Dave Stancliff 2014-05-11 blogarama.com

Saturday, May 17, 2014

About Pigeons: The ’Lost Battalion’, Reuters, and the Rothschilds

    Good Day World!

Look up in the sky!

It’s Super Pigeon!

He’s able to fly up to 60 miles-per-hour (that’s a mile a minute) and can cruise for 600 miles in a day. His relatives have saved infantry divisions during WW I and WW II, and made families rich.

What do you know about the part pigeons have played in history?

One of the most famous pigeons in history saved thousands of soldiers during WW II. That pigeon’s name was G.I. Joe. British soldiers called for an aerial bombardment on the Italian town of Colvi Veccia in October of 1943. They didn’t know the Germans had given up and vacated the town just before they ordered the bombing raid.

What happened next is the stuff of legends. The British moved into the town to liberate it and realized that the scheduled bombing was only a half-hour away! Their mission was to hold the town, and the British soldiers grimly held their position despite the looming threat.

Enter G.I. Joe. He carried the urgent message to cancel the bombing 20 miles in 20 minutes, and got to the airfield just as the bombers started down the runway! His speedy delivery saved many lives.

During WW I the famous ‘Lost Battalion" (77th Infantry Division) was stranded behind enemy lines without ammunition or provisions. The desperate commander made numerous attempts to communicate with headquarters without success. Pigeon after pigeon was released with pleas for help, but was shot down by the Germans.

Finally, just like in the movies, there was only one pigeon left. Cher Ami was hit by shrapnel during his daring 25 minute flight to his loft at headquarters. What was really surprising, Cher Ami took a shot in the breast and lost most of one leg. The leg with the all-important message capsule, was still attached.

I’m glad to say this brave bird was awarded the French palm for his heroic service. He died a year later from his wounds, but his story is still told by pigeon lovers worldwide.

Pigeons have also helped pave the way to financial fortunes.

When Paul Julius Reuter started his news service he depended upon pigeons to give him the edge in speedy delivery. He had a covey of 45 pigeons delivering news between Aachen, Germany and Brussels, Belgium. It turned out the pigeons were more reliable than the telegraph available in the two countries at the time.

Reuter’s real genius showed when he began to deliver the most updated stock prices and other information. He found clients who were more than happy to pay a premium for early financial information.

This method gave him an edge in 1850, but by the following year the telegraph reached most points and put his pigeons out of business, forcing him to seek new alternatives.

The Rothschild family set up a network of pigeon lofts throughout Europe during the early 1800s. The birds carried information to their financial houses quicker than anything else at the time. This speedy delivery helped the family amass a fortune.

Historians pass on one rumor about Count Rothschild (1815) who knew Napoleon had lost at Waterloo, and made financial decisions based on that information before anyone else was aware of the battle’s outcome.

There are several types of pigeons. The passenger pigeon became extinct in 1929. Two other types are the Rocky Mountain Adventures pigeons (also called homing pigeons) and carrier pigeons. Homing pigeons belong to the same species as feral pigeons, or rock doves, found in cities.

I think pigeons would be an environmentally friendly way of communicating in our hi-tech world. A bit messy perhaps, but easy to program!

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, May 16, 2014

‘Someone Ate This’ - Blog Takes Food and Plays With It

Who is telling people to make ring food? It’s so weird. Enough already.

 Good Day World!

It’s Friday, and you’re ready for some fun.

One way or another.

If you're on Instagram, Facebook, or really, any other social media network, you're all too aware of the "photographing your food" trend on the internet. 

Chances are, you've run into a few photographed dishes that are so unappealing that they might make you feel a bit queasy, and they'll definitely make you wonder who in the world thought this beige glob of (questionable) nourishment would make a good picture?

According to their bio, Someone Ate This "is a food blog that celebrates the hilarity of cooking mishaps, bad food photography, and the grossest things people shove down their throats. We're just two friends trying to make each other laugh."

This blog features user-submitted images of the worst, nastiest, grossest-looking piles of food you've ever seen.  We're talking the absolute worst of the goopy, beige, fried, undercooked, disgusting piles of slop ever uploaded to the internet.  It's truly amazing that yes... someone ate this.

These horrifying culinary atrocities are highlighted by extremely witty captions and hilariously blunt tags.  For example, a beige casserole came with this description:

"I wonder if this tastes as good as it looks! If only I could try it in real life! I’d get a HUGE serving spoon and scoop out one of the corners where the oil has collected. And I’d shove it in my mouth. And I’d gargle and swish it around in there to really let the complexity of the flavors come out."

Time for me to walk on down the road…

 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Forced Multiple Combat Tours: Playing Gun Games, and a Massacre

  Good Day World!

It’s bound to happen. Again, and again.

The most recent example:

A troubled 44-year-old U.S. Army veteran threatened to kill his family, assaulted his wife, and then threw a loaded handgun to their teen child who came to her aid.

"Do you want to play the gun game?" the sniper-qualified Kryn Miner asked the teen, according to authorities.

The teen fired six shots when Miner pulled another gun from a bag. Prosecutors ruled the April 26 shooting justified and the teen won't face charges.

Two Years ago:

Robert Bales was a former United States Army soldier who murdered 16 Afghan civilians in Panjwayi, Kandahar,Afghanistan, on March 11, 2012, an event known as the Kandahar massacre.

In order to avoid the death penalty, Bales pleaded guilty to 16 counts of murder and six counts of assault and attempted murder in a plea deal. On August 23, 2013, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

That massacre brings back memories of the horrors committed against civilians during the Vietnam war - in particular, My Lai.

I’m not surprised by what happened. The military’s policy of multiple combat tours virtually assured it. How could it not have occurred?

When I was in Vietnam (1970), only one tour was required. People did re-up voluntarily, going back for more combat tours. They didn’t have to, however. Today’s warriors have no choice about multiple combat tours.

I’ve heard people say because we have an all volunteer military, anyone who goes in should be ready for those multiple tours. The attitude being, “they asked for it.”  Well, yes and no.
Let’s put this whole issue in perspective. One combat tour is more than enough to cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We learned that in Vietnam. Why was one tour sufficient back then?

Partly, because there was a draft and lots of young men were available for cannon fodder. If the military had a multiple tour policy during the Vietnam war, it would have ended long before it did. I suspect military planners knew that. Men were leaving the country to avoid serving in the military and going to Vietnam.

The medical community “in Country” during the Vietnam war, generally thought their patients were just trying to avoid doing their job. That they were cowards. Most of the time the shrinks sent their patients back to the boonies after a short “rest” period.

Imposing multiple tours back then would have been considered sheer madness. That was before anyone knew about PTSD.

We sure know about it today. The awareness about PTSD is at an all time high. That’s why it’s so maddening to see our warmongers demand multiple tours from both active duty personnel and Reservists. During Vietnam, Reservists weren’t sent into combat for even one tour.

The only excuse for repeated tours today is there are not enough bodies to go around. By all accounts, there are record number of soldiers who served in Iraqi and Afghanistan with PTSD. The numbers are growing at an alarming rate. Programs have been implemented to deal with these cases, but for the most part, it’s been business as usual.

That tells me our military planners know the odds of getting PTSD are extremely high, even from one tour. Still, they’ve chosen to sacrifice our volunteers on the alter of their global ambitions and ideologies.

So why should anyone be surprised when highly decorated Staff Sgt. Robert Bales snapped and went on that murderous rampage?

Imagine, if you will, what this veteran of three combat tours thought when he was suddenly (with no warning of any kind) sent to Afghanistan after living safely stateside with his family. The military was even training him to be a recruiter. A well-deserved stateside break.

Reportedly, days before he suffered his breakdown, he was standing next to a friend who got his leg blown off - a critical wound.  It must have been a shock. Bales had already suffered a "concussive head injury," and lost part of his foot during his deployments in Iraq, according to a recent Associated Press report.

The New York Times reported that a senior American official said Staff Sgt. Bales had been drinking alcohol the night of the massacre. Other reports say he has financial problems. What sparked this atrocity will be argued about for years to come.

Those innocent women, children, and old men were more victims of our military’s insane policy of pushing people until they break, than Staff Sgt. Bale’s senseless attack.

It could have been anyone from the 3rd (Stryker) Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, stationed at Lewis-McChord in Washington state. Bales had been screened for PTSD after the head injury and had been cleared, but characterized the testing as "minimal," according to his lawyer, John Henry Browne.

Interestingly, the base's medical center was being investigated for allegedly down-grading post traumatic stress diagnoses to other mental illnesses that do not prevent deployment or qualify soldiers for disability payments.

Lewis-McChord is reputedly the most troubled base in the US military. (see this report)

It’s too late for those innocent people, and for Staff Sgt. Bales. We never should have gone to war in Afghanistan.

It’s too late for Kryn Miner who forced his teenage son to kill him in a split-second decision to save his mother and Kryn’s wife, Amy (photo). Now she’s speaking out about her husband’s PTSD.

Nothing has been accomplished in our prolonged war other than garnering the absolute hatred of nearly every man, woman, and child in Afghanistan. And, turning out another generation of veterans with PTSD.

You have to go to the source of a problem to solve it. Treating the symptoms is a waste of time…and lives. Here’s some people who care about our vets challenged with PTSD

National Alliance on Mental Illness: Veteran’s Resource Center

National Center for PTSD

The Soldier’s Heart

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Dying for dollars: reality shows, suicides, and sex

Good Day World!

What makes people display the most intimate parts of their lives (and body) before millions of strangers in reality shows?

Is it the money? Is it the fame? Either we find them entertaining or we find them so shocking we are simply unable to turn away.

I’m not sure there’s a definitive answer, but I do know people do kill themselves as a direct result of being reality stars or sidekicks. There’s a dark side to everything.

Remember Russell Armstrong - the estranged husband of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Taylor Armstrong?

He wasn’t a reality star, but he did appear frequently with his wife on the Bravo TV show.

Looking back at an interview of Armstrong in People magazine published weeks before his death, is revealing in more ways than one.

He admitted the show caused him angst in his actual reality. “It got really overwhelming,” he told the magazine.

“When you get a TV show involved, and all the pressure — it just takes it to a whole new level. ... We were pushed to extremes,” he said.

Extreme is the name of the game these days.

Each new reality show breaks new boundaries of bad taste, which by the way, is what TV producers say their audience wants.

A good example of this would be the THC channel’s Buying Naked (photo right)

I suspect the main reason we see so many is because reality shows are much cheaper to produce than the traditional fare we grew up with.

With our struggling economy as a backdrop, reality shows are a way to hit the big time while doing everything from losing weight to stripping naked and fighting for survival in exotic parts of the world with a member of the opposite sex.

Broadcast and cable programming executives have told TheWrap that they're being flooded with pitches for naked dating shows, driven by the success of the hit series on Discovery, “Naked and Afraid.”

Common people turn into characters who suddenly find themselves on magazine covers, getting endorsement deals, and becoming famous and wealthy overnight.

To some, this must be a heady way to achieve lifelong dreams, but when things get ugly, they find themselves living in personal hells.

Reality shows where partying, sex and obscene behavior are glorified, set bad examples for today’s youth. Watching people treat each other ruthlessly to avoid being voted off the show, hardly sets a good example for anyone.

For some viewers, it is a form of Schadenfreude, a German word used to describes people's delight and entertainment at the failings and problems of others. There’s no doubt people do suffer on some reality TV shows.

Actually there is less reality - unscripted and unplanned situations and reactions - and more staging of situations than the producers want you to know. One of the ethical problems of reality television is the fact that it isn't nearly as "real" as it pretends to be.

When you watch a dramatic show you understand what you see on the screen doesn't necessarily reflect the reality of the actors' lives.

The same can’t be said for heavily edited and contrived scenes in reality shows. The producers define entertainment as conflict, and go out of their way to create it on the sets.

Situations are heavily contrived. People's ability and willingness to take pleasure in viewing such things may stem from their increasing separation from others. The result is they become distant  from each other.

Some people objectify the characters and have no sympathy or empathy for them.

I don’t see any redeeming qualities to reality TV. What I see is humiliation and anger. The effects of reality TV can destroy lives. We all know this. We see the headlines. When people kill themselves after being treated like trash, or kicked off these reality shows, you have to know something is very wrong.

I know one thing for sure, as long as people watch reality TV programs, producers will make them and the stakes will get higher.

Think about the Roman arenas where the ultimate reality shows kept fans entertained.  Can death sports be far away?

When we reach the point where we watch people kill each other in real time, the end times for this country will finally be upon us.

Time for me to walk on down the road..

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

3 Examples of Physiatrist’s Who Provided Questionable Defenses for Murderers

Good Day World!

 I have three examples of defense lawyers using physiatrists to provide questionable mental health defenses in murder trials for you today.

Don’t misunderstand me. I do believe people with genuine mental issues who commit crimes should get some consideration in a court of law. Remember the infamous “Twinkie defense?”

It’s cases like that where lawyers plead some obscure and outlandish conditions which supposedly made their client commit murder, that fry my grits!

You know what I’m talking about. I’ve gathered three examples for you here – two recent and one from last year to consider.

One of the stories describes a killer who got away with killing four people – using what has been described as the “Richie Rich” defense.

Another story shows how a murderer’s lawyer tried to use a questionable defense of blaming the killer’s mother for the murder. And the third story is still ongoing.

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Let’s start off with Jason Bohn, who strangled his girlfriend and tried to blame it on Intermittent Explosive Disorder. See his story on 48 Hours A Raging Son See what happened in this trial.

Jason Bohn was a Columbia graduate who had apparently overcome a rough childhood to become a successful Wall Street banker. But then he brutally murdered, and tortured, his girlfriend, a Weight Watchers executive.

His lawyers didn’t try to deny he killed her, but claimed his mother’s neglect 30 years ago pushed him to commit the brutal torture/murder.

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The chief prosecutor in the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius said Monday that the double-amputee athlete should be placed under psychiatric observation after an expert called by the defense said the runner has an anxiety disorder.

Judge Thokozile Masipa has not yet ruled on the request. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said he had no other option but to ask for a study of Pistorius' mental health following testimony by a psychiatrist, who said the Olympian's anxiety could have shaped the way he responded to perceived threats.

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Ethan Couch, 16, was facing 20 years for killing four people in a drunk driving incident.

His wealthy family hired a top gun trial attorney and leading expert who invoked what could be called the Richie Rich defense.

Couch’s long spoiled lifestyle in the top one percent left him uncaring and irresponsible . . . and left four people dead. You’ll never believe what happens.

Time for me to walk on down the road…