Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sudan mother and kids taken off death row for marrying Christian

The Sudanese government has decided not to execute a woman who gave up Islam, married a Christian and had two children.
He smallest, a newborn, is in prison with her.
Social media and intensive political pressure from the much-reviled West apparently persuaded Khartoum that this was a battle that was not going to be fought against Lord Kitchener.
But before too much is made of this incident, rapes and murders occur. Two women had to defecate in field India. They were grabbed, raped and left handing dead from a mango trees.
In Pakistan this month police stood by and watched a woman considered a heretic stoned to death.
Honor killings often are a factor.
“An honor killing is the homicide of a member of a family or social group by other members, due to the perpetrators' belief that the victim has brought shame or dishonor upon the family or community, usually for reasons such as refusing to enter an arranged marriage, being in a relationship that is disapproved by their relatives, having sex outside marriage, becoming the victim of rape, dressing in ways which are deemed inappropriate, or engaging in homosexual relations.[1][2][3][4][5] Honor killings are especially targeted against women and homosexuals,” Wikipedia reports.
Such killings don’t just occur in the Third World. Several have been reported in the US, Canada and other countries.
Parents often doing the killing.
The BBC reported: “Meriam Ibrahim, who gave birth to a daughter in custody, will be freed in a few days, the official told the BBC. Abdullahi Alzareg, an under-secretary at the foreign ministry, said Sudan guaranteed religious freedom and was committed to protecting the woman.”
British Prime Minister David Cameron called the ruling as "barbaric".
Meriam Ibrahim, 27, married to an American Christian, was brought up as an Orthodox Christian. A judge ruled she is a Muslim because that had been her father's faith.
After refusing to give up her faith she was sentenced to hanging. Her newborn is her second child.
Wikipedia Honor Killings

Friday, May 30, 2014

Ukraine has new export, dead Russians

The Ukraine has found a new export: the bodies of Chechnya volunteers and Russian soldiers killed by Kiev’s warplanes and helicopters.
Until the election that elected chocolate king “Petro Poroshenko” president last week, Ukrainians were the main victims of “little green men.”
Poroshenko immediately sent warplanes and combat helicopters to blast the Russians. The Russian rebels may have lost 100 or more fighters, while Kiev’s main loss was a downed helicopter with 12 men on board.
Vice News followed the dead Russians and Chechens as they were sent back to their homeland in red coffins.
Vice News reported the bodies were in coffins marked “200,” the Soviet Union’s military code for dead soldiers.
They bore the red, black and blue flag of the erstwhile Donetsk People’s Republic.
One person, using the Twitter name of East of Brussels, quoted a Ukrainian border guard as saying: “We don't need them to fertilize the land of Ukraine.”
Moscow won’t even admit the soldiers are there, though they hint there may be some volunteers. The “volunteers” have admitted their presence to many journalists.
To confront the stronger response of Kiev, Russia will have to begin using more powerful records, perhaps halting only at the use of its once favorite weapon, the tank.
Ria Novosti says Moscow has a new portable ground-to-air missile that can fired from a shoulder and is without equal. Expect to see them soon.
The dead soldiers won’t be able to see it, they will be greeted by a sign that says: “Heroic actions are immortal.”
The only signs of life are in the moribund Ukrainian economy.
The Stern Agee Investment Bank reports the decision of Putin’s “willingness to work with Ukraine’s new president, the European Union has halted the threatened third round of sanctions against Russia.”
Even in Moscow, where a media purge has made criticism of Putin treason, some bankers have publicly stated that the sanctions have driven the country closer to a recession.
Foreign investors are fleeing, as are any Russians who can get visas, especially Jews headed to Israel. It was once said that refugees are people who vote with their feet. And history shows the most talented people live, not the poor.
For those wondering how things went so bad for Putin so quickly, against a divided and weak enemy, then perhaps the question should be asked how weak was the Ukraine?
Moscow has put thousands of “writers” to work on the free wheeling Internet to spread an incomplete history of what happened in the Ukraine during World War 2.
Ukrainians by the millions had died under Stalin’s rule, and when the Nazis arrived they were briefly welcomed. Very soon it became obvious that Hitler was just another Stalin. Ukrainians joined the underground, and got some of the west combat and partisan training ever, fighting both Berlin and Moscow.
Vice News
Kiev Post
Stern Agee Bank
Ria Novosti

Putin: Life Imitates Art

Oscar Wilde, in his “The Decay of Lying,” wrote that “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.”
Few places on earth give expression to this principle, defying Aristotle, than Russia.
Stalin, Rasputin and Putin, to name just a few, not to mention the literary characters like Raskolnikov.
And there are cases where life imitates life, as in the many U.S. gun massacres.
But because life is imitating art, the script is already known. Russian President Vladimir Putin was able to fool many in the world for a time, partly because had had employed thousands of stooges and moles, and partly because of lingering resentment of the U.S. war in Iraq.
Now the president is naked. Many Russian agents who infiltrated the Ukraine have spoken to Western reporters from Vice to the New York Times.
Commentators who had been fooled by Putin now realize the country he is destroying most is Russia. Even Russian officials admit Western sanctions are tipping the country into recession.
But art, too, can imitate life.
In theaters now is “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.” It is a Tom Clancy special.
Since he was dead before Putin was unmasked, the Clancy-inspired film clearly was relying on history.
You can’t teach an old dictator new tricks.
Kenneth Branagh plays Russian oligarch Viktor Cherevin. He is tasked by the Kremlin with destroying the US economy because it is supporting efforts to destroy Moscow’s control of energy in Europe. The idea is another 911, blowing up Wall Street banks and driving investors from the dollar and U.S stocks.
It is not nearly as easily as has been repeatedly argued here on the pages of Allvoices. It would take a huge bomb that disabled the American economy to do it, and it would take Beijing with it. Only Moscow would survive.
Perhaps Putin saw the film. In any event, he is backing off and settling for merely disrupting the Ukraine. He is even offering deals to Kiev to let them catch up on their energy bills.
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman puts it on a par with the Soviet Union turning its warships around when they approached the U.S. fleet during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Friedman says Russia, as well as the Ukraine, could become the failed state now because world economies are intertwined as never before.
“Let's add it up: Putin's seizure of Crimea has weakened the Russian economy, led to China getting a bargain gas deal, revived NATO, spurred Europe to start ending its addiction to Russian gas and begun a debate across Europe about increasing defense spending. Nice work, Vladimir. That's why I say the country Putin threatens most today is Russia,” wrote Friedman.
New York Times
Life Imitates Art

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Women make just as good killers as men

While the militaries around the world are finally putting women in combat situations, here in the US rants about misogyny would have people believe that women can only be victims.
Anything a man can do a woman can do, whether it is run a country, or kill. And this is not something that only became true in this century or at the end of the 20th.
The latest killings in Isla Vista, adjacent to Santa Barbara, was followed by one of the biggest Tweeting bonanzas ever. The point was that killer Elliot Rodger hated women, and his slayings were a prime time example of misogyny. The fact that he killed more men than women was ignored, as well as the medical fact that Rodger may have feared women more than hate them.
As is often the case in the American media, supporters of the misogyny argument followed it like lemmings, right out of the window.
One of the nation’s leading “editorial engineers,” Adam Mordecai, has claimed he can generate millions of headlines on any subject, no matter how absurd. “I make your stuff go viral every once in awhile.”
He succeeded this week with a story about how 70 of 71 mass murders in the past 33 years were committed by men.
The beauty of the ancient expression reductio ad absurdum is that it can be used to show that something absurd is not true either because it is denied or because it is accepted. A win-win situation for those who have an agenda that will not withstand scrutiny.
The Internet trend to make news interesting by getting people to interact with it means “Surfing idiots are tough to beat…,” as the New York Times pointed out.
The notion that virtually only men commit mass murders is the perfect notion for such dogma.
Even though proving women have committed many mass murders, the idea will stay alive because to deny it is to prove it.
In fact, the idea put forward by Adam Mordecai in “,” uses figures that are absurdly low.
FBI records analyzed by USA Today found there were "146 mass shootings since 2006 that matched the FBI definition of mass shooting, where four or more people were killed."
For those who want to know what role, if any, women played in this violence there are numerous Websites available.
Before starting the search, however, make sure that the inquiry is not limited to shootings. Often, women commit murders other ways. Drowning children is one of the least endearing.

More than one woman mass murderer has used a gun.
Some of what is being said is attributed to an American myth about "female virtue.”
Patricia Pearson hypothesizes in her book, “When She Was Bad: How and Why Women Get Away With Murder,” said women killers are studied less than males.
Pearson wrote: “the capacity of women to use masculine violence emerges very clearly in those societies that sanction its expression.” America isn’t one of them.
How many people have ever heard the word “misandry,” let alone used it.
Also, do not believe that men only kill with guns. Rodger stabbed three men to death, and he didn’t even have a Special Forces knife or Navy Seal training.
It is hard for anyone, even a man, to top the record of Elizabeth Bathory, “the Blood Countess.” The countess who had help from four collaborators “was accused of torturing and killing hundreds of girls – one witness attributed 650 victims, but the conviction sat at only 80 – although Elizabeth was never tried or convicted in the true sense. She did end up imprisoned in Csejte Castle now in Slovakia in 1610, and died four years later.”
Female Mass Murders in Recent History
New York Times
USA Today

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

International Red Cross appeals for blood and medical supplies as Kiev government pummels Russian rebels

The International Committee for the Red Cross is calling for blood and other medical supplies as the death toll rises between the Ukrainian military and Russian-backed rebels. The death toll could reach 100, with all but a handful rebels.
A few civilians were reported killed as the Donetsk airport was retaken by government security forces.
"There is an urgent need for medicines and wound-dressing materials, as the number of casualties is increasing," Vera Radovic, head of the ICRC office in Donetsk said in an email Wednesday.
"Medical supplies have already been delivered to four civilian hospitals in Mariupol and two hospitals in Donetsk, and will soon reach near Kramatorsk,” she said.
US President Barack Obama virtually gave the Ukraine the nod of approval by saying war was not the only answer or even the main answer to world problems. But he told West Point graduates the nation was not retreating from the world stage either. Obama has been criticized for pulling all but 10,000 soldiers from Afghanistan.
Obama will meet new Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, next week during a European trip. Poroshenko, asking Washington and NATO for weapons, has done what the acting Kiev government was hesitant to do. Three days after winning election he sent warplanes and helicopters in to crush “the little green men.”
The new Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, has done what the acting Kiev government was hesitant to do: send warplanes and helicopters in to crush “the little green men.”
Vice News said the rebels had gotten the backing of Chechnyan fighters who crossed the border into Ukraine. Some fighters admitted to Vice News that they had volunteered to come and fight from Chechnya. The New York Times confirmed the presence of Chechnya "volunteers." But they were no match for jets and helicopters.
Obama said, ""In Ukraine, Russia's recent actions recall the days when Soviet tanks rolled into Eastern Europe."
Russian TV, the mouthpiece for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said “bodies are piling up in Donetsk morgues after Kiev unleashed fighter jets and and artillery on the country’s southeast just hours after the presidential election.”
Poroshenko, the oligarch known as the “chocolate king,” won a first-round victory in the voting last Sunday. Although he doesn’t take office until June, Poroshenko said an offensive to drive out the rebels would not wait.
Interfax Ukraine said no talks are possible yet.
"The government's position concerning talks with the Russian Federation remains unchanged as well: in present-day conditions, bilateral negotiations are not considered possible without the presence of the U.S. and the European Union," he said Tuesday.

The Guardian said the rebels still held some government buildings in Donetsk. The government planned to use “special high-precision weapons” against these facilities if the rebels did not withdraw or surrender.
Donetsk, with a population of 1 million, is the second-biggest city in eastern Ukraine.
Poroshenko was committed to not allowing the rebel occupation of portions of the east, near the Russian border, become a fait accompli as had occurred when Putin sent troops in to occupy Crimea. The offensive would be over “in a matter of hours,” not weeks.

Russian TV
Interfax Ukraine

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Golden Gate could build suicide net with red tape

Faced by the seemingly hopeless cause of getting a suicide barrier installed on the Golden Gate Bridge, perhaps there is a way to retain government inefficiency and save lives.
How about a barrier for the nation’s No. 1 suicide destination made of red tape?
Despite yearly pleas to stop the killing, and this year a petition signed by 100,000 no money has been found to build the barrier.
History buffs say such a barrier was built during the construction of the bridge, and it saved lives.
San Francisco and California do not have the money, and have asked Washington to help.
Last year a record 46 people jumped to their deaths off of the 4,200-foot-long bridge.
Since 1937, when the bridge was completed, more than 1,500 people have died.
Some argue that building a net would mar the bridge’s beauty, though proposed nets would blend in and not be ugly.
Others have said people should have the right to jump, and it might make more sense to post psychiatrists at each end.
Bridge workers have blocked an unknown number of fatal jumps.
There is a four-feet-high rail that wouldn’t even stop Tryion Lannister.
It was originally estimated it would cost $50 million to build a safety net, now $66 million and likely to end up costing $100 million.
The Marin Independent Journal says it is hoped funding will be found by next month.
It is highly unlikely the net can be built without the loss of workers’ lives. Eleven died during construction of the bridge.
In addition to speeding travel, the bridge has brought hundreds of millions of dollars to the Bay Area. Seeing it covered in fog is a marvel to behold.

It also attracts those wanting to end their lives in a beautiful style that escaped them in real life, just as the Royal Gorge does in Colorado.
Figures must be taken with a grain of salt since no one wants to publicize deaths.
Golden Gate is only No. 2 in suicide jumps. The leader if the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge.
Nationally, the number of suicides has risen, partly due to foreclosures, and reached nearly 3 million in 2010.
Visit California
Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge
Marin Independent Journal

What would Noah say about climate change

Resistance to climate change refuses to die, mostly among fundamentalists and Republicans, and course those who fit both categories.
It makes sense to see what Noah, a prophet in Islam as well as Christianity and Judaism, would have to say.
Although he didn’t have access to power points and weather records for at least a century, not to mention satellite photos, Noah it is claimed in the Bible had lived almost 500 years when the flood hit.
Therefore he did not need to keep records to see the change
Though not a drop of rain had fallen Noah warned anyone who listened that a great flood would come. Only a small group of Godless troublemakers who wanted on board the Ark paid attention. Only eight people were on board when the boat and its animals began floating after 40 days and 40 nights of rain. That may not even be a record these days.
The other NOAA, based in Boulder, Colorado, also has warned of weather disasters that have already hit and that more are to come.
It reports global temperatures and sea levels have been rising for a century. Temperatures, especially in the US because it is easier to monitor one nation, have been rising.
Skeptics would ask if the glass is half full or half empty.
Climatologists say only a half of the freakish weather of 2012, including Hurricane Sandy and temperatures that would fry an egg on the sidewalk, were the result of climate change.
“The other half — including a record wet British summer and the U.S. drought last year — simply reflected the random freakiness of weather, researchers with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the British meteorological office concluded,
AP reported.

Of course it is not much consolation if you were killed or lost everything, or both, because of weather influenced by man or natural factors.
Hardly a month goes by that disturbing weather disasters are not recorded.
This month includes the worst flooding in the Balkans since record-keeping began 120 years ago.
This week a mudslide near the Grand Mesa of Colorado, billed as the world’s largest flattop mountain, covered eight square miles and three people. A mudslide two months ago in Washington state only covered one square mile, though it destroyed hundreds of homes and claimed at least 41 lives.
The mudslide near Collbran, Colorado,  hit  a largedly unpopulated area. Three farm workers are believed to have died.
Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey said the slide was so big “that it’s understatement to say it is massive.”
Both the Oso, Washington and Collbran slide followed heavy rain.

There is one thing that fundamentalists who disbelieve in anti-evolution and anti-climate change can accept.
As in the days of Noah, the world is full of evil, especially abortion, same-sex marriages, divorce, marijuana, evil, separation of church and state, and blasphemy, the list is long.

Noah's helpers

Monday, May 26, 2014

Isla Vista, the director's cut

In 2001, the son of a filmmaker mowed down five people with a Saab in Isla Vista, killing four of them.
The self-proclaimed “angel of death” was later committed.
This Memorial Day Weekend, the son of a second filmmaker killed six people in the same university town. Do “The Hunger Games” ring a bell.
Director Peter Rodger took his son, Elliot, 22, to the opening.
Elliot’s killing field started in his apartment complex where he stabbed to death three male roommates.
What they had to do with his being horny and a virgin was not clear. These deaths didn’t fit the misogynistic motive that quickly ignited Twitter.
Not even Daniel Tosh can offer this guy a redemption.
Being a weekend, news outlets had skeleton staffs, and perhaps did not know how to look up events in 2001 in the University of California Santa Barbara town.
Many media outlets kept reporting Elliot had shot dead six people, plus himself, knocked down some bicyclists, then crashed his shiny BMW into another vehicle after being wounded by deputies.
Elliot had done everything but hire a plane to carry a banner over Santa Barbara announcing his plans.
He posted a “chilling” video on YouTube a day earlier. It was not nearly as chilling as a surveillance camera in a deli that he shot up, killing 20-year-old Christopher Martinez. CNN said what was obviously an important piece of evidence was a network exclusive.
The country has become so used to dealing with these massacres, at least as far back as Columbine in 1999, Christopher’s father, Richard was ready.
He “self identified,” a sort of new kind of “selfie,” where you tell the world that one of your family was among those killed.
To help news crews announced his name and said, “common spelling.”
The New York Times told the brave story of Rodger’s parents speeding up from Los Angeles after they clicked on his killer 140-page manifesto.
“Parents frantic race failed to stop killings,” the headline said.

Law enforcement congratulated itself on reacting so fast some lives no doubt were saved.
They claim he “flew under the radar.” In fact they had met with him at least three times.
The Southern Poverty Center said Elliot was a frequent contributor on an online hate site.
So far, the only deviation from the script of Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris at Columbine was that Elliot hadn’t been arrested and put on probation for stealing electronics from a car.
Those cops also said they could not have known his online threats were serious.
Last month deputies did a check on Elliot but found him a nice, shy, quiet kid, though obviously mentally disturbed.
"I had the striking and devastating fear that someone had somehow discovered what I was planning to do, and reported me for it," Rodger wrote toward the end of a 140-page account of his life. "If that was the case, the police would have searched my room, found all of my guns and weapons, along with my writings about what I plan to do with them,” CNN reported Elliot had written.
After the Columbine shootings it became very clear that if the killers’ parents had searched their basements they would have found weapons and a video tape laying out their plains.
As for mental illness, Elliot had the best health care money can buy.
Given everyone in the Isla Vista area’s knowledge of how to react to massacres perhaps Hollywood should build a filming lot for the sequel.
This story cries out for the full cast and crew.
The dead roommates, all males, are Cheng Yuan Hong, 20; George Chen, 19, and Weihan Wang. All University of California Santa Barbara students.
The three shot dead are Katherine Breann Cooper, 22; Veronika Elizabeth Weiss, 19, Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez, 20. Police said they know of 13 people who were wounded
New York Times
Santa Barbara Independent

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Nothing new in California slaughter

The NRA is earning its money, promoting the sale of guns despite massacres and slaughters. In the Wild West they would put notches on their guns for each person killed.
Add seven more, but this time the would-be Billy the Kid was among the dead.
To be fair, though there seemed no need for the group to rush to defend itself. After all, the NRA is the most successful lobby group ever and no doubt gets its word in soon enough, there was no immediate word from the gun rights’ group.
But even if there was no NRA the collective loss of memory the nation suffers every time there is a massacre would take care of it.
The San Diego Independent reported it brought "echoes of David Attias." Perhaps the university town should become a studio production lot.

The video game industry will also claim, again, that the violent games do not create violence.
One of the fathers of one of six victims killed in Isla Vista, adjacent to Santa Barbara, wasted no time Salon.
In fact, the killing has become so commonplace, their families have learned to “self identify,” as Salon called it, not waiting for police who are faster to kill than identify.
Richard Martinez said his 20-year-old son, Chris, was shot dead in a deli where he headed to buy a sandwich. His death was shown on the above surveillance cam video. “Why did Chris die? Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk about gun rights, what about Chris’ right to live? When will this insanity stop?” said Richard Martinez.
The Daily Beast put it this way: “Here, in the good ole US of A, we’ve allowed a group of rich, entitled thugs who run an operation fronting for arms dealers—guys who represent a minority position on pretty much every issue having to do with reasonable regulation of firearms CNN Justice —to dictate our policies to cowardly, careerist politicians.
Because Hollywood was involved this time, there were even bigger promises to bring the violence under control. The father of shooter Elliot Rodger, that would be Peter Rodger, one of the directors of “The Hunger Games,” vowed to battle until he died to expand mental health care in America.
In the incident Friday, three of the six people murdered were stabbed to death, as promised they would be in Elliot Rodger’s script, a 137-page script/manifesto.
“My clients’ mission in life will be to try and prevent any such tragedies from ever happening again. This country, this world needs to address mental illness and the ramifications from not recognizing these illnesses,” said Elliott's father's lawyer.
It also become clear from the start that the younger Rodgers had actually received the best mental health available, far better than is available to most Americans.
As for film directors and Isla Vista, the Washington Post reported it was the second time the son of one of Hollywood's movie makers had committed mass murder in the university town. "This is not the first mass killing in Isla Vista: In 2001, David Attias, the son of a film director, ran over five people in a car, killing four of them. He was convicted of second-degree murder, then ruled insane and sentenced to a mental hospital."
Again, it was also clear that police had been warned this time, but cleared the younger Rodgers of being a threat. While a black likely would be thrown in jail for carrying a small stash of weed Elliot went free.

Police interviewed, finding him, a "perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human.”
It appeared Elliot had given plenty of warning that he was a loose hand gun. Just as in the Aurora “Batman” shootings, doctors had warned cops. The psychiatrist treating him had even suggested he be arrested. He was not, and the death toll in Aurora was higher, 12 killed and 70 wounded.
In Isla Vista, 13 were injured or wounded, including bicylists mowed down by the killer's BMW.
Law enforcement again congratulated itself, again, on its quick response, preventing more deaths. They learned their hubris from a nation that boasted of "The Power of Pride" after the 911 terrorist attacks.
Investigators said the multiple guns and hundreds of rounds of ammo were all purchased legally, which the NRA likely will say shows that gun control laws do not work.
The gun rights group, which has had perhaps the most successful lobbying record of any in the nation, also probably will try to obfuscate the questions by arguing over whether weapons were automatic or semi-automatic.
In his hate-filled video rant Elliot had said he would get “retribution” for all those who had taunted him and would “annihilate” anyone he encountered, even using his BMW to knock down bicyclists.
Elliot, who also was horney, had plenty of hate practice. had a record of posting hateful comments about women and blacks, the Southern Poverty Law Center, according to His comments were posted on a site with the URL
Just like the threats of Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were ignored before Columbine, Elliot had made at least one YouTube threat.

Sacramento BeeAP
Video transcript
Daily Mirror

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Pre-massacre videos likely to be better after shooting with Hunger Games connection, mental health care improved

Now that Hollywood has gotten involved in the nation’s gun massacres the nation can expect an improvement in explanatory videos made by killers.
In the incident near Santa Barbara on Saturday, six people and the killer died. In many previous massacres videos were recorded by the shooters, all the way back to Columbine High School.
The killer’s father, Peter Rodger, a Hollywood movie director, announced in record speed that the 22-year-old was his son, Elliot Rodger. Peter Rodger, a Briton, was assistant director of “The Hunger Games.”
Elliot had a script, a 137-page manifesto that media obtained.
The senior Rodger's lawyer said his client would spend the rest of his life making sure Americans had decent care for mental illness.
“My clients’ mission in life will be to try and prevent any such tragedies from ever happening again. This country, this world needs to address mental illness and the ramifications from not recognizing these illnesses.
It also become clear from the start that Rodger had received mental health care not available to most Americans.
It was also clear that police had been warned, and cleared the younger Rodger of being a threat.
Police interviewed Elliot Rodger, finding him, a "perfectly polite, kind and wonderful human.”
It appeared Elliot Rodger had given enough warning of his plans to doctors just as the psychiatrist who treated the Aurora theater shooting killer had done her duty. She had even suggested he be arrested. He was not, and the death toll in Aurora was higher, 12 killed and 70 wounded.
 Not only did Rodger have the mental health problems being treated by psychologists and psychiatrists, he also had a record of posting hateful comments about women and blacks, the Southern Poverty Law Center, according to His comments were posted on a site with the URL
It wasn't clear what would be the tipping point to get someone like this arrested or committed.
 Law enforcement again congratulated itself on its quick response, preventing more deaths.
Investigators said the multiple guns and hundreds of rounds of ammo were all purchased legally, which the NRA likely will say shows that gun control laws do not work. Of course the guns were the usual suspects, including a Glock. The NRA also will point out that three died from stabbings.
The gun rights group, which has had perhaps the most successful lobbying record of any in the nation, also probably will try to obfuscate the questions by arguing over whether weapons were automatic or semi-automatic.
Some network news reporters said the video Elliot Rodger recorded in his BMW as cryptic. He said he would get “retribution” for all those who had wronged him and would “annihilate” anyone he encountered. To some it seemed fairly clear. He not only felt bullied but also was horny.
Video transcript

Short changing veterans an age old tradition

The script du jour this Memorial Day weekend is the failure of the US to treat its veterans honorably. But once again, it is not just an American story, it goes all the way back to Julius Caesar.
In 46 B.C., the legendary soldiers of iron discipline marched on Rome to demand their just rewards for plundering the known world and filling the city’s coffers with cash and Caesar’s villa with Cleopatra.
The illustrious Roman general and erstwhile king was able to disarm them morally by declaring them merely citizens, no longer his soldiers. They begged to be taken back.
The bipartisan US scandal of failing to justly reward veterans goes all the way to the Revolutionary War.
It has become the Republican scandal of the day in their war against President Barack Obama.
The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart, and even GOP stalwart Bill O’Reilly, couldn’t miss the chance to exploit the historical fact that the mistreatment of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans began under former President George Bush.
“On this Memorial Day weekend eve, we can finally admit that America has had for over 200 years a great bipartisan tradition of honoring those who have fought for our freedom by f*ing them over once they give their guns back," Stewart said.

The increasingly long waits for care in veterans’ hospitals is the symbol of the problem but that also is not new. It has been going off and on at least since the Vietnam War.
Reporters who watched eager recruits preparing to head off for war at Fort Carson, Colorado, in 2003 couldn’t help but wonder if the soldiers realized the they were getting themselves into a pile of feces.
Retired veterans, now hired as civilians, grimaced when they heard disparaging remarks from the Bush Administration about Vietnam War soldiers.
Thinking back about their eagerness to ultimately join the long lines waiting for care, if they survived, brings to mind “Short Change Man.”
The British band “Heavy” was thinking of something else when they wrote:
“This ain't no place for no hero.
This ain't no place for no better man.
This ain't no place for no hero
To call ‘home.’”
Marvin Gaye was already dead or he would have asked “What’s going on?” and warned that “war is not the answer.”
Who would have thought that at the end of day these would-be veterans not only would have to wait for care, but also hear that the war they fought was for a mirage, much like Vietnam vets learned was their just desserts.
Who would have thought Marvin Gaye was considered a “soul” singer and not an anti-war prophet? It is hard to get anything right the first time.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thai military admits it staged coup

By the way, did we mention the martial law imposed a few days ago was accompanied by a coup? Perhaps the Thai military tired of relentless questions by the BBC about how their martial law and takeover were anything but a coup.
A coup by any other name is still a coup. An asymmetrical war, as the US military loves to call it, is still a guerrilla war.
A Red Shirt is a rural-based opposition group, not a term for describing a college football player who takes a year away from the game to study, and grow bigger and stronger and train at the same time with few rules.
But coups have gotten a bad reputation, particularly after what has happened in Egypt. Is there anyone who is a Muslim “militant” who is not in prison and/or sentenced to die?
Of course Thailand had had at least 11 so why not make it an even dozen?
Martial law only lasted three days.
What better way to describe what is happening than in a nationwide televised address, though Thailand is not very wide at all.
The usual media censorship has been imposed.
Apparently the US practice of washing the extremely dirty laundry of a war against terrorism in full public view is not the way most nations do business.
“It is necessary for the Peace and Order Maintaining Command which includes army, navy, armed forces and police to take control of governing the country,” said Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha. It was in a statement. He didn’t personally appear to tell his story.
Still, it was necessary to assure the country and the world that Thailand, a beloved tourist haven, is still open for business.
“We ask the public not to panic and to carry on their lives normally. And civil servants stay in every ministry, carry on your responsibilities as normal,” said the general, who had made it clear the military really didn’t want to get too involved.
The general and the rest of the command did try. For at least two days it talked with the seating government and opposition groups. Little progress was reported.
Opposition leaders got their wrists slapped publicly but apparently were not getting the Egyptian treatment.
A few of those apparently feared by the military were still able to get word out. The government leaders themselves, who met with the military, were being held.
It bears mentioning that TV stations went off the air and the constitution suspended.
Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed the CIA and said his troops had pulled back.
“The rest of us who are outside are still fine and in the safe places. However, the situation is very worrying. We have to monitor it closely and don’t know what else can happen,” government official Paradorn Pattanathabutr told the BBC.
The Indian Express

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Nigeria headed to second civil war since independence as thousands die

Nigeria may be headed to its second civil war since independence. Seven years after independence from Britain in 1960, a nearly three-year war partly caused by religious tensions claimed one million lives.
Ethnic and cultural differences, just as now, were an important factor in the Biafran War. And it was, just as now, largely Muslim northeastern Hausas against southerners.
The Igbo people of the southwest claimed they suffered most of the deaths, which largely resulted from starvation.
Apologists for the fighting of recent years have tried to minimize the role of religion. This week several hundred deaths in separate attacks in central and northeast Nigeria are being blamed on the Islamic fanatic group called Boko Haram.
It would be foolish to assume Christians were not fighting back. Boko Haram had not hesitated to claim responsibility for earlier bombings and the kidnapping of several hundred schoolgirls.
So far they haven’t said they were responsible for bombings in the “Tin City” of Jos in the country’s middle belt that divides Christian from Muslim areas. It is close to tin mines, largely unregulated like most things in Nigeria. The hilly city of nearly 1 million is about as cosmopolitan as any in the country with the altitude of 4,200 feet making the climate pleasant for an Equatorial region. Some call it the nation’s most beautiful city.
The OsunDefender of Nigeria said the latest massacres moved Nigeria up to the very pinnacle of the worst governments in the world.
There were fresh massacres Wednesday.
An estimated 1,300 people have died this year as a result of bombings and other killings blamed on Boko Haram. The group, which was created by a Muslim self-proclaimed prophet named Maitatsine. He died in police custody in 1980.
A follower, Musa Makaniki, killed hundreds if not more, in a revolt in the Cameroon border town of Yola. He told his followers they were bullet proof. He died with them when police attacked.
There has always been something different about Boko Haram, although they claim to be following Muslim law.
Today’s terrorists are well-armed, allegedly by al-Qaida, and the Nigerian Army has been no match for them.
US, British and French soldiers were called in to help suppress the group. The US, in particular, has been hesitant to rush forces in because of the brutal reputation of the country’s army.
There also are questions about the military’s motivation.
US Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh III told Congress: "We're now looking at a military force that is, quite frankly, becoming afraid to even engage. The United States doesn't have the capacity, the capability to go rescue every kidnapped person around the world."
Amnesty International reported the military was warned four hours before the girls were kidnapped but did nothing. Several villages armed themselves and drove off Boko Haram fighters.
New York Times
Wikipedia Biafran War

Remembering is more important for Google than the right to forget

Lately much has been made about whether Google must observe the right to be forgotten, meaning delete outdated information. The European Court of Justice has ruled the communications giant must.

“There’s no more practical obscurity with search engines,” Laura Handman, a first amendment lawyer said.

The half-life of an Internet item may be longer than plutonium.

Even Gatsby, in his day, was never able erase all his past data, meta, or otherwise.

There will be paper files somewhere, or someone will have downloaded it elsewhere.

All the court ruling can possibly do is make it less convenient to get the information.

It is truly the definition of a Don Quixote mission with no rules of engagement.

And some people want help remembering things past and present.

Of much more concern than “le droit à l’oubli” or right to oblivion, is the right to be remembered, when the issue is whether Google will continue to provide for free the vast array of services from Gmail to Google Voice to Google Earth to free blogs.

Soon they will be offering Google Self Drive. What it the service stopped in the middle of a drive.

Currently the only charges consumers are likely to have to pay to Google are to download music and movies from Google Play or YouTube.

And it is not only Google. In a cartoon this week in the New Yorker, a new arrival at the pearly gates is told that or his experience to really “be heavenly” he will have to upgrade to the premium service.

One measure of how powerful Google is can be seen in Apple stores. Staff, when asked how to solve a problem, frequently type in a query in the Google search engine.

Some people have been storing their emails in Gmail for a decade. It would be very difficult, if not impossible, for most people to save these emails elsewhere if Google decided to end the free service.

Not included in things that might be missed are the imaginary products “Google Trust,” a data insurance; “Google Bee,” your own personal drone; “Google Hug, a crowd-sourced hug matching service, and “Google Bye,” an online profile for the afterlife.

Much has been made of the unofficial Google motto, “Don’t be evil."

But will it be remembered?


New York Times

Stanford Law Review


Monday, May 19, 2014

New Hampshire town calls halt to racial slurs on Presidient Obama

The nation won’t have to wait until the first Tuesday in November to hear what the Granite state has to say. The summer resort town of Wolfeborn has said enough racial attacks on the President of the United States.
The 82-year-old police chief of the summer resort resigned Monday, under pressure for calling Prsident Obama a nigger.
Obama’s presidential opponent, Mitt Romney, is a resident of the Lake Wentworth resort, and he led the drive to get Bob Copeland to resign.
"The vile epithet used and confirmed by the commissioner has no place in our community: He should apologize and resign,” Romney said Sunday in a statement given to CNN.
Copeland admitted using the racial slur, and initially refused to resign. There was no way for the town council to fire him, or any recall procedure.
Evidently threats to boycott the town of 6,300 as the summer tourist season approached, and verbal attacks by town residents and council members, convinced Copeland to leave.
As far as is known, no one called him a “cracker,” “honkie” or “poor white trash.”
Not surprisingly, in this era of talking or tweeting before thinking, it appeared that comments to New Hampshire news sites appeared to support Copeland’s right to insult his commander-in-chief.
By this afternoon the voice of rapid right-wing radio will be heard.
But even the racist owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, barred from the NBA, had not used the “N” word.
Copeland picked a bad time to show his ignorance. The black community, and many supporters, have recently been calling into question whether 60 year after schools were desegregated and Johnny Crow laws mostly removed from the books, where blacks have equal rights.
Facts indicate otherwise. The nation’s outdated drug laws are still largely imposed on blacks, and “stand your ground” laws used to protect white castles.
But this is bad business. Redneck towns, where gays also are often hated, lose out when companies looking for new homes for startup businesses seek a home. If anything, the melting pot, sexual diversity and good universities have draw dispropornately large numbers of the “creative class.”
Manchester Union Leader
Concord Monitor

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Dozens die in worst Balkans flooding in decades, thousands displaced

More than 50 people have been killed in the worst flooding in decades in the Balkans and officials fear a major Serbian power plant is in danger.
The River Sava, swollen by torrential rains, has overflowed its banks and threatens the Nikola Tesla power plant, named for the renowned Serbian scientist.
Serbian Emergency Director Predrag Maric said the power plant was turned off after water broke through a 100-mile stretch of a dyke.
There are also reports that signs-designating areas where land mines were planted have been knocked over. The mines were planted during the 1992-1995 war, and the floodwaters have caused landslides that could move some of the mines.
Once the floodwaters go down experts will have to survey the areas where mines were known to have been planted.
The floods are affecting Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia.
Thousands have fled their homes in boats, buses and helicopters as water rose up to the second-floor levels in buildings in some areas. Thousands were also without potable drinking water. Hundreds of homes were destroyed.
"Bosnia is facing a horrible catastrophe," said Bakir Izetbegovic, the chairman of the Bosnian three-man presidency. "We are still not fully aware of actual dimensions of the catastrophe ... we will have to take care of hundreds, thousands of people."
Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said a new wave of flooding would hit Sunday evening.
"Our primary concern is to protect the power plant," Vucic said. "We are doing all we can."
Bridges were washed out, making access to the flooded areas difficult.
On his Twitter feed, tennis player Novak Djokovic said, “This is a catastrophe of biblical proportions. Half of the country is in danger of electricity cuts. Unfortunately, the awareness is lacking as to what is really happening in the areas. We need help.”
The Guardian

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Sex, drugs, rock n roll and late nights

Guess which one is not on a list of things that will make you more intelligent.
Sorry, Rolling Stones, it is rock 'n' roll. Hey, Mozart wrote "The Magic Flute," and all he had going for him was sex, late nights and some brandy.
There have been hints in recent years that this is true, but new research in England is the most convincing yet.
Esquire magazine reports that Oxford and Cambridge universities spend more on sex toys than their compatriots at lesser universities.
A 2010 study in Psychology Today found that people with higher IQs are more likely to use drugs than those with less intelligence.
The journal Psychology and Individual Differences found last year that those who go against conventional wisdom and stay up late are “more likely to acquire and espouse evolutionary novel values and preferences than less intelligent individuals." That often includes atheism.
"The correlation probably has something to do with the open-mindedness that comes with intelligence," says Annalisa Rose, 23, who works at Honey, a high-end sex shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. "I think that the ability to engage in an open sex life comes with the abilities of introspection and logical thought, and those require some level of intelligence … sexual mores are mostly made up anyway and intelligent people can rationalize past them," she told Esquire.
Psychology Today found that drugs, which have been around since antiquity, have always had negative effects smart people are prone to novel behavior. A study in the United Kingdom found that British children who were above average intelligence at the age of 16 are likely to use drugs than less intelligent people at the age of 42.
Night owls buck the trend, an indication that they are more likely to “espouse evolutional novel values and preferences than less intelligent individuals.”
This does not mean that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford should be re-elected. As far as is known he is too stoned to have sex.