August 2013 Archives

Remembering the Dream

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It's amazing to see the obviousness of the ever present sense of fear which has always underscored the white perspective of the civil rights movement and continues even to this day. We have made gains, but not enough. And once again we can see the clouds gather and the old war horse of inequality trying to stumble onto the field and raise its head one last time in these days of voter suppression and class conflict. It's pathetic really how badly that tired steed needs to be put down and put out of its misery.

What a treat it is to witness the astute professionalism and leadership of both Roy Wilkins and Dr King both so seminal in the cause to liberate us all from the ravages of economic bigotry and social racism.

And to think I was a mere 14 years old at the time of this broadcast.

Putting the lie to the NRA's call to arm everybody

Stopping 'Stop and Frisk'

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'Stop-and-frisk' expands to Detroit

families.at.belleisle.jpg

Ned Resnikoff

Just a week and a half after a federal judge ruled that the New York Police Department's "stop-and-frisk" program is unconstitutional, the city of Detroit is developing its own version of the policy. On Monday, the Detroit News reported that the city's police department is working in consultation with the Manhattan Institute and the Bratton Group, two of the architects for New York stop-and-frisk, to train Traffic Unit officers.

The Detroit Police Department (DPD) insists that this is nothing new. DPD assistant chief Erik Ewing told reporters that the department "is already a stop-and-frisk policing agency," because it already uses "reasonable suspicion" as a criteria for stopping people. That hasn't satisfied critics, who believe shaping the DPD to be more like the NYPD could exacerbate racial tensions within an already troubled city.

"To heighten and mimic even further what they've been doing in New York is wrong, and we're going to challenge this legally," said Reverend Charles Williams II, president of the National Action Network's Michigan chapter. He said the organization's legal counsel is already collecting evidence in the hopes of getting stop-and-frisk declared unconstitutional in Detroit, much as it was in New York.

But a challenge on constitutional grounds might be more difficult to mount in Detroit, where nearly 83% of the population is African-American. New York's stop-and-frisk program was found unconstitutional because it disproportionately targets African Americans; the case for disproportionate targeting would be more difficult to make in a city where the population is overwhelmingly black.

"Detroit's population is mostly African American, so it stands to reason that a high number of African Americans will be stopped, based on reasonable suspicion," said Ewing in his statement to the press. "This is not racial profiling, just officers doing good constitutional police work."

Evette Dukes, the legal counsel for National Action Network in Michigan, agreed that making the constitutionality argument would be "difficult."

"You have to look at the evidence of whether or not the officers involved in stop-and-frisk are predominantly Caucasians," she said.

On the other hand, the Detroit Police Department already has a handful of institutional checks in place not shared by its New York counterpart. For the past decade, a federal monitor has watched over the DPD. The police department also has a civilian oversight board, though Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has "curtailed" its power significantly.

Sprite Lightning

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Brilliant red sprite lightning caught on film

red.sprite lightninbg.jpg


Becky Oskin

Amazing new photos and video of the elusive red lightning called sprites are helping researchers understand how the mysterious electric bursts form.

Sprites last less than a second as they dance on the tops of thunderstorms. Many viewers say the clusters of charged particles look like jellyfish -- big, red balls with tendrils that reach down into the clouds. But red sprites take many shapes, from crowns to carrots, and researchers still don't why. Because few sprites are seen from the ground, thanks to obscuring storms, scientists are hunting them from the air.

Graduate student Jason Ahrns captured stunning images of sprites during several flights over the Midwest this summer aboard the National Center for Atmospheric Research's Gulfstream V research plane. Ahrns is part of a sprite-hunting team from University of Alaska, Fairbanks, the U.S. Air Force Academy and Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo. [See Ahrns' Stunning Images of Sprites]

During the research flights, the scientists snapped high-speed photos and video, which will help them to better understand the chemical and physical processes behind the phenomenon.

"It's still not clear what exactly is happening in a sprite, and why there are different kinds of sprites," Ahrns said.

Sprite 10,000 fps

Sprites could also impact weather and climate by changing conditions in Earth's atmosphere, but scientists don't yet know the scale of the effect, Ahrns said. "We can't answer that without studying them."

While many questions remain about red sprites, some details have emerged since their existence was confirmed in 1989. Sprites form above thunderstorms, when a positively charged lightning bolt leaves the air above a thundercloud that is negatively charged. (Most lightning results from negatively charged bolts). The red color results from the interaction between charged particles and nitrogen, scientists believe.

"There's about one positive lightning stroke for every 10 regular negative strokes," said Ahrns, using the technical term for lightning bolt. "Most big storms probably produce a few sprites, and some produce lots of them. They're probably more common than people think, they're just very difficult to see since they're above the clouds."

Red sprites can race high toward space, up to 60 miles (96 kilometers) above the Earth. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station caught a sprite on camera in 2012. A sprite's red tendrils also reach down into the stratosphere, about 15 to 20 miles (25 to 32 km) above Earth's surface. They look brightest between 40 to 45 miles (65 to 72 km) up.

The sprite hunters worked at night this summer, waiting for thunderstorms to lash Oklahoma and Kansas before launching into the air. The high-speed research cameras ran continuously, always storing the previous second of data so humans with slow fingers wouldn't miss the short-lived sprites. Ahrns also ran his personal camera all night to snap the spectacular images seen here.

"Beyond getting to the right storm and picking the right exposure, it was mostly a matter of luck. The sprites are way too fast for a human to react and hit the button at the right time," Ahrns said.

Turducken Sharks

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Shark is swallowed whole -- by an even bigger shark

turducken.sharks.jpg

Marc Lallanilla

It's a shark-eat-shark world out there. A small shark (a smooth dogfish) was swallowed whole by a very hungry sand tiger shark.

Everyone knows the story: The little fish gets eaten by a big fish, and the big fish gets eaten by an even bigger fish and so on.

But it isn't often that the big fish is a shark -- in this case, a dogfish -- that then gets swallowed whole by a much larger sand tiger shark (Carcharias taurus), one of the nastiest-looking top predators in the ocean.

This bizarre "turducken of the sea" photo was captured by researchers at the University of Delaware's Ocean Exploration, Remote Sensing, Biogeography (ORB) Lab. The scientists were in Delaware Bay this month to recapture sand tiger sharks that had been tagged with satellite-tracking tags, or to recover tags that had come off prematurely.

To capture a sand tiger shark, researchers baited a hook with a menhaden, a common marine fish, which was quickly snatched up by a smooth dogfish (Mustelus canis). "This unlucky smooth dogfish couldn't resist the menhaden used as bait and, unfortunately, fell victim to one of the top predators in the bay," ORB researchers wrote on their Facebook page. "The dogfish was about 3 feet (1 meter) long and completely swallowed by the sand tiger shark."

The sand tiger shark is also called the ragged-tooth shark because of its three fearsome rows of protruding teeth, which the sharks use to spear their prey (usually lobsters, rays, squid and smaller fish). Despite their terrifying demeanor, sand tiger sharks are not aggressive toward humans, and are common in aquariums because of their size -- they can grow to be 10 feet (3 m) long -- and their breeding success in captivity.

The hungry female sand tiger shark photographed here was tagged and released.

We're Pretty Free

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Time correspondent "can't wait" to write defense of drone strike that "takes out Assange"

By Eric London

"I can't wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange," Grunwald wrote, referring to the founder of WikiLeaks. Assange is currently trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he is fighting against extradition to Sweden and, ultimately, the United States.

The Obama administration has led an international campaign against Assange, reportedly filing secret criminal charges against him. Bradley Manning, who provided evidence of US war crimes to WikiLeaks, has been convicted in a court martial of espionage.

Grunwald's comments take this persecution to its next logical step--drone missile assassination of those declared to be assisting "enemies," including journalists such as Assange.

Grunwald is not a fringe figure. He is an establishment commentator with close ties to the Democratic Party and the Obama administration. He is a regular fixture in major news outlets, reporting for the Washington Post, Boston Globe, New Republic, Slate and Foreign Policy. In 2012, he wrote a book praising the Obama administration entitled The New New Deal, the Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era .

Grunwald authored an article last April following the police-military lockdown of Boston entitled "Tread on Me: The Case for Freedom from Terrorist Bombings, School Shootings, and Exploding Factories." The article was an unabashed argument for untrammeled state power.

Asserting that "we're pretty free," he wrote that "there's dangerous stuff out there... I'm more inclined to stand with the public servants keeping us safe, even when the Al Qaeda operative they ice in Yemen is an American citizen, even when they shut down an entire city to hunt for a single teenager..."

The individual whose "icing" Grunwald praised was Anwar Al-Awlaki, a US citizen whose drone assassination was ordered by President Obama and defended by Attorney General Eric Holder.

"I guess you could call me a statist," Grunwald continued. "Our rights are not inviolate... The civil-liberties purists of the ACLU are just as extreme as the gun purists of the NRA..."

Grunwald's comments are not an aberration. Such antidemocratic conceptions are rife within the US establishment media, which hardly attempts to disguise its role as an unofficial propaganda arm of the state.

There is barely a shred of democratic consciousness among the host of lavishly paid media mouthpieces for the military/intelligence apparatus and big business. On the contrary, they are instinctively hostile to anyone, including journalists, who expose the lies, secrets and crimes of the government.

That specimens with authoritarian if not fascistic inclinations like Grunwald can rise to the top levels of the media only shows that the corporate-controlled press would have no difficulty functioning under a military dictatorship.

Prince and Chappelle

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Crack me up!

Prince tweets cover of new single, featuring Dave Chappelle ... as Prince

chappelle.prince.jpg

Randee Dawn

A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words. A picture of reclusive comedian Dave Chappelle as Prince, carrying a plate of pancakes, that appears to serve as the cover of Prince's new single ... there are no words.

Chappelle impersonated the Purple One on "Chappelle's Show" in 2004. Clearly, the man behind such hits as "When Doves Cry" and "Raspberry Beret" was impressed.

Here's Chappelle's sketch (most vulgar words bleeped out, but not all):

Chappelle had a meteoric rise in popularity with his Comedy Central series, but had a hard time handling the pressures of fame and began ducking out of the spotlight in 2005. Since then he's largely kept to himself. But as the The New York Times reported Thursday, Chappelle seems ready to make a comeback, heading out on a 15-city tour called the Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Quote de jour

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ForePlinger

Thought for the Day:

The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks,

Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong's moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt's evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk.

Republicans: The number one reason the rest of the world thinks we're deaf, dumb and dangerous.

Garrison Keillor

Summed up succinctly, I should think.

Remember, they're not conservatives, they're regressives.

¡Hola, Olinguito!

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Smithsonian experts reveal new species

A new mammal species has been confirmed by scientists, and it's already melting hearts. The olinguito, described as a cross between a house cat and a teddy bear, is first new carnivorous mammal identified in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years, and it's considered one of the cutest scientific finds in recent memory.

I say, "Oh yeah? Check those claws? Those beady eyes and narrow jaw line clearly indicate criminal malice. Why do they think it's been hiding out in the cloud forest all these years?"

olinguito.jpg

Ambient Backscatter

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No batteries! Wireless tech recycles airborne radio waves

John Roach

A world full of Internet-connected devices is a giant step closer to reality thanks to a new communications system that works without batteries or wires for power.

Just as we use mirrors to reflect light, or turbines to catch the wind, this technique -- known as "ambient backscatter"-- co-opts transmissions from TV and cellular towers and reflects them to exchange information between wireless devices. These waves serve as both a source of power and carriers of information.

"We just use existing signals all around us," Shyam Gollakota, an assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle, explained to NBC News.

He and colleagues built a proof-of-concept system consisting of credit-card-size electronic devices that use antennas to detect, harness and reflect a TV signal, which is then picked up by similar devices.

Since TV signals are reflected off buildings, cars, trees and everything else in a city as it travels from a transmission tower to a TV set, the extra reflection doesn't degrade the signal. "Our reflection is yet just another reflection," Gollakota said.

The prototype devices communicate with each other over a distance of several feet. They flash little LED lights when they receive a signal from another device.

The applications of the technology are limitless: a keychain that sends out a text message to its owner's mobile phone when it falls out of a pocket, for instance; or an array of pad-like sensors embedded in a roof that relay a message to a homeowner when a water leak is detected.

"Because it is battery free, you can build it into the building and you never have to worry about getting at those pads again to change the batteries," Joshua Smith, an associate professor of computer science and engineering at the University of Washington, and paper co-author, told NBC News.

It is even feasible, the researchers noted, to build this technology into devices, such as smartphones, that rely on batteries as a way to extend battery life or send a text message long after the battery dies. The device would, instead, leverage power from an ambient TV signal.

"If you look at traditional communications, you are generating these signals and that consumes lots of power ... you are basically killing your battery to some degree, you are consuming power," Gollakota said.

"So, if you replace those techniques with the kind of things we are doing, then you're going to significantly reduce the power consumption of the communication itself and because you are going to reduce power consumption by communication, you are going to extend the battery life of your phone."

To get to this future Internet-of-things, the researchers are improving the efficiency of the energy harvesting technology, extending the range of the communications, and making it work with transmissions from cell towers.

The research was presented Tuesday at the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Data Communications 2013 conference in Hong Kong. Watch the video below for more information on the project.

Boko Haram

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Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. - Voltaire

Boko Haram was founded as an indigenous group, turning itself into a Jihadist group in 2009. It proposes that interaction with the Western World is forbidden, and also supports opposition to the Muslim establishment and the government of Nigeria.

The members of the group do not interact with the local Muslim population[35] and have carried out assassinations in the past of anyone who criticises it, including Muslim clerics.

In a 2009 BBC interview, Mohammed Yusuf, then leader of the group, stated his belief that the concept of a spherical Earth is contrary to Islamic teaching and should be rejected, along with Darwinian evolution and the concept of rain originating from water evaporated by the sun. Before his death, Yusuf reiterated the group's objective of changing the current education system and rejecting democracy. Nigerian academic Hussain Zakaria told BBC News that the controversial cleric had a graduate education, spoke proficient English, lived a lavish lifestyle and drove a Mercedes-Benz.

Of course.

More White Privilege

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Michael Bloomberg can get fucked regarding his hysteria over the court judgement against his blatant racial profiling stop and frisk program. His claim that it has reduced crime is fatuous considering that crime has been dropping for decades all across the country and has nothing to do with NY's profiling policy. It should be noted that such profiling is not taking place in white neighborhoods where there is just as much drug use for example.

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Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

How to solve a problem: Eat it.

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Friggin' idiot rooster hating neighbor leads to chicken dinner.

Bethlehem man cited for pet chickens tells police he'll eat them this weekend

Armstrong Millien has three pet chickens that Bethlehem police say are "prohibited fowl."

No problem, Millien told police. He plans to eat the chickens this weekend.

Millien, 43, lives in the 1900 block of Renwick Street. He was cited Thursday by police for violating the city ban on prohibited fowl.

Millien told police they soon won't hear a peep from the flock because "he intends to eat his three pet chickens this weekend," according to the police news release.
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Bethlehem police animal control officer Benjamin Hackett said Friday his department was contacted by a "confidential informant" because the person could hear a rooster crowing at 5 a.m. in Millien's backyard.

The rooster and two other chickens were free range and roamed Millien's backyard, Hackett said. Millien told police he kept the animals as pets and also has four doves in cages.

The seven animals put Millien over the city's limit of six animals per household but, since he planned to get rid of the fowl, there wasn't an issue, Hackett said.

He said as long as Millien kept the dove cages clean, Millien was allowed to keep them.

Bethlehem officials approved the fowl ban in 2006 after concerns about chickens and roosters spreading diseases such as salmonella and West Nile virus.

Hackett said there have been no other animal-related issues at the home

White Privilege

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Colbert's Revenge

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When life gives Stephen Colbert lemons, he makes lemonade. Or rather, when Daft Punk pulls out of performing on his show so they can make a no-longer-a-surprise appearance on the MTV Video Music Awards on Aug. 25, Colbert punks right back -- with a star-studded music video.

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

What the....?

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The word Keystone comes to mind.

Handcuffed Man Steals Police Cruiser

Police arrested a man who allegedly stole a police cruiser after being arrested for burglary.

Investigators say Kenneth Botke of Pocono Summit, Pa., faces several charges including escape and theft of a police vehicle.

botke.jpgPolice say Botke, 20, was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police cruiser Saturday night after allegedly being caught in the act of burglarizing a home on Nadine Boulevard in Stillwater Lake Estates.

Troy Silliman told WBRE-TV that Botke broke into his home and pulled out what appeared to be a 9-millimeter handgun and asked him for a ride.

"Me and my wife were sitting down and somebody walked in our house and he told us weren't going to get hurt. (He said) he just needed a place to hide from police (because) they were going to kill him. I said "nobody's going to kill you if you put that gun down," said Silliman.

Silliman says he went outside to his car with the suspect which gave his wife time to call police

"Then the police came out of the woods and some from the street and we snuck around the house to get out of the way and that's when they put him down with a taser," said Silliman

Botke was arrested and placed in the back of the cruiser. Police say while obtaining statements from Silliman, Botke was able break free of his handcuffs and get into the driver's seat. Investigators say there was a shotgun inside the car, the station reports.

The suspect drove a short distance before abandoning the police car, according to police.

Dozens of police officers and K-9 units searched for Botke for 14 hours. He was eventually caught Sunday afternoon, according to the police chief. Police recoverd the shotgun.

Morning Mirth #27

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hat tip to yvonne

The difference between potentially and realistically

A young boy went up to his father and asked him, 'Dad, what is the
difference between potentially and realistically?'

The father thought for a moment, then answered, 'Go ask your mother
if she would sleep with Brad Pitt for a million dollars. Then ask your
sister if she would sleep with Brad Pitt for a million dollars, and
then ask your brother if he'd sleep with Brad Pitt for a million
dollars. Come back and tell me what you learn from that.'

So the boy went to his mother and asked, 'Would you sleep with Brad
Pitt for a million dollars?' The mother replied, 'Of course I would! We
could really use that money to fix up the house and send you kids to a
great University!'

The boy then went to his sister and asked, 'Would you sleep with
Brad Pitt for a million dollars?' The girl replied, 'Oh my Gawd! I LOVE
Brad Pitt - I would sleep with him in a heartbeat, are you nuts?'

The boy then went to his brother and asked, 'Would you sleep with
Brad Pitt for a million dollars?' 'Of course,' the brother replied. 'Do
you know what a million bucks would buy?'

The boy pondered the answers for a few days and then went back to
his dad. His father asked him, 'Did you find out the difference between
'potentially' and 'realistically'?'

The boy replied, 'Yes, 'potentially', you and I are sitting on
three million dollars, but 'realistically', we're just living with two
hookers and a queer.

Bowie Sermonette

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Quicksand

I'm closer to the Golden Dawn
Immersed in Crowley's uniform
Of imagery
I'm living in a silent film
Portraying Himmler's sacred realm
Of dream reality

I'm frightened by the total goal
Drawing to the ragged hole

And I ain't got the power anymore
No I ain't got the power anymore

I'm the twisted name
on Garbo's eyes
Living proof of
Churchill's lies
I'm destiny

I'm torn between the light and dark
Where others see their targets
Divine symmetry

Should I kiss the viper's fang
Or herald loud
the death of Man

I'm sinking in the quicksand
of my thought
And I ain't got the power anymore

Don't believe in yourself
Don't deceive with belief
Knowledge comes
with death's release

I'm not a prophet
or a stone age man
Just a mortal
with the potential of a superman
I'm living on

I'm tethered to the logic
of Homo Sapien
Can't take my eyes
from the great salvation
Of bullshit faith

If I don't explain what you ought to know
You can tell me all about it
On, the next Bardo

'Cos I'm sinking in the quicksand
of my thought
And I ain't got the power anymore

Don't believe in yourself
Don't deceive with belief
Knowledge comes
with death's release

- david bowie

From June 11, 2013


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