Colin Kaepernick

Everyone’s perspective is different.

I know still know guys who say we would have won in Nam had we but turned the whole country into glass. Just as I know vets who respond to everything political with a mumbled “Fuckin’ A, dude.”  1 And (from attendance at the the occasional VFW bash) that appears to hold true for vets of the last several armed conflicts, illegal invasions and forced occupations.

I tend towards the middle ground, though I do have some hard and fast rules; below are the ones regarding the national anthem:

  • No law should be enacted banning the playing of the national anthem;
  • No law should be enacted to force anyone to stand during the playing of the national anthem. 2  3 4 5 6

I’ve found the people most likely to go batshit over nonconformist reactions to the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem are the same people who are always yelling about what everyone else should be doing in general; well, fuck ’em.

These same people cannot understand that an athlete declining to stand for the National Anthem is, in his own light 7, attempting to Make America Great Again. Instead these foam-at-the-mouth folk believe said athlete is actually defaming their country. And of course these are also the same jackanapes who hoard their fucking precious fucking guns in order to violently oppose the government of Their Great Country. But let Colin Kaepernick mention that, hey, blacks ain’t got it all that swell either, and these fucking wingnuts go off like the British Army in Zulu!

But then why would we expect better behavior from people who believe the use of violence to resist any usurpation of their imaginary-though-all-inclusive rights 8 is perfectly fine, yet holler about ‘obedience’ while watching cops shoot unarmed blacks?

Hypocrisy is the greatest luxury. 9

Colin Kaepernick

Show 9 footnotes

  1. That bit of satire confuses everyone.
  2. Because nothing screams “Freedom!” like mandatory public displays of patriotism.
  3. Though, let’s face it, there is one, although wholly advisory, littered as it is with ‘shoulds’ instead of ‘musts’.
  4. Let’s extend this to the Pledge of Allegiance as well; there’s no need to actually repeat the pledge, much less stand or place your hand over your heart.
  5. And don’t even get me started on the whole ‘God’ issue in the Pledge (I taught the Astas to say “under god by act of congress” instead), much less our money.
  6. Believe it or not there is an actual Flag Code that describes how the flag should/shouldn’t be handled and displayed. There is also a section —18 U.S. Code § 700— that describes the penalties (rarely enforced) applied for desecrating of the flag. However, everything not involved in shredding the flag is, like the law regarding the national anthem, advisory only.
  7. As well as perhaps millions of others.
  8. Think Y’all Qaeda, AKA the Bundy Posse.
  9. The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy.

Au Courant

This week’s au courant links:

And finally, some Major Lazer:

Au Courant

Show 1 footnote

  1. Still say a knockoff entitled Trumpémon Go would be a YUUUUUUGE winner.

Trash Pickup

Early yesterday morning while planning my vacation to WestWorld 1 working from my home office, I happened to hear the city trash truck slowly rumbling down our lane.

Which was unusual for any number of reasons, but mostly because the Town & Country vehicle was hours early.

The way it works in our neighborhood is we put the bags & bins out on the curb a little after 7:00 AM Thursday mornings and Town and Country swings by to collect them ’round sundown.

Well…that’s not exactly true. What happens is about noon T&C collects garbage/plastic from the east side of the street ONLY. Because…reasons.

Then come dusk T&C cruises by and collects the items from our side of the street (that’s not already been savagely strewn across the neighborhood by wandering mutts and raccoons.)

So for T&C to appear before 9:00 AM was more than a rara avis, it is just never done.

Curious, I took my blunt and coffee out to the front porch to witness the event; years from now I could tell my (putative) grandchildren of The Day the Trash Service Did Its Job.

However, something was off; maybe it was the blunt 2 lack of regular sleep but it sure looked like the truck wasn’t onboarding any refuse. What the truck was doing was crawling down the  center of the road, stopping in front of each pair of east/west houses for about 15 seconds, then moving down to the next set of houses.

No one got out of the truck to throw garbage. The truck just kept repeating this ghost pattern until it reached the end of our lane, turned right and then stopped at the first set of north/south houses thereon, where it didn’t pick up their garbage either. Then the truck disappeared from view.

Not that I thought in terms of the 60s or anything, but I walked down to the end of our drive and physically touched both the big yellow trash bag and ubiquitous blue recycle bin. Cool, I wasn’t flashing after all!

So I went inside and called 311.

I had just started thinking “What a rube; they’ll never answer” when they did.

Seriously, it only took about a minute for the lady on the other end to pick up, listen to my Daliesque tale and start laughing like a banshee. She asked me to wait and went wherever civil servants go while they have you on hold, perhaps for another coffee and doughnut? Who knows but this time she came back in just under a couple of moments to say that “perhaps the driver was new and needed to learn his route.”

There was so much I could say in response that I just sort of stuttered into the phone, whereupon the lady laughed again and told me T&C’s contract held them responsible for picking up the trash/recyclables by 6:00 PM, so there wasn’t anything she could do until then, but she would note the call. Oh, and have a nice day!

Hmmm. Well, I went back to streaming American Ultra work and thought nothing of it until sometime later 3 when I heard the truck again. I walked outside just in time to see a city worker gently replacing my blue tub on the grass; my trash had already disappeared. He gave me a polite salute, said “Have a GREAT day, sir!”, 4 then shagged after his lumbering vehicle. The crew continued down the street this way and collected everything from every house, turned the corner and disappeared.

Problem solved? 5 6

Trash Pickup

Show 6 footnotes

  1. Which is not as easy as you might imagine; we received this missive from Delos Guest Services upon application: “Thank you for your interest in Westworld. You are currently being considered for a Westworld profile. Should you be deemed eligible for this exclusive experience, one of our hosts will be in touch.”  No, they have as yet to ask for copies of our 1040 (as emended) or bank/stock statements, but it won’t surprise me when they do.
  2. Something called ChemDawg#4, the linage being a blend of Hindu Kush, Thai, and Nepal strains.
  3. 10:47 AM
  4. Now how come that sounded so sinister?
  5. I forgot the first, the very first rule: “Never get out of the boat.” Absolutely goddamn right! Unless you were goin’ all the way… 
  6. Although? It’s nice to know 311 actually works. Though….there was something very Nochnoy Dozor about it.

Idiotic Parents

Scores of Sacramento area students were sent home from school this week after they showed up for kindergarten and seventh grade without proof of vaccination. In the Folsom Cordova Unified School District, 145 students out of about 3,200 starting kindergarten and seventh grade were sent home Tuesday on the first day of school for lack of immunization records…

A new state law that took effect July 1 eliminated personal- and religious-belief exemptions for families that opted to avoid vaccinations for their children. Under the new law, students entering the two checkpoint years of kindergarten and seventh grade are now required to show proof of vaccination. The requirement also applies to students who transfer into a district.

I’ve no love, much less tolerance, for idiotic parents who deny the well over a century’s worth of empirical data that supports the efficacy of vaccines in the prevention of childhood diseases. I’ve even less patience with parents who buy into the autism scam; there is absolutely zero evidence to link vaccines with autism.

No parent has the right, nor should society allow them to, imperil public health because they’re afraid vaccines will turn their children into newts.

So-called ‘adults’ who deny reality, as well as deliberately screwing up their offspring’s’ lives, should not in any instance be allowed to be parents – it’s that simple. 1

Idiotic Parents

Show 1 footnote

  1. Yes, we’re well aware there are a multitude of ways for parents to screw up their children beyond repair; today, however, we’re just talking about the way in which the commonweal is most obviously put at risk.

DEA & Marijuana Redux

As we mentioned the other day, the DEA has a pink-elephant-playing-tuba-really-fucking-loud-in-the-room vested interest in keeping marijuana listed in Schedule 1 (with the FDA, of all freaking agencies, chiming in.) And that’s not going to change; bureaucracies never willingly shed duties/people/authority, they only accumulate more and more. Especially when they have lots of guns.

So it appears we will have to rely, crazy as it seems, on Congress. 1 I know, I know; but there are members in that normally venal and corrupt institution who also believe this needs be changed:

“There are Americans who can realize real medical benefits if this treatment option is brought out of the shadows, and choosing to ignore the medical value of marijuana defies common sense and the scientific evidence.” – Sen. Cory Booker

“Bad news: @DEAHQ refused to reschedule marijuana. This has wide implications for med research, law enforcement & business. … I’ll keep pushing our federal agencies to reschedule marijuana as part of crafting a rational research & public health strategy.” – Sen. Elizabeth Warren

“Time for #DEA to remove marijuana from Sched 1 to expand #medicalmarijuana research & ensure families in need get legal access to treatment.” – Sen. Kirsten Gellibrand

“It’s well past time for us to take marijuana off the federal government’s list of outlawed drugs. …Keeping marijuana in the same category as heroin is absurd. The time is long overdue for us to remove the federal prohibition on marijuana. … If we are serious about criminal justice reform, we must remove marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act. – Sen. Bernie Sanders

“Disappointed by @DEAHQ. We must act to allow access to banking for marijuana biz in states with legalized marijuana” – Sen. Jeff Merkley

“The @DEAHQ is keeping federal law on marijuana behind the times. Will continue to press for rescheduling.” – Sen. Ron Wyden

No time like the present. You can easily write your Senator right here..

DEA & Marijuana Redux

Show 1 footnote

  1. Jelani Cobb @ The New Yorker believes it would also help if President Obama formally declared an end to The War on Drugs; don’t have any idea how likely that is other than “you’re kidding, right?”, so go ahead and write your Senator. You know, just in case…

Wingnuts On Parade!

In this inaugural edition of Wingnuts On Parade! we peer into the REVAMPED! Trump campaign.

Recently Trump added a couple of local GOP operatives to head up his Missouri operations: Aaron Willard 1 is Trump’s Missouri director, and Todd Abrajano 2 will serve as Trump’s communications director.

Just across State Line? Trump cherry-picked Sam Brownback ’cause…like, you know…Sam’s got that economic thang goin’ on. As well as for advice on AgriBusiness.

Surprisingly, as Brownbackistan is chock full of wingnuts, Trump didn’t further raid the state’s “talent” pool. Hell, we would have thought Kris Kobach would have been a great fit for Trump’s voter registration efforts3

Be that as it may, Trump’s most delectable pick is…wait for it…Michele Bachman. She’s advising Trump on foreign policy. Which makes no kind of sense to me: Sarah Palin is the obvious choice here, amirite? After all, she can see Russia from up there… 4

Quite a crew Trump Tamer Kellyanne Conway, who’s visage actually scares me more than Ann Coulter’s, is assembling. Over the weekend trump’s Lead Wingnut Conway took to the airwaves to…well, let he speak for herself:

CONWAY: He (Trump) has said that he wants to regret anytime he’s caused somebody personal pain by saying something that he didn’t intend to cause personal pain. And I think those who have received it privately should take that expression of regret…

STEPHANOPOULOS: So what changed for you? And do you stand by those comments?

CONWAY: I do. And the reason is I don’t like when people hurl personal insults. That will never change. That’s not my style. I’m a mother of four small children. And it would be a terrible example for me to feel otherwise –

STEPHANOPOULOS: You think Mr. Trump’s going to change on that?

CONWAY: Well, but he doesn’t hurl personal insults.

So the takeaway here is a.) Trump would dealy love to regret the awful things he says (but doesn’t), and b.) he flat-out did not insult the Kahns: He meant Khaaaan!

Finally, a politically time honored tradition, stealing candidate yard signs out of your neighbors’ lawns, has risen to national prominence. While hardly neighborly, it certainly doesn’t rise to the level of crime, certainly not in cities –like KC– where the PD can’t keep over a hundred people from being murdered each year. However, there’s no good reason this shouldn’t be done in a spirit of good, clean fun, competitively: I call on the makers of Pokémon Go to modify their game into a new one – Trumpémon Go!- where the object is to locate and remove Trump yard signs
Wingnuts On Parade!

Show 4 footnotes

  1. TMT: Grow Missouri largely exists because of conservative mega-donor Rex Sinquefield, who has a fairly clearly stated political agenda. How do you respond to criticisms that “one man” shouldn’t have so much power to influence elections and campaigns?

    AW: Foremost, we’re incredibly proud to have his backing and we support the letter of the law, which recognizes political contributions made by anyone as freedom of speech — a way to have your voice heard. Extrapolating upon that, there are many ways to have your voice heard. Some folks show their support by donating money, some by volunteering at the grassroots level, knocking on doors, and putting up yard signs. Others donate their talents and professional expertise. The point is, there are a myriad of ways for anybody to get involved and make a difference in the political process. But at the end of the day, on any given election day, individuals like Mr. Sinquefield have one vote, just like the rest of us. The people decide elections, which is as it should be.

  2. Prior to joining Fleishman, Todd worked for several years in politics and government, most recently serving as director of communications for the Missouri House of Representatives. In that capacity, he led a non-partisan office of eight communications professionals serving all 163 elected members. In addition to directing the non-partisan activities of the communications office, Todd served as press secretary for the Speaker of the Missouri House and other members of the Missouri House’s Republican majority leadership team, providing strategic counsel and overseeing and implementing communications plans and partisan messaging.

    In addition to his most recent political campaign clients, Todd has provided strategic and media counsel for the Missouri House Republican Campaign Committee; served as campaign manager and communications director for the Republican nominee in a nationally targeted race for U.S. Congress in 2004; served in a similar capacity for the Republican nominee for Connecticut state treasurer in 2002; and assisted in numerous other local, state, and federal political campaigns.

    During the 2008 presidential campaign, Todd directed “Spin Room” media relations for the McCain-Palin campaign during the only vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin which was held at Washington University in St. Louis.

  3. Said moron is currently busy appealing to the 10th Circuit in Denver the stay a lower court imposed on that part of his law requiring voters to show proof of U.S. citizenship in order to register. get Out the Vote!
  4. No, not her empty head; Alaska.

DEA Marijuana Ruling Protects DEA

It seems Federal legalization of marijuana will come about only after we pry it from the cold, dead hands of the DEA:

On August 12, the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), despite much speculation to the contrary, published in the Federal Register its long-anticipated decision rejecting two petitions, pending since 2009 and 2011, seeking to reclassify marijuana from its current Schedule I position to Schedule II under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). With input from the US Food and Drug Administration 1 and the National Institute on Drug Abuse 2 (both within the US Department of Health and Human Services), the DEA concluded in a lengthy decision that “marijuana does not have a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States” and “at this time, the known risks of marijuana use have not been shown to be outweighed by specific benefits in well-controlled clinical trials that scientifically evaluate safety and efficacy.” By maintaining marijuana as a Schedule I drug, it continues to be classified as a drug with “high potential for abuse” and “no currently accepted medical use,” thus making its use—even in states that have legalized medical and/or recreational use of marijuana—still illegal under federal law. But the DEA did loosen restrictions on the supply of marijuana for medical research, which could have a longer-term effect on the public policy debate regarding marijuana’s medical benefits and continued criminalization.

The DEA’s refusal to re-schedule marijuana is an obvious ploy (à la Prohibition) 3: they’re afraid of losing their budgets, toys and jobs.

Those running the DEA know full well that marijuana should have never been under schedule 1; it’s addition was one of the most cynical things the Nixon White House ever did. In addition the DEA is fully aware a majority of Americans would rather see Congress criminalized rather than pot. And those of you who have followed WNBTv’s reporting on marijuana and the war on drugs know for a fact the DEA is lying through its clenched teeth. However, in this generations’ take on Forrest Gump’s famous uttering (“Shit happens”), it is what it is.

Though drug decriminalization has been shown to work in other nations, America has always been willing to cut off its nose to spite its own face. Or, to update that expression a little, America has always been willing to allow the massacre of it’s children to keep its “right” to bear military assault weapons.

Guess the sensible among us will continue to do what we’ve always done: ignore the government.

DEA Marijuana Ruling Protects DEA

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Who just allowed food makers the right to decide for themselves which additives are safe. Because…teh stoopid. In fact, food makers aren’t even required to inform the FDA of GRAS changes. And we’re supposed to take their views on marijuana seriously why?
  2. Which lately has been pooh-poohing research –this time by the John Hopkins School of Medicine— that shows psychedelics can curb addictive behaviors, something one would presume to be a desirable outcome by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. But, there we go thinking again.
  3. A quick aside: prohibition was the primary catalyst of the development of organized crime in this country; anyone see any parallels to the narco cartels? Anyone…anyone?

The Origins of ISIS

Abu Ahmad never hesitated in his embrace of the Syrian uprising. Born in a northern Syrian city to a conservative and religious Sunni Arab family, he was a student when the revolt began in March 2011, and joined the protests against President Bashar al-Assad from day one.

“With excitement in our hearts we saw [the uprising in] Egypt happening, followed by the revolution in Libya,” he said. “We hoped the wind of change would not pass our country.”

When the uprising became a full-fledged civil war by mid-2012, Abu Ahmad decided to take up arms and fight. He joined a jihadi-leaning rebel group, whose members were mostly Syrians but also included some foreign fighters from Europe and Central Asia. The composition of the brigades was in flux then — every couple of months, Abu Ahmad’s group would either change its name or unite with other jihadi rebels. But then the groups began to consolidate: In Spring 2013, Abu Ahmad chose to side with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant when it officially expanded into Syria, as tensions escalated between the jihadi group and the Nusra Front. The group would go on to proclaim itself a worldwide caliphate in June 2014, assuming the name “Islamic State” to reflect its global ambitions. To this day, Abu Ahmad is a serving member in the organization, with unique insight into the group’s behavior and its history.

Foreign Policy describes it exhaustive report on ISIS/ISIL’s origins 1 thus:

Since its creation, we have learned about the Islamic State from its enemies. Its story has largely been told by those fighting the group in Iraq and Syria, traumatized civilians who have escaped its brutal rule, and the occasional defector. That is about to change. This is the story of Abu Ahmad, a Syrian operative for the Islamic State who witnessed the group’s lightning expansion firsthand and spent months among its most notorious foreign fighters.

In this series of three articles, he provides unique insight into how Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s political scheming paved the way for the Islamic State’s expansion into Syria, al Qaeda’s efforts to stem the group’s rise, and the terrifying weapons in the arsenal of the self-proclaimed “caliphate.” Some names and details have been omitted to protect Abu Ahmad. Read part two here and part three here.

The Origins of ISIS

Show 1 footnote

  1. And, no, nether Hillary nor Obama are anywhere to be found.