And justice for all

Bundy Ranch gate, near Bunkerville NV

A Nevada jury just deadlocked on all counts for six Bundy defendants brought in the wake of the Bunkerville standoff in 2014. The sniper pictured above, Eric Parker, was one of the defendants jurors deadlocked on. Apparently a photo of him aiming a rifle from a sniper position was not enough evidence to convict him on… Continue Reading →


R.I.P. Robert Persig

Zen Moment

Robert Persig, 88. Author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, one of my favorite books.

“Zen” is the account of a 1968 motorcycle trip that Pirsig, his 11-year-old son Chris and two friends made from Minneapolis through the West. A fifth traveler was sensed but unseen: Phaedrus, Pirsig’s alter ego, brilliant, uncompromising and obsessed with the search for truth. Like the real-life Pirsig, the ghost-like Phaedrus had an IQ of 170, entered a university at 15 and, as a young man, was committed to mental hospitals where he underwent electroconvulsive therapy.

“He was dead,” Pirsig’s narrator writes in “Zen.” “Destroyed by order of the court, enforced by the transmission of high-voltage alternating current through the lobes of his brain.”

On the trip, though, the “dead” Phaedrus was all too active, a real but intangible force vying for the soul of the emotionally unstable Chris. Chris is spared in the novel, but Pirsig’s actual son Chris struggled with drug addiction and, at 22, was stabbed to death during a 1979 mugging in San Francisco. It was at a bus stop near the Zen Buddhism center where he lived.

While the book has a more or less happy ending, “Zen” is filled with unanswered and, perhaps, unanswerable questions. Pirsig, who weathered schizophrenia but was devastated by its treatment, doubts everything: reality, sanity — and himself.

“What I am,” he writes, “is a heretic who’s recanted and thereby in everyone’s eyes saved his soul. Everyone’s eyes but one, who knows deep down inside that all he has saved is his skin.”


The four-and-a-half-hour Nazi documentary you can’t afford to miss

I have watched part of the Nuremberg trials since the election, and it’s incredibly compelling in light of current events:

First released 40 years ago, ‘The Memory of Justice’ uses the Nuremberg Trials as a springboard for unanswerable questions. A newly restored version will be streaming on HBO from April 24 By Jordan Hoffman NEW YORK — Marcel Ophuls demands your time. Moreover, the 89-year-old documentary film director, born in Germany and holding French and American… Continue Reading →


Heckuva job there, Johnny

Home and Away: DHS and the Threats to America

Via Huffington Post. If only you hadn’t shut down the experienced group within your agency that dealt with these people:

John Kelly, the man in charge of protecting the nation’s homeland security, admitted Sunday that he has absolutely no idea how to prevent homegrown terrorist attacks.

“There are so many aspects to this terrorist thing,” Kelly, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“Obviously, you got the homegrown terrorists. I don’t know how to stop that. I don’t know how to detect that. You got other terrorist threats that come across the border.”

Kelly’s admission to CBS host John Dickerson was surprising, in part because of its candor. For all of President Donald Trump’s focus on the border and banning people from Muslim-majority countries from the United States, the administration apparently doesn’t know how to deal with what Kelly said are the most common types of attacks.


Give us the wall, or your healthcare gets it

Via Raw Story. Dear God, Mulvaney is a shameless prick:

After years of Republican obstructionism under Democratic President Barack Obama, Trump Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said on Sunday that it was the Democrats who are guilty of “stunning” obstructionism because they will not negotiate on a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

During an interview one Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace noted that the President Donald Trump had offered Democrats a deal: If you fund the border wall, payments to Obamacare will not be cut.

“You are holding hostage health insurance for millions of lower-income Americans,” Wallace pointed out.

“Actually, what I would say is they’re holding hostage national security,” Mulvaney replied. “Again, something they supported in the recent past when President Obama was in the Senate.”


Don’t people get tired of this?

Deepwater Horizon memorial on Elysian Fields, New Orleans

Being lied to about these disasters? I realize the people who live there are dependent on the fishing industry, but Gulf seafood is most likely unsafe to eat:

Scientists have already reported finding what they called a 1,235-square-mile “bathtub ring” of oil on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico left over from the huge 2010 BP oil spill.

Now it appears this ring is part of a washroom set: A different team of scientists has found that up 10 million gallons of oil have created what can be called only a “bath mat” beneath the sediment of the gulf’s floor.

First the ring. David Valentine and colleagues from the University of California at Santa Barbara wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in October that about 10 million gallons of the spilled oil settled on the gulf’s floor. Its size: about the size of the state of Rhode Island.

But what about the rest? As much as 200 million gallons of oil were spilled after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, owned by BP and Anadarko Petroleum Corp., exploded off the coast of New Orleans, killing 11 workers on the rig, injuring 17 more, and allowing oil to gush into the gulf for nearly three months.

All that oil has been hard to find. But a team of scientists led by Jeff Chanton found between 6 million and 10 million gallons buried in the sediment at the bottom of the gulf about 60 miles southeast of the Mississippi Delta. Chanton is a professor of oceanography at Florida State University.


Chuck Todd: It’s becoming hard to ignore Trump’s conflict of interests anymore


“And God knows, I tried!”

On MTP Daily this week, Chuck Todd offered a scathing take down of Trump’s continued conflicts of interest in this amazing clip…using Trump’s own words against him. Remember when Trump on the campaign trail accused Hillary Clinton of “pay for play”? Allowing access to her family because they gave her family foundation tons of money? Well… Continue Reading →


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