Dave Stancliff 2014-06-08 blogarama.com

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Lesson not learned: US can’t solve the sectarian civil war in Iraq

Good Day World!

You can’t ignore history and expect a society to advance unless past mistakes are acknowledged and addressed.

A government can’t practice collective amnesia and hope for positive changes. It doesn’t work that way. Yet our government constantly turns a blind eye away from hard-learned lessons.

President Obama and Congress are currently displaying advanced Alzheimer's when it comes to the current Iraq sectarian civil war.

That’s what it is folks, no matter what our government calls it. The “terrorists” members of Congress are galvanizing against are one of the two major denominations of Islam – Sunni. The Shiite denomination is currently in power.

The developments in Iraq have prompted leading Republicans to call for action. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., voiced security concerns, urged U.S. involvement. "I have never been more worried about another 9/11 than I am right now," Graham said.

President Obama stated that the US will not send troops back to Iraq, but cryptically noted that America will "do our part" to help the troubled nation. I’m still not clear on what that would involve.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who has never seen a war he doesn’t like, called Iraq’s current crisis "the gravest threat to our national security since the end of the Cold War."

This whole dog and pony show involves political posturing and then some sort of commitment on America’s part to intervene in history.

We spent 25 billion on training an Iraqi Army and now they’re getting their asses kicked.

Meanwhile, the historic background of the Sunni–Shiite split is once again ignored.

In the year 632, a schism occurred when the Islamic prophet Muhammad died. That’s right. This fight has been going on for centuries! In typical imperialistic fashion, America took sides with the Shiites (a minority in Iraq) and tried to alter history by propping up a puppet government.

When we finally pulled out of Iraq our arrogance was on full display for the world to see. President Obama and Congress patted themselves on the backs and declared Democracy ruled where ancient rivalries once split the country.

Guess again.

Congress and Obama never won that war. It was fought for all the wrong reasons and we practically drained all of our resources feeding the war machine. The economy is just starting to recover. We’re pulling out of Afghanistan.

The last thing we need is to further bleed America’s resources by pursuing a political agenda that was wrong.

It’s still wrong. No one appointed the US the world’s judge to “save” Iraq from itself. Even a collective bad memory can’t change that.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, June 13, 2014

Onionhead Belief System, Stoner Shoots Moon & Mayoral Dog Crap Caper

Good Day World!

Beware of the Onionheads!

And the Great Onion stepped out of the Garden of Eden and said…”

“A federal agency sued a New York customer service provider on Wednesday after allegations the company forced employees to pray, thank God for their jobs and say "I love you" to managers and colleagues at work, and fired those who protested.

The Long Island-based United Health Programs of America and its parent company, Cost Containment Group, required workers to practice a spiritual belief system called Onionhead while on the job, in violation of their civil and religious rights, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said in the complaint.” (Story)

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Pot Smoker Shoots at Moon, Arrested for Assault?

Shooting for the Moon takes on new meaning when a stoned dude tries to pick off the man in the Moon in a moment of lunar madness:

“A marijuana smoker was arrested in Arizona after shooting at the moon with a handgun and wrestling with officers who were called by his girlfriend to subdue him, authorities said on Wednesday.

Police went to a home in Prescott Valley, about 85 miles north of Phoenix, late last Friday where the woman told them her partner had fired several shots into the air after telling her and her teenage son he had seen Halley's Comet.

Prescott Valley police spokesman Sergeant Brandon Bonney said Cameron Read, 39, was arrested after a struggle and admitted firing multiple times and "trying to shoot the moon.” (Story)

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Hello Neighbor! Here’s a Bag of Crap for You!

You’ve probably heard of politicians who throw shit about their opponents on the wall to see if it’ll stick. Here’s a new twist for you:

“The mayor of the wealthy Southern California city of San Marino was under fire recently after police said he was caught on camera apparently leaving a bag of dog feces in his neighbor’s walkway.

Surveillance tape monitoring the exterior of the residence captured Mayor Dennis Kneier leaving what was said to be a bag of dog feces on a private walkway leading to his neighbor’s home on Saturday evening, San Marino Police said in a statement.

The owner of the home, who claimed to identify Kneier and his wife in the footage, called the police but does not intend to press any littering charges, police said. The department is still considering the incident open for investigation.” (Story)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Why there’s been no action to restrict guns despite weekly school shootings

Good Day World!

Another school shooting.

This time in Oregon.

It’s becoming so commonplace people are shell-shocked. No other civilized nation on the earth has more school shootings than America. It’s our shame.  

Meanwhile, all across America, the nation's gun lobbyists, their politicians and all those huddled around the national altar of the firearm vow that they will not allow any of America's meddling children to distract them from what is truly important.

You know what that is don’t you? Making sure there’s no way to restrict the use of firearms. Semi-automatic rifles and guns for all. Children be damned.

A year and a half ago, 20 elementary school children and six adults were executed by a gunman in in their Newtown, Connecticut, classrooms. In that 18-month span, there has been roughly one shooting in an American school every school week.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook murders, more gun laws have been loosened than have been tightened. This is almost entirely due to the notion that possible public "overreach" in protecting our schools from weekly shooters will infringe upon what a certain collection of people call "gun rights," meaning the rights held by guns and their chosen owners.

If you follow the news closely you’ve heard many politicians assert that one school shooting per week of school is a considerably better outcome than taking any action to prevent those shootings. No really. That’s what some nuts believe.

Here’s the thing, social-science researchers have developed a clear sense of how school-shooting plots develop, and how they can be disrupted. The wild card is how easily a teenage shooter obtains a gun.

Katherine Newman, co-author of Rampage: The Social Roots of School Shootings and the James B. Knapp dean of the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins, said it’s important to understand that different types of shootings follow different types of patterns.

School shooters as troubled lone wolves is a misconception according to Newman.

“Their daily experience is not one of being alone, but of being enmeshed in social friction,” Newman said. “They experience rejection all the time, but that doesn’t stop them from trying to join groups. They just fail, all the time."

The fact that shooters tend to talk about their plans provides an important opportunity to disrupt plots before they are carried out.

Beyond the question of who commits school shootings and why, Newman and her team also developed a profile of where these school shootings are most likely to take place:

“Rampage-shootings happen in two kinds of places: a small town in the middle of nowhere, or an exurb,” she said. “But not in big cities.” That’s because “sadly, school is not much of a stage in urban America.”

I would like to add that these school shooters generally have mental problems, but not all of them. The Santa Barbara college shooter was enraged that girls didn’t like him. He had no trouble buying three pistols prior to the shooting. Easy access. Too easy.

If we’re going to look at the full picture regarding school shootings then the subject of guns has to be addressed.

The firearm and munitions industries don’t want their sales to slow down. That’s why their hired gun – the NRA – has so much clout and is able to bully cowardly senators in Congress.

Until that changes expect more of the same. Schools will be under assault regularly. Parents will mourn their children who went to school and never came home.

And the NRA will continue to protect the gun cult in America.

Time for me to walk on down the road… 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Why organized religion is losing it’s allure in America

Robert Carlson Good Day World!

 I overheard a conversation the other day between two men who were talking about the Catholic church.

One was telling the other that he would never consider joining the Catholic church because it’s full of liars and pedophiles.

(Photo: Archbishop Robert Carlson)

The other responded by saying he’d never join any organized religion because they all have agendas he doesn’t agree with.

Organized religion in America is on the decline. The Church—any church, all churches, the omniscient "Church" representing all organized religious institutions—holds less allure for a new generation of American adults.

This is a fact, not a supposition.

A report from the Pew Research Center makes clear two things:

1) America is still an overwhelmingly religious country, and 2) America is becoming a less religious country. Key findings:

  • "One-fifth of the U.S. public – and a third of adults under 30 – are religiously unaffiliated today, the highest percentages ever in Pew Research Center polling."
  • Atheists and agnostics make up almost 6% of Americans. Another 14% claim no specific religious affiliation.
  • The percentage of unaffiliated Americans has grown by almost a third in the past five years.
  • Two thirds of unaffiliated Americans say they believe in god. But when asked, "Are you looking for a religion that's right for you?" 88% of them say "no."

Priests – for the first time in history - are being held accountable for their illegal actions these days. To illustrate my point here’s a recent story: 

The St. Louis Archbishop embroiled in a sexual abuse scandal testified last month that he didn’t know in the 1980s whether it was illegal for priests to have sex with children, according to a court deposition released Monday.

Archbishop Robert Carlson, who was chancellor of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis and St. Paul at the time, was deposed as part of a lawsuit against the Twin Cities archdiocese and the Diocese of Winona, Minnesota.

In a video released by the St. Paul law firm Jeff Anderson & Associates, the Catholic archbishop is asked whether he had known it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a child.

“I’m not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not,” Carlson responded. “I understand today it’s a crime.” (Story)

The take away from this article: if priests weren’t aware that molesting children was wrong until the 21st Century – then the church has a longer history of pedophiles than anyone ever dared guess.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Judges Are Convinced Computer Program is Human

Image: Alan Touring

  Good Day World!

The following story is about a British mathematician, Alan Turing, who helped win WW II, but wasn’t recognized for his genius because he was a homosexual.

This story is also about the “Turing Test” and how someone finally passed it.

Here’s what happened:

Judges in England were fooled into thinking the computer program they were conversing with was a human — making it the first to pass the 65-year-old Turing Test.

"Eugene Goostman" is not a 13-year-old boy, but 33 percent of the people who partook in five minute keyboard conversations with the computer program at the Royal Society in London thought it was, according to The University of Reading, which organized the test.

The Turing Test is based on “the father of modern computer science” Alan Turing’s question, “Can Machines Think?”

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British mathematician Alan Turing designed an electromechanical device known as the "bombe,” which allowed a team code-named “Ultra” to decode intercepted German messages. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill credited "Ultra" with winning the war.

Turing wasn’t lauded though. Instead, he was barred from working with the British government and charged as a criminal with “gross indecency” because he was gay.

The trailblazer killed himself with a poisoned apple at 41-years-old, tormented by the law and impossibility of exoneration.

Queen Elizabeth II granted amercy pardon to Turing in 2013, but he never lived to see anything close to the seemingly-unrealistic machine he had dreamed up decades before its creation.

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If a computer is mistaken for a human by more than 30 percent of judges, it passes the test, but no computer has accomplished the feat — until now.

“The event is particularly poignant as it took place on the 60th anniversary of Turing's death, nearly six months after he was given a posthumous royal pardon,” the university’s statement said.

Turing was instrumental in cracking Germany's Enigma code during World War II and came up with the concept of a “universal machine” that could act and think like a human. (Full Story)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

 

Monday, June 9, 2014

7-Year old boy kicked out of school for doing the right thing

Darin Simak (WTAE)Good Day World!

 The following story is a classic case of someone doing the right thing – in this case a 7-year-old – and still getting into trouble.

There’s no doubt that schools in this day and age are edgy about anything that may result in a threat to the student body.

But where do you draw the line? What happened to common sense?

I understand that even a toy gun can be disruptive. However, the child in this case didn’t even know he had a toy gun in his backpack. When he discovered it he immediately turned it in to a teacher. His honesty got him kicked out of school.

Here’s the story:

New Kensington first grader Darin Simak realized on Wednesday that he had something in his backpack that was not allowed at Martin Elementary School.

It was a toy gun that was in the outside pocket of the bag. Darin was unaware of the toy because, as his mom, Jennifer Mathabel, told WTAE Action News 4, she packed her son’s bag which was a backup because he left his normal school bag in a friend’s car the night before, and she missed the toy gun. (Story)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Pot for Pets: Veterinarians Launch Hemp-Based Medicine for Animals

Good Day World!

More Americans than ever before are okay with the idea that marijuana does have medical applications for humans.

So, I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised that pot works for pets too.  

Two companies in the Seattle area, Canna-Pet and Canna Companion, are leading the charge into a new and uncharted field of hemp-based veterinary medicine.

Dr. Sarah Brandon and Dr. Greg Copas, husband and wife veterinarians, launched Canna Companion in March. They've been exploring medical cannabis for about eight years now.

They started with their pets and then those of family and friends, to find the right dosage.

Canna-Pet has only been selling to the public for about eight months and it's already shipping its products throughout the U.S. and 23 foreign countries.

Dan Goldfarb, president of Canna-Pet, calls it "an exploding market" that will grow exponentially in the years ahead.

The pet supplement industry is largely unregulated.

To further complicate matters, the Drug Enforcement Agency still considers industrial hemp a controlled substance even though it is not psychoactive.

But times are changing.

On Thursday, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 22-8 on a plan that would block the DEA — or any federal agency — from spending funds to enforce anti-hemp laws in any state that has received permission to grow it.

The full House OK'd the measure the previous week. As a final footnote to this story – it’s the first time a pro-pot law has popped up in Congress, and to have it pass so easily speaks volumes.

Time for me to walk on down the road…