Apr 24

Slow Play

Folks, I golf so I know just how it is. You want to do a deal so you call your Greens Keeper with whom you’re on a first name basis and set up a Tee Time, around 10ish so your (prospective) partner has enough time to stop at the office and pick up his weekday clubs and answer his email without being rushed before you hit the links.

Because it looks silly to golf in a three piece you stop at your Clubhouse locker for your knickers and lucky argyles from the pro shop at St. Andrews and your trendy Cabby Cap, then you head out to the first Tee where your target fellow golfer, Carts, and Caddies are waiting, but not too long. You didn’t have to stop for stogies because the Refreshment Cart with its Frosties and Humidor normally catches up by the 2nd Hole and you don’t want to get too sloppy too early.

You and your buddy share a Cart because you’re talking business– “Did you hear the one about the Rabbi, the Priest, the Minister, and the Hooker?” “Oh, that’s funny. I reminds me of this one with a Buddhist Monk.” “”Hah, hah, hah. Right Action. I’ll bet it was ‘Right Action.'”

Everything is going swimmingly and you’re totally on track to hit the 19th Hole for a late lunch and paperwork signing with time for a Sauna and a Shower when you get to the Tee Box and there’s a Foursome in front of you.


You might have to wait a full five minutes and you can’t tell any of your really good jokes because they’re Ladies, and Black, and might hear you.

So you do the next best thing and call the Cops.

Golf club apologizes for calling cops on black women members
Associated Press

Sandra Thompson and four friends met up Saturday to play a round of golf at the Grandview Golf Club, where they are all members, she told the newspaper.

At the second hole, a white man whose son co-owns the club came up to them twice to complain that they weren’t keeping up with the pace of play. Thompson, an attorney and the head of the York chapter of the NAACP, told the newspaper it was untrue.

On the same hole, another member of the group, Sandra Harrison, said she spoke with a Grandview golf pro, who said they were fine since they were keeping pace with the group ahead of them.

Despite that, the women skipped the third hole to avoid any other issues, she said.

After the ninth hole, where it is customary to take a break before continuing on the next nine holes, three of the group decided to leave because they were so shaken up by the earlier treatment, the women told the paper.

Thompson said the man from the second hole, identified as former York County Commissioner Steve Chronister, his son, club co-owner Jordan Chronister and several other white, male employees approached the remaining two women and said they took too long of a break and they needed to leave the course.

The women argued they took an appropriate break, and that the men behind them were still on their beer break and not ready to tee off, as seen in a video Thompson gave the newspaper. The women were told that the police had been called, and so they waited.

Northern York County Regional Police arrived, conducted interviews and left without charging anyone.

Jordan Chronister’s wife and co-owner of the club, JJ Chronister, said Sunday she called the women personally to apologize.

“We sincerely apologize to the women for making them feel uncomfortable here at Grandview, that is not our intention in any way,” she told the newspaper. “We want all of our members to feel valued and that they can come out here and have a great time, play golf and enjoy the experience.”

She said she hopes to meet with them to discuss how the club can use what happened as a learning experience and do better in the future.

Thompson said she’s not sure a meeting is what needs to happen.

“There needs to be something more substantial to understand they don’t treat people in this manner,” she said.

Uh, yeah. Like that.

If (and there’s no reason you should because you meet more assholes on a Golf Course than almost anyplace else in the world) you know anything about Golf you know that all you have to do if you’re being held up is politely ask to “play through” at the next convenient opportunity, usually in the Tee Box but sometimes in the Fairway or on the Green and it’s like so not a big deal.

Nor is patiently waiting while someone crawls off into the woods looking for a “lost ball” when in fact they’re puking their guts out because of too much sun and too many beers and cigars. I generally try to be out of earshot lest I experience sympathy heaves.

Apr 24

Iran Deal: 0 < 10

Donald Trump is determined to trash the Iran deal which has caused the Iranians to threaten to restart their now dormant nuclear program. In meetings with Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, here on a state visit, in meetings with Trump tried to calm the rhetoric and convince Trump to stay in the deal. Trump has until May 12 to decide if the US will re-impose economic sanctions on Tehran that were lifted under the nuclear deal.

Trump has been calling for new limits on Iran’s ballistic missile program, which the original nuclear deal did not cover, more intrusive international inspections of suspected nuclear sites and permanent restrictions on Iran’s ability to quickly develop an atomic bomb.

“It was insane. Ridiculous. It should have never been made,” Trump said, warning Iran: “If they restart their nuclear program, they will have bigger problems than they’ve ever had before.”

Macron interjected that the nuclear deal “is an important issue,” adding: “But we have to take it as part of the broader picture, which is security in the overall region.”

Trump and Macron are both also concerned about Tehran’s growing influence in the Middle East, including through proxy militias in other nations. Iran’s regional rise has particularly alarmed Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Macron said that both the U.S. and France seek to “contain the Iranian presence” in the Middle East.

Trump cited Iran’s support for Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom U.S. officials allege was behind a chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb earlier this month. [..]

Iranian officials warn that they will respond if Trump reneges on the U.S. side of the deal.

“I am telling those in the White House that if they do not live up to their commitments… the Iranian government will firmly react,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a Tuesday speech, according to a Reuters report.

“If anyone betrays the deal, they should know that they would face severe consequences,” Rouhani also said. “Iran is prepared for all possible situations.”

Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, suggested in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS News that his country could resume its nuclear program “at much greater speed.”

Zarif insisted, however, that didn’t mean developing nuclear weapons because Iran “has never wanted to produce a bomb.”

Iran has always said its nuclear program was peaceful, meant for energy and scientific purposes. But Western powers have long suspected Iran wants nuclear weapons capability.

The Ayatollahs, the real power in Iran, long ago issued a fatwah, a judgement, forbidding the development of a nuclear weapon. The consider nuclear weapons inhumane and against the teachings of Islam.

On Sunday night, John Oliver, the host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” the “long-term and potentially irreversible” damage of allowing that agreement to fall apart.

Apr 24


All Work And No Play

Who Gets The Money?

Who Gets The Money 2

Who Gets The Money 3

Apr 24

The Breakfast Club (Nobody Knows)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

An aborted mission to free American hostages in Iran ends in disaster; Ireland’s ‘Easter Rising’ begins; Armenians face mass deportation during World War I; Singer Barbra Streisand born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Diplomacy is like jazz: endless variations on a theme.

Richard Holbrooke

Continue reading

Apr 23

Pathetic Earthlings

Hurling your bodies out into the void, without the slightest inkling of who or what is out here. If you had known anything about the true nature of the universe, anything at all, you would’ve hidden from it in terror.

Once again I woke up this morning facing a blank page when I fully expected to be dead, wrenched apart by the literally earth shattering cataclysm that is Nibiru (or Planet X if you prefer).

Feel free to sing along if you know the words.

The concept is that this rogue and undetectable (or perfectly detectable except there is a universal global conspiracy of Deep State actors flying around in Black Helicopters suppressing the evidence to prevent wide spread panic) has been floating around on the other side of the Sun or in the Öpik–Oort Cloud or the Kuiper Belt beyond Neptune or something, but is now approaching us with great rapidity to suck away our atmosphere and oceans and large chunks of crust leaving just a boiling surface of magma that will also succumb to its vast and malevolent gravitational pull.

If only.

Just kill us already, Planet X
by Avi Selk, Washington Post
April 13

Look, it’s Planet X, again.

No, not the mythical dead star that’s supposed to appear in the sky in 2003 in 2012 on Sept. 23, 2017 last October in November on April 23 and herald the end of the world.

We mean Planet X, the headline that reappeared yet again this week on apocalyptic news stories, with a fresh 2018 doomsdate, despite the failure of every previous prophecy to come true.

Planet X’s imminent arrival has been predicted so many times before, in so many newspapers, and its existence has been debunked so thoroughly by NASA, that we are struggling to find anything interesting to say about the latest round of panic and hyperbole.

So we will resort to a gimmick instead and present this month’s edition of Planet X nonsense as a choose-your-own-adventure.

How would you like your apocalypse told?

That is in fact the Washington Post and it’s kind of cute because it really does use <a href> tricks to implement the choose-your-own-adventure format.

Even David Meade, the Biblical Numerologist (both of which are pretty fictional) who makes Alex Jones look like Walter Cronkite, has kinda, sorta backed away from his latest prediction-

No, the world will not end on Monday, says conspiracy theorist cited in reports
by Adam Gabbatt, The Guardian
Thu 19 Apr 2018

Numerous news organizations reported this week that the world would be destroyed on 23 April, citing David Meade, a Christian conspiracy theorist who has made a number of incorrect predictions about the end of the world.

But in an interview with the Guardian, Meade described these reports as “fake news”.

Meade, who has written 14 books – mostly focused on the end of the world or the mysterious planet Nibiru, thought by some to be on a collision course with Earth –said he does not in fact believe the world will end on 23 April.

Instead Meade believes that the rapture – when Jesus will appear and save his followers but reject the rest – will occur at some point between May and December of this year. He would not be drawn on a specific date.

But even the rapture will not signify the end of the world, Meade said.

Meade said the rapture will merely bring in seven years of “tribulation”, followed by 1,000 years of “peace and prosperity”, before the world is destroyed.

“So the world isn’t ending anytime soon – in our lifetimes, anyway!” Meade said.

The British newspaper the Daily Express, which regularly cites Meade in news stories about the end of the world, appears to have been the source for the 23 April date. The Express has written more than a dozen stories about the world’s demise in the past week.

In case you are unfamiliar with the Revelation of St. John allow me to encapsulate (though there are a wide variety of interpretations)-

There are a variety of weird events, some of which are metaphorical in that sense you get after mixing ‘Shrooms, LSD, and Peyote without nearly enough Weed to mellow you out. The Throne of Yahweh appears and a scroll sealed with 7 seals (7 turns up a lot, just saying) is given to “The Lion of Judah from the Root of David” who also turns out to be a Lamb with 7 Horns and 7 Eyes (see?) and we can tell he’s a good guy and not some kind of mutant monster because “the creatures of heaven fell down before the Lamb to give him praise, joined by myriads of angels and the creatures of the earth.”

Well, if you have not just seen the Golden Plates of Nephi but “hefted them” that’s good enough for me I guess.

Anyway the Lamb/Lion starts opening the seals which is about as wise as opening Pandora’s Box (eyes up here perverts) and the first 4 cause a big, endless (but successful?) War along with rampant inflation. About a quarter of the useless “takers” die. After the 5th one the righteous take a break and go golfing or play tennis (also it’s between Memorial Day and Labor Day otherwise they wouldn’t be wearing white). You can see why these are conservative favorites. The 6th one causes a tremendous earthquake though it could also be Nibiru hitting the Earth (interpretations vary).

Then 144,000 Jews are let in the Club. Twelve Tribes of Israel is very specific. These last 2 are what is commonly called “The Rapture”, though I think it’s kind of racist to make the Jews go through an extra disaster.

The 7th Seal introduces 7 Trumpet Tooting Angels (did I mention 7 shows up a lot?) only it’s really 8 because the last one has a “Golden Censer (Incense Pot, Patchouli anyone?)” which causes more earthquakes though it could be Nibiru again or an entirely different Planet X (interpretations vary).

Oh, Trumpets. Well the first one is your garden variety hail and fire and the second one is a big burning mountain and the third one is a Star named Wormwood and the fourth one causes the sky to go dark (more arguments for Nibiru).

Then we get into the Woes.

The 5th and 6th Trumpet are about another War or two (or maybe the same one, interpretations vary). Those are the first 2 Woes. The 7th Trumpet is just more flaming hail but it leads to the 3rd Woe.

There’s a break that goes on for a while (interpretations vary) where a woman gives birth to a child and a Dragon (with seven heads, ten horns, and seven crowns on his heads, told you about 7s) who wants to eat it. For some unfathomable reason Yahweh invites the Dragon to visit him in heaven but he’s a poor guest, the kind that hogs the bathroom and monopolizes the remote and farts at the dinner table and blames the dog, so Michael and the “good” Angels have a big fight with him and throw him and his buddies who never use coasters and leave rings on the furniture out. Suddenly the Dragon remembers- “Hey, I was going to eat that baby” and goes looking but evidently the woman’s been sleeping around and there are a lot of cousins or half siblings, that begat stuff always confuses me.

About this time a Beast from the Sea shows up with seven heads, ten horns, and ten crowns on his horns (7s again) only he suffered some drain bammage surfing shopping carts in the parking lot and the Dragon patches him up. Everyone (well, lots of them) are more impressed by the cart surfing than the Doctoring and the Dragon says-“You know, there’s this baby I’ve been wanting to eat”, and the Beast is like “Dude, let me get right on that. After I build a new Babylon.” “Well, hurry up. You’ve only got 3 and a half years.”

Then another Beast shows up (you can tell he’s different because he only has 2 horns and a speech impediment) and he starts giving away bitchin’ tats. It’s like Burning Man.

The “Third Woe” is Armageddon which starts on Mount Zion with 144,001 righteous and 3 Angels one of whom doesn’t do much except talk while the others “reap the earth” and press out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored and, because he happens to have them left over from Egypt and he’s frugal, Yahweh unleashes the 7 last plagues (if I don’t use them now they’ll be past the expiration date!). So everyone except the righteous gets Herpes and the Seas, Rivers, and Lakes turn to blood (I have one thousand six hundred stadia of it! Do you think I’m just going to let it go to waste?). Those are the first 3 bowls. The next 2 are your usual Nibiru crashing into Earth again, I’d hire new writer to punch that up a bit. Then the Euphrates dries up leaving a great big scab (you paid attention to that Rivers of Blood part didn’t you?) and the battle between “Good” and “Evil”- that’s the 6th bowl, finished with more Planet X (bowl 7).

You remember about 7, don’t you?

But wait, there’s more!

In the battle the Sea Beast (you can tell it’s the same one even though it’s painted red because it has seven heads and ten horns, must have hocked the crowns) is ridden by a Harlot who could be any random Sex Worker but is generally considered by Protestants to represent the Pope (yeah, I’ll be ecumenical right until I shiv you in the back). Both are cast into a pit of fire along with the Dragon and all the people who actually made a good living working in the thriving commercial metropolis of New Babylon which is destroyed. Forever. Because Yahweh likes his humans to be simple shepherds and carpenters, people of the land, the common clay of the new West. You know… morons.

A great multitude of those who survive praise Yahweh because, well, the pit is right there and everything is fine and dandy for a thousand years…

Until we do it all again, but this time as a Musical!

But that’s it, I promise. New Jerusalem, New Heaven and Earth, River and Tree of Life restored, no more suffering and death, curse of sin ended…

The downside is Yahweh moves in, gentrifies the neighborhood, and rents go through the roof.

If you like this stuff the study of it is called Eschatology and while I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, they’ve always worked for me. A basic shopping list-

Two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls.

That ought to get you though your first lecture.

But back to Nibiru. The reason I’m personally attracted to the concept is I’m fundamentally lazy. It’s a nice day and I could easily be at the beach sucking down some rays.

Or perishing in a world wide holocaust, it’s the same thing right?

I’ll note Cassian went for the blindfold and Jyn didn’t flinch.

I think that some people are simply jealous of the idea that the world will proceed in its courses without them. They seek an end beyond which there is no more because of the centrality of their existence. It’s incredibly infantile, object permanence is something you usually develop as a toddler about the time peek-a-boo stops being a game.

It’s also very selfish.

Apr 23


Zack Morris Is Trash: Season 2

Episode 1: Agent Provocateur

Episode 2: Killing Your Girlfriend

Episode 3: 420

Apr 23

The Breakfast Club (Invincible)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

William Shakespeare born, dies 52 years later on same day; MLK Jr. assassinator James Earl Ray dies at age 70; Cesar Chavez dies at age 66; Hank Aaron begins climb to throne home run king.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Yesterday I dared to struggle. Today I dare to win.

Bernadette Devlin

Continue reading

Apr 22

Rant of the Week: Bill Maher – Grass Warfare

In a special “420” edition of New Rules, Bill Maher argues that Democrats should use marijuana legalization as a wedge issue in the upcoming elections.

Apr 22

The Anti-Life Equation

I hope by now that regular readers will simply accept that I know a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff even though it’s not everything about anything and in some respects I’m as clueless as Sherlock-

“What the deuce is it to me? You say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work.”

Well, I’m a little more open and less focused than that, but what I want to talk about is Darkseid.

Now I could bite the heads off live chickens in a pathetic attempt to attract attention (OMG! Do you know that Ava DuVernay who directed A Wrinkle In Time has been chosen to helm the DCEU New Gods movie!) but I think it’s sufficient to sketch out in broad terms that Darkseid’s equivalent of Thanos’ (total ripoff btw) Infinity Gems is the Anti-Life Equation and not delve into the Mother Box, Boom Tube, Granny Goodness, Big Barda, Metron details (though I know all of them).

Simply put it’s “a mathematical proof of the futility of living.”

As interpreted by Grant Morrison’s 2005 Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle limited series-

loneliness + alienation + fear + despair + self-worth ÷ mockery ÷ condemnation ÷ misunderstanding × guilt × shame × failure × judgment n=y where y=hope and n=folly, love=lies, life=death, self=dark side

“By speaking said equation, Darkseid can insert the full formula into people’s minds, giving them the mathematical certainty that life, hope and freedom are all pointless.”

So, have I spent my entire life in a dank basement reading comics and rolling funny shaped dice?

No. I’ve spent a part of it in nice, cool, well lit, below grade spaces where I’ve read libraries- even the dull books, encyclopedias, and dictionaries, several thousand of which reside on my shelves today much to the consternation of my family and friends who have forbidden me from library and used book sales. My fascination with Platonic solids is an entirely different matter.

Harry Anderson from Night Court recently died and if that’s all you know him from you may not know he was an accomplished stand up comedian and magician.

That’s an illusion. A trick. A fantasy.

Want to see how it’s done?


The book fascinated him, or more exactly it reassured him. In a sense it told him nothing that was new, but that was part of the attraction. It said what he would have said, if it had been possible for him to set his scattered thoughts in order. It was the product of a mind similar to his own, but enormously more powerful, more systematic, less fear-ridden. The best books, he perceived, are those that tell you what you know already.

The aim of the High is to remain where they are. The aim of the Middle is to change places with the High. The aim of the Low, when they have an aim— for it is an abiding characteristic of the Low that they are too much crushed by drudgery to be more than intermittently conscious of anything outside their daily lives— is to abolish all distinctions and create a society in which all men shall be equal.

The new aristocracy was made up for the most part of bureaucrats, scientists, technicians, trade-union organizers, publicity experts, sociologists, teachers, journalists, and professional politicians. These people, whose origins lay in the salaried middle class and the upper grades of the working class, had been shaped and brought together by the barren world of monopoly industry and centralized government.

As compared with their opposite numbers in past ages, they were less avaricious, less tempted by luxury, hungrier for pure power, and, above all, more conscious of what they were doing and more intent on crushing opposition. This last difference was cardinal. By comparison with that existing today, all the tyrannies of the past were half-hearted and inefficient. The ruling groups were always infected to some extent by liberal ideas, and were content to leave loose ends everywhere, to regard only the overt act and to be uninterested in what their subjects were thinking. Even the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages was tolerant by modern standards.

Part of the reason for this was that in the past no government had the power to keep its citizens under constant surveillance. The invention of print, however, made it easier to manipulate public opinion, and the film and the radio carried the process further. With the development of television, and the technical advance which made it possible to receive and transmit simultaneously on the same instrument, private life came to an end. Every citizen, or at least every citizen important enough to be worth watching, could be kept for twenty-four hours a day under the eyes of the police and in the sound of official propaganda, with all other channels of communication closed. The possibility of enforcing not only complete obedience to the will of the State, but complete uniformity of opinion on all subjects, now existed for the first time.

There are only four ways in which a ruling class can fall from power. Either it is conquered from without, or it governs so inefficiently that the masses are stirred to revolt, or it allows a strong and discontented Middle Group to come into being, or it loses its own self-confidence and willingness to govern. These causes do not operate singly, and as a rule all four of them are present in some degree. A ruling class which could guard against all of them would remain in power permanently. Ultimately the determining factor is the mental attitude of the ruling class itself.

It’s all art. A trick. An illusion.

Apr 22

The Breakfast Club (Earth)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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AP’s Today in History for April 22nd

Richard Nixon dies, Elian Gonzalez seized by federal agents, Oklahoma land rush begins. Earth Day begins. Jack Nicholson born.


Breakfast Tune Mother Nature’s Son (The Beatles Cover) – Logan Kendell – Happy Earth Day


Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below

Family of Afghan man tortured by CIA demands US reveal location of his body
Larry Siems, The Guardian

It took almost 15 years for Gul Rahman’s family to receive a direct acknowledgment that he had been killed in a secret CIA interrogation facility in Afghanistan.

Now the family is pressing the United States to disclose what happened to his remains.

A Freedom of Information Act (Foia) request filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the family seeks “information on what agents of the United States did with the body of Mr Gul Rahman, an Afghan citizen, following his death in CIA custody in November 2002”.

Rahman disappeared in October 2002, when the family was living in a refugee camp near Peshawar, Pakistan. He was delivered to a clandestine CIA prison near Kabul known as “the Salt Pit”, where he endured more than three weeks of interrogation that included being doused with frigid water and shackled naked or in a diaper for days in stress positions.

He was discovered dead in his cell on 20 November 2002, after being restrained overnight on the concrete floor on a night when the outside temperature dropped below freezing.

Gul Rahman’s family, represented by his nephew Obaid Ullah, filed a lawsuit in 2015 alongside two surviving former Salt Pit prisoners against James Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen, the two contract psychologists who designed the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation program”. A settlement reached in that lawsuit last year included a statement confirming that “Gul Rahman was subjected to abuses in the CIA program that resulted in his death and pain and suffering to his family”.

But the settlement left unresolved the mystery of what happened to Gul Rahman’s remains. Internal CIA investigations produced for the lawsuit recorded that the CIA ordered a freezer to preserve the body for an autopsy, and summarized an autopsy report that listed the likely cause of death as hypothermia. No records relating to the disposition of Rahman’s remains have been released.

The Geneva Conventions and other international treaties require that prisoners who die in custody in wartime be buried in marked graves, that the graves’ locations be recorded in a registry, and that their families be notified and allowed access to the gravesites when hostilities end.

In a deposition for the lawsuit against Mitchell and Jessen, Obaid Ullah pleaded for return of his uncle’s remains. “Where is his gravesite and what happened to him?” he said. “If they killed him I wish they would let us know: here is your dead body. At least present the dead body to us.”

Colin Kaepernick wins Amnesty International top award

Colin Kaepernick, an American football player who in 2016 started kneeling during the national anthem played before matches in protest against police brutality against African Americans, has been awarded the rights group Amnesty International’s top honour.

The former San Francisco 49ers star was handed the Ambassador of Conscience Award at a ceremony on Saturday in the Dutch capital, Amsterdam, by onetime teammate Eric Reid.

Amnesty says the award recognises “an inspiring contribution to helping human rights”.

In his acceptance speech, Kaepernick described police killings of African Americans and Latinos in the US as lawful lynchings.

World Bank recommends fewer regulations protecting workers
Larry Elliott, The Guardian

The World Bank is proposing lower minimum wages and greater hiring and firing powers for employers as part of a wide-ranging deregulation of labour markets deemed necessary to prepare countries for the changing nature of work.

A working draft of the bank’s flagship World Development Report – which will urge policy action from governments when it comes out in the autumn – says less “burdensome” regulations are needed so that firms can hire workers at lower cost. The controversial recommendations, which are aimed mainly at developing countries, have alarmed groups representing labour, which say they have so far been frozen out of the Bank’s consultation process.

Peter Bakvis, Washington representative for the International Trade Union Confederation, said the proposals were harmful, retrograde and out of synch with the shared-prosperity agenda put forward by the bank’s president Jim Yong Kim.

CIA Operative Gina Haspel Who Tortured, Ordered CIA Torture Tapes Destroyed, and Now Wants To Lead CIA Did Nothing Wrong, Says CIA
Jon Queally, Common Dreams

In what critics are calling a bald attempt to help Trump’s controversial pick to lead the CIA get through a very difficult confirmation process, the CIA on Friday released a previously classifed memo in which Gina Haspel was “cleared” of any wrongdoing when she destroyed more than 90 videotapes of agency operatives torturing human beings.

According to the Associated Press, which first reported the story, the CIA on Friday “gave lawmakers a declassified memo Friday showing [Haspel] was cleared years ago of wrongdoing in the destruction of videotapes showing terror suspects being waterboarded after 9/11.”

Written by then-acting deputy director of the CIA Mike Morrell, the eight-page memo, as the Washington Post reports, “does not weigh in on questions about Haspel’s involvement in the use of brutal interrogation methods at a black-site facility she supervised in Thailand. The memo does suggest, however, that there was general CIA support for the destruction of the tapes at the time Haspel drafted the 2005 memo, as officials were still heavily influenced by the experience of fallout from the 2004 scandal involving the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.”

Sen. Diane Feinstein, Democrat of California and member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, responded by saying that the CIA’s memo should be seen for what it is: an attempt by the agency to release information that makes Haspel look good while continuing to block the release of information that might serve to incriminate her or hurt her chances for confirmation.

“It’s completely unacceptable for the CIA to declassify only material that’s favorable to Gina Haspel while at the same time stonewalling our efforts to declassify all documents related her involvement in the torture program,” Feinstein stated.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) indicated the memo will do nothing to lessen his concerns and actually raises new ones.

“Unfortunately, the Morell report is highly incomplete, raising far more questions about Ms. Haspel than it answers,” Wyden said in a statement. “My concerns about Ms. Haspel are far broader than this episode or anything else that has appeared in the press.”

Pointing to the Washington Post’s version of the CIA memo regarding Haspel, journalist Glenn Greenwald responded by saying: “One of the most damaging aspects of the Trump presidency is how it’s trained millions of newly politically engaged people to view the CIA and its leaders as noble and heroic. It’s one of the most evil agencies on the planet.”

This week, The Daily Beast’s Spencer Ackerman reported on how former CIA lawyer John Rizzo says that Haspel did, in fact, run the agency’s black site in Thailand.

Rizzo’s 2014 book, reports Ackerman, “indicated that Haspel was responsible for the incommunicado detention and torture not of two men, but of dozens, potentially. Former intelligence officials interviewed by The Daily Beast have portrayed Haspel’s experience similarly.”

“Try to get a job in a Fortune 500 company when you’re known to have destroyed evidence,” General Charles Krulak, a retired Marine Corps commandant and former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told AP. “We can’t have a public or private sector where we just say ‘Well, I was just following orders.’ Golly day! Do you want that person to be director of the CIA?”

And despite the best efforts by Trump allies and the CIA itself to get Haspel approved by the Senate, one unidentified former intelligence official critical of the CIA’s torture program told Ackerman it would be a disaster.

“If Ms. Haspel is confirmed, it will send a terrible message to the world broadly, and to the officers of the CIA more superficially,” the former official said. “The CIA, and its former officers, are pushing so hard for Ms. Haspel to be director because if she’s confirmed, it essentially exonerates her, the CIA and all of these former senior CIA officials from their involvement in or their defense of the torture program.”

But the advovacy group Win Without War made a succinct moral argument by putting it this way: “Torture was illegal and immoral after 9/11, and it still is now. Haspel should never be allowed to work for the American people again.”





Something to think about over coffee prozac

Town wants UFO memorial moved; witness objects

SHEFFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A memorial in a remote corner of Massachusetts that marks a 1969 UFO sighting has been ordered moved, but one man who experienced a close encounter is objecting.

The 5,000-pound (2,300-kilogram) memorial in Sheffield was installed in 2015, but was moved about 30 feet (9 meters) a few weeks later when it was discovered it was on town land.

Now, Town Administrator Rhonda LaBombard tells The Berkshire Eagle it has to be moved again because it’s on a town right-of-way easement.

That’s not sitting well with Thom Reed. He was 9 when he, his mother, grandmother and brother saw what he described as a “self-contained glow” that flooded their car with an amber light. About 40 people in several surrounding towns reported the strange light.

Reed is threatening legal action.

Apr 21

Tell Your Children

Drugs are bad, mmmkay?

I’m sorry. I was stoned.

Apr 21

Health and Fitness News

Welcome to the Stars Hollow Gazette‘s Health and Fitness News weekly diary. It will publish on Saturday afternoon and be open for discussion about health related issues including diet, exercise, health and health care issues, as well as, tips on what you can do when there is a medical emergency. Also an opportunity to share and exchange your favorite healthy recipes.

Questions are encouraged and I will answer to the best of my ability. If I can’t, I will try to steer you in the right direction. Naturally, I cannot give individual medical advice for personal health issues. I can give you information about medical conditions and the current treatments available.

You can now find past Health and Fitness News diaries here.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

37 Ways to Eat Asparagus Right Now

Asparagus is THE spring vegetable and loaded with vitamins and detoxifying compounds. Epicurious has 37 ways to fix this amazing herbaceous perennial but I’m just going to highlight a few of my favorites. Click here for more.

Crispy Chicken Thighs with Spring Vegetables

The rich and zesty pan sauce is what makes this simple, seasonal supper something you’ll want to eat again and again.

Pea, Asparagus, and Fava Bean Salad

This salad with bacon, fava beans and a Pecorino dressing is a great example of why salty, creamy pork and crunchy, bright spring vegetables are a winning flavor combination.

Asparagus Gremolata

Did you know asparagus could be the perfect crunchy condiment? Use this gremolata to top soft-scrambled eggs or pasta.

One-Skillet Steak with Spring Veg and Spicy Mustard

Sauté peas and asparagus in the rendered fat from a New York strip in this quick-and-easy one-pan dinner.

Asparagus and Two-Cheese Quiche with Hash-Brown Crust

Get all the goodness of hash browns and a rich Fontina and goat cheese egg custard in this unexpected quiche. With fresh green asparagus and tarragon, it’s perfect for a springtime brunch, lunch, or light dinner.

Stir-Fried Asparagus With Bacon and Crispy Shallots

A quick way to make asparagus that are crispy and packed with flavor.

Health and Fitness News

Can Marijuana Be The Answer For Pain?

Opioid Scripts Down, But Anti-Addiction Meds Up

A Big Belly Bad for Your Heart

More Cases in E. Coli Outbreak Tied to Romaine Lettuce

Just One Concussion Could Raise Parkinson’s Risk

New Therapy May Prevent Tough-to-Treat Migraines

Skin Sensor Could Track Alcoholics’ Booze Intake


‘Scary’ Lung Disease Now Hits More Women Than Men

Exercise In, Vitamin D Out for Preventing Falls

U.S. Women Less Likely Than Men to Get Statins

Don’t Ditch the Coffee Over Cancer Risk News

Drug Keytruda May Help Block Melanoma’s Return

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