Monday, August 31, 2015

Anti-Gay County Clerk Is Milking The Martyr Bit For Fun And Profit

Rowan County Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis
is enjoying her role of rubbing her
"religious" convictions in all of our faces.  
UPDATE: 

This dumb clerk said she would wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule all the lower courts that have in recent weeks ruled against her efforts to not issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.

The U.S. Supreme Court basically blew her off Monday, so now the ball is back in her court. She has vowed to go to jail rather than comply with court rulings.

The Martyr Complex again.

PREVIOUS DISCUSSION

A county clerk in Kentucky named Kim Davis is really milking her 15 minutes of fame, extending that 15 minutes longer and longer for the fun and profit of martyrdom.

Her schtick: Refusing to obey orders to marry same sex couples along with straight couples to comply with the June U.S. Supreme Court ruling saying there is a Constitutional right to gay marriage.   

True, not everybody likes that ruling, but if you're a sworn government official, you have to uphold the law.

Davis said God's law is more important, or at least her interpretation of it is. It goes against her religious beliefs to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples.

Fair enough. If her religious beliefs bar her from issuing such marriage licenses, then she shouldn't. However, even though she considers God's law more important, she still has to comply with U.S. law.

The solution would be to resign as county clerk if her religious beliefs conflict with her job. Several clerks across the nation have taken that route. Those clerks, I support. I don't agree with their stance on gay marriage, but they took the honorable way out. They can't do their job because of their religious beliefs, so they found other jobs.

The clerks who resigned stayed honest and true to themselves. Can't argue with that.

I CAN argue with Davis. Courts have repeatedly ordered her to issue licenses, but she still won't.

(In a funny side note, Davis recently issued a marriage license to a straight couple. But what she didn't know was the male half of the couple is transgender. His birth certificate lists him as female, and Davis failed to check it. Ha Ha!!!)

Still, Davis is having her fun with her anti-gay lawyers.

As Michelangelo Signorile notes, Davis' intractability is a win/win. She gets to be part of the Conservative Martyr complex, in which you win notoriety and probably money for being "persecuted" by those "awful homo-fascists"

The right wing politicians win, too. Because if Davis ends up facing criminal charges or is forced out of her job as county clerk, they can point to the false notion that Christians are being persecuted in this country, religious liberty is under assault, yada yada yada.

Which is bullshit, of course.

Judge David L. Bunning of the U.S. District Court for Kentucky's Eastern District said this about Davis' religious rights:

"The state is not asking her to condone same sex unions on moral or religious grounds,  nor is it restricting her from engaging in a variety of religous activites. ....She is even free to believe that marriage is a union between one many and one woman, as many Americans do. However, her religious convictions cannot excuse her from performing the duties that she took an oath to perform as Rowan County clerk."

An editorial in the Lexington, Kentucky Herald-Leader said it best about Davis and her lawyers from the conservative Liberty Counsel:

"Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver continues to insist that elected public officials have a constitutional right to pick and choose which of their government duties they will perform based on their religious beliefs - in other words, that public officials can use religion to discriminate against certain citizens. 

Nothing could be more un-American. What he is advocating would destroy the rule of law, a foundation of our republic. And imagine the chaos, given the wide range of religious beliefs."

But Davis, the Liberty Counsel and their minions don't believe in America as it is. They want us to live in a theocracy, fashioned on their stilted, weird Biblical beliefs. They will not be happy unless everyone in the nation has the same religious beliefs that they do.

That means Davis and the Liberty Counsel really are un-American, as that Kentucky newspaper suggests.

However, most Christianists never take not for an answer, so Davis and the lawyers backing her will keep pestering us.

Sigh.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

New Music: Awesome Nathaniel Rateliff And The Night Sweats

Nathaniel Rateliff And The Night Sweats  
NPR featured some really great musicians yesterday -- a band called Nathaniel Rateliff And The Night Sweats.

Yeah, strange name. And the music sounds like it was made in the early 1960s or earlier.

"I really wanted to try to mix that Southern soul sound with a little bit of honky-tonk, and what our Missouri roots are," Rateliff told NPR.

Let's watch a couple of their videos and hear their music.

First: Their hit "S.O.B".


Here's an even better new song by them, called "Howling At Nothing"


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Driving While Black Means You Can't Look Away From Or At A White Cop

This man was pulled over in Dayton for making "direct
eye contact" with a white police officer he drove past.  
The incident I'm about to describe isn't as infuriating as the deaths of young black people at the hands of cops, but it's almost as bad.

A black man driving a car on a recent night was pulled over by a white cop. The excuse?

Well, initially, the cop said it's because the motorist, John Felton, didn't use his turn signal soon enough before making a right had turn.

Felton DID use the turn signal, but the officer said it was less than 100 feet before making the turn.

Who in the world gets pulled over for not using a turn signal soon enough? A lot of people don't use it at all.

But the infuriating part is that the officer later says that the real reason Felton was pulled over because he made "direct eye contact" with the officer as he drove past.

Never mind that cops usually get suspicious of people when they avoid eye contact - it's a sign of nervousness and a potential signal that they've done something wrong.

Felton was in Dayton Ohio. He's from Michigan and was visiting family.

Anyway, apparently, if you're driving while black and you notice a police officer, you're supposed to simultaneously look away from and look at the cop?

To be fair, the Dayton Police Department later said it is not proper for an officer to pull over a motorist simply for not making eye contact, notes the Huffington Post.

Felton agreed to meet with the officer who pulled him over in a meeting facilitated by the Dayton Mediation Center.

Let's hope this turns into a teachable moment for certain Dayton cops.

Here's the video of the incident:


Friday, August 28, 2015

Sinkhole Grabs People Minding Their Own Business At Bus Stop

These people aren't on as solid ground as they think. 
A bunch of people were milling around a bus stop in China this week, as people tend to do.

The problem is, the ground would have nothing to do with it.  In a dramtic video, we see a sinkhole open up beneath the crowd.

Five people were hurt, none seriously.

No word on what caused the sinkhole

Here's the video from a nearby security camera:

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Now We Know Playbook: How Alabama Republicans Ensuring Minorities Don't Vote

Alabama is making it harder for residents to get
driver's licenses. Is it budget cuts or is it
an effort to prevent the poor and minorities from voting?  
So a bunch of states in recent years  have passed voter ID laws, in which voters have to have official photo IDs, usually a driver's license to vote.

This is to combat the imaginary epidemic of voter fraud going on across the country.

Since most of these voter ID laws were passed by Republican legislators or championed by Republican governors, the fraud might be efforts to make it more difficult for poorer people and minorites to vote.

The proof of this idea came from Alabama this week. Citing "budget cuts" Alabama plans to close 45 of its 49 Department of Motor Vehicles offices, says the Daily Kos.

Of course, nobody is blatantly saying that this is really an effort to prevent people from voting, but it has to be.

People can get voter photo IDs from county registrar offices in Alabama, too, but that also sometimes involves traveling pretty far distances. Which is hard if you don't have a car and driver's license, and there's not much in the way of public transportation.

Sure, Alabama has budget problems. A lot of states do.

But closing so many DMV offices in Alabama would force people to take an entire day, possibly two days off from work to travel long distances, wait in long lines, and then hopefully obtain a driver's license.

As Daily Kos points out, this will also encourage people to drive without a license. Which means people who really don't know how to drive will drive unsafe cars around Alabama. What could go wrong?

Sure, some people can renew drivers' licenses on line. But if there's a problem that has to be resolved, then it's an arduous day at the Alabama DMV.

Are Republican lawmakers in Alabama more concerned with balancing the budget? Or are they more concerned too many Democratic or Independent voters could force them out of office?

Hmmmm.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Trump Is Trumping Everything In An All Trump All The Time World

Donald Trump is clickbait and a media ratings winner.
So we get all Trump All The Time.  on
Last night, CNN was scheduled to air what I thought might be a pretty interesting program. Anderson Cooper, the network's flagship personality, was going to do a 10-year retrospective of Hurricane Katrina.

Cooper was going to check in on the people still trying to rebuild their lives, examine their struggles and their triumphs.

Nobody got to see it. The show was trumped by Donald Trump.

Yep, Donald Trump was holding a news conference, so CNN postponed Cooper's Katrina show until tonight. Unless of course Trump holds another news conference, in which case the Katrina piece will be postponed again. Possibly until the 20th anniversary of Katrina.

I know I'm contributing to the problem by writing this, but since when does Donald Trump become the main focus of everything?

Sure, he's clickbait and he's a ratings bonanza for the news networks. Everybody wants to see and hear the next stupid thing Trump says next, and wants to marvel at the mystery as to why so many people still want him to be president.

We get an endless loop. The networks and media correctly perceive their audience wants more of Trump. So they give it to them. And Trump delivers. So people want more. And we get more. On and on it goes.

I don't know when or how we'll manage to get off this Trump train. Will people finally, somehow get sick of him? Trump knows that he can only step up the game to hold the audience interest. He's a showman, after all.

Which is why he's been constantly flogging his distaste for Megyn Kelly long after anybody else would have just moved on. He'll say more outrageous things to keep the audience perked up.

Meanwhile, we're not hearing much from the other candidates, because they don't know how to play to an entertainment audience. They play to a political audience. Since it's all Trump all the time, none of us get a chance to know what else is going on.

Trump the entertainer trumps everything. Including Anderson Cooper's Hurricane Katrina report. All we get is breathless updates on Hurricane Donald.

I just hope we collective realize Trump is all bluster, no brains before he gets to a position of being dangerous, like President of the United States.


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

"Tiny Dancer" Insurance Ad Wins, Against All Odds

The best performance to "Tiny Dancer" ever
is in a John Lewis insurance commercial.
I always let out a groan of dismay when one of my favorite songs is co-opted and becomes part of a company's advertising campaign.

That groan came when I learned that John Lewis insurance is using the Elton John classic "Tiny Dancer" in one of its ads. It's one of Sir Elton's best songs, for sure. 

Then I saw the John Lewis insurance ad that featured "Tiny Dancer."

I'm sold. Maybe not on the insurance, but definitely the ad. 

It made me smile and will do the same for you. I love the girl in the ad. Well played, John Lewis.

Watch:

Monday, August 24, 2015

The New Reality: You MUST Always Work

Add caption
I didn't work at all, at any of my jobs, on anything for a couple days last week.

I had one of those weird sudden gastrointestinal illnesses that leave you unable to do ANYTHING.

I was lucky. I had the day off from my regular job, and even if I didn't they would have been understanding had I called in sick, and it wouldn't have threatened my future prospects at the company.

I'm also self employed at another job, and now I've fallen behind. But I'm catching up with that now,   so I'm lucky there, too.

But my bit of good luck with jobs and illness is going away fast for the rest of us, it seems.  The way I see it, getting sick to some minds in corporate America is a fireable offense, and falling behind on work, even if no human can do the amount of work demanded in one day, is another Off With The Head crime.

If I were to believe a lot of what I'm reading lately, you are a scumbag if you do not work 24/7. I know that's not true in reality, but in order to survive in this country nowadays, it IS true, unfortunately.

Don't get me wrong. Working very hard is terrific. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. You earn a little cash. You have a sense of pride for contributing.

Everybody must pull their weight. I don't have patience for lazy people, either. So work hard, everyone!

However, there's such a thing as too much of a good thing, and there's a lot of "too much" out there.

That was highlighted last week by that New York Times article on the workplace culture at Amazon that made such a splash.

Apparently, white collar workers at Amazon have to be superhuman. One employee felt compelled to work four all nighters in a row.   One person was pretty much fired because she had the temerity to contract thyroid cancer.

Oe woman was forced to go on a business trip the day after her miscarriage.

NPR, discussing the article, said, "One ex-employee's fiance became so concerned about her nonstop working night after night that he would drive to the Amazon campus at 10 p.m. and dial her cellphone until she agreed to come home. When they took a vacation to Florida, she spent every day at Starbucks using the wireless connection to get work done."

Of course, the white collar workers at Amazon have it easy, compared with some of their past history for blue collar workers in their warehouses.

Amazon had warehouse workers toil in overheated summertime warehouses where temperatures exceeded 100 degrees. Instead of cooling the air and giving the workers a few chances to recover from the heat, Amazon famously stationed a few ambulances outside a Pennsylvania warehouse to cart out heat stroke victims.

Then, they'd just replace the victims with somebody else, unless the poor overheated souls made a quick recovery. Pretty sickly Darwinian, no?

An emergency room doctor finally called federal authorities to report an "unsafe environment" after he treated several warehouse workers. Under pressure, Amazon finally put in a littl air conditioning. At least sort of.

Why did these workers put up with it? Or at least try to? There weren't many jobs in the area, especially when this problem peaked in 2011. So they took their chances.

I guess that's the way things are nowadays. You do what you have to do, given the stagnating wages and iffy job prospects for most of us who aren't in the 1 percent.

Also, despite Jeb Bush's assertion, most Americans really do want to work hard. Again, that's a virtue. But when does it become too much?

As the New Yorker pointed out, the white collar grind at Amazon isn't unique. Employees at elite investment banks and law firms often put in 16-hour days and work weekends.  They get paid a lot, so you can't feel as bad for them as beleaguered minimum wage workers, but still.

Workers at various dot com and other industries are increasingly saying they are being exploited. You know work around the clock, be on call all the time, but not being rewarded enough financially for their efforts.

The Guardian's economic editor, Larry Elliot, cites the decline of unions as a symptom of a return of the extreme pressure on workers last seen in the 19th century.

Unions "were originally formed as a respose to exploitation by 19th century mill owners..... (Keeping) a cowed workforce under the lash with non-stop pressure, bullying and psychological warfare, Bezos is the 21st century equivalent."

Which makes me wonder if the seeds of a new labor movement are starting. It's hard to tell, but I do see news of more and more unionization efforts at various workplaces.

At last check, unionization rates were still declining, but for how long?

It seems like the presidential candidacy of Bernie Sanders has really taken off in large part because of his long standing campaign to raise the fortunes of workers and to reign in the 1 percent.

It's morning, and I'm getting ready to go to work now. I'm looking forward to it. I want to have a very productive day, and not slack on the  job. Most people feel this way about their work.

The company I work for is being fair to me. Maybe because it's employee owned and we're all in this together?  Maybe my choosing to work for an employee owned firm is a bit of a rebellion against the 1 percent taking everything from their workers, I don't know.

I know it's kind of bad form to whine about the boss man making so much more than you do. But there comes a time when you don't want to cross the line from being an employee to being a slave or indentured servant.

That's why there's so much excitement about Bernie Sanders, and such a strong reaction to that New York Times Amazon article.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Bernie Sanders Is A Presidential Shoo-In Now That Deez Nuts Has Endorsed Him

Why is this man smiling? Maybe because Deez Nuts
endorsed his presidential campaign. Add caption
The other day, we learned that a presidential candidate named Deez Nuts was polling at 9 percent in a North Carolina survey.

Deez Nuts is also doing better than some strugging Republican candidates.

Of course we learned that Deez Nuts turned out to be a prank. Deez Nuts is really Brady Olson, 15, of Wallingford, Iowa who decided on a whim to seek the Presidency.

He's endorsing himself for president, of course, but he really can't be president because there's this little clause that says he's not old enough. Still, I imagine Deez Nuts would do a better job as president than some of the other candidates, so there's that.

Given that he can't be president because of his age,  Deez Nuts has given his endorsement and he favors Bernie Sanders, the Independent from Vermont running as a Democrat who is causing such a stir.  

With Deez Nuts behind you, Bernie,  you can relax. With that endorsement, you can just coast to the election and become our next president in 2016.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Bears Make The Most Of A Hot Suburban Afternoon

A family of bears enjoys a refreshing dip in a New Jersey
pool on a recent hot afternoon. Video of
this scene has gone viral  
If you live in the suburbs, what better way to spend a hot afternoon to play out in the pool. You know, mom, the kids all splashing around having a good time.

So it was in Rockaway Township, New Jersey recently, when a a family did just that. Of course, it was a family of bears, not humans that were splashing around the backyard pool.

The Basso family, who normally plays in the pool, huddled inside and filmed the spectacle.

The fun part about the bears on video is how much they are just like a regular human family playing around the pool, the toys and the swingset.

One of the young Basso kids is distraught at one point and starts to cry as they watch from their window. ""They took my floaty!" the crying girl says. Those selfish bears! They should share the toys.

Mrs. Basso assures the kid that she will buy her daughter another floaty.

The bears obviously causes some damage to the pool and toys, as the yard was designed for humans, not bears, but the Basso family said the harm was not great and that the bears were pretty good houseguests.

The video below is 11 minutes long but worth the entire time. The Bassos said the bears were in the back yard for almost an hour.

The video has naturally gone viral and has been featured on many MSM news programs. But I can't resist sharing it here, too:

Thursday, August 20, 2015

In Flight Safety Lectures Are Getting Much More Entertaining

Westjet flight attendant Michael McAdams gets
into the pre-flight safety briefing.  
Creative ways to do the traditional, required pre-flight safety speech on airline flights are all the rage these days.

Two new viral videos illustrate my point.

One shows a flight attendant in for Westjet in Canada doing an awesome pantomime of how it's done.

Michael McAdams does his thing as the pre-flight lecture is done in French, but he makes it easy for us English speaking jet setters.

Here's the video, with another different one to follow:



Next, we have a much more slick video. As noted in several other blogs I've seen, this must have the highest production values of any pre-flight video I've ever seen.

It features the New Zealand All Blacks national rugby team, helped by a bunch of dancers and other co-stars, (including Rip Torn!)  giving the safety briefing for Air New Zealand.

Of course it's done to a "Men In Black" theme. It is pretty good.

Air New Zealand has done this before. In 2013, they did the pre-flight safety video with Betty White and other favorite old stars.

Here's the "Men In Black" Air New Zealand video:  

Republicans Make More Sense In "Bad Lip Reading" Version Of Debate Footage

The best twist on a Republican debate this summer is
by far from Bad Lip Reading.  
There's a YouTube channel that takes public events, like political news and pop culture touchstones, and turns what everybody is saying into bad lip reading.

The words you hear on the Bad Lip Reading channel are incredibly absurd, but if you watch the lips of the speakers and listen to the nonsense Bad Lip Reading comes up with, it seems amazingly accurate.

A couple weeks ago, the Bad Lip Reading channel took a crack at the first Republican candidates debate held earlier this summer.

In the Bad Lip Reading version of the debate, Huckabee asks one of the Fox News moderators, "All your friends are bozos, but who's this Minion?"

The Fox guy says it's an old friend and a great gal, but Huckabee disagrees saying she "pooped on the treadmill."

Bad Lip Reading has Ted Cruz telling us, "We can just go out and collect a dead swan and then I will drink a sorority's goldfish."

Fox's Megyn Kelly asks Jeb Bush this all-important policy question: "How would you get a dead mouse in a crescent roll with some steak?"

Bush answers, "If a pit bull is loose in your house, you'll find me stiff on the bed because I'll always throw up."

Yes, it's certainly Theater of the Absurd, but frankly, the nonsense I'm highlighting from this video isn't much more bizarre than what some of the candidates are saying.

The second half of the video is precious, when each candidate gets to sing a closing song. Ben Carson's, at the end, is by far the best.

But you have to watch the entire video. I really hope Bad Lip Reading does a LOT more political videos between now and the 2016 election.   They already have a lot more hilarious videos you should watch, too. 

Here's the Republican Debate:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Two Narrow Escapes, One On Land, One At Sea

Watch what happens to the cyclists when the truck
to their right collides with another truck.  
Today we bring you two lucky escapes. Let's hope you have as fortunate a day as these guys.

The first involves a couple of bicyclists minding their own business peddling down a road when the trucks next to them collide.

It's unclear when and where this video was taken, and the video hasn't been independently verified, but Yikes!




Next we take you to just a tiny bit offshore of Cape Cod, where a shark decided it was lunch time and spotted a seal that would make a nice snack.

As you'll see in the video from the Atlantic White  Shark Conservancy, the seal makes a pretty damn athletic escape.

This might give you second thoughts on swimming at Cape Cod or elsewhere. The incident takes place just 30 feet from shore in less than 10 feet of water.

The video was shot by Greg Skomal of the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries.

As for the shark, he finally got his meal. He ate another seal a little while later.

Here's the video:

Monday, August 17, 2015

Truck Driver Doesn't Like The Road Sign, Apparently

Truck bed up, and a road sign don't mix
in Saudi Arabia.  
Some guy named Mohaed Qutteneh was driving down the highway in Saudi Arabia spotted the truck in front of him with its truck bed raised up.

Not quite sure why, but things did not work out well for the truck driver or the road sign he encountered.

I also don't know why the person in the white pickup truck seemed to accelerate toward what would obviously become a soon-to-be mess.

See for yourself:

Sunday, August 16, 2015

A Vermont "Sentimental Journey" Honors World War II Vets, LIke My Dad

My dad, Henry "Red" Sutkoski, 95, catches up with
friends during a World War II Memorial unveiling
in his home town of West Rutland, Vermont Saturday.  
My father, Henry "Red" Sutkoski, now 95, says he remembers when World War II ended, the troop ship carrying him and fellow soldiers returned home and prepared to dock in Boston Harbor.

A tug boat pulled up along side the troop ship dad was on. Suddenly, a band on the tug boat started playing "Sentimental Journey" to welcome the returning soldiers.

To this day, "Sentimental Journey" is just about dad's favorite song.

Fast forward 70 years later and there we were, in West Rutland, Vermont Saturday, where dad has lived most of his life, taking another sentimental journey, this one returning back to World War II.

Saturday was the 70th anniversary of World War II's end, and also the day West Rutland unveiled a memorial to all the people from West Rutland who'd served in World War II.

There was a lot of 'em, considering the town only had about 3,000 residents at the time. About 600 West Rutland residents served in World War II, or about 20 percent of the town's population.

Few World War II veterans survive to this day, of course. My dad was an honored guest at the memorial unveiling, along with a few other surviving West Rutland veterans like Joe Czachor, Leo DiGangi, Charlie Katomski and Stanley Wos.

The story of how West Rutland's new World War II memorial came to be is its own sentimental journey, one graced with an overwhelming need to honor the town's World War II heroes.

On Facebook, people began to wonder what happened to an old memorial that had to be taken down years ago because it had deteriorated.
A nice crowd gathers in front of the West Rutland, Vermont
Town Hall Saturday for the unveiling of a
World War II memorial.  

The town's historical society had a World War II discussion one night and somebody came up with the idea for a new memorial.  The idea took hold, big time.

Lots of research, lots of community fundraising and lots of planning over several years led to this new World War II memorial that was unveiled Saturday.

The memorial, listing all 609 men and women from West Rutland who served in the war, is in a place of honor at the most prominent place in West Rutland, right in front of the community's handsome Town Hall.

On Saturday, the guest speaker was retired Senior Master Air Force Sergeant Rick Aldridge. He's too young to have served in World War II, but the West Rutland native who served a long, proud career in the military announced at the beginning of his talk that he would take the audience on a sentimental journey back to those war years.

I don't know if Aldridge's announcement that his talk would be a sentimental journey was a nod to my dad or not,  but Aldridge told the story of the quarry workers, farmers, merchants and others from West Rutland who answered the call of duty to fight in the war, because that's just what had to be done.

Aldridge described how everyone else left behind in West Rutland during the war coped with strict rationing, the worry over what the Axis dictators would do if they were not defeated, and fear for the fate of their loved ones literally battling to save democracy.

After the war, the returning West Rutland veterans picked up their lives. Some stayed put in the quarrying community, others set off to start educations, careers, families elsewhere in the nation.

Aldridge remarked how the people of the World War II era are always referred to as the "Greatest Generation."

He's right, of course. If I had to judge a "Greatest Generation" by the way my father has lived his life, he truly lived the life of someone who deserves that title.

Through the decades, through his successes, his mistakes, his fortitude, cheerful stubborness and especially his sense of humor, dad has always been a model of how to live a life with dignity and grace.

So many people from the "Greatest Generation" are like dad, too. In this era of screaming, bickering TV pundits, a "gimme gimme" culture, opportunistic politicians, corrupt business people, routine dishonesty and other ills of today's society, we'd all do well to take careful notes on how the "Greatest Generation" lived their lives during and after the war.

My generation, the ones after that, and the ones who aren't even born yet should just take a sentimental journey and look back at what the World War II generation did.

They say the Greatest Generation made America great. That's true. They also say America isn't as great as it once was. Maybe that's true, too.

All the more reason why we should really embrace the ethos of the World War II veterans. Like the ones gathered in West Rutland on Saturday. Like my dad.

The World War II memorial unveiling in West Rutland Saturday sent me on my own sentimental journey, reflecting on the lessons my dad taught me. The example if his life, teaches me, teaches everyone, how to live honorable.

I don't measure up to my dad's level, of course, but at least he's a guide that puts me on the right path and keeps me from veering off course into too much laziness, meanness, or selfishness.

Maybe if we all follow the steadiness and honor of World War II veterans, this country might yet have another "Greatest Generation"

That would be the ultimate way to thank all the World War II heroes, like my dad.

Also, dad? Here's that song you like. Thank you. For everything.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Must We Upload Video Of EVERYTHING To Social Media?

Paul Pelton is accused of entering a wrecked car
 to film a dying teen and his severely injured friend.  
Back in July, an Ohio man took our national obsession with filming and posting everything we see to a horrible new low.

According to CNET, Paul Pelton, 41, of Lorain, Ohio saw a terrible crash that badly injured two teens. One of them later died.

Most people, when they see such a crash, would call 911, maybe run over and see if there was anything that could be done to help or rescue the victims.

Several people who saw the crash did exactly that.

Pelton did not. Instead, he took out his cell phone and began filming. As the badly injured teens awaited rescue, Pelton got into the wrecked car and filmed the kids, says Cleveland.com

Creepy and gruesome, no?

In the resulting video, Pelton can be heard referring to the teens in the cars as "idiots," presumably because they were probably speeding before their car crashed into a house.

The police report said Pelton leaned into the car to film the boys, then walked around to the front of the car, and then getting into the back.

He allegedly try to sell the video to local news outlets for some quick cash, but got no takers.

He posted the video on Facebook, but it was quickly taken down.  But here's the scary part: Pelton reportedly got about 4,000 Facebook friend requests after this happened. I'm sure some of them did so to criticize him, but were a lot of them looking for more grisly videos to get off on?

For his part, Pelton later apologized, claiming he only did the video to encourage motorists to slow down.

Right.

Pelton was charged with misdemeanor vehicular trespassing, the only thing prosecutors could find to charge him, Cleveland.com says

I guess we live in a time in which taking a video of everything takes precedence over anything else, including possibly saving a life.

The Lorain Police Department was not impressed with Pelton, that's for sure.

They put out this statement, which you wouldn't think is necessary but in this day and age, I guess it is:

"The Lorain Police Department would like to remind citizens that they are allowed and encouraged to help one another in emergencies if they can do so safely, and that rendering aid or comfort to a dying young man and his severely injured friend is a commendable and kindly act.

Persons are not, however, allowed to trespass into a person's vehicle criminially and without permission for the seemingly singular cause of filming a young man's dying moments, for profit."

Don't get me wrong. I video stuff all the time, and am immersed in social media. Nothing at all wrong with that.

Let's just consider our humanity just a teensy bit first, OK?

Friday, August 14, 2015

This Eagle Doesn't Like Drones, Either

Looks like the eagle in this pre-collision image
didn't like the drone in its flight path.  
There's been plenty of news recently about people being irritated or worse about drones.

Airline pilots have had to deal with drones flying nearby, which might be dangerous.

Firefighters in California have had to suspend aerial wildfire fighting because drones interfered. (Hey! let's fly a drone, get in the way of fire crews and get GREAT footage of the wildfire getting worse as a result!)

And people are suing each other over drone flights that are compromising their privacy.

Even wildlife is getting into the anti-drone act. Watch a drone view of an eagle dealing with that very drone (FYI, the eagle was not injured in this incident. I think the drone was, though.)



Thursday, August 13, 2015

Silly Political Ad Season Arrives Early Cruz And Bacon, Plus A Canadian Super Hero

If this guy wins the Presidency, we'll all learn how
to properly cook bacon. Oh joy!  
It's already time for bizarre political ads in both the United States and Canada, and we're off to a STUNNING start.

Here in the good old U.S of A, crazy Texas Republican Senator "Government Shut Down" Ted Cruz is running for President, as we all know, and like the rest of them, he's trying to get attention.

Say what you want about the climate denying, Obama hating, religious kook Cruz, he's sure got a flair for style, at least in ads and videos.

Earlier this month, he demonstrated how they cook bacon in Texas. He wraps bacon on the barrel of a   machine gun and fires away, probably to demonstrate his gung ho guns and red meat style of conservative bonafides to a willing audience.

Or, as Roxanne Roberts couldn't resist saying on last week's NPR news quiz show, "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!" Cruz engaged in classic pork barrel politics. Ha!

I dunno, though. It's a little chilling watching the end of the video, in which Cruz says, MMMmm! Machine gun bacon!  Would he have that smirk on his face if he goes to a NATO diplomatic summit as president.

Anyway, here's the video.




Next we move on to Canada. O Canada!

A gentleman named Wyatt Scott is running for the  Canadian Parliament. 

In is ad, he does a number of incredible things, like ride a giant Canada goose, slay a dragon and send death rays out of his eyes to slay a giant robot thing. A real superhero to save Canada!

If Scott wins, and his performance is anything like what we see in his campaign ad, I think we will all then be able to agree that Canada is NOT, in fact, boring.

Watch:

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Great Save For This Bottle Of Wine

Security footage in a wine store captured an expensive bottle of the vino falling off a shelf.

Watch the hero who saves the day:

Ferguson Authorites Charge Journalists Because They Want Us All To Shut Up Already

Police square off against demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri
last August, with the McDonald's where the journalists were
arrested in the background. 
I was mystified earlier this week when St. Louis County, Missouri decided to proceed with criminal charges against reporters Wesley Lowery of the Washington Post and Ryan Reilly of the Huffington Post.

In what had been up until now a pretty much forgotten incident, the two journalists were in a Ferguson Missouri McDonald's restaurant during the unrest last August following the police shooting of Michael Brown.

Police fairly violently detained the pair that night for "trespassing" and "interfering with law enforcement."  Those charges were quickly dropped and the journalists were let go.

But what mystified me is that this weekt St. Louis County, Missouri prosecutors resurrected the charges against Lowery and Reilly from that night last August in the Ferguson McDonald's.

I'm usually skeptical of conspiracy theories, but the one proposed in Salon, a leftish news and commentary site, makes sense to me.

The fact that it does make sense is chilling.

Salon notes that Lowery and Reilly have high powered news organizations with an army of lawyers behind them, so they'll get off scot free eventually.  Plus, the criminal charges really seem to be trumped up, and possibly a violation of First Amendment rights.

St. Louis County prosecutors must know all this, so why bother pursuing the journalists.

That's because a lot of news we get comes from small scale "citizen journalists,"especially when new stuff breaks out in Ferguson or anywhere else.

These citizen journalists are usually bystanders with cell phone cameras that take in what's going on.

Salon theorizes - and I agree - is that the charges against Lowery and Reilly are really a message to these citizen journalists. Which is tell the world what we do, especially if it's not necessarily kosher, and we'll come after you.

Citizen journalists don't have legal teams to back them up like the Washington Post and Huffington Post.. What St. Louis County prosecutors are saying to citizen journalists is, "Shut up!

Or as Salon puts it, St. Louis prosecutors are saying:

"This is what happens if you cross us. It wants to make sure than any journalist who comes to Ferguson in the future will do what they're told. It wants them to remember what happens when you step out of line. If media elites howl in protest, well, that's OK. If the case against Lowery and Reilly falls apart, that's fine too. The message will have been sent."

I'm just hoping that St. Louis County's response to bad PR is criminal charges against those spreading the bad PR, to somehow comes back to bite them.

It would also be nice if St. Louis County officials someday realize they're not dictators in some backwater third world country.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Repeated Hell: Debtors Keep Demanding Money From Wrong Man

To be clear, a guy named Matthew Hartigan of Clearwater, Florida, does not owe $7,323 in city and school taxes to the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Matthew Hartigan, with his wife in Clearwater, Florida,
keeps being hounded for thousands of dollars in
debt that he doesn't owe.  
Hartigan does not owe $31,783 in attorney fees, costs and fines to a Philadelphia law firm

And he does not owe $98,293 because of a property foreclosure in Philadelphia.

This guy's case - I'm going to call him Clearwater Hartigan - illustrates when one dope hits a wrong key on some computer somewhere.

People keep going after Clearwater Hartigan for debts some other Matthew Hartigan incurred long ago, says the Philadelphia Inquirer. 

The foreclosure couldn't have been Clearwater Hartigan's doing, since he was 12 years old when some other Matthew Hartigan bought the property that went into foreclosure and tax debt.

As the Philadelphia Inquirer notes, twelve year old boys don't buy houses.

So-called "skip tracing" companies hone in on debtors, and some of these companies aren't as careful as they should be about getting the right person.

That leaves people like Clearwater Hartigan fighting for years to not pay debts that aren't theirs. Clearwater Hartigan has been fighting this for 17 years and it's still going on.

It seems once people like Clearwater Hartigan get in these computer files, he doesn't come out, despite the loads of evidence that they got the wrong guy.

This is not even close to the first time I've seen something like this happen to a person.

I don't know why it's such a problem. I think it's laziness. After all, it's a little work to prove that somebody has been misidentified and then to scrub the wrong information from computer systems.

Besides, that costs money. And I'm sure some Or debt collectors and such business just pick anybody with that name and hope they pay debts they don't owe just to make the debt collectors go away.  It's easy money.

As the Philadelphia Inquirer points out, it often takes a lawsuit to untangle these messes. And lots of people don't have the finances to hire a lawyer to sue over such tangled financial bungling.

Let's Hope He Doesn't Drop The Air Conditioner - Or Himself

Workplace safety is no accident, but
this guy is testing the odds.  
A video is making the rounds of a guy in China installing an air conditioner.

Sounds boring, but watch the video and see how dangerously this guy lives.

Note that he's just wearing socks not sturdy shoes, and especially note what would happen if he slipped and fell.

If I were him, I'd just forget the air conditioner and put up with any heat waves that come along.

Watch:


Monday, August 10, 2015

Out Of Control Nut Job Judge Forces Couple To Marry

A weird Texas judge ordere Josten Bundy to marry his girlfriend,
Elizabeth Jaynes, as punishment for an assault
conviction. Bundy had punched Jaynes' ex. 
A couple in Texas got married recently, which is very nice.

What's not nice is the couple married only because a wacko judge said the groom must get married or go to jail.

This all started whern Josten Bundy got into a physical fight with his girlfriend's ex who was saying disparaging things about her.

So Bundy punched him, and the ex-boyfriend pressed charges.

Even Bundy says he shouldn't have punched the ex-boyfriend, but told Judge Randall Rogers that, "I was raised with four sisters and if any man was talking to a woman like that......I'd probably do the same thing.

Of course by hitting the ex, Bundy committed a crime, and there's consequences for that. The judtge sentenced him to probation, which make sense. Maybe a fine, a ban on alcohol consumption, how about some mandatory anger management counseling?

That would work, but NOPE. Here's where the judge went off the rails.

According to television station KLTV, Judge Rogers said that as part of his probation, Bundy had to marry his girlfriend or spend 15 days in jail.

Bundy figured it he was in jail, he'd lose his job, so he had no choice but to marry Jaynes, says KLTV.

They were probably going to get married anyway at some point, but they didn't want a rushed courthouse wedding where many of their loved ones couldn't witness it. Jaynes said she wanted one of those "Say Yes To The Dress" weddings with all the trappings of a traditional big ceremony, reception and party.

By the way, the judge was also punishing Jaynes by forcing to get abruptly married. Remember, she was not accused of any crime whatsoever in this whole thing.

The father of the bride was certainly angry, which is understandable. The dad, Kenneth Jaynes told KLTV the judge "can't do this by court ordering somebody to be married...I contacted a couple of lawyers but they tole me someone was trying to pull my leg, that judges don't court order somebody to get married."

Well, this one did.

Of course, dad is right. Forcing Bundy and Jaynes to marry  is almost certainly unconstitutional, but Bundy and Jaynes aren't lawyers, and didn't know what to do about the abrupt marriage sentence, while in the moment with the judge.

The judge also said Bundy must write Bible verses as part of his punishment. So much for separation of Church and State.

What else is this wacko judge Rogers going to do for future sentencings? Force a non-Christian to convert to Christianity?  Order a gay defendent to somehow turn straight, or else go to jail?

KTLV said Judge Rogers wouldn't comment on this case, or his sentencing habits in general.

I hope Texas can recall or fire judges. This one is too much.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Donald Trump Wins The Internet Troll Vote

Donald Trump trying to comprehend basic questions
thrown at him by Megyn Kelly at Thursday's Fox News debate.  
Everybody's been yakking about the awful things Donald Trump has said about Megyn Kelly and the blood remark which got him booted from a conservative gathering called RedState, sponsored by right winger Erick Erickson.

Trump is still whining because he thinks Kelly was a meanie for asking him pointed questions at the Fox News televised debate on Thursday.

He continued his rant against Kelly on CNN Friday night, when he said about Kelly: "there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of wherever," was too much for Erickson, you know you have problems.

Erickson is himself famous for his misogynistic bomb throwing.

Media Matters compiled Erickson's greatest anti-women hits. Included in the list is the time he called Michelle Obama a "Marxist harpy" and has said things about feminists on Twitter such as "That's what the feminazis were enraged over? Seriously?!?! Wow. That's what being too ugly to get a date does to your brain."

He called the first night of the 2012 Democratic convention the "vagina monologues" because several speakers were women. He called Wendy Davis, a Texas gubernatorial candidate "Abortion Barbie."

Even Megyn Kelly herself called Erickson's remarks about male dominance "offensive."

So you get the picture about Erickson.

Still, I'm totally in agreement with Erickson on this one. He did the right thing by dumping Trump from the RedState convention this weekend.

Let's see, Trump has totally alienated Latinos, military veterans and now women. He still has an absolute lock on the Internet troll constituency, though.

Erickson proved my Internet troll theory because at the RedState convention Saturday, he read what were basically mean Tweets from people who were totally pissed off at him for disinviting Trump. 

One of those missives Erickson read called him a liberal. Wow, Really? That message from "Thomas" said he is "so sick of political correctness I' might puke."

Another message to Erickson referred to Kelly in saying "Maybe you ask that (C-word) not to ask gobshit questions."

Another critic, a woman, said that Kelly "was very clearly on her (bleep)"

Yeah, those are the people supporting Trump. It's a bit scary there are that many of them out there.

As for Trump, he says we're all pervs, because he was "clearly" referring to a bloody nose. His campaign released a statement saying "only a deviant would think anything else"

The blood remark referred to a bloody nose, you sickos!!!!

Um, yeah, right.

Trump and his campaign are still whining. Gotta hand it to him, Trump takes whining to an art form. If there was an Oscar for whining, he'd clean house at the awards banquet.

Trump's campaign said Erickson is "a total loser" who "has a history of supporting establishment losers in failed campaigns."

Given Trump's whininess and his attitude toward women, it's scary to think what Trump would do if say, German Chancellor Angela Merkel pissed him off during some delicate diplomatic negotiations involving European security or something.

I'd also pay to see the inevitable fireworks between Trump and Nancy Pelosi.

So, the Trump trainwreck rolls on, aided and abetted by his dumb and classless supporters.

We'll just wait and see what ditch he lands in next.

Sigh.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Sprint Employee Thinks A Theater Shooting Is GREAT Opportunity To Advertise Sprint

Shep Smith, anchor at Fox News, was not terribly
impressed with Sprint employee who tried to
advertise his business while describing a theater shooting. 
I suppose many of us are guilty for sucking up to our employer.

But maybe the guy I'm about to describe went a teensy bit too far. Tell me what you think after reading the following:

A guy named Vincent David Montano, 29, brought ammunition and explosives to a Nashville Tennesee theater last week. He had a gun battle with police and was killed.

Of course, this was big news, and the media was all over it.

Reporters sought out eyewitness. On Fox News, anchor Shepard Smith spoke with a Sprint phone store employee who works near the theater.

Talking Points Memo said the worker told Smith: "We were trying to promote our 'cut your bill in half' (promotion) when we had a couple police officers come in, tell us to lock all the doors, close everything."

A little later in the interview, Smith asked the Sprint worker to clarify whether he works adjacent to the theater or further away.

The Sprint worker responded: "We work at Sprint, where we cut your bill in half."  

To his great credit, Shepard Smith had enough at this point, and said, "That's nice advertising here in the middle of a shooting at a movie theater."

The Sprint worker, realizing he'd been called out, said, "I'm just so used to saying it so much."

Uh, yeah.

Maybe Sprint could go with this advertising theme. "Our phones are still very useful during movie theater shootings! We cut your bills in half even while an assailant is cutting YOU in half with bullets!"

Somehow, I don't think this is going to become a centerpiece of Sprint's latest advertising campaign.

Anyway, if the Sprint worker thought his impromptu advertising at a crime scene would win him brownie points from his bosses, think again.

Consumerist reports that a rep for Sprint said they are talking to the employee's boss to determine the appropriate course of action because mentioning Sprint's recent sales promotiions "was inappropriate during a tragic situation."

No, really!?!?

Here's Shep Smith's interview with "Tom" the Sprint employee near the theater shooting:


Thursday, August 6, 2015

This Dog Thinks Kayaking Is Dangerous

The guy in the photo THINKS he's going kayaking, but...
Dogs can be VERY protective of their human companions. Or they just think anything they find is a good think to play with.

I'm not sure which of the two is going on here, but it looks like the guy in the video isn't going to enjoy his day kayaking on the lake after all:

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Lysol Can Attacks Firefighters

Firefighters were called to a house fire recently in Homeland Park, South Carolina.

The house was pretty trashed by the fire, and at least one thing was PISSED: A Lysol can.

As firefighters doused the flames, an overheated can of Lysol did this:

Minions Attack Ireland! Now With Video!

A cheerful Minion cause mischief
and havoc on a Dublin, Ireland highway. 
UPDATE: We now have video of the Great Minion Attack on Dublin, 2015. See bottom of the post for the video!

PREVIOUS DISCUSSION:

Minions, those ubiquitous yellow pill shaped characters are all over the place now.

The characters, now in a current hit movie, seem to cause hilarious destruction and mayhem wherever they go.

Which is why I love them so much, even if they are now even more overplayed and overhyped than Donald Trump.

So it was in Ireland, when a giant, cheerful inflatable Minion caused havoc, just as the characters would in a movie.

As you can tell by the photo in this post, a big inflatable one blew onto a highway in Dublin.

The 30 by 40 foot Minion was eventually deflated and taken away in a wheelbarrow.

I'd love to have seen the look on the face of a dispatcher when police took the call of the giant Minion attacking cars on the Dublin road.

In the end, nobody got hurt and one car suffered minor damage.

The threat isn't over. I'm sure we'll hear more any day now of more Minion destruction and mischief.


Monday, August 3, 2015

TV Reporter Exacts Revenge On Credit Card Thief

Accuased credit card thief Farah Parks being
confronted in a Texas hotel by a TV reporter
whose credit card information she allegedly stole.  
It's so infuriating!

Someone gets your credit card number, or buys it on the black market and has a field day.

Even if you don't lose money, it's a pain in the neck to freeze your account, get a new card, etc. etc.

This very thing happened to Steve Noviello, the consumer reporter for Fox 4 television news in Dallas-Fort Worth.

He discovered the problem pretty quickly, notified the police and placed a fraud alert on his card. The alert, well, alerted him that his credit card info was being used at a Dallas area hotel.

So, Noviello decided to go there for a look see.

There, he found Farah Parks being arrested by police for using Noviello's credit card and being led by authorities out of Room 239 of the local Hilton.

With that, he had the what had to be extreme satisfaction of getting Parks on camera, pretty much refusing to be interviewed, and Noviello intrepidly asking questions of her anyway.

At first, she denied using Noviello's credit card number, then said she got it from someone else.

Then, police, Parks and Noviello all managed to crowd into an elevator down to the first floor.

Here's how the interview went:
Noviello: I'd love for you to be able to help me, Farah. Where are you from? Are you local?
Parks: I've just made some bad choices in my life. I'm aware of that and I apologize.
Novello: OK, I appreciate your apology and I"m just hoping  you might be able to help me.. I'm gonna come and make a request to come visit you after you get arrested and we can talk, OK?

It was not OK. Surprise! Parks did not agree to an interview.

That, probably, was a disappointment for Noviello. But at least he got his revenge, on air, for the credit card info theft.

I still have mixed opinions of public shamings like this, but my base instinct in this case is go for it.

Here's the whole video of what happened with the attempted interview with Farah Parks:


Sunday, August 2, 2015

After The Cecil The Lion Murder, You'll Want To Watch This Video

A man rescues a dog from an ice floe,
one of the incidents captured in a compilation
video of people being good to others, especially animals.
It's been a tough week for animal lovers, what with the hue and cry over the death of Cecil The Lion.

I do hope Zimbabwe manages to extradict Walter Palmer, the moron Minnesota dentist that killed the lion, to face charges there.

At least it appears that reports of Cecil's brother, Jericho, being shot by poachers are apparently untrue. 

Meanwhile, we need to remember that many people are actually nice to animals.

So, as an antidote, watch this very comforting compilation from LiveLeak. It's people being nice to others, but mostly people being good to animals.

It's wonderful to know there is some good in the world:

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Country Great Lynn Anderson Dies; Hangs Out In Heaven's Rose Garden

Lynn Anderson died this past week of a heart attack at age 67. 

Lynn Anderson.  
The country great had a long string of hits. She's probably most remembered for her song "I Beg Your Pardon, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden."

It was a wonderful song about how nobody is perfect in a relationship, but just try to enjoy the good times when they come along.

My dad owned a tavern back then, when the song came out in 1970. I remember always hearing it on the jukebox when I stopped in to say hi to dad as a kid.

I guess it was a decent cry in your beer song.

Anyway, rest in peace, Lynn Anderson.

Here's a fun video from Britain's Top Of the Pops television show of Anderson performing "Rose Garden" when it was a big hit. Props to the British kids trying to figure out how to dance to country music

I also love the big hair female country singers had in the 1960s and 1970s.

Here's the video: