Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Indiana's New Discrimination Law.....Not the same as Others.

There’s a factual dispute about the new Indiana law. It is called a “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” like the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, passed in 1993.* Thus a number of its defenders have claimed it is really the same law.
The problem with this statement is that, well, it’s false.
That becomes clear when you read and compare those tedious state statutes. If you do that, you will find that the Indiana statute has two features the federal RFRA—and most state RFRAs—do not.
First, the Indiana law explicitly allows any for-profit business to assert a right to “the free exercise of religion.” The federal RFRA doesn’t contain such language, and neither does any of the state RFRAs except South Carolina’s; in fact, Louisiana and Pennsylvania, explicitly exclude for-profit businesses from the protection of their RFRAs.
The new Indiana statute also contains this odd language: “A person whose exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened, by a violation of this chapter may assert the violation or impending violation as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding, regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding.” (My italics.) Neither the federal RFRA, nor 18 of the 19 state statutes cited by the Post, says anything like this; only the Texas RFRA, passed in 1999, contains similar language.
What these words mean is, first, that the Indiana statute explicitly recognizes that a for-profit corporation has “free exercise” rights matching those of individuals or churches. A lot of legal thinkers thought that idea was outlandish until last year’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, in which the Court’s five conservatives interpreted the federal RFRA to give some corporate employers a religious veto over their employees’ statutory right to contraceptive coverage.
Second, the Indiana statute explicitly makes a business’s “free exercise” right a defense against a private lawsuit by another person, rather than simply against actions brought by government. Why does this matter? Well, there’s a lot of evidence that the new wave of “religious freedom” legislation was impelled, at least in part, by a panic over a New Mexico state-court decision, Elane Photography v. Willock. In that case, a same-sex couple sued a professional photography studio that refused to photograph the couple’s wedding. New Mexico law bars discrimination in “public accommodations” on the basis of sexual orientation. The studio said that New Mexico’s RFRA nonetheless barred the suit; but the state’s Supreme Court held that the RFRA did not apply “because the government is not a party.”
Remarkably enough, soon after, language found its way into the Indiana statute to make sure that no Indiana court could ever make a similar decision. Democrats also offered the Republican legislative majority a chance to amend the new act to say that it did not permit businesses to discriminate; they voted that amendment down.
So, let’s review the evidence: by the Weekly Standard’s definition, there’s “nothing significant” about this law that differs from the federal one, and other state ones—except that it has been carefully written to make clear that 1) businesses can use it against 2) civil-rights suits brought by individuals.
Of all the state “religious freedom” laws I have read, this new statute hints most strongly that it is there to be used as a means of excluding gays and same-sex couples from accessing employment, housing, and public accommodations on the same terms as other people. True, there is no actual language that says, All businesses wishing to discriminate in employment, housing, and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation, please check this “religious objection” box. But, as Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk.”
So—is the fuss over the Indiana law overblown?
The statute shows every sign of having been carefully designed to put new obstacles in the path of equality; and it has been publicly sold with deceptive claims that it is “nothing new.”
Being required to serve those we dislike is a painful price to pay for the privilege of running a business; but the pain exclusion inflicts on its victims, and on society, are far worse than the discomfort the faithful may suffer at having to open their businesses to all.
As the story of Maurice Bessinger shows us, even dressed in liturgical garments, hateful discrimination is still a pig.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Silicon Valley Killing Jobs....Everyone Celebrate....

America needs to realize that instead of creating jobs, Silicon Valley is erasing them, leaving millennials financially stranded before their careers can get off the ground.
college grads age 22 to 27 are stuck in low-paying jobs that don't even require a college degree. The percentage of young people languishing in low-skill, low-paying jobs is 44%, a 20-year high.
Only 36% of college grads have jobs that pay at least $45,000, a sharp decline from the 1990s

Perhaps most depressingly, the percentage of young people making below $25,000 has topped 20%, worse than in 1990
those with a bachelor's diploma were better off before the digital revolution.
The digital economy is vaporizing the good jobs and replacing them with two kinds of jobs: minimum wage jobs (think Amazon warehouse employees) and so-called "sharing-economy jobs" (think Uber drivers).
The sharing-economy jobs are even worse than minimum wage jobs because they offer no stability or protections for workers. Sharing economy jobs aren't really jobs at all; they're freelance gigs.
something is wrong with the picture of a handful of tech billionaires overseeing a kingdom of falling wages, decreased worker protection and zero job security.
if you think your own job is safe, think again. New research predicts that nearly half of all jobs are susceptible to automation over the next two decades. This is a giant leap backward, but it's deceptively described as technological "progress." As anyone who's talked to an automated system on the phone lately can attest, "automated" usually means "worse."
we're headed toward a kind of digital world feudalism where there are a handful of kings, a lot of peasants and no middle class.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Global Economy a Failure For GM......

What we always hear is that we are living in a global economy. It is not just about the United States. Corporations NEED to send jobs all over the world so they can then sell into those markets. The days of it only being about the USA are over. Americans are not guaranteed jobs because today it is about the entire world.
What we see (once again) is it is NOT about the rest of the world at all. The rest of the world does not have the buying power that the United States has. The very thing that corporate America DESPISES about Americans (our higher standard of living and wages) is the very thing corporations depend on to make their money. By getting rid of US jobs in effect corporations are chopping off their legs and then they wonder why they are having a hard time standing up.
Nobody in Russia is buying GM cars. I could have told GM that years ago and now they wouldn’t look so foolish. They should really call me on these things. Nobody in India is buying them either. Nor Brazil…..Nor China. We hear all about the 1 Billion people in China and how they are so incredibly important. Yet the GM cars just sit there in Chinese show rooms collecting dust.
It is all just nonsense. The magical global economy is a fairy tale with no basis in reality.
Political turmoil in Russia, combined with a weak economy and lower-than-expected vehicle sales, convinced General Motors that it just isn’t worth sinking more money into the once-promising market.
GM announced today that it will idle a factory in St. Petersburg and stop selling Opels and most mainstream Chevrolets in Russia by the end of the year.
Russia, one of the BRIC countries, along with Brazil, India and China, has not lived up to automakers’ expectations as the next big market for automobiles.
over the past 15 months, GM has announced plans to pull Chevrolet out of Europe, stop producing vehicles in Australia and Indonesia and restructure its business in Thailand. Those decisions eliminated $500 million in annual losses and avoided $1.5 billion in investment over the next four years. (Yay…..Global Economy)

Monday, March 16, 2015

California Draught......

You know the climate change that Republicans and Fox news keep telling everyone isn’t really happening. The one they say there is no scientific proof that it is a real thing.
Well If you are thirsty please don’t go to California because in a year you are going to be real disappointed when you turn the faucet on. What doesn’t come out is some of that proof that Republicans insist does not exist. So if you support the Republican point of view….Good for you. Just don’t be thirsty on the west coast.
The state is in its fourth year of drought conditions. California'sofficial drought site notes that this January was "considered the driest January since meteorological records have been kept." Reservoir levels remain way below average.
(Some might say this is almost like......proof. Luckily Republicans are not as easily swayed. That is why they are so admired…..by themselves)
Resevoir levels are so low that the LA Times op-ed says this:
Right now the state has only about one year of water supply left in its reservoirs, and our strategic backup supply, groundwater, is rapidly disappearing. California has no contingency plan for a persistent drought like this one (let alone a 20-plus-year mega-drought), except, apparently, staying in emergency mode and praying for rain.
(Hey……Republicans fully support prayer. Maybe that will work. Lets pull together as a country and pray Republicans are not the dimwits everyone believes they are.)

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Cold War is Back.....

NORAD is concerned about protecting North America from Russian bombers.
US Army is moving heavy Armour 1,100 miles across Eastern Europe. Take that Putin.....
Oh...And Putin is still missing.
The cold war is back. Yay!!!! So much more interesting then the never ending middle east wars. BOOORRRING!!!!!
I missed you Cold War. Now just send Rocky Balboa back over there and we can win this thing again.

Netanyahu Is In Trouble.....

Netanyahu is in trouble. Too much sabre rattling. Too much bullying. Too much alienating. Not enough paying attention to the people. Soon the people will head to the polls.
Mr. Netanyahu, who is running for his third consecutive term, and fourth overall, is beginning to confront the very real possibility of a political about-face in Israel.
“If we do not close the gap in the next few days there is indeed a danger that Tzipi Livni and Bougie Herzog will be the next prime ministers,” Mr. Netanyahu said in an interview on Israel’s Channel 2 News on Thursday night
the public dynamic seems to have been shifting against Mr. Netanyahu.
Mr. Herzog has emerged as an increasingly credible candidate for the post of prime minister in recent weeks, largely capitalizing on Mr. Netanyahu’s failures to address the daily concerns of millions of Israelis over the high cost of living and a lack of reasonably priced housing.
Mr. Netanyahu has focused on his credentials as a strong leader best able to protect Israelis against the potential nuclear threat of Iran and other enemies.
But even on the security front Mr. Netanyahu has found himself challenged, with his critics accusing him of fraying Israel’s ties with its most crucial ally, the United States, over the Iranian issue.
“You and you alone turned the United States from an ally into an enemy,” Shabtai Shavit, a former chief of the Mossad spy agency, said in a blistering statement addressed to Mr. Netanyahu at a news conference with several other former security chiefs and retired commanders in Tel Aviv this week.
Another retired Mossad chief, Meir Dagan, has also come out of the shadows on a mission to unseat Mr. Netanyahu. At an opposition rally attended by tens of thousands of people in Tel Aviv last Saturday night, Mr. Dagan, who is known to be unwell, captivated the audience by delivering a keynote speech with tears in his eyes.
“Israel is surrounded by enemies,” he told the crowd. “Enemies do not scare me; I worry about our leadership.” He said what he most feared was “a lack of vision, a lack of direction and determination, and a dearth of exemplary leadership.”
Mr. Netanyahu acknowledged that he had made mistakes by not doing enough to control the cost of living and he promised to flood Israel with apartments if re-elected. (Watch out West Bank)
Mr. Netanyahu stopped at a coffee shop and ordered a cappuccino, which he paid for with a 100-shekel bill, worth about $25. The coffee shop owner later told Israeli television that she had given him 87 shekels back in small coins to remind him that while he speaks about Iran, “we, the independent business owners in the country, are conscious of the daily difficulties of getting by, even for small change.”

Putin Is Missing......

Where is Putin?
If you see him let someone know.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Takata VS NHTSA......

Takata VS NHTSA:
The battle is over whether you should be killed in a minor traffic accident. NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration) says you should be saved.
Takata (The maker of the faulty airbags currently in your car) says it is OK if you die. As long as it doesn’t cost them any money.
The problem is NHTSA does not have a lot of authority. That is all part of the “keep government weak and powerless” movement that corporations and Republicans love so much.
The root cause of the issue is not clear. When the explosives go off they are going off with so much force that the canister is disintegrating sending shrapnel into the drivers compartment. 6 people have died and 50 others have been injured.
The latest death was in Texas in January. A minor fender bender turned deadly when airbag shrapnel severed the mans artery in his neck. He bled out and died in the intersection. If there was no airbag he would still be alive.
Takata says the problem occurs in Hot and Humid states. The heat and humidy (over many years) changes the chemistry of the explosive making it more powerful. NHTSA disagrees and says this problem is not only happening in Hot and Humid states and all airbags should be replaced. Takata pooh poohed that idea.
NHTSA hasn’t been pleased with TAKATA’s response to this entire situation and is currently fining them $14,000 per day. (Peanuts)
There are 40,000,000 cars affected with these faulty airbags around the world. There are 17,000,000 in the United States alone. Of those only 2,000,000 have been replaced.
The problem is Takata can’t (or won’t) make the replacement parts fast enough and NHTSA may start requiring other manufactures to start making the parts to speed things along.
Meanwhile the car manufactures are caught in the middle. They have gone and hired their own company to research the root cause of the issue. This makes sense since the lawsuits will have their name on them.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Eversource Or CLP....Either Way I Hate You.......

Normally our electric bill is outrageous because we use electricity to heat water.
I knew CLP raised rates (as they do every 10 seconds) but I was still appalled when I opened the January bill. It was the largest bill I had ever received and it is winter. We aren’t even running air conditioning.
This month I was just going to throw the bill in the garbage (and not even open it).
My plan was thwarted because CLP tricked me by changing their name to Eversource. They did that and never bothered to tell anyone.
That is what shady companies do when everyone hates them....they just change their name. So I opened their shady envelope and our Feb bill is even higher then the absurd January bill.
Freakin Eversource.…. Changing your name won’t stop me from hating you. I hated you when you were CLP and I still hate you as Eversource. You can stick it!
At least when criminals stick a gun in your ribs (and demand money) they are being honest.
Eversource is doing the same thing only they don't need the gun.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Lumber Liquidators Chinese Fraud......

Here is one more example…..In case you still needed another.
An American company instead of hiring Americans (which would help our economy) they decided to hire the Communist Chinese. Once again we see the results are the same as always.
Not only did US workers lose but the consumer also lost (again). Now the consumers home is contaminated with Toxic Formaldehyde tainted flooring. Oh good!
The tradition continues….. Whether it is toys covered in Lead Paint. Whether it is Tainted Chicken Treats that will kill your dog. Whether it is tainted flooring that will sicken your family. The common thread is always the same……YOU LOSE.
See if it will increase a companies profit margin…… and the only down side is your family gets sick….Well that is a no brainer. That will be a YES every time. Your family is not important……What is important is money. The more the better.
Enjoy your new flooring.
Lumber Liquidators laminate flooring is made in (Communist Red) China may fail to meet health and safety standards, because it contains high levels of formaldehyde, a known cancer causing chemical.
We believe there are probably tens of thousands of households in California that have installed Lumber Liquidators Chinese laminates that may exceed formaldehyde standards
Nationwide, its probably hundreds of thousands.
Drury and Larson bought more than 150 boxes of laminate flooring at stores around California and sent them to three certified labs for a series of tests. The results? While laminate flooring from Home Depot and Lowes had acceptable levels of formaldehyde, as did Lumber Liquidators American-made laminates, every single sample of Chinese-made laminate flooring from Lumber Liquidators failed to meet California formaldehyde emissions standards. Many by a large margin.
The average level in Lumber Liquidators products that we found was over six to seven times above the state standard for formaldehyde. And we found some that were close to 20 times above the level that's allowed to be sold.
Richard Drury: It's a startling amount. It was so high, in fact, that one of our test labs thought their machine was broken.
Denny Larson: It hit the upper limit on the radar gun. And they thought it was broken.
Dr. Philip Landrigan: It's not a safe level, it's a level that the US EPA calls polluted indoor conditions.
Dr. Philip Landrigan: I would say long-term exposure at that level would be risky because it would increase the risk for chronic respiratory irritation, change in a person's lung function, increased risk of asthma. It's not going to produce symptoms in everyone but children will be the people most likely to show symptoms at that sort of level.
And on their website, Lumber Liquidators promises that all of their flooring "meets or exceeds rigorous emissions standards" and they say "we not only comply with laws, we exceed them."

Microsoft Vulnerabilities......

Microsoft on Thursday confirmed that Windows was vulnerable to FREAK attacks, and researchers changed their tune, saying Internet Explorer (IE) users were at risk.
"Microsoft is aware of a security feature bypass vulnerability in Secure Channel (Schannel) that affects all supported releases of Microsoft Windows," Microsoft said in the advisory. "Our investigation has verified that the vulnerability could allow an attacker to force the downgrading of the cipher suites used in an SSL/TLS connection on a Windows client system."
Schannel is a set of Windows protocols that, among other things, accesses the OS's cryptographic features to encrypt traffic between browsers and website servers using SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and its successor, TLS (Transport Layer Security).
FREAK, on the other hand, is the label for the flaw that researchers from INRIA, a French research institute, and Microsoft disclosed Tuesday. The bug could allow attackers to silently force a browser-server connection to fall back to long-discarded encryption standards, those guarded by keys relatively easy to crack with off-the-shelf software and computing power purchased from cloud services like Amazon's EC2.
The most likely assault would be through a classic "man-in-the-middle" (MITM) attack, where criminals interpose themselves between users and servers on an insecure Wi-Fi network, like those at coffee shops and airports.
Microsoft listed every still-supported version of Windows as affected by the bug. Although the advisory did not promise a patch, Microsoft almost certainly will. The next regularly scheduled Patch Tuesday is next week, March 10.
Because Windows harbors the bug, Microsoft's IE browser is also vulnerable to a FREAK attack. (IE relies on Windows' cryptography to implement SSL and TLS.)

Thursday, March 5, 2015

The Arab World Freaking Out About Iran......

Netanyahu is not the only one freaking out about Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon. 

Other Arab countries also don’t want to see a nuclear Iran but are less boisterous about it in public.  John Kerry had to fly to Saudi Arabia today to settle everyone down.

Saudi Arabia, who pretends to be friends with America, was the home of 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers. 

A country whose government is still being accused of having a larger role in 9/11 even 14 years later. 

Saudi Arabia is very unhappy that Iran is in Iraq helping fight Isis.

Saudi Arabia doesn’t want Iranian influence anywhere outside of Iran even if they are fighting the world’s worst terrorists. 

Kerry (who wants Iran fighting Isis) went over to pretend he agrees with Saudi Arabias point of view.  Wink Wink.

Again this is all just another case of Sunni vs Shia.  Iran is Shia, and Saudi Arabia is Sunni.  These two sides are always trying to kill each other. 

From the United States point of view Iran is no good (Supporter of Hezzbolah, murders of over 200 US Marines in Beirut in 1983.  Takers of US Hostages in 1979.  Direct threat to our ally Israel (Who Obama hates).

On the Other Side we have the Sunni’s……which include our friend Osama Bin Laden and Al Qauda.  The perpetrators of 9/11.  Saddam was also a Sunni.  He was a bad guy.  Isis is Sunni and they are bad guys too.

At the end of the day the United States hopes all sides lose.

With Iran’s growing influence (and Kerry and Obamas unwillingness to stop it) the end result will be a nuclear arms race across the Arab World.

Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday sought to reassure Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that the negotiation of a nuclear accord with Iran would not lead the Obama administration to let down its guard against any Iranian interference in the region.

With the Saudi foreign minister by his side, Mr. Kerry said at a news conference here that the administration was committed to standing up to Iran’s “intervention.” (Intervention = Fighting Isis in Iraq.  Something Kerry actually supports)

it was clear from the remarks of the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, that Arab nations are acutely worried about Iran’s effort to exercise influence in the region (Fighting Isis) and the prospect that it could grow as economic sanctions are lifted as part of a nuclear deal.

Prince Saud cited reports of Iran’s role in supporting the Iraqi operation to retake Tikrit (Retaking from Sunni Isis.) as an indication of what he called Tehran’s “hegemonic” tendencies.

“Tikrit is a prime example of what we are talking about,” he said. Decisions about war and peace, he said, were no longer solely being made by the Iraqi government (The Iraqi government was inept.  If they weren’t inept Isis wouldn’t be in control of half the country.  The only hope is Iran since the US won’t put boots on the ground) but were “in the hands of Iran.”

He also met at the Riyadh Air Base on Thursday morning with the foreign ministers from the Gulf Cooperation Council, which is made up of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. (Everyobody is scared of a Nuclear Iran.  Everyone except Obama and Kerry.)

A broad concern for Arab states is that lifting economic sanctions against Tehran — the quid pro quo for the nuclear limits Iran is being asked to accept — will not only help Iran’s economy but also enhance its ability to send weapons and Quds paramilitary forces to support President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. 

(The United States doesn’t like Assad because he kills his own people.  But Assad is fighting Isis who the United States also doesn’t like either.  Like I said…..The US hates all sides)

Arab nations are also worried about Iran’s support for Houthi rebels in Yemen and its longtime support for Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group.

Seeking to ease those concerns, Mr. Kerry said that he would convene a meeting in Washington with senior officials from the Gulf states to discuss future security arrangements in the region.  (kerry will have a meeting to discuss what the world will be like once he lets Iran have Nuclear Weapons.)

Meanwhile since Obama is powerless to stop Iran…… Pakistan is ready to share Nuclear secrets with Saudi Arabia in the event Iran gets the bomb. 

Pakistan has the bomb.  Saudi Arabia wants the bomb…. and will get it from Pakistan once Iran completes its program. 

Once that happens the mid east Nuclear arms race will be on.

For decades, Riyadh has been judged a supporter of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, providing financing in return for a widely assumed understanding that, if needed, Islamabad will transfer technology or even warheads.

 It has been noticeable that changes in leadership in either country have quickly been followed by top-level meetings, as if to reconfirm such nuclear arrangements. Although Pakistani nuclear technology also helped Iran's program, the relationship between Islamabad and Riyadh has been much more obvious.

15 Cars Not To Buy......

In the olden days when the list of cars to never buy came out it would be all American cars. It is nice to see that is no longer the case. Now Nissan makes the list. Mitsubishi makes the list. Scion and others are there too.
What is surprising is that the two worst cars are high end expensive luxury cars. One would not think BMW makes the worst car…. especially with how much they cost. But there they are. Likewise you wouldn’t think Cadillac would totally suck either. But there they are too.
Special shout out goes to Jeep for taking the 5, 6 and 7 spots. Nicely done! Jeep sucked 25 years ago it they still suck today. It is all about consistency. Fiat (the owner of Jeep) might be upset but unfortunately they are in spot #4 leading their companies sucking.

The Beast.....

It's called "The Beast,"
President Barack Obama's massive Cadillac isn't really a Cadillac. And there's not one, but a dozen, in the highly classified motor pool, each costing more than $1 million. The cars travel with their own mechanic, an armed federal agent who carries a vast arsenal of electronic diagnostic devices and tools.
We've come a long way since JFK's opentop Lincoln. Until only recently, the Secret Service bought the presidential limousines off the lot, then modified them with super-secret aftermarket products and systems. All that changed when George W. Bush became president. The reason? The stock presidential limos kept breaking down. All the extras the agency added to each vehicle created excess stress and weight beyond the real operational limits of the original cars. As a result, the transmissions often failed, “and the brakes would last about two trips,” said one veteran agent. “The cars were just too heavy, and they were a terror to drive, and even harder to stop.”
So the Secret Service decided to design and then build the car from the ground up. “The car may say Cadillac,” explained one agent, “but very little in that car is Cadillac.” Indeed, it is built by an R&D arm of General Motors in Detroit. But “even the Cadillac emblems on the hood and trunk are supersized. The car is really a truck that looks like a limo. And it drives like one, too.”
-- The fuel tank is armor-plated and encased in special foam to protect it from rupture in case of collision-or small-arms fire. And, perhaps not surprisingly, there's an onboard Halon fire-suppression system.
-- What's in the trunk? Extra weapons, a separate oxygen supply under the president's seat and emergency medical equipment, including bottles of the president's blood type in case the ambulance (one always travels in the motorcade) gets cut off.
-- The Beast is heavy: The armor plating (on five newer models) is so thick and the doors so heavy that it's nearly physically impossible for the president to open them from inside.
-- The interior is cut off from the outside world and sealed (in case of chemical attack). There's an encrypted satellite phone inside and a special interactive video system so the president can conduct secure video conferencing with officials in the Situation Room, embassies abroad or the Pentagon.
-- The car features military-grade armor (steel, aluminum, titanium and ceramic), surrounded by removable fiberglass sheets on the doors and fenders.
-- The Beast has special locking mechanisms, and communications and fire-suppression systems. It rides on special Kevlar-reinforced Goodyear run-flats.
-- The Secret Service has been experimenting with special night-vision cameras and monitors (the camera is mounted inside the grille) to be used in a doomsday scenario if, say, the windshield was somehow compromised or views were obstructed.
Any Secret Service agent assigned to drive the president has to take an intense weeklong defensive-driving course on a special track at the Secret Service academy in Beltsville, Md. They practice evasive maneuvers, high-speed cornering and precision driving. "It actually handles quite well, considering how much it weighs," one agent said. For additional training, the agency uses Chargers, Camaro and Mustangs.
What doesn't it have? Sorry, 007 fans, but there are no rocket launchers, grenades or built-in weapons of any kind. No escape pod or ejection seat. Oh, and here's a mythbuster: The Beast is not diesel, but a gasoline V8. "Surprisingly," said one agent, "it has pretty good 0-60 pickup."
3.7: Average miles to the gallon
12: Number of actual Beasts in service
$1.5 million: How much each Beast costs
18: How long the Beast is, in feet
8: Thickness, in inches, of the doors' armor plating
5: Thickness, in inches, of the windows–bulletproof, of course
15,000: Best guess on how much the Beast weighs, in pounds (the exact number is classified)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

James Clapper Hears Your Complaints and Is Ready to Double Down.....

James Clapper the Director of National Intelligence (The guy who listens to all your phone calls) hears your complaints about the intrusion of government on your life.
Except what he hears is that you want more intrusion.
That is correct…..Anytime they have failed to stop a plot it is because they are not far enough into your personal space.
Reading your emails, tracking you online movement, listening to your phone calls, tracking you around town…..It is all just not enough.
What you need is even more.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Charlie Rose there is an irony in the debate over government intrusion. In making his point, Clapper referenced years of "post event critiques and investigations" on terror-related events.
"A common theme of every one of those critiques has been that the government should have been more intrusive," said Clapper. "It was true of the Christmas bomber, it was true in Fort Hood, and it's true in the Boston Marathon."
Clapper says he interprets those criticisms as meaning that the intelligence community should "do more intensive surveillance of people who live in this country."
So lets review….When United States intelligence fails to stop a man in Amsterdam from boarding a plane with explosives in his underwear the lesson is that YOU need more government surveillance in your life. Maybe that would have helped.
If the government could just get a little further up your a** then perhaps something like that might not happen again in the future. So stop fighting it and just bend over already.
The fact of the matter is even with all the surveillance in the world things like the underwear bomber still happen. The surveillance has done NOTHING to make us safer. More of it will do little to change that.

Putin Will Kill You.....

If you are going to be critical of Vladimir Putin please do it quietly. Try not to bring attention to yourself because if you do you might end up dead.
Here is a list of all the people who were critical of Mr. Putin but are now currently dead. It is the dardest thing. One minute you are walking along minding your business and the next minute you are dead. Please be careful.

Netanyahu VS Obama VS Iran.........

I think it is fine that Netanyahu is making the speech to Congress but generally I don’t agree with him. I don’t agree with Obama either. They are both wrong.
This idea that Netanyahu making a speech is going to change anything (or ruin something) is silly. He can make a speech as this is a free country.
Nothing in this process needs to be a secret as far as I can tell. “Oh he better not reveal any details”…..Why not? What is all the secrecy about? If it is a good deal then come out and tell us.
In a free and open country Obama sure likes it to not be free or open.
The bottom line in Netanyahu is desperate. This whole deal is going down and he is powerless to stop it.
When Iraq had a Nuclear program Israel flew in and blew it up. When Syria had a nuclear program Israel flew in and blew that up too. The only reason Israel isn’t flying into to Iran is because they can’t do it.
Iran is very far away and their nuclear program is spread out over multiple sites across the country. Most of it is buried deep underground. Even if they could fly there they would need a bomb big enough to take out underground facilities. But they have no such weapon.
The United States does have such weapons though. We have been developing it for just this purpose.
Even if the US gave one of these bombs to Israel they need a plane that can deliver it. You cannot hang a 30,000 lb bomb under the wing of an F-16. It won’t work. You need heavy lift bombers. Those bombers need to be stealth. You need mid air refueling. You need naval assets to launch tomahawk missiles to remove radar. It is a huge complicated operation and Israel is not equipped to pull it off alone.
What Israel has done is send in assassins to kill Iranian scientists. They have pulled off killings that could be right out of a James Bond film. A Motorcycle rides up next to a car and attaches an explosive device, which blows up and kills the scientist inside. They have done that kind of thing multiple times.
The Stuxnet Computer Virus is another attempt to derail the nuclear program. Have the centrifuges run faster than they are supposed to (while all the gages read as normal) and the centrifuges repeatedly break down.
None of these things will stop Iran.
In 2003 Bush gave his axis of Evil speech labeling North Korea, Iran, and Iraq the problem children of the world. We went to war with Iraq and they had nothing. North Korea has since obtained Nuclear Weapons. The US did nothing about that. Iran will soon have them as well. The United States will do nothing about that either. Just like we did nothing about Pakistan getting them. Or India getting them. It is easy to say we will not allow this to happen but it is a lot harder to do something that stops it.
In 2015 The United States has no more appetite for additional conflicts. Today Libya is a mess. Egypt has issues. Iraq is a mess. Afghanistan is a mess. Yemen is a mess. Somalia is a mess. Pakistan has problems. There is just no way the United States is going to pursue another war.
Netanyahu and Israel just have to accept that Iran is going to get Nuclear Weapons. It is just a question of when.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Chris Christie Blowing Kisses At Exxon Mobil......

Republican Governor Chris Christie is trying to let Exxon Mobil off the hook for polluting 1500 acres in New Jersey.
The lawsuit was filed in 2004 suing Exxon for $8,900,000,000.00.
Christie is now willing to settle the suit for $8,650,000,000.00 less than that amount.
Why would he do this?
Exxons guilt has already been established. The Judge was just about to announce damages but Christie said Yeah….you don’t need to do that….. we are all good here. Exxon will Just give us pennies on the dollar and we will call it done.
This is what happens when a politician puts his personal presidential aspirations above the best interests of his state.
To run for president you need hundreds of millions of dollars. A lot of that comes from industries such as oil and gas. Christie will be up against Jeb Bush whos family is entrenched in the oil industry. This was a chance to curry favor. Here you go Exxon....you keep 8.6 Billion but keep those campaign contributions available.
The stakes were high, given the enormous cost the state’s experts had placed on restoring and replacing the resources damaged by decades of oil refining and other petrochemical operations
“The scope of the environmental damage resulting from the discharges is as obvious as it is staggering and unprecedented in New Jersey,” the administration of Gov. Chris Christie said in a court brief filed in November.
But a month ago, with a State Superior Court judge believed to be close to a decision on damages, the Christie administration twice petitioned the court to hold off on a ruling because settlement talks were underway. Then, last Friday, the state told the judge that the case had been resolved.
Richard B. Stewart, a New York University law professor and a former head of the Justice Department’s environmental division under President George Bush, noted the “striking disparity between the damages claimed, which have been exhaustively litigated, and the settlement amount,” particularly with a judicial ruling expected soon. Mr. Stewart said that it was hard to assess the agreement without knowing the evidence, but that “it raises questions.”
A spokesman for Mr. Christie referred questions about the settlement to the attorney general’s office. A spokesman for the acting attorney general, John J. Hoffman, said on Thursday that the office had no comment, as was its practice with pending litigation. Exxon also declined to comment on the settlement. (Nobody wants to talk about nothing……There is nothing to see here. Just mind your business. Normally you can’t shut Chris Christie up.)
Debbie Mans, the executive director of the New York/New Jersey Baykeeper, characterized the proposed deal as “a travesty” and called on the judge to “reject the settlement outright.”
The deal comes at a time when Mr. Christie, a potential contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, is experiencing the lowest approval ratings of his tenure, and has been forced to defend his decisionto reduce state pension payments.
The damage to the Bayonne and Linden (known as Bayway) sites dated back many years. “Contamination of the land and water at the Bayway and Bayonne refineries began as early as the 1870s in Bayonne and the early 1900s in Bayway and continues to this day,” the state’s expert report says.
“Today, many of these dredge fill areas still look and smell like petroleum waste dumps,” the report continues. “Spilled materials from pipeline ruptures, tank failures or overflows, and explosions have resulted in widespread groundwater, soil and sediment contamination.”
The attorney general’s office said in its brief in November that the sites had been “adversely affected by or buried under the discharge of hazardous substances,” including over 600 identified chemicals.
On the Bayway site, a 2007 court opinion noted, marshland adjacent to a creek was “now mostly covered with a tar of petroleum products or filled with other hazardous constituents and debris.” Another 45 acres comprised “sludge lagoons,” onetime tidal marshes used as hazardous waste disposal facilities.
The state had set the cost of primary restoration of the sites at $2.6 billion;