Saturday, August 11, 2012

Abraham Lincoln Scrawled This Astonishing Note To Save a Soldier’s Life


By David Plotz

“A friend at the Foundation for the National Archives recently invited me on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Archives’ vaults—certainly the best two hours I’ve spent all summer. It was national treasure heaven—George Washington’s handwritten First Inaugural Address, Annie Oakley’s letter to President McKinley volunteering to muster a battalion of lady sharpshooters for the Spanish-American War, the $7.2 million check that bought Alaska in 1868—but the prize by far was a brief note scrawled at the bottom of a sheaf of legal papers.                                                                                                  Courtesy the National Archives

In 1863, the archivists told us, the Army’s Judge Advocate General sentenced Michael Delaney to death for deserting his Colorado regiment in 1862. Delaney’s case file was passed up to President Abraham Lincoln, who reviewed death sentences from court martials. In the file sent to Lincoln, the judge noted that Delaney had been captured while fighting for a different Colorado regiment: In other words, he had deserted, but then re-enlisted. Seeing this, Lincoln overturned the death sentence. He wrote on Delaney’s file:
“Let him fight instead of being shot. A Lincoln”


I guess it’s not surprising that the author of the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural Address could manage to convey humanity, common sense, and a flash of dark wit in just seven words. Still, it is thrilling, and humbling, to read it.”

Detail of Lincoln's note. Image courtesy the National Archives        article sourced from Slate

Veteran Charities Under Scrutiny: Major California Veteran Charity Sued

                         Good Day Humboldt County!

As a veteran I’m particularly disgusted with those who take advantage of veterans. What I’ve been reading lately about veteran charities is particularly chilling. It’s getting hard to know who to trust these days when donating to any charity.

I’d like to think there’s a special place in hell for those getting rich ripping anyone off…especially veterans. I do believe in Karma however, and feel confident these scoundrels will get theirs. Here’s some recent news on the subject:

“California's attorney general sued a major veterans charity on Thursday, accusing the officers and directors of engaging in self-dealing and fraudulent fundraising, and paying excessive compensation.

The suit seeks to remove the officers and recover $4.3 million that it claims was improperly diverted from Help Hospitalized Veterans. The charity in Winchester, Calif., was founded in 1971 to provide therapeutic arts and craft activities for patients receiving care in Veterans Affairs hospitals, military hospitals and state veterans homes, according to its website.

According to Charity Navigator, a third of the 50 military veterans charities it evaluates rate poorly and 20 percent either got a zero for their financial management or a "donor advisory" tag, which indicates the organizations are being investigated by authorities.

That compares to 2 percent for other kinds of charities, said Ken Berger, the president of the Washington-based group that evaluates 5,500 charities.” (Read the whole story here)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, August 10, 2012

LA Lakers Make Blockbuster Trade! Howard’s Coming To Hollywood

	Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard join forces in Los Angeles, where the Lakers look to return to the NBA finals after an early exit last season.

   Good Morning Humboldt County!

As a Laker fan since they moved to LA, I’m very excited to report that Dwight Howard, the league’s premier center, is suiting up in Purple and Gold for the 2012-2013 season.

With the addition of one of the greatest guards of all time, Steve Nash at the point, the Lakers are going to be unstoppable! And they’ll still have Pau Gasol.

Last year was a big disappointment, and I was particularly disgusted with Andrew Bynum. I’m glad to see him go in return for a monster like Howard. Kobe is going to have all the help he needs to get his sixth championship.

(PHOTO: Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard join forces in LA, where the Lakers look to return to the NBA finals after last season's early exit.)

The Los Angeles Lakers have a deal in place to acquire Dwight Howard from Orlando in a four-team, eight-player trade also involving Denver and Philadelphia, and the NBA has scheduled a conference call Friday with the four general managers to finish the deal, according to multiple reports.

Citing unidentified sources, ESPN first reported the deal was in place. The Los Angeles Times, citing unidentified NBA executives, later confirmed the trade. The Denver Post confirmed the Nuggets' end of the deal, and Yahoo! Sports also confirmed the trade, both citing unidentified sources.

A person with knowledge of the trade also confirmed the Denver portion of the deal to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because details have not been officially announced.Philadelphia would get Andrew Bynum from Los Angeles and Jason Rchardson from Orlando, while Denver would get Andre Iguodala from the 76ers.

Orlando would receive Arron Afflalo and Al Harrington from Denver, Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless from Philadelphia, and lottery protected first-round picks from each of the three teams. Howard had asked for a trade to Brooklyn, but Orlando failed to work out a deal with the Nets, opening the way for the Lakers to get the All-Star center. Howard averaged 20.6 points and 14.5 rebounds in 54 regular-season games for Orlando last season. In eight seasons with the Magic, he averaged 18.4 points and 13.0 rebounds.” (source)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, August 9, 2012

30 Signs That The United States Of America Is Being Turned Into A Giant Prison

       Good Day Humboldt County!

 Today we’re going to take a look at why we have become a police state.

I don’t mean to offend anyone, but when you consider the following things that are happening, the term police state seems appropriate.

The following opinion piece is from the blog, “The American Dream.” You might want to take a moment and read it through. There’s some very valid points discussed. Knowledge is power, and if you understand what’s happening in our country, you’ll have a better idea of what to do about it.

“If you live in the United States of America, you live in a giant prison where liberty and freedom are slowly being strangled to death.

In this country, the control freaks that run things are obsessed with watching, tracking, monitoring and recording virtually everything that we do.  Nothing is private anymore.  Everything that you do on the Internet is being monitored.  All of your phone calls are being monitored.  In fact, if law enforcement authorities suspect that you have done something wrong, they will use your cell phone microphone to listen to you even when you think your cell phone is turned off. 

In many areas of the country, when you get into your car automated license plate readers track you wherever you go, and in many major cities when you are walking on the streets a vast network of security cameras and "smart street lights" are constantly watching you and listening to whatever you say. 

The TSA is setting up "internal checkpoints" all over the nation, Homeland Security is encouraging all of us to report any "suspicious activity" that our neighbors are involved in and the federal government is rapidly developing "pre-crime" technology that will flag us as "potential terrorists" if we display any signs of nervousness.

 If you are flagged as a "potential terrorist", the U.S. military can arrest you and detain you for the rest of your life without ever having to charge you with anything.  Yes, the United States of America is rapidly being turned into a "Big Brother" prison grid, and most Americans are happily going along with it.

The sad thing is that this used to be "the land of the free and the home of the brave". So what in the world happened? A fundamental shift in our culture has taken place.  The American people have eagerly given up huge chunks of liberty and freedom in exchange for vague promises of increased security.

Our country is now run by total control freaks and paranoia has become standard operating procedure. We were told that the terrorists hate our liberties and our freedoms, and that we needed to fight the terrorists so that we could keep our liberties and our freedoms.

But instead, the government keeps taking away all of our liberties and our freedoms. How in the world does that make any sense? Have the terrorists won? As a country, we have moved so far in the direction of communist China, the USSR and Nazi Germany that it is almost impossible to believe.

Yes, turning the United States of America into a giant prison may make us all slightly safer, but what kind of life is this? Do we want to be dead while we are still alive? Is this the price that we want to pay in order to feel slightly safer? Where are the millions of Americans that still yearn to breathe free air?

America is supposed to be a land teeming with people thirsting for independence.  For example, "Live Free or Die" is supposedly the official motto of the state of New Hampshire. But instead, the motto of most Americans seems to be "live scared and die cowering".

We don't have to live like this. Yes, bad things are always going to happen.  No amount of security is ever going to be able to keep us 100% safe. We need to remember that a very high price was paid for our liberty and we should not give it up so easily. As one very famous American once said, when we give up liberty for security we deserve neither.”

The following are 30 signs that the United States of America is being turned into a giant prison....

#1 A new bill that is going through the U.S. Senate would allow the U.S. military to arrest American citizens and hold them indefinitely without trial.  This new law was recently discussed in an article posted on the website of the New American....

In what may be a tale too bizarre to be believed by millions of Americans, the U.S. Senate appears ready to pass a bill that will designate the entire earth, including the United States and its territories, one all-encompassing “battlefield” in the global “war on terror” and authorize the detention of Americans suspected of terrorist ties indefinitely and without trial or even charges being filed that would necessitate a trial.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham is a big supporter of the bill, and he says that it would "basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield".

According to the PPJ Gazette, the following are three things that this new law would do....

1)  Explicitly authorize the federal government to indefinitely imprison without charge or trial American citizens and others picked up inside and outside the United States;

(2)  Mandate military detention of some civilians who would otherwise be outside of military control, including civilians picked up within the United States itself; and

(3)  Transfer to the Department of Defense core prosecutorial, investigative, law enforcement, penal, and custodial authority and responsibility now held by the Department of Justice.

#2 U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman is asking Google to install a "terrorist button" on all blogs so that readers can easily flag "terrorist content" for authorities.        GO HERE TO READ THE REST

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Summer Entertainment: WTF! Is this the Millennial Generation's Woodstock?

     Good Day Humboldt County!

I know this is the second music festival I’ve featured in less than a week, but both are so unique I felt the need to share.

Personally, I think it takes more than 3000 people to compare WTF to Woodstock.

Still, it sounds like it was fun:

WTF, indeed. A bucolic cattle ranch in the middle of Oregon seems like the least likely place to find a three-day festival of electronic music, music more closely identified with urban clubs; but, on a July weekend, the Millennial Generation came to the Tygh Valley to get its freak on. One hundred miles southeast of Portland, Tygh Valley saw its population of 224 jump by 3,000 when the What The Festival, or WTF, moved in. Surrounded by rocky cliffs that form a sort of natural amphitheater, the grassy area is perfect for live music, at once extremely secluded and acoustically sublime.

And much like Woodstock, the 1969 festival that set the benchmark for all rock festivals, WTF is not for anyone concerned about sobriety, sanity or good impressions. Women wore flashy pasties or went bare-breasted; men strolled around in their underwear. A slew of festivalgoers were costumed: a girl in a peacock outfit, a group of pale-faced geishas, a man with a “spirit animal” hat. But most settled for a hippie-cum-gypsy look. No make-up, no showers, just handmade dresses, rolled-up linen pants and seldom a shirt in sight.

The sold-out festival cost $180 for the whole weekend, not a bad deal for the big name electronic acts and exemplary location, but still a hefty price tag for the arty vagabonds that comprised a great deal of the festivalgoers. Nonetheless the festival skirted hipster cool and landed in genuine hippie territory, a welcome respite from the usual Ray-Ban and Lacoste-wearing attendees attracted to trendier music festivals.  

Even the food vendors mirrored this "organic" sensibility, and with morning coffee, "regular milk is not an option." The choice? Hemp milk or coconut milk. And likewise, there was nothing regular about this "creative" atmosphere. However, unlike Woodstock, the up-and-coming genre of electronic music set the festival apart, marking it as a musical turning point while complementing the festival’s unique atmosphere.

Electronic music, once associated with abandoned warehouses and drug-addled clubgoers, has seen a huge growth in popularity and commercial success. Known as electronica in the 1990s, electronic music has a set of powerhouses like Deadmau5, Tiesto and Grammy-winning Skrillex and Afrojack, who can each pull in more than $1 million for festival appearances. These performers play at massively-scaled events such as Electric Zoo Festival on Randall’s Island in New York, where 60,000 tickets were sold for more than $100 a pop.

WTF admitted only 3,000 people and its location made it a trek, yet it still managed to pull in top electronic artists such as Beats Antique, Claude VonStroke, Ghostland Observatory, MiMOSA, Gold Panda and Emancipator, all of whom can sell out venues and are highly billed at extremely popular festivals such as Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and Coachella. The genre is unmistakably rising, and its popularity among teens and twentysomethings has created a market gap for more events, which WTF happily filled. While much of the music at WTF was party-friendly and featured “drops” -- where a methodical, rhythmic build-up releases into a bass-heavy free-flowing sound providing catharsis and effortless dance-ability -- much of it was steeped in emotion and personal meaning for the artists.

"I never made music for dancing, for like, to drop into something," said Derwin Lau, aka Gold Panda, an electronic musician from England whose complex sounds have received critical praise. "It’s more about creating an atmosphere, a canvas for you to put some kind of emotion on it, to soundtrack how you feel."

Doug Appling, aka Emancipator, an electronic artist from Portland, sought to provide a sonic escape.

"I just feel like when you’re out here at the festival setting, it’s so much easier to transcend the moment and let the music, you know, take you somewhere else for a moment," he said. "It’s a combination of good people and amazing music set in nature, and, yeah, for three days you can just kind of get loose."

Coming off his special-effects driven set, which attracted one of the biggest crowds of the weekend, Ghostland Observatory’s front man Aaron Behrens, said he loves the feel of middle-of-nowhere festivals like WTF and believes festivalgoers are ubiquitously more "vibe-y," more at ease.

"With these festivals, they definitely help you relax," said the Austin, Texas, native. "The people are way more relaxed, they’re way more vibe-y, they’re way more, I dunno, they’re just in the groove. They’ve been gettin’ loose all day, they’re gonna be loose all night."

While festivalgoers got loose (with the help of various substances), security was rather tight and free love was most often practiced privately. The festival was regulated and well-planned, perhaps taking away some of the spontaneity that the Baby Boomer generation experienced at Woodstock and deeply desired, rejecting their rigid, "go to school, get married, have kids, retire" proposed life cycle. Yet, WTF still maintained a free-spirited feel, and festivalgoers couldn’t get enough of it.

"I think it’s just a kind of a very free environment, you can just be yourself and have fun and no one’s really thinking about it," said Jessica Kazhian, 32, an engineer living in Portland.

WTF is such a brilliant name for the festival because it’s at once a laughably ridiculous abbreviation for “What the F---" most often associated with ditzy, texting-obsessed teens, but it’s also a name that signals a clear generational divide. Far from any urban area, with spotty mobile phone service and no public internet access, the festival forced one to rely on face-to-face communication.

Electronic music lends itself especially well to a sense of community. A sea of people pulsate to the music, waiting, in unison, for the song’s drop whereupon they can break into dance together, a mass of connected bodies moving rhythmically beneath the starry sky. And while the name WTF divides generations -- linguistic evolution and technological prowess marking a line in the sand between Gen X and Y -- the festival itself held the same sensibilities of decades prior.

Whether it’s rock 'n' roll or electronic, young festivalgoers just want to dance and live without thinking of school and poor job prospects and frustrating politics. To make a memory with friends, even if it can’t be immediately tweeted. To not just take a physical vacation to the countryside but a mental one too.

Sitting down by a babbling creek in the early afternoon, just as the day’s first performers were taking the stage, Emancipator’s Appling and his classical violinist Ilya Goldberg, who often joins him on tour, waxed philosophical on WTF and our innate desires.

“At the end of the day we are all the same kind of creatures,” said Goldberg, who is originally from Russia but now lives in Portland. “We all drink running water and (breathe) fresh air and (need) things that make us feel good in this absolutely natural way. Your body really can beat and feel so good, and being that it is a vessel for interpretation of everything else that happens around you, it’s that much easier to take the musical vibrations. To appreciate it, or figure out how you relate to it.” (source)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

More Movie Massacre fallout: five scary incidents at showings of Batman movie

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Thankfully this guy wasn’t armed, but he sure the hell scared a lot of people and sent them screaming out of the theatre.

Will it ever end? Can anyone ever feel safe going to a movie theatre again?

Since the July 20 shootings in Colorado, five incidents involving the Batman movie have resulted in five men being arrested.

One was at an Ohio movie theatre. One was in a Miami Florida movie theatre. One was arrested in Maine. One was arrested in Arizona, and the fifth one was from Southern California. 

                Here’s the first report:

“A Miami Beach man is in custody after he caused a panic in a theater during a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," police said Tuesday.

According to a Miami Beach Police arrest affidavit, 44-year-old David Martin Escamillo was at the Regal Movie Theater late Monday night when he got into an altercation with another moviegoer, left the theater and returned wearing black gloves and screamed "This is it!" from the back of the theater.

Escamillo's actions sent a hundred moviegoers fleeing for the exits, the affidavit said. When officers responded to the theater to a call of shots fired, they found three moviegoers detaining Escamillo, who was screaming, "I didn't shoot anybody," the affidavit said.

James Butler said he and his brother were two of them. They waited outside the theater and chased Escamillo down and held him until police arrived. "My instincts kicked in, and I was like, let's get this guy. He was screaming, 'I never shot anyone, I never hurt anyone,'" Butler said. Escamillo is facing disorderly conduct and affray charges in the incident and has a warrant for battery, jail records showed. He was being held on $8,000 bond and it was unknown whether he has an attorney.”

                   THE SECOND STORY IS MORE SCARY:

“Police are trying to figure out why a man took a bag of weapons with him to an Ohio movie theater showing the latest Batman movie.

Authorities confirmed that 37-year-old Scott A. Smith walked into the Regal Cinemas movie theater in Crocker Park, Ohio, on Saturday night with several weapons, according to Cleveland's NBC-affiliate WKYC. An off-duty police officer and the theater manager became suspicious after noticing that Smith was carrying a beige satchel, WKYC reported.

Smith had bought a ticket for the 10 p.m. showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" at a Regal Cinemas about 16 miles west of Cleveland. He was the first and only person inside the movie theater and he sat in the center seat of the back row -- a position with "tactical advantage," police said, according to WKYC.

Saturday's incident in Ohio comes just two weeks after the July 20 shooting rampage at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., that left 12 dead and 58 wounded. The Aurora shooting happened at a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." (source)

(Un)Holy Impostors, Batman: Maine Police Arrest Wannabe Copycat

Scarcely days after James Holmes’ horrific movie theater massacre, the Maine State Police have arrested a man who they claim is a wannabe copycat killer.

Forty-nine year-old Timothy Courtois of Biddeford, ME was stopped and arrested at 10 AM Sunday morning when police clocked him driving at 112 MPH on the Maine turnpike. Courtois’ vehicle contained an arsenal of firearms and clippings about the Aurora, CO massacre. (source)

Clark Tabor Arrested For Allegedly Threatening 'The Dark Knight Rises' Audience In California

In Southern California, a man at a Sunday afternoon showing of the film was arrested after witnesses said he made threats and alluded to the Aurora shooting when the movie didn't start.
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies were called to a cinema complex in Norwalk after moviegoers said 52-year-old Clark Tabor shouted: "I should go off like in Colorado." They said he then asked: "Does anybody have a gun?" (source)

Michael Borboa

    Confrontation causes 'hysteria' at Arizona theater

Moviegoers in Sierra Visa, Ariz., panicked when a man who appeared intoxicated was confronted during a showing of the movie. The Cochise County Sheriff's office said it caused "mass hysteria" and about 50 people fled the theater. Off-duty Border Patrol agents tackled Michael William Borboa, 27, who had a backpack with him, according to The Arizona Daily Star. Authorities said it contained an empty alcohol container and a half-empty moonshine bottle. Borboa was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct, and threatening and intimidating. (Source)

Animal Illustrations With Fantastic Personalities By Ryan Berkley

         Good Day Humboldt County!

 I don’t know what it is lately, but I keep running across these great artistic websites.

So, instead of any kind of meaningful chatter over some earth-shattering events, I’m just going to share this artist’s works and hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Artist Ryan Berkley is able to give each of his animal illustrations such fantastic personalities. He’s even created individual profiles for each of his well dressed animals. The lion, inspired by his own luscious locks, owns his own hair salon and hair care line called ”The Mane Event.” The fox is an eccentric gardener and whistles “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” to his carrots and tap-dances to entertain the corn. (GO HERE Source TO SEE MORE EXAMPLES)



Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, August 6, 2012

Check Out this Amazing Stage Filled With Gigantic Fairy Tale Books

   Good Day Humboldt County!

I thought we’d go international today and take a look at what was a fun festival in Belgium of all places!

If you were at this year's massive Tomorrowland Festival in Belgium, which took place for three days at the end of June, you may have witnessed the incredibly amazing main stage. ID&T, the Dutch production company behind the event, pulled out all the stops to entertain the over 65,000 attendees (that's just for one day).


Touted as one of the world's largest music festival, Tomorrowland is known for their unique fantasy amusement park setting. This year, an entire stage was filled with a library of gigantic fairy tale books to create a sort of magical country. In the middle, sat one large book of LEDs that opened, closed and entertained the crowd.

As Stanton Warriors, the breakbeat duo from the UK stated, "Tomorrowland festival has def upped the stage design game." Talk about an experience.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, August 5, 2012

AS IT STANDS: Democracy in America: Going, going, gone!

                       By Dave Stancliff/For The Times-Standard
Democracy has always been a messy process, but somehow it’s managed to work for 236 years.

That streak looks like it’s coming to an end. Pervasive partisan polarization is crippling our political system today.This polarization is only part of the reason our system of government is slowly grinding to a halt. Another factor is the power of the wealthy and corporations which has eroded the rights of most Americans and essentially created a caste system reminiscent of India.
The signs have been there for years. Perhaps the final blow was the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision that said corporations have the same rights as individuals. This “corporations are people” mindset was the most recent blow to democracy.

Once upon a time, Americans suspected money played a major part in our political process, but the idea of “buying” one’s way into office was considered criminal, or at least bad form.
With the creation of Super PACS this year, politicians can openly buy their way to victory.

Quick example; look at what happened in Wisconsin. Gov. Scott Walker outspent his opponent seven to one during the June recall election, with 70 percent of his donations coming from out of the state.
What should have been decided by residents of Wisconsin, was essentially decided by millions of dollars pouring in from wealthy individuals, following a national party line.
It’s apparent to most Americans - according to numerous polls - that our Congress is full of partisan clowns. Its approval rating has plummeted to historic lows for good reason. Anyone who bothers to follow the inept attempts to pass any meaningful legislation, knows that partisanship trumps serving the people.

America is so divided today that unless the current course of no compromise changes, democracy is doomed. Our infrastructure is crumbling. States are drowning in red ink. Our education system is slipping into third world status and homelessness is a national disgrace.
The National Republican Party is busy destroying unions and attacking women’s rights in an all out assault of ideology versus common sense and real world challenges. The National Democratic Party tries to claim high ground by showing more interest in the middle class while packing their coffers with Super PAC donations from wealthy individuals and unions.
As far as I’m concerned, these two major parties are driven by ideology and money. Not by a desire to serve Americans. Just look at what’s happened to our country in the last decade. Have we ever been more divided - since the Civil War? Has money ever been so blatantly used to gain influence?

Look at the power of the major lobbies in Washington DC. Each has an agenda that has nothing to do with helping the common man survive this recession. Lobbyists with bulging pockets have influence on everyone in government, including the president and the lawmakers.
The minority rules over the majority in America today. I challenge anyone to dispute my contention with facts that show otherwise. Sound bytes and rhetoric have kept Americans divided and their sense of nationalism has slipped away.
Many are held in an ideology thrall that becomes more important than reality. There’s no denying this country is in need of real leadership, but frankly I don’t see it coming from either side of the aisle.
What I do see is a steady advance of Imperialism as we send out combat troops around the globe to “protect our interests” while draining our treasury of money that could be spent at home.
I see nothing but more of the same, as we continue to “police” the world. Could it be that both parties actually agree on this? I think so. Both sides are protecting the war machine and feeding it with sacrifices from the majority of Americans.
As It Stands, we’ll probably continue to call our system democratic for many years to come, despite proof to the contrary.

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...