23 August 2016

Bond, bad

Rico says that, shy of the lamentable Roger Moore movies, "Diamonds Are Forever" may be the worst Bond movie...

History for the day: 1927: Sacco & Vanzetti executed

On 23 August 1927, Italian-born anarchists Nicola Sacco (photo, left) and Bartolomeo Vanzetti (photo, right) were executed in Boston, Massachusetts for the murders of two men during a robbery in 1920.On 15 April 1920, a paymaster for a shoe company in South Braintree, Massachusetts, was shot and killed, along with his guard. The murderers, who were described as two Italian men, escaped with more than fifteen thousand dollars. After going to a garage to claim a car that police said was connected with the crime, Sacco and Vanzetti were arrested and charged with the crime. Although both men carried guns and made false statements upon their arrest, neither had a previous criminal record. On 14 July 1921, they were convicted and sentenced to die.
Anti-radical sentiment was running high in America at the time, and the trial of Sacco and Vanzetti was regarded by many as unlawfully sensational. Authorities had failed to come up with any evidence of the stolen money, and much of the other evidence against them was later discredited. During the next few years, sporadic protests were held in Massachusetts and around the world calling for their release, especially after Celestino Madeiros, then under a sentence for murder, confessed in 1925 that he had participated in the crime with the Joe Morelli gang. The Massachusetts Supreme Court refused to upset the verdict, and Massachusetts Governor Alvan T. Fuller denied the men clemency. In the days leading up to the execution, protests were held in cities around the world, and bombs were set off in New York City and Philadelphia. On 23 August, Sacco and Vanzetti were electrocuted.
In 1961, a test of Sacco’s gun using modern forensic techniques apparently proved it was his gun that killed the guard, though little evidence has been found to substantiate Vanzetti’s guilt. In 1977, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis issued a proclamation vindicating Sacco and Vanzetti, stating that they had been treated unjustly and that no stigma should be associated with their names.
Rico says don't do the crime if you can't do the time or, in this case, the execution...

Doc photo, not

True West magazine has an article by Leo Banks about a photo that may or may not have Doc Holliday in it:

Look closely at this street scene from Silver City, New Mexico. Notice the skinny cat standing by the third stagecoach window, right hand in pocket, left hand on lapel. Could that man be John Henry “Doc” Holliday?
He does not appear to be throwing up blood, drunk, cranky, or ready to draw down, but the man in the photo certainly resembles the revered gunfighter who participated in the 1881 Gunfight Behind the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.
We know the Earp party, including our favorite tubercular dentist, spent the night in Silver City, New Mexico, on 15April 1882, while fleeing Arizona after Wyatt Earp’s Vendetta Ride. A Wells Fargo historian confirmed that the man sitting atop the coach, holding an envelope, is the Wells Fargo agent in Silver City, G.M. Huffaker. Some historians believe that Wells Fargo was helping Earp evade the law.
The Silver City Museum, which owns this image, sent the photo to us to investigate. A notation in the museum’s collection stated the picture was taken “sometime between May of 1881 and September of 1882.”
We donned our Pinkerton hats and began poking around. Old West photo collector Robert G. McCubbin took a look and dumped cold water on the Holliday possibility. Comparing it with the full-length shot of Holliday taken in Prescott, Arizona, he says the mustache doesn’t match and the chin is more pointed in the Prescott photo. He concludes the stagecoach group “could be anyone of that period”, adding that Holliday probably would not have allowed himself to be photographed while on the run.
Gary Roberts, Holliday’s biographer, says that “while, for historical reasons, I would like this to be a photo of the vendetta posse, I have to conclude that there is insufficient evidence to confirm that it is.”
What about the purported date for this photo? The stagecoach rests in front of the Meredith-Ailman building. Was that bank even around in mid-April 1882?
Yes, the bank was around, but the building looked different then. Susan Berry, retired director of the Silver City Museum, helpfully plowed through old newspapers and found evidence that she believes places the photo after April of 1882.
The New Southwest reported that a street lamp was placed in front of a building two doors north of the Meredith-Ailman building in early July of 1882. The far right side of the picture shows the street lamp, which wouldn’t have been there in April.
The same newspaper reported, on 29 July, the installation of large gilt letters above the doorways on the new iron front of the Meredith-Ailman building. Those gilt letters are present in this photo.
The photo, Berry concludes, was taken no earlier than late July of 1882. It probably was shot before 14 November, when the bank re-opened, and it was taken before 11 May 1883, when the Higbee building (next door to the bank and hidden by a tree) got a second story.
Although this is a fantastic period photo, our skinny guy is not our famous gunfighter with his posse. Such results can break the hearts of the most stalwart of latter-day Pinkertons. But we won’t give up. Only two confirmed adult photos of Holliday exist and those are not enough for a man of such legend. We want more and vow to keep looking. If you’re out there, Doc, hold fast. We’ll find you.
The signed photograph of Doc Holliday, taken in Prescott, Arizona, in 1879, is one of four authenticated photographs of the famous dentist. The others show him when he was twenty, graduating from dental school, one when he was about one or two years old, and the last when he was a baby in his mother’s arms. Unfortunately, this photo will not be added to the list. The man (see close-up, far left) is not our revered gunfighter.
Rico says we may never know, but they're all dead anyway...

O.K. Fight

True West has an article by Bob Boze Bell; in 1999, he bought True West magazine (published since 1953) and moved the editorial offices to Cave Creek, Arizona; he has published and illustrated books on Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, and Doc Holliday, as well as Classic Gunfights, an Old West gunfight book series; his latest books are The 66 Kid and True West Moments, about the ubiquitous shootout at the OK Corral:

October 26, 1881: The Earp brothers and John Henry “Doc” Holliday confront the Cowboys in the vacant lot between C.S. Fly’s Boarding House and the house of former Mayor William Harwood, west of the rear entrance of the OK Corral, in Tombstone, Arizona (then still a Territory). It is a narrow, eighteen-foot space, which is ironic, considering Ike Clanton’s earlier boast: “All I want is four feet of ground.”
“Boys, throw up your hands,” Marshal Virgil Earp demands. “I want your guns.”
Nervous about the confrontation and sensing the bristling attitude of Morgan Earp and Holliday, Frank McLaury says “We will”, and makes a motion to pull out his revolver. Holliday makes a sudden move toward Tom McLaury, thrusting a shotgun at him in a threatening manner. Wyatt Earp jerks his pistol from his coat pocket, and Billy Clanton pulls his revolver at the same time.
“Hold on, I don’t want this!” says Virgil, realizing the situation is slipping from his control.
Two shots ring out, almost as one, followed by a long pause. Frank McLaury clutches his stomach and staggers, as the firing becomes general, and Ike Clanton flees once the shooting starts. Some thirty shots are fired in less than thirty seconds. The most famous and over-analyzed fight in the West is over. The repercussions are only beginning.
Some believed Frank McLaury did all the damage. His shots hit Morgan Earp across the shoulders, Virgil Earp in the right calf, John Henry “Doc” Holliday on the hip and punctured Wyatt Earp’s coat, missing him by an inch. Had Frank not been gut shot in the first exchange, he might have killed them all.
Camillus S. Fly ran out from his boarding house and took the pistol from Billy Clanton’s hand. As he gasped for air, the dying Clanton gamely asked for more cartridges.
The Vizina Mine whistle blew, signaling the Vigilance Committee to assemble for an emergency. Within minutes, they were mobilized on Fremont Street. As seventy armed men converged on the scene, the Earps and Holliday realized they were out of bullets, and wondered if the approaching throng would prove friend or foe.
Cochise County Sheriff John Behan stepped out from hiding and tried to arrest Wyatt, who replied: “I won’t be arrested now. You threw us, Johnny.”
The wounded Earps were taken to a “drugstore” uptown where their wounds were treated. Virgil and Morgan were loaded in a hack and pulled by hand to their homes at First and Fremont Streets. The lifeless bodies of Billy Clanton and Tom and Frank McLaury were taken to the Dexter Corral and placed in a back room to await the undertaker.
Billy Clanton lingered for half an hour, thrashing around and yelling. “They have murdered me!” he screamed.
Ike Clanton filed murder charges against the Earps and Holliday with Justice Wells Spicer.
Rico says it makes for good street theater in Tombstone to this day...

22 August 2016

Quote for the day

"Be yourself, everyone else is already taken."  Oscar Wilde

Gold Train update

War History Online has an article by Joris Nieuwint about the 'gold train':

A drone video takes us above the location where a team of Polish treasure hunters has started to dig for the legendary Nazi gold train near Walbrzych, Poland.
Legend has it that the Nazis buried a train packed with gold and looted treasure at the end of the Second World War. The train is supposed to have been driven into an underground tunnel and the tunnel then sealed. Though doubts remain about the truth of this story, a dedicated team of researchers has been hard at work trying to locate the tunnels.
This week, after a long search, they have begun to dig, and the military history community around the world is watching developments with great excitement. The local community is also watching expectantly; if the train is found, the small town of Walbrzych will expect to receive a much-needed boost to the local economy.
At the beginning of the week, the treasure hunting team reported that they had found “very heavy rock” around five meters down. They reason that the tunnel might lie underneath this layer.
The team was to break through the rock with a special drill on Thursday, but this was called off, and the team started to dig down at different locations in the embankment.
During Thursday’s dig, fragments of steel and porcelain were uncovered. According to local media, these fragments are not native to the area.
Andreas Richter, who announced the discovery of the ‘gold train’ in August of 2015 and organized the dig, told journalists that, while the excavations will continue on Friday, they should have a better idea of what is or is not present under the embankment on Saturday.
A hundred and fifty-meter-long train from Germany disappeared in 1945 on its way from Breslau in Germany (now part of Poland and known as Wroclaw) to Walbrzych. The train was allegedly filled with guns, industrial equipment, gems, gold, and other treasure. Some people think that the train is sealed in a hidden tunnel near Ksiaz Castle, outside of Walbrzych, but there is no documentation to substantiate this theory.
The treasure hunter team, led by Piotr Koper from Walbrzych, Poland, and Andreas Richter from Germany, have been looking for the train for over four years. The hunt for the train was stopped in December of 2015 after a press conference in which it was announced by experts that there was no evidence of a train, but has now resumed in earnest. 
A piece of railway track has been discovered in a new hole close to a power pole, as well as a horseshoe in another hole. One of the holes that was dug down to fifteen meters has turned up empty; only more rock was found.
Rico says he wishes they'd find it, or not; he hates waiting...

The song in Rico's head

It's Madonna's La Isla Bonita:

Politics as usual

"To be determined."
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway on whether her candidate still supports a "deportation force" to remove the eleven million people illegally in the US.

"It will take some time to adjust."
Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook on the Clinton Foundation's foreign and corporate donations.

Rico says you know how to tell when a politician is lying, right? Their lips are moving.

Death to hackers

Rico says that Amazon is getting hacked by multiple assholes, and they fucked up his use of Messenger, yet again.

Corporeal punishment (like hand amputation; we can get ISIS to do it cheap) on live television is the only solution...


...they're not in Philadelphia, where they'd be illegal, but Rico has a photo of the solution:

Half famous

Rico suggested they hook up with an Italian place called Vanzetti, like these guys...

Even dead...

...Bob is still famous, and missed.

Honoring Muslim religious workplace requests

The Clarion Project has another rant, this one by Eliot Friendland, about Muslims in the US:

Firms such as JP Morgan, Accenture, and PricewaterhouseCoopers are taking steps to make sure that Muslims feel accommodated and respected in the workplace, according to Bloomberg.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act stipulates reasonable requests for accommodation of religious requests must be granted, as long as it does not cause undue hardship.
Last year some forty percent of religious discrimination cases seen by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission related to Muslims, despite Muslims only making up one percent of the population.
However, Islam has more religious requirements than many other religions such as Buddhism or Christianity. Jews also have many religious requirements, but Jews have = integrated into mainstream, American-workplace culture for longer than Muslims, so many firms already have measures in place to accommodate Jewish religious requests. It therefore makes sense that there would be more litigation relating to Islam.
Many firms preempt litigation and take steps to accommodate Muslim religious requests.
This is despite complaints that American workplace culture is discriminatory towards Muslims by the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), designated as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates. “The atmosphere is so toxic now that, even having constitutionally-protected religious accommodation in the workplace can somehow be controversial,” says Ibrahim Hooper, communications director of CAIR, told Bloomberg.
Other professionals working on issues of corporate diversity disagree. “The level of acceptance at some of the best companies is significant,” Subha Barry, vice president of Working Mother Media, which publishes Diversity Best Practices, told Bloomberg. “Even a few years ago, Muslims who wore prayer caps or head scarfs or wanted to pray several times a day would have thought ‘If I do that I won’t have any chance for upward mobility.’ They would have felt they had to check their beliefs at the door to avoid harassment.”
But Bloomberg reports a variety of measures being taken by firms to accommodate MuslimsUmar Latif, who was recently made a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, an accountancy firm, wears a prayer cap called a kufi, which identifies him as Muslim, but said the firm had not made an issue out of his dress, saying that “There’s flexibility here”.
JP Morgan Chase & Co. goes further, providing transportation to mosques so that employees can pray for offices too small to have prayer rooms. A New York City architecture firm recently organized an office party without alcohol so that the only Muslim employee would feel welcomed.
Accenture schedules its corporate calendar so that major events would not clash with Muslim religious holidays as well as with holidays of other faiths.
“We see more and more companies ready or asking to address issues involving religion and how to manage it,” Joyce Dubensky, chief executive of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding told Bloomberg. She said the number or corporations coming to her group for diversity advice has doubled to two dozen over the past three years.
Even where cases come to court, the courts typically side with those making the religious requests. Courts have ruled that employees who do not want to handle pork or alcohol for religious reasons cannot be fired, and last month a New York City police officer who was fired for refusing to shave his beard was temporarily reinstated after he sued.
The Anti-Defamation League provides a breakdown of the laws relating to religious discrimination in the workplace and the legal requirements incumbent upon employers.
As long as the request does not negatively impact the production of the company it is only reasonable to afford Muslims the same rights as anyone else to practice their faith freely. Time off for prayers can be made up later if it takes a long time during the day, and religious festivals can be made up by working other days, such as Christmas, when other employees might be off.
Discrimination against Muslim practices, such as France’s recent stance against the burkini, can have the opposite of the intended impact. In making Muslim communities feel threatened and under siege, discriminatory policies can make the narrative of extremists that the West is at war with Islam that much more appealing.
In combating Islamism, it is vital that we protect the liberal values of religious freedom that forms part of what makes America a free country. To do otherwise would be a betrayal of the values that motivate us to fight Islamism in the first place.
Rico says the French understand the problem...

Quote for the day, religious idiot division

On female genital mutilation:
"It's done to calm a woman's zeal somewhat. There's absolutely no health problem here." 
Ismail Berdiev, chairman of the North Caucasus Muslim Coordinating Center
Rico says he should try it on himself, if it's so benign...

Idiot for the day: a crime against humanity

The Clarion Project has an article by Elliot Friedland about more Islamic madness:

The first man to go on trial for the destruction of some of the world’s cultural heritage appeared in court at The Hague in the Netherlands on 22 August 2016, as reported by the BBC. Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi was expected to plead guilty to helping to destroy nine shrines and a mosque while a member of the Islamist group Ansar al Dine.
Ansar al Dine occupied Timbuktu in Mali for several months. The destruction he is accused of took place in 2012. The group was driven out of Timbuktu by French forces in 2013.
The trial marks a triple first: he is the first person to go on trial for the destruction of a cultural heritage, rather than for participation in massacres. He is also the first Islamist extremist to go on trial at the ICC. If he pleads guilty as expected, he will be the first person to so do.
The trial shows that the international community recognizes the extreme damage done to a country and to civilization as a whole by the destruction of ancient cultural treasures. By destroying the relics of humanity’s past, extremist groups rob states of a link to their own culture and degrade their future. It is a crime not just against those who are living, but against those not yet born.
Timbuktu was a center of both trade and Islamic learning from the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries, and was long-considered one of the world’s valuable cultural treasures, even before its designation as a UNESCO world heritage site.
Not only did the Islamist militias destroy mausoleums belonging to Timbuktu’s founders, venerated as saints by the country’s citizens, but they burned thousands of irreplaceable Islamic manuscripts, thus destroying part of the collective knowledge of Islamic civilization.
Human history is the process of each generation attempting to make the world better than the one they inherited, building on the achievements of their ancestors and learning from what they did and what they did not do. Sometimes we succeed and make things better, sometimes things get worse. But when a group decides to eradicate a section of our collective experience by destroying ancient buildings and manuscripts, they deprive future generations of access to that knowledge, to that part of our collective past.
In so doing they make the world a poorer place for all of us.
Rico says they should take out the Vatican if they want trouble... (The guy was convicted, but not executed, alas. But why as Islamic group was destroying Islamic manuscripts is still unclear...)

ISIS uses families as human shields

Rico's friend Kelley forwards these images, and Mazin Sidahmed has an article in the Guardian about them:
Photographs released on Friday appear to show the Islamic State group using civilians as human shields to flee the Syrian town of Manbi,j after being defeated by US-backed fighters.
The pictures, tweeted by the Syrian Democratic Force on Friday, show a long convoy of vehicles fleeing the town, each purportedly containing non-combatants to prevent attacks by coalition forces. The militants were fleeing north, towards Turkey, after being pushed out of Manbij following weeks of fighting. It was unclear whether the civilians were hostages or family members of the Islamic State fighters.
On Tuesday, Colonel Chris Garver, a spokesman for the American-led coalition against ISIS, said SDF fighters had allowed a hundred to two hundred vehicles of ISIS fighters to leave Manbij, as they contained civilians. “Civilians were observed in the convoy intermingled with fighters in every vehicle,” Garver said in a press briefing. He said it was unclear how many of the civilians were in the cars voluntarily, but it was likely some were hostages.
The SDF, an Arab-Kurdish alliance of fighters, took control of the northern Syrian city of Manbij last week after ten weeks of fierce fighting. According to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the battle claimed the lives of at least four hundred civilians, three hundred SDF fighters, and a thousand jihadists.
According to the SDF, ISIS took two thousand hostages as they were fleeing the city to the north to use as human shields, but the hostages were later released.
The jihadist group has repeatedly used human shields during combat in its ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Syria.
During fighting in Fallujah in May and June of 2016, ISIS held thousands of civilians captive to use as human shields in order to blunt the advance of Iraqi and coalition forces.
There was also confusion surrounding the presence of civilians in another ISIS convoy which came under fire as it was leaving Fallujah, after the militants were pushed out of the city in late June of 2016. An investigation into the presence of civilians by open-source researcher Bellingcat into the incident was inconclusive. Chris Woods, director of Airwars, a group which monitors the coalition’s airstrikes, said it would “make sense” if civilians were present.
Rico says that's chickenshit behavior...

Prince's death: drugs in singer's home 'were mislabelled'


Rico says that was bad...

History for the day: 1950: Althea Gibson becomes first African-American on tennis tour

Sent from my iPhone

Mark Seymour

Begin forwarded message:

From: "HISTORY | This Day In History" <tdih@emails.history.com>
Date: August 22, 2016 at 6:01:49 AM EDT
To: "mseymour@proofmark.com" <mseymour@proofmark.com>
Subject: 1950: Althea Gibson becomes first African-American on U.S. tennis tour

This day in History
Althea Gibson becomes first African-American on U.S. tennis tour
On this day in 1950, officials of the United States Lawn Tennis Association (USLTA) accept Althea Gibson into their annual championship at Forest Hills, New York, making her the first African-American player to compete in a U.S. national tennis competition. Growing up in Harlem, the young Gibson was... read more »
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Hawaii’s mysterious water bears


Rico says they're not really bears...

Microsoft oops for the day: Windows 10 update stops webcams


Rico says that somewhere Bill Gates is shaking his head...

John Hersey's "Hiroshima" revealed the horror of the bomb


Rico says we should make The Donald read it. Or start calling him Doctor Strangelove...

21 August 2016

History for the day: 1959: Hawaii becomes 50th state

From: "HISTORY | This Day In History" <tdih@emails.history.com>
Date: August 21, 2016 at 6:01:22 AM EDT
To: "mseymour@proofmark.com" <mseymour@proofmark.com>
Subject: 1959: Hawaii becomes 50th state

This day in History
Hawaii becomes 50th state
The modern United States receives its crowning star when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a proclamation admitting Hawaii into the Union as the 50th state. The president also issued an order for an American flag featuring 50 stars arranged in staggered rows: five six-star rows and four five-star... read more »
American Revolution
Bloody Ban Tarleton born in Britain »
Olds Motor Works founded »
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Guerillas massacre residents of Lawrence, Kansas »
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Coup attempt against Gorbachev collapses »
Outlaws attack Lawrence, Kansas »
Theft of Mona Lisa is discovered »
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Slave revolt erupts in Virginia »
Lincoln-Douglas debates begin »
Kenyatta freed »
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Christopher Robin's birthday »
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Trial of Frank James begins in Missouri »
Eisenhower signs Hawaii statehood bill »
Michael Phelps wins eighth medal »
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Nhu's Special Forces attack the Buddhists »
U.S. pilots given green light to go after anti-aircraft missiles in the North »
Nixon meets with South Korean President »
Antiwar protestors raid draft offices »
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Battles of the Frontiers fought near Ardennes and Charleroi »
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The seeds of the United Nations are planted »
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