Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Mid-Week Post

Five more shopping days until Halloween...

More strong earthquakes in Italy:

Two strong earthquakes rocked a wide area of central Italy on Wednesday, striking fear among residents rattled by a deadly tremor in August, but there were no reports of casualties.

What is Obama's legacy on the Korean Peninsula? An escalating nuclear crisis that his predecessor has to deal with:

President Obama’s North Korea legacy will be to leave his successor and our allies with an escalating nuclear crisis, a deteriorating humanitarian situation, and possibly a nuclear arms race in Asia. History will eventually rank it alongside the failure of the Green Revolution in Iran, the near-collapse in Iraq, and the Syria fiasco as one of his greatest foreign policy failures. The question now is whether he will leave his successor with the makings of a strategy to stop Kim Jong-un while there’s still time … if there’s still time.


In true form, American intelligence chief James Clapper sounded the defeatist alarm and stated that he believes that denuclearising North Korea at this point isn't possible:

“I think the notion of getting the North Koreans to denuclearize is probably a lost cause,” Mr. Clapper said Tuesday in response to a question about whether negotiations with North Korea’s leaders could lead to a suspension of its nuclear and missile activities.

“They are not going to do that,” he said. “That is their ticket to survival.”

I'm sure he meant to say doom.

South Korea's default action is to reunify with the north, not reduce it to radioactive rubble so this paranoid raving about North Korea' s survival in the face of its southern neighbour is absurd.

A Trump administration has no real interest in the Korean Peninsula. It should and should seek to disarm North Korea or it will be the Fifties all over again.


Oh, this must be embarrassing:

Sweden and Morocco donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton’s State Department approved policy very favourable to their governments, emails released by Wikileaks show.

Боже Мой!

Infighting among Putin’s inner circle has led to a series of disclosures over the past few months that have shined a harsh light on the private dealings of the Kremlin court — much as Hillary Clinton has endured the airing of thousands of e-mails as a result of what the U.S. calls Russian hacking of her campaign.

(Sidebar: what it calls. HA!)

As the Kremlin gears up for Putin’s last re-election bid in 18 months, anti-graft crusader Alexei Navalny has emerged as the conduit of choice for rival factions to scoop dirt on each other as they jostle to retain their fiefdoms.

While Putin has largely stayed above the fray, anonymous tips and research by Navalny’s staff of 30 have led to a string of revelations about the extravagance of some of the Russian leader’s closest allies, including a new luxury home for his premier, army contracts for his personal chef and private-jet travel for the show dogs of a top official.

I'm sure that the French are all over this:


Smoke and mirrors:

Ontario’s Liberal government has nixed the idea of using legislation to ban chiefs of staff and other behind-the-scenes political decision makers from attending fundraisers, as they prepare to prohibit politicians from doing the same.

The Liberals have released a list of amendments they are proposing to an election finance reform bill, which they introduced amid criticism over fundraising events that saw cabinet ministers attend private, high-priced functions with stakeholders.

Under the amendments, any members of provincial parliament, party leaders, nomination contestants, candidates and leadership contestants would not be able to attend fundraisers.

They still could attend events where the ticket price only recovers the cost of the hosting it, and could still solicit funds by mail, phone or email.

To offset the impact on constituency associations, the Liberals are proposing subsidies of $25,000 per year, divided among the parties in each riding.

Crooks to the very end.

It's all fun and games at the CBC:

A former human resources executive for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. has filed a wrongful dismissal suit against the broadcaster, alleging that senior HR staff conspired to fire her while she was on medical leave and that CEO Hubert Lacroix breached his duties in refusing to review the matter, according to court documents.
The suit is one of at least four pending cases against the CBC alleging wrongful dismissal, and reveals allegations of infighting in the HR department in the months following the revelations that several women had publicly accused former CBC star Jian Ghomeshi of sexual abuse and inappropriate workplace behaviour.

Basic guaranteed income targets the usual spots on the victimhood totem pole:

Some experts say basic income can fix existing holes in the system and will most benefit women in their late 40s and early 50s without dependent children, as well as adults with disabilities. Others say it will have the most impact on youth, allowing them to stay in school longer and become social entrepreneurs.

Yes, about that:

But a basic income is too costly and inefficient to act as a wholesale replacement for welfare. It is feasible only if it is small, and complemented by more targeted anti-poverty measures.

One sees these arguments in Star Trek. With replicators (and who builds, maintains and stocks these replicators?), people are free to be creative, unless the Borg is assimilating them or some other such hindrance.

Therein lies the rub.

Who would work or do anything if he didn't have to? One sees people on welfare who don't move their @$$es unless they need more snacks. Are they bettering themselves somehow? What if the replicators were broken? What if some people would rather live without them?

And there will always be scarcity. There will always be a need to acquire or replace something.

In this universe, basic income costs everyone else.

Maryam Monsef is above answering the questions of mere proles:

Monsef’s staff were essentially pre-emptively answering a question that Malcolm had not asked but which others — Monsef’s detractors, presumably — surely would: Did she have an Iranian passport which listed her place of birth as Iran? Because, of course, if she did have an Iranian passport, a major hole opens in the narrative Monsef and her supporters have used  about her arrival and eventual success in Canada as an Afghan refugee fleeing the Taliban.


Stubblefield said she had sex with D.J. in 2011 on the floor of her office on the Rutgers campus in Newark. When they finished, she claimed D.J. told her: “I feel alive for the first time in my life.”

It was an incredible assertion.

D.J. likely could not have even have grasped what was happening, much less reciprocated Stubblefield’s feelings.

D.J., now 35, has cerebral palsy. Years before Stubblefield came into his life, a state doctor found that he had the mental capacity of a toddler, unable to carry out “preschool-level tasks,” according to the New York Times. He is five feet tall, non-verbal and can only walk if someone is there to balance him.

Stubblefield, 46, had convinced D.J.’s family that she could help him speak by using “facilitated communication,” a widely-discredited method of teaching people with mental disabilities how to type messages.

It took many months, but D.J.’s mother and brother eventually came to believe it was all a sham.

Because you can't disrespect a human body, let it rot or have one's waterways turn into the Ganges. That's why:

As the practice of cremation grew, so too did a few of the frowned-upon habits. Under the published guidelines, approved by Pope Francis in March, “the ashes of the faithful must be laid to rest in a sacred place.” Such places are mostly limited to cemeteries or certain church areas. “Only in grave and exceptional cases” can loved ones keep ashes in a domestic residence.

For your ghoulish delight, Camille Saint-Saen's, Danse Macabre:

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