31 August 2016

That walk

True West has an article by Allen Barra about that stroll in Tombstone, Arizona:

The walk to the lot behind the O.K. Corral has become a ritual in Tombstone movies, re-created, imitated, and parodied in perhaps two dozen movies and television shows, the first step of which, like the crossing of the Rubicon, changes history and becomes mythology. Here are our favorites:

For historical accuracy in positioning (Doc Holliday on the right flank, with Wyatt Earp on the left) and authenticity in clothes, Tombstone is spot-on. The building on fire behind them makes the boys look like they just walked out of Hell, and Hell’s a-comin’ with them. Kurt Russell has a long-barreled Colt in his right pocket. Curiously, he’s the only movie Wyatt Earp ever to have carried one to the gunfight, even though testimony at the coroner’s inquest indicated that Wyatt did indeed carry a ten-inch-barreled revolver.

They aren’t headed toward the O.K. Corral; they’re headed for a shoot-out a lot bigger and uglier, but Ben Johnson, Warren Oates, William Holden, and Ernest Borgnine were clearly set up in Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch to look like the Earp brothers and John Henry “Doc” Holliday on their walk down.

Burt Lancaster’s Wyatt and John Hudson’s Deputy Virgil—(Wyatt was the marshal in Gunfight at the
O.K. Corral) carry two shotguns, but then, they’re headed for a bunch of Cochise County Cowboys (including John Ireland’s Johnny Ringo) that is practically platoon strength.  The lot in which they clash is the same one at Old Tucson where John Wayne, Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin, and Walter Brennan rout the bad guys in 1959’s Rio Bravo.

For sheer grimness, the walk to the O.K. Corral in Wyatt Earp is unsurpassed. To look at those faces, you’d think these guys were climbing Mount Everest instead of walking a block-and-a-half to that open lot next to C.S. Fly’s photography studio.

Harris Yulin as Wyatt (at far left) and Stacy Keach (at left) as Doc carry double-barreled shotguns in preparation for mowing down the Clantons and McLaurys in, Doc, a Vietnam-era parable of the Earp-Cowboy war. (Screenwriter Pete Hamill suggested a homosexual relationship between Wyatt and Doc, the only writer to do so until Andrew C. Isenberg in his 2013  book, Wyatt Earp: A Vigilante Life.) (Rico says anyone alluding to Wyatt and Doc being gay better bring lots of guns...)

 John Sturges directed Hour of the Gun, a darker, more accurate version than his previous Earp film, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Jason Robards is old enough to be Doc’s father, but he wields a mean shotgun as the deadly dentist. James Garner, this film’s Wyatt, also played an older and considerably lighter Wyatt in 1988’s Sunset.

Rico says he couldn't bring himself to include the Mark Wahlberg thug movie, Four Brothers, or the truly execrable comedy, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, in the list...

The right phrase

Rico says that, if you watch enough COPS, you understand why they call it 'felony stupid'...

PIT maneuver


Rico says if you watch COPS, you get to see them in action.

It’s official: iPads are sedatives for kids

From Time:

Rico says they're not cheap, but they work...

Apple for the day

Time has an article by Rana Foroohar about the European Union's quibble over Irish taxation:

Ever hear of a Double Irish? It’s not a drink, but one of the dodgy tax strategies that help American companies keep their profits nearly tax-free abroad. Such strategies are at the heart of what may well turn out to be the most important corporate tax case in history, a case that could have a big impact on US-EU relations and the future governance of multinational corporations.
The European Union ruled on 30 August 2016 that Ireland, which offers multinational companies myriad incentives to operate there, must claw back billions of dollars in taxes from Apple. The record-breaking bill comes to nearly fifteen billion dollars. The tech giant has been paying just four percent in taxes per year on nearly two hundred billion dollars in foreign profits over the past decade. Apple has is the largest chunk of the more than a trillion dollars in profits that all American companies are hoarding overseas, a cash pile that’s been building for years as companies try to avoid the higher-than-average US corporate tax rate by jumping through overseas loopholes to keep profits abroad. Apple’s effective rate, reached through deals with the country in 1991 and 2007, is much lower than Ireland’s standard corporate tax rate, already the lowest in the European Union at 12.5%. The company will fight the ruling vigorously.
Apple is only the most recent target for the European Union, which has also gone after Starbucks in the Netherlands and Fiat in Luxembourg. But the Apple case takes the fight over the tax “optimization” to a new level. For starters, it has opened a deeper rift in US-EU economic relations. They weren’t so great to begin with. (The Treasury Department has asked the European Union to back down on the Apple case, and there are threats of congressional tax retaliation against European firms in the US if it goes ahead.) While it’s clear that the US wants some of the money Apple is keeping abroad, and is worried that the European Union might get to it first, that’s a tricky argument for American authorities to make.
I suspect there are plenty of Americans (like me) who’d support the ideas behind the European Union’s efforts to try to squash country-specific tax loopholes and bring multinationals to heel. In fact, I’d argue this is a good opportunity for the US and the European Union to work more closely together on tax harmonization and mutual rules for combatting the race to the bottom on taxes; after all, one of the reasons that corporations are able to tax-optimize is that they can arbitrage one nation’s system against another’s. This is not the road the current fight appears to currently be on, as rhetoric on both sides of the Atlantic heats up. Irish authorities, caught in the middle and fearful of losing the jobs Apple provides there, are pushing back against the ruling.
The real problem is a global tax system run amok. International tax shenanigans have real-world consequences for Main Street. For starters, they distort the market. Even as big firms hoard cash abroad, they borrow money in the US debt markets. Unfortunately, most use that debt to fund share buybacks that enrich mainly the wealthiest Americans and add nothing to real productivity and economic growth. This only increases the wealth divide in America, widening the toxic rift between the markets and Main Street.
Their efforts have, perversely, been enabled by the low-interest-rate monetary policy of recent years, which itself was a reaction to the financial crisis. But there’s a big debate going on right now about when and how to raise those rates. Central bankers like Fed Chair Janet Yellen have made it clear that they’d like to see governments doing more to buoy the economy via fiscal policy, rather than relying on monetary policy to carry the load any longer. As she pointed out in her recent speech in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, “Beyond monetary policy, fiscal policy has traditionally played an important role in dealing with severe economic downturns. A wide range of possible fiscal-policy tools and approaches could enhance the cyclical stability of the economy.” That’s Fed-speak for “Come on, Congress, get your act together, push through a real stimulus plan, and stop passing the buck to the central bankers.”
But fiscal policy requires money. That means that rich-country governments, which have ended up with record debts and shrinking public budgets in the wake of the 2008 crisis, will be looking much more closely at corporate tax avoidance. In an economic scenario where companies are flush, but workers are not, and the historical relationship between corporate profits and local economic growth looks broken, big companies are going to be under a lot more pressure to do more for the countries in which they operate. There is a growing sense that many companies have been flying high over the economic troubles of the countries where they operate, and they should be forced back down to earth.
Apple’s tax bill is just the beginning of a very big fight between the world’s richest companies and its governments. But how the battle lines will be drawn is likely to be as confusing a problem as the international tax system itself.
Rico says the lawyers will be (expensively) at this for years...

Driverless taxis' human problem


Rico says, with no one watching, what will people get up to back there?

Donald Trump to visit Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto


Making it harder for Hillary to explain the Clinton Foundation

The Washington Post has an article by Aaron Blake about new problems at the Clinton Foundation:

The New York Times editorial board has called for the Clintons to scale back the activities of the Clinton Foundation, starting now.
Citing recent reports about possible overlap between foundation and State Department business, the board urged an immediate end to foreign and corporate donations which are a large portion of the foundation’s funding, and said Bill and Chelsea Clinton should resign from it if Hillary Clinton is elected president.
“The new emails underscore that this effort, to keep foundation business separate from the State Department, was at best partly successful,” the Times editorial board wrote. "'Pay-to-play’ charges by Donald Trump have not been proved. But the emails and previous reporting suggest Trump has reason to say that, while Clinton was Secretary of State, it was hard to tell where the foundation ended and the State Department began.”
The move is a significant one, given the Times editorial board carries significant heft on the American left and is hardly an anti-Clinton source. But it’s not the only Democratic-leaning source to acknowledge in recent days that the Clinton Foundation raises potential red flags, both today and should Hillary Clinton become president.
Former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said on Meet the Press that “I think there's legitimate questions about the Clinton Foundation.” (Plouffe was quick to clarify that he thinks the foundation does good work and should not be shut down, though.)
Similarly, Representative Jim Himes (a Democrat from Connecticut) said on CNN last Thursday that, while there’s no evidence of real wrongdoing, the appearance of potential conflict of interest makes this a valid issue to raise. “This isn't an example of the Clintons playing by their own rules, because there's absolutely zero evidence that any rules were broken here,” Himes said. “Now, what is undeniable is that there is the possibility for a conflict of interest, of course. And, by the way, that's true in journalism. It's true in politics. It's true all over the place.”
To be clear, none of the three mentioned above have suggested any wrongdoing. In fact, they say allegations made about the foundation are largely overblown and that Republicans are over the top in alleging any kind of a quid pro quo or favoritism at this point. But they do acknowledge that it’s valid to raise those questions. They’re not saying it’s a complete non-story, as perhaps the Clinton campaign would prefer. And now the Times editorial board is calling for concrete action to combat even the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Importantly, this comes at a time when Clinton allies are fighting back against reporting, specifically from The Associated Press, that raises questions about whether the Clinton Foundation’s business was too closely intermingled with the State Department under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The Associated Press has defended a story revealing that more than half of the nongovernmental people Clinton met with during a portion of her tenure— the portion for which The Associated Press was able to obtain records— were Clinton Foundation donors. Clinton allies have accused The Associated Press of cherry-picking facts and misrepresenting the data in its promotion of the story.
But The Associated Press story wasn’t the only one raising questions about whether State Department business and Clinton Foundation business might have overlapped more than Clinton had promised it would. Previously, emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the conservative group Judicial Watch showed a top foundation aide emailed the State Department about employment for another foundation aide. In another email, the same person, Doug Band, sought a contact for a Clinton Foundation donor in Lebanon. The emails were sent to State Department aides, not Clinton herself.
All of this reporting raises questions, given Clinton had promised she would keep the business of the foundation separate from State Department business before being confirmed as Secretary of State. (That was a major worry of the incoming Obama administration.)
No one sees a smoking gun yet, but even Democrats, it seems, have decided they can’t ignore the possibility of conflicts of interest with the Clinton Foundation. The New York Times’ editorial board is certainly the highest profile source to call for direct action to address potential conflicts, but it’s a significant one. And this is starting to look like a situation that the Clinton campaign will have to address in detail before 8 November.
Rico says, as Ricky Ricardo used to say: "Lucy, you got a lot of 'splainin' to do." (But the Clintons playing by their own rules? Surely, as Monica would attest. they always have...)

30 August 2016

Slate has another ISIS article

Crucial ISIS leader killed in Syria:

Rico says he might've been crucial to them, but not to us...

Reindeer slaughter in Norway

Freak lightning strike kills hundreds of reindeer in Norway:


Mother Nature can be cruel...

Misheard song for the day

Rico says that Cindy Lauper wouldn't know what Isandlwana is, nor use it in Girls just wanna have fun, but Rico hears it anyway...

Tesla banishes range anxiety


Rico says his dad may yet buy one.

Driverless Roborace car speeds around Donington - BBC News


Rico says it's safer, but boring...

Yemen hit by suicide bombing


Rico says that, again, they're killing their own...

Gypsies under British pressure

The BBC has an article (with its usual unbloggable video, sorry) about Gypsies in England:

Gypsies and travellers say English government policy is threatening to destroy their way of life. Changes to planning rules, which came in a year ago, mean those who stop traveling are unlikely to be granted permission for a new site.
Billy Welch (photo, top) explains the significance of Appleby, an important event in the Romani (Gypsy) calendar.
More than two hundred people staged a protest on Saturday about plans for a Gypsy and traveller site in Conwy county.
Residents in St. George, near Bodelwyddan, are opposing plans at Smithy Layby, off St. Asaph Road.
The council has also earmarked a second site at Bangor Road in Conwy, saying it is obliged to provide land for Gypsy and traveller communities. It has started a consultation on the plans. Tim Rowlands, chairman of the St. George Gypsy Traveller Group, said this area is not the right location. 
Rico says they're a harmless people without a country...

Topless Marianne remark stirs French row


Rico says those who wear the burkini are never going topless...

Chinese embassy car bomb attack in Kyrgyzstan


Rico says that, eventually, the Islamists are gonna get stomped for this shit...

KLM from the Dutch perspective


Rico says his Dutch friend Rob didn't like the American take on the airline...

They couldn't resist...

...that headline.
Of course the bus came at 11:11...

History for the day: 1963: Hot line operational

On 30 August 1963, the hot-line communications link between Washington and Moscow went into operation.

The song in Rico's head

Rico says he has no idea why, but it's from his childhood (not 1996; that's a remake), as usual:

An epoch passes

Time has an article by Chris Wilson about the end of an era (actually, a whole epoch):

The Holocene Epoch, which witnessed milestones from the development of Crater Lake to the invention of the electric guitar, died prematurely Monday in Cape Town, South Africa at the age of 11,650. It is survived and succeeded by the Anthropocene Epoch.
The cause of death was the rapid alteration of the earth’s ecosystem due to nuclear weapon tests, micro-plastic pollution, agriculture, carbon emissions, and other human contributions to the changing environment, according to the Anthropocene Working Group. News of the Holocene’s death could not be independently confirmed by the International Geological Congress, which is conducting a review of the evidence surrounding the epoch’s death.
If confirmed, the Holocene’s death at eleven-and-a-half millennia would make it, by far, the shortest-lived of its ancestors. Its immediate predecessor, the Pleistocene Epoch, died at over two and a half million years old, while the Eocene Epoch survived to be nearly twenty-two million. But even for an epoch cut so tragically short, its accomplishments stand out.
“It set up these Goldilocks conditions for human civilization to take off,” says Nicholas Spano, a graduate student researcher at the Department of Integrative Biology and Museum of Paleontology at the University of California at Berkeley. “During the Holocene, earth’s climate as a whole became much more stable.”
Early in its life, the Holocene’s warm, stable climate helped facilitated the development of agriculture around the world, which in turn made possible the flourishing of Homo sapiens, the species that would, above all else, define the epoch.
Among the Holocene’s many later accomplishments were the proliferation of plant and animal life as the planet became more hospitable, the invention of writing, and Bing Crosby’s 1944 hit Don’t Fence Me In:
But, like so many other epochs, the Holocene experienced its share of tragedy as well. The last of the woolly mammoths perished under its watch, as did a great many other large species, often done in by human hunters. The rapid deforestation that accompanied agriculture and the domestication of animals has even led some to argue that the Holocene had in fact been deceased for quite some time, as humans have reshaped the environment over the course of centuries.
Not everyone agrees on what comes next, though. “I don’t mind the term anthropocene, I just don’t want it capitalized,” says paleoclimatologist William Ruddiman. “The term is only useful if you use it informally, because obviously we’re having huge impacts on the environment.”
In lieu of flowers, climatologists request that the flowers be left alive in the ground.
Rico says some chunks of time are too big to comprehend...

Would you send your kid to one of these schools?

Time has an article by Megan McCluskey about a list of 'party schools':

The University of Wisconsin at Madison has taken first place in the Princeton Review’s annual ranking of the best party schools in America, climbing two spots from its position on last year’s list to earn the title. The college admissions company revealed the ranking as one of 62 categories in the 2017 edition of its The Best 381 Colleges.
UWMadison scooted into number one in front of West Virginia University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, last year’s winner. It also earned top honors for Best Health Services and Lots of Beer, and a fourth place finish in the LGBTQ-friendly campus category.

The top ten list, based on a hundred and fifty thousand students’ ratings of their campus experiences:
University of Wisconsin at Madison
West Virginia University
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Lehigh University
Bucknell University
University of Iowa
University of Mississippi
Syracuse University
Tulane University
Colgate University
Rico says that, given the incidence of alcohol-fueled rape at 'party schools', you would think this would be a 'don't go here' list...

Rico's alma mater, Carnegie-Mellon, (which he did not graduate from) had it's own frat problems...

Apple for the day

Time has a Reuters article by Foo Yun Chee about bad news for Apple:

European Commission antitrust regulators ordered Apple to pay up to thirteen billion euros (nearly fifteen billion dollars) in taxes (plus interest) to the Irish government after ruling that a special scheme to route profits through Ireland was illegal state aid.
The massive sum, forty times bigger than the previous known demand by the European Commission to a company in such a case, could be reduced, the European Commission executive said in a statement, if other countries sought more tax themselves from the American tech giant.
Apple which, with Ireland, said it will appeal the decision, paid tax rates on European profits on sales of its iPhone and other devices and services of between just 0.005 percent in 2014 and one percent in 2003, the Commission said.
“Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple, which enabled it to pay substantially less tax than other businesses over many years,” said Competition Commission Margrethe Vestager (photo), whose crackdown on mainly American multinationals has angered Washington which accuses Brussels of protectionism.
Online retailer Amazon.com and hamburger group McDonald’s face probes over taxes in Luxembourg, while coffee chain Starbucks has been ordered to pay up to thirty million euros (over thirty-five million dollars) to the Dutch state.
A bill of three hundred million euros this year for Swedish engineer Atlas Copco AB to pay Belgian tax is the current known record. Other companies ordered to pay back taxes in Belgium, many of them European, have not disclosed figures.
For Apple, whose earnings of eighteen billion dollars last year were the biggest ever reported by a corporation, finding several billion dollars should not be an insurmountable problem. The thirteen billion euros represents about six percent of the firm’s cash.
As of June of 2016, Apple reported it had cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities of over two hundred billion dollars, of which over ninety percent is held in foreign subsidiaries. It paid nearly three billion dollars in taxes during its latest quarter at an effective tax rate of 25.5 percent, leaving it with net income of nearly eight billion dollars, according to company filings.
The European Commission in 2014 accused Ireland of dodging international tax rules by letting Apple shelter profits worth tens of billions of dollars from tax collectors in return for maintaining jobs. Apple and Ireland rejected the accusation.
“I disagree profoundly with the Commission,” Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan said in a statement. “The decision leaves me with no choice but to seek cabinet approval to appeal. This is necessary to defend the integrity of our tax system; to provide tax certainty to business; and to challenge the encroachment of European Union state aid rules into the sovereign member state competence of taxation.”
Ireland also said the disputed tax system used in the Apple case no longer applied, and that the decision had no effect on Ireland’s twelve and a half percent corporate tax rate or on any other company with operations in the country.
Apple said in a statement it was confident of winning an appeal. “The European Commission has launched an effort to rewrite Apple’s history in Europe, ignore Ireland’s tax laws, and upend the international tax system in the process. The Commission’s case is not about how much Apple pays in taxes, it’s about which government collects the money. It will have a profound and harmful effect on investment and job creation in Europe.”
When it opened the Apple investigation in 2014, the Commission told the Irish government that tax rulings it agreed in 1991 and 2007 with the company amounted to state aid and might have broken EU laws.
The Commission said the rulings were “reverse engineered” to ensure Apple had a minimal Irish bill and that minutes of meetings between Apple representatives and Irish tax officials showed the company’s tax treatment had been “motivated by employment considerations.”
Apple employs over five thousand people, or about a quarter of its Europe-based staff, in the Irish city of Cork, where it is the largest private sector employer. It has said it paid Ireland’s 12.5 percent rate on all the income that it generates in the country.
Ireland’s low corporate tax rate has been a cornerstone of economic policy for twenty years, drawing investors from multinational companies whose staff account for almost one in ten workers in Ireland.
Some opposition Irish lawmakers have urged Dublin to collect whatever tax the Commission orders it to. But the main opposition party Fianna Fail, whose support the minority administration relies on to pass laws, said it would support an appeal based on reassurances it had been given by the government.
The U.S. Treasury Department published a white paper last week that said the EU executive’s tax investigations departed from international taxation norms and would have an outsized impact on American companies. The Commission said it treated all companies equally.
Rico says that, fortunately, they've got the money to pay it...

Russian hackers

The Washington Post has an article by Ellen Nakashima about them damned Russkies:

Hackers targeted voter registration systems in Illinois and Arizona, and the FBI alerted Arizona officials in June that the Russians were behind the assault on the election system in that state.
The bureau described the threat as “credible” and significant, “an eight on a scale of one to ten”, Matt Roberts, a spokesman for Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan (a Republican), said. As a result, Reagan shut down the state’s voter registration system for nearly a week.
It turned out that the hackers had not compromised the state system or even any county system. They had, however, stolen the username and password of a single election official in Gila County.
Roberts said FBI investigators did not specify whether the hackers were criminals or employed by the Russian government. Bureau officials declined to comment, except to say that they routinely advise private industry of cyberthreats detected in investigations.
The Arizona incident is the latest indication of Russian interest in American elections and party operations, and it follows the discovery of a high-profile penetration into Democratic National Committee computers. That hack produced embarrassing emails that led to the resignation of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and sowed dissension on the eve of Hillary Clinton’s nomination as the party’s presidential candidate.
The Russian campaign is also sparking intense anxiety about the security of this year’s elections. Earlier this month, the FBI warned state officials to be on the lookout for intrusions into their election systems. The “flash” alert, which was first reported by Yahoo News, said investigators had detected attempts to penetrate election systems in several states, and listed Internet protocol addresses and other technical fingerprints associated with the hacks.
In addition to Arizona, officials in Illinois discovered an intrusion into their election system in July of 2016. Although the hackers did not alter any data, the intrusion marks the first successful compromise of a state voter registration database, federal officials said.
“This was a highly sophisticated attack, most likely from a foreign entity,” said Kyle Thomas, director of voting and registration systems for the Illinois State Board of Elections, in a message that was sent to all election authorities in the state.
The Illinois hackers were able to retrieve voter records, but the number accessed was “a fairly small percentage of the total,” said Ken Menzel, general counsel for the Illinois election board.
State officials alerted the FBI, he said, and the Department of Homeland Security also was involved. The intrusion in Illinois led to a week-long shutdown of the voter registration system.
The FBI has told Illinois officials that it is looking at foreign government agencies and criminal hackers as potential culprits, Menzel said.
At least two other states are looking into possible breaches, officials said. Meanwhile, states across the nation are scrambling to ensure that their systems are secure.
Until now, countries such as Russia and China have shown little interest in voting systems in the United States. But experts said that, if a foreign government gained the ability to tamper with voter data, for instance by deleting registration records, such a hack could cast doubt on the legitimacy of American elections.
“I’m less concerned about the attackers getting access to and downloading the information. I’m more concerned about the information being altered, modified or deleted. That’s where the real potential is for any sort of meddling in the election,” said Brian Kalkin, vice president of operations for the Center for ­Internet Security, which operates the MS-ISAC, a multi-state ­information-sharing center that helps government agencies combat cyberthreats and works closely with federal law enforcement.
James R. Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, has told Congress that ma­nipu­la­tion or deletion of data is the next big cyberthreat, “the next push on the envelope”.
Tom Hicks, chairman of the Federal Election Assistance Commission, an agency set up by Congress after the 2000 Florida recount to maintain election integrity, said he is confident that states have sufficient safeguards in place to ward off attempts to ma­nipu­la­te data.
For example, if a voter’s name were deleted and did not show up on the precinct list, the individual could still cast a provisional ballot, Hicks said. Once the voter’s status was confirmed, the ballot would be counted.
Hicks also said the actual systems used to cast votes “are not hooked up to the Internet” and so “there’s not going to be any ma­nipu­la­tion of data.” However, more than thirty states have some provisions for online voting, primarily for voters living overseas or serving in the military.
This spring, a Department of Homeland Security official cautioned that online voting is not yet secure. “We believe that online voting, especially online voting on a large scale, introduces great risk into the election system by threatening voters’ expectations of confidentiality, accountability, and security of their votes and provides an avenue for malicious actors to manipulate the voting results,” said Neil Jenkins, an official in the department’s Office of Cybersecurity and Communications.
Private-sector researchers are also concerned about potential meddling by Russians in the election system. Rich Barger, chief information officer at ThreatConnect, said that several of the IP addresses listed in the FBI alert trace back to a website-hosting service called King Servers that offers Russia-based technical support. Barger also said that one of the methods used was similar to a tactic employed in other intrusions suspected of being carried out by the Russian government, including one this month on the World Anti-Doping Agency.
“The very fact that someone has rattled the doorknobs, the very fact that the state election commissions are in the crosshairs, gives grounds to the average American voter to wonder: Can they really trust the results?” Barger said.
Earlier this month, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson held a conference call with state elections officials, offering his assistance in protecting against cyberattacks. Johnson said that the Department of Homeland Security was “not aware of any specific or credible cybersecurity threats relating to the upcoming general election systems,” according to a readout of the call. It was not clear whether he was aware at the time of the FBI’s investigations in Arizona and Illinois.
Rico says the Russians haven't had a free and open election since the turn of the last century, and don't understand the concept...

29 August 2016

Movie for the day

"Open Range", with Robert Duvall and Kevin Costner killing a bunch of assholes who richly deserve it...

Mother Nature, a cruel bitch

The news is reporting a case of ball lightning that killed over two hundred reindeer in Norway.

Another great one gone

Gene Wilder died today. He will be missed.

T-shirt for the day

Rico says a guy was wearing it on the bus:

Pussy; the most expensive meal you'll ever eat.

Too true...

Spartans at the gates of Thermopylae

War History Online has this:

Zac Snyder’s movie, 300, came under fire for its fanciful retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae. Nevertheless, he stuck to the gist of what actually happened (pretty much).
Back then, Persia was the superpower, while Greece was just a collection of city-states. Persia had invaded Greece in 492 BC, but was kicked out two years later at the Battle of Marathon, commemorated today by the Olympic flame.
Understandably upset, the Persians under Xerxes I tried again in August of 480 BC. The Athenians tried to block the Persian navy at the Straits of Artemisium, but another Persian force of perhaps a hundred thousand men landed at Thermopylae Pass, which is where King Leonidas I of Sparta comes in.
Taking three hundred of his royal bodyguard with him, Leonidas made his way to Thermopylae. By the time he got there, in mid-August, he had about seven thousand men from other city-states… all of whom wore armor.
The Persians sent Leonidas an ambassador, urging him to surrender. He refused, so the Persian army dug in. Five days later, on 20 August, Xerxes ordered his archers to fire at the Greeks. Given the distance, as well as the bronze shields and helmets the Greeks wore, it did no good. So Xerxes ordered an all-out attack by the cavalry. The Greeks retreated and let them pass. Once deep within their lines, however, they closed ranks and cut the Persians down. Thus ended day one with few Greek losses.
Rico says yet another war (pre-antibiotics and pre-surgery) he's glad he missed...

Soviet Pilot flies MiG 17 under a bridge

War History Online has this:

In 1965, an incredible stunt was pulled by a then-Soviet pilot named Valentin Privalov, who managed to fly his MiG 17 jet fighter under a bridge on the Ob River in western Siberia. The event was described by witnesses who claim this actually happened, even though the credibility of the photograph depicting the flight has often been debated for being edited.
Nevertheless, the story remains. It was a sunny day, 4 June 1965, when Privalov flew under the central span of the Communal Bridge in Novosibirsk. The riverbanks were filled with people on vacation and officers from the nearby base, strolling and enjoying the sunshine. All of a sudden, a silver jet in the sky was performing acrobatics. Everyone was amazed. It was an act of magnificent skill since the jet was never before seen performing a flight with such accuracy.
It was reported that Privalov did this on his own initiative, and without any orders whatsoever. The hotshot pilot wanted to pull this stunt for personal glory and to exhibit his flying skills. The crowd gathered on the bridge started to applaud spontaneously, but Privalov’s superiors weren’t so happy. He got a suspension. This almost cost him his career in the Soviet Air Force. He was threatened with disciplinary action, but the Minister of Defense himself,  Marshall Rodion Malinovsky, saw the stunt as an advertisement for the military. The people were in awe. The word soon spread all over the then-USSR, and it soon evolved into a legend.
Privalov was sent to the elite squadron stationed at the Kubinka military airfield in Moscow, home to the aerobatic teams Swifts and Russian Knights, and Privalov joined their ranks.
The photograph started circling the internet recently. It found its way through various Russian-language forums to worldwide attention. The origin of the photo is disputable, but it seems that the event depicted on it isn’t. Various reports confirmed that Privalov flew under the Communal Bridge, which is a hundred meters wide between its pillars and thirty meters high. He was flying approximately seven hundred miles per hour.
Some claim that the photo was made only to illustrate the event, for it happened without prior warning; thus it was impossible to document it. It was published in Soviet newspapers and the stunt even echoed in the American press, when it was mentioned in an article dated 27 August 1965. The article included three weird stories all taking place in the Soviet Union: “a drunk who stole a streetcar,” “an aircraft mechanic who went on a joyride up and down runways in an Ilyushin 4 transport,” and “a stunt flier who flew under bridges.”
Valentin Privalov, the “a stunt flier who flew under bridges”, pursued a lavish and successful career in the Soviet Air Force, and ended up as a deputy head of Russia’s civil aviation air traffic control center in Moscow. Little is known about his personal life, and whether or not the man is still alive, but his stunt remains unforgettable.
Rico says it's not like American pilots haven't done equivalently stupid things, but it does look like he bounced it off the water...

History for the day: 1991: end of Communism

On 29 August 1991, the Supreme Soviet, the parliament of the then-USSR, suspended all activities of the Communist Party, bringing an end to the institution.

Rico says we all know how well that turned out...

It's never them

An editorial from The New York Times:

Russia blames other for its doping woes
It was greed for medals that led to systematic state-sponsored doping of athletes.

Rico says that wouldn't be state-sponsored greed, would it?

Dutch humor, such as it is

From The New York Times, an article by Elizabeth Olson:

To bolster KLM's identity, a 'charmingly clueless approach' to humor
The Dutch airline is working on a lighthearted social media video campaign, in hopes of making it more recognizable to American travelers.

Rico says that 'charmingly clueless' pretty much sums up the Dutch sense of humor...

Bad coincidence

From The New York Times, an article by Samantha Schmidt:

Shamsi Ali, the imam the Jamaica Muslim Center in Queens, said he planned to invite non-Muslims to attend his mosque's services on Eid al-Adha to learn about the holiday and Islam.
Muslim holy day on 11 September? Coincidence stirs fears

Religious leaders are concerned about how to celebrate one of Islam's most important holidays, Eid al-Adha, as it falls on the fifteenth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Rico suggests that they do it very quietly...

They're dead already...

From The New York Times, an article by Jess Bidgood;

Muslims Seek New Burial Ground, and a Small Town Balks

Cemetery proposals by Muslim groups have been greeted with swells of opposition around the country, raising the specter of exclusion even for the dead.

Rico says you'd think dead Muslims would be a good thing, but apparently not next to grandma...

Put it on, take it off...

From The New York Times, an article by Peter Baker:

Israel Joins Bikini Fray, Ordering Concert Singer to Cover Up

In a twist on the French debate over the full-body burkini worn by some Muslim women, Israel is insisting on modest dress by performers at government-sponsored events.

Rico says we're so conflicted about women's bodies (which Rico likes, personally)...

Pellet guns in Kashmir

From The New York Times,  an article by Ellen Barry:

A Kashmiri at a hospital this month after he was hit by pellets fired by Indian troops at a protest over India's role in the region.
Pellet Guns Used in Kashmir Protests Cause 'Dead Eyes' Epidemic

The nonlethal weapon employed by Indian security forces to disperse crowds since early July can cause ghastly damage, often blinding victims, some of them children.

Rico says that 'non-lethal' force has always been tricky...

History for the day: 2005: Hurricane Katrina slams Gulf Coast

History.com has this for 29 August:

Hurricane Katrina made landfall near New Orleans, Louisiana, as a Category 4 hurricane n 2005. Despite being only the third most powerful storm of the 2005 hurricane season, Katrina was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States. After briefly coming ashore in southern Florida on 25 August as a Category 1 hurricane, Katrina gained strength before slamming into the Gulf Coast on 29 August. In addition to bringing devastation to the New Orleans area, the hurricane caused damage along the coasts of Mississippi and Alabama, as well as other parts of Louisiana.
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin ordered a mandatory evacuation of the city on 28 August 28, when Katrina briefly achieved Category 5 status and the National Weather Service predicted “devastating” damage to the area. But an estimated a hundred and fifty thousand people, who either did not want to or did not have the resources to leave, ignored the order and stayed behind. The storm brought sustained winds of a hundred and fifty miles per hour, which cut power lines and destroyed homes, even turning cars into projectile missiles. Katrina caused record storm surges all along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The surges overwhelmed the levees that protected New Orleans, located at six feet below sea level, from Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River. Soon, eighty percent of the city was flooded up to the rooftops of many homes and small buildings.
Tens of thousands of people sought shelter in the New Orleans Convention Center and the Louisiana Superdome. The situation in both places quickly deteriorated, as food and water ran low and conditions became unsanitary. Frustration mounted as it took up to two days for a full-scale relief effort to begin. In the meantime, the stranded residents suffered from heat, hunger, and a lack of medical care. Reports of looting, rape, and even murder began to surface. As news networks broadcast scenes from the devastated city to the world, it became obvious that a vast majority of the victims were African-American and poor, leading to difficult questions among the public about the state of racial equality in the United States. The Federal government and President George W. Bush were roundly criticized for what was perceived as their slow response to the disaster. The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Michael Brown, resigned amid the ensuing controversy.
Finally, on 1 September, the tens of thousands of people staying in the damaged Superdome and Convention Center begin to be moved to the Astrodome in Houston, Texas, and another mandatory evacuation order was issued for the city. The next day, military convoys arrived with supplies, and the National Guard was brought in to bring a halt to lawlessness. Efforts began to collect and identify corpses. On 6 September, eight days after the hurricane, the Army Corps of Engineers finally completed temporary repairs to the three major holes in New Orleans’ levee system and were able to begin pumping water out of the city.
In all, it is believed that the hurricane caused more than thirteen hundred deaths and over a hundred billion dollars in damages to both private property and public infrastructure. It is estimated that only about forty billion dollars of that number will be covered by insurance. One million people were displaced by the disaster, a phenomenon unseen in the United States since the Great Depression. Four hundred thousand people lost their jobs as a result of the disaster. Offers of international aid poured in from around the world, even from poor countries like Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Private donations from American citizens alone approached six hundred million dollars.
The storm also set off three dozen tornadoes in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, resulting in one death.
President Bush declared September 16 a national day of remembrance for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Rico says we don't do well with major disasters...
From: "HISTORY | This Day In History" <tdih@emails.history.com>
Date: August 29, 2016 at 6:02:58 AM EDT
To: "mseymour@proofmark.com" <mseymour@proofmark.com>
Subject: 2005: Hurricane Katrina slams into Gulf Coast

This day in History

Hurricane Katrina slams into Gulf Coast
Hurricane Katrina makes landfall near New Orleans, Louisiana, as a Category 4 hurricane on this day in 2005. Despite being only the third most powerful storm of the 2005 hurricane season, Katrina was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States. After briefly coming ashore in south... read more »
American Revolution
Battle of Chemung or Newtown, New York »
Charles F. Kettering, inventor of electric self-starter, is born »
Civil War
North and South clash at the Second Battle of Bull Run »
Cold War
State Department official discusses "captive populations" »
Hero security guard wrongly accused as bombing suspect dies »
Hurricane Donna is born »
Hurricane Katrina wreaks havoc on Gulf Coast »
General Interest
Pizarro Executes Last Inca Emperor »
Soviets explode atomic bomb »
Humphrey nominated in Chicago »
Eamon de Valera dies »
Actress Ingrid Bergman dies on her birthday »
Robert Frost leaves for a goodwill tour of U.S.S.R. »
Michael Jackson is born »
"La Bamba" is a #1 hit for Los Lobos and, posthumously, Ritchie Valens »
Old West
Ishi discovered in California »
Truman orders Navy to seize control of petroleum refineries »
Marathoner assaulted at Olympics »
Vietnam War
Khanh steps down »
President Nguyen Van Thieu retains control of National Assembly »
Nixon announces another troop reduction »
World War I
Women join British war effort »
World War II
Red Cross announces Japan refuses passage of supplies for U.S. POWs »

Subscribe  |  Update Profile  |  Contact Us

This is a promotional email from HISTORY and A+E Networks.
You received this message because mseymour@proofmark.com is subscribed to This Day In History email updates. If you DO NOT wish to receive these emails please UNSUBSCRIBE.

Having trouble viewing this message? View the web version.

To ensure delivery to your inbox (not junk folders) and view images, please add us to your address book or safe/white list.
© 2016 A&E Television Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Email Marketing, 235 E 45th Street, New York, NY 10017

Corporate Information  |  TV Parental Guidelines  |  Careers  | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Copyright Policy | Ad Sales | Ad Choices

Casino Deposit Bonus