Wednesday, December 31, 2014

"The New York Times Takes on the NYPD."-CNN Money.

Boy, that was a welcome headline to see. The article says the Times editorialized both Tuesday and Wednesday against the cops and their union head Patrick Lynch. Let's have a look at those editorials:

Police Respect Squandered in Attacks on deBlasio

Mr. de Blasio isn’t going to say it, but somebody has to: With these acts of passive-aggressive contempt and self-pity, many New York police officers, led by their union, are squandering the department’s credibility, defacing its reputation, shredding its hard-earned respect. They have taken the most grave and solemn of civic moments — a funeral of a fallen colleague — and hijacked it for their own petty look-at-us gesture. In doing so, they also turned their backs on Mr. Ramos’s widow and her two young sons, and others in that grief-struck family.

These are disgraceful acts, which will be compounded if anyone repeats the stunt at Officer Liu’s funeral on Sunday.
But none of those grievances can justify the snarling sense of victimhood that seems to be motivating the anti-de Blasio campaign — the belief that the department is never wrong, that it never needs redirection or reform, only reverence. This is the view peddled by union officials like Patrick Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association — that cops are an ethically impeccable force with their own priorities and codes of behavior, accountable only to themselves, and whose reflexive defiance in the face of valid criticism is somehow normal.
The police can rightly expect, even insist upon, the respect of the public. But respect is a finite resource. It cannot be wasted. Sometimes it has to be renewed.
The grieving rank-and-file need to recognize this and also see the damage that many of their colleagues, and their union representatives, are doing to trash their department’s reputation.

That was Tuesday's editorial and it gets two thumbs up and deserves more if I had more thumbs. 

They have expressed this anger with a solidarity tantrum, repeatedly turning their backs to show their collective contempt. But now they seem to have taken their bitterness to a new and dangerous level — by walking off the job.

When New York City Police Walk Off the Job

The New York Post on Tuesday reported, and city officials confirmed, that officers are essentially abandoning enforcement of low-level offenses. According to data The Post cited for the week starting Dec. 22 — two days after two officers were shot and killed on a Brooklyn street — traffic citations had fallen by 94 percent over the same period last year, summonses for offenses like public drinking and urination were down 94 percent, parking violations were down 92 percent, and drug arrests by the Organized Crime Control Bureau were down 84 percent.

The data cover only a week, and the reasons for the plunge are not entirely clear. But it is so steep and sudden as to suggest a dangerous, deplorable escalation of the police confrontation with the de Blasio administration. Even considering the heightened tensions surrounding the officers’ deaths and pending labor negotiations — the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association has no contract, [Pause: NO CONTRACT! THEY HAVE NO CONTRACT! DO NOT RENEW THAT CONTRACT! PASSIVELY FIRE THEM! THIS IS A GODSEND! Unpause.]

and its leader, Patrick Lynch, has been the most strident in attacking Mr. de Blasio, calling him a bloody accomplice to the officers’ murderthis action is repugnant and inexcusable. It amounts to a public act of extortion by the police.

The list of grievances adds up to very little, unless you look at it through the magnifying lens of resentment fomented by union bosses and right-wing commentators. The falling murder rate, the increased resources for the department, the end of quota-based policing, which the police union despised, the mayor’s commitment to “broken-windows” policing — none of that matters, because many cops have latched on to the narrative that they are hated, with the mayor orchestrating the hate.
It’s a false narrative. Mr. de Blasio was elected by a wide margin on a promise to reform the policing excesses that were found unconstitutional by a federal court.

But what New Yorkers expect of the Police Department is simple:

1. Don’t violate the Constitution.

2. Don’t kill unarmed people.

To that we can add:

3. Do your jobs. The police are sworn public servants, and refusing to work violates their oath to serve and protect. Mr. Bratton should hold his commanders and supervisors responsible, and turn this insubordination around.

Mr. de Blasio has a responsibility to lead the city out of this impasse, and to his credit has avoided inflaming the situation with hasty or hostile words. But it’s the Police Department that needs to police itself. Rank-and-file officers deserve a department they can be proud of, not the insular, defiant, toxically politicized constituency that Mr. Lynch seems to want to lead.

That was Wednesday's editorial and--could I borrow your thumbs--it's thumbs up all around. Good for The New York Times. God bless The New York Times. I will now have an orgasm.

Happy New Year!

A special Happy New Year to blog members

Frida Lee
Woyuanwoyuan Shu

And also to Dr. Frank Dikotter, Christopher Gan, Dr. Weimin Mo, Dr. Jennifer Ruth, Christopher Wang, Dr. Rongfeng Wang, Dr. Youqin Wang, Ye Weiyou, and my good buddy Zhou Jineng.

44,005 pageviews in 2014. Thank you pageviewers!

"The NYPD’s Revolt Is A Direct Threat To Democracy."-The Federalist.

Oh, please. (On the headline)

Since the moment when police officers turned their backs in protest on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, we’ve seen the type of escalating activity in the city which would be more recognizable as the preview to a messy Latin American coup d’etat. 

The latest is a form of purposeful sabotage on the part of the NYPD, which is now actively shirking its duty to enforce the law. According to the New York Post, traffic tickets and summonses have plummeted by 94 percent, and overall arrests are down 66 percent for the week compared to the same period last year. 

["Last year" and for many years before was the "broken windows" theory of policing: deliberately show no tolerance for the most petty of crimes, arrest everyone--for vandalism, littering, panhandling, protesting, drinking in public, trespass, selling single cigarettes. The theory is that those petty criminals are more likely to be the ones who go on to murder, rape and rob.

When I first read about "broken windows" years ago in the New Yorker I thought it was brilliant and, I think I am right in this, serious crime did drop in cities that practiced "broken windows" policing. I remember reading a police officer explaining how broken windows policing works: "You go up to a person for some petty offense, 'accidentally' bump into them, you feel a gun and you can arrest them for that," a more serious and dangerous crime.

The problem is, well, the problems, well, you can see: "bumping," more contact generally between police and people, which people? Black and minority people because it's in the poorer Black and minority neighborhoods that you're going to see more broken windows, more graffiti, public urination, drunkenness, pot smoking, etc., and thus the more likely you're going to have Black and minority people feel that they are being singled out, which is true, and where you're more likely to see a Black man accidentally killed by a police officer over an encounter for selling untaxed cigarettes.

The broken windows theory of policing also encourages the police to engage in their own petty illegality, like "accidentally bumping" up against a person, to engage in pretextual encounters, to make up the pretexts where none exist.

Broken windows policing is an example of "preventive" law enforcement and I have become increasingly wary of preventive anything, prevent defenses in tackle football, preventive medicine, preventive policing.

Broken windows policing is a preventive alternative to the approach tried by the police chief in Los Angeles many, many years ago, guy by the name of Parker. Parker's idea was to set up roadblocks on highways and search every single car without exception. That certainly got around the problem of selective, discriminatory law enforcement that you have in broken windows policing but, as you can imagine, the citizenry was irate and the roadblock searches couldn't get around the Constitution, the Supremes finding roadblock searches in violation thereof and that ended Parker's try at preventive policing.

If I am correct that broken windows policing has reduced crime then the American people have to make some choices: Do we want fewer broken windows in return for more dead, mostly Black people, in return for more arrests of (mostly Black and minority) people, in return for more police petty, occasionally more serious,  illegality? Or do we want a lower "quality of life" (as broken windows policing in also called): more broken windows, more drunken bums in the streets, more aggressive panhandlers, more urine-smelling subways and more murder, robbery and rape in return for fewer arrests of, mostly Black and minority, people, less police illegality of whatever seriousness, less "bumping," less aggressive, violent policing, more dead, mostly Black, people. I don't mean this facetiously, that is a tough choice! But having once thought broken windows was brilliant, I, Benjamin Harris, now choose less broken windows policing.]
Supporters of the NYPD have pointed out throughout the back-turning that their officers feel upset at Mayor de Blasio and others, that they feel they are less safe because of the comments of politicians. This is one more example of one of the most irritating tendencies of unionized police forces today – a recurring demand that they receive the same attitude of respect for authority given to the United States military, without any of the responsibility and duty that comes with it. A poll last week found that a mere 15 percent of active duty service members approve of President Obama – understandable, considering his many policy decisions and a laundry list of questionable choices.

But is the American military turning their backs on the Commander in Chief? Showing contempt for him? Going AWOL with the endorsement of their superiors? Shirking their duty? Booing and jeering at him at a graduation ceremony? No. They, after all, are not unionized.

The real rise of frustration with police officers in America comes down to one thing: an enduring sense that the current law enforcement system is unfair. We have to abide by rules they do not. We are the civilians, as if they are not. When we go before a court, enduring bias assumes that police are responsible and honest, even if the evidence suggests otherwise. District attorneys have one method for grand juries with cops, and different methods for ones without cops. The problem is one of institutional disrespect for their own civic obligations. We have to obey the commands of officers, but they have no real desire to obey the commands of their own authorities, or the ultimate authority they serve – the people.

In retrospect, Mayor de Blasio should’ve responded to the backs turning by firing people immediately. The NYPD needed to be reminded that chain of command exists, and that they are not at the top of it. Instead, what New York City is experiencing now amounts to nothing less than open rebellion by the lone armed force under the worst kind of weakened junta, one led by a figure ideologically radical and personally weak, who has lost control of his bureaucracies and may soon be devoured by them.

"US scientist shot by toddler was 'beautiful, young, loving mother'."

Veronica Rutledge shot dead by two-year-old son in Wal-Mart Mother was legally carrying a weapon in a handbag with a specially designed ’gun pocket’ that her husband had bought her for Christmas.

Veronica Rutledge, 29, a civilian nuclear research scientist, was legally carrying a small-calibre handgun in a Wal-Mart store while her toddler rode in the trolley and she also minded her three nieces.

Guns don't kill people, toddlers kill people.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Trouble in Cleveland.*#

LeBron James' "Cavaliers" lost last night, that's three of their last four. Their record with just under 40% of games played is 11th best in the league. No prob, the "Heat" started slowly LeBron's first year too. No. Problem. The team's performance is alarming management.

LeBron James is the best basketball player in the world. He is the best human being in sports. If there was a God He would make any team James is on win the championship any year. Yet there is is some disconnect between James and the other players and between coach David Blatt and the players:
The head coach there is the one with his arms folded. It is the assistant coach who is talking to James, who James is listening to.

But there's something in James' body language, in his indifference in team huddles, in the things he says and doesn't say, that suggests he has not yet warmed to Blatt. And may not.
On one turnover, the ball bounced off James' leg, across midcourt, for what would be an over-and-back call against the Cavs. There was 8:40 left and Cleveland trailed by 26. James jogged after the ball for a bit, but with no Piston truly close enough to the ball, he watched it roll out of bounds.

It was going to be a turnover either way. And the game was over. James' body language screamed, "why bother?" Dec. 29.

James is also the most intelligent player in the NBA. He sees things others don't, he sees things in advance of others seeing them. If he sees something as a lost cause, a play, a game, a series, a stay in a city, his body language gives him away. He was in a trance during a playoff game in his first tour of duty in Cleveland. He moved like he had lead in his shoes. He knew, he knew he would never be able to win a championship with that Cleveland team. He was correct and he bolted to Miami. In last year's NBA Finals in one game in particular he displayed similar body language. He could see that that "Heat" team was not going to win, was not going to win that game nor that Finals nor win future Finals unless there was upgrade "at every position." Pat Riley's "pissed" challenge to James to stay was made all the more embarrassing by the lame upgrades Riley made. James could see and he bolted again.

Cleveland's normally loquacious coach David Blatt, who takes minutes and minutes of questions after each game, even losses, came into his post-game presser with a statement.

"I don't want to get up and walk out of here, that's not fair to you people, but I don't have too, too much to say," Blatt said. "But I will say this.  That was embarrassing how we played. I apologize to all the good fans who came out here, as they always do. Really just a poor, poor performance."

So perhaps that's why when James was asked if he was "embarrassed" by the 29-point shellacking he and his teammates had just endured, he shot back "nah, I'm embarrassed losing the Finals."
ditto 12-18.

I have only contempt for the city of Cleveland, the people of Cleveland, the management of the "Cavaliers," especially owner Dan Gilbert, but I want LeBron James to win wherever he is and for whomever he plays. James said and meant that it would take time to build a champion in Cleveland, that he would have to have "patience." He has led every way he can through 31 games but his eyes won't lie. He can bolt again after this year. And that makes me sad.

*UPDATED, Dec. 31, 9 pm UTC. Listen to what LeBron James says to Dwayne Wade after their Christmas Day game. Go to about 2:40 on the tape.LeBron-Wade conversation.

#UPDATED, Jan. 1, 2015, 5 am. Cleveland lost again at home Wednesday night, their third straight loss and now four losses in the last five games. LeBron James sat a second game in a row with a bruised knee. Cleveland's record is now 18-14.

" Scientists show that drunk birds ‘slur’ their songs."-Washington Post

The Day.

If I drink too much we'll do "The Year" sometime later today, a full-fledged T.I.P.O. This is the day:

1.France 42.
2. Czech Republic 27.
3. Russia 16. (Alexei Navalny broke his first day of house arrest today, went to a protest and...was rearrested.)
4. United States 14. (This looks like a Republican convention.)
5. Germany 3.
6. Ukraine 2. (Thanks, "Ukraine Has Not Yet Died" but you're still not getting into NATO.)
7. Canada 2. (This is NBC, nothin' but Caucasians.)
8. Australia 1.
9. Bosnia and Herzogovina.
10. Belarus 1.

A whiter shade of pale today.

"Boehner Stands By Scalise in Furor Over Racist Group."-New York Times.

Lol. It's only a day early so Happy New Year to President Obama and the Democrats.

Rolling Stone's Story.

How in the world can "A Rape on Campus" still be on the Stoner's website? You read headlines saying they "retracted" the article. They did no such thing. It's still there. 


Bodies and debris found.
Lotta bad words here lately. Had 'em stored 'em up from before Christmas maybe. Gotta take a good look inside myself. Make myself a better person in 2015. Have my shrink take a good look inside myself.

Monday, December 29, 2014

And FUCK NYPD!...Continue to fuck NYPD.

Good night.

"House Whip Addressed White Supremacists in 2002."-Time.

Good! Scratch a Republican, find a racist. He's only the number 3 guy in the House Republican leadership, #1 is behind him there, so it's not that he's important or anything.

Fuck Steve Scalise, Fuck John Boehner, FUCK THE WHOLE GOP!


It helps to have a lot of experience when reading The Quasi-Official New York Times. I bet it is the most edited goddamned paper in the whole history of papers. Their status as "newspaper of record," as consent manufacturers, means that what gets mentioned, where on the paper it gets mentioned (top right is most important), how it gets written is subject to review, discussion. rewrite, review, approval--at least that cycle--before it sees the gray light of day.

"If all of Flight 8501’s passengers have perished, that would mean the three deadliest aviation disasters of 2014 are all tied to Malaysia."

The way one should read that is:

No, we are going to say "tied," okay? We are going to say "tied" because we are going to tie ALL THREE of these things to Malaysia like tin cans to a dog's tail! Enough! This is three goddamned times in one year! And they don't know what the hell happened! Screw them! Let those tin cans rattle and bang as they run.

Ram Karun, 37, an engineer for a food processing plant who was also bound for India on a pilgrimage, said he could not believe what he was hearing in news reports about the three air disasters. He said he thought the government knew more than it was saying.
No, we're leaving that quote in there...It's not a quote, you're right. What did this guy fucking say to you, man? Why isn't that in quotes? SHUT UP! Is that the "gist" of what he said? Arright, fine! It's deadline time, we'll leave it without the fucking quotes. Listen, Jimmy Olsen, when you write So-and-so SAID, take it down exact, huh? We're leaving it like that because that is the only intelligent thing that's come out of Malaysia about this thing so far. That's what I think, what that Ram guy said is what I think, it's what everybody in this goddamn room thinks! Of course they know fucking more than they're saying. They better start talking and it better be good. Who was that idiot they trotted out during MH370? This guy makes more sense than that guy did. No, you leave that guy's statement in there just like that. Fucking Malaysia. Morons. Get a fucking QUOTE the next time, wouldja! Huh?

“Everyone knows something is happening, but we can’t figure it out,” he said. “We don’t know exactly what is happening.”

Oh. He got a quote! He got a quote! You won't be working for the Toledo Blade next week after all. Mazel tov. That's it, end it on that note. Fucking Malaysia.


Plane "likely on bottom of ocean." Cause? HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA. Search suspended for second night.

Cop Culture.

LA police investigate song mocking dead black teen at ex-cop's party.-Reuters.

To the tune of "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown":

"Michael Brown learned a lesson about a messin' with a badass policeman."
""Michael looked like some old Swiss cheese" ... his brain "splattered on the floor."

Gmail blocked in China.

The Great Firewall. says it's in preparation for 25th anniversary of May 35. I'm really weak on math so I've done these calculations on a calculator: 2015-1989= 26.

(This was post #5000 on Public Occurrences.)

Sunday, December 28, 2014


The search has "resumed."

Did you know that some Indonesian and African airlines are BANNED by the European Union? Won't let 'em land! Safety concerns. Read that in The Quasi-Official New York Times.

Cop Culture.

Tee shirts seem to be a particularly fecund field to plow under this topic. Police unions are another good source. This tee shirt was the brainchild of the Twin Rivers, CA union. The guy who said New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio had "blood on his hands" was the union head, I think his name was Patrick Gallagher but it was some Irish name like that.

Cop Culture.
Hilarious, right? Cops think so. Normal people, not so much. This is the Denver Police Department. The "DNC," I couldn't figure out what that stood for...Denver...Nocturnal Cops, I didn't know.

"Democratic National Convention." The fucking 


The police union, the "Denver Police Protective Association," distributed over 2,000 of these shirts.

Culture is a creation of the human brain. Therefore, "cop culture" is a creation of the cop brain. They don't have many of those.

Cop Culture: NYPD.

NYPD Officers Caught Wearing T-Shirts


Professing Their Love For "Hunting Of Man"

 A tipster passes along this "disturbing" photo taken outside Queens Criminal Court showing members of the [Queens Warrant] squad on-duty, shortly after escorting a woman into court for a misdemeanor charge.
Last week, the Manhattan warrant squad evacuated a public housing building for hours when they mistakenly believed that a wanted man was barricaded in an apartment.
2008 Daily News profile notes that the Queens Warrant Squad's mission is "to apprehend the worst of the worst: people wanted in homicides, nonfatal shootings and strong-arm robberies. Their quarry faces heavy jail time. Some would rather die than get caught." One detective describes coming "within a hair of death." Apparently the emotions stirred are so atavistic and primal they can only be adequately described by wearing them on a t-shirt.
We've sent an email to NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Paul Browne inquiring as to whether the shirts violate department policy. We don't expect a response.

This isn't the first time that quote has been used, badly, by NYPD personnel. 
In 1996, members of the Street Crime Unit, a plainclothes task force which roamed neighborhoods looking for guns, had T-shirts made with the same quote. In 1999, members of the Street Crime Unit shot unarmed Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo 41 times and killed him. The unit was later disbanded.
Former Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik once told his subordinates: "I am a hunter of men." Kerik went on to declare he would hunt down anyone who he thought was disloyal.
And Kerik's predecessor, Howard Safir, in 1991, used the quote to boast about his work for the U.S. Marshals Service on 60 Minutes. Safir went on the show hoping to turn his career into a book or movie deal. Didn't happen.
Whether The Gothamist got a response or not, that last sentence in their article refers to another aspect of the "cop culture," in NYPD and elsewhere, the "Blue Wall of Silence." See succeeding posts.
"They really do feel under attack — rank-and-file officers — and much of American police leadership. They feel that they are under attack from the federal government at the highest levels."
-William Bratton, New York City Police Commissioner on NBC "Meet the Press."

Can the federal government take over a local police force? They can probably do so effectively, by sending in the U.S. Marshalls; by investigating the conduct of a police department as Justice is now doing in Ferguson, Missouri. Obama and Holder ought not go wooly in the knees here. This is the time to keep the pressure on. Provoke these disgruntled cops into resigning. Provoke the police union into a work stoppage. Then Obama could take them over. NYPD is out of control. Fuck 'em good. Find some way of getting rid of all of them, invite some to reapply to a new NYPD, but get rid of this NYPD. Get rid of cops anywhere else who feel the same as these NYPD cops. Fuck the cops.


AirAsia Indonesia, 49% owned by Malaysia Airlines, flight 8501 disappeared from radar Saturday night at 11:24 pm UTC. 162 on board.

Sporting News.

No rest for the weary in the English Premier League.

CHELSEA DROPS POINTS! CHELSEA DROPS POINTS! Just now, the Southampton-Chelsea match ended and it was a 1-1 draw.

God's Righteous Angels are up 2-0 over Burnley at the half.

CUM tied nil-nil at Hottsy Tottsy.

UPDATE, 4:56 UTC. I would like to express my extreme displeasuretude with the 2-2 result at the Etihad Stadium today.

""De Blasio speaks at funeral; officers turn their backs."-USA Today.

Fuck the NYPD.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

"De Blasio speaks at funeral; officers turn their backs."-USA Today.

NYPD and NYFD brawling in a charity hockey game last year.

You could take the guys whose uniform is orange jumpsuits and have them exchange uniforms with the guys who wear blue...wouldn't notice much difference.

"De Blasio speaks at funeral; officers turn their backs."-USA Today.


"De Blasio speaks at funeral; officers turn their backs."-USA Today.


The Great Sumatra Earthquake and Tsunami 2004.

The Day.

France 54
Russia 18
U.S. 11

Cato! A round of La Marseillaise! Wow, France 54. And the U.S. only 11. Oooh little peepy U.S. 
"Baby Jesus Stolen From Nativity at State Capitol." That's in Olympia, Washington. Third year in a row it's happened.

"Baby Jesus Statue Stolen, Replaced With Pig's Head." Haverhill, Massachusetts.

"Thieves Steal Baby Jesus From Beaufort County Nativity Scene." South Carolina.

That's not very nice. Not in the Christmas spirit. I smite them who steal the Baby Jesus:

North Korea.

"Obama always goes reckless in words and deeds like a monkey in a tropical forest."

Friday, December 26, 2014

"Russia's New Military Doctrine Lists NATO, US As Major Threats."-Voice of America.

It is Boxing Day in Merry Old England, always a big soccer day, and today the chalk won:

God's Righteous Angels in Blue
Chevrolet United of Manchester
The Vegetarians
The Arse
Stokey. That was an upset, they won at Everton.
Hottsy Tottsy
Hull. Maybe that was an upset, I don't know, they won at Sunderland.
The Swans
My remaining holiday book is Tender is the Night which I read here as I lay dying.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Done. The Great Gatsby. As substantial as cotton candy. Cotton candy is good though, right? Ah, but see what Fitzgerald does is wrap your head in cotton candy, slowly, well, pretty quickly, it's a short book, layer upon layer and he covers up your whole head in cotton candy blocking your breathing passages until he suffocates you and you DIE. Cotton candy is not good that way.

"Miami Fans Give LeBron James Standing Ovation."-NBC News

Oh my. What a great thing to do. So proud of the people of Miami for that. Very touching, very appropriate, very generous-spirited. Very proud of Miami for that.
Ten years ago. My oh my.

What was then called the Sumatra tsunami was the first continuing news story that I followed after disconnecting from television. No visuals, just the worsening updates on my primitive cell phone that I read all day.

The medium affects the message. I thought it strange at the time that I felt the horror more viscerally than I would have had I been able to see it. I think when we used to get news bulletins off a ticker-tape that it must have been worse for the same reason. When Walter Cronkite was handed that bulletin that JFK had died he read it, paused, took off his glasses, smacked his lips a couple of times in visible attempt to control his emotions.

I remember that day after Christmas in 2004 just laying on my stomach in bed constantly reading and refreshing the page and reading again and it just got worse and worse and I developed just a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. 226,000 people killed. When I finally saw video--I had imagined a skyscraper size wave--I was surprised. The people on the beach didn't know what the hell was going on either and they just stared at it for a few seconds. And then the goddamned thing hit and the force...the force of that wave. Jesus Christ. 226,000 people. What an awful day.


Weirdest country distribution ever in last 2 hours:

1. Burundi 8. I mean, Burundi. We're talking Burundi. Where is Burundi?
2. Venezuela 5. Venezuela.
3. Slovenia 3. Slovenia is actually normal.*
4. Czech Republic 1.
5. U.S. 1.

Weird, man.

*Update, 8:52 pm Dec.25. Slovenia is now 10th all-time (July ought-nine)! Yeah, big news. Replacing Oss-trayl-ee-a. Yeah, big news.
Why did Faulkner and Hemingway endlessly write horror stories? Surely, there was fun and beauty, humor and love in their lives. Would that not have been considered "serious" writing?

I grew up in Barnesboro, Pennsylvania, infinitely less prosperous than Oak Park, Illinois; could not have been less dreary, beautiful, numbing, tragic than Oxford, Mississippi. It was not a horror growing up in Barnesboro.

Kipling grew up in Raj India. Gonna go out on a limb here and assert that there was more ugliness, brutality, injustice that he saw as a child than Faulkner and Papa saw in their whole lives combined. Serious writer Kipling, no? Yet, Kipling wrote Kim.

Generational? Kipling was one older. Was Hemingway's generation really so "lost?" Faulkner was a contemporary. Faulkner wasn't of a "lost generation."

Cultural, American vs British? I don't know.

Now I'm reading The Great Gatsby. Light as cotten candy. Not a "serious" work. Not in the same league as The Sound and the Fury or A Farewell to Arms. Fitzgerald a contemporary of Faulkner and Hemingway and an American.

I don't know why Faulkner and Hemingway, the best American writers of the 20th century, only wrote horrors.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas 2014.

It is now Christmas Day UTC which means in all of Europe and the East. It soon will be in North America.

Christmas is a humanistic celebration. It is inclusive. It is child-centered. We are all children. The love and well wishes of Christmas extend to all, of whatever, or of no, religion.

In that spirit Merry Christmas to all.

Christmas 2014.

Rhema Marvanne.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Incarnate Word.

Dudes and dudettes, the Incarnate Word got erased, blown out, by the Tulsa "Golden Hurricane" Monday night, 76-47. The Cardinals are now pink. Sheesh. And at this time of year.

Christmas 2014.

It's Christmas Eve somewhere!

The Day.

Hey. Five countries in double figures today. Here's the whole list:

1. France 43.
2. U.S. 29.
3. Germany 23.
4. Czech Republic 13.
5. Russia 12.
6. Slovenia 6.
7. Thailand 2.
8. Austria 1.
9. U.K. 1
10. Hong Kong 1.

Really now, who had heard of The Interview before "The Hacking?"

"Insight - Off duty, black cops in New York feel threat from fellow police."-Reuters.

"...[A] number of black NYPD officers say they have experienced the same racial profiling that cost Eric Garner his life.
[Garner's] death, and that of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, has sparked a slew of nationwide protests against police tactics. On Saturday, those tensions escalated after a black gunman, who wrote of avenging the black deaths on social media, shot dead two New York policemen.  

The protests and the ambush of the uniformed officers pose a major challenge for New York Mayor Bill De Blasio. The mayor must try to ease damaged relations with a police force that feels he hasn’t fully supported them, while at the same time bridging a chasm with communities who say the police unfairly target them.
Reuters interviewed 25 African American male officers on the NYPD, 15 of whom are retired and 10 of whom are still serving. All but one said that, when off duty and out of uniform, they had been victims of racial profiling, which refers to using race or ethnicity as grounds for suspecting someone of having committed a crime.

The officers said this included being pulled over for no reason, having their heads slammed against their cars, getting guns brandished in their faces, being thrown into prison vans and experiencing stop and frisks while shopping. The majority of the officers said they had been pulled over multiple times while driving. Five had had guns pulled on them.

Desmond Blaize, who retired two years ago as a sergeant in the 41st Precinct in the Bronx, said he once got stopped while taking a jog through Brooklyn’s upmarket Prospect Park. "I had my ID on me so it didn’t escalate," said Blaize, who has sued the department alleging he was racially harassed on the job. "But what’s suspicious about a jogger? In jogging clothes?"

The NYPD and the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, the police officers’ union, declined requests for comment. However, defenders of the NYPD credit its policing methods with transforming New York from the former murder capital of the world into the safest big city in the United States.

The black officers interviewed said they had been racially profiled by white officers exclusively, and about one third said they made some form of complaint to a supervisor.

All but one said their supervisors either dismissed the complaints or retaliated against them by denying them overtime, choice assignments, or promotions. The remaining officers who made no complaints said they refrained from doing so either because they feared retribution or because they saw racial profiling as part of the system.

In declining to comment to Reuters, the NYPD did not respond to a specific request for data showing the racial breakdown of officers who made complaints and how such cases were handled.
There’s evidence that aggressive policing in the NYPD is intensifying, according to data from the New York City Comptroller.

Police misconduct claims - including lawsuits against police for using the kind of excessive force that killed Garner - have risen 214 percent since 2000...

People who have taken part in the marches against Garner's death - and that of Ferguson teenager Michael Brown - say they are protesting against the indignity of being stopped by police for little or no reason as much as for the deaths themselves.

“There’s no real outlet to report the abuse,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former NYPD captain who said he was stigmatized and retaliated against throughout his 22-year career for speaking out against racial profiling and police brutality.
At an ale house in Williamsburg, Brooklyn last week, a group of black police officers from across the city gathered for the beer and chicken wing special. They discussed how the officers involved in the Garner incident could have tried harder to talk down an upset Garner, or sprayed mace in his face, or forced him to the ground without using a chokehold. They all agreed his death was avoidable.

Said one officer from the 106th Precinct in Queens, “That could have been any one of us.”

Ukraine, NATO.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned that Ukraine's move towards NATO would have "negative consequences."

"In essence, an application for NATO membership will turn Ukraine into a potential military opponent for Russia," he wrote.
Reuters quoted a NATO spokesperson in Brussels on Tuesday as saying that any accession to the alliance would likely take years.

"Our door is open and Ukraine will become a member of NATO if it so requests and fulfills the standards and adheres to the necessary principles," the spokesperson said.

"Ukraine Takes Steps Toward Joining NATO."-New York Times.

No. Retrace your steps, Ukraine. You're not joining NATO.

Police Officers Murdered in New York City.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's call for a cessation of the protests is consistent at least in part with a belief that the protests and the murders of the police officers are linked. That there is some causation there. The argument goes, and this is one that has been made explicitly by the police union head and the former governor of New York, that in acknowledging that there is an issue of unnecessary police violence in Eric Garner's killing the mayor was not supportive of the police, that in that way and others, the mayor was creating an atmosphere in which the police would be targeted for violence and that these murders were the predictable--and they were predicted by NYPD--result.

That argument, that Mayor de Blasio has "blood on his hands" in the words of the police union chief, fails. The police argument for linkage starts with the protests over the non-indictment. It should start with the killing of Eric Garner. The police argument for causation starts at the same point. Using police logic it does not matter what the protests are about, any protests are inevitably going to involve the police for crowd control, any protest brings the police into contact with citizens "breaking the law" e.g. by obstructing the streets (there's a law against that) by causing a crowd to gather (that's called disturbing the peace), precisely the crimes, at a minimum, in which protesters engage. Following police logic, all of the peaceful protesters should have been arrested for those "broken windows" crimes since:

1. The protesters qua protesters broke the law.
2. Police officers should arrest all law-breakers.
     A. Eric Garner was breaking the law by selling untaxed cigarettes. Ergo,
     B. The police had to arrest Eric Garner.
And, continuing the logic:
3. Since these protests were against the police, not for example, for the firing of the New York "Jets" coach, the mayor had even more a duty to "support" the police.
4. In whatever the police do, including killing a man during an arrest for selling untaxed cigarettes.
5. That he didn't support the police sufficiently for the police means that Mayor de Blasio is drenched in the blood of the murdered officers.

Under police logic there is no action that citizens should ever protest, especially not police action and a mayor who doesn't stand by the police no questions asked "has blood on his hands."

So yeah, the police argument fails. There is an issue of  unnecessary police force in Eric Garner's killing. Mayor de Blasio represents all of the people in New York City, one of whom was Mr. Garner, another of whom was the officer who killed Garner, two more were the officers murdered Saturday. He has a duty when one of his constituents is killed by another of his constituents to speak and to act. He must ask questions; he must not support the police in whatever they do.

The police do not have to arrest all law-breakers. They have discretion, which their superiors, the mayor at the top, the citizens who they "serve and protect" at the bottom entrust to them. When the police abuse that trust, as they did in using deadly force to arrest a man for selling untaxed cigarettes, as they would have had they arrested all protesters for disturbing the police, in arresting many others under "broken windows" policing, in racial profiling, then their ultimate boss, the mayor, must not support the police.

Citizens are not going to support the police whatever they do. They are going to protest. It is not a legal duty to protest injustice in the United States of America but it should be done and it is a right. Americans have the right to protest. Inevitably, the exercise of the right to protest results in law breaking. We entrust our police officers with discretion in protecting the rights of all.

Following the logic of the police the people who have "blood on their hands" in the murders of Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos are not Bill de Blasio and the protesters, the people who have blood on their hands are the police. I do not subscribe to the police logic however you turn it, wherever the finger points. The only person who caused the deaths of Officers Lius and Ramos is Ismaaiyl Brinsley.

I am Benjamin Harris and this is Public Occurrences.

Christmas 2014.

Jose Feliciano. Feliz Navidad. That song came out in 1970 and has been a Christmas staple ever since.

Police Officers Murdered in New York City.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for an end to the protests, at least until after the officers funerals.

Police Officers Murdered in New York City.

The motive of the murderer, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, was revenge for the Michael Brown and Eric Garner police killings.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas 2014.

"North Korea Experiencing Widespread Internet Outages."-Fox News.

McCain, did Obama just commit an act of war against North Korea? If so, should he have gone to Congress first to seek a formal Declaration of War? If not, why not?

"Yuan-Ruble Swap Shows China Challenging IMF as Emergency Lender."-Bloomberg.

"China is stepping up its role as the lender of last resort to some of the world’s most financially strapped countries.

Chinese officials signaled Saturday that they are willing to expand a $24 billion currency swap program to help Russia weather the worst economic crisis since the 1998 default. China has provided $2.3 billion in funds to Argentina since October as part of a currency swap, and last month it lent $4 billion to Venezuela, whose reserves cover just two years of debt payments.

By lending to countries shut out of overseas capital markets, Chinese President Xi Jinping is bolstering the country’s influence in the global economy and cutting into the International Monetary Fund’s status as the go-to financier for nations in financial distress. While the IMF tends to demand reforms aimed at stabilizing a country’s finances in exchange for loans, analysts speculate that China’s terms are more focused on securing its interests in the resource-rich countries."

Brilliant move by the Chinese. The biggest effect of Western sanctions has been the denial of capital. Here, China comes in and eases that immediately. Just shows how close Russia and China have become and how estranged America and China have become.This is pro-Russian and anti-American.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Well, I just finished The Sound and the Fury, previously I had read As I Lay Dying. William Faulkner won the Nobel Prize in 1949, Ernest Hemingway in 1954. I have read just about everything that Hemingway wrote that is in print.

There is no comparison between these two authors, Faulkner is infinitely better. Faulkner is every bit as successful with his experiment in writing, the "stream of consciousness" style, in which he was influenced by Joyce, as Hemingway is with his experiment, the pared-down style. Faulkner's is much more complex though, more difficult to write. It is work to write as Hemingway did--"No."--, it is, you spend a lot of time paring down to get to that "No.", in removing adjectives and adverbs and make that "No." work but Good God, there are Hemingway contests to see who can write the most Hemingwayesque prose. A lot of people do pretty damn good imitations of Papa. If there are Faulkner imitators who are as spot-on as some of Hemingway's, well, I'd like to read those sumbitches. I can imagine making a lame attempt at Hemingway imitation. I would have a panic attack and run and hide and curl up in the fetal position if I were ever tasked with trying to imitate Faulkner's stream of consciousness style.

Faulkner is difficult man, his work is hard on the reader. The flashbacks, the voice of a mute, mildly retarded man, the mental decompensation of even normal characters, it's hard reading. To write that way? I'd be beat. I couldn't do it, I have thought of attempting it but I'm too intimidated. I never had to work so hard to follow an author's writing as in Faulkner's stream of consciousness, but I did! I think I got 75% maybe 90% of Faulkner. I got 90%-100% of Hemingway. Hemingway was not as hard. You have to work hard as a reader of Faulkner, you can't take a lap. I underlined, dog-eared and re-read and if I missed something, it was the way the two Faulkner novels ended. I was taken by surprise by the endings in As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury and what I didn't get came in those endings but with considerable effort the stream of consciousness works, it is subtle and complex and natural, and it WORKS.

What is said of the composer Antonio Vivaldi, that he did not compose 400 sonatas, he composed one sonata 400 times, could be said of Ernest Hemingway's writing. It is impossible to say that about William Faulkner's work.

Hands down, Faulkner is clearly superior to Hemingway in his prose and experimentation. William Faulkner's writing is the apotheosis of American literature.

Christmas 2014.

Florida State Athlete Cleared of Rape Allegation.

Jameis Winston, star tackle football player, was found not in violation of the university's Code of Conduct after a lengthy hearing. The ruling was made by a former justice of the Florida Supreme Court who conducted the hearing. Prosecutors previously declined to charge Winston criminally. The standard of proof in this hearing was only "preponderance of the evidence" and Justice Major Harding found that that standard had not been met. I am surprised.

Christmas 2014.

Incarnate Word.

Continuing our popular series "Incarnate Word," Incarnate Word defeated UMKC, which as we all know is the University of Missouri at Kansas City 110-104 in triple overtime. Wow. And before that our beloved "Cardinals" beat Grand Canyon, I don't know if they filled it in or what the hell they did. So, yeah.

North Korea Hacks Sony.

That was a big story this week. Sony canceled the release of a movie, a satire on an assassination of Fat Boy. Yeah, so? Which was my reaction. Then President Obama said Sony oughtn't have canceled the movie and that he would respond to North Korea with his own "proportional" attack. Really? Why? Because American "interests" were at stake: business, censorship.

Now, really, why should Official America respond to Official North Korea's cyber attack on a private corporation? I thought to myself. "The business of America is business"; "What's good for General Motors is good for America." Oh yeah. That is how we think. But O.A. didn't respond that way when Official Islam really did attack America on 9/11/12 over another movie--My favorite of all time--Innocence of Muslims, did O.A.? No it didn't.

But what the hell.

Comes now Senator John McCain on one of the Sunday news shows:

"The president does not understand that this is a manifestation of a new form of warfare," McCain said. "When you destroy economies, when you are able to impose censorship on the world and especially the United States of America, it's more than vandalismIt's a new form of warfare that we're involved in, and we need to react and react vigorously."

WAR! What should Obama do, nuke 'em? Provide arms to Sony like McCain wants to do Ukraine? War? Really? So when Obama bugged Merkel and Rousseff's phones those were acts of war? ALL of what NSA has been doing since after 9/11/01 is war? Maybe it is! Amigo McCain, can you send me some arms?
"That, as much as you try, the world’s not perfect, and everybody’s not perfect and some of the people you have the highest expectations for and do the most for will disappoint you the most. But you can’t let that get you down because there are so many wonderful people out there."

It was the last winter and he knew.

Christmas 2014.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Two Policemen Murdered in New York City.

In Brooklyn, New York two police officers were ambushed as they sat in their police car today and murdered by a man who had shot his girlfriend in Baltimore, MD and come to New York with the stated intent to kill police officers. Motive unknown at this time. Shortly thereafter the murderer committed suicide.

Christmas 2014

Over the last couple of days I have been googling for cute photographs of Christmas kids. I started to notice something and just now I did an experiment. I searched Google images under the following search keywords:

-christmas photography child
-christmas photography children
-christmas kids
-christmas photographs kids
-christmas photographs children

And under none of those broad search terms are there any Black kids. I think the closest to the top that there was a Black child was 41st.

And I am very hurt about that. "Hurt" is the correct verb, that is what I feel.

Christmas 2014.

Ooh, that's a good frowny face. Can you say dickhead? Di-ick He-ad. Good, honey! He's a dickhead, isn't he? Bad old dickhead! Get away from the Christmas tree you bad old dickhead.

Christmas 2014.

Frowny face.
God's Righteous Angels in Blue just beat Child Porn 3-zip. Eighth straight win for City. 

Christmas 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas 2014.

"I said, "Louis, when was the last time you cleaned that lantern?"

"I cleant hit a little while back. You member when all dat flood-watter wash dem folks away up yonder? I cleant hit dat ve'y day. Old woman and me setting fore de fire dat night and she say 'Louis, whut you gwine do ef dat flood git out dis fur?' and I say 'Dat's a fack. I reckon I had better clean dat lantun up.' So I cleant hit dat night."

"That flood was way up in Pennsylvania," I said. "It couldn't even have got down this far."
                      -The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner.

Christmas 2014.

The official Reading, Pennsylvania Christmas tree.

The Pennsylvania Paradox.

"What do the authors of Rolling Stone’s discredited story about rape allegations and the University of Virginia and New York magazine’s story about a high schooler with phantom millions in stock trades have in common?

Both the authors — Sabrina Rubin Erdely and Jessica Pressler — have spent time as staff writers at Philadelphia Magazine."*

It's even worse than that. Both Erdely and Pressler were educated in Pennsylvania, Erdely at Penn--where the Jerry Sandusky rapes happened according to Maureen Dowd--and Pressler at Temple University. It's even worse than that. Stephen Glass, The New Republic's writer of fiction masquerading as non-fiction also went to Penn and was a classmate of Ruby's. They both worked together at the school newspaper.


Alexei Navalny, the great Russian dissident and foe of Vladimir Putin, is facing a prosecutor's recommendation of 10 years in prison after being convicted of allegedly stealing $500,000. The charge has always been viewed widely as trumped up in order to silence Alexei. Oleg Navalny, Alexei's brother, is looking at 8 years.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas 2014.

Ahh, little booger-head, so cute. Love chitlins.

Day, The.

Nothing on Russia. NOTHING.

For the third straight day four countries in double figures. Exciting, huh? Want me to write something on Russia instead?

Today (Thursday)

U.S. 45
France 22
South Korea 13
Slovenia 12

And one from the United Arab Emirates

Yesterday, The

U.S. 29
France 17
R...That place 17
Slovenia 14

And two from India.

That's it! That's it? Not much happenin' Thursday. But tomorrow...I'm gonna put it on the header now...Oh no, Wait! This is the last Friday before Christmas, right? What the hell date is today...Yes! Christmas is a week from now. Oh no, we're not dancing with the devil by the pale moonlight until Christmas is over. Gotta put some Christmasy stuff up there.

Russia, go away.

I spend too much time thinking about Russia. I have spent way more time thinking about China but China was interesting, I never thought...Well, that's not true, I did think a few times, "You think about China too much" but it never seemed, I don't know "wasted" time, I couldn't get enough of China, thought about it all the time, ("Everything you talk about somehow always comes back to China."-CCC), read everything I could read on it. China was interesting. With all the thinking and writing I've done on Russia in the last year do you know I have never read a damn book on Russia? Not one. Never thought of going there. I think and write about it because it's in the news. If it wasn't in the news I wouldn't think about it. Russia is just not interesting to me. I feel like I'm wasting my time. I wish Russia would go away. 


'There’s a risk sanctions will destabilise Russia too much. The objective was never to collapse the Russian economy,' says Denmark's foreign minister

Only in Russia.

Wow. Second image under "only in russia." So maybe so-russia or meanwhile in russia.

Is that photo-shopped? Is he really riding a bear...bare? I don't want to be the victim of a hoax here, I don't want Public Occurrences to be like Rolling Stone, we have standards! This should be a prestigious award, this "quintessence," "so-" award. If the Publocc fact-check staff verifies this as genuine though, we're going to put our full "weight" behind this as nominee in the photograph category.


Empathy deficit today. Definite lack of empathy there. Being disrespectful. Not respecting Russian "intellectual capabilities."

There's always tomorrow.
Wow, that's pretty good. First Google image under search keyword "so-russia." Didn't see anything good under "quintessence of Russia", people don't say "quintessence" anymore, they say "so." May have to change the name. What's another one, like "so-Russia"...Oh! "Only in Russia" may be a fecund field to plow. Let me check "Only in Russia."

I don't think we want to play with these guys anymore. This could be contagious. When you choose a "partner," who chooses a retard?

"Putin Says Russia Economy Can Be Cured, Offers No Remedy."-Reuters

I nominate that for Quintessence of Russia...I first propose that there be a Quintessence of Russia award and then I nominate that headline. We can have different categories like headlines, photographs, people, speeches. We could do this whole thing. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Meme Is Born.

It was the longest "shootout," a tie-breaking scheme, in National Hockey League history.

This is a crowd shot gif from that game last night. It has been on CBS, ESPN and other sports networks, it has been on over and over again all day. People are taking this gif and adding captions, e.g. U.S.-Cuba Normalize Relations "OH MY GOD!"

That handsome young man is my 25-year old son. The beautiful girl next to him is my 18-year old daughter and then there's an old ugly guy.

Purring like six cats.
Hey I just heard a radio advertisement for "The Nutcracker Suite," I don't know if you've ever heard or seen it but it's sometimes performed this year so yeah.

"Russia Is So Screwed."-Slate.

Not helpful. Not empathetic. Not respectful. "Triumphal."

"Markets Rule, 'Russia is on its Knees': [Roger] Altman."-CNBC.

The situation did get Lavrov to change of Ukraine, however. "You cannot negotiate on your knees" as someone once said.

We are going to have to bail them out. The U.S., the IMF, the World Bank, all of the preceding, are not going to let the Russian economy completely go to shit. Again. Right?

All will ask for changes in the way Russia operates. International financial bodies will have their own technical change requirements. The political leaders of the West will have their own requirements for the lifting of sanctions. What? Giving back Crimea? Impossible. Leaving the remainder of Ukraine alone. That seems possible. Democracy or "real" democracy? Are We going to require that? Like in Iraq?

May the Russians negotiate? We give back Crimea, you undo NATO expansion, we promise not to invade former Soviet satellites. I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish. No, the West will not do that. You can't negotiate on your knees, anyway.

Is it likely this make Putin more heedless? "Wreck my economy, Fine! I'll show you. I'll invade Poland!" I say no. Not off Lavrov's comments.

Maybe We, the political We, should just let nature take its course. Que sera sera. Isn't that what I said at one time--many times-- "Farewell to Russia?" Yes, it is. But the sanctions aren't nature. We can decide we don't want to play with Russia anymore, we don't want to "partner" with them anymore, don't want to "integrate" them, don't want to trade with them, we want to "consciously uncouple"--all of that is fine, that would be saying "Farewell to Russia," but the sanctions are not 'natural," they are extraordinary. And they are limited both in scope and (intended) effect.

Russia is "screwed," is "on its knees" more from the collapse of oil prices than the sanctions but there is no doubt that the sanctions have hurt and have worked synergistically with the fall of oil.

Is Russia's present economic state the intended effect of the sanctions? I don't think so. But no Western political leader has said maybe we should back off now that things are so bad. In one case, some German guy, more and more "bitter"sanctions are to come. So I guess a Russian financial collapse, if not intended, is okay with everybody. So I guess I'm wrong. We are going to have to bail them out, though.

U.S-Cuba To Restore Diplomatic Relations: Tea Baggers Go Nuts.

Ambassadors, embassies, the whole enchilada. After 50 years. The U.S. embargo remains in effect however.  This follows 18 months of secret negotiations between the Obamas and the Castros. You remember Obama at Nelson Mandela's funeral? He bounded up some stairs to greet Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, who looked none too pleased that the was coming, but seated next to her was Raul Castro, who did looked pleased, smiled. Obama shook hands with him first and then shook with or bussed, I forget now, Rousseff.

Oh, I cannot find the picture that I have in my mind. 

Race in America.

Very painful, and educational, for me to read these excerpts of a People magazine interview of President and Mrs. Obama:

"Barack Obama was a black man that lived on the South Side of Chicago, who had his share of troubles catching cabs," Michelle Obama told the magazine.

On one occasion, she said, her husband “was wearing a tuxedo at a black-tie dinner, and somebody asked him to get coffee.”

President Obama said he's even been mistakenly treated as a valet.

“There’s no black male my age, who’s a professional, who hasn’t come out of a restaurant and is waiting for their car and somebody didn’t hand them their car keys," he said, according to excerpts of the interview released today.

"Even as the first lady," she told the magazine, "during the wonderfully publicized trip I took to Target, not highly disguised, the only person who came up to me in the store was a woman who asked me to help her take something off a shelf."


From the Washington Post:

The sharp interest rate hike — from 10.5 percent to 17 percent — promised to throw Russia’s economy into a deep recession next year, and it was a sign that Russian policymakers feel they have few options left to fight the crisis.
On Tuesday, top economic officials said, in effect, that Russians would simply have to get used to worsened living standards.
Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets said poverty would “inevitably rise” because of inflation.
Russia’s economy was already in trouble before the March annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and subsequent support for pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. Those decisions sparkedWestern sanctions and the worst tensions between Russia and the West since the Cold War. The unpredictable environment has spooked investors, which the Central Bank predicts will pull$128 billion from Russia this year.
The rapidly souring economic conditions may spur Russia to be more conciliatory on Ukraine. On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reversed a call for Kiev to cede more power to Ukraine’s regions, a basic Russian demand since pro-Moscow Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych was toppled in February.
Secretary of State John F. Kerry praised the Russian moves on Tuesday, raising the prospect of an easing of sanctions. “There are signs of constructive ­choices,” Kerry told reporters in London, referring to the cease-fire.
“In the last couple of days, oil has stayed completely stable and yet Russia had a total panic,” said Sergei Guriev, an economist at the Sorbonne in Paris. “This panic is triggered by the realization that the Russian government has no idea what to do.”

The Greatest American.

We should be like him.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


And no gloating! No "triumphalism!"  We get a do-over. We have to help the Russian people because it's the right thing to do. We cannot let their economy collapse. We have to do righteous and not be righteous.

I don't think we can do that.


You know the irony of this? The bitter irony? We're going to have to bail Russia out.



More on this awful report from Bloomberg:

“We couldn’t imagine what’s happening in our worst nightmare even a year ago,” Shvetsov, who oversees financial markets at the central bank, said yesterday. He said the bank’s surprise interest-rate increase in the middle of the night, a 6.5 percentage-point move that failed to stem the run on the ruble yesterday, was a choice between a “very bad” option and and a “very, very bad” option.
The ruble sank beyond 80 per dollar, a record low, as panic swept across Moscow’s financial markets...

Fairwell to Russia?

After the single worst day inRussia’s nine-month-old financial crisis, the fallout is spreading across global markets.
Pacific Investment Management Co. (PEBIX) is facing mounting losses on its Russian bond holdings; almost every bullish ruble option contract registered in the U.S. has been made worthless; and foreign-exchange brokers in New York and London told clients they’re no longer taking ruble trades. Sergey Shvetsov, a first deputy central bank governor, expressed astonishment at the scope of the collapse during a business conference in Moscow.-Bloomberg
Ethiopia? Ethiopia. Dos. Two from Ethiopia today. WELCOME ETHIOPIANS! How Haile Selassie? How Halle Berry?

Thank you, Ben, for your quick consolation. I so need it in pain...

[name of friend withheld]

In Memory of My Dearest Cat [name of cat withheld]
                            (Dec. 15, 2014)

                            My Dearest [cat]  is suddenly gone,
                          Such a trauma drags me done,
                          To my Heavenly Father I murmur:
                          Whats the point of my life going on?
The great sorrow makes me cry,
                          Why dont I wish to quickly die?
                          Longing to join [cat] in Heaven,
                          I pray kneeling to the Most High.