Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Will Poachers Use Scientific Tagging To Hunt Endangered Animals

Canadian scientist Steven Cooke is concerned that people
will hack into scientific tracking devices on animals to
harm or kill the animals. 
It seems like every day, I find new ways in which bad people use good technology to do something horrible.

The other day I wrote about the possibility of people making fake news out of virtual people to blackmail, destroy reputations or worse.

Today, I came across another one:
Scientists and researchers often put electronic tags on wild and endangered animals so they can track their movements, behavior and habitat to learn how to keep them safe and prevent them from going extinct.

That, of course, is wonderful.

Now,  however, we learn that scientists are worried that poachers will gain access to this tracking data to learn where animals are in real time, so they can hunt them down.

Nothing like the corpse of an endangered wild animal to prove you're a real he-man. Especially when you cheat and use technology to illegally kill the animal

According to Phys.org,  Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada) biology professor has found lots of ancedotal evidence that tools scientists use to study and protect animals are being hijacked to cause harm or exploit animals and fish.

Cooke is the lead author of a a paper on this subject that appeared in the journal Conservation Biology.

Complicating the issue is many scientists get government funding, and people who want to access the tracking devices say that since public funds are being used to conduct the studies, the public should have access to the data.

Plus, scientists are usually eager to share data with colleagues to advance knowledge about the subject at hand, which is usually a good thing.

However, even as scientists use and share the data to gain more understanding of the natural world, others get access so they can destroy that natural world for fun and profit.

For instance, Phys.org says, anglers in Minnesota petitioned for access to data on northern pike movements, arguing that the data was publicly funded. (The anglers wanted to use the data to find the pike and gain prize catches.)

In India, there were attempts to hack GPS data on endangered Bengal tigers to engage in what's being called "cyber poaching."

Cooke said ranchers were interfering with tracking data as wolves were being re-introduced in Yellowstone National Park and divers in the Bahamas were removing satellite tags from sharks.

Phys.org said Cooke got the idea to look into this issue when he took his family on a vacation to Banff National Park in Canada last summer.

There, park rangers banned VHF radio receivers after they learned photographers used telemetry to track tagged animals.

True, the photographers did not intend to harm the animals, but the park rangers worried that too much human interaction would make the animals spooked, stressed or habituated to people.

Once again, then, we have people using technology to be total creeps.

Cooke told the CBC the issue is a wake-up calland he hopes the scientific community can discuss strategies for working with animal tracking data that advances science, protects animals and preserves the interests of the public as well.



Monday, February 27, 2017

"Bringing Back" Virtual People Has Scary Orwellian Implications

Will the Light Stage technology shown here someday be used
to make it look like to the world that somebody who's innocent
is doing something not innocent?
Photo by Al Seib, Los Angeles Times
I was watching "CBS Sunday Morning" and what started out as a quirky fluff piece quickly scared the hell out of me.

The segment began by noting that the recent Star Wars movie "Rogue One" had in its cast the British actor Peter Cushing.  

Cushing died in 1994, so how can he be in a recently released film?

It turned out actor Guy Henry performed the new scenes, and a special effects engineers replaced Henry's face with Cushing's.

Here's where we begin to turn scary, when they introduced a guy named Paul Debevec.

According to CBS, Debevec invented something called the Light Stage. It has more than 10,000 LEDs, inside of which a subject - a person - is photographed with roughly 20 high quality DSLR cameras, which produce a series of high-resolution photos from different angles to reconstruct a 3-D model of the subject's face.

Debevec told CBS: "We'll have the actor make a succession of about 50 different facial expressions. And that produces all of the different motions of their face. But we also can record a facial performance from all these different angles, and then create a digital performance of that character that does exactly what they did in the video."

Adds CBS: "Once an actor has been scanned into Light Stage, engineers can digitally insert him or her into scenes, even if the actor is unavailable, much older or younger or deceased."

That's all fine and dandy if we're talking about the make-believe world of Hollywood. At least 100 famous actors have stood in this Light Stage to be scanned for movies, notes CBS.

The Light Stage was wicked expensive to build, but the price of this type of technology is coming down, and like most technology, will continue to come down fast.

Here's the scariest part, brought up by CBS Sunday Morning: What happens if someone scans a person, even unwittingly, and tries to pass it off as reality?

I'll take it to a ridiculous level. Remember that insane wacko rumor that Hillary Clinton was running a childhood sex ring in the non-existent basement of a Washington DC pizza restaurant?

So imagine scanning all these images of Hillary Clinton and making a film that "proves" she was running the child sex ring.

There are so many gullible people out there. An insane number of people believed the Clinton sex ring story. What if there was a computerized film to "prove" that it was true.

People are also always looking for blackmail opportunities, or to make it look like people did something bad that they didn't do.

Already, people hack into computers, making it look like they were committing crimes. Imagine using this Light Stage technology to produce videos for blackmail or worse that "show" the victim doing something terrible.

The lines between reality and fiction are blurring, be it politicians who do it by repeating false things, or people who use technology to make things up and pass them off as real.

This is another example of this blurring.

What kind of world will we live in when we can't distinguish the difference between what is really going on before our eyes, and what is pure fiction?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Arizona Republicans Want To Make The First Amendment Cost You, Big Time

Some Republican state lawmakers are trying to find ways to
stop mostly peaceful demonstrations like this one
UPDATE: 

Public outcry over a bad idea by lawmakers is always a good thing.

That bill that I describe below that could have led to racketeering charges and asset seizures for even the most innocent protest organizers is gone. 

Stick a fork in it.

Arizona House Speaker J.D. Menard said his office got manhy calls about the proposal and the conversation around it had become "toxic"

He will not be moving the bill forward, so it's dead.

Remember, folks, if something doesn't sound or look right, speak up! It worked here in Arizona.

PREVIOUS DISCUSSION:

There's been lots of protests around the nation lately, mostly by liberal groups and people opposed to Donald Trump, and by extension, Republicans who are propping him up.

That's cool. It's always refreshing to see people express their First Amendment rights to speak out.

Be assured, I'd say exactly the same thing had it been a bunch of conservative Republicans marching out in the streets.

One thing I don't like, and few people do, is when demonstrations turn violent and ugly. Usually, it's a peaceful protest, and then a few yahoos in the crowd smash windows or set fires or do something stupid.

Sometimes, it's an anarchist who generally agrees with what the protesters are saying, but want to take it further and cause trouble.

Other times, it's provocateurs who oppose what the protesters stand for and want to undermine their message.

Either way, that behavior is criminal, and I'm all for arresting people who do that type of thing.

However, Republican lawmakers in Arizona want to take this beyond criminally charging idiots who cause injury or damage.

They've introduced a bill that would allow the state to charge protest organizers with racketeering and seize their property if somebody turns violent during the demonstration. 

Never mind if the protest organizers intended a peaceful demonstration. Never mind if the organizers had no way to know that somebody would end up causing trouble. If one moron causes trouble, the protest organizer is in big trouble under this legislation.

You can see pretty plainly what the Arizona Republicans are trying to do here. Many Republicans are increasingly hostile to First Amendment rights and are really sick and tired of people going out into the streets to publicly criticize their policies.

So their trying to shut everybody up so they can do what they want, voters and constituent sbe damned.

This legislation would mean that everybody would be afraid to organize a demonstration. Or, if someone does organize a march, somebody who doesn't like the demonstrators' point of view would break a window or start a fire.

That way, the organizers woud be in hot financial water (or worse) and not organize future protests. And everybody who knows that the organizer who has his or her assets seized because of the actions of someone they had nothing to do with would never set up any new protests.

As Arizona Democratic State Senator Martin Quezada said, "This bill only serves to chill people's rights to free speech by allowing one bad actor to turn peaceful demonstration organizers into racketeering felons."

Why do so many Republicans hate democracy lately?

As Quezada points out, it's already illegal to start riots, break windows and set arson fires.

Sponsors of the bill say they want to stop riots before they start, and dragged out that Donald Trump trope that people are paid to demonstrate and cause trouble, so they want to stop those allegedly paid thugs.

Democrats point out that, besides the legislation probably being unconstitutional, it could backfire on the Republicans. 

Say a Tea Party group wants to hold a demonstration to cheer on something Trump or Republicans in Congress are doing. Great! Then some idiot, maybe a liberal activist, smashes some car windows during the Tea Party party.

Would these Republicans be willing to charge a fellow Republican with racketeering if that happened? I wonder.

Either Arizona Republicans can't think ahead to such circumstances, or they would only apply their proposed law to liberal demonstrations.

Which is it?

In any event, this crackdown of First Amendment rights is spreading among Republican controlled legislatures nationwide.

According to Alternet:

"In recent weeks and months, politicians in at least 11 states - Minnesota, Washington, Iowa, Michigan, North Dakota, Indiana, Virginia,  Colorado, Missouri, North Carolina and Arizona - have either introduced or threatened to introduce bills that make it more dangerous or costly to attend protests, or be anywhere near them."

The Arizona legislation, like some of the others, could hold people who merely peaceably participate in demonstrations to those racketeering charges and asset seizures.

Say you object to Trump's immigration policy and your city is holding a demonstration against that and you want to participate. Would you go if you knew if some moron caused even a tiny bit of trouble that you could have your life ruined?

This legislation is the stuff of dictatorships.

Let's hope everybody protests against this type of legislation, before they essentially become illegal.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Barring Unfriendly Media From White House Press Event Backfiring Spectacularly

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer really stepped in it
when he barred some media from a press briefing Friday.
The news media and fans of the First Amendment were appalled yesterday when White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer barred the New York Times, CNN, Buzzfeed, Politico and the Los Angeles Times from a news briefing.

Those news organizations have been among the most aggressive in covering Donald Trump's wide and growing range of scandals, not the least of which the administration's ties to Russia.

The move was widely seen as retaliation, but what did it accomplish?

Does anyone in the real world actually know what Spicer told the other media that went into the press briefing? They all reported it, but I don't even know what Spicer's message was, and I'm an avid news junkie.

That's because whatever Spicer had to say was completely lost in the outrage and commentary and yakking and consternation about the press being barred.

All Spicer - and by extension Trump - did was call more attention to the possibly impeachable stuff that's been going on with Russia.

Donald Trump said he would create jobs and in one respect, he's right. CNN says "The Trump White House is a full-employment program for investigative reporters, and they are building an impressive, devastating body of work, thanks to a President who routinely invents facts and utters or tweets outright falsehoods almost daily."

CNN goes on, and I'm in full agreement with this:

"As any seasoned reporter knows, that kind of squealing, with pointless insults, is the sound made by politicians when the truth makes them feel cornered and uncomfortable. Their bleating, in fact, signals that it's time to turn up the heat."

Oh, and that heat is coming on much stronger than the actual meteorological record heat the nation is experiencing.  We, the news consumers, will have to be careful, because in the rush to nail Trump, some media outlets will get it wrong.

But the true facts are slowly emerging, and will continue to do so.

It even seems like Republicans in Congress are starting to get fed up, even though many of them are still kissing Trump's butt.

Still, it was very telling that last night, the very conservative Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, was on "Real Time With Bill Maher" last night saying that Congress should appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Russian influence.

Issa also said that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is a friend of Issa's, should recuse himself from an investigation, since he's part of the Trump administration.

This of course, is going to get even messier. Trump's true believers - perhaps one quarter of the nation's voting adults - believe Trump's whines that the drumbeat of reports of his corruption is all "fake news"

If the so-called "fake news" leads to Trump's downfall, I worry there will be violence. People are that fired up.

And if anything terrible happens, it will be all Trump's fault, since he's the one who caused this disaster to begin with.

Trump is perhaps the only president that doesn't understand the presidential phrase, "The buck stops here."

Which is ironic, because everything about Trump is about money and status. Boy, is he heading toward a fall.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Offensive Mike Pence ObamaCare Tweet At Least As Bad As Trump Tweetstorms

One of the noisy Congressional town halls this week. Here
angry constituents confront Obamacare foe Rep. David
Brat, R-Virginia.
I don't know about you, but I was totally offended by a tweet Vice President Mike Pence sent out Wednesday.

He said, "Obamacare will be replaced by something that actually works. - bringing freedom and individual responsibility back to American health care. "

Yep, he wants us to go back to the old days of us having the "responsibility" of going bankrupt under the weight of medical bills and the freedom to die because we can't afford a doctor - all because insurance companies don't cover people that say, have pre-existing medical conditions.

Or they simply don't feel like denting their huge profits by helping to pay for life-saving surgery.

Or, as one response to Pence's tweet by @thomdunn says, "My buddy Matt would be 31 today if he didn't lack the freedom and individual responsibility to deal with his own leukemia. His fault!"

Or from Amelia Gapin (@EntirelyAmelia) "How does 'individual responsibility work when one member of a family gets cancer and bankrupts the whole family?"

Or, from @RAFinley: "Ohhh right, right. If we haven't worked hard enough at the right jobs to be able to afford our emergencies = irresponsible."

No wonder GOP lawmakers have been having such a difficult month, what with those angry town hall meetings where people yell at their Republican Congress Creatures about repealing Obamacare.

 I've always been amazed that they've railed against Obamacare for six years now.

Republicans are now in power and you'd think during all that time they'd come up with a plan to replace Obamacare with something "better."

But that was never the point. They're much more craven than that and the Pence tweet proves it.

I'll be blunt. Many Obamacare opponents want people to die from lack of health care. After a certain point, after sick people are bled dry and can't any more, they stop being profitable to insurers and hospitals and such.

These people stop being useful, so kill them off. It's the ultimate death panel.

Or, they just hate Obamacare because Obama came up with it, and to many GOPers, anything Obama did is evil.

Of course, a lot of people see through Republicans' hatred of Obamacare and that's why those town hall meetings have gotten so raucous. And it's why some Republican Congress Creatures are actually too afraid of actually holding town meetings. Or falsely accuse the angry crowds as being paid by liberal lobbyists or something.

Republicans like Paul Ryan say repealing Obamacare will give us all more freedom, to buy what you want to fit your needs, as he put it.

Like the freedom to go bankrupt with those medical bills, the freedom to stay trapped in a horrible job because the only way to get insurance is through the employer, the freedom to be victimized by a poorly regulated insurer who decides not to cover some medical treatments, and the freedom to die because you waited too long to see a doctor because you didn't want to bear the expense.

It's wonderful being free, isn't it?




Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Why I Don't Like Ceding Control To Technology

Kim Novak was rescued from a burning car by Police Officer
Tim Schwering, but the rescue would not have been necessary
had the door locks and windows not been fully electronic.
Wouldn't it have been better if the car allowed Novak to
manually open the door and escape herself? 
A news report from KTLA in Los Angeles earlier this month is more proof as to why I don't like letting technology always do the work for me.

I like my Toyota Tacoma, but the one thing I dislike about it is I have to hit a button to electronically role the windows up or down.  

Gone are the days of the hand crank.

I know, I know it's sooooo much work having to work the crank than just hitting the button.

But one day, it will rebel against you. This doesn't happen to often, but it does.

Which leads me to the KTLA story.

It involves a woman named Kim Novak who was driving down a street in Spokane, Washington and the car suddenly died. The engine caught fire. But the doors locked themselves, and the window controls did not work. She was trapped in the burning car.

In the old days, all Novak would have had to do is open the car door and get out. Or failing that, roll down the window using the hand crank and spring out to safety.

No, now, we have to die in burning cars because - technology!

On the bright side, technology ultimately saved the Novak. She called 911 and police were nearby.

Windows these days in cars seem to be shatterproof, so the 911 dispatcher's advice that the woman trapped in the car kick out the windows didn't work. They wouldn't budge.

Finally, a cop came and with a lot of work, was able to smash out the window with his baton. He and another good Samaritan got the woman out just in the knick of time, just before the car was fully engulfed in flames.

As you can see in the video, the "safety glass" almost killed the woman, too.  The cop wearing the bodycam really had to hack away at the window for the longest time to get the woman out of the car.

Also, note some of the comments on the video from people who agree with me: Why the hell are the locks in the car fully electronic? Why can't there be manual back up?

The automatic door locks are a small but annoying inconvenience for me. Say my truck is safely parked in my driveway, and I'm working outside, retrieving tools from the truck from time to time. If the windows are rolled up, sometimes the truck just suddenly locks the doors.

If I left the keys in the truck, maybe because I was planning on going to the store in a few minutes, I'm screwed. It's another thing I have to remember: Never leave the keys in the truck because I might get locked out.

What if I temporarily have my dogs in the car with the keys. They can get lock inside. That happened to us once, and we had to get a locksmith to free the dogs. What if it had been sunny and hot. Our dogs could have died.

There have been several instances of kids accidentally being locked in cars. Isn't that dangerous? Why can't we have manual locks?

Car makers don't like manual locks and windows because they've convinced the public they are must-haves. And now there's supposedly no room for both manual and electronic controls on door panels.

Granted, this is a First World problem. But still. I don't like it. Automakers: Just let me do some of the work for myself. Don't do everything for me. I want to have at least a little control.

Here's the video of the rescue from that locked car in Spokane:



uc

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Congress Wants Crazy People With Guns To Shoot Bears From Airplanes

Wolf pup emerging from a den. Is it really OK to go
into dens and shoot hibernating bears and wolves?
I'm not sure why some Republican lawmakers are stumbling over each other trying to outdo each other for most batshit crazy legislation, but that's where we're going.

First, Congress repealed an Obama-era rule meant to limit the sale of guns to some people with mental disabilities.  

Let's let more unstable people have guns!

People who wanted to do away with the rule said lax or incorrect reporting standards meant that people who had mental issues, but who were still safe with guns, were barred from having firearms.

As a person who is high functioning but has a (mild) mental illness, I can see that concern.

After all, I have ADHD, but because of psychiatric counseling, effort on my part and a fairly low daily dose of Adderall, I function just fine. If I were trained to properly use handguns, I'm sure I'd be safe with them.

But wouldn't it be better just to make a case by case judgment on this?

Now that practically everybody can have guns, what are we all gonna sboot?

In Alaska, the answer apparently is, we want to shoot bears and wolves from airplanes, or barge into dens while the animals are hibernating and shoot them there.

Sounds fun! If you're into unsportsmanlike hunting, that is.

Yep, the U.S. House of Representatives, voting along party lines, approved the repeal of laws that prohibited people from shooting bears and wolves from airplanes and entering dens to shoot hibernating animals.

According to Buzzfeed and many other news outlets, this all started last August when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, under the Obama administration, sensibly issued rules banning hunting tactics that then-director Dan Ashe said was "a withering attack on bears and wolves that is wholly at odds with America's long tradition of ethical, sportsmanlike, fair-chase hunting."

More from Buzzfeed:

"The banned activities on Alaska's wildlife refuges including hunting tactics common elsewhere in the US but nevertheless troubling to wildlife advocates: baiting brown bears to draw them to hunters and shooting them; shooting bears ensnared in traps, and shooting bears and wolves in their dens with their cubs or pups."

That last bit is something. Go into a bear den and shoot the mother bear and cubs. Because you can, I guess.

People want to be able to shoot bears and wolves, even if they are in dens, because bear and wolves sometimes eat moose and elk.  

That reduces the number of moose and elk that people can, yes, hunt. So people want to hunt bear and wolves in nonsportsmanlike ways so they can, um, hunt other animals too.

It's true that some Alaskans hunt moose and elk because they rely upon them for food. However, my suspicious mind thinks that Congress approved this change to satisfy their rich contributors who go to Alaska to hunt, but don't rely on wild animals for sustenance.

Basically, what's going on here is, "Let's kill more animals so we can kill more animals."

Wildlife advocates say it's not like they're trying to stop hunting on wildlife refuges. They just want to stop extreme forms of hunting that throw off the ecosystem.

It seems especially galling to go into dens and shoot sleeping bears and cubs. I don't know why anybody would get off on this, but you never know what some people think.

Look, I'm not against hunting. I live in Vermont, where there is a big hunting culture and I have no problem whatsoever with it.  As long as the hunters are responsible and not a bunch of yahoos. Most hunters are great.

But, we're in an anything goes atmosphere now. Time to start shooting everything in sight, I guess.

Your Vermont Caffeine Fix Might Get A Little More Expensive. Blame Lake Champlain.

A tax on coffee in Vermont because people pee
out caffeine? Could happen. 
Many of us Vermonters know that our "West Coast" - Lake Champlain- has some issues.

There's a pretty big pollution problem in the lake, mostly involving phosphorus that is harming wildlife and contributing mightily to some really icky algae blooms.

Vermont is under federal orders to clean the lake up, and the state is scrambling to find the money to do the job.

One state lawmaker has one interesting idea: Adding a tax on coffee.

Here's the logic: People drink coffee. Then they pee. Then (hopefully!) they flush the toilet.

The caffinated pee ends up at the wastewater treatment plant, but the plant can't remove the caffeine from the water. So the wastewater treatment plant discharges the caffeinated water back into the river, which flows into Lake Champlain.

It's hard to believe there's enough caffeine involved to cause a problem, especially when phosphorus is the main troublemaker in the lake. But VTDigger reports that one state lawmaker, David Deen a Democrat from Westminster, says his legislative committee is considering a tax on coffee to deal with the lake pollution.

According to VTDigger, Deen says coffee has become a "compound of emerging concern" in scientific literature.

Currently, there are no reported instances where there's so much caffeine in drinking water to give you a buzz. Levels detected are way, way below those you'd get from your Morning Joe or a your Diet Coke if you're so inclined.

Then again, caffeine is not something that naturally occurs in waterways, so you never know what effect it might have on wildlife.

Caffeine probably has some effect on wildlife, but it looks as it it's not a big a deal as say, discarded pharmaceuticals making their way into aquatic habitats.

Not surprisingly, outfits like Green Mountain Coffee, based in Vermont, don't like the proposed tax because it would make it harder to compete with out of state companies like Starbucks and Peet's

The Vermont caffeine tax is not definite, and it's one of many ideas under consideration to pay for a Lake Champlain cleanup. There's no specific bill yet to be introduced that would tax coffee.

Who knows? Maybe they'll extend this and have you pay a fee every time you go to the toilet for a pee.

You'd sure be in trouble if you didn't have cash or credit cards with you, wouldn't you?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Horrifying First Video Of So-Called Swedish Terrorist Attack Trump Referred To

I've got the scoop on the "terrer attack" in Sweden
Trump referred to last night. 
Pretty much everybody, including the entire population of Sweden, was mystified by the terrorist incident in Sweden Donald Trump referred to during his apparent 2020 presidential campaign kickoff in Melbourne, Florida Saturday.

"You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at what's happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this. Sweden," Trump marveled to the crowd Saturday.

I guess the fake news mainstream media hid this terrorist attack from the public, just like Trump said the media is hiding all terrorists attacks.

Swedish news media had reports Saturday of a disturbed man setting himself on fire, a fatal workplace accident, and closed roads because of winter storm in northern Sweden, but nothing about a terrorist attack.

Trump did apparently watch a Fox news program Friday about refugees in Sweden committing crimes, so maybe that's what he's talking about?

The president would not confuse that with a real terrorist attack, would he? Of course not, and I've got the proof.

I was able to obtain video of the terrible attack in Sweden Friday. Here it is, but warning, it's not for the sensitive. It's scary - especially the gunfire towards the end:

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Youth Basketball Team Rebels Gloriously Against Dumb Adult Rules

A fifth grade basketball team in New Jersey votes to keep
girls on the team even though the CYO organization said they couldn't.
Hats off today to the St. John's New Jersey 5th grade basketball team, who chose unity and fairness over the silly "rules" of adults. 

There were nine boys and two girls on the St. John's CYO team.

Mucketymucks with the church found out about the girls playing on the team and laid the law down.

The team was not allowed to have girls. Ditch the girls or give up the rest of the season, the team was told, as NJ.com reports.

The boys on the team would have none of it.  They said no girl team mates no playing.

An opposing team, St. Bartholomew the Apostle, had just showed up for a game against St. John's but the refs announced the a CYO director instructed the refs not to allow the team to play if the girls remained on it.

There was a bit of a discussion over whether it could be an "unofficial" game, but nobody seemed all that keen on the idea. And coaches were reluctant to force a decision on the fifth graders.

Finally, a parent named Matthew Dohn spoke up and asked the St. John's fifth grade team directly: "Is your decision to play the game without the two young ladies on the team, or do you want to stay as a team as you have all year?   Show of hands for play as a team?

All 11 members of the team raised their hands. When parents asked the question a diffeent way: Should the girls stay out of the game? No hands went up.

Parents reminded the team that if they let the girls play, the rest of the season would be forfeited. "If the girls play, this will be the end of your season. You won't play in the playoffs," said assistant coach Keisha Martel.

Martel is the mom of one of the girls in question.

"It doesn't matter," one boy replied. Soon the rest of the team joined in chanting, "Unity!"

NJ.com reported that many spectators cheered along and several parents began to cry.

Here's how one parent reacted, says NJ.com:

"Pride. Just pure pride......These kids are doing the right thing. We don't have to tell them what to do. They just know. It's amazing."

The fifth graders also appear to be more brave than the adults who made the decision to bar the girls. The kids on the team were outspoken on their position to say the least.

An anonymous complaint about the girls playing led to the decision to bar them. That came when St. John's played another school called St. Theresa's, where the family of one girl was suing the school to allow her to play on the boy's team.

The school responded by expelling the girl and her sister, though an appeals court ruled that the girls must be reinstated.

In the case of the St. John's game, the CYO organization said rules are rules and girls must play with girls, and boys must play with boys.

At least the kids understand there is sometime a need for flexibility.

Said parent Rob Martel: "They're kids and all they wanted to do was play.....This is adults that couldn't figure out how to let the kids play two more games. This isn't the WNBA or NBA. They're just trying to get better, and I think they got better today."

Well, maybe not at basketball, since the kids weren't allowed to play. But they certainly showed their growing skills at the game of life.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Side By Side View Of A Drive Through Los Angeles

Glenn Close in the current Broadway run of "Sunset Boulevard"
I was in New York City this week to see some shows and be tourists.

My husband Jeff and I were lucky enough to score very good seats to see Glenn Close in the revival of "Sunset Boulevard."  (We were very lucky to time this right because "Sunset Boulevard" is there for only a limited 16-week run.)

We loved it, of course, and Glenn Close was absolutely terrific. I resisted the temptation to say out loud those famous lines from the play as Close spoke them.

"I am big. It's the pictures that got small."

"Alright, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my closeup."

During Sunset Boulevard scene changes and transitions, the show at the Palace Theater had a translucent screen that showed 1940s-era black and white flim clips of Hollywood and the glamorous actors who inhabited it. ("Sunset Boulevard," for those who don't know, takes place in 1940s Hollywood.)

Quite a world, back then.

Imagine my delight when I got home yesterday, opened up the BoingBoing web site, and found, with perfect timing, a video showing side by side view of the same drive through Los Angeles in the 1940s and today.

It's pretty fascinating to see how much things have changed.

Watch the video, which comes to us courtesy of the New Yorker:


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Best Political Photo Of The Year So Far

I'm on a trip and don't have tine to post much, but I'll quickly share what I think is the best political photo of 2017 so far.

It shows German Chancellor Angela Merkel with a drag queen named Olivia Jones.

Jones was a delegate at an otherwise sober ceremony to choose a new German president. (a position separate from Chancellor.)

There's another good photo below of Jones with delegates









Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Bowling Green Massacre Was Created For A Reason And It's Working

Kellyanne Conway didn't "misspeak." She created the
Bowling Green Massacre for a reason, and it's working. 
I'm sure a lot of people rolled their eyes when they saw poll results earlier this month that indicated half of Trump's supporters think the Bowling Green Massacre is one good reason why Trump should pursue his immigration ban.

As many of us know, the Bowling Green Massacre is a fictional tragedy, one brought to us by Trump counselor and serial liar Kellyanne Conway.

The evil person here in Conway, not the Trump voters. They might not be all that gullible.

The question the poll asked was this:

"Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: 'The Bowling Green Massacre shows why we need Donald Trump's executive order on immigration?'"

As Huffington Post analyzes the polling question:

"What the question did ask about was whether respondents agreed that a fake event - presented as a factual event - justifies a policy that many Trump supporters already support. Of course, many supporters were going to agree with that stateent, even if they weren't aware that the Bowling Green Massacre was fiction."

As the article notes, people like me pay attention to the news ravenously. I knew the Bowling Green Massacre was fictitious the second Conway mentioned it.

However, not all so-called "low information voters" who think the Bowling Green Massacre happened are so stupid.

They're raising families, trying to hold down numerous jobs to make ends meet. They're caring for sick relatives and wondering where the next rent payment will come from.

They're not sitting there analyzing each bit of news that comes out. They never have time to pay attention to any news. So if somebody tells them the Bowling Green Massacre happened, who are they to argue? They haven't watched tne news.

As the Huffington Post notes, researchers know that if you ask somebody a question about a subject they know little about, they'll be agreeable to your questions and give you answers. They don't want to look dumb, understandably.

Says Huffington:

"Many will think they should have an answer, and say the first thing that comes to mind. This is why polling on specific policies is difficult - people often haven't given the issue a lot of thought, but whem prompted, they will make up an opinion."

The poll question was also worded in a leading way, so more people might have given the Bowling Green answer than they otherwise would have.

I won't say don't believe the polls. They're useful.

However, don't totally rely on them.

The Nation magazine was prescient back in August, when they questioned polls that suggested Hillary Clinton was almost a sure shot at getting into the White House.

We all know how that ended up.

As The Nation reported, some people lie to pollsters. In the case of the presidential election, some people really liked Donald Trump and were planning to vote for him, but didn't want to admit to a real live person they were going to do so, because Trump was perceived as so offensive and aggravating.

There's no prying eyes in the voting booth, though, so people feel more free to choose who they want while casting ballots.

Conway knows what she's doing. She's quite the skilled flack, except with no morals I can find.

She lies to stir up people. She knows most average people don't have time to parse her words and figure out the truth or fiction within.

So she plants the Bowling Green Massacre. When called on the lie, she said she accidentally misspoke. But again, few people have time to pay attention to those nuances.

Conway created the Bowling Green Massacre to advance Trump's con.

They say truth is stranger than fiction. What's even stranger is people like Conway who create fiction to create a so called alternate version of truth.



Monday, February 13, 2017

Finally! A "Bachelor" Episode I Can Actually Enjoy

These two women are vying for the affection of Stewart,
the only episode of "The Bachelor" you will ever love.
I have to say I really hate the TV show "The Bachelor" 

The fake sexual tension, the damsel in distress drama and cattiness exhibited by the female contestants, the drinking, the mental health issues, the pumped up music to supposedly build your interest in everything else about

The Bachelor is everything I despise about reality TV.

Until I found a recent episode.

No, not the official "The Bachelor" TV show. This episode is a knock off of the show, and features a very eligible bachelor named Stewart in Sante Fe, New Mexico.

Unlike the cads on the real "Bachelor," Stewart genuinely seems like a nice guy. He's friendly to both top contestants but doesn't get overly fake solititous, fawning or salacious. He just seems to want to enjoy the moment, whatever that moment might be.

He's physical with the women, but in a polite way.  He's a gentleman. Not a smart aleck. He's friendly, loves a good time, is physically active and a very good looking guy, I must say.

The women, in keeping with the usual set up of the show, are vapid, biting, too emotional, kinda dumb and a bit over the top in this episode

The episode involving Stewart is, as noted, set in New Mexico, and one of these American women who are vying for Stewart remarks about her trip to Sante Fe, "I'm so excited because I've never been out of the country before. "

Oookay.

But the women involved are clearly just doing this for the cameras. They're actually fine.

This particular episode ends before Stewart has a chance to decide which woman to "adopt" but I have the feeling that he'll have a great life with whomever he chooses.

Here's the video of the only really good episode of "The Bachelor":

Sunday, February 12, 2017

"Devil Went Down To Georgia" With The Help Of A Washing Machine

For your weird moment of pleasure, here's a video of a guy performing the song "Devil Went Down To Georgia" with accompanying help from an out-of-balance washing machine.

It's actually better than you'd expect.

H/T BoingBoing.

Watch:

Melissa McCarthy/Sean Spicer Strike Again

Melissa McCarthy, as White House Spokesman Sean Spicer,
attacks a reporter with a leaf blower on last night's SNL.
This may turn out to be a weekly feature, the way things are going.

Melissa McCarthy returned last night to Saturday Night Live as the always angry and frustrated White House Spokesman Sean Spicer.

Last night's episode had the usual zany props, this time an enormous stick of gun, dolls and a leaf blower. McCarthy/Spicer put all those things to good use.

A bonus SNL video is below the McCarthy/Spicer one in this post.

As always, tempers flared during the McCarthy/Spicer "press briefing" Watch and be prepared to laugh a lot, once again:



Also, last night on SNL, creepy White House counsel Kellyanne Conway goes totally "Fatal Attraction" on CNN's "Jake Tapper"  In real life, the actual Tapper declined to have Conway on his news show because she lacks credibility.

SNL helpfully re-imagines the aftermath of Tapper's decison. The great SNL comic actor Kate McKinnon nailed Kellyanne on this one (By the way, McKinnon also shined as Jeff Sessions and Elizabeth Warren elsewhere in last night's SNL.

A few people thought this skit was sexist. Maybe. But I still thought it was really funny. Here's the "Fatal Attractions" skit:

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Maybe Congress Should Get More Blame Than Trump

Will Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell put career and agenda
over the nation? And if so, will it be Congress' fault if Trump
really messes up America? Probably, yes.
The daily Trump show continues apace, with all kinds of weird tweets, orders, meltdowns and whatnot that is an everyday occurance.

Lots of people, including me, have long been appalled by Trump, and continue to be. We fear he's ruining the country, and we fear he and minions like Steve Bannon are trying to turn the United States into an undemocratic autocracy.

Maybe we're blaming the wrong guy, though.

The reason I say this is I read an interesting article by Ezra Klein in Vox that matched my suspicions.

In short, it's Congress' fault.

Klein writes:

"The President can do little without Congress's express permission. He cannot raise money. He cannot declare war. He cannot even staff his government. If Congress, tomorrow, wanted to compel Trump to release his tax returns, they could. If Congress, tomorrow, wanted to impeach Trump unless he turned his assets over to a blind trust, they could. If Congress, tomorrow, wanted to take Trump's power to choose who can and cannot enter the country, they could." 

The problem is, Congress can do all these things and more, but they won't.

The Founding Fathers knew that presidents had the potential to become autocratic, hence the power of the purse and other advantages they bestowed on Congress.

Klein goes on:

"If Trump builds an autocracy, his congressional enablers will, if anything, be more responsible than him. After all, in amassing power and breaking troublesome norms, Trump will be doing what the Founders expected.   But in letting any president do that, Congress will be violating the role they were built to play. We need to stop talking so much about what Trump will do ad begin speaking in terms of what Congress lets him do."

Look, the GOP controls Congress now. We should expect them to try to push through their agenda as forcefully as possible. That's what majorities in Congress always have done and always will. That's life whether we like it or not.

Seems to me that Congressional Republicans are so afraid of upsetting our Snowflake President Trump that they won't reign him in. Because they probably figure that if they prompt more Trump meltdowns, they won't get their agenda through.

Or they're playing Trump.

Back in January, Robert Reich, the former Labor Secretary under President Bill Clinton who has turned himself into a bit of a liberal firebrand, posited the notion Congress is taking advantage of Trump and will hammer down on him when he stops being useful.

Reich recounted a conversation about Republicans in Congress  he had with an unidentified  Republican friend:

"They'll play along for awhile.....They'll get as much as they want - tax cuts galore, deregulation, military buildup, slash all those poverty programs, and then get to work on Social Security and Medicare - and blame him. And he's such a fool, he'll want to take credit for everything."

Of course I have no way of knowing if Reich's recounting of this conversation is accurate.

But if so, it's chilling. Republicans in Congress know what they're proposing is unpopular. The reason they're pursuing the agenda seems to be to enrich their "One Percent" rich friends and by extension, themselves.

These Congress Creatures also know that if voters focused their anger on them when things go south under this agenda, their jobs are in jeopardy.

So, find a stool pigeon who will take the blame instead. That would be Trump.

Then, when Trump does something over the top stupid, they'll find an excuse to impeach him and install Vice President Mike Pence as president.

Now, Pence is a right wing zealot, but he's sane, people in Congress like him, and the hope is he'll get things done.

However, as noted in many publications, liberals are learning lessons from the ultra-conservative radical Tea Party of all people. The Tea Party focused on Congress, and now liberals are doing the same.

In other words, people are trying to hold Congressional Republicans accountable.

We'll see if it works, but it's clear the GOP is feeling some pressure.

Getting back to Klein, he writes:

"Already, congressonl Republicans are complaining that their phone lines are jammed, that their town halls are swarmed, that protesters, as Rep. Dave Brat said, 'in my grills no matter where I go.' And already, congressional Republicans are beginning to slo cown on repealing Obamacare and peel off from Trump's most unqualified nominees, like Betsy DeVos."

True, the more liberal wing of the the nation has a huge uphill battle, at least so far. DeVos was ultimately confirmed, despite two moderate Republicans who voted against her.

It's also largely full steam ahead with the GOP agenda.

But the liberal pressure remains. The fact that it's causing headaches for some GOP Congress Creatures is bound to slow things down, or even make them think twice about overreaching if they want to keep their jobs.

In the past couple of days,  we've had Republican congress people hold town meetings that didn't go all that well.

One widely distributed video was certainly bad optics for Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican who chairs the House Oversight Committee.

A young girl named Hannah Bradshaw asked the climate-denying Chaffetz, "Do you believe in science?"

The whole Chaffetz town hall was a complete mess, with a large crowd booing and shutting him down. True, many of these people were activists who never voted for Chaffetz and never will, but the scene had to take him aback a bit.

Especially since the crowd yelled "Do Your Job!" After all, part of Chaffetz's job is to investigate the Trump administration if there's funny business going on.

Chaffetz seems awfully reluctant to do that, but there's also public pressure, so, we'll see.

No doubt there is going to be LOTS of pressure on wimpy Republicans who won't stand up to Trump by the 2018 elections. Activists are already organizing campaigns and money and activism to be sure some incumbents sweat in two years.

I don't know where that will go, but Republican Congress Creatures are sure playing a risky game by sucking up to Trump. Risky for them, and even more risky for the nation.

Will they put country before career? I don't have confidence that they will, but one can hope, right?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Melt Your Heart As Girl Sings Sweetly To A Dog

A still from a very sweet video in this post
As you might have noticed, I occasionally post things that are just insanely nice as an antidote to the nastiness of the world, some of which I document in this here blog thingy.

Today's installment was so sweet I almost went into a diabetic coma, but the video at the bottom of this post is just so beautiful I had to share. It's just a little girl singing "You Are My Sunshine" to a dog.

The video was actually taken months ago, so it's not exactly breaking news. But it was recently featured in The Dodo, I found if there, and went with it.

Looking into the video further, it turns out that the dog in the video doesn't belong to the little girl, but that situation makes the whole thing better.

Turns out the girl's family belongs to a group called PACT For Animals that takes in dogs for foster care while their owners are away on military deployments or in the hospital.

Here's the video.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

She Wasn't Supposed To Park There Until 10 AM But.....

I thought the video I put in this post is humorous, so i thought I'd share.

The woman in traffic court parked in a spot where no parking was allowed between 8 and 10 a.m.

She parked in the spot at 9:59 and 58 seconds. Here's how it turned out in a Rhode Island traffic court:

Mystifying Side Note In Trump World: Missing USDA Data

My dogs Tonks (foreground) and Jackson said they are angry
the USDA removed information on animal welfare from
the government website. We want it back. 
I was watching the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC the other night and she was mystified by something I was equally confused about.

My dogs Jackson and Tonks, who were also watching, said the issue Maddow was discussing is very important and I should put it in my blog.

I agree.

The Trump administration took down animal welfare data from the Internet that had provided the public with information on, say, whether the puppy they were thinking of acquiring comes from an abusive puppy mill.

The USDA makes animal breeders pass inspections. Seven states and New York City have laws that say stores and such can't sell puppies and other animals unless they come from a reputable breeder. The USDA insspections help guide this, and that's what the USDA database was for.

On her show Tuesday, Maddow said:

"Pet stores or law enforcemet in these states, if they want to check and see if a dog breeder is legally allowed to sell puppies to a pet store, they get on the USDA web site, look them up by license number and read their inspection reports, see if they have clean inspection reports. That's it"

You could do this at home, too. Get ahold of the breeder's licence number and check out the easily navigable USDA data.

Until the Trump administration came along. It's gone now. No reason given.

The removal of the data means the seven states with the animal protection laws can't enforce those regulations. And you can't find out whether the breeder you're thinking of getting Fido from tortures puppies.

Almost makes you think the Trump administration is in favor of torturing kittens or something.

Digging further, I found a Science article that contained a statement from th USDA saying the data removal was part of the agency's effort in "striving to balance the need for transparency with rules protecting individual privacy."

Wait, what?  Bad animal breeders want to torture puppies or whatever away from the annoying, prying eyes of law enforcement and the public? Hey, leave me alone here, can't you see I'm torturing puppies. Get outta here!

The statement from the agency said some horse breeders and others were suing the USDA to get the animal welfare information out of the public eye and the data was removed out of an abundance of caution while the litigation was going on.

But these lawsuits were ongoing well before Trump came into office. The Obama administration was presented with the option of removing the animal welfare data from the USDA website, but chose not to, as Maddow notes. 

Also, as Maddow notes, the Trump administration has been quietly taking down things from various websites, but, when there's an outcry, a lot of it goes back up.

There's already a public outcry brewing. The Dodo reports tbat people are inundating the USDA and other government officials with photos of their pets as a protest against the removal of the information from the web site.

Also, it looks like the Humane Society is going to sue the USDA over the missing public information.

The Science article noted that the decision by the USDA to take down the animal welfare data is not final, so maybe it will reappear.

I hope so. There's no reason why anybody who abuses animals, or even potentially abuses animals, should have that kind of act hidden, out of respect for "privacy."


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A Moment With The Nation's Most Patriotic Chicken

This patriotic chicken knows how to play "America
The Beautiful" on a keyboard
Because we all love America, despite some of the politics going on in the nation these days, we all need a patriotic song or two to get us into our Love of Nation spirit.

With that, I bring you Jokgu, a 19-month old chicken from Germantown, Maryland who plays "America The Beautiful" on a keyboard.

Yep, you got that. A chicken knows the song. You can watch the video at the bottom of this post.

Normally, a chicken would just pluck and peck on things at random, but they can be trained to do things a certain way through clicker training.

The method uses positive reinforcement to shape behavior. When the chicken pecks at the right key,she gets a reward. The wrong key, no reward.

Pretty soon, the system of rewards can get the chicken to peck at the keyboard in a certain order, and Voila! A song is born.

Plus, "America The Beautiful," while aa wonderful song, is also pretty simple, so a chicken can handle it.

Watch the video, stand up and be proud!

 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The Most Vermont Style Highway Mishap EVER!

Vermont State Police had to close down part of Interstate 91 in the northeastern part of the state for the most Vermont of reasons:  

There was a maple syrup spill on the highway

The area around Exit 27 northbound shut down late Monday afternoon when a 42-gallon drum of maple syrup broke loose from a pickup truck and toppled onto the roadway, police said.

Nobody got hurt, but there was a LOT of anguish over the spill. Vermonters never cry over spilled milk, but they DO cry over spilled maple syrup.

"It's too bad to see someone lose so much perfectly good syrup.....It's depressing," said Newport, Vermont Fire Chief Jamie LeClair.

Unlike some spills you hear of on highways. the Great Vermont Maple Spill of '17 wasn't all that big a deal. After all, maple syrup isn't the most hazardous of substances out there.

Road crews had the whole thing cleaned up within 20 minutes and traffic, such as it is in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, was soon back to normal.

"A couple dozen pancakes could have absorbed it," said LeClair, the fire chief. (I am not making up these quotes.)

Besides, most of the snow poured onto snowbanks on the side of the road. Us Vermonters love sugar on snow. We pour maple syrup on fresh clean snow, or if none is available, crushed ice, and go to town.

Alas, the snow on the side of the road was dirty with road salt, dust and God knows what else, so there was no sugar on snow party at the scene of the crash.

Let's just hope the sugaring season this year, which starts soon, will yield a bumper crop to help make up for the tragedy in Newport.


Today's Overreaction: Cop Has Ex-Wife Jailed For Griping About Him On Facebook

The Facebook post that got Anne King arrested by
her vengeful ex-husband cop. He's now being sued
There's a strange lawsuit bubbling down in Georgia that started with this Facebook post by Anne King, griping about her ex-husband.

"That moment when everyone in your house has the flu and you ask your kids' dad to ge them (not me) more Motrin and Tylenol and he refuses."

OK, so that doesn't put the ex-husband in the best light possible, but hey, everybody complains on Facebook right?

Well, if the allegations in a lawsuit are correct, the ex-husband now looks much, much worse.

The ex-husband is Washington County sheriff deputy Corey King, who, according to the lawsuit filed  Anne King, had her arrested and jailed for posting the complaint. He also had Anne King's friend Susan Hines, who posted a response in support on the Facebook message.

All Hines said was "POS. Give me an hour and check your mailbox. I'll be GLAD to pick up the slack."

A local magistrate called the comments a criminal defamation case and threatened to an Mrs. King from Facebook says television station WRDW.

The case finally went to a more professional state court judge, who told the women, "I don't even know why you're here," as he promptly dismissed the charges, as Popehat notes.

Small town "justice" being what it is sometimes, Corey King and a local magistrate didn't seem to have a firm grasp of the niceties of First Amendent law.

The local magistrate, Ralph O. Todd, who is not a lawyer, somehow got elected to be that local judge, but boy does he seem to relish the role.

According to Popehat, Todd's criminal complaint against the women said, "Subject did, without privilege to do so ad with intent to defame another, communicate false matter which tends to expose one who is alive to hatred, contempt or ridicule, ad which tends to provoke a breach of the peace, specifically subject did make derogatory and degrading comments directed at and about Corey King, for the purpose of providing a breach of the peace."

Them there's some hifalutin' words, but of course, sometimes people who don't worry all that much about what's legal when they get into petty feuds over an insult.

Anne King could well get the last laugh with her lawsuit. She had the constitutional right to her opinion, expressed on Facebook, and her sheriff deputy ex might himself end up on the wrong end of the law after all.

Pettiness boomerangs sometimes, doesn't it?

Monday, February 6, 2017

Subway Passengers Armed With Hand Sanitizer Scrub Out Nazi Idiot

Armed with hand sanitizer and tissues, people scrub Nazi
graffiti away from inside a New York City subway car.
Some jerk got his or her Sharpie out and put swatikas and other Nazi images on just about every advertisement and window of a New York City subway car a few days ago.

People who boarded the subway were - surprise! -- not happy to see this stuff, but nobody knew what to do about it.

But in a Facebook post that has gone totally viral, a guy named Gregory Locke said one person spoke up and said, "Hand sanitizer gets rid of Sharpie. We need alcohol."

The guy also found some tissues to soak up the hand sanitizer and went to work.

The scene on the subway car quickly became remiscent of that old game show, "Let's Make A Deal" when host Monty Hall had people dig into their purses and wallets to find odd things to win prizes.

This time, though, everybody was digging into their backpacks and such to find hand sanitizer and tissues.

Within a few minutes, subway passengers, armed with such dangerous weapons as Purell and Kleenex, had purged the car of all Nazi symbolism.

One passenger, lamenting about the Nazi graffiti,  "I guess this is Trump's America."

Locke wrote in response: "No sir, it's not. Not tonight and not ever. Not as long as stubborn New Yorkers have anything to say about it."

Yes, yes, I know, Donald Trump is not a Nazi (at least I'm pretty sure.) But some of his supporters are white supremicists and they think they've got their big chance now that Donald Trump is president.

New York City resident Chelsea Clinton, (You might know her as Bill and Hillary's daughter) heard about this incident and tweeted, "We will not let hate win. And, another reason to carry hand sanitizer."

This is a small incident, granted. But there's a lot of forces of evil running amok in this nation right now and there's a lot of other people running around who will not stand for it. Stories like this make me feel just that much better about things.

I'm planning a brief visit to New York City in a couple weeks. I'd better pack some hand sanitizer for the subway rides, right?

Sunday, February 5, 2017

This Republican Wants Another Kent State To Teach 'Em Good!

This idiot from Michigan was just
wondering if shooting a couple
protesters would help end all those
anti-Trump demonstrations. 
Every once in awhile, a public official accidentally tells us what he or she is really thinking, with disastrous, jaw-dropping results.

Our latest exhibit in this wall of shame is Dan Adamini, the Secretary of the Marquette (Michigan) County Republican Party. And possibly soon to be former Secretary.

Adamini was apparently upset by a demonstration that turned violent in Berkeley, California and forced the cancellation of a talk by odious weird right-winger Milo Yiannopoulos.

Adamini tweeted this gem in response:  "Violent protesters who shut down free speech? Time for another Kent State. Perhaps one bullet stops a lot of thuggery."

He also went on Facebook and said this, grammer issues included:

"The violent protests at universities certainly indicate Portage acacian at the lower level. I'm thinking another Kent State might be the only solution protest stopped after one death. They only do it because there are no consequences at all."

That's quite a bit of word salad there, but you can see what Adamini seems to be suggesting.  Just shoot somebody and that will make people just shut up already.

Kent State, as you might remember, was the 1970 anti-Vietnam protest at Kent State University in Ohio. Some of the protesters threw rocks and such at police and National Guardsmen. The Guard opened fire, killing four of the demonstraters.

So yeah, that's right,  Adamini was suggesting what happened at Kent State back in 1970 was a swell idea.

Of course, if you want demonstrators to quiet down and stop, maybe shooting them isn't the best idea for many reasons, beyond the crime of killing people.

It'll backfire, pardon the awful pun. People were so outraged by Kent State that many believe it hastened the end of the Vietnam War. Which wasn't exactly what the Nixon administration wanted back in 1970.

Would violence against anti-Trump protesters hasten the end of the Trump era? I frankly don't want to find out, and I'm sure most other people feel the same way.

Since posting and taking down those offensive posts in social media, Adamini says he's against violence, too.

He posted this on Twitter, says MLive:

"Taking a lot of heat for a very poorly worded tweet yesterday. Sorry folks, the intent was to try to stop the violence, not encourage more."

Well, maybe, if he considers all demonstrations against Trump and his actions and his minions "violence." It doesn't seem to daw on Adamini that telling people to shut up when the criticize an elected official is also an attempt to squelch First Amendment rights.

I'm being Captain Obvious here, but sometimes, you gotta spell it out.

Calling his bad tweet "poorly worded?" I think the problem here goes way beyond grammar issues.

"Sean Spicer" Aka Melissa McCarthy Holds Combative SNL Presser

Melissa McCarthy slayed it last night on Saturday Night Live
as an unhinged White House spokesman Sean Spicer.  
Yeah, I get it, this is the second time in two days I featured Melissa McCarthy, but as you might have heard, she had a surprise command performance on "Saturday Night Live" last night.

The skit featured McCarthy as a totally unhinged Trump spokesman Sean Spicer, having one of his combative press briefings with the media.

I won't spoil it with specifics, but McCarthy nailed it. (And there was a glorious brief appearance by Kate McKinnon as a ditzy Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos)

In case you haven't seen it, watch and prepare to laugh out loud:

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Professional Anarchists And That Terrible Bowling Green Massacre Humor Social Media

Here's one image of the "Bowling Green
Massacre" that's been making its way
around the web
Say what you want about the Trump administration: When somebody there misspeaks, we get a torrent of online humor.

Hey, you need something go get you going.

Today's humor came from President Trump's unfortunate wording in a tweet complaining about protesters opposed to him.

"Professional anarchists, thugs and paid protesters are proving the point of the millions of people who voted to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!" Trump wailed in a 6:48 a.m. tweet Friday morning.

In case you haven't noticed, "professional anarchist" is more than a bit of  an oxymoron. By definition, anarchists aren't professional..

Then there was the Kellyanne Conway comment about the "Bowling Green Massacre" as justification for the so-called "Muslim Ban" executive order by Trump. She obviously misspoke, since there has been no "Bowling Green Massacre" that anybody can remember.

To be fair, Conway later tweeted that she misspoke, and was referring to a couple terrorists who had allegedly been plotting something around Bowling Green. There was obviously no real life massacre.

More on that in a minute.

It looked like quite a few people were ready to sign up to be "professional anarchists" if the pay was right.

One wag asked: "Wait, how do I become a 'professional' anarchist? What's the pay like? What paperwork do I have to fill out? What qualifications do I need?"

The Bowling Green Massacre got a lot more play, however.

One of the most popular things that popped up was the Bowling Green Massacre Victims' Fund.  If you click on the link, you get automatically transferred to the ACLU donations page.


I saw a tweet from Jimmy Kareliussen (@JMKareliussen) that said: "February 30th will henceforth be known as "Bowling Green Massacre Memorial Day."

Also on Twitter, mormonLIBERALmafia (@VoteMorales) said. "More people would have attended the @realDonaldTrump inauguration but they all died in the Bowling Green Massacre. Sad."

Natasha  Rothwell, (@nathasharothwell)  referencing what looked like Trump's confusion over whether Frederick Douglass is a living person, tweeted, "Saddened and sickened by Frederick Douglass' silence surrounding the Bowling Green Massacre. 

Others counseled people to tone it down regarding the massacre. Justin Shanes (@justinshanes) noted: "Finding these Bowling Green Massacre jokes to be a little too soon. Out of respect, we should wait until it takes place." 

More ominously, outside the jokes, Conway again whined that people aren't "respecting" Donald Trump. The common theme from the Trump folks seems to be that the media ought to just shut up.

I guess they don't want to do things that attract, you know, scrutiny and challenges.

Conway described the media approach to Trump this way, in an interview with radio host Sean Hannity:

"It never took on the aura of respect that it deserved, and if you are nt showing the President and his main spokespeople respect, then you're not showing the office respect, and you are inciting mob mentality if not mob violence."

That's so rich coming from the Trumpsters. Like they show anyone respect. Plus, you gotta earn it, bub. Act like a president and people might start treating you like one, Donald.

And yes, it's the job of the media to inform people. If they choose to protest based on the information about the Trump administration they can, since there's this little thing called the First Amendment.

Besides, with a few exceptions, most of the demonstrations against Trump have been quite peaceful.

So Kellyanne, Quitcherbitchin' and get back to work. And no more alternative facts, please.