going to write about all that, but Gawker just did the right thing, and took down the article.  Here’s the story about that, from, well, Gawker:

Yesterday, Gawker published a post about the CFO of Condé Nast attempting to pay a gay porn star for a night in a Chicago hotel. Today the managing partnership of Gawker Media voted, 5-1, to remove it. Executive editor Tommy Craggs, who helped edit the piece, was the sole dissenter.

The vote to remove the post, which was written by staff writer Jordan Sargent and edited by several other Gawker staffers, comes after widespread criticism from our own readers and other outlets. Along the Craggs, every other member of Gawker Media’s editorial leadership, including Gawker’s editor-in-chief Max Read and the executive editors of Gawker Media’s Politburo, strenuously protested removing the post.

The partners who voted to remove the post were Heather Dietrick, who serves as president and chief legal counsel; Andrew Gorenstein, who serves as the president of advertising and partnerships; chief operating officer Scott Kidder; chief strategy officer Erin Pettigrew; and chief executive officer Nick Denton, who founded Gawker Media in 2002. Along with Tommy Craggs, they belong to Gawker Media’s managing partnership, which Denton established in 2014 and whose members decide on all major company matters.

“The point of this story was not in my view sufficient to offset the embarrassment to the subject and his family,” Denton wrote in a lengthy statement issued on Friday afternoon. “Accordingly, I have had the post taken down. It is the first time we have removed a significant news story for any reason other than factual error or legal settlement.”

Score one for the mission-to-civilize.

Unfortunately, they don’t actually apologize.  They’re basically saying, we were right to post it, and we’re right to take it down.  Ugh again.

New data project modeling Latino influence in ’16, GOP must win 47% of Latino vote to win 50.1% national popular vote …
rt-latinodecisions-new-data-project-modeling-latino-influence-in-16-gop-must-win-47-of-latino-vote-to-win-50-1-national-popular-vote 

The Penny Drops

Over at the right wing site The Daily Caller — one of the many right-wing websites that has grown from a steady diet from Fox News and AM talk radio to form the final wall in the echo chamber — a lonely columnist quietly looks and Donald Trump’s antics and wonders aloud this:

What If The Base Is Wrong?

by Matt Lewis
Senior Contributor

One of the explanations for Donald Trump’s surging poll numbers goes like this: The base doesn’t trust Republican leaders on immigration. This manifests in support for a man who tells it like it is.

The problem with this is that the immigration schism on the right is largely about rhetoric. Almost everybody agrees we must secure the border, and even the most hawkish anti-immigration reform advocates won’t admit they want to deport the 11 million, or so, illegals. There are differences of opinion on whether to allow for a pathway to citizenship or to legalize them, but almost nobody is advocating for mass deportation.

As such, the real disagreement, it seems, is about rhetoric: Should we talk about immigrants in a way that suggests we believe they are children of God who (in most cases) are seeking a better life for their family — or should we assume most of them are rapists?

Based on Trump’s popularity, there is a market for doing the latter.

Now, suppose you’re a Republican “leader” tasked with winning elections today — and in the future. Demographic shifts suggest that doubling down on white, working class, non-college educated males from rural areas won’t cut it forever.

Putting aside the fact that you might support immigration reform on its merits, wouldn’t it make sense to try to tone down rhetoric guaranteed to turn off segments of the national electorate that are actually growing? (And here, I’m not just talking about Hispanics.) That way you might be able to win elections, finally secure the border, defend the right to life, cut job-killing regulations, etc.

This brings us to some fundamental questions about leadership: Should leaders merely reflect the opinions of their followers, or try to lead them? My take is that, ideally, leaders persuade followers to follow them. But sometimes that doesn’t work. And then we’re left with this: If you’re the captain of a ship, and your most vocal passengers insist you to steer towards something that looks to you like an iceberg, do you do it?

In other words he’s asking, “Can we win by putting forth nominee blowhards like Trump?”

The answer of course is “no”, but if the comments section is any hint, the base is, if nothing else, tenacious.  You pass their litmus test or else they’ll . . . well, I don’t know.  Not vote (which is good) or start a revolution with their guns from their confederate flag be-decaled Chevy pickups (not so good).