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Weekend Mentalists – (Mainly) US Edition.

A social media strategist at a Utah language school [A what?] said he was sacked because his boss thought a blog post written on homophones might encourage homosexuality.

Tim Torkildson, a former employee at the Nomen[?!] Global Language Center, said he was asked to leave his job as head of social media because his boss feared the blog entry might give the impression that the school was promoting homosexual behaviour.

Well of course homophones are the new Samsung range that enables anonymous toilet-trading – My Motorola/Google phone only allows hook-ups with fat birds from Stockport. Quite how anyone encourages homosexuality anyway is beyond me. Go on, go on, go on!

But wait! A homophone is not that at all is it? It is a linguistic term meaning two words said the same but mean different things and are spelt differently. English due to the mongrel nature of the lingo is replete with them, “Which witch?”, “We can see the sea from here” and all that. Indeed, “Homo” is of ambiguous meaning, depending on the Laughing or Grief root (or, er… missus) “Man” (as in the clearly pushing bum-fun term “Homo erectus” (I bet there is a movie by that name showing Ugg and Ogg the cave gents getting it on big time – trust me when HD video things* are as dog-cheap as they are and you got the internet every oddness that can be done (and with CGI things that can’t – slashfic with Sauron and Morgoth). Trust me it will exist.

Speaking to the Salt Lake City Tribune, Mr Torkildson said that Mr Woodger told him he ‘could not be trusted’ and the only job he would ever succeed in would be ‘something clerical’.

The blog post has been removed from the language school’s website.

Mr Woodger however denied that he had sacked Mr Torkildson for that reason, saying instead that his blog posts had begun to ‘go off tangents’ and had become confusing and occasionally offensive.

He added that homophones were beyond the understanding of most of the student body.

That from a guy running a language college! Having said that Mr Torkildson does appear to have purloined Cpt. Mainwaring’s syrup.

He’s the one on the left.

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Now we all like good customer service

An Oklahoma woman didn’t hesitate to pick up the phone to complain when a product she bought did not meet industry standards.

But perhaps she should have taken a moment to think it through, since the number she called was 911 and the product was crystal meth.

According to police officers in Enid, 54-year-old Lynette Rae Sampson was the model of politeness as she described how the ‘ice’ she had purchased did not meet the purity standards she was used to.

Officer Aaron Barber was greetly[sic] warmly when he arrived at Ms Sampson’s home.

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‘I’m glad you came,’ she told the officer, before leading him to the kitchen where the crystal meth was stored in a tin on the counter.

The woman was arrested.

‘Once you think you’ve seen it all, something new will surprise you,’ said Captain Jack Morris of Enid Police.

‘It’s sad people who utilise these drugs don’t realise how it affects them and what they can do to you.’

Ms Sampson now faces up to 10 years in jail for possession of the drug and paraphernalia.

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Why use public transport and fight for a seat when you already have a fully charged up four wheeler at the ready?

That’s what this gentleman decided to do, apparently disregarding the law.

Mobility scooters are banned from being used on any non-pedestrianised roads – let alone one of the UK’s busiest motorways.

But the OAP was seen on the hard shoulder of the M1 being escorted by a police motorcyclist between Junction 31 near Sheffield and Junction 32 for the M18 interchange.

A passenger in a passing haulier lorry filmed the bizarre occurrence on Britain’s oldest full-length motorway.

- which just goes to show it isn’t just America that produces mentalists.

*Between my wife and me we have seven video takers! Everyone is David Lean these days. Not including webcams.

“This is pretty much the pinnacle of human achievement, right here.”

Says a commenter at Instapundit of this. GoPro camera, hula hoop, Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. Hell, yes.

(Better not embed it in case it autoplays and somebody’s joyless boss or co-worker complains. Compared to some of the videos out there, it’s bloody Songs of Praise, but it probably isn’t entirely SFW.)

Reposted from Glasgow because the Commonwealth Games are, as Usain Bolt so eloquently put it (oh, don’t go denying it, Usain, we all know it’s true), “a bit shit”.

Debt Bondage and Slavery – 21st Century style

debt-prisons-of-victorian-era-england-1

Ariel Schochet, who has served eight stints behind bars in Bergen County [New Jersey], the so-called deadbeat dad roundups trap the men in a system they are never able to climb out of. “We aren’t supposed to have debtor’s prisons in this country anymore, but that’s essentially what this has turned into,” said Schochet, who built up a $278,000 debt to his ex-wife after losing his job on Wall Street.

Inside the world of ‘deadbeat dads’ in Northern New Jersey

Charles Dickens wrote extensively about debtors prisons, having been through this tribulation as a child during his fathers imprisonment for debt in Marshalsea prison in 1824, but even during his lifetime the closure of debtors prisons and the introduction of less punitive bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings appeared to turn the tide back, but it is a tide that has ebbed and flowed both ways over the centuries.

This was nowhere more true than in the United States where bankruptcy laws were enacted in 1800, repealed in 1803, enacted again in 1841, repealed again in 1843, enacted yet again in 1867 and repealed yet again in 1878 – thus the current laws may just be an extraordinarily long hiatus between repeals.

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Cybersecurity and the NSA

Panel discussion from last March, by members of the Federalist Society (that would be the Good Guys’ scholarly law society, as opposed to the American Constitution Society, constituted by the Bad Guys–a.k.a. “Progressives” and “Libruls”–in reaction to the evil awfulness of the Good Guys). Long, but worth it. Pros and Cons of the NSA’s warrantless data collection on Americans, including Constitutional, legal, and practical issues; and a little about the FISA Court.

In particular, Prof. Randy Barnett is his usual cogent and interesting self, and the third gent, Prof. Jeremy Rabkin, is an absolute hoot. The set of presentations is most interesting, and there are good points and food for thought.

Description and cast of characters below the video.

Description:

Published on Mar 25, 2014

The NSA acts pursuant to broad statutory authorities, and has interpreted those statutes to enable vast data collection programs. Two programs in particular, programmatic surveillance of the content of communications and bulk collection of metadata have become the subject of heated public and scholarly debate. Are these programs consistent with the NSA’s mission to gather foreign intelligence and to defend U.S. government information systems? Have the leaks about these programs jeopardized national security, or have they enhanced public accountability? Is there a better way to strike a balance between privacy and security?

The University of Florida Student Chapter hosted this panel discussion during the 2014 Annual Student Symposium on Saturday, March 8, 2014.

Panel 1: “CYBERSECURITY AND THE NSA”
–Mr. Stewart Baker, Partner, Steptoe & Johnson LLP
–Prof. Randy Barnett, Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory, Georgetown University Law Center
–Prof. Jeremy Rabkin, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law
–Moderator: Chief Justice Ricky Polston, Florida Supreme Court

University of Florida Levin College of Law
Gainesville, FL

Diplomacy amidst the wreckage and the rhetoric

Malaysian PM Najib on MH17

Although not a fan of Malaysian PM Najib Razak, his approach to the MH17 disaster has been more diplomatic than the angry rhetoric of both the US and the UK. Indeed I would go further and say that it demonstrates the difference between Cameron and Obama, who are simply politicking and the governments of Malaysia and the Netherlands who are attempting to recover the bodies of their citizens and understand why MH17 is spread across 8-miles of a Ukrainian war-zone.

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Bill Whittle: Losing the Peace in Iraq

There is one statement in here that I’ll bet will surprise everybody except maybe Mr. Cats, who may have already seen the video. It’s about Nixon, and it surprised me.

For those whose computers are either deaf or mute, the video is accompanied by a transcript at FrontPage Mag.

This is the way wars start…

So President Obama is sending 300 military advisors to Iraq. They are absolutely (hand on heart) not going to do the fisticuffs. Honest. Isn’t that how Vietnam started? I know how it ended for I have seen the extremely moving Vietnam War Memorial in DC. It has 58,000 names on it. Seriously, you have to see it in the flesh – so to speak – it really doesn’t work on TV. It is very poignant because it is very shiny so you see your own face floating amongst the names and you think, “Could’ve been me”. Anyway, it looks like The Big O is ramping-up a war. Magic. To put it bluntly hasn’t the USA (and us) expended more than enough blood and treasure in Iraq already? I normally hate any analogies between sport and war because one is supposed to be fun and the other deadly but seeing as the performance of Iraqi troops against ISIS has made the England football defence look competent and brave I’ll risk it. I mean after ten years of training from the US (and us, and others) they dropped their rifles the second they heard the bullets singing. Brilliant and not to put too fine a point on it this is not our fault. If Iraq falls it does off their own bat. It is no longer our job. Having said that it was never our job. A tragedy wrapped around a farce. This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps.

World Cup Quote So Far…

From St. Glenn of the Hockle on the BBC upon the occasion of Mexico beating Cameroon 1-0…

“Cameroon looked like they were playing in chains”.

Given Hoddle’s previous the mere fact the BBC felt the need to employ him now is astonishing.

Just look up his opinions on the disabled, faith healers and of course “Diamond Lights”. That and the fact he tended to play Anderton. And won fuck all.

Now Here, They’ve Got a Point

Courtesy of an Online Pal of mine. :>)

The ACLU is typically thought of as “Leftist”. This is a little bit like ‘when Left meets Right’. Can’t say we weren’t warned.

Thank you for calling the Pizza Palace…

I USED to be a Coal Miner’s Daughter…

Well Barry couldn’t get this one through by democratic means, despite being an er… Democrat, so he reverted to the old standby of tyrants… Executive Authority.

The usual suspects are mutedly applauding (it doesn’t go far enough apparently). Germany is now reinvesting in coal after their hasty total shutdown of nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster. And China, India and Brazil haven’t missed a beat, opening one Coal powered station a week.

So well done Barry, finger on the pulse of a dead corpse again as usual. If I didn’t know better I’d say you were deliberately trying to destroy the United States Of America.

Melissa Harris-Perry – All Your Kids Are Belong To Us

Melisa Harris-Perry – MSNBC Special Correspondent for Child Stealing

“We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children – ‘Your kid is yours, and totally your responsibility.’ We haven’t had a very collective notion that these are our children. So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents, or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.

So there you go, clear and unambiguous from the “liberal” (yeah right!) heart of the collective, a contemporary restatement of the fascist principle of “Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato“ (“Everything in the State, nothing outside the State, nothing against the State”) as set forth by Benito Mussolini in his infamous speech to the Italian Chamber of Deputies on 9 December 1928.

Ms. Harris-Perry is now attempting to retract or somehow reinterpret her words, but her original message was clear and unambiguous, especially since it has been in the playbook of every collectivist movement for over a century as former members of the Hitler Youth, Young Pioneers and countless other youth movements will attest.

Perhaps Ms. Harris-Perry is throwing her hat in the ring to be the head of the Obama Youth?

Further Reading:

Melissa Harris-Perry and the Firestorm Over ‘Collective’ Parenting

[Edit] - Apparently this was from a TV piece from last November, so I’m a bit of a slow poke. My only excuse is I was living on the opposite side of the planet at the time, still a bit too close though clearly.

The Pope may also have a tendency towards Catholicism…

…and we all know about ursine silvan defecatary habits…

This staggering gem from the NYT/Daily Mail. I recall when the fun and games started in the ‘stan. There was a twinkly old bar steward “massing” with a fucking hatchet on the Af/Pak border and ranting to the BBC about killing Americans. Above him were the contrails of a B-52. He was (self) impo(r)tently waving his little mashie at the bomber. And he was ponying up from Pakistan’s “restive” tribal areas. Or Hell on Fucking Earth as is better known.

Anyone who sincerely believes the Pakistani government has been our best buds through this farrago which has cost something like 3,000 NATO lives, God knows how many Afghans and you may have noticed how well we’re doing in the Paralympics of late… Well they are demented.

It comes down to this. The USA has had an alliance with Pakistan for many years. In their early wars against India, Pakistan flew largely F-86s, and the Indians got chummy with the Soviets and flew MiGs (they also had some Hawker Hunters and the Pakistanis got some Supermarine Attackers which were truly dreadful but that would detract from the narrative). The Indians still are chummy with the Russians on aerospace which is why the Su-34 has a microwave oven and a proper toilet. It was specced-up and partially designed by HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) primarily for India. A great strike fighter (with a microwave!) but they should have fitted (along with the toilet) variable geometry inlets for the engines to get the speed past Mach 2. Because under successive US Admins there has been a bizarre “Game of Thrones” in the spheres of interference and Pakistan landed in the US one and India in the Soviet one for whatever reason. But genuine friends? Seriously?

We know, or ought to know, who our real friends are. The first British DFC awarded to a female pilot came from her (and her crew) flying through an unbelievable shit-storm of fire into a fort (yes a fort!) to rescue a critically wounded Dane, twice – shot down first time around. Now my people stood (with fuck-off axes) against them Scandy sorts but the Battle of Stamford Bridge* was like nigh on a thousand years ago. Since then we’ve made-up and bought Lego and are genuine mates – real allies. This is not blood – though I am Nordic/Celtic ancestry. I have long blonde-ish hair right now and look like I’m about to lead the Éored down the right flank. Good. I like it as does my wife. I am not being racist. Indeed I’m suggesting I am of immigrant blood and blood matters nothing. What matters is culture and if not it’s exact convergence but the mutual understandability. That makes for genuine friendship and not the sub “Game of Thrones” we have with Pakistan and the Afghans. I mean Dear God we liberated Afghanistan so they could impose a law legalising marital rape! When we stormed the beaches of Normandy did we expect to set-up such societies? I have been to France and Germany and they ain’t like that. I haven’t been to Japan or The Republic of Korea (though I have put enough moollah their way) but I have been to the Korean War memorial in DC. That is a memorial to 50-odd thousand soldiers who died to ensure half the peninsula didn’t get over-run by the vilest regime on the planet.

And it isn’t blood, or culture or even religion (I found Turkey very friendly). Well, maybe it is culture. The culture of not being an arsehole. I am sure many Afghans manage it but not the Khazi of Kabul. Though a man not without sin there can be a need for an Atatürk (as we had a need for a Cromwell). Sometimes you need a hard bastard to pull you out of the soup.

Or maybe not. It’s not very libertarian is it? But Turkey would be a complete shit-hole without Mustafa Kemal (insert obvious joke). Mind, the current Turkish PM seems hell-bent on a return to the fucking dark ages.

Or maybe not. The great social changes I have seen in my lifetime have been of the slowly, slowly monkey catching variety. Sometimes you need society to simply change and the biggest change I have seen is probably gay rights. There has been a phenomenal change in that since I was at secondary school.

But fundamentally you don’t choose your friends – your genuine allies – they choose you or you just get on. There is a reason every year the Norwegians ship us a ginormous Christmas Tree for Trafalgar Square. There is a reason Hamid Khazai ships us fuck all (apart from heroin on the sly) – an Eid prezzie would be nice. It isn’t blood or treasure or religion. We simply get on with Norway and we don’t with ‘stan (because they are cunts, largely). That in a sense is what this war is about. Or isn’t. It is an attempt at “nation building”, in shit-holes. I saw on the telly a couple of years back a US Army Cpt taking tea with tribal elders. He was an engineer and wanted to build a bridge employing local labour so they could go to town and get jobs but all the lads had gone off Talibaning. The US officer was very obviously pissed-off. I don’t blame him. He couldn’t say anything, alas. But there was a definite look about him that said, “Well, if that’s their attitude then fuck ‘em”. Of course he offered to build a bridge and not offer the chance to “marry” pre-pubescent girls so he was buggered from the start.

These are not allies in the sense of friends. The French might be founder members of the “Awkward Squad” but I reckon we can vaguely trust ‘em. We can certainly trust some other Europeans and the USA and some of the Commonwealth. We have friends, genuine friends and that is very different from having “alliances”.

I know people I would stand with (if it came to it) to the last gasp and I know they would stand with me but realpolitricks never works in the long term.

I know this post has rambled and I hope it is taken in the right sense. This is not a rant contra Islam and it is not a paean to Nordicology. I am just saying that if you want a genuine friendship which is the utter prerequisite for a real alliance you have to get on rather than manufacture it. And a country that harbours public enemy #1 within a brisk walk of its premier military academy for years is not a friend and should not therefore be regarded as an ally. It is both a strategic and some level a moral failure.

*Some enormous Viking held the bridge with a giant axe until a sneaky Saxon went underneath and skewered the IKEA merchant with a spear up the fundament.

Richard Epstein & Federalist Society Panel on Direct Democracy

Government of the People, by the People, and for the People?

The second Showcase Panel at the the Federalist Society’s 2010 National Lawyers Convention. November 19, 2010.

Prof. Epstein, as usual, has some thoughts on practicalities. (He’s wrong about the V-N War, though. What can I say, he’s a nice Jewish boy from Brooklyn. And among other things he did time at Berkeley.)

Very interesting discussion, and the gentlemen all are. :>)

From the description:

Direct democracy is feasible today to an extent that it was not feasible in 1787. Does that change the calculus in choosing between direct democracy and representation? What lessons, positive or negative, can be learned from the state experience with initiatives and referenda? Should Congress set up a system of national initiatives and referenda? Can Congress delegate its legislative power to the American people without violating the nondelegation doctrine? Should national initiatives and referenda be binding or merely advisory? Would it be acceptable for a national referendum to alter a law so as to effectively reverse a Supreme Court decision? Should the health care law be subject to such a referendum? Should increases in the national debt or in taxes be subject to voter approval?

In order of appearance:

Steven G. Calabresi — Moderator (Introduction, 6:32)

Panelists, speaking roughly 15 min. each:

William N. Eskridge, Jr. — Yale
Richard A. Epstein (at ~19:40) — NYU, U. of Chicago
Robert D. Cooter — Berkeley
Thomas W. Merrill — Columbia

Then the moderator puts a few questions, and finally there’s Q&A from the audience.

Barque to the Future…

This is USS Zumwalt…

Just launched at a cost of umpty billions. Now I know aeroplanes and bugger all about ships but does that not look rather similar to a US Civil War ironclad to you? Like this…

The Zumwalt class is designed to have the radar sig of a fishing smack. I guess you might get much the same from the CSS Albermarle not, obviously, that it was an issue at the time. It is possible (and the USN has been ickling on about railguns for some time and a planning sea trials in 2016 which is when the Zumwalt is due to enter service. So clearly looks may deceive and it might look the same but be bigger on the inside so to speak.)

So… It’s kinda odd but for completely different reasons the naval architects have gone back to the future. Either that or the Confederacy had some unknown naval genius beavering away and designing a low radar-return ship almost a century before radar.

But, and this is a biggy for me. Now it might sound nit-picking but how the heck is that a destroyer? It displaces 15,000 tons, it is 610ft long. That is a cruiser at least. Surely. Is this some bizarre ruse to get the funding past Congress? Because the Zumwalt class is essentially designed as a 1-1 replacement for the Iowa class battleships.

That is a broadside from an Iowa class (Actually BB61 USS Iowa). Those are 16″ guns. Who needs railguns when you can hurl a shell the mass of a VW for a couple of dozen miles. I’d be much more impressed by railguns on the Zumwalt if it was nuclear powered and therefore had practically unlimited electricity. Hell’s teeth I’d be going for a fully nuclear navy! No need for oilers and fill ‘er up every 25 years! You’d buy a car that did that. Especially if it had a railgun. It has to be noted though that we won the Cold War partly (thank you Ronnie!) with recommissioned Iowa class battleships and the off-key caterwauling of skanty-clad songstresses. I dunno which scared the Kremlin most. But they are very big guns indeed and Cher is wearing very little indeed. That was the ’80s and that is how we won. Hard and soft pressure. Ronnie and MTV – an unstoppable alliance.

I mean can you imagine how dull communism must have been?

Yeah, and inevitably here’s the video…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5G4O5AMSevc

Yeah, I liked the ’80s. We seemed to be going somewhere and that dear reader is a guilty pleasure from the era. But that’s one hell of a ship whatever you think of Cher.

And if we had another Ronnie then Vlad would be hiding under a table in the Kremlin with stained trews. And if we could take out Comrade Kim and the Ayatollahs and dear old Bob and… I can dream. But that video speaks to me of serious belief in our moral, social, military and economic might. We believed it then. That is why I liked the ’80s.

PS. The Iowa class were designed to be Panamax. They had 18″ wiggle room so never again complain about parking in TESCO.

PPS. This has been edited by moi. This fecking Toshiba is at the very end of the tether.

Prof. David Bernstein discusses the 1905 Supreme Court case “Lochner vs. New York”

Prof. David Bernstein of George Mason Univ. published in 2011 his book Rehabilitating Lochner. So vass ist ziss case Lochner, anyvay?

The Foot of All Knowledge explains:

Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45 (1905), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case that held that “liberty of contract” was implicit in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The case involved a New York law that limited the number of hours that a baker could work each day to ten, and limited the number of hours that a baker could work each week to 60. By a 5–4 vote, the Supreme Court rejected the argument that the law was necessary to protect the health of bakers, deciding it was a labor law attempting to regulate the terms of employment, and calling it an “unreasonable, unnecessary and arbitrary interference with the right and liberty of the individual to contract.”

Lochner is one of the most controversial decisions in the Supreme Court’s history….[SNIP]

…and has until recently enjoyed a lousy reputation among the right-thinking (that is, the librul-Progressive, which is to say, not at all right-thinking) legal professoriate.

Professor Bernstein, along with Profs. Randy Barnett and Richard Epstein (as we inferred from his remarks in his last appearance on CCiZ) disagree on that, stout fellows that they are. They talk about legal esoterica such as Freedom of Contract and other stuff that is not for the tender and innocent ears of the Elite (or of various Union leaders or members and their legbreakers and enforcers).

David Bernstein is one of the contributors to Prof. Eugene Volokh’s law weblog The Volokh Conspiracy. (The Volokh Archives going back to 2002 are now found here.) Interviewer Josh Blackman is also an attorney and an Assistant Law Professor at the U. of South Texas. You can read his short summary of the interview at his website. You can also download the interview as a podcast there, watch the video there, click on over to Vimeo and watch it or download it as an mp4 there, or stay here and listen to the audio.

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