Saturday, February 21, 2015

Dirtiest Destinations: Rome, the ‘Eternal City’ is a Dilapidated Disgrace

Image: Ponte Sisto

                                          Good Day World!

Rome, aka the “Eternal City” is a dilapidated disgrace.

The glory days of Rome are long past. In recent years Rome has found itself in the unenviable position of being ranked among Europe's dirtiest destinations, according to TripAdvisor surveys.

There’s graffiti everywhere, homeless people sleeping under bridges, broken bottles and a stench of urine in today’s Rome. It isn’t pretty.

The renaissance-era Ponte Sisto is strewn with sprayed-painted graffiti, and the banks of the river Tiber seem abandoned and soiled with uncollected garbage.

Despite this, the Italian capital was chosen as one of the filming locations for "Spectre," the latest installment in the franchise featuring Britain's favorite Martini-swilling spy 007.

But local campaigners are worried that rather than promoting the Eternal City on the international stage, the movie will merely highlight how dirty and run-down Rome has become.

Photographs posted on Basta Cartelloni show the film's locations looking grim, unkempt and in a general state of decay.

With tourism dwindling every year you’d think the locals would do something about it. A citywide cleanup would be a good place to start. Maybe the threat of international embarrassment will be enough to jumpstart a beautification campaign.

Viva Rome!

Time for me to walk on down the road…

 

 

 

Friday, February 20, 2015

A lie is a lie – no matter how you dress it up

                                      Good Day World!

Back in the day they differentiated between lies. There were white lies, and outright lies. A white lie (or small lie) was something that supposedly didn’t hurt anyone.

Nowadays, people don’t talk about white lies.

Instead, they’re talking about “disremembering” things. The most recent example would be Brian Williams, the very popular NBC news anchorman for over a decade.

Williams was recently exposed when he publically disremembered his Iraq experience, his Katerina coverage, and other events.

The man isn’t that old. His memory over major events in his life have suddenly become vague under the scrutiny of NBC’s investigative team.

Of course we all know, a lie is a lie. It doesn’t matter how you dress it up or present it. There’s no good reason for lying.

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“If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.” Mark Twain once said.

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According to the Hebrew Bible, the ninth of God’s Ten Commandments instructs that no person shall bear false witness against their neighbor. In other words, you shouldn’t lie.

All mainstream religions agree that lying is wrong. Sure, you don’t need to have faith in a higher power to understand that telling untruths is both foolish and immoral. There are many logical reasons to avoid telling lies.

Here are six reasons:

1) Remembering your lies - How good do you think your memory is? If you tell somebody a lie, you have to be able to remember exactly what you told them. If ever you forget the lie you told, there is a chance that you’ll contradict yourself later on and subsequently get caught

2) Losing people’s trust - When you get caught lying, people tend to mistrust you from that point forward. If you lie habitually, people will become especially wary of you. Hence, the habitual liar is often a very lonely person.

3) A bad reputation - When people know you for a liar, your reputation is basically ruined. What’s more, it’s human nature to gossip, so news of your lies will quickly spread.

4) It’s addictive - At first, lying can seem rewarding. When someone swallows a lie you’ve told and you get your own way, it can provide an addictive feeling of power.Before you know it, you’ve told so many lies that it becomes difficult to remember exactly what you said, and that means extra stress. That’s when you start to realize that lying is the same as anything else addictive.

5) Legal ramifications - While telling the odd white lie is unlikely to get you into trouble with the law, more serious lies could. Perhaps you think you’d never tell one of those more serious lies. However, when someone gets into the habit of lying, it usually starts with small lies and slowly escalates. The lies you tell today might not get you into trouble with the law, but what about the bigger lies you may tell in the future?

6) Shattered relationships - How do you feel when you find out that somebody else has been lying to you? Most people feel rather angry when they discover they’ve been lied to. When the person that lied is someone that supposedly loves you, the lies can even cause emotional pain. Many loving relationships between good friends, family members and lovers have been completely ruined because of a lie told by one person to another. (source)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Be glad you’re not an albino in Tanzania

Good Day World!

Be glad that you’re not an albino living in Tanzania.

Because if you did, you’d be open game for witch doctors!

That’s right. Albinos of all ages are stolen from their families and hacked up to make magic spells for wealth, influence, etc.

Hard to believe that in this day and age people can be this ignorant. The practice of killing albinos for magical incantations is something out of the ancient past. Yet, it happens all too frequently today.

Tanzanian police recently found the mutilated body of a one-year-old albino boy whose abduction renewed calls for tougher action to stop the killing of albinos for their body parts, prized in black magic.

He was the second albino child in two months to be abducted in the Lake zone of Tanzania. A four-year-old girl who was kidnapped in December is still missing.

The United Nations resident coordinator for Tanzania, Alvaro Rodriguez, condemned the latest killing, warning that 2015 as an election year could be dangerous for people with albinism.

Analysts believe some politicians seek support from witch doctors or traditional healers ahead of elections to improve their luck and seek albino body parts to be used in charms.

Tanzania claims to be a civilized country, but when witch doctors kill and mutilate albinos with impunity, I question that claim. This is the 21st century.

If this tiny African nation really wants to prove their civilized, they can start with a major education campaign and witch hunt!

Efforts thus far have been anemic, and if not for outside organizations like Under The Same Sun, a Canadian non-profit working to defend albinos, their plight may never end.

The PAN AFRICA ALBINISM CONFERENCE 2015 is set for March 31st.

It’s time for me to walk on down the road…

 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Presidential Hopefuls Playing ‘The PAC is Right’

                                     Good Day World!

Welcome to a new reality show featuring presidential candidates raising vast monies for their campaigns:

The PAC is Right, featuring game-show host Dave Stancliff, will take you through the corrupt process of men and women gathering money from anyone who offers it. Just follow this blog.

Are you ready?

Contestants, are you ready? Come on down! 

The contestants whose guess is closest to the actual amount of their “hidden donations” will go on to the next phase – the primary elections where only one lucky winner will emerge to compete for the Grand Prize.

Because the coming election will be marked by unstoppable growth in contributions from non-institutional sources, you’ll see tons of money used to saturate broadcast and online screens with political advertising.

Even more than the last election.

Under the new rules to the game, the strict regulations adopted in the 1970s - and again in 2002 after corruption scandals in the 1990s – are gone. Contestants will be raising cash in all of the traditional and non-traditional ways.

Jeb Bush, a leading contestant, is already holding dinners where potential big donors have to pay $100,000 each to attend. But that’s peanuts compared to what the Koch Brothers plan on giving out to purchase the presidency (nearly $1 billion dollars).

I bet you can’t wait to see who makes the most money. Will it be Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, or Chris Christie for the GOP? Looks like Hillary Clinton is the only Democratic contestant at this time.

Stay tuned to read about all of the action between now and election day 2016. I expect we’ll all be gasping in awe as millions pour in to win the Grand Prize – the presidency of the United States.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

‘The Hackers are Coming ! God Save Us From The Fury of the Hackers’

Good Day World!

Can you imagine the sight, as shiploads of Vikings landed in England to pillage its churches and seize its land?

Cries of “The Vikings are coming! God save us from the fury of the northmen!" rang out throughout ancient England.

Today the world cries out, “Save us from the hackers!”

Like the Vikings, nothing can be done to escape the hacker’s attacks. Stalking the internet like Viking “Berserkers” with little regard for any government or institution, the hackers are becoming bolder daily.

In same cases hackers are state-sponsored. In all cases they do real harm. Worst of all, most of the time hackers don’t get caught.

4 recent hacks:

A simple security oversight was responsible for the massive JPMorgan Chase hack

Twitter Says CFO Anthony Noto's Account Was Hacked 

 

Chinese Hackers Hijack Forbes Website to Spread Malware: Report

Newsweek Twitter Hacked With Pro-ISIS Messages

Here’s some more alarming stories:

Security Gaps Found in 39,890 Online Databases Containing Customer Data

The Conficker Virus

This was a virus that affected almost 15 million computers worldwide. It exploits a security hole in Windows operating system. It makes way to the files and folders in the computer. Even the registry files are exposed to the hackers by the attack of this virus.

That’s why Microsoft has offered a $250,000 bounty for the developer of the virus. After getting infected the hackers will be able to get all the passwords and confidential data. Later on Microsoft has developed a patch to block this hole in their operating system.

Spotify hacked

Spotify is an online music streaming web site which has over one million subscribers in it. Recently this web site was hacked by hackers. It exposed all the account details of the users such as birth days, postcodes, and e mail addresses to the hacker.

It prompted the users to change their passwords to neglect the affect of it. Fortunately the financial details like credit cards which are used for the payments by customers were not revealed, because it was handled by an outside source.

Gary McKinnon - hacker

Gary McKinnon is a Scottish hacker who hacked into the supposedly most secured networks in the world. He hacked into Pentagon and NASA networks in between February 2001 and March 2002. He admitted the hacking responsibility and now facing chances of extradition to United States.

He has done this to get information about UFO researches. Now all depends on the review of the Home secretary Jacqui Smith. Even though Gary is having Asperser’s syndrome, doctors have not given any objection for a trial because of that. If he is finally extradited he might get 70 years in prison.(Source)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sneaky ‘Riders’ Causing Gridlock in Congress

Good Day World!

Congress has resorted to extortion, not governance, ever since the the advent of “riders;” unrelated legislation attached to another bill like a parasite.

Our government will never work if parties always try to put in unrelated legislation, that could not pass on its own merit, into other bills.

The basic flaw in the lawmaking process today needs to be redressed with legislation banning “riders,” on unrelated bills.

Example:

John Boehner, the Republican House of Representatives speaker, said he is willing to let funding for the Department of Homeland Security lapse as part of a Republican push to roll back President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration.

In other words, Boehner and cronies are trying to sneak an unrelated bill on immigration into the funding of Homeland Security, and if they don’t get their way they intend to retaliate by taking punitive action against the department.

Riders are usually created as a tactic to pass a controversial provision that would not pass as its own bill. Occasionally, a controversial provision is attached to a bill not to be passed itself but to prevent the bill from being passed (in which case it is called a wrecking amendment or poison pill).

The use of riders is prevalent and customary in the Congress of the United States, as there are no legal or other limitations on their use.

That’s just wrong. We know that by the results ‘riders” have on getting legislation passed. It’s a low-down sneaky way to get objectionable bills passed.

To counteract riders, 43 of the 50 U.S. states have provisions in their state constitutions allowing the use of line item vetos so that the executive can veto single objectionable items within a bill, without affecting the main purpose or effectiveness of the bill.

In addition, the Line Item Veto Act of 1996 was passed to allow the President of the United States to veto single objectionable items within bills passed by Congress, but the Supreme Court struck down the act as unconstitutional in Clinton v. City of New York.

I think Congress should go the route that 43 states have taken regarding riders. Line-item vetoes make sense.

Congress is dysfunctional at best, but when you add riders as a way to sneak bills into passage, you get our current version of Congress – a pathetic group of partisan party-goers more interested in advancing their ideology than in serving the American people.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Why GOP presidential hopefuls should stay away from the United Kingdom

Good Day World!

When I read Democratic National Committee spokesman Mo Elleithee’s statement to the press I was surprised:

"Do any other GOP presidential candidates want to go to London? If so, let us know. The DNC is more than happy to pick up your travel costs."

What the heck? Then it dawned on me.

Lately, there’s been several GOP White House hopefuls who traveled to the United Kingdom to pad their foreign credentials, and each managed to embarrass themselves and others.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's trip to the U.K. was driven off course by a question about childhood vaccinations.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal came in for criticism during his visit abroad when he said Muslims have established autonomous "no-go zone" neighborhoods in some Western European cities where they govern by a harsh version of Islamic law

— a notion that drew ridicule from British Prime Minister David Cameron, among others.

And most recently, there was Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who capped an appearance at the prestigious Chatham House think tank by avoiding a question about whether he believes in the theory of evolution.

Walker appeared to take some lessons from Christie's widely panned trip, which ended with his staff canceling three meetings planned with reporters. Walker limited his agenda to mostly private meetings with government officials, business executives and ex-pats from Wisconsin.

His only public event was a 15-minute speech, which he followed with 45 minutes of questions and answers.

The query about evolution, posed by the event's moderator, was the last one of the day.

"I'm here to talk about trade and not pontificate on other issues," said Walker, who then tried to make a joke. "I love the evolution of trade in Wisconsin and I'd like to see an even bigger evolution as well."

I guess no one in the audience was laughing because the British press went after him like honey badgers!

Which brings up the obvious:

American presidential candidates trying to get credibility in the UK have failed horribly, and more than likely the UK will continue to be the Waterloo for White House wannabes. 

So far, just GOP members have tried. As there doesn’t seem to be any other presidential candidates for the Dems other than Hillary Clinton, it’s safe to say she doesn’t need to go to the UK for a grip-and-grin.

She’s been there, and done that. Her foreign credentials have been established, but not without controversy.

I doubt she’ll ever shake off the GOP’s rabid jackals who continue to try to blame (an 8th committee has assembled for another try) the Benghazi fiasco on her.

My advise to the GOP presidential pack of candidates is simple:

Campaign at home. You already make asses out of yourselves here as it is, but when you go overseas you magnify the effect by ten-fold! 

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Saturday, February 14, 2015

40 Years & Counting: Happy Valentine’s Day Shirley!

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Despite my many quirks and failings, I’ve been blessed with a woman who has chosen to be my Valentine forever; Shirley Ann Holloway-Strancliff.

After 40 years of marriage, we still only have eyes for one another. Shirley grows more beautiful every year. Our love grows deeper daily.

We laugh, and cry, together. Our lives have been full of adventures with expectations of many more years ahead. 

Today is a day for lovers, young and old. Gifts given are often sexy and bold. To that end, I have a few trendy Valentine Day ideas for your lover:

Try Chocolate "sex bark," a treat that seems conventional enough, until you realize that the recipe calls for pricey ingredients like Sex Dust, an herbal preparation that costs $60 for four ounces and claims to "send waves of blood to all the right places" for both men and women.” 

FOOD and SEX

Restaurants are trying to lure in couples with Valentine's Day menus designed to amp up the mood. (For example, as an homage to the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey movie, customers at Sullivan's Steakhouse locations can slurp oysters and other reported aphrodisiacs while blindfolded with a tie to heighten other senses like taste and smell.)

Even a quick search on Twitter for #aphrodisiac will bring up a flurry of recent results like Brazilian piranha soup, as well as more established ones such as chili peppers and dark chocolate.

The most popular dish ordered on Valentine's is... sushi!

Live. Love. Laugh.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Friday, February 13, 2015

A history of identity theft and why it’s on the rise

Good Day World!

The first case of identity theft is described in the Bible.

The story plays out in the 25th chapter of Genesis, when Jacob covered his hands and neck with goat skins in order to trick his father into giving him the blessing of the firstborn which rightfully belonged to his brother, Esau.

On the surface, this seems harmless enough, but in that deception Jacob acquired all the property and livestock his father owned.

Moreover, most of the ideological differences in the Middle East today that are the cause of all the wars and conflict can be traced back to this event.

In early American history, identity theft was more focused on voter registration, and had more to do with ballot stuffing. But things changed again in the 1930’s with the 21st amendment.

This was the law that repealed prohibition, and alcohol was once again legal, but the legal drinking age was determined by individual states until 1984, when the US Congress passed the National Minimum Drinking Age Act – (23 USC, Section 158 – which actually deals with national highways.)

Between these times, college students would often travel from a state where the legal drinking age was 18 or 19, to their school in a state where the drinking age was 21. Thus was born the "fake ID", the most common type of identity theft for half a century.

The worst crime committed using a fake ID during this time was generally underage drinking.

Of course, there was always a fringe criminal element that would duck the law by using an assumed name, and identification was occasionally obtained using the information of a real person – today we call it Identity Assumption.

But this was still a rarity, until the influx of illegal immigrants kicked off in 1965, with the passing of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Prior to this law, illegal immigration was far less prevalent, because there were policies in place that allowed migrant workers to come into the country during harvest seasons and various labor jobs.

Although communities and states had the odd collection of laws against migrant workers living in the US, these laws were usually overlooked since illegal immigrants tended to establish themselves and contribute to the community.

The last piece of legislation that sparked the wave of identity theft we contend with today was the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (Public Law 99-603, 100 Statute 3359).

Since the passage of this law, all employers are required to fill out a US Citizenship and Immigration Services form (commonly called an I-9 form) for each employee. This requires government issued documents to be furnished (typically we use our driver’s license and social security card) to prove the employee is legally allowed to work in America. (Source)

This in turn has driven the need for valid social security numbers and driver’s licenses for identity thieves. Today, this is the primary source of social security identity theft.

Related Articles

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Bobby Jindal for president? Not even close, he’s a joke

Good Day World!

Wanna hear a good joke?

Louisiana Gov.Bobby Jindal thinks he’s presidential material.

What on earth is he going to run on? His record as governor of Louisiana is beyond pathetic.

Year after year, Louisiana didn't have enough money to cover its expenses, yet Gov. Bobby Jindal refused to roll back income tax cuts or ever-increasing corporate tax breaks. Instead, he raided reserve funds and sold off state property.

BY THE NUMBERS – JINDAL’s ACCOMPLISHMENTS

1) More than $1 billion of the shortfall on the horizon for the fiscal year that begins July 1 can be tied to Jindal's refusal to match the state's spending to its yearly revenue over his two terms in office — as he also steadfastly refused to consider tax increases.

2) When Jindal took office in 2008, he positioned himself as a fiscal conservative who decried budget shell games akin to "using your credit card to pay your mortgage." It didn't take long to ditch that rhetoric and shift the focus to saving critical services with any money available.

3) Jindal suggested job growth from his economic development wins would replenish those assets once the recession ended. It hasn't — and money from the lucrative oil industry has taken a nose dive with crude prices.

Now, the Republican is running out of short-term patches and is struggling to plug a $1.6 billion budget hole just as he tries to build support for a possible 2016 presidential run.

4) In his first year in office, Jindal signed off on the largest individual income tax cut in Louisiana history, stripping hundreds of millions from the state treasury at the same time the national recession hit.

As for Jindal, he said in a recent interview that the shortfall isn't his fault, and he dodged any talk of his temporary fixes.

EVEN REPUBLICANS ARE WARY OF JINDAL’S PONZI SCHEME

"Our budget has been full of sleights of hand — it's almost a Ponzi scheme of moving moneys around, one-time money around, to serve recurring needs," Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, one of the Republicans vying to be Louisiana's next governor, said at a recent forum.

In early February, national credit rating agency Moody's Investors Service described Louisiana's budget as having a "structural deficit," raising worries from Kennedy the state could be threatened with a rating downgrade that could make borrowing more difficult.

ROAD RHETORIC

When he talks of his record in national appearances, Jindal doesn't mention the budget troubles. He describes cutting Louisiana's budget from $34 billion in 2008 to $25 billion — but doesn't explain much of that drop comes from spending down one-time federal recovery dollars after hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

HARSH REALITY

Meanwhile, the cost for the state's various tax credits, rebates and exemptions has ballooned by more than $600 million in the last five years alone, according to the Department of Revenue. (condensed version of AP reports)

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A look at pimps, politicians and bankers

Good Day World!

Riddle.

What do pimps, politicians, and bankers have in common?

Answer. Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

Strauss-Kahn was tipped to become French president before being accused of sexual assault by a New York hotel chambermaid in 2011. U.S. criminal charges were dropped, with allegations that he participated in a French sex ring emerging later.

He has played down his alleged role in sex parties with prostitutes, telling a court he did not know they were being paid and that the frequency of the evenings had been wildly exaggerated.

The 65-year-old former head of the International Monetary Fund is accused of instigating about a dozen parties involving prostitutes between 2008-2011 in Washington, Brussels, Paris and the northern French city of Lille.

But Strauss-Kahn was a “piker” compared to the likes of Jason Itzler.

The self-declared “King of All Pimps” was netting $25,000 per night at his NY Confidential brothel before the cops, on a bust inspired by none other than the New York District Attorney himself, shut him down in 2005.

With few exceptions, if any, the government representatives known as politicians, have their political careers for selfish reasons.

That's why they use the term 'public service' so frequently. It masks the reality of their greed, deceit, and self-serving actions. The way they operate makes them anything but 'public servants.'

To my eye, they appear to be either political prostitutes or political pimps.

Webster defines prostitute as, '1. a person, usually a women, who engages in sexual intercourse for money. 2. To sell or offer (oneself) as a prostitute. 3. to put (one's talent or ability) to unworthy use.'

Webster defines pimp as, 'a man who solicits customers for a prostitute.'

Congress and the White House can be seen as the world's biggest cat houses. The President and Congressmen/women walk the halls before their clients from the lobby groups.

The lobbyists whisper in the ears of the political prostitutes what they're after. Not wanting to appear too willing, and wanting to up the ante, the politician/prostitute feigns concern that the request goes against their 'convictions.'

Knowing this game, the client/john/lobbyist, offers more money to further entice the reluctant political whore to do what he wants.

Finally the politician, sure he can't get anymore out of his lobbyist/john, agrees. This paints a picture of the politician as a prostitute.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

 

 

Blog Break: Stress Has Me on The Ropes

I'm not going to be posting anything for a while. I've had this blog for nearly 20 years, through thick and thin times. But I reall...