Friday, July 08, 2016

Tracking Down The Fireworks

Bella doesn't seem to mind fireworks much, but in the early hours of Wednesday, I put that tolerance to a test. As we walked along, someone started firing professional-grade fireworks from a residential area. Concussions echoed across Sacramento. I got curious who would do such a dumb-ass thing. So, I started looking.

At the fireworks show every year in Davis, they have police tape to keep people about 100 yards away from the firing fireworks. What we were doing was to cross the tape and walk right up to the firing fireworks.

Bella was concerned - I could see it in her as she drew closer - but she stayed with me. We finally located the yard with the morons, and watched the sparks fly

There were other irregularities this week. We watched a man on a bicycle attempt to carry another bicycle on his handlebars. That's a stolen bike, for sure!

Bella got excited when we heard the yelp of a puppy. Sure enough, there was a black puppy on the sidewalk up ahead, and its owner scooped the puppy up as we drew close.

The Problem With "All Lives Matter"

Just more racism:
The real issue is that, while strictly true, “All Lives Matter” is a tone-deaf slogan that distracts from the real problems black people in America face.


It's premature, but I'll comment anyway. I think the recent history of police shootings in Albuquerque offer useful lessons for America.

In Burque, the racial component is less important than elsewhere. You have Hispanic cops shooting whites and fellow Hispanics, and even each other. You see a militarized, poorly-paid, and badly-trained police force that let standards slip. It's hard to believe it's been only 2 years since James Boyd got killed for schizophrenia and obnoxiousness. Being annoying enough is sufficient cause for the police to kill you in Albuquerque.

So, better police training would help, but it's not enough. Demilitarization is required too, but since the population is militarizing with more and better weaponry, it won't happen. As long as people can easily buy AR-15's and body armor, there will always be cause for a slaughter.

The Second Amendment crowd have romantic notions of what a Second Amendment rebellion would look like. The Gummint sends in troops to take one's guns, and the people fight back. But that gauzy notion isn't what it looks like in real life. We had a Second Amendment rebellion recently in Ferguson, MO. The flames of rebellion there were fanned by overzealous traffic stops, and the people fought back. THAT'S what a real Second Amendment rebellion is in America!

If cops continue to murder people for frivolous reasons in Louisiana, Minnesota, and elsewhere, then blowback from the population against the cops is inevitable. We'll see what we learn about tonight's events in Dallas. There may be surprises there. But we already know enough to start a process of demilitarization in American society, by cops and people alike. If we don't lay down arms, society-wide, these slaughters will continue.

Donald Trump's Context Weakness

As one of the commenters notes, context is important in any image. Regarding an image of a six-pointed star, if it's next to image of:

Democratic politician with pile of money = Antisemitic Star of David

Fictional princess with snow powers = snowflake
“Where is the outrage for this Disney book? Is this the ‘Star of David’ also?” Trump tweeted on Wednesday night alongside a photo of two children’s books about Disney’s popular “Frozen” movie. The books’ covers each feature a red, six-pointed star. “With 50 stickers!” the text within the stars declares. “Dishonest media!” he added, using the hashtag #Frozen.

Nob Hill Is 100!

The Nob Hill neighborhood in Albuquerque is celebrating its centennial this year:

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Restrict Petroleum Trade

Hmmm. This looks interesting:
“Why are we buying imports from the Mid-East when OPEC has launched an offensive to basically shut down our industry?” Fine said. “It’s the same oil we’re producing in our shale basins where we have great supplies to meet market need. We can be completely self-sufficient, so let’s cut off over-supply of cheap imported oil.”

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

I Guess Mr. Worldwide Is More Worldwide Than I Realized


Flashback On The Bush Administration E-Mail Scandals

A lot worse than Hillary's:
Clinton has said she deleted about 50,000 emails that dealt with personal matters, citing her daughter’s wedding and her mother’s funeral as examples. All the correspondence pertaining to official business was turned over to and archived by State. The deletion of the emails, though perfectly legal, has excited House Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner, who has announced plans to deploy House committees to investigate what might aptly be called Servergate.

Never mind that former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican, has said he used a system similar to Clinton’s — and never mind that in 2007 Karl Rove deleted 22 million emails from a private server in the Bush White House — a matter about which the Beltway media said little and Republicans in Congress, like Rep. John Boehner, said nothing.

Here is a brief refresher on the White House email scandal:

Not long after George W. Bush assumed the presidency in 2001, Rove, his top political aide, set up a private email server for use in the White House. The stated purpose of the system — the primary domain name on which was — was that it would be used exclusively for the sort of political correspondence that Bush and Rove were not permitted to do on the taxpayer’s dime.

Seven years later, Bush and Rove were embroiled in two competing scandals — the Valerie Plame scandal, in which operatives for Vice Pres. Dick Cheney, including Rove and Scooter Libby, were accused of unmasking Valerie Plame, a CIA specialist in the black market for weapons of mass destruction, for purely partisan reasons, and the U.S. Attorney purge, in which Rove’s political operation in the White House was accused of ordering Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to purge eight U.S. attorneys who were qualified prosecutors and replace them with political hacks with little or no prosecutorial experience.

Rove escaped prosecution in the Libby case, but Libby was convicted (Bush quickly commuted the sentence) on March 6, 2007, at the same time Bush and Rove were under fire for purging the U.S. attorneys. During the investigation, it came to light that Rove’s server had been used to send official, non-political emails — correspondence that was required by law to be preserved under the Presidential Records Act.

On April 12, 2007, Rove’s operation admitted that it had deleted at least 5 million emails from the server. In December 2009, technicians who had examined the server reported that the number of emails that had been deleted was far greater — 22 million.

What was in the emails? No one will ever know.

Big Brother Noticed You Didn't Post a Selfie Today - Time To Get On That

Big Brother is still watching you::
On Tuesday, surveillance cameras in the center of the city of Utrecht were decorated with colorful party hats to celebrate the 110th birthday of George Orwell, Dutch art duo Front404 explained on their website.

Clinton Skips On An E-Mail Charge

Clinton wasn't indicted mostly because there is such a glut of classified information out there:
[A] former CIA general counsel told the Washington Post’s David Ignatius, “’it’s common’ that people end up using unclassified systems to transmit classified information.” “’It’s inevitable, because the classified systems are often cumbersome and lots of people have access to the classified e-mails or cables.’ People who need quick guidance about a sensitive matter often pick up the phone or send a message on an open system. They shouldn’t, but they do.”

Indicting Clinton would require the Justice Department to apply a legal standard that would endanger countless officials throughout the government, and that would make it impossible for many government offices to function effectively."

...[Trump’s] still saying that the investigation was rigged. That’s basically taking a weak, contentious and conspiratorial case in place of one that is backed up by the investigators. It’s particularly stupid because, now that we know that no charges will be filed, this is an entirely political controversy.

...Comey would be the FBI Director for the entirety of a Trump presidency. And, yet, Trump’s reaction to Comey’s statement today is to question his integrity and independence and to run down the organization that Comey heads. It’s not hard to see that this isn’t the beginning of a good working relationship....

Fourth of July Fundraising at Davis' Community Park

Cotton Candy was the big hit. The mystery was why. I was trying to 'sell the sizzle', as they say, with the irresistible scent of popcorn, but the Davis crowd wouldn't have it. What they wanted was pure sugar, right now, in high doses.

"Maggie's Plan"

Saw Greta Gerwig's new movie. Glad that Julianne Moore was in the cast, because she's better than the rest. I liked the use of the kids speaking school French among themselves to make acid comments about the adults. Dialogue was alternately brilliant and clunky:

A Three-Way Standoff

There was a big explosion in the neighborhood in the early hours of July 4th. Next to 'please toilet train your damned dog', it's the most talked-about subject on Nextdoor Curtis Park. Didn't bother Bella, though. She doesn't fret about explosions or toilet training.

The holiday must have scrambled the neighborhood a bit. Last night, Club Flame closed at least an hour early, at 1 a.m. Strange. Worrisome even, since that club looks like a magnet for trouble. It was strange passing by, because the lights were completely out but the parking lot was still full of cars and people.

According to the Sacramento police, last night, there was a murder at 20th & P St. at 1:48 a.m. Bella and I passed by 20th and T St., four blocks away, about 25 minutes earlier. That's the third significant murder on or near the paths Bella and I typically travel in the last 16 months.

Saw a tall man on a skateboard accompanied by a large poodle on a leash. Cool! Very fast-moving!

We encountered a remarkably-beautiful brunette walking her white dog. The dog got agitated when it saw Bella, and we had to take evasive action. As it turned out, the woman was just walking her dog around the block, because when Bella and I came back from the opposite direction, we met them again, and had to take a new series of evasive maneuvers. I was getting agitated too.

Last night, we saw a black-and-white cat cross the street. Bella and I came close, and suddenly noticed a raccoon was there too. Was the raccoon sneaking up on the cat? Was the raccoon the cat's friend? I don't know, but both cat and raccoon were mesmerized by sight of Bella. A three-way standoff resulted, which I finally ended by allowing Bella to get too close, making the raccoon flee and forcing the cat to take a defensive stand. But for a long, long time, the encounter was like this:

Cobalt Glass Beads

Stunning glass beads found in Danish Bronze Age burials dating to 3400 years ago turn out to have come from ancient Egypt – in fact, from the workshop that made the blue beads buried with the famous boy-king Tutankhamun. The discovery proves that there were established trade routes between the far north and Levant as early as the 13th century BCE.

Et Tu?

World's Cutest Baby Skunk

When it comes to fireworks, Bella is the calmest dog I've ever met. Random explosions leave her unruffled, unlike smaller, more irritable yippy type dogs.

Bella did flinch last night, however. She reached a street corner just as a bicyclist came crosswise down the sidewalk at high speed. The quick-thinking bike rider calmly cut across the corner, crossing behind a tree and behind me, and avoided a collision.

Tonight, Bella and I passed into the shadow of a tree. I caught a movement right at my feet. I squinted in the darkness and realized I nearly stepped on the world's cutest baby skunk. Oddly, Bella barely noticed.

Skunks rank up there with Polar Bears when it comes to fearlessness. Skunks will spray if they feel they are in imminent danger, but nearly getting squashed by a blundering biped and his clumsy quadruped companion just isn't imminent enough. Everyone remained calm and unruffled, and carried on.