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Catholic League’s Bill Donohue Sympathizes With Paris Terrorists

Posted on January 7th, 2015 at 23:09 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane


Killing in response to insult, no matter how gross, must be unequivocally condemned. That is why what happened in Paris cannot be tolerated. BUT neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction.

Those who work at this newspaper have a long and disgusting record of going way beyond the mere lampooning of public figures, and this is especially true of their depictions of religious figures. For example, they have shown nuns masturbating and popes wearing condoms. They have also shown Muhammad in pornographic poses.

While some Muslims today object to any depiction of the Prophet, others do not. Moreover, visual representations of him are not proscribed by the Koran. What unites Muslims in their anger against Charlie Hebdo is the vulgar manner in which Muhammad has been portrayed. What they object to is being intentionally insulted over the course of many years. On this aspect, I am in total agreement with them.

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  1. [Quote]:

    But if a believer demands that I, as a nonbeliever, observe his taboos in the public domain, he is not asking for my respect, but for my submission. And that is incompatible with a secular democracy.

  2. Mr. D. is such a sweetie! Why not jump in at this time and be a media whore and bigoted jerk?


Posted on January 7th, 2015 at 21:16 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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Someone stole $5 million from a major Bitcoin exchange

Posted on January 6th, 2015 at 9:36 by John Sinteur in category: News


Nearly a year after the fall of Mt Gox, running a Bitcoin exchange is still a dangerous business. This morning, Bitstamp announced that its systems had been compromised by an unidentified attacker and shut down trading for the day, and speaking to ZDNet this afternoon, Bitstamp’s CEO confirmed that a theft had occurred. While the bulk of Bitstamp’s reserves are still safe, the attackers were still able to get away with nearly 19,000 bitcoin, or roughly $5 million. It’s a small fortune, and a reminder that the era of big-ticket bitcoin thefts isn’t over yet.

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  1. if you build it, they will come

TPP Negotiators Hit With Protests That Media Don’t Cover 

Posted on January 6th, 2015 at 9:23 by John Sinteur in category: News


While we do not know exactly what is being negotiated, we do know from leaks — and previous “NAFTA-style” trade agreements — tell us what to expect. Much of TPP is about “investor protections” and not trade at all. These provisions allow corporations to sue governments for doing things that infringe on profits — like laws and regulations protecting the environment, worker safety, consumers and the health of citizens. For example, under similar agreements already in effect tobacco companies are suing governments to block anti-smoking efforts that protect the health of citizens!

Members of Congress are very concerned about the transparency of the TPP negotiating process. On a call Monday Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Keith Ellison (D-MN) and (rock star) Dan Kildee (D-MI) expressed their concerns about the secrecy of TPP as well as the failure to address currency manipulation in the agreement.

Senator Elizabeth Warren put her finger on the secrecy problem, saying:

“Why are the trade talks secret? You’ll love this answer. Boy, the things you learn on Capitol Hill. I actually have had supporters of the deal say to me, ‘They have to be secret, because if the American people knew what was actually in them, they would be opposed.'”

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  1. You could say the same about everything Congress does. Tell me something I don’t know. The problem is there is no accountability with no transparency and they know it!

Gogo Inflight Internet is intentionally issuing fake SSL certificates

Posted on January 5th, 2015 at 11:48 by John Sinteur in category: Security


SSL/TLS is a protocol that exists to ensure there exists an avenue for secure communication over the Internet. Through the use of cryptography and certificate validation, SSL certificates make man-in-the-middle attacks (where a third party would be able monitor your internet traffic) difficult, so the transmission of things like credit card numbers and user account passwords becomes significantly safer. In this case, performing a man-in-the-middle attack would require the attacker to attack the SSL certificate first before being able to snoop on someone’s traffic.

For whatever reason, however, Gogo Inflight Internet seems to believe that they are justified in performing a man-in-the-middle attack on their users. Adrienne Porter Felt, an engineer that is a part of the Google Chrome security team, discovered while on a flight that she was being served SSL certificates from Gogo when she was requesting Google sites. Looking at the issuer of the certificate, rather than being issued by Google, it was being issued by Gogo.

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Posted on January 4th, 2015 at 12:05 by John Sinteur in category: Joke

Just before Christmas I was shopping at a toy store in the city. I glanced to my left and caught sight of a queue at the doll counter. They were waiting for the shelves to be restocked with Mattel dolls. As I looked I realised that in the queue was a good friend of mine.

Knowing Lennie well I was sure that he had no daughters nor did he have any nieces so I wondered why he should want to buy a doll at Christmas time.

“Hey, Lennie” I cried “I hadn’t realised you collected dolls”. “I don’t” he replied laughing. “Really?” I queried “Then you must be buying a Christmas present then?”

“No, not at all, my friend” responded Lennie, his eyes twinkling merrily.

“If you don’t mind my asking then Lennie” I said “Why exactly are you standing in this particular queue?”

“Oh that” he giggled. “It’s like this, my mate” he mused “I’ve never been able to resist a Barbie queue”.

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  1. Ouch. I’d grill you as to where you got this one, but I am sure the embers on that joke have cooled.

Rental Car Stereos Infringe Copyright, Music Rights Group Says

Posted on January 4th, 2015 at 11:25 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane, Intellectual Property


Swedish collection outfit STIM says that car stereos perform music to the public and as a result rental companies are breaching copyright if they don’t have a suitable license.

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  1. I am so so tired of reading about extortion via a legal system. It just makes me sad.

No minimum age for marriage of girls

Posted on January 3rd, 2015 at 12:24 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane, Pastafarian News


Saudi Arabia’s religious leader, Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Asheikh, has said that he does not plan to restrict the minimum age for marriage for women to 15 years, contravening a recent proposal from the country’s Ministry of Justice.

In an interview with the Al Riyadh, reported by the Saudi Gazette, the Grand Mufti described the marriage of girls below that age as “permissible”.

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  1. Dress-wearing old geezers’ views on sex, marriage, women (or anything else) is defined as “religion”.

  2. If Mohammed did it, it must be OK.

  3. @chas WWMD?

The Benefits of Fewer NYPD Arrests

Posted on January 2nd, 2015 at 9:44 by John Sinteur in category: News


NYPD officers and union leaders have been at odds with Mayor Bill de Blasio in the wake of the Eric Garner case and the killings of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos this month. In their latest move, officers have begun a “virtual work stoppage” throughout the city by making fewer low-level arrests and issuing fewer citations. The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, New York’s largest police union, urged its members not to make arrests “unless absolutely necessary,” according to the New York Post‘s report.

[The slowdown] has helped contribute to a nose dive in low-level policing, with overall arrests down 66 percent for the week starting Dec. 22 compared with the same period in 2013, stats show.

Citations for traffic violations fell by 94 percent, from 10,069 to 587, during that time frame.

Summonses for low-level offenses like public drinking and urination also plunged 94 percent—from 4,831 to 300.

Even parking violations are way down, dropping by 92 percent, from 14,699 to 1,241.

Drug arrests by cops assigned to the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau—which are part of the overall number—dropped by 84 percent, from 382 to 63.

Although safety is cited as the reason for the police union’s move, political considerations are central. “This is not a slowdown for slowdown’s sake,” a police source told the Post. “Cops are concerned, after the reaction from City Hall on the Garner case, about de Blasio not backing them.” The NYPD slowdown also comes amid protracted contract negotiations between police unions and the mayor’s office.

The Post, which enthusiastically championed the NYPD during this year’s turmoil, portrayed this slowdown in near-apocalyptic terms—an early headline for the article above even read “Crime wave engulfs New York following execution of cops.” But the police union’s phrasing—officers shouldn’t make arrests “unless absolutely necessary”—begs the question: How many unnecessary arrests was the NYPD making before now?

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  1. I think this proves what we all thought. We only need 50% of the cops that we have. Think of the tax money we could save.

  2. But which 50% are the good ones?

Bill Murray

Posted on January 1st, 2015 at 17:56 by John Sinteur in category: awesome



“You gotta love Bill Murray. The actor had been invited to the White House along with other cast members of ‘The Monuments Men’ for a movie screening in the Family Theater of the White House. Prior to the screening, the President was to greet some of the cast members in the Diplomatic Reception Room. A White House staff person had told Murray where to stand, meaning before the greet. But when the President walked into the room, Murray stayed put, saying ‘they told me to stand here.'” (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Posted on January 1st, 2015 at 12:18 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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New U.S. Stealth Jet Can’t Fire Its Gun Until 2019

Posted on January 1st, 2015 at 10:10 by John Sinteur in category: News


The Pentagon’s newest stealth jet, the nearly $400 billion Joint Strike Fighter, won’t be able to fire its gun during operational missions until 2019, three to four years after it becomes operational.

Even though the Joint Strike Fighter, or F-35, is supposed to join frontline U.S. Marine Corps fighter squadrons next year and Air Force units in 2016, the jet’s software does not yet have the ability to shoot its 25mm cannon. But even when the jet will be able to shoot its gun, the F-35 barely carries enough ammunition to make the weapon useful.

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  1. Blimey…how hard could it be? Pull the string and bang!

Leelah Alcorn’s Transgender Suicide Sparks ‘Leelah’s Law’ Petition To Ban Conversion Therapy

Posted on January 1st, 2015 at 9:54 by John Sinteur in category: News


Leelah Alcorn, the 17-year-old transgender teen who committed suicide on Sunday morning in Kings Mill, Ohio, has prompted advocates to petition for “Leelah’s Law” – a bill to ban conversion therapy in the U.S. The petition on Change.org by the Transgender Human Rights Institute has more than 88,000 supporters.

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  1. This is so sad, tragic, in this day and age humanity cannot evolve. Trans people, gay people etc. have existed from the dawn of time, it hasn’t always been looked down upon, in fact, in some cultures, quite the opposite. Even our new pope, whose church has much to do with the way these views of bigotry came about to begin with, says “who am I to judge”. And who are any of us to judge another human being. We are each here by grace and every person on this planet equally deserves the right to exist. This world belongs to no one group or belief system, we all have an equal right to live the life we are given, as we are all equally at the mercy of this it, of life, of time, of whatever higher power we cling to, the universe. How dare some one drive another human being off of this planet.

Comcast ends 2014 with one last epic customer service call debacle

Posted on December 31st, 2014 at 22:38 by John Sinteur in category: News


The latest major Comcast customer service blunder comes to us courtesy of YouTube user Sweetlethargy, who signed up for a promotion with Comcast in which a customer service representative told him that he could lock in a low rate for his service for a full 12 months. When he found his bill unexpectedly increased after only three months, he called Comcast to get an explanation.

A different Comcast customer service rep proceeded to explain that the promotion he signed up for was only supposed to last for three months and not 12. Unfortunately for Comcast, the customer had recorded and saved the call from earlier this year in which the representative clearly explained that the offer would “guarantee that your price wouldn’t change for 12 months.”

Despite this, however, the Comcast rep refused to lower his price back down to his promised monthly rate because the 12-month promotion that Comcast promised him earlier this year apparently never existed. The customer then expressed indignation at the fact that he feels compelled to record every interaction with the company because it’s the only way he’ll have records of all the vastly different things he gets told by different representatives.

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A Look Back at the Pedophilia Scandals That Swallowed Britain Whole in 2014

Posted on December 31st, 2014 at 17:19 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News


“I think in many respects this subject’s time had come,” adds Danczuk. “Finally people can talk about it. Thousands of individuals have been carrying this burden—and still do, and still don’t reveal it. But the more who do, I think it is better for them. I’ve had people who were abused by Smith, who hadn’t told a soul before they came to me. A man who hadn’t told his wife who he’d been married to for 30-odd, 40 years, explaining to me that I was the first person he had told that he had been abused by someone. You see a 60-odd-year-old man breaking down and crying because of what happened to him, I think it is positive that he can finally come to terms with it.”

The people who use their positions to abuse others are one thing. People who cover up those activities are a bigger problem.



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  1. Only another pedophile would cover up these crimes. Think about that next time you go to church.

Five more Guantanamo detainees freed

Posted on December 31st, 2014 at 16:37 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News


Five men who were held for more than a decade without charge at the US Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have been sent to the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan for resettlement, the US government said…Their release brings the prison population at Guantanamo down to 127, according to a Pentagon statement…

The transfers came just days after Obama’s envoy overseeing the release of Guantanamo inmates, Cliff Sloan, resigned from his post. Sloan had reportedly become frustrated at the slow pace of transfers, which have to be approved by the Pentagon.

Outgoing Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel, who resigned in November, had reportedly come under pressure from the White House to move more swiftly to approve proposed transfers of detainees.

Nearly 30 prisoners have been resettled in third countries this year…

This is a “good as we can expect” story, I guess.

Perhaps the rest of the prisoners should be transferred to another, slightly closer, corrupt totalitarian dictatorship ruled by a geriatric president-for-life. It would save on airfares :-)

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Best photographs of 2014

Posted on December 31st, 2014 at 11:49 by John Sinteur in category: awesome


From the Ferguson riots to the school attack in Peshawar, a Missouri ‘firenado’ and hailstones in Siberia: the Guardian’s features picture editor Sarah Gilbert selects the most compelling images of 2014

The Guardian – World Press Photo awards 2014
The Guardian – The 20 photographs of the year
The Guardian – Photographer of the year 2014: Bulent Kilic
The Guardian – Animal photographs of the year 2014
The Guardian – Best portraits of 2014

YEAR IN PHOTOS: Photographers’ favorite images from 2014

TIME Picks the Top 10 Photos of 2014

Reuters pictures of the year 2014

Associated Press, Pictures of the Year

The Mirror – 25 Most Striking Pictures of the Year 2014

Natural History Museum – Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014


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When The FISA Court Rejects A Surveillance Request, The FBI Just Issues A National Security Letter Instead

Posted on December 31st, 2014 at 9:49 by John Sinteur in category: Do you feel safer yet?, Privacy, Security


We considered the Section 215 request for [REDACTED] discussed earlier in this report at pages 33 to 34 to be a noteworthy item. In this case, the FISA Court had twice declined to approve a Section 215 application based on First Amendment Concerns. However, the FBI subsequently issued NSLs for information [REDACTED] even though the statute authorizing the NSLs contained the same First Amendment restriction as Section 215 and the ECs authorizing the NSLs relied on the same facts contained in the Section 215 applicants…

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Death of Leelah Alcorn

Posted on December 31st, 2014 at 9:14 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News


If you are reading this, it means that I have committed suicide and obviously failed to delete this post from my queue.

Please don’t be sad, it’s for the better. The life I would’ve lived isn’t worth living in … because I’m transgender. I could go into detail explaining why I feel that way, but this note is probably going to be lengthy enough as it is. To put it simply, I feel like a girl trapped in a boy’s body, and I’ve felt that way ever since I was 4. I never knew there was a word for that feeling, nor was it possible for a boy to become a girl, so I never told anyone and I just continued to do traditionally “boyish” things to try to fit in.

When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong. If you are reading this, parents, please don’t tell this to your kids. Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don’t ever say that to someone, especially your kid. That won’t do anything but make them hate them self. That’s exactly what it did to me.

My mom started taking me to a therapist, but would only take me to christian therapists, (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression. I only got more christians telling me that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help.

When I was 16 I realized that my parents would never come around, and that I would have to wait until I was 18 to start any sort of transitioning treatment, which absolutely broke my heart. The longer you wait, the harder it is to transition. I felt hopeless, that I was just going to look like a man in drag for the rest of my life. On my 16th birthday, when I didn’t receive consent from my parents to start transitioning, I cried myself to sleep.

I formed a sort of a “fuck you” attitude towards my parents and came out as gay at school, thinking that maybe if I eased into coming out as trans it would be less of a shock. Although the reaction from my friends was positive, my parents were pissed. They felt like I was attacking their image, and that I was an embarrassment to them. They wanted me to be their perfect little straight christian boy, and that’s obviously not what I wanted.

So they took me out of public school, took away my laptop and phone, and forbid me of getting on any sort of social media, completely isolating me from my friends. This was probably the part of my life when I was the most depressed, and I’m surprised I didn’t kill myself. I was completely alone for 5 months. No friends, no support, no love. Just my parent’s disappointment and the cruelty of loneliness.

At the end of the school year, my parents finally came around and gave me my phone and let me back on social media. I was excited, I finally had my friends back. They were extremely excited to see me and talk to me, but only at first. Eventually they realized they didn’t actually give a shit about me, and I felt even lonelier than I did before. The only friends I thought I had only liked me because they saw me five times a week.

After a summer of having almost no friends plus the weight of having to think about college, save money for moving out, keep my grades up, go to church each week and feel like shit because everyone there is against everything I live for, I have decided I’ve had enough. I’m never going to transition successfully, even when I move out. I’m never going to be happy with the way I look or sound. I’m never going to have enough friends to satisfy me. I’m never going to have enough love to satisfy me. I’m never going to find a man who loves me. I’m never going to be happy. Either I live the rest of my life as a lonely man who wishes he were a woman or I live my life as a lonelier woman who hates herself. There’s no winning. There’s no way out. I’m sad enough already, I don’t need my life to get any worse. People say “it gets better” but that isn’t true in my case. It gets worse. Each day I get worse.

That’s the gist of it, that’s why I feel like killing myself. Sorry if that’s not a good enough reason for you, it’s good enough for me. As for my will, I want 100% of the things that I legally own to be sold and the money (plus my money in the bank) to be given to trans civil rights movements and support groups, I don’t give a shit which one. The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights. Gender needs to be taught about in schools, the earlier the better. My death needs to mean something. My death needs to be counted in the number of transgender people who commit suicide this year. I want someone to look at that number and say “that’s fucked up” and fix it. Fix society. Please.


(Leelah) Josh Alcorn

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  1. It does get worse before it gets better. I am very sad that she couldn’t bear it any longer.

    “Christian” therapy sounds like abuse for an intelligent person to undergo.

Police: 2-year-old shoots, kills mom in N. Idaho Wal-Mart

Posted on December 30th, 2014 at 22:59 by John Sinteur in category: Do you feel safer yet?


A woman in her late 20s is dead after a 2-year-old boy got a hold of a loaded handgun in her purse and accidentally shot her inside a Wal-Mart store in Hayden, the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office is reporting.The woman was shopping with four children, Lt. Stu Miller said today. The 2-year-old was riding in a shopping cart and pulled the gun from her purse and shot her, he said. Sheriff’s deputies assume the woman is the boy’s mother, but are still investigating, he said. It’s not clear whether all four children are related to her.

The country needs more guns. If the mother had two guns, she could of defended herself and justifiably shot the toddler in self defense.

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  1. And then there are those safety interlocks that require a ring or wristband to operate the gun…all kinds of technical solutions to a social problem.

    It’s pathological to require guns in a society, let alone in a supermarket, ffs.

‘Best Christmas gift’: 2 Indonesian families praise luck for missing doomed AirAsia flight

Posted on December 29th, 2014 at 15:20 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane, Pastafarian News


Chandra Susanto, who had been planning a holiday in Singapore with his wife and three children since March, had to cancel it a day before the due date, because his father got ill.

“It was a difficult decision to make because my son Christopher was so disappointed,” Susanto told the Daily Mail Australia. “He had been looking forward to the holiday for a long time.”

Susanto has now posted a picture of his QZ8501 ticket on Facebook, praising Christ for the miraculous escape.

“Thank you, Lord Jesus. Your plan is so beautiful, our family safe from harm,” he wrote.

And Lord Jesus meanwhile says “Fuck You” to the 162 people on the plane.

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  1. Most people get to make stupid blunders privately. The gutter press specialises in this kind of sh*t – manufacturing egregious outrage at some silly person or a celebrity. Sometimes it ruins their life.

    But in the spirit of piling in let’s hope the father doesn’t die. That wouldn’t be so beautiful.

The Sneakiest Way Prosecutors Get a Guilty Verdict: PowerPoint

Posted on December 29th, 2014 at 9:18 by John Sinteur in category: News


In Washington state earlier this month, an appeals court threw out a murder conviction based on shoddy work by the defense. But the court also took the prosecutor to task for something even stranger: a bad PowerPoint presentation.

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Inside the NSA’s War on Internet Security

Posted on December 29th, 2014 at 9:09 by John Sinteur in category: Do you feel safer yet?, Security


The Snowden documents reveal the encryption programs the NSA has succeeded in cracking, but, importantly, also the ones that are still likely to be secure. Although the documents are around two years old, experts consider it unlikely the agency’s digital spies have made much progress in cracking these technologies. “Properly implemented strong crypto systems are one of the few things that you can rely on,” Snowden said in June 2013, after fleeing to Hong Kong.

NSA documents indicate they can get into SSH, along with IPSec and PPTP, but that PGP/GnuPG and OTR, as well as TrueCrypt are secure.

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North Korean demand for ‘The Interview’

Posted on December 28th, 2014 at 11:27 by John Sinteur in category: News


More and more North Koreans are becoming aware of the North Korea-mocking movie “The Interview,” and the government is doing everything to block it from getting smuggled in to the country.

According to Free North Korea Radio, an online radio network made by North Korean defectors, demand for “The Interview” has been shooting up among North Koreans. It says people are willing to pay almost $50 a copy of the movie, which is 10X higher than what a regular South Korean TV show’s DVD would cost in the black market.

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  1. not that surprising. If people find out there is something their gov’t or boss or parents doesn’t want them to know about, they naturally want to know about it. Kind of like telling a group of first graders to think about anything but elephants. The sad thing about this desire to see it, is that it will likely get some folks punished harshly, or outright killed and its not even that good a movie. I wouldn’t risk my life or freedom to see it, but that’s just me.

Now that the Dow has hit 18,000, let us remember the worst op-ed in history

Posted on December 27th, 2014 at 0:07 by John Sinteur in category: News


And that brings us to the worst op-ed in history. On March 6, 2009, former George W. Bush adviser Michael Boskin offered whatever the opposite of a prophecy is when he said that “Obama’s Radicalism Is Killing the Dow.”

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  1. I might also recommend:

    Not even 2 cents’ worth.

Chicago gave hundreds of high-risk kids a summer job. Violent crime arrests plummeted.

Posted on December 27th, 2014 at 0:06 by John Sinteur in category: News


A couple of years ago, the city of Chicago started a summer jobs program for teenagers attending high schools in some of the city’s high-crime, low-income neighborhoods. The program was meant, of course, to connect students to work. But officials also hoped that it might curb the kinds of problems — like higher crime — that arise when there’s no work to be found.

Research on the program conducted by the University of Chicago Crime Lab and just published in the journal Science suggests that these summer jobs have actually had such an effect: Students who were randomly assigned to participate in the program had 43 percent fewer violent-crime arrests over 16 months, compared to students in a control group.

That number is striking for a couple of reasons: It implies that a relatively short (and inexpensive) intervention like an eight-week summer jobs program can have a lasting effect on teenage behavior. And it lends empirical support to a popular refrain by advocates: “Nothing stops a bullet like a job.”

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  1. You mean there is a link between unemployment and crime? What’s next, unemployment and personal self respect? or Unemployment and terrorism? Why can’t we just give em drugs and transfer payments, then arrest them for drugs, fill the prisons in which we are invested, give more money to our buddies supplying arms to the drug war, and ….and….. oh wait – sorry, I was having a nightmare. Disregard this post…

The Islamic State is failing at being a state

Posted on December 26th, 2014 at 12:27 by John Sinteur in category: Pastafarian News


The Islamic State’s vaunted exercise in state-building appears to be crumbling as living conditions deteriorate across the territories under its control, exposing the shortcomings of a group that devotes most of its energies to fighting battles and enforcing strict rules.

Services are collapsing, prices are soaring, and medicines are scarce in towns and cities across the “caliphate” proclaimed in Iraq and Syria by the Islamic State, residents say, belying the group’s boasts that it is delivering a model form of governance for Muslims.

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US Corps Claim Billions In Assets In Cuba And Now They’ll Want It Back

Posted on December 23rd, 2014 at 12:56 by John Sinteur in category: News


When the Castro regime assumed power in Cuba in 1959, it quickly nationalized the assets of almost every foreign corporation within its borders as the country transitioned to communism. For half a century now, American companies have laid claim to billions of dollars in lost assets on the Caribbean island 90 miles from U.S. shores. Under American law, the claims have been steadily accruing interest, but the companies have never seen a penny.

It’s one of many knotty issues for the two Cold War adversaries to resolve as they end their prolonged estrangement that outlasted the Cold War itself by more than two decades. Like many of the other points of contention, the claims of U.S. companies against the Castro government dredge up difficult memories, long-buried grievances, and unpleasant histories that neither side may be eager to confront.

While it’s not yet clear how the mid-century claims of U.S. companies will be handled, interviews in the days since President Obama’s historic policy change with those involved in the claims and experts on Cuba reveal the claims have not been forgotten by the businesses and they’re not going away.

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  1. Cuba should just call it “civil asset forfeiture”. Boom! done! I’ll send you my bill for legal services in the mail.

  2. @Mark … good one!

  3. I guess the Mafia is on the list too.

  4. There is one of these on display at the Space and Rocket center in Huntsville, Alabama, and another one at battleship park in Mobile, Alabama. In Mobile, they have an engine out on display as well. 25 years ago, when Huntsville got theirs, they had it outside on display, but hadn’t put a fence up yet. You could walk all around it and under it and touch it and I did :)

    The construction is interesting. The leading edges of the chines and wings (about 3″ of it) appeared to be a composite, probably asbestos, which makes sense since the skin temp can hit or exceed 1000 deg F at speed.

    I still find it hard to believe that they designed and built this in the early sixties. I was born in 57 and remember the tech we had, as consumers, in 64. This thing might as well have been from another planet, it was so far advanced.

  5. ooops.. dammit, wrong article.

  6. @Michael: You’re moving too fast!

  7. @Sue . yeah, its Christmas and its early. sure would be nice if the OP could fix this. Not as alert or observant as I used to be… my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

  8. …as for Cuba, I’ve got some United Empire Loyalist neighbours (10th generation) who were ethnically cleansed from the US and want their bits of North Carolina back.


Posted on December 23rd, 2014 at 12:32 by John Sinteur in category: awesome


An excerpt from the book “Sled Driver” by former SR-71 pilot Brian Shul:

There were a lot of things we couldn’t do in an SR-71, but we were the fastest guys on the block and loved reminding our fellow aviators of this fact. People often asked us if, because of this fact, it was fun to fly the jet. Fun would not be the first word I would use to describe flying this plane. Intense, maybe, even cerebral. But there was one day in our Sled experience when we would have to say that it was pure fun to be the fastest guys out there, at least for a moment.

It occurred when Walt and I were flying our final training sortie. We needed 100 hours in the jet to complete our training and attain Mission Ready status. Somewhere over Colorado we had passed the century mark. We had made the turn in Arizona and the jet was performing flawlessly. My gauges were wired in the front seat and we were starting to feel pretty good about ourselves, not only because we would soon be flying real missions but because we had gained a great deal of confidence in the plane in the past ten months. Ripping across the barren deserts 80,000 feet below us, I could already see the coast of California from the Arizona border. I was, finally, after many humbling months of simulators and study, ahead of the jet.

I was beginning to feel a bit sorry for Walter in the back seat. There he was, with no really good view of the incredible sights before us and tasked with monitoring four different radios. This was good practice for him for when we began flying real missions and when a priority transmission from headquarters could be vital. It had been difficult, too, for me to relinquish control of the radios, as during my entire flying career I had controlled my own transmissions. But it was part of the division of duties in this plane and I had adjusted to it. I still insisted on talking on the radio while we were on the ground, however. Walt was so good at many things, but he couldn’t match my expertise at sounding smooth on the radios, a skill that had been honed sharply with years in fighter squadrons where the slightest radio miscue was grounds for beheading. He understood that and allowed me that luxury. Just to get a sense of what Walt had to contend with, I pulled the radio toggle switches and monitored the frequencies along with him. The predominant radio chatter was from Los Angeles Center, far below us, controlling daily traffic in their sector. While they had us on their scope (albeit briefly), we were in uncontrolled airspace and normally would not talk to them unless we needed to descend into their airspace.

We listened as the shaky voice of a lone Cessna pilot who asked Center for a read-out of his ground speed. Center replied: “November Charlie 175, I’m showing you at ninety knots on the ground.” Now the thing to understand about Center controllers was that whether they were talking to a rookie pilot in a Cessna, or to Air Force One, they always spoke in the exact same, calm, deep, professional tone that made one feel important. I referred to it as the “Houston Center voice.” I have always felt that after years of seeing documentaries on this country’s space program and listening to the calm and distinct voice of the Houston controllers, that all other controllers since then wanted to sound like that and that they basically did. And it didn’t matter what sector of the country we would be flying in, it always seemed like the same guy was talking. Over the years that tone of voice had become somewhat of a comforting sound to pilots everywhere. Conversely, over the years, pilots always wanted to ensure that, when transmitting, they sounded like Chuck Yeager, or at least like John Wayne. Better to die than sound bad on the radios.

Just moments after the Cessna’s inquiry, a Twin Beech piped up on frequency, in a rather superior tone, asking for his ground speed in the Beech. “I have you at one hundred and twenty-five knots of ground speed.” Boy, I thought, the Beechcraft really must think he is dazzling his Cessna brethren.

Then out of the blue, a navy F-18 pilot out of NAS Lemoore came up on frequency. You knew right away it was a Navy jock because he sounded very cool on the radios. “Center, Dusty 52 ground speed check.” Before Center could reply, I’m thinking to myself, hey, Dusty 52 has a ground speed indicator in that million-dollar cockpit, so why is he asking Center for a read-out? Then I got it, ol’ Dusty here is making sure that every bug smasher from Mount Whitney to the Mojave knows what true speed is. He’s the fastest dude in the valley today, and he just wants everyone to know how much fun he is having in his new Hornet. And the reply, always with that same, calm, voice, with more distinct alliteration than emotion: “Dusty 52, Center, we have you at 620 on the ground.” And I thought to myself, is this a ripe situation, or what? As my hand instinctively reached for the mic button, I had to remind myself that Walt was in control of the radios. Still, I thought, it must be done in mere seconds we’ll be out of the sector and the opportunity will be lost. That Hornet must die, and die now. I thought about all of our Sim training and how important it was that we developed well as a crew and knew that to jump in on the radios now would destroy the integrity of all that we had worked toward becoming. I was torn.

Somewhere, 13 miles above Arizona, there was a pilot screaming inside his space helmet. Then, I heard it the click of the mic button from the back seat. That was the very moment that I knew Walter and I had become a crew. Very professionally, and with no emotion, Walter spoke: “Los Angeles Center, Aspen 20, can you give us a ground speed check?” There was no hesitation, and the replay came as if it was an everyday request.

“Aspen 20, I show you at one thousand eight hundred and forty-two knots, across the ground.” I think it was the forty-two knots that I liked the best, so accurate and proud was Center to deliver that information without hesitation, and you just knew he was smiling. But the precise point at which I knew that Walt and I were going to be really good friends for a long time was when he keyed the mic once again to say, in his most fighter-pilot-like voice: “Ah, Center, much thanks, we’re showing closer to nineteen hundred on the money.”

For a moment Walter was a god. And we finally heard a little crack in the armor of the Houston Center voice when L.A. came back with, “Roger that Aspen. Your equipment is probably more accurate than ours. You boys have a good one.” It all had lasted for just moments, but in that short, memorable sprint across the southwest the Navy had been flamed, all mortal airplanes on frequency were forced to bow before the King of Speed, and more importantly, Walter and I had crossed the threshold of being a crew. A fine day’s work. We never heard another transmission on that frequency all the way to the coast. For just one day, it truly was fun being the fastest guys out there.

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  1. 50 years old and it still looks like something out of science fiction! Even more repressive close up.

  2. typo repressive = impressive. gotta get my eyes checked.

  3. I got to see one of these up close and personal at the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, KS. It’s both bigger AND smaller than expected. Hard to explain that one. They also had the cockpit sitting separately with all the instruments all around it so you could get an idea of how crowded it is. Really an amazing experience.

  4. Amazing machine, yes, but doesn’t the account read like willy waving on the public’s dime?

  5. @porpentine: Of course. It’s why they’re hired. To wave their enormous willies on our behalf.


Posted on December 23rd, 2014 at 12:23 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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