Jun 282016
 

Nigel Farage (of the UK Independence party, a leader in the Brexit movement) speaking before the EU bureaucaparliament. Apart from the accent, it sounds much like a speech that *should* be given before Congress. Notably, a lot of the reaction to the speech is, especially in light of the recent tantrum the Dems had on the House floor, also very familiar in tone and childishness. There is a whole lot of disdain when Farage says that the UK and the EU should not have tariffs, indicating that the EUniks want to punish the Brits economically.

“I know that virtually none of you have ever done a proper job in your lives, or worked in business, or worked in trade, or indeed ever created a job.”

 Posted by at 12:11 pm
Jun 262016
 

Hamilton: An American Musical with special guest Hillary Rodham Clinton

Premium Seat – $10,000 Includes Photo Reception with Hillary

Host – $33,400 Includes Premium Seat and Wrap Party with Hillary and other special guests

Event Chair – $100,000 Includes two Premium Seats and Wrap Party with Hillary and other special guests, and Invitation to the Democratic National Convention

I mean, gosh! You’d have to be crazy to *not* buy a couple of tickets! You have to spend money to make money, right? And how else are you going to get this close to Hillary to bend her ear for two seconds to try to influence her policies than by throwing fat stacks of cash at her?

 

 Posted by at 1:32 am
Jun 242016
 

Londoners call for capital to break away from the rest of Britain following Brexit vote

I have approximately zero fraks to give about whether London stays a part of England or not. But what I *do* care about is the awesome possibility of that idea catching on in the US. Just imagine… New York City secedes from New York State. Chicago breaks away from Illinois (and Gary from Indiana; those two utopian ideal metropolii can joint forces while Illinois and Indiana build a wall around ’em). Politics in NYC and Chicago could remain exactly the same, but for the rest of their states? A renaissance of freedom and a breaking away from the strangleholds of the urban powerhouses that have enforced entirely inappropriate laws and regulations on the rest of their states.

And then there’re all the other nations looking to bail from the EU:

The Swexits, Czexits and Frexits that could follow Britain out of the EU

Dexit, Nexit Or Swexit Could Be Next

Brexit — then Frexit, Nexit, Swexit, Plexit …?

Swexit: Sweden

Czexit: Czech Republic

Frexit: France

Dexit: Denmark

Nexit: Norway

Plexit: Poland (this one could use some work)

History is replete with high-minded associations that just didn’t work out. T he US, for example, under the original Articles of Confederation. The League of Nations is probably the standout example of a failure like the EU might turn out to be.

 

 Posted by at 5:47 pm
Jun 242016
 

Who would the USA exit from? I suggest from the federal government. Behold:

There Are Now More Bureaucrats With Guns Than U.S. Marines

The “Militarization of America” report found civilian agencies spent $1.48 billion on guns, ammunition, and military-style equipment between 2006 and 2014. Examples include IRS agents with AR-15s, and EPA bureaucrats wearing camouflage. … Open the Books found there are now over 200,000 non-military federal officers with arrest and firearm authority, surpassing the 182,100 personnel who are actively serving in the U.S. Marines Corps.

I’m sorry (no I’m not), but the government doesn’t get to have temper tantrums and demand that the people should be disarmed while at the same time loading up on the very same arms they say we can’t have.

Whenever there’s a gun control debate, you almost always see the one guy pop up with “Yeah, ok, so what about nukes? Should regular folks be allowed to own nukes? Huh? Should they? Gotcha!” I’ve suggested before that a simple rule of thumb on what arms the civilian populace should not be barred from having is this: I get to buy whatever the internal policing system in the US gets to buy. If the EPA gets to have assault weapons, so do I. If the IRS wants main battle tanks, I should be allowed to buy ’em too. If the Food and Drug Administration gets theater ballistic missiles, so do I. If the Small Business Administration gets weaponized smallpox, then I get the selection of plagues and poxes of my choice.

Don’t want me to have a particular class of weapon, Representative Trigglypants? Then why do *you* get them?

 Posted by at 8:35 am
Jun 232016
 

It’s hours from being final, but at the moment the experts are saying that the “Leave” vote is several points ahead and it is 75% probable that the UK will be leaving the EU.

Watching the ITV coverage of the British vote on leaving the EU is somewhat enlightening… many of the commentators, politicians, “journalists” and talking heads are reacting with the sort of shock you generally only see when the Democrats lose an important vote (like when W got his second term).

If the UK does leave, there’ll be some interesting times. For starters, the Scots will probably vote again on whether *they* want to leave the UK, since apparently the EU is popular in Scotland. It also seems like in the rest of Britain the biggest “Stay” contingent is urban London; mirroring the United States, it looks like the urban areas of Britain are out of step with the rest of the country.

Chances are good that in the near term Britain will be in for some hard times. The EU will undoubtedly punish Britain economically, if for no other reason than to show any other countries thinking about leaving that they’d better think twice. No doubt Putin will be thrilled by Brexit, as it’ll weaken European military ties; but in the long run I suspect Britain will be stronger. No longer hamstrung by EU bureaucrats, the Brits might be able to do the stuff they want to do, the way they want to do it.

And beyond all that: 2016 is just getting weirder and weirder politically. I shudder to imagine what’s coming in August.

 Posted by at 9:15 pm
Jun 232016
 

So pretty much all day today I’ve been dealing with getting a book assembled. It’s of unusual format (11 inch-high pages about 40 inches long) and of only 27 pages length, but it cost enough to have printed that I only got ten. And so today I ran my butt 40 miles down the road to the print shop to get it (and a few other things that were printed), and once I got home I’ve spent the rest of the day dealing with these project. After many hours futzing around, I have a grand total of one copy of the book all assembled.

WP_20160622_002

Anyway, I was busy all day today. While driving home I heard something on the radio that made me think someone was playing a little joke, and then forgot all about it. So when I finally finished that first book, I turned on CNN to find that the House Democrats have lost their tiny little minds and have been having a childish temper tantrum all day. If you’ve somehow failed to hear, they’ve been having a “sit in” in the House preventing work from going forward because they lost votes on their initial ideas about restricting the civil liberties of American citizens without due process. Take, for example, Senator Diane Feinstein explaining that it is up to Americans to prove their innocence, a complete reversal of more than 200 years of American jurisprudence. She then goes on to say that that’s just the first step; next comes banning the average civilian firearm.

And the floor of the House looks like it has been invaded by an army of Trigglypuffs, shouting their inane slogans: “Why do you want to let terrorists buy a gun?” “No bill, no breaks!” And other such nonsense, like a bunch of idiot campus causehead protestors. At the same time they’re yapping about wanting a Real Debate, they’re shouting down anyone with an opposing view, like Louis Gohmert pointing out that the Orlando terrorist attack was, in fact, a terrorist attack:

Bah.

fark_EwSDzdYFxmyHYTyGgcrE8FAiQ8E

At left, Rep. John Lewis. He made his name in the 1960’s working for civil rights; now he’s working to curtail civil rights.

The reason I turned on CNN in the first place was to see the Libertarian town hall in hopes that maybe, just maybe, the Libertarians might give me hope this time around. But it was pre-empted by coverage of the Democrats House whine-in. It’s very unlikely, but just barely possible enough that maybe there was some thought in advance to scheduling this childish display in order to wipe out one of the few opportunities the Libertarians have of reaching the public.

And apparently Nancy Pelosi is sending out fundraising emails. Even the talking heads on CNN generally agreed that this was “gauche;” the Dems claim they’re doing this to protect families and children and puppies and baby unicorns, but it’s really just a craven and monumentally cynical publicity and fundraising stunt.

Even Raedthinn can’t stand these idjits, and he doesn’t even watch CNN.

WP_20160621_005

 Posted by at 12:06 am
Jun 222016
 

Brazil Just Shot and Killed Its Own Olympic Mascot

Specifically, “Juma,” a 17-year-old endangered jaguar that was trotted out like a prop for a torch ceremony. When returned to its zoo, it escaped, wandered around for a bit, got shot with four tranquilizer darts, and when that didn’t knock it down they upgraded to “solider with a rifle.”

Tell me that this Olympics just looks like a barrel of fun:

Times like this I’m glad I don’t give a rats ass about sports, or otherwise the prospect of having to decide to wander on down to Zikaville to watch some games surrounded by a nation on the brink just might give me heartburn.

 Posted by at 8:02 am
Jun 202016
 

Now, this right here is some funny, funny stuff:

Are We in For a Dystopian Future of Endless Suburbs and Robot Cars? 

The author of the piece discusses the idea that the advent of self-driving cars will allow for the spread of suburbs, with people leaving dense city centers for spread-out suburbs. This sounds not unlikely to me. But where it gets funny is… well, right off the bat:

If you are exactly like me, you live in a dense urban environment and assume that dense urban environments are the way of the future, and suburbs are dark hellpits full of enormous PetSmart outlets and molly-soaked teens. … If you are exactly like me, you naturally expect that over time a larger and larger percentage of the population will move to dense urban areas, which are more efficient and more lively and more ecologically sound and which will be, with proper political leadership, more cost-effective…

No, dude. Not exactly like you. I’ve lived in the burbs, I’ve lived in the country, and I’ve spent time in the dense urban environment. While I certainly prefer the country to the burbs, I couldn’t get out of the city fast enough. And that’s just on a one-day *visit.*

Sure people are different. lots of people prefer to be in tightly packed peoplezoos like Chicago or New York. But the reasons typically given for why they prefer the cities generally strike me as being logically flawed (such as the notion that citylife is “greener” that non-citylife… how many acres of green growing stuff does the author have? I have 4.5 or so), or appeals to emotions that will only appeal to a certain percentage of the population. If your big thrill is to get coked up and party all night at a club, or to spend *vast* sums at restaurants, then, great, cities are for you. If your goal is to be able to see the Milky Way, to see wildlife, to actually look *outwards* rather than *inwards,* then cities really aren’t for you.

Something I inevitably see in these articles about how preferable cities are to anythign else is that public transportation, buses and trains, is just vastly better, cheaper, cleaner, more efficient than privately owned cars. If your world is just a few miles wide, from your small apartment to your small cubical to your clubs to your bars… then, yeah, being on a small track makes sense. But if your world is wider than that, then public transportation is less than useless. If I suddenly decide that I want to be 100 miles away in some random direction, simply because that’s what I want to do, what train or bus will take me there?

Plus: when the inevitable happens – a nuclear/biological/chemical attack, a Carrington event, an economic downturn, a public sector strike, a plague, etc. a self-contained arcology full of feminist studies majors and artisanal wine connoisseurs and man-bun aficionados doesn’t really seem the place to be. When New York City goes down, that place is going to eat itself… and then it will slowly spread outwards, turning the surrounding regions into a blasted wasteland.

 Posted by at 5:11 pm
Jun 202016
 

The FBI has changed their mind and released an unredacted version of the brief transcript. The relevant bit is this:

Orlando Police Dispatcher (OD)
Omar Mateen (OM)

OD: Emergency 911, this is being recorded.
OM: In the name of God the Merciful, the beneficent [Arabic]
OD: What?
OM: Praise be to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of God [Arabic]. I wanna let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings.
OD: What’s your name?
OM: My name is I pledge of allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of the Islamic State.
OD: Ok, What’s your name?
OM: I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may God protect him [Arabic], on behalf of the Islamic State.
OD: Alright, where are you at?
OM: In Orlando.
OD: Where in Orlando?
[End of call.]

Now, was that so hard? What, is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi friggen’ Candyman or Voldemort? Say his name and he’ll getcha? No.

It’s interesting that we live in a time where those in power are afraid to say the name of our enemies. Was Reagan afraid to say “Communists?” Was FDR afraid to say “Nazis?” I think there is a disturbing amount of magical thinking on *both* sides of the issue… the right demanding that Obama and such say “radical Islamic terrorism” rather than more generic “terrorism,” and at the same time Obama and such virtually refusing to say it. Both sides seem to think that the word “Islam” has some sort of inherent power. But there is a definite difference between one side wanting to speak the truth twice as much as needed, and the other side not wanting to speak the truth at all.


 

Original post, earlier in the day:

The FBI has released edited transcripts of Omar Mateens calls to 9-11, made during his terrorist attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. It has some unusual redactions.

——

ORLANDO—In order to provide an update on the progress of the investigation into the Pulse nightclub shooting, the FBI is releasing an excerpt from the timeline of events inside the Pulse nightclub during the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12, 2016. Out of respect for the victims of this horrific tragedy, law enforcement will not be releasing audio of the shooter’s 911 calls at this time, nor will law enforcement be releasing audio or transcripts of the calls made by victims at the Pulse nightclub during the incident. Furthermore, the name of the shooter and that of the person/group to whom he pledged allegiance are omitted.

The following is based on Orlando Police Department (OPD) radio communication (times are approximate):

  • 2:02 a.m.: OPD call transmitted multiple shots fired at Pulse nightclub.
  • 2:04 a.m.: Additional OPD officers arrived on scene.
  • 2:08 a.m.: Officers from various law enforcement agencies made entrance to Pulse and engaged the shooter.
  • 2:18 a.m.: OPD S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons & Tactics) initiated a full call-out.
  • 2:35 a.m.: Shooter contacted a 911 operator from inside Pulse. The call lasted approximately 50 seconds, the details of which are set out below:

Orlando Police Dispatcher (OD)
Shooter (OM)

OD: Emergency 911, this is being recorded.
OM: In the name of God the Merciful, the beneficial [in Arabic]
OD: What?
OM: Praise be to God, and prayers as well as peace be upon the prophet of God [in Arabic]. I let you know, I’m in Orlando and I did the shootings.
OD: What’s your name?
OM: My name is I pledge of allegiance to [omitted].
OD: Ok, What’s your name?
OM: I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted].
OD: Alright, where are you at?
OM: In Orlando.
OD: Where in Orlando?
[End of call.]

(Shortly thereafter, the shooter engaged in three conversations with OPD’s Crisis Negotiation Team.)

  • 2:48 a.m.: First crisis negotiation call occurred lasting approximately nine minutes.
  • 3:03 a.m.: Second crisis negotiation call occurred lasting approximately 16 minutes.
  • 3:24 a.m.: Third crisis negotiation call occurred lasting approximately three minutes.

In these calls, the shooter, who identified himself as an Islamic soldier, told the crisis negotiator that he was the person who pledged his allegiance to [omitted], and told the negotiator to tell America to stop bombing Syria and Iraq and that is why he was “out here right now.” When the crisis negotiator asked the shooter what he had done, the shooter stated, “No, you already know what I did.” The shooter continued, stating, “There is some vehicle outside that has some bombs, just to let you know. You people are gonna get it, and I’m gonna ignite it if they try to do anything stupid.” Later in the call with the crisis negotiator, the shooter stated that he had a vest, and further described it as the kind they “used in France.” The shooter later stated, “In the next few days, you’re going to see more of this type of action going on.” The shooter hung up and multiple attempts to get in touch with him were unsuccessful.

  • 4:21 a.m.: OPD pulled an air conditioning unit out of a Pulse dressing room window for victims to evacuate.

(While the FBI will not be releasing transcripts of OPD communication with victims, significant information obtained from those victims allowed OPD to gain knowledge of the situation inside Pulse.)

  • 4:29 a.m.: As victims were being rescued, they told OPD the shooter said he was going to put four vests with bombs on victims within 15 minutes.

(An immediate search of the shooter’s vehicle on scene and inside Pulse ultimately revealed no vest or improvised explosive device.)

  • 5:02 a.m.: OPD SWAT and OCSO Hazardous Device Team began to breach wall with explosive charge and armored vehicle to make entry.
  • 5:14 a.m.: OPD radio communication stated that shots were fired.
  • 5:15 a.m.: OPD radio communication stated that OPD engaged the suspect and the suspect was reported down.

Based on OPD radio communications, there were no reports of shots being fired inside Pulse between the initial exchange of gunfire between responding officers and shooter, and the time of the final breach. During this time, the shooter communicated with an OPD 911 operator and an OPD crisis negotiator, and OPD radio communications reported that victims were being rescued.

The FBI urges the public to provide information about the shooter and any contact they may have had with him. Since the release of the FBI’s Seeking Information poster, the FBI has received thousands of tips. The FBI will investigate every tip.

To provide a tip, please call 1-800-CALL-FBI or visit tips.fbi.gov.

 

————

And there it is. Note the multiple incidents of “[omitted],” reportedly “Islamic State” or some variation. Why delete that? Before the transcripts were released, a lot of right-wing commentators and bloggers and such were claiming that the FBI was deleting all references to Islam from the transcripts for the usual politically correct reasons, but the transcript explicitly points out that Mateen called himself an “Islamic soldier.” Note that only the first call to 9-11 is transcribed in more-or-less full; the other conversations with the authorities are summarized.

The name of the shooter and that of the person/group to whom he pledged allegiance are omitted.” This just strikes me as odd. I can’t really come up with a good reason why the FBI would do that. Magical thinking? If you invoke the name of ISIS, they’ll come flooding through the mirror like a bad horror movie demon?

 Posted by at 9:09 am