Friday, October 21, 2016

Unhappy With The Latest Weather Forecasts

They suggest rain everywhere in California early next week except for Sacramento, but I'll go with it, because rain is needed everywhere, and forecasts are sometimes wrong.

A Big Thanks To Donald Trump

Disney Movie Sparks a Chess Boom in Uganda

This is not an average chess academy. Wayward chickens wander around the boards balanced on rickety wooden benches in a cramped dirt alleyway, while neighbours look on from the porches of their tin-roofed homes.

This is Katwe, one of the largest slums in Uganda, and the scene of an unlikely chess revolution.

Since 2013, when Disney announced it was working on a feature film about a young Ugandan chess prodigy, the game's popularity has exploded here.

The Queen of Katwe tells the rags-to-riches story of Phiona Mutesi, a young, uneducated slum girl who first turned up at one of the Katwe Academy's chess sessions in 2005, mostly for the free porridge.

A few years later she became the first female winner of the country's junior chess championships and by the age of 17, she was representing Uganda at international competitions.

FEC Extends Election By 7 Months To Give Nation Chance To Better Get To Know Candidates

Let's kick this turd farther down the road:
“We believe the continuation of this election by just over half a year will provide Americans with the chance to fully acquaint themselves with both the character and policy positions of Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump,” said FEC chairman Matthew S. Petersen, who expressed confidence that the American people would benefit greatly from over 200 extra days of election coverage, rallies, press conferences, and campaign ads. “Our commission has also worked with the CPD to schedule eight more presidential debates and three more town halls, so that there will be no question that every citizen is ready to cast their ballot by the time Election Day comes around on June 8, 2017.” The FEC added that it had not ruled out extending the election by an additional year if any U.S. voters were still undecided.

Bad Hombre

The World Revolves Around Facebook

If The Dems Could Rig An Election,

...there would be no George W. Bush.

(Thanks, Lisa)

Mark Cuban Has A Theory

Mark Cuban's theory why Trump says the election is rigged is that Breitbart benefits:
‘We were there when the election was rigged, we had behind-the-scenes access. Come to Breitbart, come to our Breitbart TV online.’
Basically, Cuban said, Bannon is working Trump.

Malheur Wormwood

One reason the FBI moved slowly against the militia that took over the Oregon bird refuge was they had infiltrated the group with 15 informants, and had no reason to move fast:
The trials of the first six defendants in the Bunditarian Militia Wildlife Refuge Liberation and Freedom Camporee is winding down, with closing arguments beginning today. The defense rested its case Monday, with testimony from a government informant who had infiltrated the group, saying he had overseen the shooting range the militia set up at the refuge, and that he taught the occupiers gun safety and “proficient use of a firearm.” The informant, Fabio Minoggio, who went by the name “John Killman” while with the Gang That Couldn’t Think Straight, must have done a pretty good job, since none of the marching morons accidentally shot him in the foot. The real surprise about the closing stages of the trial is the revelation that the government relied on 15 confidential FBI informants during the occupation, nine of whom were actually on site at the refuge at various points. That may be one reason the government didn’t move too aggressively to retake the refuge.

Needless to say, members of the “Patriot” movement are having themselves a fine old freakout about the number of informants, desperately trying to find out who the finks were and becoming even more paranoid than they had been. The Oath Keepers webpage, home of one armed pseudo-patriot group that seeks to overthrow the government, is sniffling that the government’s refusal to identify all the informants “contradicts the basic Constitutional right of the defendants to face their accusers”; the actual lawyers for the militia defendants offered the far more limited argument that they need to know the informants’ identities to mount an effective defense, since what if some of the more radical words and actions of the defendants were actually the result of provocation by a government agent?

Hanging Out In The Sun With Bella

I Blame The Media

The Mighty Swordfish

Right-Wing Idiots With Their "Radical Islamic Terrorism"

This is EXACTLY why Obama, Clinton, and everyone with a clue never, ever says "radical Islamic terrorism." Uttering that phrase means the terrorists win, EVERY TIME! Just too easy to slip into a Crusader mentality and declare an unwinnable war against a billion people:
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway strayed from her candidate's sober, even-minded approach to combating terrorism on Wednesday, saying that the Republican nominee would finally "defeat Islam" if elected president.

"Guys and Dolls" Memory

Attached a scanner to my computer, so stumbling back through time.

Woodland Opera House's "Guys and Dolls", Oct. 19-Nov. 18, 2001.

'Gambler's Ballet'. Left to right. Lying down, Bruce Wallace and James Henderson. Standing and crouching, Tim Dannska, Dan Bello, Marc Valdez, Kyle Hadley, Ryan Gordon, Frank Hardin, Aaron Clemens, Lisa Gardner.

'Bushel and a Peck'. Clockwise from top, Sherri Dozier Adams (Adelaide), Jennifer Newman, Kathleen Reilley, Lisa Gardner, Elizabeth Hope. Center, Shanna Beauchamp.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

In 12 Days, I Turn 60

But nevermind about that, here is a picture from about 1979.

Californians And Their Suicidal Ways

In California, people prefer guns for suicide more than homicide:
From 2009 through 2014, the number of people who used a gun to kill themselves in California actually ​​outpaced the number who used a gun to commit homicide. That's largely because the homicide rate ​(3.2 per 100,000 in 2014) ​has fallen, while the suicide rate has remained steady​ (4.1 per 100,000 in 2014).

The California counties with the highest gun sales per capita also tend to be the counties with the highest firearm suicide rates, according to a Sacramento Bee review of state and federal data.​ In the 15 counties with the highest gun suicide rates, the annual rate of firearm sales between 2001 and 2015 was about 37 per 1,000 residents. That's more than triple the median rate in the 15 counties with the lowest gun suicide rates.

But correlation does not always equal causation. Suicide rates are highest among older, white men. So are gun ownership rates. Those two facts can both be true, but not related, if other factors are at play.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Worrisome Triple-Homicide

Worried about the nearby triple-homicide. This occurred outside the zone Bella and I used to frequent. One of the victims sometimes befriended the homeless, so if a homeless person's to blame, there's no reason why that person couldn't be nearby:
Ferrell said his son always befriended the homeless and lost or injured animals.

“James was a young man who would bring homeless people home,” said the elder Ferrell. “We would keep them for a few days. He was sensitive. He was always like that as a child.”

He Made Us Great Again

Creepy Clown Encounter

Funny! Thanks, John!

Wrong Clown

Homeowner reports knife-wielding clown. Police investigate and indeed find a clown, but it was the wrong clown. Police arrest homeowner on weapons and narcotics charges:
Deputies did discover a man with a clown mask hiding in some bushes a few blocks away from where the warning shots were fired — a sighting “unusual for that time of morning,” Myers said.

However, “the homeowner didn’t identify this clown as the correct clown,” Myers said. “His guy had a full clown costume and a mask, and the clown he saw was taller.”

If It's Monday, It's Time For Courtney Barnett

A Night's Sleep Lost

Failed to ask myself what could go wrong with heaping helpings of Five Bean Soup.

The Second Presidential Debate

This Is The Reality

There's A Raccoon Up There

Ants Flow Like Liquid

The Rain In Sweden


"I Am A Big Fan Of Hindu"

Jeebus, save us! (good performances, though):
Last night, the Republican Hindu Coalition in New Jersey held a charity event titled Humanity United Against Terror, with Donald Trump as the chief guest.

The benefit was held for victims of terrorism in Kashmir and elsewhere in the subcontinent.

The event featured performances from celebrities across the Indian film industry, including Prabhu Deva, Shriya Saran, and Malaika Arora Khan.

Surprise! A Wet October in Sactown!

Rain total for October at Sacramento Executive Airport so far is 2.01 inches, well-above the average of 0.92 inches, and the best since 2009's 3.24 inches!

We have a good shot at beating the 2009 level. Forecasts show a Pineapple-Express-type system coming up in about 9 days, so the end of the month will be wet.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Blacka di Danca! Love That Guy!

RIP, Helga Frank

I didn't realize that Helga passed away in August. Such a sweet soul. Always liked and admired her immensely.

Helga Frank and Katherine Arthur - friends!

A Visit To Apple Hill

Been in Sacramento 26 years, but first time ever doing the Apple Hill thang.

Damaged Brand

Time to get on it:
As Politico pointed out on Friday, at the end of September the company, led by Trump and his three oldest children, announced its new hotel brand would be called Scion. That means “descendant of a notable family,” noted the press release.

What’s really notable, of course, is that Scion is the rare—and possibly singular—venture of the Trump commercial empire that does not wear the blustering patriarch’s name like a badge.

Doom And Gloom

Paul Ryan on the prospect of Hillary as President:
“What vision do Hillary Clinton and her party offer the people? They want an America that doesn’t stand out. They want an America that is ordinary. There is a gloom and grayness to things,” he continued.

That's an aesthetic judgment, of course, subject to one's taste. There are other values than color and excitement. Hitler's Germany was a pretty exciting place. Exciting autobahns and stadiums and Volkswagens and torchlit rallies. Not interested in going back, however.

Illegal As Fuck, Which Of Course Means The New Mexico GOP Is Eager To Do It

Ted Cruz's baby!:
The mailer shows a woman in a cold blue hue peeking through her blinds. “When the Democrats win the election and you didn’t do your part… your neighbors will know,” it reads, in all caps.

The back shows a map of houses, some tagged with red check marks in blue pinpoints.

“Do your part in this election,” it says. “After all, voting is a matter of public record.”

October Rain

It's raining. Very un-California-like. Like universal laws have been bent for some god's whimsy.

0.65 inches of rain on Friday at Sacramento Executive Airport - enough to already make this the wettest October in Sacramento since 2012.

We Regret Any Embarrassment

Resuming basement cleanup. Stumbled across this in a 2005 Harper's Magazine:
A story headlined "Syria seeks our help to woo U.S." in Saturday's "Weekend Australian" misquoted National Party senator Sandy Macdonald. The quote stated, "Syria is a country that has been a bastard state for nearly forty years," but should have read, "Syria is a country that has been a Baathist state for nearly forty years." "The Australian" regrets any embarrassment caused by the error.

Unappreciated Efforts

Has Trump Lost His Supporters?

Dragging Carlos Slim Into It Too

In addition to all the rich Jews of the world, Trump is blaming Carlos Slim, the richest person in Mexico, and much richer than Trump will ever be, for all his problems. I hope it's true, but it's probably just coincidence. For someone at Slim's pay grade, dealing with Trump is like stepping in dogshit, and there's no reason he would like tracking it around the house any better than any other Mexican:
Donald Trump will broaden his attack against the media to hit globalism and the Clinton Foundation by charging that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim is part of a biased coalition working in collusion with the Clinton campaign and its supporters to generate news reports of decades-old allegations from several women.

Keep Our Daughters Safe

Because he sure as hell won't:

Danny Elfman Composed A Horror Movie Score For Trump Stalking Hillary


What's Good For The Goose Is Good For The Gander

RDX - Drop (Kotch Pt. 2)

If it's Thursday, I'm peeling wet clothes off.

So Many Clowns!

What If Only Goths Were Allowed To Vote?

Voters want to know:
People began imagining other "if only" scenarios. For examples, what if only goats were allowed to vote?

Or how would things look if only dogs were allowed to vote?

Or what if the election was decided by goths?

Alex Jones Is Nuts

Donald Is Finally Being Held Responsible

Donald hates being held accountable for anything!:
The problem is that the media has taken his own words about how he lunges at women and starts kissing and groping them, and turned up real-world instances of him allegedly doing so. Trump is used to getting away with this sort of chatter, these sorts of actions. He’s not getting away with it now, and it infuriates him.

So disruptive is this rare moment of accountability to everything Donald Trump’s ever known in 40-plus years of public life that he can’t just blame the media, either. He can’t just blame the Clintons. That he’s losing the presidential race, and facing public allegations of past sexual assault from more women every day is, in his mind, the sign of a global conspiracy. It's all he's got.

Cancel the Last Debate

I was thinking this myself last night. Time to pull the plug:
He’s demonstrated (along with his running mate) that he has no interest in dealing with “truth” and “reality.” Tallying up his comments in the second debate, he likely said more lies (33!) than truths. You cannot debate a pathological liar. The rules of the contest assume a certain level grasp of reality that are no longer present on the Republican side.

So what would people see in a debate? Clinton trying to retain her dignity next to your worst drunk asshole uncle? That does nothing to serve democracy. In fact, it cheapens it.

People have all the information they need to make their decisions. Pull the debate.

How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind

Funny and perceptive article:
The rural folk with the Trump signs in their yards say their way of life is dying, and you smirk and say what they really mean is that blacks and gays are finally getting equal rights and they hate it. But I'm telling you, they say their way of life is dying because their way of life is dying. It's not their imagination. No movie about the future portrays it as being full of traditional families, hunters, and coal mines. Well, except for Hunger Games, and that was depicted as an apocalypse.

Consent Is The Key

Butt Boil himself:
RUSH LIMBAUGH: You know what the magic word, the only thing that matters in American sexual mores today is? One thing. You can do anything, the left will promote and understand and tolerate anything, as long as there is one element. Do you know what it is? Consent. If there is consent on both or all three or all four, however many are involved in the sex act, it's perfectly fine. Whatever it is. But if the left ever senses and smells that there's no consent in part of the equation then here come the rape police. But consent is the magic key to the left.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Why the Republican Party is Going to Die

Even conservative intellectuals are beginning to get a clue:
This revisionism, according to Roy, points to a much bigger conservative delusion: They cannot admit that their party’s voters are motivated far more by white identity politics than by conservative ideals.

“Conservative intellectuals, and conservative politicians, have been in kind of a bubble,” Roy says. “We’ve had this view that the voters were with us on conservatism — philosophical, economic conservatism. In reality, the gravitational center of the Republican Party is white nationalism.”

Conservative intellectuals, for the most part, are horrified by racism. When they talk about believing in individual rights and equality, they really mean it. Because the Republican Party is the vehicle through which their ideas can be implemented, they need to believe that the party isn’t racist.

So they deny the party’s racist history, that its post-1964 success was a direct result of attracting whites disillusioned by the Democrats’ embrace of civil rights. And they deny that to this day, Republican voters are driven more by white resentment than by a principled commitment to the free market and individual liberty.

"Masterminds" and "Deepwater Horizon"

This afternoon, Joe the Plumber returned from two months as a carnie with California Carnival, in order to visit with Bella, and pay back some money he owed me. To celebrate, we went out to eat. Joe wants to write a screenplay about carnival life.

We went to see the (based on real life) armored-car-robbery comedy movie "Masterminds", with Zach Galifianakis and Kristen Wiig. Very funny! A must see!

Then, we went to the adjacent cinema and caught most of "Deepwater Horizon", with Mark Wahlberg. That is an excellent drama about the terrible 2010 Gulf-of-Mexico accident; fraught with tension and reminiscent of 1997's "Titanic". Highly-recommended!

Cleaning Gutters III

The annual ritual of cleaning gutters culminates with climbing to the summit of the house, a pitched pinnacle 2.5 floors above the ground, where I do two tasks.

First, I wrap the furnace chimney with duct tape. I started doing this in the 90's, when the chimney started dropping bricks on unsuspecting passersby. The logical thing to do would be to remortar the chimney, but that's a lot of work, so instead I just cut away old duct tape and put new duct tape on. That duct tape works!

Secondly, I take the pole branch cutter and do primitive bonsai on the bottom of the leaf canopy of the oak tree extending over the house. That oak tree makes me uneasy. It's not counterbalanced in any kind of meaningful way, so some rainy, blustery evening I'm sure a ton of wood will crash through the roof. To kick that date as far into the future as possible, I concentrate on cutting branches on the far end of the moment-arm of the canopy, so when that branch finally falls, only 1,800 pounds of wood will fall through the roof, rather than a ton.

Waving a pole branch cutter around on the pinnacle of the house reminds me of a crab or a praying mantis waving its arm around. Sometimes praying mantises even join me, and we wave arms together. This year, I saw no praying mantis, but I did see an enormous butterfly - a monarch?

Climbing down from the summit is probably the most dangerous thing I do all year at the house. I use two ladders. The ladder from the shed roof to the bedroom roof isn't on a flat surface, so I have to call upon rusty rock-climbing skills and move as slowly and deliberately as possible in order not to topple as I dismount.

As I get older, scrambling over the roof will get harder. I remember taking ballet in the 80's from aging George Zoritch, who in his day was one of the greatest ballet stars in the world. One day, Zoritch showed up to class limping, with bruises on his face and his arm in a sling. He got overconfident on the roof of his house. If it could happen to him it certainly could happen to me. Important to stay focused and humble!

Rain is forecast for Friday in Sacramento - early for the usual California rainy season (which typically starts Nov. 1st). I'm as ready as I've been in years!

I Will Just Read The Books I Have

They're Coming

Unhealthy Trump Country

Rife with addictions:
Jacob Howell, a 33-year-old recovering from a heroin addiction, has a familiar story. His mom introduced him to methamphetamine at age 15, then he got hooked on painkillers prescribed for swelling in his leg, then he switched to heroin.

He’s stayed off drugs for a year now. He likes Trump, thinks he has “the business sense” to help the country. But he doesn’t believe Trump — and certainly not Hillary Clinton — is going to improve Austin’s health.

“No,” he said. “I don’t think they care enough about us.”

Better Vote For This Guy!

Downfall GOP

Always The Happiest Of Days

Cleaning Gutters II

Today's gutter-cleaning concern is, where did that enormous black widow go?

Last I saw, the black widow was descending on a thread from the gutter. I whacked the thread, and the black widow - vanished.

Chaos At The Flame Club

If Bella hadn't gotten sick we might have been involved with this shooting too. We often passed by at 1:30 a.m. The place made me uneasy, given that so many people were in cars in the parking lot, and comparatively few inside. A lack of control:
It was getting close to last call early Saturday morning at Flame Club, a midtown dive bar known for its cheap drinks and understated vibe, when Diana Anderson and her friend Tanya Faison spotted trouble brewing.

Two men at the bar began raising their voices, then swinging their fists.

“Everybody get out!” a manager yelled, and dozens of people abandoned their beers and cocktails and poured out the door.

“As soon as we got outside, we heard gunshots,” Anderson said. Their first instinct was to leave. But as they ran from the bar at 16th and V, “something told me I needed to go back,” Anderson said. They returned to find two men lying on the ground, and one was not moving. Anderson, who said she has long been certified in CPR but had never had to use it in an emergency situation, stepped in.

Locker Room Language

Smh. And now, he's blaming Beyoncé for locker room language. No shame:
Kanellis was shocked when Trump ousted her from his reality show for failing to meet his sky-high standards of boardroom decorum. “Some of the comments I've heard in the past in the boardroom had been 100 times worse than what I said,” she told Niagara Frontier Publications. Indeed, according to a recent Associated Press investigation, Trump was a regular perpetrator of “locker-room talk” in the boardroom.

Putin's Parrot

It's disturbing that Kremlin mistakes in reporting Hillary's E-Mails are appearing in Donald's mouth less than 24 hours later. Donald is simply Putin's Parrot:
Russian intelligence → Wikileaks → Sputnik → Donald Trump → Trump’s followers … all in just a few hours. The process was almost certainly greased by having Sputnik know in advance what the intelligence team had hacked for the latest Wikileaks agitprop, but that’s still impressively fast movement of talking points from Putin’s desk to the Mohegan Sun Arena outside Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

Cleaning Gutters I

Cleaning gutters; trimming hedge (storm's coming Friday). One year, I found a bullet in the gutter, but this year, so far, meh, silverfish.

Stress Positions

Torturing the deserving:
The infighting’s only going to get worse from here, folks. Some members don’t need Trump at all, some absolutely, and many more are somewhere in between. Trump himself will watch all of this play out on cable news, soaking it up with sadistic glee. If punishing Republican members of Congress for no reason beyond a passing fancy is his end goal, he’s running the most professional campaign of our lifetimes.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Mr. Pussy Grabber

Mr. Pussy Grabber tried to grab an election out of his whatever, but his 'mopey tantrum' missed. "Just words." Huh. Words get people killed at his level.

Right Behind You

Wow, Even The Gropenator Is Bailing

He knows how this story ends:
Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Saturday morning that he will not vote for the GOP presidential nominee this year following Donald Trump’s obscene sexual comments about women.

"For the first time since I became a citizen in 1983, I will not vote for the Republican candidate for President,” the former governor of California said in a statement.

Saturday Night Hip Hop/Comedy Performance

Friday, October 07, 2016

They Got His Back

Almost no Republican officeholders renounce support for Donald Trump. They got his back.

Attack Of The Pussy Grabber

I don't think Trump's crude statement's a candidacy-killer. We've already factored in that Trump's a world-class monster - like something out of a horror movie, or a creepy Nazi war flick.

What the statement does do, however, is make it hard for Trump to bring up Bill Clinton for the remainder of the campaign. To properly bring up Bill requires expressing deep disdain for the crude ways of Arkansas interlopers in the more refined salons of Washington. The interloper from Queens has to behave himself better than Bill does for the act to work. And - Mister Pussy Grabber acts worse than Bill ever has.

Donald's completely knee-capped; completely at Hillary's mercy. Hell, I'm beginning to feel sorry for him already. And there's a debate coming up soon!

Not feeling sorry for the Republican Party. Pottery Barn rule - they broke it; they bought it. They created this mess - let them figure a way out.
The Republican Party was in a state of turmoil on Friday night over revelations that Donald Trump once bragged in explicit terms about sexually harassing women, driving GOP leaders to denounce their nominee and even prompting calls that he leave the presidential ticket.

But while Trump and his senior aides huddled to strategize next steps, many Republicans felt paralyzed -- stuck with a candidate few ever wholeheartedly embraced with only 31 days left until Election Day.

From the Washington Post.

The Coast Turns; The Storm Doesn't

Damn, it looks like Matthew's Eye is going to crash into the coast after all. Savannah, Georgia is in trouble.

[UPDATE: Matthew's eye wall will just miss Savannah. The storm is weakening, but it's also moving onshore. Charleston, SC, will likely get a visit from the eye, but it'll be a weaker storm - maybe not hurricane status by then.]

The Future's So Bright I Have To Wear Shades

McDonald's saddled with an aging brand:
The Journal quotes a memo from a “top McDonald's franchisee” stating that only 1 in 5 millennials have even tried a Big Mac in their lives; we are apparently a generation immune to the charms of the special sauce. “The number of hamburgers sold at McDonald’s U.S. restaurants has been flat for the past few years,” the paper adds, “and was growing only at a 1% to 2% annual rate before that, according to former high-ranking McDonald’s executives.”

This Is Why We Pay Taxes

A Bad Lip Reading of the First 2016 Presidential Debate

Smooth, Suave

The man who's always wrong advises Trump to be smooth and suave, like Pence:

Yeah, Hillary, Where Is It?

Matthew Lashing Jacksonville

Matthew's eye is shifting a little farther from the coast. Maybe not enough for the folks in Jacksonville to notice, but maybe enough to pull the destructive eye wall off the coast.

Surf cam's fun.

Meanwhile, in Jacksonville, a tree fell on Donna's house.

I'm wondering, will the storm turn before it reaches Savannah?

Matthew On A Glide Path

6 p.m. EDT - Very-nearly direct hit by Hurricane Matthew's eye on Freeport, Grand Bahama. (Not sure they got the respite of the eye - just lots of tormented eyewall.)

Well, tonight it looks like the storm is slowly gliding into greater and greater contact with the shore (I see it was raining in Tampa). The nudge in the storm's path this afternoon helped reduce impacts in the Palm Beach area. I was hoping the storm might nudge again, and save Floridians a lot of trouble, but there's no sign of it yet. It looks right now like the center of the storm might come ashore this morning around Cape Canaveral - the closest passage to Tampa forecast so far.

QQ - Guh Down Low

Dancehall was fun tonight:

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Loretta Sanchez Dabs

And the rest of us are befuddled:

In what may be a political debate first, Rep. Loretta Sanchez struck a pose known as the “dab” at the tail end of her closing statement in Wednesday’s U.S. Senate debate against Kamala Harris, leaving Harris looking surprised and others in disbelief.

Images of Sanchez posing with her right arm across her chest and her left arm extended away from her body, a celebratory gesture popularized by Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, spread across the internet with many reacting incredulously to how the now-iconic dance pose made its way from the NFL to the U.S. Senate race to the internet.

Sad Ted Cruz

The video is great. All the GOTV one would ever need.

A Jog

Interesting. In the last hour, the storm jogged towards Grand Bahama. Very bad for Grand Bahama, but it pulls the storm away from the Florida coast a little bit.

[UPDATE: 3 p.m. PDT - Direct hit by Hurricane Matthew's eye on Freeport, Grand Bahama. (Not sure they got the respite of the eye - just lots of tormented eyewall.) If the storm continues on this path, the east Florida coast might just luck out. None of the forecasts are that optimistic, but hurricanes can surprise!]

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Here Comes Matthew

Hurricane Matthew bypassed Jamaica, crashed into Haiti, and headed to Cuba.

Looks like Guantanamo took a direct hit.

Matthew will hit Florida and much of the U.S. Atlantic coast later this week.

It looks pretty damn bad. Two possible Apocalypses. Will the storm hit Miami, cross Florida, take out Tampa too before veering back east and heading up the coast, or will it just stick to converting the entire Atlantic coast from Miami to Cape Hatteras to matchsticks. Not good either way.

Some of the early forecasts showed the possibility of a massive rain event from Ohio to Nova Scotia triggered by the storm getting caught up by the cold front. The later forecasts are pulling back the rainfall amounts, but the possibility is still out there, even far from the coast.

Empty Jewelry Box Scam

Trump got caught playing the "empty jewelry box" sales tax avoidance scam in 1986, and skipped punishment by testifying against the jeweler:
Back in 1986 and likely for many years before, Donald Trump colluded in tax evasion with Bulgari Jewelry Store in New York, a high-end posh location with tony clientele right out of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Here’s how the scam worked:

Trump would go into the store with his wife, his girlfriend, his…whatever (to use his vernacular). He would then buy her an expensive necklace or wristwatch. Normally, such a transaction would face the New York city and state sales tax, which would be pretty high on luxury jewelry.

In an illegal attempt to evade the tax, Trump “asked” the store to instead ship the jewelry to an out of state location, where no New York sales tax could be collected. In fact, the store would merely send an empty jewelry box to the location, while Trump and his lady friends walked out the door with the jewelry that very day.

The state and city tax collectors eventually caught onto this scheme, and Trump promptly testified against his erstwhile tax evasion colluding partners at the jewelry store in order to save his own skin.

Fewer Polls Mean We Know Less

Interesting point, that the Internet's assault on newspapers means there are far fewer polls than there used to be, even as recently as 2012, and that means we know less:
If anything’s a little odd right now, it’s simply a question of “where are all the polls?” It’s not your imagination that there are fewer polls this year compared with the 2008 or 2012 cycles … or at least the traditional individual-state polls using call centers. (There certainly has been an increase in online non-probability samples, like the national tracking polls from NBC/Survey Monkey and Ipsos/Reuters.) That’s largely a factor of newspapers, who traditionally have been the funding source for much of the state-level polling, just not having the financial resources to commission as many polls as they used to. And that’s why you’re seeing less of certain once-prolific pollsters like SurveyUSA and Mason-Dixon this year; they don’t do freebie polls to promote their internal polling operations (like PPP) or to promote their university brand (like Quinnipiac), and their clientele is mostly papers and TV stations.

Pray For The OilFields

The concerned people at Oklahoma's Oilfield Christian Fellowship ask for your prayers on Thursday, October 13th:
The Rev. Tom Beddow of Ada, coordinator of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma’s Oil Patch Chaplains ministry, said he would like to see similar gatherings around the state as people pray for individuals affected by current economic woes, with the energy industry at the center.

“The oil field is hurting right now,” he said.

“We’re asking churches all over Oklahoma to open their doors, put on a pot of coffee and pray for the oil field, and not only for the oil field but the state, because the economy of our state is so connected to the oil field.”

Jeff Hubbard, with Oilfield Christian Fellowship- Oklahoma City, agreed.

“We have a saying: The oil field trickles down to everyone,” he said.

Hubbard said Gov. Mary Fallin has proclaimed Oct. 13 as Oilfield Prayer Day to raise awareness about the initiative.

Scam, Scam - Donald Trump For Vets - Scam, Scam, Scam!

Image from Letras Libres:

How could it be anything BUT that?:
The New York attorney general disclosed Monday that it ordered Donald Trump’s personal charity to cease fundraising immediately after determining that the foundation was violating state law by soliciting donations without proper authorization.

The message was conveyed in a “notice of violation” sent Friday to the Donald J. Trump Foundation, of which Trump is president.

The night before, The Washington Post reported that Trump’s foundation — which has subsisted entirely on other people’s donations since 2008 — had failed to register with the state as a charity soliciting money.

White Privilege

Rudy Guiliani Says "Everybody" Commits Infidelity

So, no big deal, unless you are Bill Clinton.

"Debt Parking"

Inquiring people, such this hedge fund manager, may finally be closing in on the real secret of Trump's business success: "debt parking":
Here is how debt parking works. Suppose the debtor (in this case The Donald) is going to get his debt cancelled for (say) 1c in the dollar. When he gets the debt wiped out the debtor (ie The Donald) will have to report assessable income equal to the debt wiped out (in this case 99 percent of $916 million).

The alternative though is for the debtor to set up a dummy party. The dummy party might be his wife or children or some company or trust set up by them or more likely some completely opaque offshore trust.

And that dummy party goes and buys the debt for say 1.1 cents in the dollar. Then they just sit there.

They don't force the debtor (ie The Donald) to repay. They don't make a profit or loss on the debt. And because the debtor never has his debt forgiven he never gets the assessment on debt forgiveness and he gets to keep his NOLs even though the losses did not come out of his pocket.

Every tax system worth its salt has some rules on "effective debt forgiveness" to prevent debt parking. And - from my experience which is now over twenty years old - none of them work entirely.

Now if Donald really has all those tax losses its pretty clear that the debt must be parked somewhere.

There is a vehicle out there (say an offshore trust or other undisclosed related party effectively controlled by Donald Trump) - which owns over $900 million in debt and is not bothering to collect it.

First Presidential Debate

The Bastards Up The Road

WEED, Calif. — The water that gurgles from a spring on the edge of this Northern California logging town is so pristine that for more than a century it has been piped directly to the wooden homes spread across hills and gullies.

To the residents of Weed, which sits in the foothills of Mount Shasta, a snow-capped dormant volcano, the spring water is a blessing during a time of severe and prolonged drought.

To the lumber company that owns the land where the spring is, the water is a business opportunity.

Roseburg Forest Products, an Oregon-based company that owns the pine forest where the spring surfaces, is demanding that the city of Weed get its water elsewhere.

“The city needs to actively look for another source of water,” said Ellen Porter, the director of environmental affairs for Roseburg who led the company’s negotiations with the city. “Roseburg is not in a position to guarantee the availability of that water for a long period of time.”

For the past 50 years, the company charged the city $1 a year for use of water from the Beaughan Spring. As of July, it began charging $97,500 annually. A contract signed this year directs the city to look for alternative sources.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Life Seen Through Small Slits

Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" was such a fun show!

Vision was limited in our wolf masks. On Saturday night, Maurice's scarf handoff failed to happen at first, but in my mask I didn't notice, nor did I notice that he was continuing to make the handoff. I was just baffled that he wouldn't flee from the ferocious wolf pack. Was he spoiling for a fight? I started clawing the air to signal our fearsome wolf intent.

I was even more surprised when we left the stage to learn I had the scarf. How did that happen? Life seen through small slits is a mystery!