Month: August 2015

Now I Know Why Jewish Bakers are So Cranky

I just began making my first bagels ever.

Actually, it’s my first bread baking ever.

I’m not done, they need to proof for 12-48 hours in the fridge, and then they are boiled (Real bagels are never steamed, f%$3 you Lenders) and baked.

Bagels use high gluten flour, and have a rather low ratio of water to flour, and to make them properly, you roll them into a sausage shape, and then then wrap them around the back of your hand to seal the ends together.

This, along with the fact that I did this without a stand mixer, means that my hands are wicked tired.

I also started some Gravlax, salmon cured in sugar, salt, and spices..

Since, I couldn’t find any Akavit at the liquor store, I added caraway seeds to the salt/sugar/spice mix, and I added ginger because Sharon* likes her Gravlax with ginger, and grains of paradise ……… just because I felt like it.

*Love of my life, light of the cosmos, she who must be obeyed, my wife.

Why I Love Taking Mass Transit to Work

Today, commuting was a little bit f&$@ed up.

The Metro train was constantly stopping between stations, and finally discharged everyone to go to another train.

Why is this so wonderful?

If I were driving, this sort of sh&@would happen at least as often, but the feline option, saying, “F&$@ this, I’m taking a f&$@ing nap,” would not be available to me because I would be driving a car.

I took a nap on my commute, and it was good.

Posted via mobile.

Why Does this Guy Teach at West Point?

William Bradford, an assistant professor at West Point is calling for the assassination anyone who opposes his view of the world, as well as the law schools where they work.

Additionally, he wants Islamic holy sites bombed, just because:

An assistant professor in the law department of the US Military Academy at West Point has argued that legal scholars critical of the war on terrorism represent a “treasonous” fifth column that should be attacked as enemy combatants.

In a lengthy academic paper, the professor, William C Bradford, proposes to threaten “Islamic holy sites” as part of a war against undifferentiated Islamic radicalism. That war ought to be prosecuted vigorously, he wrote, “even if it means great destruction, innumerable enemy casualties, and civilian collateral damage”.

Other “lawful targets” for the US military in its war on terrorism, Bradford argues, include “law school facilities, scholars’ home offices and media outlets where they give interviews” – all civilian areas, but places where a “causal connection between the content disseminated and Islamist crimes incited” exist.

“Shocking and extreme as this option might seem, [dissenting] scholars, and the law schools that employ them, are – at least in theory – targetable so long as attacks are proportional, distinguish noncombatants from combatants, employ nonprohibited weapons, and contribute to the defeat of Islamism,” Bradford wrote.

West Point is the revered undergraduate institution north of New York City where the US army educates its future officer corps. It prides itself on the rigor of its curriculum. Representatives from the school said Bradford had only begun his employment there on 1 August.


In the paper, Bradford identifies himself as an “associate professor of law, national security and strategy, National Defense University”, seemingly his previous job before West Point. But a representative of the National Defense University said Bradford was a contractor at the prestigious Defense Department-run institution, “never an NDU employee nor an NDU professor”.

It appears not to be the first time Bradford misrepresented his credentials. He resigned from Indiana University’s law school in 2005 after his military record showed he had exaggerated his service. (Among his paper’s criticisms of supposedly treasonous lawyers is “intellectual dishonesty”.)

Why is this guy not asking if we want fries with that for a living?

Why is he working at West Point?

Why was he a contractor at the National Defense University before that?

This is particularly troubling when one considers that his record before both of these jobs was clouded by credible allegations that he had consistently lied about his life story.

Why does this guy continue to get jobs in the national security establishment?

More of This

Hillary Clinton just compared the Talibaptist wing of the Republican to the Taliban, and she used the T-Word (Terrorist), and the whiny bitches in the Republican Party are having a sad:

Hillary Rodham Clinton likened Republican presidential candidates to fundamentalist terrorists with brutal or repressive views about women on Thursday, a significant escalation of her rhetoric about GOP positions on abortion that her campaign sees as a major vulnerability in the general election.

“Extreme views about women? We expect that from some of the terrorist groups. We expect that from people who don’t want to live in the modern world,” Clinton said. “But it’s a little hard to take coming from Republicans who want to be the president of the United States.”

Clinton did not say which terrorist or militant groups she meant as a comparison. Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria have held women as sex slaves and chattel, while the Taliban in Afghanistan refused to allow girls to attend school.

“They espouse out of date and out of touch policies,” Clinton said of the current Republican field. “They are dead wrong for 21st Century America. We’re going forward. We’re not going back.”

Republicans have spent the past 50 years describing Democrats as fellow travelers of Communists, terrorists, feminists, etc., who are determined to destroy America.

Now that a major Democratic Party justifiably observes that Republicans want to turn the United States into Saudi Arabia on social issues, they are lamenting the loss of civility in politics.

They need to go Cheney themselves.

This is the Best Job Ever!!!!

If you love cats, and you’ve considered running away to join the circus, then the fact that a Cat Circus Looking for a Tour Assistant is like ……… well ……… catnip:

Has your dream always been to run away with a cat circus? Then here’s the job for you! Samantha Martin and the Acro-Cats are looking for a tour assistant to travel cross-country with a troupe of trained cats (plus a groundhog, a chicken and a few rats) as they purr-form at venues in cities across the United States.

Job Requirements:

1. Animal care experience – Daily, weekly and monthly cat care duties – including but not limited to general and advanced cleaning and care/welfare of animals and their living environment.

2. Out-going personality, a keen sense of humor, the ability to roll with the punches, a flexible schedule, a high comfort level engaging with crowds of cat lovers, open to new experiences, lots of fun and craziness. We travel in a tour bus and share RV/hotel rooms.

3. Physically fit – able to lift and transport up to 50 lbs of show props and animal carriers from tour bus to stage and back.

4. Theater experience a plus – purr-form front and back of house duties, stage management, operate the light and sound, and help on stage with animals and prop placement.

5. Work with volunteers – wrangle and train volunteers who help with the shows.

Pay varies by show and includes per diem. No cat allergies. MUST LOVE CATS!
Serious applicants only. This job is a LOT of work and time on the road, but also the opportunity of a lifetime.

BTW, it appears that this is on the level, as you can see at their web site, which puts the lie to that old cliche “As difficult as herding cats.”

Least Surprising News of the Day

There has been a study of the now infamous Planned Parenthood vids cobbled together by right wing activists, and has determined that the videos were deliberately deceptively edited:

Planned Parenthood on Thursday gave congressional leaders and a committee that is investigating allegations of criminality at its clinics an analysis it commissioned concluding that “manipulation” of undercover videos by abortion opponents make those recordings unreliable for any official inquiry.

“A thorough review of these videos in consultation with qualified experts found that they do not present a complete or accurate record of the events they purport to depict,” the analysis of a private research company said.


Planned Parenthood denies the charges and says that the videos were deceptively and misleadingly edited.

The analysis was by Fusion GPS, a Washington-based research and corporate intelligence company, and its co-founder Glenn Simpson, a former investigative reporter for The Wall Street Journal.


A transcription service was hired to transcribe the videos, without being told that Planned Parenthood was the client, to compare with transcripts publicized by the anti-abortion group. That comparison, the analysis said, showed “substantive omissions” in the group’s version. Mr. Simpson was assisted in the analysis by several others, including a video forensics expert, Grant Fredericks, and a television producer, Scott Goldie.

According to the investigation, the reviewers could not determine “the extent to which C.M.P.’s undisclosed edits and cuts distort the meaning of the encounters the videos purport to document.”

But, it said, “the manipulation of the videos does mean they have no evidentiary value in a legal context and cannot be relied upon for any official inquiries” unless C.M.P. provides investigators with its original material, and that material is independently authenticated as unaltered.

This is exactly the same thing that happened with James O’Keefe and Acorn.

The ‘Phants are threatening to shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood.

The response to this threat should be 3 words, “Bring it on.”

Never stop your enemy from stepping on their own dick:  Planned Parenthood is one of the most popular organizations in America, and the shutdown crap has never worked.

Lazy Wankers! They Can Work, I Don’t Care If They Are Dead!

The Tories Must Be Channeling Monty Python and the Holy Grail

A study by the Department for Work and Pensions in the UK has revealed that over 2,000 people died almost immediately after being declared being fit for work.

The Tories have stopped even trying to pretend that they aren’t evil motherf%$#ers who glory in causing pain to the less fortunate:

Nearly 90 people a month are dying after being declared fit for work, according to new data that has prompted campaigners and Labour leadership contenders to call for an overhaul of the government’s welfare regime.

Statistics released by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) revealed that during the period December 2011 and February 2014 2,380 people died after their claim for employment and support allowance (ESA) ended because a work capability assessment (WCA) found they were found fit for work.

Ministers insisted that the data could not be used to link claimant deaths to its welfare reforms, but the figures focused attention on the government’s fit-for-work assessment process, which has been dogged by controversy in recent years.

Anita Bellows, researcher with campaign group Disabled People Against the Cuts, said it would take time to fully analyse the figures, but added the group was “very worried by the number of people who died within two weeks of being found fit for work” [see footnote].

Letters: If I can’t decide which biscuits to buy, would you want me making decisions about how much morphine to give your mother?

The mortality data was compiled in response to freedom of information requests, and was released by the department only following a ruling by the Information Commissioner’s Office in April.

 But it gets even better:

The WCA, currently administered by private outsourcing firm Maximus, having for most of the last government been run by Atos, has been widely criticised as error-prone and mechanistic, often causing harm to the sick and disabled claimants who are obliged to undergo it. It has been dogged by administrative delays, which have often left claimants stressed and penniless, and there have been hundreds of thousands of appeals against fit-for-work decisions in recent years, about four in 10 of which have succeeded.

So, not only are they killing people, they are allowing their buddies in business to make a profit out of public money doing it.

At the rate this is going, Dick Cheney is going to have to up his game, or people will begin to think that he is a bleeding heart liberal.

The Ashley Madison Breach Reveals Something Interesting

Most of the women members appear to be sock puppets:

When hacker group Impact Team released the Ashley Madison data, they asserted that “thousands” of the women’s profiles were fake. Later, this number got blown up in news stories that asserted “90-95%” of them were fake, though nobody put forth any evidence for such an enormous number. So I downloaded the data and analyzed it to find out how many actual women were using Ashley Madison, and who they were.

What I discovered was that the world of Ashley Madison was a far more dystopian place than anyone had realized. This isn’t a debauched wonderland of men cheating on their wives. It isn’t even a sadscape of 31 million men competing to attract those 5.5 million women in the database. Instead, it’s like a science fictional future where every woman on Earth is dead, and some Dilbert-like engineer has replaced them with badly-designed robots.

Those millions of Ashley Madison men were paying to hook up with women who appeared to have created profiles and then simply disappeared. Were they cobbled together by bots and bored admins, or just user debris? Whatever the answer, the more I examined those 5.5 million female profiles, the more obvious it became that none of them had ever talked to men on the site, or even used the site at all after creating a profile. Actually, scratch that. As I’ll explain below, there’s a good chance that about 12,000 of the profiles out of millions belonged to actual, real women who were active users of Ashley Madison.


It’s also a matter of public record that some percentage of the profiles are less than real. A few years ago, a former employee of Ashley Madison sued the company in Canada over her terrible work conditions. She claimed that she’d gotten repetitive stress injuries in her hands after the company hired her to create 1,000 fake profiles of women in three months, written in Portuguese, to attract a Brazilian audience. The case was settled out of court, and Ashley Madison claimed that the woman never made any fake profiles.

Still, there is a clause in the Ashley Madison terms of service that notes that “some” people are using the site purely “for entertainment” and that they are “not seeking in person meetings with anyone they meet on the Service, but consider their communications with users and Members to be for their amusement.” The site stops short of saying these are fake people, but does admit that many profiles are for “amusement only.”


But the second most popular IP address, found in 80,805 profiles, was a different story. This IP address,, is well-known to anyone who works with computer systems as a loopback interface. To the rest of us, it’s known simply as “home,” your local computer. Any account with that IP address was likely created on a “home” computer at Ashley Madison. Interestingly, 68,709 of the profiles created with that IP address were female, and the remaining 12,000 were either male or had nothing in the gender field.


Then, three data fields changed everything. The first field, called mail_last_time, contained a timestamp indicating the last time a member checked the messages in their Ashley Madison inbox. If a person never checked their inbox, the field was blank. But even if they’d checked their messages only once, the field contained a date and time. About two-thirds of the men, or 20.2 million of them, had checked the messages in their accounts at least once. But only 1,492 women had ever checked their messages. It was a serious anomaly.

The pattern was reflected in another data field, too. This one, called chat_last_time contained the timestamp for the last time a member had struck up a conversation using the Ashley Madison chat system. Roughly 11 million men had engaged in chat, but only 2400 women had.

Yet another field, reply_mail_last_time, showed a similar disparity. This field contained the time when a member had last replied to a message from another person on Ashley Madison. 5.9 million men had done it, and only 9700 women had.

What all these fields have in common is that they measure user activity. They show what happened after the account profile was created, and how an actual person used it by checking messages, chatting, or replying to messages. They measure what you might call signatures of real human behavior. Only a paltry number of women’s accounts actually looked human.


Overall, the picture is grim indeed. Out of 5.5 million female accounts, roughly zero percent had ever shown any kind of activity at all, after the day they were created.


Either way, we’re left with data that suggests Ashley Madison is a site where tens of millions of men write mail, chat, and spend money for women who aren’t there. 

There are two questions raised here:
The first question is whether or not Ashley Madison was a fraud from the get go.
The second question is how many other of the social networking sites out there are doing the same thing and sucking money from venture capitalists.

We need the someone to go Lisbeth Salander on all of these “Web 2.0” companies, because I think that this sort of fraud is the rule, not the exception.

H/t JR at the Stellar Parthenon BBS for the Gary Larson cartoon.

We Are Sooooooo F%$#ed

I knew that global warming would cause problems in the future, but the fact that sea levels have risen 3 inches over the past 23 years just boggles the mind:

A panel of NASA scientists said Wednesday that new data shows sea levels are, on average, three inches higher than they were in 1992 due to melting ice from both mountain glaciers and the polar ice caps, as well as warmer oceans.

The data was collected from NASA satellites. NASA also released a video that shows a visualization of rising sea levels.

The changes are concerning and “it’s very likely to get worse in the future,” Steve Nerem, a University of Colorado geophysicist and a member of the panel, said in a conference call, Reuters reported. In 2013, a United Nations panel reported sea levels were projected to rise between 1 and 3 feet by 2100; the NASA panel said data indicates the level rise would be on the higher end of that projection.

 I may have beachfront property before I die.

The Best Case of, “Our Work is Done Here,” this Presidential Campaign

The “Stop Chris Christie” PAC has closed its doors.

It appears that they believe that, through the efforts of Chris Christie, they have been rendered redundant:

A super PAC opposing Chris Christie’s (R) presidential bid said Tuesday that it planned to shut down, citing the New Jersey governor’s poor performance in the polls.

The treasurer of the Stop Chris Christie PAC, Thomas Bjorkland, made the announcement in response to a letter from the Federal Election Commission that warned the super PAC must change its name or else clarify the nature of the committee. Bjorkland wrote in a letter to the FEC that “based on recent polling and the miserable showing of the candidate in question,” the committee decided to instead wind down its operations.

That’s some sweet Schadenfreude.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Even as his campaign has shown remarkable staying power, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is dogged by the perception that there isn’t much to him beneath the bluster and the glitz. But he may have inadvertently steered the race into important territory, at least when it comes to Wall Street and taxes.

In interviews over the last several days, Trump made blistering comments about inhabitants of a corner of the financial industry who have grown accustomed to criticism. “I know a lot of bad people in this country that are making a hell of a lot of money and not paying taxes,” Trump said in an interview with Time, in apparent reference to hedge fund and private equity fund managers. “The tax law is totally screwed up.”

“They’re paying nothing and it’s ridiculous,” he added on CBS a few days later. “The hedge fund guys didn’t build this country. These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky.” He went on: “They’re energetic, they’re very smart. But a lot of them, it’s like they’re paper pushers. They make a fortune, they pay no tax…The hedge funds guys are getting away with murder.”

“The hedge fund guys didn’t build this country. These are guys that shift paper around and they get lucky.”

Donald Trump is in agreement with me, and with Bernie Sanders, and Barack Obama that the carried interest loophole is bullsh%$, and it needs to be repealed immediately.

Let me be clear about this, Donald Trump is a bigoted nativist, or at least he does a remarkable job of playing on on TV, but a lot of Trumps positions, whether about welfare for hedge funds, social security, or healthcare (see my earlier previous post) he is literally the best Republican in the race right now.

As I’ve said before, Trump is not a political outlier.  This is the Dixicrat politics of Strom Thurmond, George Wallace, and Theodore Bilbo.

I Wish that Heath Ledger Were Alive and Playing Donald Trump in a Biopic

It would be glorious.

I’m not sure whether Heath Ledger channeled Donald Trump in his glorious performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight, of if Donald Trump is channeling Ledger’s Academy Award winning performance, but I definitely see the Joker in Trump’s eyes.

I didn’t realize this until I saw the Joker meme image on the Internet.

It is “The Donald”.

H/t DC at Stellar Parthenon for the image.

Gee, What a Surprise………

The Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating allegations that military officials have skewed intelligence assessments about the United States-led campaign in Iraq against the Islamic State to provide a more optimistic account of progress, according to several officials familiar with the inquiry.

The investigation began after at least one civilian Defense Intelligence Agency analyst told the authorities that he had evidence that officials at United States Central Command — the military headquarters overseeing the American bombing campaign and other efforts against the Islamic State — were improperly reworking the conclusions of intelligence assessments prepared for policy makers, including President Obama, the government officials said.

Fuller details of the claims were not available, including when the assessments were said to have been altered and who at Central Command, or Centcom, the analyst said was responsible. The officials, speaking only on the condition of anonymity about classified matters, said that the recently opened investigation focused on whether military officials had changed the conclusions of draft intelligence assessments during a review process and then passed them on.

The prospect of skewed intelligence raises new questions about the direction of the government’s war with the Islamic State, and could help explain why pronouncements about the progress of the campaign have varied widely.

This is an artifact of rampant careerism in the US military, and is a recipe for military disaster.

We have a senior officer corps that is more interested in PR than the truth, and the more that this compromises the the transfer of information up and down the chain of command, the more our military looks like the Egyptian army circa 1967.

A Very Thought Provoking Essay………

Over at the Archdruid’s crib, there is a must read post on the requirements for overturning an existing order. You want to read the whole thing, but here is a sample:

The first and most essential step in the transformation of any society is the delegitimization of the existing order. That doesn’t involve violence, and in fact violence at this first stage of the process is catastrophically counterproductive—a lesson, by the way, that the US military has never been able to learn, which is why its attempts to delegitimize its enemies (usually phrased in such language as “winning minds and hearts”) have always been so embarrassingly inept and ineffective. The struggle to delegitimize the existing order has to be fought on cultural, intellectual, and ideological battlefields, not physical ones, and its targets are not people or institutions but the aura of legitimacy and inevitability that surrounds any established political and economic order.

He also quotes what may be Isaac Asimov’s most enduring bit of prose, “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.”

It is an very interesting essay why’s and wherefores of violence and non-violence for any revolutionary movement.

Damn! Genuine Emotions………

One of the criticism of Hillary Clinton is that she is, or comes across as artificial and emotionally detached.

She was talking about the shootings today, and as this clip from CSPAN shows, she appears to be genuine and emotionally attached to the issue of sane gun laws.

If she wants the win the nomination, she needs to can the “Ice Queen” bullsh%$ and show more of this.

Another Day, Another Shooting

I am citing this Tom Tomorrow cartoon, way too often

Another, another spate of senseless gun violence, this one on live TV: (No, I will not post this video, ever!)

The tragic killing of two US journalists in Virginia has shocked America, but could be particularly traumatising for those who watched the murder happen live on television.

For those watching WDBJ at 06:45 (10:45 GMT) on Wednesday, it suddenly became clear that something terrible was unfolding.

WDBJ TV reporter Alison Parker, 24, and cameraman Adam Ward, 27, were starting a breakfast TV interview about tourism in the town of Moneta, when it was suddenly interrupted by the sound of gunfire.

Viewers heard female screams and “Oh my God!”. The camera spun and dropped to the ground, before the feed cut back to a visibly disturbed anchor in the newsroom, who said: “OK not sure what happened there. We will of course let you know as soon as we find out what those sounds were.”

Of course, now is not the time about sensible gun laws, because the National Rifle Association has told us that it is too soon to talk about sensible gun laws.

It never is, of course, and nothing will change, because that is what the NRA wants, and the NRA gets what it wants.

Seriously, if you are a disturbed individual with a chip on your shoulder and a gun, how about visiting an NRA board meetin? g

Some Good Law Enforcement News for Today

The new judge in charge of the Ferguson Missouri municipal court has rescinded hundreds of arrest warrants, and has promised to make the court less abusive on poor and black people:

A new municipal judge in Ferguson, Missouri, on Monday ordered sweeping changes to court practices in response to a scathing Justice Department report following the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown a year ago.

Municipal Court Judge Donald McCullin, appointed in June, ordered that all arrest warrants issued in the city before Dec. 31, 2014 be withdrawn.

Defendants will receive new court dates along with options for disposing of their cases, such as payment plans or community service. Fines may be commuted for indigent people.

The changes come five months after the U.S. Department of Justice strongly criticized city leaders in its report, saying the police force and court worked together to exploit people in order to raise revenue.

The Justice Department specifically said Ferguson’s municipal court practices caused significant harm to many people with cases pending as minor municipal code violations turned into multiple arrests, jail time, and payments that exceeded the cost of the original ticket many times over.

Here is hoping that the reforms stick, but I doubt it.

In the long run, there is too much money in shaking poor black people in Ferguson for it to end without an outside agent forcing them to do so.