Jun 17 2019

The Internet Sucks

Especially U.S. Internet which, even by comparison with countries we might consider less developed, is as slow as a 56K Modem.

Jun 17 2019

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Robert Reich: Welcome to Trump’s Corrupt State – the Star Wars cantina of world politics

The administration and the Republican party are nests of lobbyists and con artists who make Greedo look like a saint

Trump has been ramping up his “Deep State” rhetoric again. He’s back to blaming a cabal of bureaucrats, FBI and CIA agents, Democrats and “enemies of the people” in the mainstream media for conspiring to remove him from office, in order to allow the denizens of foreign “shitholes” to overrun America

But with each passing day it’s becoming clearer that the real threat to America isn’t Trump’s Deep State. It’s Trump’s own Corrupt State.

Not since the sordid administration of Warren G Harding have as many grifters, crooks and cronies occupied high positions in Washington.

Trump has installed a Star Wars cantina of former lobbyists and con artists, including several whose exploits have already forced them to resign, such as Scott Pruitt, Ryan Zinke, Tom Price and Michael Flynn. Many others remain.

This week the Guardian reported that a real estate company partly owned by Trump son-in-law and foreign policy adviser Jared Kushner has raked in $90m from foreign investors since Kushner entered the White House, through a secret vehicle run by Goldman Sachs in the Cayman Islands. Kushner’s stake is some $50m.

All this takes conflict of interest to a new level of shamelessness.

What are Republicans doing about it? Participating in it.

Neal K. Katyal: Trump’s Abuse of Executive Privilege Is More Than a Present Danger

He’s making it harder for future presidents to govern.

President Trump has been on an executive privilege extravaganza. In the past month, he’s asserted it to block Congress from obtaining documents about the census citizenship question, invoked it to try to bar the full Mueller report from being given to Congress, and used it to bar his former White House counsel, Don McGahn, from providing documents to Congress.

Executive privilege has a legitimate core, but Mr. Trump’s attempts are going to wind up undermining that core, and make it harder for future presidents to govern. He is essentially saying that he will not turn over information to Congress about potential wrongdoing — the absolute weakest claim to executive privilege along the spectrum of possible claims. [..]

Every time a president invokes executive privilege, there are three relevant audiences he has to think about: the courts, Congress and the public. Each has reasons to be worried about Mr. Trump’s profligate invocations. Presidents have a limited reservoir of secrecy available to them — the more they look wanton, the more these other entities grow concerned. And the worst part is that when they abuse the privilege, they risk generating legal precedents that will make it harder for future presidents to use the privilege in settings when they legitimately need it.

It is sometimes said that this Supreme Court will do nothing against this president, that a body with a majority composed of justices appointed by Republican presidents will not rule against him.

But the experience of President Nixon was instructive. The Supreme Court is composed of life-tenured justices for a reason. No one, particularly this president, should assume that politics will protect him in the highest court in the land.

Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 17 2019

The Duty To Impeach

You know, political calculation is really immaterial. Every Officer who took an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and ensure the Law of the United States is faithfully executed knows that the condition of a Felon (Unindicted to be sure) abusing the powers of Office to illegally Obstruct Justice can not long endure.

I can’t guarantee that impeachment will work out the way that you want it to because it probably won’t, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing. Because if nothing else, we’d be standing by the basic, fundamental principle that nobody is above the law.

Jun 17 2019

Cartnoon

What’s the point?

I don’t drink de-caffinated coffee either.

Jun 17 2019

The Breakfast Club (Transparency)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

 photo stress free zone_zps7hlsflkj.jpg

This Day in History

The Watergate scandal begins to unfold; The Battle of Bunker Hill during the American Revolution; O.J. Simpson arrested in the slayings of his ex-wife Nicole and Ronald Goldman; Singer Kate Smith dies.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

If you have nothing to hide, there is no reason not to be transparent.

Mohamed ElBaradei

Read the rest of this entry »

Jun 17 2019

Six In The Morning Monday 17 June 2019

 

Hong Kong extradition: How radical youth forced the government’s hand

In just one week Hong Kong has witnessed two of its largest ever protests, as well its most violent protest in decades. At the forefront of these demonstrations are young people, many barely out of their teens. How did they get radicalised – and how did they manage to force the government’s hand?

We screamed at people to run.”

“My parents kicked me out after the protests.”

“It was the first time I got tear gassed – tears were coming uncontrollably out of my eyes.”

“I’m afraid to give my real name.”

These are not words anybody would have expected to come out of the mouths of Hong Kongers – and certainly not ones aged between 17 and 21.

Hong Kong protests: pressure builds on Carrie Lam as public rejects apology

Calls for government leader to stand down after an estimated two million march over unpopular extradition bill

Hong Kong’s political crisis has entered its second week, after protesters who had filled the city’s streets in record numbers on Sunday rejected an apology from leader Carrie Lam, and vowed to continue their fight against a controversial law she championed.

After the sweeping protest – which organisers say attracted 2 million people, the largest in the semi-autonomous city’s history – Lam apologised in a statement for the way the government had handled the draft extradition law.

But she did not meet any of demonstrators’ key demands. They are calling for her to withdraw the extradition bill, end a crackdown on activists and hold police accountable for brutal tactics at previous protests. They also want her to resign.

Nuclear powers upgrade arsenals as numbers fall: SIPRI

Nuclear-weapon powers continue to modernize their arsenals despite an overall reduction in warheads, a report has found. Reductions may slow if a US-Russia treaty is not renewed past 2021.

Nuclear powers are continuing to modernize their arsenals despite an overall decrease in the number of nuclear warheads, a Sweden-based peace research institute said Monday.

Nine nuclear-weapon powers — the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea — had an estimated 13,865 nuclear weapons at the start of 2019, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) reported. Deployed warheads and those held in reserve or awaiting dismantlement are included in the estimate.

Indian doctors strike over violence from patients and families

Tens of thousands of Indian doctors went on strike Monday calling for more protection against violence by patients and their families, as parliament met for the first time since national elections.

The nationwide strike, which will last until Tuesday morning, is in solidarity with doctors in the eastern state of West Bengal after three were viciously attacked by the relatives of a man who died.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA), representing 350,000 of India’s 900,000 doctors, called for tougher punishments for those assaulting medical staff.

Desperation and exploitation in the food delivery gig economy

By Liz Alderman

Aymen Arfaoui strapped on a plastic Uber Eats bag and checked his mobile phone for the fastest bicycle route before pedaling into the stream of cars circling the Place de la Republique. Time was money, and Arfaoui, a nervous 18-year-old migrant, needed cash.

“I’m doing this because I have to eat,” he said, locking in a course that could save him a few minutes on his first delivery of the day. “It’s better than stealing or begging on the street.”

Argentina does not believe a cyber attack caused massive blackout across South America

Updated 0730 GMT (1530 HKT) June 17, 2019

Argentina’s energy secretary said he does not believe a cyber attack caused a massive power outage that left tens of millions of people in Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay in darkness for several hours on Sunday.

“At this moment we do not rule out any possibilities but… a cyberattack is not within the preliminary alternatives being considered,” Gustavo Lopetegui told reporters on Sunday.
Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri called the power outage, which also affected parts of Chile and southern Brazil, “unprecedented” and announced an official investigation into the cause.

 

 

 

Jun 16 2019

Happy Fathers’ Day

Advice from a father to his child: If you set your mind to it, you can do anything and be anything you want. Don’t ever let anyone tell you – you can’t.

For those still here and those who are not. We, your children, love you.

Jun 16 2019

Poolwatch

Pitch and Poles not Slo-Mo buff umm… jiggling. Got the stupid uniform suit thing right, full timers have 3, a good one, one on requisition so you can start using your good one, and the rags you actually work in. Rinse thoroughly and hope they dry enough in your locker so you don’t have to put them on sticky damp tomorrow.

Takin’ It To The Streets – The Doobie Brothers 1982

I certainly don’t want you to think Syracuse is some kind of scary urban hellhole. I lived in a converted Victorian a block from a big Park, King Bedroom, Full Bath, Galley, Nook, and a seriously large living room. My next door neighbor, Lacerta, kept Snakes, Spiders, and Lizards as pets. It had more diversity than I was used to but I found the people generally friendlier and nicer than they were in Stars Hollow.

One particularly friendly and nice person I had previously known in Stars Hollow. I’ll call her Joan because she’s a big deal Lawyer now.

It is a source of constant amazement that anyone tolerates me at all. Joan apparently liked me well enough even though our primary social circles touched but tangentally. We shared an American History Class marked by unabashed drooling dozing in the hot window seats, hands perma-raised, correct answers burbling tag team from our lips.

In 1930, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, in an effort to alleviate the effects of the… Anyone? Anyone? …the Great Depression, passed the… Anyone? Anyone? The tariff bill? The Hawley-Smoot Tariff Act? Which, anyone? Raised or lowered? …raised tariffs, in an effort to collect more revenue for the federal government. Did it work? Anyone? Anyone know the effects? It did not work, and the United States sank deeper into the Great Depression. Today we have a similar debate over this. Anyone know what this is? Class? Anyone? Anyone? Anyone seen this before? The Laffer Curve. Anyone know what this says? It says that at this point on the revenue curve, you will get exactly the same amount of revenue as at this point. This is very controversial. Does anyone know what Vice President Bush called this in 1980? Anyone? Something-d-o-o economics. ‘Voodoo’ economics.

I imagine everyone else in class just hated us. We obviously didn’t care at all and broke every curve. At the time Joan was sporting her Goth/Biker Rebel look while I was full on Sartre Existential Crisis. Ran the Library (oh, did I mention I was a volunteer Librarian? One period a week and all the keys.) dead out of Camus and was despairingly deep into Kierkegaard whom I understand better now.

Anyway Joan was “cool” and I wasn’t (noticably to me at the time) anything much. In retrospect I realize that many people envied my nigh untouchable immunity that was merely an accident of undiscovered crime and mischaracterization. I was the perfect guy to hide your stash if you needed it because I was not tempted and I’m not a snitch. Never had to, but I would and people knew it because even then I was a fairly militant Civil Libertarian.

Joan was also in my WSLI Class and while others were a tad reluctant to partner up with 93 pounds of cunning and gristle I simply asked she not hurt me, too much, and she didn’t, too much. I think she lied. She was never 93 pounds, it was simply the minimum.

After parting ways with the University of Connecticut because of disagreement about my education (I have many, many more slanderous things to say, but I’ll save them for another day) she heard I was between Institutions and unsolicited renewed her invitation (she thought given my career goals my list of Ivies and Fallbacks a poor fit) to grab a space at Big Orange and she’d help me find a cot and a gig.

Slept on her floor for a month before I got my place which I’ve told you about. The gig was with Parks and Rec as an Instructor/Life Guard full time, with benefits.

Look, I told you she was cunning and a big deal.

For my test I had to pass a written and for the practical you had to swim 450m and demonstrate a Takedown.

A Takedown is when someone jumps in the water and flails about pretending they’re drowning. Forbidden from using any of the common sense approaches like tossing them a float or a line, or hooking them with a stick, you’re supposed to dive in and hand wrestle them to the side of the Pool.

That is a monumentally stupid idea and I recommend with all my professional expertise against it. If not trained do not even attempt otherwise we’ll be fishing out 2 dead bodies on hooks.

Of course they gave me the 6’3″ 230# Steroid Abusing Christian Metal Pothead (I later worked for him at Nottingham, he wasn’t so bad). Fortunately I had a fool proof plan and an airtight alibi. The best way to gain control of people in a drowning situation is to ambush them from below.

You see, on some level they expect you to be fair, to come into range so they can climb on you. Turtles all the way down Bucky. You dive out of reach and drag them under by the ankle. You crawl up their back, zap them in a Full Nelson and kick for the surface.

Now you can horse them to the side that way or go to a single or double breast carry, but I like the Hair Pull (at the Hair Line, ruffle from the back and coil the pull fingers to lock them) which puts both the subject at a nice safe arm’s length and encourages co-operation due to pain compliance (squeeze please) and the threat of permanent cervical injury (hey, you just tried to kill me you bastard, drive around in a Dr. Xavier chair for the rest of your life).

Anyway, I passed and actually looked like I knew what I was doing, Pam Andersen style (Hasselhoff was an airhead Pec Pretty Boy) having survived the rigors of the Stars Hollow Death Trap. Pools? Abusing defenseless little people? I am sooo down with that. Took 30 seconds in my first live jive class for my Supervisor to catch me turning my back on a kid. First of all I didn’t really have any practical as an Instructor and secondly it’s not best form but on a scale of 1 – 10 about a 3, maybe a 2. It’s not like I tossed them off the end of the Springboard and cackled as they sank to the bottom, my 2’10” waif dutifully wall kicking in 3′ of water on my right so I could hear them was out of sight when I turned to address other class members on my left.

My bad. I had to go back and re-read the chapter on Class Management.

The mainstream Primary School students were basic and conventional. We also made a specialty of training the severely Learning Disabled and you haven’t lived until you’ve shut down the pool to let the filters do their thing while you fish the floating turds out with nets or pried a 21-year-old with lots of hormones and little self control off your waist. The guy I ruined the life of I coaxed and pressured from a fetal position by the wall to face wetting and blowing bubbles. Only took 2 years and the 3rd he opted for something else because I was such a hard ass.

But don’t get me wrong, Life Guarding, even full time with Instruction is not such a terrible job. We had a crew of 5 or 6 plus a Supervisor. You got wet about 4 times a day and in between we played Pitch (also known as ‘Setback’ you Hartford suckers) with damp cards at the picnic table on the deck (Office wasn’t big enough) FOR MONEY!

The Onondaga LaCrosse Player and I pretty much cleaned up, everyone else not so much.

Winters (long and early) we’d get our season night passes to Greek Peak in Tully and at least 3 times a week we’d drag in our boards (which rot something terrible at the edges in the atmosphere) and after work we’d bop down and bash moguls to powder.

Valley Pool is a totally real place I really worked at-

Valley Pool

Not quite as dingy as I remember.

Summers, because of my dutiful scut work (I didn’t mind, others considered it a hardship), I was posted to the premier Pool in the City- Nottingham High School. Capable of hosting an Olympics the 10m Platform feet and head was a rite of passage but we didn’t have to police it. 1m Springboards only and 90% of the time we were configured for Water Polo so no diving at all.

But we were staffed for it and during your 1 – 9 shift you could expect about 4 or 5 deck rotations. Not hard, you got out soon enough to hit the parties and slept late enough so you didn’t feel compelled to leave early.

I also subbed Winters during School Breaks and one memorable day hiked the 2 miles or so from my Apartment in weather so cold my car wouldn’t start. Still, full time, with benefits. Including Vacation and Sick Days most of which I blew on being actually sick and visiting Stars Hollow on the Holidays.

At the time I was too naive to understand how captive I was to City and State politics and policies but they made a reasonable Bohemian existence possible if you didn’t mind the snow. I might have persisted but other opportunities presented themselves closer to Stars Hollow, so I returned.

It was the end of my Life Guarding Career, not that there’s much of a path from Instructor to Head Honcho, Parks and Rec, in the Org Chart.

Jun 16 2019

House

True Faith (1987) – New Order

Enola Gay – Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark

Fade To Grey (1981) – Visage

Jun 16 2019

Pondering the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Pondering the Pundits: Sunday Preview EditionPondering the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

On Sunday mornings we present a preview of the guests on the morning talk shows so you can choose which ones to watch or some do something more worth your time on a Sunday morning.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

This Week with George Stephanopolis: The guests on Sunday’s “This Week” are: Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos’ exclusive interview with Donald Trump; and Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl speaks exclusively with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).

The roundtable guests are: ABC News Political Director Rick Klein; former Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ); Democratic strategist Stefanie Brown James; and Associated Press Washington Bureau Chief Julie Pace.

Face the Nation: Host Margaret Brennan’s guests are: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo; Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR); Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA); South Bend mayor and 2020 hopeful Pete Buttigieg (D); and CBS News Elections & Surveys Director Anthony Salvanto

Her panel guests are:

  • Amy Walter, Cook Political Report; CBS News Political Contributor Leslie Sanchez; and Antjuan Seawright, Democratic Strategist.

 

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd: The guests on this week’s “MTP” are: South Bend mayor and 2020 hopeful Pete Buttigieg (D); and House Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA).

The panel guests are: Helene Cooper, New York Times Pentagon correspondent; Mark Leibovich, chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine; Danielle Pletka, American Enterprise Institute; and George Will, Washington Post columnist.

State of the Union with Jake Tapper: Mr. Tapper’s guests are: Democratic 2020 hopefuls South Bend, IN Mayor Pete Buttigieg and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX)

His panel guests are: Democratic strategist Karen Finney; otherwise unemployable former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA); Conservative commentator Amanda Carpenter; and former Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI).

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