December 31, 2020

Another Try at Pop Music

So now that Christmas is over, the Christmas songs (most of them anyway) have dropped out of Spoify's US Top 50. So I thought I would survey some of the songs.

Actually I wanted to listen to a portion of each song, but I don't have the stomach for it. Most of them are just awful.

Even when I like the singer, and they are not screaming at me, I have trouble getting through the songs. Take Taylor Swift for example. She apparently released an album recently because her songs are sprinkled around the top 50 like birdseed. She has a beautiful voice. The production quality is top notch. The songwriting is simpleminded. OK I haven't listened to them all, but the arrangements are thin (that is the way of Pop Music today), the chord changes are non existent, or nearly so. There is nothing interesting about the music, aside from her voice, and that is not enough.

I had to get all the way down to number 40 on the list to find a song I could actually say I liked. And it isn't great, but I don't hate it. It is a song by Ed Sheeran. I don't like most of his work, because he suffers - in most of the songs - from the same bland songwriting that seems to have taken over.

So I didn't get through all 50. Not even close. I did find some redeeming value, not very much as it turns out.

This song is "Afterglow" by Ed Sheeran. Currently it is only a single.

OK. There was a country song, "Forever After All" by Luke Combs, which I won't say I liked, but it was better written than most things in the tops 50. It was #31. It was marginally better songwriting, and the arrangement was better, but that isn't a stretch. And try as I might, I cannot warm up to Country & Western.

Here is a link to possibly the only Ed Sheeran song I actually like, "I See Fire." The best thing to come out of the Three Hobbit movies.

I hope everyone has a better 2021 than 2020 was for us. But I don't hold out much hope.

NYC Crime Stats and Communities of Color

Manhattan Contrarian asks, Do Black Lives Really Matter? Latest New York City Crime Statistics

Are we surprised by the fact that most victims of shootings are black or Hispanic?

Chapman checks in with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice to see how many of the victims were black or Hispanic. The answer is, almost all of them:

An analysis of NYPD data by that office [Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice] showed that 1,440 of 1,495 shooting victims between Jan. 1 to Oct. 1, or 96%, were either Black or Hispanic. During that period, 29 shooting victims were white.

And the shootings are concentrated in a small area of the city.

Murders are up 39.2% over last year, and up more than 50% since 2017.

So how has the media handled this news? Well the Wall Street Journal doesn't think it is interesting.

Chapman’s piece is securely buried on page A10A of today’s print edition, and in a “Greater New York” section that is only distributed regionally. Hey, the news of nearly 2000 black and Hispanic shooting victims, and about 400 black and Hispanic murder victims, all killed in our local area this year, is not nearly so important as the death of one black man in Minneapolis. That one death occupied the front pages for weeks on end.

Nothing to see here. Move along. The WSJ article is at this link, but it is behind a paywall.

You Thought the SolarWinds Hack Was Bad

2020 isn't over yet. That hack is worse than you think. New SUPERNOVA backdoor found in SolarWinds cyberattack analysis

While analyzing artifacts from the SolarWinds Orion supply-chain attack, security researchers discovered another backdoor that is likely from a second threat actor.

Named SUPERNOVA, the malware is a webshell planted in the code of the Orion network and applications monitoring platform and enabled adversaries to run arbitrary code on machines running the trojanized version of the software.

If you are interested in the technical details of a hack, you can click thru. From a technical persepctive, it is a thing of beauty. But from a real life perspective, it is just awful.

You can find more details at Unit 42.

As far as who has fallen victim to the SUPERNOVA hack... (Courtesy of Security Now Show Notes.)

The biggest names on this list include the likes of Cisco, SAP, Intel, Cox Communications, Deloitte, Nvidia, Fujitsu, Belkin, Amerisafe, Lukoil, Rakuten, Check Point, Optimizely, Digital Reach, Digital Sense and probably MediaTek.

You can find Security Now video at this link.

Texans Are Still Armed...

Bad Guys are still getting shot. Man shoots, kills 1 of 3 robbers holding family at gunpoint

Three guys break into a home and threaten the occupants with guns.

The 29-year-old homeowner heard the commotion and came out of another room with a rifle to confront the robbers and protect his young children, Port Arthur Police said in news releases. He fired several shots at one of the men, who died. The other two suspects fled the area before officers arrived at the scene.

You could say they suffered a failure of the victim-selection process.

Self-defense is a human-right, and Texas is most definitely NOT New Jersey.

Hollywood and Violent Crime

They want crimes against Hollywood punished, just not the regular kind. Hollywood Fights to Free Muggers and Killers - and Lock Up Video Streamers

When George Gascon ran for DA of Los Angeles County on a platform of protecting criminals from cops, Hollywood money put him over the top. Once Gascon got into office, he began dismantling protection for victims of violent crimes. Even for the littlest victims.

The beneficiaries of his pro-crime policies funded by Hollywood included a monster who beat a 6-month-old baby girl so badly that her skull shattered leaving her with brain damage.

The little girl is now blind and can only eat through a feeding tube.

There is more in the way of violent crime that gets ignored.

But don't you dare infringe on Hollywood Copyrights!

Click thru for the depressing insanity.

Does Government Need to Regulate Everything?

A lot of government regulations are stupid. This one is insane. U.S. To Allow 700ml Whisky Bottles For First Time | WhiskyCast

Did you even know this was a thing? The real question is why?

Years of frustration from America’s whisky lovers may be near an end, as the federal government is about to open up the U.S. market to whiskies never before imported into the United States. The Treasury Department’s Tax and Trade Bureau, which regulates alcoholic beverages at the federal level, will publish new regulations Tuesday in the Federal Register on the so-called “standards of fill” for distilled spirits and wine.

That change will allow 700ml bottles to be imported legally for sale in the U.S. for the first time. 700ml has been the European Union standard f0r more than three decades, while the U.S. settled on a 750ml standard when the Carter Administration adopted metric measurements in 1980.

What possible justification could there be for regulating the size of whiskey bottles, and not regulating the size of yogurt containers. Or cereal boxes?

Oh the big distillers, who obviously don't want any more competition, are afraid you poor schmucks will be confused by the differing sizes of bottles offered. Right.

And they are not eliminating the regulation, just adding to it. Because freedom and liberty are bad and the .gov needs to control every aspect of everything. Can't trust the marketplace, why that wouldn't be socialist. Next you will be advocating for individual action and individual responsibility, and then were would we be?

"Wow, talk about dropping the ball"

The Other McCain notes that Crazy People Are Dangerous. And incompent cops are also dangerous to you and yours.

A year before the Nashville Bombing, cops were told that the guy in question was building bombs in an RV.

You can almost — almost — see how this happened. Officers were called to a report that a woman was threatening suicide; she was taken for psychiatric evaluation. So all the police had to go on, in terms of suspicions about a bomb, was what a crazy woman told them. Imagine going to a judge to get a search warrant based on that.

There is more, including the "Lizard People" connection. Don't ask, just click thru.

December 30, 2020

The FDA Was Protecting You From the Vaccine

Or something. We Had the Vaccine from the Start—You Just Weren't Allowed to Take It

Few people realize that the Moderna vaccine against COVID-19—which the FDA has finally declared "highly effective," and which is now being distributed to Americans—has actually been available for nearly a year.

But the government wouldn't let you take it.

They wouldn't even let volunteers take it to test its effectiveness, because we have RULES. And nothing is more important to a bureaucrat than the RULES.

Missing here is the obvious counterpoint—How many lives did the FDA sacrifice to disease in the meantime?

Everyone who has died since June at least has their blood on the hands of the FDA bureaucracy.

So why was this vaccine delayed for a full year? Because the FDA prohibited rapid "challenge trials"—where volunteers take the vaccine and then expose themselves to the virus in a lab, rather than waiting agonizing months to see how many catch the virus "in the wild."

Challenge trials would have proven the vaccine's effectiveness in a matter of weeks. But the FDA considered the risk to trial volunteers too high.

But 300,000 deaths are OK, because they were not volunteers. OK then.

One of the Earliest Recorded Hacks of Government

Inside The 1983 Los Alamos Hack: Part I | by Hexa

May 9th 1983, a couple of kids from Wisconsin were able to gain remote access to the network at Los Alamos National Labs in New Mexico, looking for games. Oddly reminiscent of a movie that was about to come out.

June, 1983 — The Cold War was raging, leg warmers were in and a movie called WarGames was premiering in theaters. WarGames introduced the public to a subculture that had been thriving long before the fearsome ideas the movie’s plot dealt with. It showed the public a glimpse of something that wasn’t fully understood by the public, or even the hackers of the time. It showed a future where young, technically talented people could inadvertantly shape geopolitics.

1983 turned out to be a banner year in the history of technology. Mobile phones were hitting the consumer market for the first time ever, Microsoft Word was first released, causing perpetual headaches for countless generations of suffering Americans and ARPANET began using TCP/IP which would pave the way for the Internet that we all know and hate today.

Click thru for the details on the breach, and more. It turns out what you don't know can hurt you. Security was bad from the beginning. I wonder how much has really changed. Hat tip to Soldier of FORTRAN and a reTweet from Twitter.

If you haven't seen WarGames, you should. Here's a link to the trailer, which manages to capture the feeling, without giving too much away.

Wednesday Link Roundup

Bacon Time!!!! - Sunday Linkage

Victory Girls: Kamala Chameleon Tells Kwanzaa Tales
Hogewash: Christmas in My Hometown
WUWT: Inside The Bayesian Priory

Pirate's Cove - Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup

  1. The First Street Journal has some SJWs being butthurt
  2. Sultan Knish notes that managing people is just easier
  3. Powerline wonders if Dems are in trouble for 2022

Wombat-socho at The Other McCain - In The Mailbox: 12.28.20

American Conservative: Profiles In Conservative Cowardice
American Greatness: An Essential Man, also, Did Americans Come To Love Big Brother?
American Power: How Christopher Lasch Repudiated The Radical Left

MaddMedic at Freedom Is Just Another Word... - Quick Bits …

CDC Issues New Guidelines, Launches Probe After 1000s Negatively-Affected Following COVID-19 Vaccination
A vaccine that has not been fully tested..Released on the public..

EBL - Tosca 🎭

Powerline: The Week In Pictures
Mark Steyn : Such A Cold Finger

Daley Gator - Your CCW News Update For Monday (12/28/20)

New York Restaurants Organize To Ban DemoNazi Governor Cuomo From ‘All Establishments’ For Life – National File
In an unprecedented move, the beleaguered restaurant owners of New York City...

A View from the Beach - On the Fifth Day of Christmas Election 2020 Gave to Me

From the never-Trumper Jerry Lambe at Law and Crime, Mike Pence Cannot Block the Certification of Joe Biden’s Victory When the Senate Formally Counts Electoral College Votes on Jan. 6th.

Gates of Vienna - News Feed 12/28/2020

Fauci Admits He “Nudged” Vaccination Numbers Based on Polling Data
Dr. Anthony Fauci is under fire for remarks he made in an interview with the New York Times last week in which he admitted he was less than honest with the American People

Ace of Spades HQ - The Morning Report - 12/28/20 [J.J. Sefton]

Robert Spencer: "His latest autobiography goes out of its way to demonize the Jewish state."
Barack Obama Hates Israel and Wants You to Hate It, Too

Doug Ross - Larwyn’s Linx: Roughly Half of U.S. Voters Think the 2020 Election was Stolen in Some Way

Locked-down California runs out of reasons for surprising surge: Politiho
The biggest Supreme Court cases of 2021: Nicholas Rowan
End the China economic delusion: Examiner

Maggie's Farm - Monday morning links

Michael Walsh's 'Last Stands' Explains Why Men Go Down Fighting to the Last Breath
Girl Powerlessness
'Stressful' incidents fall under 'workplace violence' at Vanderbilt University

I leave you with F*cking Mondays gifdump from Knuckledraggin My Life Away, Monday Memes … From Freedom Is Just Another Word... Sunday Funnies from Flopping Aces, and Sunday Funnies 12-27-20 from Stately McDaniel Manor.

Self-defense in the People's Republic of Chicago

He suffered a failure of the victim-selection process. West Side shooting: Would-be robber fatally shot by concealed-carry license holder on Chicago - Chicago Sun-Times

He walked in to a store about 6:50 p.m. in the 3200 block of West Chicago Avenue, pulled out a gun and demanded property, according to Chicago police.

A store employee, a 29-year-old man, pulled out his own gun and fired shots at the robber, striking him in the chest, police said. He was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Hat tip to HeyJackass! Who has the rundown on X-Mass Shooting Stupidity. Chicago only had an average year this year for Christmas. Which is mostly an improvement over the rest of 2020.

The Usual Violence of the Left

Your words are Literally violence. Their violence is First Amendment Protected Free Speech. Just ask them... Journalist among group charged over BLM-inspired firebombing attacks in Arkansas | The Post Millennial

Four suspects, including a journalist, from Little Rock, Ark. with extreme far-left ties were taken into custody and charged by federal authorities last week in connection to coordinated firebombings of police cruisers over the summer.

You can click thru for the details.

Hat tip to The Other McCain and Left-Wing Journalist Among 4 Arrested in Arkansas for Firebombing Police Cars

Goddard became a journalist and worked last year for a public radio station (KUAR) while also writing for other outlets including the left-wing site Truthout, where she wrote that “journalists have a responsibility to be vigilant” against white supremacists.

Well, I guess somebody needs to be “vigilant” against journalists, too.

Robert Stacy McCain has more on this "Journalist."

Go Your Own Way

Like most people, I saw and loved the video of Nathan Apodaca drinking cranberry juice, and riding his skate board to Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams." That video came out in September, I think. Featuring that song would be too redundant.

I'm never sure if I like Fleetwood Mac, or if I've just heard it so much that it's familiar. I can sing along to the entire album of Rumors, and most of Tusk.

This is "Go Your Own Way" by Fleetwood Mac from 1977 album Rumors.

The Nashville Christmas Bombing

And a side of media bias. Nashville: ‘Lone Wolf’ Suicide Bomber

Robert Stacy McCain has the rundown, and points out some insanity on the part of the media.

Oh, of course, they had to throw in the “white supremacist” angle, despite the complete lack of evidence connecting Warner to any such ideology, and despite the fact that 5G conspiracy theories are also rampant in minority communities and among left-wing anarchist types.

While they seem to have identified who was responsible, answering the question why will take some time. And may never be answered. In the meantime, that isn't stopping the media from speculating, because just reporting the FACTS is such a 20th Century idea.

December 29, 2020

It's a Miracle! The Flu Is Eradicated!

Or maybe not. Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report | CDC.

Maybe this falls under the heading of Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics. Do you think we cured the Flu, do you think they are ignoring the Flu, or do you think government is lying to you? (Hint: EVERYONE is lying to you.)

As usual, click the images for a larger view.

Flu map for week 51 from the 2019-2020 Flu Season (from the CDC page linked above). Last year week 51 ended on Dec 21, 2019.

And a similar map from the 2020-2021 Flu season, for week 51 - which ended Dec 19, 2020.

Part of the caption (from 2019) reads...

This map use the proportion of outpatient visits to healthcare providers for influenza-like illness to measure the ILI activity level within a state. [My emphasis.]

Gee, do you think that "influenza-like illness" is getting counted differently this year? Hat tip to Twitter and Dr. David Samadi, MD.

As for Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics, the origin of the phrase is confused, but it seem Benjamin Disraeli never said that.

Movies You Haven't Seen: Practical Magic

After a friend of mine and I worked ourselves into a food coma on Christmas Day, we decided to watch an old movie.

I usually review films that are not too well known. Practical Magic was was not obscure when it came out, still, I'm not sure how well known it is today. It opened well, but critics didn't like it, though that could be that it is a Chick Flick. Rotten Tomatoes has it listed as 22% Critics' score, and 73% audience score. It did not do well at the box office.

I like it enough to own a DVD copy...

And it is definitely a Chick Flick, so some of you may be excused for not knowing it. Though you may get some points for suggesting it as the subject of a movie night on a cold winter's night. And I don't think you will be disappointed. It is funny, and fun, with a bit of romance, and bit of comedy and a little horror thrown in to keep it interesting. And Bullock and Kidman were young in 1998. (We were all younger in 98!)

The cast is great. Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, Stackard Channing, and Diane Weist, who I will always love from The Lost Boys. With a great role for Goran Visnjic, and an even better role for Aidan Quinn.

Bullock and Kidman star as two sisters who are the current generation of a long line of witches living in a New England town. Channing and Weist are their aunts. Quinn and Visnjic are the love interests.

I am fairly certain that this movie would never be made today; it isn't formulaic. Not quite.

This is the trailer, which manages to not give too much away, and still capture a bit of the feeling of the movie.

Appeals Court to Cuomo: The Constitution Is Still In Force

Why are Democrats hoping to be dictators? Appeals Court Upholds Challenges to NY's COVID Restrictions at Houses of Worship

A federal appeals court on Monday upheld challenges to New York state’s attendance restrictions at houses of worship to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s order limiting attendance at places of worship with fixed capacity in hotspots “discriminates against religion on its face.”

Can't worship anything but the State!

Texans Are Still Armed...

Would-be bad guys are still getting shot. Homeowner shoots burglary suspect 3 times in north Houston

Police said the homeowner went outside with a gun to investigate the noises he said he heard coming from his backyard.

That's when he found a man breaking into his shed.

He was shot 3-times in the leg. Police applied a tourniquet and he is expected to survive his injuries and face justice.

The only question really is, "Did he think he was in New Jersey?"

Self-defense is a human-right. And this happened in Texas.

A Quick Search for Wrong-address Search Warrants

Cops executing search warrants on the wrong address have been in the news again because of the search by Chicago police of Anjanette Young's apartment. Well and the cover-up attempt by CPD and City Hall. It wasn't quite the wrong address. Their "John Doe" informant gave them the wrong apartment number. The person they were looking for was in that building, but in a different apartment. Still, it begs the question, "How incompetent are they?"

Search warrants executed on the wrong address, or executed on bad info generally, (informants get paid for info, NOT valid info) found quite a few entries.

Here are a few examples....

We will start in Chicago. Cops pointed guns at 4-year-old, autistic man during improper raid of Back of the Yards apartment: suit

Within moments, Chicago Police officers came through her door with their weapons drawn, ordering everyone to get on the ground. Hofeld said the police never announced their office before coming inside. The warrants they had were to search the first- and second-floor apartments for cocaine and heroin, though no narcotics were found in the building. [SNIP]

The officers who executed the warrant — which did not name a suspect, only an address — had neglected to perform surveillance of Lyons’ home or conduct undercover narcotics purchases before the search, Hofeld said.

Because informants are NEVER wrong. Or something.

I really love this one from Detroit. DPD execute search warrant at wrong address in credit card fraud investigation. Right house. Wrong unit.

"Uber Eats, nobody gets the address wrong, but I get a SWAT team get the address wrong," said Allen.

Mississippi: This is how these things usually end. Police Serve Warrant to Wrong Address, Kill Man Who Lives There

Police were looking to serve an arrest warrant for an assault that had occurred earlier that day. Only after Lopez had died did they realize their mistake: they had gone to the wrong house.

And it isn't only the good guys, at risk from the insanity. Maryland police shot entering "wrong address" on warrant in Prince George's County

Two Maryland police officers were shot while serving a drug-related search warrant at the wrong apartment late Wednesday, according to law enforcement officials. The resident shot the officers as soon as they opened the door, thinking they were home invaders, authorities said. No criminal charges will be filed against the man, Prince George's County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said Thursday.

Lying? Not following procedure? Say it ain't so... Melbourne detective resigns after search warrant served to wrong address

According to the documents, Hawk did not keep a proper record of his investigation and it was later determined that Hawk had not definitely observed a confidential informant purchase drugs at an address across the street from where the warrant was served. [SNIP]

During an interview with internal investigators, Hawk said he used a Google maps image of the house to determine the address based on a description from a confidential informant.

Because Google is NEVER wrong.

Here's a story about mulitiple issues from Chicago. CBS 2 Investigators: Multiple Police Raids Gone Wrong; ‘This Is Just Irresponsible’

First one in the wrong apartment.

Chicago Police body cameras give a rare glimpse inside a police raid – at the wrong apartment.

Then later in the story... Cops realize they are in the wrong place, but keep searching anyway.

Despite officers saying they were in the wrong place, they still kept searching in the bedroom, kitchen and bathroom.

“At this point, they know they’ve got no legal basis for being in the apartment,” said Sheila Bedi. “I imagine that they were hoping to find something that would allow them to have some sort of justification for continuing the search.”

The Rule of Law? Follow Procedures? Treat people with Respect? Admit they were wrong and cut their losses? These are COPS! The RULES don't apply to cops! Rules are for Little People.

There is more of course, I could probably go on for a very long time, but I have to get back to doing more productive stuff.

Florida Man Goes Golfing

Well, maybe not quite... Florida man tosses golf clubs on highway, later punches trooper

[Florida Man] was arrested Wednesday on felony charges of battery on an officer, resisting an officer with violence and depriving an officer of means of protection or communication, and a misdemeanor charge of resisting an officer without violence, according to Hillsborough County online booking records.

According to a Florida Highway Patrol news release, [He] also faces charges of throwing a deadly missile from a vehicle, possession of marijuana, controlled substances and drug paraphernalia, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Can't blame this on the water; it must be due to the drugs.

December 28, 2020

A Remake of Smokey and the Bandit?

That should be a train-wreck. Wombat-socho at The Other McCain has Rule 5 Sunday: Sally Field

Aside from the fact that "smuggling" beer from Texarkana to Atlanta is a thing of the past...

Also, who could replace Jerry Reed, Burt Reynolds, and Jackie Gleason, to say nothing of Sally Field? Apparently Universal wants to give it a try, though. Here’s Sally in a still from the movie.

But then it has been clear for some time that Hollywood is brain-dead.

Wombat-socho also has the Rule 5 Linkage.

King For A Day

Today's song is via a recommendation that came in the comments a while back. Nick recommended a band and a song. Today's song is it.

The band, Battle Beast, has a song that reminds me a bit of 1970s Hard Rock, and yet manages to be a little more complex than the music that was usually on a Top-40s station at the same time. I think you might like it. I do.

This song is "King For A Day" by Battle Beast from the 2017 album Bringer of Pain.

They Suffered a Failure of the Victim-selection Process

They thought carjacking an 80-year-old man in Florida would be a good idea. They were wrong. PPD: 15-year-old suspect shot in attempted carjacking, search continues for second suspect

Investigators say the homeowner was in his driveway around 11pm, locking his cars for the night when two men approached him and tried to steal his car. One of the suspects pulled out a gun. The victim then pulled out his own gun and shot at the suspects.

They ran away. The 15-year-old went to a neighbor's home to seek assistance. He will recover to face the consequences of his actions.

The gun-hating Left will only count this as "teen, tragically shot," because the fact that he was committing a felony when his intended victim defended himself is not of interest to that crew. "Don't clutter the issue with facts!"

Cops are still searching for the other guy.

Pensacola PD is not seeking charges against the 80-year-old homeowner, because self-defense is a human right, and in Florida it is mostly your legal right as well.

Police Officers Cyrille Morel, Remi Dupuis, and Arno Mavel

End of Watch, International Edition. France shooting: Three police officers shot dead after responding to domestic violence call.

Three French police officers have been shot dead, and a fourth wounded, while responding to a domestic violence incident in the Puy-de-Dome region.

Leadership Lessons from Patton

From Coffee or Die: 11 Quotes That Show the Awesomeness of Gen. George Patton

They are all worth your time, but here's a sample that I particularly like.

7. “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”

People hate to be micromanaged. A good leader, as Patton knew, tells his or her subordinates what is expected, or what the overall goal is. They don’t need to give a step-by-step explanation. It’s a waste of a leader’s time and worse, most people resent it.

Click thru.

December 27, 2020

189-year-old Bridge Finally Getting Upgraded

It hasn't been completely ignored, but it would seem to be overdue for repairs. The wonder of Whorlton suspension bridge – one of the great survivors

Whorlton suspension bridge over the Tees is a great survivor – it is almost to suspension bridges what Locomotion No 1 is to railways.

It was built in the earliest days of its era when other bridges all around it were collapsing. It is a testament to the brave faith of the villagers and investors and now, 189 years later, it is the UK's oldest road suspension bridge with its deck supported by its original iron chains, and it is the UK's earliest surviving iron chained suspension bridge with pylons at each end.

The image at the top is from the article. It is listed as being from the 1960s, but no attribution information is given.

The bridge has been closed to automobile and truck traffic since the middle of 2019, and it was just closed to pedestrians and cyclists in December.

Winston Churchill stood on the bridge to watch troops training in that area in December 1942.

Still, 189 years is a long time for iron chains.

There was a £90,000 repair done around the year 2000, but it was not enough. The bridge is scheduled to reopen in 2022.

Chicago's Recipe for More Crime

When you make something cheaper, you will see more of it. 17th time's the charm? Man gets probation for committing burglary while on probation for burglary | CWB Chicago

And Chicago and Cook County have made crime very cheap from the criminals perspective.

An accused serial burglar and thief has been sentenced to probation for a burglary in Lincoln Park last year — even though he was already on probation for two burglaries at the time of the alleged break-in.

Bets how long it is before he offends again? He has shown that probation will not deter him from committing crime.

This isn't a surprise. Hobbes' wrote about it. William Butler Yeats wrote poems about it.

Western Civilization was fun while it lasted.

Even The Code of the Street is Gone

20 or 30 years ago, even gang members in Chicago had limits and a sense of what was going too far. No more. Police Say Assailants Targeted 71-Year-Old Grandmother Emma Wright When They Shot Into Her House, Killing Her

Price said those toting the guns in Chicago have no regard for the street code that once existed. Under that code, gangs would not touch certain people.

“Children, elderly, women – you know, definitely children and women,” Price said. “Today, there is no ‘off-limits.’”

The reference to "definitely children" was reference to a gang truce in the 1990s that stemmed from a child being shot in the crossfire. That wouldn't happen today.

As for why the shooting happened. She let a family member or two move in with her.

Chicago Police detectives late Monday were working to figure out who fired into the woman’s house and killed Wright. But as to the question of why, the investigation leads to someone very close to the 71-year-old – and that leads many to question what happened to the old street code.

Neighbors are shocked, of course. They always are. But this incident is just another indication that society is collapsing in on itself. There is no right and wrong. There is no good and evil. There is no reckoning, not in this life, and no one believes in the next. [Insert reference to Hobbes' State of War Here.]

COVID-19 and Violent Death

Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. Russian scientist 'working on Covid-19 vaccine' falls to his death from 14th floor window 'in his underwear after being stabbed' in latest mysterious violent death linked to coronavirus.

Who knew this was a thing? And why am I getting a Zombie-apocalypse vibe?

  • Biologist Alexander 'Sasha' Kagansky, 45, was found dead in St Petersburg  
  • His death comes as six Russians plunged to their deaths from hospital windows earlier this year in Covid-related deaths
  • 74-year-old Nadezhda Salkova fell from a fourth-floor hospital window in June
  • Ten days earlier a 68-year old man plunged to his death from a Yaroslavl hospital 

December 26, 2020

Saturday Roundup of Link Roundups

The image today is a Christmas Card from "Your friends at Nakatomi Plaza." (Click on it for a larger view.) And yes, Die Hard is a Christmas movie.

Wombat-socho at The Other McCain starts things rolling with In The Mailbox: 12.23.20 (Afternoon Edition)

Victory Girls: Joe Biden Will Never Be My President
Volokh Conspiracy: Mother Has Son Tested For COVID-19, Threatened With Contempt Of Court
Weasel Zippers: President Trump Sends COVID Relief Bill Back To Congress

EBL - Feast of the Seven Fishes 🐟🐙🦑🦐🦀🦞🦪: A Review

Feral Irishman: Mandate, Nothing would shock me..., Masks slipping off the Democrat Party, Friday Femme Fatale
TOM: The Destructive Meaning of ‘Equality’

Freedom Is Just Another Word... - Quick Bits …

When your a asshat…
NY Governor Cuomo Humiliated, His State Suffers Biggest Loss in New Census Estimates, Red States Make Biggest Gains

The Right Way - Top of the News

Plandemic- American Digest
NSA Puzzle Palace Technical Director: Simple Mathematics reveals massive Biden fraud. - Free North Carolina

Again from Wombat-socho - In The Mailbox: 12.24.20 (Afternoon Edition)

The Lid: Will The Last Person Leaving NY State Please Turn Out The Lights
Legal Insurrection: Red China Demands Biden Return U.S. To Iran Nuke Deal, also, Netanyahu-Gantz Government Collapses, Israel Heads For Fourth Election In Two Years

A View from the Beach - Russiagate: POTUS Pardons Papadop

But, as Chuck Ross notes at Da Caller, AG Barr Sees No Evidence Of CIA Wrongdoing In Trump-Russia Probe. NewsMax, Brennan Calls Durham Investigation 'Trolling,' Mocks Barr. I'm not as big a man as Barr

Wombat-socho at The Other McCain - In The Mailbox: 12.24.20 (Christmas Eve Edition)

Vox Popoli: The BBC’s War On Christmas, also, No Place For Fear
According To Hoyt: We Are Not Alone, also, I Won’t Be Home For Christmas

Gates of Vienna - News Feed 12/23/2020

“They Don’t Want Results to Get Out”— Trump Blasts “Slow Walking” Of Georgia’s Signature Verification
President Trump is exposing the “slow walking” of Georgia’s signature verification

Ace of Spades HQ - The Morning Report - 12/23/20 [J.J. Sefton]

Daniel Greenfield: "When the government decides who gets to live or die based on race."
The CDC's Affirmative Action Eugenics for the Chinese Coronavirus Vaccine

Doug Ross - Larwyn’s Linx: Yes, It Was a Stolen Election

What Else Can We Do to Fight Back Against This Stolen Election?: EIB
'There's never been anything like it': Trump alleges voter fraud again: Tyler Van Dyke

Maggie's Farm - Wednesday morning links

"Stay Home Except for Essential Activities," Dem Gov Says, Then Goes to a Bar
Bill de Blasio: “Our Mission Is to Redistribute Wealth”

I leave you with Wednesday gifdump from Knuckledraggin My Life Away, Merry Christmas Woodsterman Style ~ 3 From Woodsterman, Christmas Eve Memes … from MaddMedic at Freedom Is Just Another Word... and Cartoon Round Up.... from Theo Spark.

Yet Another Failure of the Victim-selection Process

He thought robbing a store was a good idea. After robber shot at New Orleans store clerk, her co-worker returned fire, killing him.

A robber came into a store, grabbed a drink, then drew a weapon and demanded money. Then he started shooting at the cashier. Another employee was in the store at the time of the robbery.

The other employee heard the gunshots and armed himself before pushing the cashier on the ground.

"He told the robber, 'Drop to the floor and put your gun down,'" Hingel said.

The robber fired several more shots in the employees' direction. But the armed staffer shot back, fatally wounding the robber, police said.

The owner is "shocked" that his store wasn't protected from crime by his zip code.

The would-be bad-guy has not been identified, and though they don't say in the article, I am sure that the investigation continues. Louisiana has a good track record when it comes to respecting your right to self-defense, and it seems this is fairly clear. There is even security camera video of the entire incident.

Self-defense is a human-right.

The Hard-hitting Journalism of 2020

Or maybe not. How 2020 changed Justin Trudeau, and didn’t

Apparently the greatest thing that Justine Trudeau did in 2020 was grow a beard. (Who knows, maybe he's a Star Trek: The Next Generation fan.)

At the very beginning of this interminable year, Justin Trudeau grew a beard. The beard was Significant, a symbol of a once-youthful prime minister who was now older and wiser and battle-scarred.

I love the fact that "significant" is capitalized. It is REALLY significant in this journalist's mind.

This is what passes for journalism today. Journalists fawning over politicians they like, and issuing personal attacks on politicians they don't. Discuss policy? Discuss results? Why the journalists would need to know something about economics and the foreign policy of past administrations in the Middle East and elsewhere. They might need to know some of the history of the People's Republic of China, or The Soviet Union. They would need to know what Checkpoint Charlie was, or be familiar with The Great Leap Forward, The Cultural Revolution, and maybe even the Killing Fields of Cambodia. It is soooo much easier to just like the Socialists and hate Free Markets. Without ever having read Marx or Adam Smith o course.

And it is pretty clear that today, Journalists know nothing about anything.

Hat tip to King Angry Ostrich at Twitter who asks, "Bro, do you even journalism?" Which is a good question.

Ode to Joy

Beethoven went completely deaf at a relatively young age. He also suffered from tinnitus, or a ringing in the ears. Neither stopped him from composing, and some say that the 9th Symphony is his greatest composition. And to be clear he was completely deaf when he wrote this.

I wanted something calming that is decidedly NOT Christmas music. So some classical seemed appropriate.

Today we have the 4th movement of that Symphony. It is 24 minutes long. The entire symphony is one hour and 20 minutes. If you have the time there are good recordings on YouTube or Spotify or wherever you listen to music. You can probably get a CD from your local library as well. (The Chicago Symphony is always a favorite with me, but any Deutsche Grammophon recording will not let you down. There are a lot of versions; not all of them are good.)

Beethoven's 9th is one of the greatest pieces of music ever written.

This is Movement IV from Beethoven's 9th Symphony in D Minor. It is commonly known as "Ode to Joy." This recording is Sir Georg Solti conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

And we have Rick Beato to thank for today's selection. He asked the question, "How Did Beethoven Hear Music?"

December 25, 2020

A Take on Die Hard I Hadn't Seen

And could have done without. ‘Happy Trails, Hans’: What Is Everybody’s Favorite Christmas Movie Really About?

It seems that not only is Die Hard a Christmas movie, true, it is also an anti-capitalist-rant. Not so true, or if it is, it fails miserably.

So the fact that John McClane had never ridden in a limo was supposed to be some huge statement.

By 1988, it was entirely commonplace for groups of middle-class teenagers to rent limousines for their prom dates. Making a limo ride a symbol of evil capitalism — a point of honor for the “working class hero” that he had never ridden in a limousine — is a childish gesture.

But most anti-capitalist gestures in the middle of multi-million-dollar action movies would be childish. Who do you think paid for the movie to be made? Did the actors work for free?

Click thru. It isn't long, and there is so much more. The current "cargo cult" around wealth, and the insanity of action movies in general, together with a bit of the history of Leftist violence in the 20th Century.

Younger audiences know nothing of Baader-Meinhof and the larger context of violent left-wing radicalism during the Cold War (e.g., the Weather Underground, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the Black Liberation Army).

Feliz Navidad

I hope everyone is having a good day!.

This is "Feliz Navidad" by Tarja from her 2017 album Spirits and Ghosts (Score for a dark Christmas). It is a cover of a song originally from 1970 by José Feliciano.

Friday Links

SiGraybeard starts us off with Good Grief - Christmas is Friday! With a message from 55 years ago.

The Daley Gator - San Francisco bans kissing on dates? The tyranny is insane.

American Thinker - Unexplained explosion and fire destroy world's second largest pharmaceutical factory producing precursors for hydroxychloroquine

Bloviating Zepplin - Machinations: what is happening to our country?

Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler - Democrat demands election certification to be overturned. Same argument the President is making, but in a different/single election.

Adaptive Curmudgeon - Failure Is Always An Option

The Other McCain - The Destructive Meaning of ‘Equality’

In a remarkable press conference (and by “remarkable,” of course I mean, insane), the mayor spoke of his plan to “more equitably redistribute resources.”

Lone Star Parson - The Great Oz Porkulus What was in the relief bill, aside from your $600.

Smitty at The Other McCain - Ode to SCOTUS

OldAFSarge at Chant du Départ - In Principio Erat Verbum* A Christmas message from Sarge. (The AF stands for Air Force, and not something else.)

Pirate's Cove - Climate Cultists Now Coming After 5G

Again from the Daley Gator - The next time someone tell that Joe Biden is a “centrist” consider this

Flopping Aces - It’s the most wonderful time of the year- to be a Biden

19th Ward Chicago - Now you know the world has gone nuts

Vatican says use of Covid vaccines made from aborted fetal tissue is ethical

My Daily Kona - The Media saved Biden, Just like they saved President Obama in 2008 Also some great cartoons.

Freedom Is Just Another Word... - Darkness Is Coming ….

Darkness Is Coming Fast: Proposal To Legally Silence Christians & Conservatives And To Label Christians As White Supremacists, Endorsed And Presented By 14 U.S. Democrat House Representatives

Again from Adaptive Curmudgeon - It Certainly Looks Like This

The assholes who’ve never built a damn thing sure enjoy breaking civilization. That’s how we wind wind up fucked.

Splendid Isolation - Wiki-plead-ia

Mark 1:1 - Do we have a republic? Are we indivisible?

Sultan Knish - AOC, Omar, and Squad Want to Free 500,000 Fat Criminals

Clayton Cramer - But a Lot of Those Are White, So It Does Not Matter Drug overdose deaths versus Coronavirus.

Professor David Yamane at Gun Curious - Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #1: Changing Demographics and Changing Opinions That is only the 1st reaction paper. At least 4 more are on the site.

Again from American Thinker - What the American Aristocracy Has Wrought The end of democratic rule.

And finally from The Other McCain - British Court Rules It’s OK to Call ‘Stephanie Hayden’ a ‘Pig in a Wig’ Free Speech isn't dead in the UK. Yet.

True Stories of Christmas Miracles

From We Are The Mighty - 11 true stories of Christmas magic.

If you’re reading this, it means you’ve survived 2020. And if you’ve survived 2020, it means you’re well aware that life can get pretty dang dark. It’s all too tempting to become cynical and jaded, but at the end of the day, I’m a firm believer that light and love are still quietly present. Small miracles are found all around us. They’re found when kind strangers lend a hand. When a beloved pet makes it home safe. When a life is nearly lost, but decides it’s not quite finished. Too old to believe in miracles? Well, keep reading

I hope you have a good day, and a good weekend.

Chicago's Finest

Or maybe not. Chicago Police Sergeant Relieved Of Powers After She Was Arrested On Charges Of Drunkenly Hitting Gaming Officer At Horseshoe Hammond Casino

Lori Cooper was charged with simple assault and disorderly conduct in the Oct. 30 incident.

A police report obtained by CBS 2 said around 4 a.m. Oct. 30, the casino contacted Hammond police saying two women were in the restroom intoxicated and one of them, Cooper, had battered a casino worker. The casino worker told a Hammond police officer she did not want to seek charges, the police report said.

She didn't want to wear a mask and kept taking it off, and while being escorted from the property struck an Indiana Gaming Commision Officer. This was captured on the body cam of a responding police officer.

The proffer added that the Hammond officer’s body camera video footage showed that Cooper appeared to be intoxicated and her attitude was “angry, insulting, and uncooperative.”

She's a cop; she doesn't need to cooperate. The rules don't apply to cops. (Just ask her.)

Hat tip to Second City Cop: Which Scandal is This? He asks...

Did you know that a certain Sergeant who is the Commanding Officer of the following: Civil Rights / Hate Crimes Unit, Special Activities Section, School Visitation Unit and is the face of the CPD at funerals (CO of Honor Guard Unit) was arrested at Hammond Indiana Horseshoe Casino?

They Are Too Good for Rules

Rules are for the Little People. 'Do as I say': Anger as some politicians ignore virus rules

Well that and the rules were never about a virus; they were about control.

In a monarchy, a king or queen is special, born to the role, cast as above the rest. In a dictatorship, the ruler often takes more spoils than the ruled. But in a democratic society, where leaders are drawn from among the very people who must abide by their decisions, what happens when those in charge act in ways that suggest they're above those who are not?

But then we stopped being a democratic society/republic some time ago.

The article covers all the usual insanity from the usual suspects, and some reactions from the public.

Hat tip to Knuckledraggin My Life Away.

December 24, 2020

This Has to Be The Stupidest Things Cops Have Done in 2020

And that is saying something. Ohio mayor calls fatal police shooting of Black man a 'stunning disregard for life' after release of body camera footage

The 47-year-old unarmed Black man killed by a Columbus officer early Tuesday lay on the ground for several minutes without anyone rendering aid or medical assistance — a violation of police policy and procedure — body camera footage of the deadly encounter released Wednesday shows.

Andre Maurice Hill was a guest of the homeowner and had not committed a crime when two officers approached the garage he was standing in around 1:30 a.m.

For no reason they walk up on a black man and shoot him, and then do not offer any first aid, while he bleeds to death.

They didn't activate their body cams, because why follow the rules? Rules are for Little People, not Cops.

If they were "in fear for their lives," then maybe they are in the wrong profession.

San Francisco Doesn't Care About Overdoses

Actually I would go so far as to say that the Liberal-run cities don't care about anything but maintaining power. They don't care about overdoses. They don't care about homelessness. They don't care about disease - unless it is COVID-19. They think that the way to show compassion is to let people die, and enable addiction. Why is enabling a compassionate stance? Why is it the ONLY compassionate stance allowed by the Thought Police?

Doing anything but enabling addiction is not nice. And Californians want to be nice. Even if that means that people die. Drug overdoses in S.F. kill 58 people in November as fentanyl-fueled crisis breaks records - SFChronicle

Through the end of November, 621 people have died from overdoses this year in San Francisco. That compares to 441 people during all of last year. It also compares with 173 people who have died of COVID-19 this year. Yet based on those kinds of numbers we are destroying our country over COVID and ignoring the fentanyl/heroin/whatever problem. Because to treat the addicts like criminals and lock them up, or to lock them up and see to their mental health, well neither of those options is nice. So we leave them to be addicted, homeless, violent, victims of violence, etc. A certain number of them will die, and we seem to have the Ebeneezer Scrooge attitude. They should reduce the surplus population.

That is compassion in the 21st Century. At least that is how it is defined in our liberal cities.

Hat tip to that goes to Second City Cop: You Are Being Played.

But if it's only dead junkies, there is no real political purpose in panicking the citizenry, closing restaurants, gyms, wrecking the economy and scaring people to think mail-in voting is "secure."

There are a two documentaries that are worth bringing to your attention.

The first is KOMO News documentary: A Tale of 3 Cities is a documentary that reviews Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. It talks about the reemergence of diseases in LA that were a problem in the dark ages. But maybe that is where we are, at the start of the next dark age.

The Fight for the Soul of Seattle | A KOMO News Documentary is the latest documentary KOMO produced. It is pretty much a sequel to Seattle Is Dying. Well, there are a few in the intervening months I haven't seen.

The documentary that started it all, nearly 2 years ago is Seattle is Dying | A KOMO News Documentary. Even though it is old, I can still recommend it. And it isn't all a tale of woe. It does offer at least one tested solution.

The Good People of Portland and 911 Response

What if you called 911 and no police officer was sent to your location? What would you do? The people of Portland are also operating under the mistaken idea that police are supposed to protect you. They have no duty to protect you. More on that later.

The folks in Portland want to defund the police, tolerate excessive lawlessness in the form of endless protest riots, and have 911 respond immediately to every little thing. Portlanders Question Police Priorities As 911 Response Times Lag - Blogtown - Portland Mercury

So there is an RV that parks on a neighborhood street night after night. It comes complete with armed guards. It appears to be engaged in drug transactions or drug manufacturing.

Either way, [a woman who lived on the street] believed it was putting her street at risk—and her neighbors agreed. In early November, Erica called the Portland Police Bureau's (PPB) non-emergency number to make a report and was given the cell phone number of an officer whom she could call the next time she saw activity at the RV.

But when she called a few nights later, the officer never answered the phone or responded to her voicemail. The same thing happened the next night, and the next. The officer never replied to her calls, so Erica resorted to calling 911. An operator said they’d send an officer to meet her—but no one ever showed up.

Other neighbors get a similar non-response.

And they are all good progressives, so everything the police say is "political" and there are no impacts from the budget cuts.

PPB says the slow response times are due to a combination of staffing shortages, training delays, and officers being taken off of patrol to respond to Portland’s ongoing racial justice demonstrations against police violence.

As for the "police are supposed to protect me" idea...

“It’s frustrating to hear,” [a different victim of a crime] said. “The police are supposed to protect you... but instead they’re spending time hurting people on the street protesting? That’s more important than responding to violent crimes?”

You have to love the knee-jerk police-are-bad comment. OK, not so much. But like I said, good, Portland, Progressives.

There are several cases, and while I am not a lawyer, I find the Castle Rock v Gonzales case to be fascinating.

Even if you have a court order of protection, cops have no duty to protect you, other that to make a reasonable effort. And personally I don't think they made a reasonable effort in Castle Rock, Colorado on the day in question, but SCOTUS told the woman with the restraining order and the violent ex to get lost. Pretty much. Cops have no duty to protect you.

The Supreme Court ruled [in June of 2005] that the police did not have a constitutional duty to protect a person from harm, even a woman who had obtained a court-issued protective order against a violent husband making an arrest mandatory for a violation.

If you don't have a protective order, you don't even have that much of a claim on police. Which is no claim at all. So no. Cops do NOT have a duty to protect you. That is why you have the right to defend yourself. Well, that and the fact that when seconds count, police are just minutes away. Or hours or even days away, in Portland.

Calling 911 is a fine thing to do. They can, and often will, send all kinds of help your way. But sometimes they can't help you with your problem, or there may be no one available to respond. The RV in question in the original article at the top of this post, is parked on a public street. You may have suspicions about what is going on inside that RV. But suspicion is neither proof nor probably cause. But then this is what the people of Portland have voted for. To increase lawlessness.

Mark Rober's Glitterbomb 3.0

What would the Christmas holidays be without a video of Porch Pirates getting served a big box of beautiful Glitter? (Biodegradable glitter!)

This is getting insane, but it is very funny.

Hat tip to The Raconteur Report.

December 23, 2020

The Digital Generation Is Stupid

They were raised with technology we could only dream of, and yet they haven't learned the one thing that the Nixon adminstration showed to the world. Everyone is lying to you.

Or maybe gullable is a better word than stupid. Naive? Uneducated? The leading source of false claims about COVID-19? Hint: It’s not Facebook or Twitter.

Minorities and younger people are more susceptible to fake news and misinformation about COVID-19, and younger generations are also more likely to believe false claims they receive on closed messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, according to a new national survey led by researchers from Northeastern, Harvard, Northwestern, and Rutgers universities.

Because although you can't trust what you see on the internet, WhatsApp is a great source of information. Or something. (Hat tip Clayton Cramer.)

Wednesday Link Roundup

Pirate's Cove - Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup

  1. Cold Fury wonders if we have what they had in 1776
  2. Diogenes’ Middle Finger features 46*

Bacon Time!!!! - Sunday Linkage

Victory Girls: Christmas Photo Of Trumps Causes Controversy
Hogewash: A Failure of Our Betters to Do Good
WUWT: Battery Basics for Climate Warriors

MaddMedic at Freedom Is Just Another Word... - Quick Bits …

What???
Refuse Covid 19 vaccines you’ll die in FEMA camps by Guillotine!Refuse Covid 19 vaccines you’ll die in FEMA camps by Guillotine!

Wombat-socho at The Other McCain - In The Mailbox: 12.21.20

Louder With Crowder: Mike Rowe Blasts Politicians Arbitrarily Deciding Which Employees Are “Essential”, also, Tulsi Gabbard Unloads On “Heartless Bureaucrats” Approving Vaccine For Congress Before The Elderly

EBL - Why Homelessness? 🤔😬🏘️

It is not just the west coast. There is no public space that isn't overrun with mentally ill lunatics and drug addicts in New York City. Most Democrat run cities are the same.
EBL: Seattle is Dying and Housing Alone Will Not Solve Homelessness

Political Hat - News of the Week (December 20th, 2020)

“War Zone”: Investors Avoiding Minneapolis For Some Reason
Alternate headline: Elections and unrest have consequences. Why should investors put capital into rebuilding Minneapolis

Battleswarm Blog - Election Fraud Update for December 21, 2020

“After Examining Antrim County Voting Machines, ASOG Concludes Dominion ‘Intentionally Designed’ to ‘Create Systemic Fraud.'”

A View from the Beach - Election 2020: No Special Counsel

With Dominion and Smartmatic threatening to sue for defamation, AllahPundit crows Newsmax: We Need To “Clarify” Some Of The Things We’ve Said About Dominion And Smartmatic

Gates of Vienna - News Feed 12/21/2020

Lauren Southern Sends Defamation Complaint to Wikipedia Over Long-Running Smear Campaign
Documentary filmmaker Lauren Southern has submitted a defamation complaint to Wikipedia in response to a long-running smear campaign against her

Doug Ross - Larwyn’s Linx: Analysis of 3000 U.S. counties shows Biden received 6% more votes in counties using Dominion Voting Systems

Stumbling Toward National Divorce: Normal American
The Dehumanization of the Non-Compliant: Kit Perez
Robert Kennedy Jr Warns of COVID Compliance Creating The Dystopian End Game: CTH

Maggie's Farm - Monday morning links

CDC Urging States To Vaccinate Black/Brown People Over Whites…
AOC, OMAR, AND SQUAD WANT TO FREE 500,000 FAT CRIMINALS
Montana: Move here, but don't change us

Ace of Spades HQ - The Morning Report - 12/21/20 [J.J. Sefton]

"Everything we know, everything we trust, and everything we come to rely on has changed."
Video: The Plot to Steal America

I leave you with Sunday Funnies, 12-20-20 from Stately McDaniel Manor, Sunday Memes … from MaddMedic, and The shit I post on Facebook and Sunday Gifdump, both from Knuckledraggin My Life Away.

Self-defense Is Legal in Alabama

But then I thought it was. No charges will be filed in north Birmingham shooting that left 2 dead

No criminal charges will be filed in a November shooting in Birmingham that left two people dead.

The suspect who initiated the dispute, police said Monday, was killed in the shooting. The man who shot him did so in self-defense.

The incident took place on November 10th. To make that determination in that amount of time during the holidays is operating at warp speed, compared to most District Attorney’s office bureaucracies.

Self-defense is a human-right.

The Downtown Office Is An Anachronism

Once upon a time, it was necessary to be close to people to be able to work with them. Manhattan’s office leasing taking a dive. That statemenmt on the need for poximity hasn't been true in a while, and COVID-19 has made that apparent to everyone, not just those of us in tech.

CBRE’s latest activity report found that year-to-date leasing of 11.87 million square feet was down 58 percent over last year. Things took an even darker turn in November, when leasing totaled a mere 482,000 square feet — a staggering 78 percent below the five-year monthly average of 2.16 million square feet.

The pitiably puny numbers broke the record for lowest monthly leasing for the third time this year. “I wouldn’t say it’s free-fall, but it’s a lot worse than just an adjustment,” said a broker who wisely didn’t want to be named.

Under the head of "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt," the article goes on to talk about how one company has helped revitalize a neighborhood or 2 with arts and restaurants. But that is an apples to oranges comparison. And if when the city center implodes, other things will follow.

Cities are not safe. Defund the police, anyone? And now it is clear that like buggy whips, very few people actually need one to get their work done.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Tarja is one of my favorite artists, and a few years ago she produced a Christmas album. Since she sings Heavy Metal, the songs she presented are a bit off, or at least that is how my friends see things. I quite like them. Though I think some of them could have been darker than they are.

This is "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" by Tarja from her 2017 album Spirits and Ghosts (Score for a Dark Christmas)

Disclosure: I scheduled these songs weeks ago. As of 12/22/2020, the Christmas spirit has been completely erased from my mind.

"Carol Of The Bells" and "You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch"

On this Wednesday before Christmas we have 2 Musical Interludes.

Lindsey Stirling is another one of my favorite artists. Her approach to popular music via the violin is something I really like. And a few years ago she also produced a Christmas album.

This is "Carol of the Bells" by Lindsey Stirling from her 2017 album Warmer In The Winter.

 

After the break we have "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch." While it is not a great song, it does bring back fond memories from my youth.

December 22, 2020

Godzilla: The 2014 Edition

So I reviewed the 2014 edition of Godzilla a couple of years ago, but the sequel is on HBO or Showtime or whatever and a friend wanted to watch it. So I re-watched this movie as preparation. It was a mistake.

I am tempted to call it a monstrosity. Would that be going too far?

It is a monster movie. I get it. I even like monster movies. But there is a limit to suspension of disbelief.

So I will go with the 3 things that bothered me the most. Aside from the military as (mostly) gung-ho incompetents.

  1. The nuclear bombs we have today are soooo much more powerful than the ones we blew up in the 1950s.

    The truth is of course exactly the opposite. Accurate delivery systems meant we could develop weapons with smaller yields.

  2. An EMP shuts down everything for 10 minutes and then everything returns to normal.

    A real EMP shuts down everything electronic and most things electric. Period. Your phone, your car, refrigerators. They all become boat anchors and paperweights.

  3. The Golden Gate Bridge - a suspension bridge - stays up, even after one of the main cables is completely severed.

    That is not how suspension bridges work. If a cable fails, the entire structure will collapse.

There are of course more problems with the film. Small issues like the ones above. Large issues of character development. Or lack thereof.

And yet it still manages to be better than the Matthew Broderick movie from the 1990s.

I suppose the folks in Hollywood are convinced that everyone is as clueless as they are.

Here's the trailer, which manages to not give too much away.

You can find that original review at this link, though there isn't a lot there. Godzilla: The 2014 Edition. Well, there is a nice clip from the old movie Son of Godzilla, and Blue Oyster Cult's song "Godzilla."

iPhone Security Problems in the Wild

State sponsored actors targeting journalists. Color me shocked. The Great iPwn: Journalists Hacked with Suspected NSO Group iMessage 'Zero-Click' Exploit - The Citizen Lab

First we cover the technology and the exploits.

NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware is a mobile phone surveillance solution that enables customers to remotely exploit and monitor devices. The company is a prolific seller of surveillance technology to governments around the world, and its products have been regularly linked to surveillance abuses. [SNIP]

NSO Group is shifting towards zero-click exploits and network-based attacks that allow its government clients to break into phones without any interaction from the target, and without leaving any visible traces.

What's App was big in 2019 as a 'vector,' and iMessage was showing up lately because iMessage was not sandboxed like other apps. (It's our app! What could go wrong?) But then I think I read somewhere there are a number of Safari exploits that are similar.

As always the moral of the story is to upgrade to the newest version of the software. In this case that means version 14.something of iOS.

As for the attacks...

The journalists were hacked by four Pegasus operators, including one operator MONARCHY that we attribute to Saudi Arabia, and one operator SNEAKY KESTREL that we attribute to the United Arab Emirates.

So repressive dictatorships are targeting journalists. And others probably, but the journalists are so much interested in those others.

The increased targeting of the media is especially concerning given the fragmented and often ad-hoc security practices and cultures among journalists and media outlets, and the gap between the scale of threats and the security resources made available to reporters and newsrooms.

Translation: Journalists don't know squat about security. And mostly don't want to know. But then you can probably say the same about bankers, FBI agents and a host of others. And the sad thing is that Snowden published a "How to" for journalists (I think) at one point.

And none of this touches on the spying that the likes F*c*book do. Oh, and F*c*book and Twitter and all the rest want you to know that they are not really "spying." They are just collecting a whole bunch of data about you. But it is all good, because you agreed to that when you clicked "accept" on the terms and conditions.