Trump This

DonaldTrumpsHair

Within the past few days I have made a number of jokes, even snide remarks, about the person who now appears to be the favorite among Republican voters. I am sure we have all grown weary of these digs at Donald Trump and his supposed campaign. So I will shut this down, at least for a while with a final word on the matter. And this is it.

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Quiz Question

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This came up when I was working for a company that did secure communications. We were doing the software that formatted the messages and sent them out over the secure link. The messages had to be encrypted prior to transmission. To save communication bandwidth we also wanted to compress the messages.

The question came up: Do we want to encrypt the messages and then compress them, or do we want to compress the messages and then encrypt them. The answer was obvious.

This is a question in two parts:

1. Which should you do first, encrypt or compress?

2. Why?

As with all of these, responses should be posted as a comment to this post. The answer will be provided in slightly more than a week.

Time’s Up!

I have had a couple of responses, and none of them have given the problem any serious thought. I also advised readers to try these concepts out. A small bit of experimentation would have revealed the what, but not maybe the why. And what is the answer?

1. Compress first, then encrypt.

2. You must compress first, because an encrypted file cannot be compressed.

A few minutes ago I ran this simple demonstration. I generated a text file—the first 12 chapters of Genesis. That seemed appropriate.

Next I constructed a simple encryption program, and encrypted the first 12 chapters of Genesis.

Now I had two files—the first 12 chapters of Genesis and the first 12 chapters of Genesis encrypted.

Then I zipped both files. Here is the result:

genesis.txt    39 KB
outfile.txt    39 KB (encrypted Genesis)
genesis.zip    12 KB
outfile.zip    39 KB

The encrypted file will not compress.

People who read the blog would have known this already. This principle was previously explained two years ago:

https://skeptic78240.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/the-codebreakers/

This is the thing that came to me 20 years ago when the question was first posed. It was like, “Yeah, dummy. If you have an encrypted message, and you can compress it, then you are a long way down the road to decoding it.” Since decoding encrypted messages is not usually trivial, compression is out of the question.

 

Lock and Load

I get introduced to a variety of people on Facebook. I would not trade these experiences for anything. A few days ago a conservative Facebook friend linked to a post by Steve Reichart. Steve is a United States Marine, currently not on active duty. He’s a Marine with an attitude. That’s what I expect of a Marine. I’ve known a few, and every one had an attitude.

Steve’s attitude is decidedly anti-liberal. He’s not slow to let us know:

If you could list three attributes common amongst liberals what would they be?

I know my 1st one would be “Unarmed”

No doubt his Facebook followers share his views on liberals. Of course, they could be wrong on a few points. For example, “Unarmed?” Pardon me while I chuckle. I’m counting five ultra-liberal souls in my immediate acquaintance, some related to me, and they are all heavily armed. And they know how to use their weapons. Another, a former boss of mine, ex-Navy officer, Ph.D. in mathematics, is an absolute gun fanatic. It’s likely this kind of information would take some of the shine off Steve Reichart’s rhetoric, but I resist pursuing that quest.

Besides being down on liberals, Steve has a thing with guns, ammo, and other symbols of firepower. He posts a bunch of appropriate images on Facebook. Here are some of them:

ReichartPistol

ReichartAPICartridges

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Pictures of weapons and ammo show you are the type of man who is familiar with this kind of stuff. While some may say this is a bit of pointless bravado, I beg to disagree. I think it’s kind of cute.

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Bad Movie Wednesday

I was sure I would like this movie more than I actually did. A year ago I reviewed Chris Kyle’s book American Sniper, and found it to be a good read. The movie, directed by Clint Eastwood hit the full market audience this year, and after the DVD price dropped within my budget I ordered a copy from Amazon. I could have been warned by early reviews, but it became obvious after watching a few minutes the movie is not the book. Eastwood and possibly screen writer Jason Hall have attempted to make a literary work out of Kyle’s life story. Once you get past you’re not watching the book, the going gets easier.

Critiquing the DVD, my first complaint is this:

AmericanSniper-01

I wait months for the DVD, then I pay Amazon $12.99 plus tax, then I wait days for delivery and then wait all morning for the postman to arrive. Then I open the package and pop the disk into my player, and the first thing I see is a commercial message for a soft drink. I was hoping that by paying money up front that I could avoid the obligation of wading through an advertisement. I would hope in vain.

The opening scene evokes the opening lines of the book:

I LOOKED THROUGH THE SCOPE OF THE SNIPER RIFLE, SCANNING down the road of the tiny Iraqi town. Fifty yards away, a woman opened the door of a small house and stepped outside with her child.

The rest of the street was deserted. The local Iraqis had gone inside, most of them scared. A few curious souls peeked out from behind curtains, waiting. They could hear the rumble of the approaching American unit. The Marines were flooding up the road, marching north to liberate the country from Saddam Hussein.

It was my job to protect them. My platoon had taken over the building earlier in the day, sneaking into position to provide “overwatch”— prevent the enemy from ambushing the Marines as they came through.

Kyle, Chris; McEwen, Scott; DeFelice, Jim (2013-10-15). American Sniper: Memorial Edition (p. 1). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

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The movie is not quite like that. In the movie the woman takes a grenade from under her clothing and hands it to the boy to carry out and throw at the Marines. Kyle’s first long distance shot of the war kills the boy. The second kills the woman. In reality the woman was the only target.

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There begins a flashback, in the movie and in the book, of life leading up to that moment. Kyle grew up in North Central Texas, the same as I did. Only our lives took different trajectories. My experience with the military was a stint in the Navy Reserve, starting my last year in high school. Home life for Kyle was somewhat more rigid than mine. Our family was not as overtly religious. Early scenes show a strict upbringing.

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We see Kyle attempting a career as a rodeo performer, which career takes a downhill turn. Attacks on Americans by Muslim militants incite his ire, and the Navy SEAL service appears to be his way to address this need.

The Frogmen is a movie I saw at a tender age. I should have reviewed it first, but there’s still the opportunity. I will get a copy and cover it later this year. The movie came out in 1951 and dealt with men of the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team, frogmen. Ten years after watching the movie I got to see these guys for real. Stationed briefly at Little Creek in Virginia I would rise at the traditional Navy reveille hour and watch them running in from the beach, shouting at the top of their lungs. They had been out running in the surf all morning while I was in my warm bunk. I get the idea these were not men in training. This was their daily routine. Kyle’s SEAL training as depicted in the film is a shadow of reality. It is brutal, designed to weed out all but the most capable and the most dedicated.

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Activated in the SEALs and with a new bride, Kyle deploys to Iraq during the initial invasion in 2003. There the SEALs had the task of providing cover for Marine units as they pushed into enemy territory. SEALs would infiltrate first and set up. Then they would watch for and suppress ambushes by Iraqi troops. More often than not it was not enemy troops that were the hazard but irregular forces launching sneak attacks. The movie shows a typical situation: A car carrying explosives bears down on a Marine column moving up a narrow street. The Marines pepper the car with rifle fire but don’t hit the driver. Kyle kills the driver with one shot through the windshield. In the driver’s hand is an aptly-named dead man switch. When the driver dies his hand releases the switch, setting off the explosives.

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The movie makes a lot of the hunt for Musab al-Zarqawi. This is complete fiction, and from this point on Eastwood and Hall have thrown the book aside, at least as far as the Iraqi war is concerned.

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The story of al-Zarqawi’s enforcer, known as “The Butcher,” who tortures and kills with an electric drill is another Eastwood add-on. In the film Kyle engages an enemy sniper, known as Mustafa.

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Mustafa is a constant menace, and in his final action Kyle takes him out with a shot of over a mile.

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The final second in the life of the sniper Mustafa

It’s again an Eastwood embellishment.

WHILE WE WERE ON THE BERM WATCHING THE CITY, WE WERE also watching warily for an Iraqi sniper known as Mustafa. From the reports we heard, Mustafa was an Olympics marksman who was using his skills against Americans and Iraqi police and soldiers. Several videos had been made and posted, boasting of his ability.

I never saw him, but other snipers later killed an Iraqi sniper we think was him.

Kyle, Chris; McEwen, Scott; DeFelice, Jim (2013-10-15). American Sniper: Memorial Edition (p. 139). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

A lot of reality is thrown away in this scene. For one thing it shows Kyle making a calculated kill shot. No sniper makes a calculated shot at this range. There are too many variables. It takes at least one throw-away shot to get the final offset, with a second shot to clean up.

Kyle’s long shot did take place in Sadr City, and he cites luck for his success on the first round.

We had no way of calling the convoy directly— to this day I don’t know exactly who they were, except that they were Army. But I put my scope on him and fired, hoping to at least scare him off with the shot or maybe warn the convoy.

At 2,100 yards, plus a little change, it would take a lot of luck to hit him. A lot of luck. Maybe the way I jerked the trigger to the right adjusted for the wind. Maybe gravity shifted and put that bullet right where it had to be. Maybe I was just the luckiest son of a bitch in Iraq. Whatever— I watched through my scope as the shot hit the Iraqi, who tumbled over the wall to the ground.

“Wow,” I muttered.

“You dumb lucky fucker,” said LT.

Twenty-one hundred yards. The shot amazes me even now. It was a straight-up luck shot; no way one shot should have gotten him.

Kyle, Chris; McEwen, Scott; DeFelice, Jim (2013-10-15). American Sniper: Memorial Edition (p. 349). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

The book is more of a story than the movie, and the book is not so much of a story as it is a narrative of the life of an American combatant. Kyle’s family life gets better coverage than his combat experience. Going off to war, leaving a young (and pregnant) wife behind, witnessing Hell on Earth and bringing those dark thoughts back home, it’s all too typical. His marriage did turn rocky during the period of his four deployments, but back home in Texas, out of the military and getting himself settled into a civilian career, Kyle seemed to be destined to success. Then inexplicably he was killed by a psychotic veteran he was trying to help. The movie concludes with scenes from the memorial tributes.

Who’s minding the store?

1985-12-31TruckOnSide-small

So I saw this:

CNN: VA Audit Reveals 57,000 Veterans Still Awaiting Care, 63,000 Never Got An Appointment At All

‘The facts just get worse and worse’

BY:
June 9, 2014 2:00 pm

CNN correspondent Drew Griffin reported on a new audit by the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs revealing 57,000 veterans are still awaiting care nationwide Monday on Wolf.

Griffin, who broke the VA scandal showing delayed care and secret waiting lists that led to dozens of veterans’ deaths last month, said the “facts just get worse and worse.” Another 63,000 have enrolled in the health care system in the last decade but never had an appointment.

“13 percent of the scheduling staff across the country indicated that they were told, as we’ve been reporting, to cook the books, to hide the fact that these veterans were waiting for so long,” Griffin said.

Host Wolf Blitzer called the numbers “shocking.” Griffin added that it was no longer an “allegation” that there was massive cooking of the books by agency bureaucrats to gain eligibility for bonuses, but rather a “fact.”

This was about a year ago. So I was thinking, “What the shit! What’s so hard about ensuring military veterans get the health care owed to them?” Then I saw this:

Security Firm: China Is Behind the OPM Hack

The U.S. government has been reluctant to pin blame for the massive espionage campaign. A leading cybersecurity company—relying on federal data—isn’t being so shy.
Hackers “affiliated with the Chinese government” conducted the massive theft of personal information on tens of millions of current and former U.S. government employees, an executive with a leading cyber security company told The Daily Beast.

The assessment, which the executive said is based on technical information provided by the U.S. government, comes as the Obama administration released new information about the scale of what may be the biggest act of cyber espionage in U.S. history. The government has so far refused to publicly identify a culprit, however.

And now this:

Sources: Nation’s disabled work program mired in corruption, fraud

So I’m beginning to think, “Who’s minding the store?” Is anybody in the government looking out for the country?

These aid to the disabled programs are funded by the United States Government. The programs do not pay directly to disabled people, but they ensure that certain government contracts are awarded to people with disabilities. And all this time nobody has been going out to the companies receiving these contracts to ensure they are actually hiring disabled people. What’s going on here? The saga continues:

While CNN has learned there are at least four inspectors general now with active investigations, none of them is officially tasked with oversight of the program or agency, and none has complete authority over it. They are pursuing it because of concerns that have been raised about specific contracts under their jurisdiction.

What’s so embarrassing is two of these scandals were broken not by insightful government employees, but by CNN reporter Drew Griffin. Should we fire a bunch of government watchdogs and hire Griffin? Nah. That would make it look as though the government can’t do its job.

So what’s with the Obama administration? Here’s the crowd that passed the Affordable Care Act, killed Osama bin Laden, forestalled disaster from hurricane Sandy, obtained marriage equality for homosexuals and negotiated a nuclear arms deal with Iran. But they can’t get government employees to do some of the minimum things they are supposed to do. How many different ways are there to say, “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job?

I hate to be impolite, Mr. President, but this kind of shit was supposed to stop when you took office. Just see if I ever vote for you again.

Everlasting Comfort

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I have a variety of Facebook friends. They range almost the full spectrum. At times one of them will post a cute meme like the one below:

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When I see something like this I usually just smile. And I let it go. Maybe not anymore.

I’m thinking that from now on when I see something like this I’m going to think of Jivan Kohar. He was ten years old this year, and he lived in a small village called Kudiya, in southwest Nepal. But not anymore. This is one of the last things Jivan Kohar saw:

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This is a religious temple. It was the site of a religious ritual, a ritual that involved killing young Jivan Kohar. See, this young boy needed to die so that another person could be healed. The other person was the son of a local man, and a priest told this man that a ritual murder would be effective in healing his son’s illness:

A Nepalese man has confessed to the murder of a young boy after saying a local holy man advised him that a human sacrifice would heal his ailing son, local police said.

The body of 10-year-old Jivan Kohar was found on July 24 on the outskirts of Kudiya village in southwest Nepal. The child had gone missing three days earlier.

Police superintendent Nal Prasad Upadhyaya, who headed the investigation, told CNN on Monday that Kodai Harijan admitted committing the gruesome crime with his relatives after consulting the priest. In some cultures, priests are believed to have magical or spiritual powers to cure the sick.

Of course, religion alone did not kill Jivan Kohar. His death also required the avarice of the man who did the killing. If  he had valued Jivan Kohar’s life as much as he valued the wellbeing of his own son, then Jivan Kohar would be alive today. However, if Kodai Harijan had understood completely that what the local holy man was telling him was complete fabrication, then he would not have seen the need to murder this other human being.

People will tell you that at its base religious belief is harmless. It’s only something in a person’s mind. It’s just a deeply held belief. It’s not a physical thing that can cause injury and death. This thinking flies in the face of the facts exemplified by the case of Jivan Kohar.

How many more people are going to have to fly airplanes into tall buildings? How many people are going to have to blow themselves up in crowded markets? How many more children are going to have to die of medical neglect before we all begin to see religion as the dark curse that it is?

Photo from KATU.com

Photo from KATU.com

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Young Conservatives Triumph

CasingsInTheStreet

I was getting ready to put out my post on the Movie Theater Shooting of the Week. You know how this sort of thing goes:

The bloodshed at a Louisiana movie theater Thursday night capped an unusually violent week and a half in the United States.

There have been five mass killings in the last 10 days — one of the deadliest stretches in years, according to Jodi Upton, who runs the data journalism team at USA TODAY. The newspaper has tracked mass killings in the United States since 2006.

As you can see, this is the typical liberal press reaction, “Alarm, alarm! It’s so awful. The world is coming to an end.” Only it didn’t work this time. Attempts to lay this episode at the feet of political conservatives backfired. The Young Conservatives are on top of the issue and have let loose a broadside crafted to blow away the rising swell of libtard propaganda:

Evidence Shows Louisiana Shooter Supported Obama in 2012

Yehuda Remer
July 24, 2015 6:55 pm

Like all other shootings that have occurred (that were not carried out by Muslim fanatics), this one is no different. The Left immediately began calling foul, telling the world that the Louisiana gunman was a right-wing fanatic. The problem is that he wasn’t. Not only was he not right-wing, he even admitted to supporting President Obama and his agenda in what people are calling his manifesto.

According to Truth Revolt, John Houser admitted via a political forum that he backed President Obama in his bid for re-election in 2012, and that Obama in someways is similar to that of Timothy McVeigh.

Yes, it’s true. Shooter John (Rusty) Houser campaigned and voted for Barack Hussein Obama in 2012, when his record of failure was already so evident. This is laid out in Houser’s manifesto. Read it for yourself:

#1

Rusty Houser is offlineCorrespondent 

Location: Phenix City AL
Posts: 219
Blog Entries: 8

Default How do I cope with the US gov’t,it’s immorality,and stupidity?

1 Recognize a lost cause.It is too late.The US is oozing the puss of foolishness and perversion.
2 Find a positive way to exert your energies.I recommend laughing as often as possible.Here is something that is truly funny: since I accepted this it came to me that the president is doing exactly what Tim McVeigh did,only the president is much more effective.The way I see it,the faster he wrecks this nation, which in no way resembles what it’s founders envisioned,the faster working people with morals may re-assume command.ie I was for his re-election. I like his spending habits.etc……Truth and death always go hand in hand, and in our brave moments we can laugh. Whatever truth requires, I will accept.
3 Encourage whatever takes us forward. Right now, down is forward.

4 For the few who will understand this, it is my hope that you will see to one preparation for the coming downfall, which will be worse than a Mad Max scenario. That preparation is not storing up canned goods, munitions,etc, but to gather what will be necessary to put in your families food to insure a painless and certain death should the need arise.,if there are no cell phones,no TV,no power,gas,no stores,no police,etc.

5 If you are male, fight until the end, and enjoy it.People are good at what they enjoy, and your Maker would want it that way.

I have highlighted the pertinent text.

Well all right, Houser doesn’t exactly spell out that he campaigned and voted for B.O. back then, but you have to infer from his language his real meaning. He’s saying he connived with our traitorous president to wreck this country. If that’s not support, then we don’t know what is. It is so obvious that John Russell Houser was a bleeding heart liberal.

I admit, there may be some dark clouds obscuring this otherwise clear picture:

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Houser’s profile on PoliticalForum.com.

Ha! “no political affiliation” That’s a sure sign he was trying to disguise his left-leaning proclivities. There’s more:

He also had a Facebook profile under the name Rusty Houser, where he was a member of a group called “I hate liberals!”

Aha! Another attempt at disguise. It gets deeper:

Houser’s Facebook page. (Facebook)

Houser’s Facebook page. (Facebook)

If you are prone, as am I, to read left-wing sources, your vision can become irreversibly blurred. Avoid, if you can, absurdities such as this:

In June 2013, he registered on the website Tea Party Nation.

Houser also had a Twitter account that he only used twice, including to call the Westboro Baptist Church the “last real church” in America:

Houser’s Twitter account. (Twitter)

Houser’s Twitter account. (Twitter)

Readers, that pretty much demonstrates Houser’s connivance with our imitation president. Of course he was known to be a little salty in the head, but that’s what you would expect from a flaming liberal such as he. Score a big one for the Young Conservatives. And score one for gun rights while you’re at it.

Bad Movie of the Week

I was trying to figure out what this movie was all about. Then I looked at the title: Earth vs. the Flying Saucers. Then I remembered. There were going to be flying saucers, and there was going to be a battle with Earth. Got it. It’s from Columbia Pictures in 1956 starring Hugh Marlowe and Joan Taylor.

Marlowe is Dr. Russell A. Marvin, scientist working for the early space program. Taylor is his bride of two hours as the movie opens. They are doing what your typical family of scientist do right after shaking off the rice. They are going back to work at the missile launching base. This is really steamy.

There’s been a lot of commotion with flying saucers, UFOs and stuff, and everybody is on edge. Wouldn’t you know it, as the newlyweds motor across the desert toward their honeymoon rocket launch, they are set upon by a flying saucer. Yikes!

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Astounded as they are by this close encounter of the first kind, they motor on and get to work on the missile launch. They are part of Project Skyhook. Being of that generation, I recall there was a Project Skyhook. Only it didn’t involve launching rockets from a space port. Skyhook lofted rockets way up high with balloons, from which they were launched. A little artistic license is involved here.

The movie cuts in various clips of actual rocket launches from the era. This appears to be one of the captured German V-2 rockets.

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The father of the bride, Brig. Gen. John Hanley (Morris Ankrum), arrives at the base and attempts to warn off the launch. Flying saucers have been spotted. Too late. The launch goes off. It was supposed to put a satellite into orbit. It does, but as with the 10 before, this satellite is promptly downed by unknown forces.

Trying another launch, the base is again beset by flying saucers. This time one lands, and creatures get out. There is an immediate fire fight. One alien is killed, but the other aliens make quick work of the rocket, the remainder of the base, and all the people, except for Dr. and Mrs. Marvin, who survive inside the sealed launch bunker.

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The destruction of the base includes footage of an actual launch failure.

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The general is injured in the fight and is taken aboard the space craft, where the aliens pull a brain dump on him. Viewers have already been telegraphed that the general will not survive the movie.

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Back in Washington, D.C., the survivors Marvin prep our fearless leaders on the danger that lurks beyond the atmosphere. Dr. Marvin takes it upon himself to contact the aliens by radio, and they designate a meeting place along a secluded beach. He gets the idea this is an invitation he cannot refuse. Wife Carol, liaison officer Major Huglin (Donald Curtis) and a motorcycle cop tag along. All are invited, if you get what I mean, to enter the space craft. They are taken millions of miles from Earth and then back. The cop gets edgy and opens fire with his service revolver. He gets taken into custody by the aliens, who pull another brain dump and retain him while the others go free.

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The aliens have announced their intentions, and the prospect is not pretty. Earth decides to fight back. Dr. Marvin devises a sonic defense, and it gets tested at a remote lab. The aliens get wise, and there is an initial encounter.

It’s a draw. A scientist is killed. An alien is killed. The lab is destroyed. The sonic weapon truck is destroyed. The forest is set ablaze. The bodies of the general and the motorcycle cop are dumped out of a hovering saucer, falling to the ground in view of Dr. Marvin, the liaison officer and the general’s daughter.

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He was saying something about being off to see the wizard, and I shot him.

It’s all out war now. The flying saucers attack en masse. Sonic beams take down saucers all around Washington.

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Saucers attack famous Washington landmarks.

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Dr. Marvin and his bride bravely team together. Dr. Marvin drives a sonic beam truck while Carol sits in the seat beside him, looking frightened and very pretty. Soldiers shoot down flying saucers.

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Crashing saucers produce more destruction.

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It’s a battle of attrition. The Earth defenders eventually wear the attacking forces down, and the surviving saucers retreat back into space.

Life on earth is again peaceful, and the future looks bright for the people of the planet. Dr. Marvin and his bride spend a loving day at the beach and joyfully dash into the surf, feeling secure again. For the time being.

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This is a classic science fiction story, except for the science part. This was the year before the Soviet Union launched the first Earth satellite, and people on the street had little understanding of rocketry and orbital mechanics. In fact, they still don’t. Neither do movie producers and most politicians.

As the movie cranks up the principals ponder about what is shooting down the satellites they are putting up. The fact is, you don’t shoot satellites down. World War Two was only recently concluded, and people understood that a lot of airplanes got shot down. Satellites are not like airplanes. They do not fly through the air. Shooting one full of holes or shattering it with explosives will not bring it down. The pieces will continue to orbit the Earth.

Dr. Marvin gets the idea the aliens are using something like the sonic beam to attack satellites. Wrong again. Satellites move through airless space, where sonic beams will not go. It’s not a good day for science.

This is another exhibit of the work of famed special effects master Ray Harryhausen. He was given a budget of $4300 to build, and destroy, models of famous Washington structures. We have already seen some of his work, his first movie being Mighty Joe Young, wherein he recreated the King Kong sensation. I have also reviewed 20 Million Miles to Earth, featuring his first lizard animations. I have more in my stack. Watch for another lizard movie review, coming soon to a blog post near you.

The Anvil

Incendiary bombs are dropped from B-29 Superfortresses of the U.S. Army Air Forces on already-burning landing piers and surrounding buildings in Kobe, Japan, on June 4, 1945. http://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2011/10/world-war-ii-the-fall-of-imperial-japan/100175/

Incendiary bombs are dropped from B-29 Superfortresses of the U.S. Army Air Forces on already-burning landing piers and surrounding buildings in Kobe, Japan, on June 4, 1945. http://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2011/10/world-war-ii-the-fall-of-imperial-japan/100175/

Seventy years ago the world had entered a phase the likes of which were unknown to history. Ten years earlier the Japanese Empire had invaded Manchuria, and the Nazis were securing their grip on power in 20th century Germany. In the intervening years German Chancellor Adolf Hitler had initiated unprovoked wars with neighboring countries and eventually with the United States and with the Soviet Union. Benito Mussolini’s Italy had joined with Germany in its conquest of Europe. Japan had initiated a war with the United States and Britain with attacks in December 1941.

By this time 70 years ago the fortunes of the aggressor nations were completely reversed. Italy had capitulated in 1943, and by May of 1945 the whole of the German state was completely overrun and occupied by Allied armies.

With the destruction of its fleet in the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October 1944 Japan had been reduced to an island fortress, cut off completely from the remainder of its empire and from the rest of the world. American naval and army forces so dominated the region around Japan that only a few remaining submersible vessels dared enter or leave its ports. American bomber planes ranged over the Japanese islands almost at will, destroying square miles of Japanese cities at a time in massive fire bomb raids. Ships were attacked and sunk pier side in Japanese ports.

The collection of islands that are the Japanese home land were densely populated, without the agricultural base to feed the people. Seventy years ago people on the islands were reduced to eating grass. And they were preparing for an invasion. One such was in the planning for November of 1945.

While the empire’s military on the home islands may have been a caged animal, its reach remained lethal. The Philippine Islands had been cleared of effective Japanese resistance, but remaining outposts continued to be defiant. In places such as the island of Borneo Japanese forces still held prisoner Western troops and civilians. As doom approached the Japanese army embarked on a campaign to eliminate this human burden and also any living witnesses to past atrocities. Elimination included burning prisoners alive in their cages.

This situation was no secret to Allied forces in the region. For this reason, among many, the option of waiting for the Japanese military to wither and die was discarded. The planned invasion was expected to result in massive casualties on both sides. At this point a horrible alternative presented itself. The world would never afterward be the same.

Bad Joke of the Week

Not yet

Not yet

Why I Owe My Mother ….
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1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE .
“If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning.”

2. My mother taught me RELIGION.
“You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.
“If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week!”

4. My mother taught me LOGIC.
“Because I said so, that’s why.”

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC .
“If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with
me.”

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
“Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.”

7. My mother taught me IRONY.
“Keep crying, and I’ll give you something to cry about.”

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS .
“Shut your mouth and eat your supper.”

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTION-ISM.
“Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!”

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA ..
“You’ll sit there until all that spinach is gone.”

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER.
“This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it.”

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.
“If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times. Don’t exaggerate!”

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.
“I brought you into this world, and I can take you out..”

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION .
“Stop acting like your father!”

15. My mother taught me about ENVY.
“There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful
parents like you do.”

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
“Just wait until we get home.”

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING ..
“You are going to get it when you get home!”

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
“If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way.”

19. My mother taught me ESP.
“Put your sweater on; don’t you think I know when you are cold?”

20. My mother taught me HUMOR.
“When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.”

21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT .
“If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.”

22. My mother taught me GENETICS.
“You’re just like your father.”

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS.
“Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?”

24. My mother taught me WISDOM.
“When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.”

And my favorite:
25. My mother taught me about JUSTICE.
“One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!”

Only you folks my age understand these profound statements!!!
But, there is one missing from this list~~My personal all time favorite!!

My mother taught me about CHOICE.
“Do you want me to stop this car?”

Ghost of a Prayer

I’m telling you, readers. It’s like talking to the wall.

ReligionReplaceCommonSense

So, why did it take this to shine some light?

Prayers don’t help heart surgery patients

Some fare worse when prayed for

By William J. Cromie
Harvard News Office

Many – if not most – people believe that prayer will help you through a medical crisis such as heart bypass surgery. If a large group of people outside yourself, your family, and your friends add their prayers, that should be even more helpful, or so such reasoning goes.

Researchers have been trying to prove this and even to measure the effect of prayer. Since 1988, at least two studies have found that third-party prayers bestow benefits, but two others concluded that there are no benefits. These and other studies have been soundly criticized for flaws in both method and outcome. The fuzzy results goaded researchers to conduct the largest and most scientifically rigid investigation to date. It covered 1,802 people who underwent coronary bypass surgery at six different hospitals from Oklahoma City to Boston. The cost was $2.4 million, paid by the John Templeton Foundation and the Baptist Memorial Health Care Corporation of Memphis.

In a clear setback for those who believe in the power of prayer, their prayers were not answered. Prayers offered by strangers did not reduce the medical complications of major heart surgery. Not only that, but patients who knew that others were praying for them fared worse than those who did not receive such spiritual support, or who did but were not aware of receiving it.

It’s not the first we’ve seen of this:

Questioning Healing Prayer

What is proposed by the concept of intercessory prayer is this:

  • There is a magical being somewhere in the Universe who cares about what happens to people.
  • This person has neither been seen nor heard, but is ever listening to calls for assistance.
  • When a call for assistance (a prayer) is received and judged appropriate, this person will intercede and countermand the laws of nature, resulting in the desired effect that was asked for.

That sounds good, in principle.

No, it does not. My personal encounters with intercessory prayer (IP) have at times been odd. A Facebook friend posted the following:

CountryNeedsGod

I was feeling particularly snarky that day, and following conversation ensued:

  • John Blanton If our country needs god, then we really are in trouble. What should we pray to?
  • Jo Williams IF WE DONT NEED GOD ALL THE TIME YES WE ARE IN DEEP TROUBLE!
  • John Blanton In that case, could I just have a corn dog instead?
  • Jo Williams If you really want a corn dog MAYBE YOU SHOULD PRAY FOR ONE and go out and buy one That’s why GOD GAVE YOU A BRAIN.
  • John Blanton I was only kidding about the corn dog. In fact, I’m not all that fond of corn dogs. I was just looking to insert some reality into the discussion. What if I just pray for a tuna sandwich instead. To whom should I address my prayer? I mean, if I really do hope to get a tuna sandwich.
  • Jo Williams Make one that’s why GOD gave you 2 hands for!
  • John Blanton Hey! I finally got it worked out. I prayed for a tuna sandwich, and I got nothing. I prayed for a new WiFi card, and I also sent my credit card number to Amazon, and I got the WiFi card. I have it figured out now. A prayer and a credit card work better than a prayer alone.
    It’s like I always tell people, “Never underestimate the power of prayer.”

I think this Facebook friend has since dropped me. It happens a lot.

My position is prayer wastes your time, time that could be spent doing something useful. Like looking for a solution to the problem.

But, you say, sometimes there is nothing useful that can be done. And besides, praying makes me feel better.

Yes. Popping a pill will also make you feel better. Neither of these would I recommend.

Say, for example, the Martians are attacking. They have overwhelming fire power. Earth is defenseless against the onslaught. Our only recourse is to get down on our knees and pray to God to intervene and save the planet Earth and the human race.

Or you could spend that time looking for a weakness in the Martian defense, as happened in Jules Verne’s War of the Worlds. Or you could spend that time finding a safe place to hide until the Martians get tired of fighting stupid Earthlings and sail off to attack a different planet. If Martians attack, prayer is not going to be your best response.

Right now I’m praying for all this prayer nonsense to stop. Let’s see how that works out.

44 And Out

PopeAndObama

This is startling news:

Our Own Government And Secret Church Leaders Are Engaged In A Massive Cover-Up…

Little do you know that Obama and the leaders of our church have a secret sinister pact…

To hide from the public the most terrible warning encrypted inside our Holy Bible,

The only prophecy that has remained obscured under thick veils to this day.

Because according to the final chapters of the Bible –

Obama will not finish his second term…

He is the 44th and last President of the US.

Oh, shit! I was so counting on enjoying my retirement. This could not have come at a worse time. Of course, there’s always the possibility none of this is true. Nah. I saw it on the Internet. But then, I also saw this:

Survive The End Days Review Bogus Book

Nathan Shepard expected that Obama will not finish his second term he is the 44th and last President of the US. And The End of Babylon is very near. and this prophecy will come true before the start of 2017 And the fall of Babylon sudden and devastating just like the Holy Scriptures predicted. The Book reveals that events will occur before the Lord’s Second
Coming on the first of January, 2017. Shepard also reveals in shocking detail events occurring in the real world today connected to biblical prophecies. After thirty years of studying clues and verses in the bibles with painstaking detail, he reveals the metaphors and the Bible’s holy texts. Survive the End Times Days connects real life occurrences with biblical prophecies from ancient times. It begins with revealing a sinister pact between the church leaders and Obama.

This book review is designed to help fellow patriots and Christians cope with everything the king of the north throws at us. This will be the TOUGHEST survival situations you will ever face and knowledge, preparation and faith in the teachings of Our Lord and the people who follow his word are the only things that will get you through.

Nathan Shepard’s Enterprise Book Review reveals an ancient prophecy coded within the visions of four inspired men by our Lord and Savior. The Survive The End Days begins with a question about why the greatest country in the world, which is the United States of America, is not even mentioned in the Bible. It deals with the topic about why America’s place in the Bible is not taught by the church.

If you understand any part of this please let me know.

 

But what got me to that bit of Internet odd stuff was a link from this page:

ALERT: Federal Reserve Issues HAUNTING Order To U.S. Banks… Collapse Could Be Very Near

“New Crisis is Coming”
22-year Congressman speaks out and reveals #1 step to prepare

All of us have seen the chilling images of chaos on Athenian streets following the recent Greek financial crisis. While those images might have been coming from far away from home, a recent directive by the Federal Reserve may mean they could soon be coming to a town near you.

According to a recent report, the Federal Reserve has asked banks to hold capital reserves well above the level ordinarily required by industry standards. The Associated Press reported the measure was taken to “cushion against unexpected losses and reduce the chances of future taxpayer bailouts.”

This was posted on the following site:

ConservativeTribune

I am glad somebody is stepping forward to defend Western Civilization, because the current president apparently is not. That was the message telegraphed by a person who posted this link on Facebook:

See? There is no doubt who is responsible for this mess. And to think I voted for him. Twice! I should have seen this before.

But wait. If this is the same link that took me here

ConservativeTribune

and then to here

PopeAndObama

Is it possible this is all part of a single chain of silliness? So what if it is. It’s still a lot of fun to watch.

Keep reading. And may Jesus have mercy on your soul.

Flushed

Tax payers these days are put out. People work hard to feed their families, and they see their tax money going to support deadbeats who won’t work. Not only dead beats who won’t work but deadbeats who use welfare money, your tax money, to get high while they loaf.

arizona-printable-flag

Not in Arizona. People in several states, including Arizona (not a state, but an attitude) have put a stop to this:

A large number of Republican governors are pushing to reshape social-welfare programs with drug testing or other requirements, arguing that the new rules better prepare recipients for employment and assure taxpayers that the benefit money is well spent.

Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, fresh off his re-election, said he would propose his state join several others in mandating drug screening for people seeking nutrition or cash assistance. Utah Republicans want to require that certain residents allow the state to assist them in finding a job if they want to collect benefits through Medicaid, the health-care program for low-income and disabled Americans. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is proposing Medicaid recipients kick in at least a few dollars a month as a condition for receiving benefits.

And the results have been impressive:

Nationally, the percentage of workers testing positive for drugs ticked up slightly last year to 3.7% after falling for much of the past two decades, according to an index compiled by Quest Diagnostics from more than 7.6 million urine tests it conducted for employers last year.

Among welfare beneficiaries, state screening programs have turned up few positive tests.

In Arizona, which passed a drug-test law in 2009, more than 108,000 people have filled out drug-use questionnaires since 2011, and just two of those who took a urine test have tested positive.

In Missouri, where a Democratic governor signed drug testing into law, close to 70,000 people filled out the questionnaire in the program’s first 19 months, and of those, 1,646 were referred to take drug tests. Sixty-nine people failed and were required to enter treatment in order to receive benefits, while 711 refused to cooperate and were denied them.

All right. Let’s not quibble over numbers. It’s the intent that counts, right. Right? If it’s intent you want, it’s intent you got. And that’s about all:

The Republican romance with legislation meant to complicate the process of delivering aid to low-income residents or, as critics argue, defame and shame them, can be traced back to 2009. In November of that year, newly arrived GOP Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona announced that the cash-strapped state would begin testing adults if the state had “reasonable cause” to believe they were getting high.

“We don’t want people who are abusing drugs to be on welfare,” GOP state Rep. John Kavanagh told the Arizona Republic in 2009, “because that means that the taxpayers are subsidizing and facilitating illegal drug use.”

But an examination of Arizona’s experiment reveals a flawed policy that has failed to accomplish its stated goal. Instead of saving the state money, it’s cost taxpayers millions of dollars while doing little more than further stigmatizing poverty and marginalizing the poor.

The results are thin: According to USA Today, Arizona tested more than 87,000 welfare recipients in the three years after the program began. The total number of drug cheats caught was exactly one — a single positive result, which saved the state precisely $560.

Don’t snicker at the $560. You may laughingly dismiss this as small change, but what you consider small change can get you a Big Mac and fries plus a super size drink at any McDonald’s in the continental U.S., and leave you change to spare.

 

mcdonalds-Big-Mac

 

Quiz Question

Maybe somebody will take a cut at this one. It’s a problem you experience in everyday life.

You’re at the beach with your can of soda. You set it down. The sand is not even. The can tips to one side. Is it going to tip over and spill out? That’s what you’re concerned with. Here’s the question.

SodaCanOutline

The can is not full. Would it be less likely to tip if it were full? How about if it were empty? Is there an emptiness at which the can is least likely to tip? What’s the measure? I will provide the answer next month if nobody gets it by then. Post your response in the comment box below.

SOLUTION

There has been at least one incisive response to this quiz question, and somebody off-line has already proposed the correct solution. So I’m not going to wait until August to post the solution. Here it is now. See the illustration below.

SodaCanOutline-01

Here is the soda can upright, which makes it easier to visualize. Now let’s talk about center of gravity. The can will be most stable if the center of gravity is low. The lower the better. When the center of gravity is lowest the can will be most stable.

How to compute the center of gravity? Look at the diagram below. I have idealized the distribution of matter in the can as two lumps at each end (the top lid and the bottom of the can) plus the cylindrical sides of the can. Also I rotated the schematic so everything is laid out in the horizontal. It’s easier for people to visual centers of gravity in terms of a see-saw. The vertical line through the middle is the center of gravity of an empty can.

CenterGravityCan

Now introduce a bit of liquid into the can. It goes to the bottom (right). That shifts the center of gravity (the arrow) to the right. The can is more stable, because the center of gravity is more to the right (lower). A is the center of gravity of the empty can. B is the center of gravity of the liquid. You have to place the arrow between the two centers of gravity to balance the combination.

CenterGravityCan-01

Now look at the next diagram. Additional liquid has been introduced so that the it fills the can half way. The arrow moves further to the right to balance the combination of can and liquid.

CenterGravityCan-02

Now look at the last diagram. The can is filled pas the half-way mark. The arrow must now be shifted to the left from the previous position to balance the combination. As you fill the can the center of gravity moves to the right until you reach the halfway point. Then the center of gravity begins to move back to the left, because you now have liquid above (to the left) of the halfway point. When the can is completely full the arrow will be back at A, the same as with an empty can.

CenterGravityCan-03

The soda can is most stable when it’s filled half way.

The Ever Growing List of Those Who Cannot Obtain Life Insurance at any Price

Button up your overcoat,
When the wind is free,
Oh, take good care of yourself,
You belong to me!

Muhsin al-Fadhli

Muhsin al-Fadhli

I got a good night’s sleep last night. Somebody else did not:

A military drone strike this month killed the leader of a shadowy Qaeda cell in Syria that American officials say has been plotting attacks against the United States and Europe, Pentagon officials said on Tuesday.

The leader, Muhsin al-Fadhli, was killed on July 8 while traveling in a vehicle near Sarmada, in northwestern Syria, a Defense Department spokesman, Capt. Jeff Davis, said in a statement. Mr. Fadhli was a senior Qaeda operative who, according to the State Department, was so close toOsama bin Laden that he was among a small group of people who knew about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks before they were launched.

The late lamented Mr. al-Fadhli joins a group that is becoming increasingly less select:

Shahidullah Shahid

A senior leader for the Islamic State in Afghanistan, currently embroiled in a feud with the Taliban over who will conduct the insurgency there, has been killed in a U.S. drone strike, local media reported Thursday.

The strike killed Shahidullah Shahid and more than two dozen militants in eastern Afghanistan south of the city of Jalalabad. It was in that city where Islamic State militants conducted their first major attack against Afghan civilians in April, killing 35 in a suicide bombing.

The drone strike was Tuesday, the same day Taliban officials met for the first time with an Afghanistan delegation in Islamabad, Pakistan, to open peace negotiations.

Mullah Abdul Rauf

A missile-firing drone has reportedly killed one of the leaders of Islamic State militant group in Afghanistan.

The operation is said to have taken place in the violence riddled Helmand province.

According to Afghan officials, the senior militant targeted was former Guantanamo Bay detainee Mullah Abdul Rauf, a former Taliban veteran.

Helmand’s police chief, Nabi Jan Mullahkhel said Rauf was travelling in a car when the drone attacked. At least five other people were killed including his brother-in-law and four Pakistanis.

Rauf is said to have been influential in Afghanistan’s jihadi movement for well over a decade. Media reports last month said he had begun recruiting for ISIL, as part of a push by the group to gain traction beyond its stronghold in Iraq and Syria.

Abu Sayyaf

The United States says its special forces have killed a senior leader of the Islamic State militant group during a raid in eastern Syria.

The operation, ordered by President Obama, was carried out by US commandos based in Iraq.

The ISIL leader known as Abu Sayyaf was killed during exchanges with US forces according to the Obama administration which says Sayyaf was involved in ISIL’s military activity as well as helping run its illicit oil, gas, and financial operations.

Abu Alaa al-Afri

The Iraqi government has said that Islamic State’s deputy leader and acting head was hit in a coalition air strike, though its claim was met with scepticism elsewhere.

A statement by the defence ministry said that Abu Alaa al-Afri, a physics teacher who assumed day-to-day charge of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant after its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was injured, was in a mosque where an Isil meeting was taking place when it was struck by a missile.

Clarence of Arabia

Clarence of Arabia

Clarence of Arabia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said on Thursday a U.S. air strike had killed the senior figure who issued the group’s claim of responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, according to a report.

The SITE Intelligence Group quoted al Qaeda as saying in an online video that AQAP ideologue Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi was killed with his eldest son and other fighters in Yemen.

Ansi’s reported death suggests the covert U.S. drone programme against the Yemen branch of the global militant group is continuing, despite the evacuation of American military advisers from the country amid a worsening civil war.

Abu Anas al-Libi

Abu Anas al-Libi

Abu Anas al-Libi

WASHINGTON — More than a year after his dramatic capture in Libya, an accused al-Qaeda operative charged in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa died Friday in federal custody after a long illness.

Federal prosecutors in New York confirmed the death of Abu Anas al-Libi, 50, in a brief letter Saturday to U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan. His trial had been set to start Jan. 12.

Seifallah Ben Hassine

TUNIS — Tunisia’s most wanted jihadist, who masterminded a campaign of assassinations and terrorist attacks, including one against the United States Embassy in Tunis, was killed in an American airstrike in Libya in mid-June that had targeted another Al Qaeda leader, a senior United States official said on Thursday.

The jihadist, Seifallah Ben Hassine, also known as Abu Ayadh, was one of Osama bin Laden’s top lieutenants and the leader of the outlawed group Ansar al-Shariah in Tunisia. He had been based in Libya since 2013, according to reports, and ran training camps and a network of militant cells across the region.

YouBelongToMe

Osama bin Laden

WASHINGTON – Osama bin Laden, the face of global terrorism and architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was killed in a firefight with elite American forces Monday, then quickly buried at sea in a stunning finale to a furtive decade on the run.

Long believed to be hiding in caves, bin Laden was tracked down in a costly, custom-built hideout not far from a Pakistani military academy.

“Justice has been done,” President Barack Obama said in a dramatic announcement at the White House while a crowd cheered outside and hundreds more gathered at ground zero in Manhattan to celebrate the news.

Of course, I was only kidding about these people being unable to obtain life insurance. Each had a policy underwritten by the United States government, usually in amounts of multiple millions of dollars. The policies were, to be sure, payable on death. Accidental circumstances excluded.

UPDATE

Added 24 July 2015

Instead of reposting this every time the United States pays out on the life insurance policy of one of these people, I’m going to add them to the list. Here’s the latest:

A high-ranking al-Qaida commander was killed in a U.S. air strike in Afghanistan, according to a military statement released by U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter Friday.

Abu Kahlil al-Sudani was killed during United States lead attack in Paktika, a southeastern Afghan province bordering Pakistan, on July 11, according to CNN.

The al-Qaida operative lead suicide and explosive operations for the terrorist group and has been directly linked to plans for external attacks against the United States, according to the statement.

Daesh - the living dead

Daesh – the living dead

Bad Movie Wednesday

It’s the second time I saw this. The first was about 40 years ago when it played on TV. It was interesting then, and in my naive way I was poking holes in the plot. Watching it again this week on Turner Classic Movies, where is where I got these screen shots, I recall the same plot failures plus some fluffs from director Dick Powell. From 1958 out of 20th Century Fox it’s The Hunters, starring Robert Mitchum.

This is about aerial combat during the Korean War. Mitchum is Major Cleve Saville, and he’s a veteran of fighter combat from the previous unpleasantness. Robert Wagner is brash and efficient fighter pilot Lieutenant Ed Pell, and Lee Philips is 1st Lieutenant Carl Abbott, yet another fighter pilot but one who is just barely hanging on. His life is in a shambles, and he is in great danger of losing his wife Kris, played by the sparkling May BrittRichard Egan gets first tier billing as Colonel Dutch Imil, but his role involves little time on-screen.

James Salter, who wrote The Hunters, served as an F-86 pilot during 1952, the same period as the movie. The book closely parallels a diary Salter kept during this time. The movie does not closely parallel the book.

Major Saville expects to obtain a command position, and Lt. Abbott is hoping to be included. It’s a long shot, because Abbott’s personal problems, including heavy drinking, dim his standing in the Major’s eyes. Not so Abbott’s lovely wife.

TheHunters-01

Saville is disenchanted with Lt. Pell, as well. Pell is overconfident and un-military. Nevertheless he is assigned a slot in Saville’s flight, based on his sterling training reviews.

TheHunters-02

The first combat mission does not fare so well. Lt. Pell breaks formation and poaches on a MiG-15 the major has lined up. In the mean time Pell’s wingman, 1st Lt. Corona (John Gabriel) gets shot up by another MiG. Attempting to land his damaged plane, Corona is killed when it goes out of control and crashes in a horrendous fireball.

Here is a minor directorial flaw. Obviously director Powell didn’t want to trash a flyable F-86, and he didn’t need to. Available at the time was dramatic footage of an actual fighter crash, so that got cut into the movie at the appropriate point. But viewers can see the problem. That does not appear to be an F-86. To me it looks more like an F-100. In fact, this sequence is of an F-100 crash at Edwards AFB, a crash that killed the pilot.

The other directorial SNAFU is the supposed crash scenario. 1st Lt. Corona is shown touching down, wheels on the runway. How does a full-power crash, as shown in the movie, evolve from this? Wheels down, throttle off. The F-100 shown is at full power.

TheHunters-03

Anyhow, Pell gets the rap for deserting his wingman, and Major Saville settles the matter with some fisticuffs in the parking lot. Pell goes back to full flight status, and both Pell and Saville become aces, pilots with five or more combat victories. This gets them leave back to the Japanese base for decoration ceremonies. Also for Major Saville it’s an opportunity to make time with 1st Lt. Abbott’s pretty wife. They decide she will remain true to her husband, and the major heads back to more combat.

TheHunters-04

While Saville and Pell have been lallygagging in Japan the war has been going on. As we recall from history the North Korean air force evaporated like a snowflake on the sun early in the hostilities, and late in 1950 the Chinese army and the Chinese air force weighed in. In the movie a Chinese ace, called “The Crapshooter” from the “7-11” and dice emblem on his plane, has been racking up victories against American pilots. On Major Saville’s first combat out after Japan his flight encounters the Chinese ace.

TheHunters-05

The Crapshooter downs Abbott, who parachutes safely into enemy territory. Major Saville ends The Crapshooter’s career and goes looking for his lost lamb.

Here’s another odd plot snag. Major Saville decides to crash land a perfectly good F-86 in enemy territory with an eye toward saving the life of the husband of the woman he loves.

TheHunters-07

This is so crazy. The United States Air Force thinks it’s crazy, too. You don’t trash a major asset like this in the slim hope of saving even a combat pilot. Wait, there’s more. Lt. Pell shoots up some Chinese troops closing in on Saville and Abbott, and his plane gets shot down. Now we have three American pilots on the ground in enemy territory and three planes lost instead of the original one pilot down and one plane lost. Nobody’s doing any critical thinking here.

Anyhow, it’s necessary to the plot.

TheHunters-08

After dodging North Korean soldiers for a few days the three are taken in by a Korean family. But when the North Koreans close in again the Americans hide out, and the soldiers massacre the family. What next? The Americans throw some pilfered grenades at the soldiers’ truck as it’s leaving, causing it to go off course and into a ditch. If you’re like me you are wondering how a grenade landing a few yards from the rear of a military truck can cause the driver to veer off the road.

TheHunters-09

The Americans take advantage of the element of surprise and machine gun the soldiers. They then escape to United Nations lines and safety. Major Saville has to answer for the scrapped F-86, Lt. Pell goes back to killing Chinese pilots, and 1st Lt. Abbott gets back together with his gorgeous wife. The war will go on.

There are also problems with the aerial combat sequences. First the good part. When a MiG gets behind an American pilot to shoot him down, the American executes a rolling scissors maneuver. This involves pulling up and executing a high barrel roll. What happens is the plane that executes the maneuver loses forward motion but does not lose airspeed. The plane behind, unless he counters the maneuver, now scoots forward, and the plane that was previously in front now comes down behind his former attacker. Game over if the American pilot can take advantage of his position. This is how Major Saville defeats The Crapshooter.

Now the bad part. See the screen shot from the movie. The Crapshooter has rolled right. However, he’s still in Major Saville’s gunsights. The Chinese pilot has not taken advantage of his roll by also pulling back on the stick. Also note that Major Saville has not reacted to the Chinese pilot’s roll. The common term for this mistake is “lose the fight.” Of course all of this comes about because the camera plane was not an F-86 and could not execute the corresponding roll maneuver. The plane in front is just doing an aileron roll for the benefit of the camera. Looks as though they’re fighting, sort of.

TheHunters-06

This is a passable movie if you can get past the improbable plot. You can get a Kindle edition of Salter’s novel from Amazon. It’s not my first priority for review, but I may get to it in the future.

Keep reading.

Defying the NRA

FloridaGunShop

This is hot stuff. A Florida gun shop owner has come out in defiance of the National Rifle Association. Repudiating a long-standing piece of NRA mantra, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” gun shop owner Andy Hallinan has conceded that guns do kill people. And he plans to do something about it:

A Florida gun shop owner has banned Muslim customers from his store.

Andy Hallinan declared Florida Gun Supply in Inverness a “Muslim-free zone” Saturday in response to a Kuwait-born gunman’s shooting rampage in Chattanooga that killed four Marines and a sailor.

Hallinan announced his shop’s new policy as he sat against a Confederate flag back drop. The video, posted to the store’s Facebook account, racked up more than 35,000 views by Tuesday morning.

“I have a moral and legal responsibility to ensure the safety of all patriots in my community, and so effective immediately, I’m declaring Florida Gun Supply as a Muslim-free zone,” he said in the Saturday video. “I will not arm and train those who wish to do harm to my fellow patriots.”

In case you missed the message, Hallinan is saying that people without guns are less a danger than people with guns. This is breathtaking news. Is Hallinan about to lose his NRA membership? Stand by for updates.

Flaying Truth

From Planned Parenthood

From Planned Parenthood

I get a lot of my inspiration for these posts from Facebook friends. Maybe it’s not so much that I get inspiration from friends on Facebook, but I get inspiration from stuff friends post on Facebook. Here is one recent. This is a copy and paste from my Facebook feed. I have edited it for readability. I have removed superfluous Facebook formatting, deleted extraneous text, and expanded some links to display the complete text:

Sickening video about Planned Parenthood selling body parts from abortions.

A new video claims to show undercover footage proving that Planned Parenthood uses partial birth abortions to sell fetal parts. A video, titled, “Planned Parenthood Uses…
THEBLAZE.COM
That is disgusting
here is a video
Here’s where my response popped up in the feed:
John BlantonShocking! Revolting. Not quite true.
Earlier today, an eight-minute “undercover” video surfaced…
GAWKER.COM|BY ASHLEY FEINBERG
Sale or no sale what they do is disgusting “she admits to harvesting the organs specifically to meet market demand:

 I’d say a lot of people want liver. And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps. The kind of rate-limiting step of the procedure is calvarium. Calvarium—the head—is basically the biggest part.We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”

http://www.theblaze.com/…/attention-pro-aborts-here…/

Abortion is the highest sacrament in the Church of…
THEBLAZE.COM
Allow me to dissect the foregoing and to add some explanation, some elaboration.
A real-life friend of over 60 years posted a link. The link is to an item posted on TheBlaze by Matt Walsh. For those who are not familiar with the publication Wikipedia provides some information:
TheBlaze is an independent news and entertainment television network and website founded by conservative talk radio personality Glenn Beck. TheBlaze has studios and offices based in Las Colinas, Texas; New York City, New York; Los Angeles, California; and the District of Columbia.
Readers of my blog will already be familiar with popular radio personality Glenn Beck:
There is evidence that Beck obtained inspiration from a pioneer in hyperbolic—and fact-free—oration. A few miles up Interstate 35 from me Austin-based Alex Jones had been marketing conspiratorial rhetoric for nearly a decade before Beck began to find his footing. Find it he has, though. From a stern advocate for religious and political righteousness on outlets such as CNN, Beck has morphed into a wack-job caricature. It is a caricature for profit.
From TheBlaze: “Matt Walsh is a blogger, writer, speaker, and professional truth sayer.”
What Walsh had to say, expanding on what was visible on the Facebook post, is this:

Undercover Footage Captures Stunning Claim About Planned Parenthood

A shocking new video claims to present undercover footage proving that some Planned Parenthood’s affiliates use partial birth abortions to sell fetal parts.

A video, titled, “Planned Parenthood Uses Partial-Birth Abortions to Sell Baby Parts,” from the Center for Medical Progress, a group concerned with medical ethics, features comments from Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s senior director of medical services, allegedly showing her describing how some doctors carefully conduct abortions that leave fetal body parts in tact.

Nucatola reportedly made these comments on July 25, 2014, to actors whom she believed were actual representatives and buyers from a human biologics company. The comments appear to recount a process through which some abortion doctors purportedly carefully conduct procedures in an effort to keep specific fetal body parts in tact [sic].

“Every provider has had patients who want to donate their tissue and they absolutely want to accommodate them. They just want to do it in a way that is not perceived as, ‘This clinic is selling tissue, this clinic is making money off of this,’” she said in the clip. “You know, I would throw a number out, I would say it’s probably anywhere from $30 to $10 [per specimen], depending on the facility and what’s involved.”

From all appearances, this is what happened: A person who did not reveal his association with an anti-abortion organization, engaged Dr. Nucatola in an interview, surreptitiously recording the conversation on video. That’s not all that happened. The MediaMatters site has reviewed unused portions of the video from the conference and has performed some analysis:

A deceptive video from a conservative group purports to show a Planned Parenthood official discussing prices for the illegal sale of fetal tissue from abortions. But the full, unedited footage and transcript released by the group undermines their sensationalist claims, showing at least three crucial edits that reveal the Planned Parenthood official was instead discussing the reimbursement cost for consensual, legal tissue donations.

The Center for Medical Progress, which released the video, is no friend of planned parenthood. It is a subsidiary of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research:

The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research (renamed in 1981 from the International Center for Economic Policy Studies) is a conservative American think tank established in New York City in 1978 by Antony Fisher and William J. Casey. The organization describes its mission as to “develop and disseminate new ideas that foster greater economic choice and individual responsibility”. Its message is communicated through books, articles, interviews, speeches, op-eds, and through the institute’s quarterly publication City Journal. According to the 2014 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report and Policy Advice (Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program, University of Pennsylvania), the Institute is number 39 of the “Top 60 United States Think Tanks”.

Significantly, what MediaMatters found on reconstructing the edited video are three crucial edits, edits which omitted pertinent details of what was said. In one instance, the final video deleted the part where Dr. Nucatola said, “[N]o affiliate should be doing anything that’s not like, reasonable and customary. This is not- nobody should be ‘selling’ tissue. That’s just not the goal here.”

The Texas Observer had additional comment in an item by . The headline calls the video a “misleading distraction.”

Federal law allows women to donate tissue from aborted fetuses for medical research. Clinics that collect such tissue may charge research companies a small fee for overhead costs, such as storing and transporting the tissue, but are barred from profiting from it.

The so-called harvesting of baby body parts supports research on diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. It is legal. The claim that Planned Parenthood is breaking any laws by providing fetal tissue to researchers is pure applesauce.

Planned Parenthood official Eric Ferrero said in a press release yesterday that tissue donation through Planned Parenthood clinics occurs with “full, appropriate consent from patients. … There is no financial benefit for tissue donation.”

Furthermore, an analysis by Media Matters of the unedited video shows that it was deliberately edited to falsely suggest that Nucatola was helping clinics profit from fetal tissue donation.

All of this is of no concern to those opposed to abortion. Specifically, one of the respondents to the original Facebook post left this remark:

Sale or no sale what they do is disgusting “she admits to harvesting the organs specifically to meet market demand:

 [“]I’d say a lot of people want liver. And for that reason, most providers will do this case under ultrasound guidance, so they’ll know where they’re putting their forceps. The kind of rate-limiting step of the procedure is calvarium. Calvarium—the head—is basically the biggest part.We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.”

I re-inserted the opening quote mark, which was omitted in the Facebook response. Complete with quotes, the text is from Dr. Nucatola, and it was this sort of consideration that so riled the Facebook respondent.

If that’s what was eating at the conservative friends on Facebook, then what was the other rigmarole about? “A new video claims to show undercover footage proving that Planned Parenthood uses partial birth abortions to sell fetal parts.” Why put up a video that falsely misrepresents that Planned Parenthood is selling fetal parts? Furthermore, why buy into these false assertions without verification? Is it that people are so invested in a ideology they will grasp at anything that confirms it, false or otherwise? And when it proves (all too often) false, then reassert support for the cause without addressing the obvious hoax for what it is. Why is there no condemnation for the hoax? Does ideology so trump the truth that no amount of truth is too much to sacrifice?

Correspondent Alexis Hayes Lowe compounds the grievance by restating the offending language from Walsh: “[S]he admits to harvesting the organs specifically to meet market demand.” I have highlighted the critical phrase. “Market demand” is meant to mis characterize the reality. It wants to reinforce the assertion that Planned Parenthood is a commercial marketplace for fetal tissue. When the truth is revealed Planned Parenthood preserves and supplies tissue used in legitimate and highly beneficial medical research, without profit. Research demands dictate which and how tissues are preserved, not profit. Unnoticed in all this back and forth is that the people engaged in the conversation will possibly in the future—and may already have—benefit from this research. Correspondents in this discussion may be unaware or may even ignore that this research often bears directly on their own objectives—the preservation of human life, born and as yet unborn.

At this point I get around to an observation of mine, one that crops up frequently. The observation is that hyperbolic language is the sign of an ignoble cause. Correspondent Alexis Hayes Lowe supplies us with a link to the following:

Abortion is the highest sacrament in the Church of Liberalism.

Once again this is Walsh writing. He continues:

The killing of children is considered even holier and more sacred to its disciples than gay marriage or genital mutilation. Like the primitive pagan cultures before them, liberalism looks upon the sacred rite of child sacrifice with a deep reverence. The liberal has a cult-like, religious devotion to sacrament of infanticide. Liberals will venerate it for the same reason Catholics venerate the Eucharist and Muslims the Koran — because it is the centerpiece of their worship, the core, the soul of the thing.

Why does that wording have an echo? Maybe it’s from this:

Ann Coulter writes things designed to bring distress to liberals. Her comments typically contain enough truth to make liberals squirm but not enough to make them change their evil ways.

Coulter’s latest book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism, hit the New York Times Best Seller List at number one on June 25th this year. If liberals are no longer squirming as much it could be because Godless takes an unfortunate detour into the real world and steps on some land mines that should be on everybody’s maps by now. It’s also a bunch of day-old bread.

goodless

Liberals are supposed to be anti-religion. Universally they are not, however, it makes good copy. Connect an idea with liberalism. Tag it as religious. Invest liberals with this religion and flog them with it. In the case of Coulter it was Darwinian evolution, otherwise known as modern science, that was the sin. Walsh wants to make abortion the golden calf of liberals, and his language is beyond the pale: “The killing of children is considered even holier and more sacred to its disciples than gay marriage or genital mutilation.” When a spokesman wanders this far astray from reality, there is good cause to question the remainder of his work.

What then of the cause of the anti-abortionists? Surprise! At the base it’s a noble cause. The preservation of human life is somewhere near the top of the social ideal. What drags down the cause are the words and the actions of the cause’s reactionary exponents. Exempt the workings of such as Walsh, James Charles Kopp, Michael Frederick GriffinReverend Paul Jennings HillJohn SalviEric Robert RudolphScott Roeder and a few hundred thousand like-minded, the anti-abortion movement would be something a bunch of decent folks could sign up to.

In the mean time, the right of a woman to abort her fetus remains the law of the land, reinforced by a Supreme Court decision from 1973. Past that, what is so impressive is the number of those who protest this right, yet avail themselves when they find it necessary or convenient.

WASHINGTON — A pro-life, family-values congressman who worked as a doctor before winning election as a Tea Party-backed Republican had an affair with a patient and later pressured her to get an abortion, according to a phone call transcript obtained by The Huffington Post.

The congressman, Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, was trying to save his marriage at the time, according to his remarks on the call, made in September of 2000. And, according to three independent sources familiar with the call and the recording, he made the tape himself.

DesJarlais, who was provided a copy of the transcript by HuffPost, did not deny its contents, but in a statement released through his campaign characterized it as just another sordid detail dredged up by the opposition. “Desperate personal attacks do not solve our nation’s problems, yet it appears my opponents are choosing to once again engage in the same gutter politics that CBS news called the dirtiest in the nation just 2 years ago.”

Hypocrisy is not the exclusive domain of conservative politics, but in the case of the anti-abortion movement a considerable amount of introspection is in order.

Full disclosure: This post quotes from the Texas Observer. I have more than a casual relationship with that publication. I regularly attend the Final Friday meetings in San Antonio sponsored by the Texas Observer in honor of the late Molly Ivins. I will be hosting one of the gatherings at the end of this month. Contact the Texas Observer and sign up if you would like to attend.

Bad Movie of the Week

This one is just plain silly. It has a great cast, and there are no faults with direction or camera work. It’s that the plot is ham bone routine. This is Larceny, Inc. out of Warner Brothers in 1942, starring Edward G. Robinson and Broderick Crawford plus a host of other well-knowns.

Here we see the opening with tough guys “Pressure” Maxwell (Robinson) and Jug Martin (Crawford) playing baseball in what has to be the world’s least adept league. Then we get the picture. When catcher Maxwell heads back to the plate we see the back of his jersey. It says “Sing Sing.” These players are in stir. They are convicted crooks doing time.

LarcenyInc-01

Maxwell and Martin are soon sprung, and vow to follow the straight path. Of course they quickly hatch the plan for a new scam. But their plan requires money. Where to get it? They run into another less than upright pal, Weepy David (Edward Brophy).

LarcenyInc-02

Arrangements to obtain a loan from a bank fall flat. No collateral plus prison records. They consider robbing the bank, instead. At the soda shop for coffee, service is provided by none other than Jackie Gleason.

LarcenyInc-03

They hit on the idea of tunneling into the bank vault from the cellar of the luggage store next door. They stage a traffic accident, collect $1000, and use the proceeds for a down payment on the store. They send the former owner on his way and start chiseling into the basement floor, all the while conniving to keep pesky customers away.

That doesn’t work. High pressure salesman Jeff Randolph (Jack Carson) sells Martin a seasonal stock of luggage and delivers it en masse. Denny Costello (Jane Wyman) is Maxwell’s adopted daughter, the actual daughter of a deceased mobster. High pressure Jeff puts the pressure on sweet Denny with matrimony in mind. This guy does not let the grass grow.

LarcenyInc-04

The plot revolves around the ex cons attempting to use the luggage business as a front for their tunneling enterprise, all the while being confronted by pesky customers, neighborhood business owners  and other well-wishers. Jeff doesn’t help matters by employing his hyper sales techniques to drive business to the store.

Crisis comes about the time Maxwell gets an offer from the bank to sell the store for five times his purchase price. The bank wants to expand. There is no need to break the bank. Except that former inmate Leo Dexter (Anthony Quinn) gets wind of the bank scheme, busts out of the slammer and muscles in.

LarcenyInc-05

Climax comes when Dexter blows the bank and attempts his get-away. A police car blocks his path, and it’s back to Sing Sing for him.

LarcenyInc-06

I’m sure I’ve seen this plot in other disguise. Crooks try to work a scam, but end up finding straight success barging in on them. Sprinkled all through are predictable comic vignettes, including spraying water from a broken pipe and gushing oil from an injured storage tank. Funniest of all: Robinson, Crawford and Quinn trying to do comedy together? The unprepared viewer will find this jarring.

Wikipedia had this to say:

The plot of Woody Allen‘s Small Time Crooks is very similar to that of Larceny, Inc.. Allen has never commented on whether this was deliberate or if his film was in any way inspired by Larceny, Inc..

Robinson took the role of Pressure Maxwell in this film to offset his “tough guy” image as established in his many appearances as gangsters or police officers in previous Warner Bros. films.

The film features many members of the Warner Brothers “stock company” and included an early film appearance by Jackie Gleason, as a drug store soda jerk.

Hal B. Wallis wrote this. Images are screen shots from the Turner Classic Movies channel.

Grimm Gets Grimmer

From Google Images

From Google Images

I most recently gagged on this story back in December:

Wait! What’s that in the first sentence of this item from The New York Times? “[R]e-elected to his third term in Congress last month?”

All right! I think I’ve found the problem here. We have found the problem, and the problem is all of us. The problem is not law makers breaking the laws that they make. The problem is voters who vote for law makers who break the laws that they make. This problem is not going to go away until voters quit voting for people who break the law. Fix it.

Now the final shoe has dropped. Or maybe I should say the final clink has clinked:

Michael Grimm, a former New York congressman and FBI agent who once investigated white-collar crime, was sentenced Friday to 8 months in prison for tax evasion by a judge who said his “moral compass” needed adjustment.

Grimm, 45, pleaded guilty late last year to aiding in filing a false tax return — a charge that stemmed from an investigation into the Staten Island Republican’s campaign financing.

U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen said the crime included exploiting immigrant laborers, including some who were paid as little as $4.60 an hour.

“He knew what he was doing was illegal, wrong and criminally punishable,” she said. Grimm, “of all people, knew better.”

“Your moral compass, Mr. Grimm, needs some reorientation,” the judge told him.

“[N]eeds some reorientation?” You think? What needs some orientation is a voter mindset that re-elects known criminals. What were those New York voters thinking? Is there something in the water up that way. How stupid can you get?

Wait! I just remembered. I live in Texas.

Never mind.