Mark Morford: Jim Inhofe and the crazy old man who controls the weather (SF Gate)
You sort of expect conservative legislators in a place like, say, Idaho, to be sort of, you know, not all that bright. As in, unsure which blob is Europe, Jesus-was-American, don't-eat-the-yellow-snow sort of OMG embarrassing. And, as evidenced by this adorable little salamander story - coupled to the most hilarious 2014 gubernatorial debate you can't believe was actually real - you'd be all kinds of terrifically right.
Mark Morford: Are the Koch brothers the worst humans in America? (SF Gate)
There's a storm coming, and it's far worse than the east coast blizzard, or CA's beloved "superstorm," or Katrina, or the Iraq fiasco, or Bush/Gore's hanging chads, et al. It's a storm made entirely of money, power, bloviated ego, malignant pollution and a brand of calculated, savage greed the nation hasn't seen since the days of the railroad tycoons and robber barons, if ever.
Mark Morford: Fifty Shades of Grey has a wine. You can die now (SF Gate)
Product name: 50 Shades of Grey "White Silk," a blend of Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc and the screams of strangled penguins.
Kate Hutchinson: "Riot grrrl: 10 of the best" (Guardian)
With Sleater-Kinney, Babes in Toyland and L7 all back in action, we look back at the life and legacy of punk's great feminist movement.
Ray Filar: SlutWalking is rooted in riot grrl attitude (Guardian)
SlutWalking harks back to the feminist punk spirit of the early 1990s; there is room for more than one kind of feminist activism.
Jordan Hoffman: Sundance 2015 review: Hot Girls Wanted - Newsflash! Porn can exploit! (Guardian)
They should offer bins at each screening of Hot Girls Wanted, so everyone can throw away their laptops and vow never to look at a pornography again. As as a "scared straight" manifesto, this new documentary may do the trick when it's rolled out as a warning in high school assemblies. As cinema for anyone who has read a newspaper, it's a considerable flub.
Eddie Deezen: The Cruelest Oscar Award Presentation of All-Time (Neatorama)
"Katharine Hepburn runs the gamut of emotions from A to B." This quote, by famed writer-critic Dorothy Parker, was put forth about an early performance of Katharine Hepburn. As a young actress, Kate was also dubbed "box office poison."
Alexander Pan: 6 Tiny Mistakes That Changed The Course of History (Cracked)
History books are a parade of great people planning wars and inventing shit and in general dictating what the world is going to be like for the rest of us. Some of them are good and some are evil, but we like to think they all knew what they were doing. After all, they made history, didn't they?
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Michelle in AZ
From The Creator of 'Avery Ant'
from Marc Perkel
Hello Bartcop fans,
As you all know the untimely passing of Terry was unexpected, even by him. We all knew he had cancer but we all thought he had some years left. So some of us who have worked closely with him over the years are scrambling around trying to figure out what to do. My job, among other things, is to establish communications with the Bartcop community and provide email lists and groups for those who might put something together. Those who want to play an active roll in something coming from this, or if you are one of Bart's pillars, should send an email to email@example.com.
Bart's final wish was to pay off the house mortgage for Mrs. Bart who is overwhelmed and so very grateful for the support she has received. Anyone wanting to make a donation can click on this the yellow donate button on bartcop.com
But - I need you all to help keep this going. This note isn't going to directly reach all of Bart's fans. So if you can repost it on blogs and discussion boards so people can sign up then when we figure out what's next we can let more people know. This list is just over 600 but like to get it up to at least 10,000 pretty quick. So here's the signup link for this email list.
( mailman.bartcop.com/listinfo/bartnews )
from that Mad Cat, JD
In The Chaos Household
Many thanks to the 12 kind readers (Dale [twice], David, B2tbBob, John, Gary, David in AZ, Michelle, Kip, John G, Gary D, Barbara, & Michael) who responded to my request for a faster connection.
Wow - what an improvement - got to bed 2 hours earlier!
If you'd like to pitch in,
Awarded $5 Million In Back Royalties, Damages
Seminal soul and funk composer Sly Stone has been awarded $5 million in royalties and damages by a Los Angeles County court. In a unanimous jury decision, the court found that Stone, born Sylvester Stewart, was denied royalties by his former manager Jerry Goldstein, attorney Glenn Stone and Even St. Productions.
The initial 2010 complaint, filed in Superior Court by Stewart's attorneys, accused Goldstein and partners with unjust enrichment, fraud, breach of contract, negligence and dozens of other charges stemming from money earned from Sly Stone's work with his longtime band the Family Stone while purportedly under contract with Goldstein.
While tens of millions of dollars rolled into Goldstein's accounts from his longtime label Sony/Columbia and through publishing royalties, attorneys alleged that Stone saw little of it save for the occasional cash advance. At one point, Goldstein even took a loan out on Stone's future earnings. According to the complaint, Goldstein et. al. "without the permission of Sly Stone, have received, borrowed, and continue to receive millions of dollars in royalties or derived from royalties."
Stone, who long struggled with drug addiction, has mostly been removed from the public eye. Through decades starting in the late '70s, the artist responsible for such American classics as "Stand!" "Everyday People," "Dance to the Music" and the entirety of his funk masterpiece "There's a Riot Goin' On," faded while his music endured.
Won't See 'American Sniper'
"American Sniper" is tops at the box office but don't expect to see former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura lining up at a theater for it.
Ventura, a former Navy SEAL, won $1.8 million in a defamation lawsuit last year against the estate of the late Chris Kyle, the SEAL protagonist of the movie, which has sparked debate over whether snipers should be considered heroes. Ventura said Wednesday he won't see the film partly because Kyle is no hero to him.
"A hero must be honorable, must have honor. And you can't have honor if you're a liar. There is no honor in lying," Ventura told The Associated Press from his winter home in Baja California, Mexico. He also noted that the movie isn't playing there.
Ventura also dismissed the movie as propaganda because it conveys the false idea that Iraq had something to do with the 9/11 attacks. "It's as authentic as 'Dirty Harry,'" he said, referring to fictional movie series starring Clint Eastwood, the director of "American Sniper."
Bill Clinton's regular refrain when asked about his wife's presidential aspirations is that he will be supportive of whatever she chooses to do. But by now, the former president has encountered the question enough times over the years that he's had plenty of time to envision his life as husband of the United States' first female president. And, as he revealed in an interview with Rachael Ray airing Thursday, he has even put some thought into what he might want to be called.
"Let's say, if a woman became president, we could, I could be called Adam," Clinton suggested. Get it? Like the First Man?
Though the role of president's husband has yet to exist in the United States, in many other countries a female head of state is not such a foreign concept. Should Hillary win the White House, Bill might take his cue from the husbands of other female leaders and go by "First Gentleman," as former Indian President Pratibha Patil's husband was known, or forgo a nickname and keep a low profile, like German Chancellor Angela Merkel's husband. However, the latter is not really Bubba's style.
Of course, as Bill noted in his interview with Rachael Ray, Hillary has not officially decided whether she'll be running in 2016. But when a woman is elected president of the United States, whatever nickname her spouse is given, it will certainly be the first.
'Pet Sematary' Is Real
Bart the Cat
Bart the cat was hit by a car, buried and crawled back from the dead - literally.
Earlier this month, a car hit the 1 ½-year-old cat in Tampa. Bart's owner was so distraught, he couldn't stand the thought of burying him, so he asked neighbor to dig a shallow grave.
Five days later, on Jan. 21, a matted and injured Bart emerged, meowing for food.
"At first it blew me away," said Dusty Albritton, the neighbor who buried Bart. "All I knew was this cat was dead and 'Pet Sematary' is real.'
Bart the Cat
Picking On "Quasi-Right Side Of The Media"
Former Alaska half-term governor and 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin (R-Quitter) took a hit at Fox News host Bill O'Really for suggesting conservatives like herself and billionaire Donald T-rump would turn the 2016 Republican primary into a "reality show."
Palin argued there needs to be "unity" among conservatives in order to put up a fight against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a potential Democratic presidential nominee. She said Republicans are already suffering because "even there on Fox, a quasi- or assumed conservative outlet," hosts like O'Really are joking about potential candidates like Palin and T-rump.
"He's talking about his show tonight, or the commentary on his show, and that would be, 'Oh, all these GOP contenders thinking about running for president like Donald T-rump, Sarah Palin' and he names them off. He says, 'Oh, what a reality show that would be, yuck, yuck,'" Palin said. "Well the left doesn't do that. They take this serious, because this is war."
"Hopefully the media, even the quasi-right side of the media, won't be looking at this as some kind of reality show," Palin added.
Supply Side Snake Oil Utopia
Weeks before Gov. Sam Brownback (R-Ethically Challenged) publicly outlined proposals to fill the $710 million budget hole created by his massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, the Republican's office shared details of the forthcoming plans with two private lobbyists closely tied to the governor.
In a December 23 email obtained by the Wichita Eagle, Shawn Sullivan, Brownback's budget director, previewed Brownback's coming proposals to increase sales taxes on cigarettes, divert money from the highway trust fund to the state's general revenue fund, and alter Kansas' public school funding formula. The recipients were David Kensinger, a longtime GOP operative who served as Brownback's chief of staff from 2011 to 2012 before establishing his own lobbying shop in Topeka; and Mark Dugan, who managed Brownback's 2014 re-election campaign and became a lobbyist after the governor defeated Democratic challenger Paul Davis by four percentage points in November.
Sullivan sent the email through his private Yahoo account. In addition to Kensinger and Dugan, other Brownback administration personnel and higher education officials were also copied on the email, mostly using non-government addresses.
Brownback did not publicly unveil his budget plan until less than two weeks ago. While many media outlets depicted his call for new sales taxes as a reversal of course, Brownback has vowed to proceed toward zero income tax, albeit at a slower pace.
They Call It 'Heritage'
A bid to end Arkansas' practice of commemorating Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. on the same day was rejected by lawmakers Wednesday after opponents said the move would belittle Southern heritage.
The proposal would have removed Lee from the state holiday honoring King. Arkansas is one of three states to jointly celebrate the two on the third Monday in January. The House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee rejected the proposal by a voice vote.
The proposal called for designating Nov. 30 as "Patrick Cleburne - Robert E. Lee Southern Heritage Day," a state memorial day but not a legal holiday. Cleburne was a Confederate general who lived in east Arkansas. The legislation also would have repealed a state law declaring June 3 as a state memorial day in honor of former Confederacy President Jefferson Davis' birthday.
But opponents of the measure packed the committee hearing room, with several saying the Legislature was insulting their heritage.
Runs Global Internet Watch
Canada's electronic spy agency has been intercepting and analyzing data on up to 15 million file downloads a day as part of a global surveillance program, according to a report published on Wednesday.
The covert dragnet, nicknamed Levitation, has covered allied countries and trading partners such as the United States, Britain, Brazil, Germany, Spain and Portugal, the report by CBC News and journalist Glenn Greenwald said.
The spying initiative was revealed in 2012 documents obtained by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden. It is the first revelation from the Snowden files to show Canada has launched its own mass, globe-spanning Internet surveillance.
CBC said the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) surveillance program nets what it said the CSE calls 350 "interesting download events" each month.
CSE is a secretive body, which like the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) monitors electronic communication and helps protect national computer networks. It is not allowed to target Canadians or Canadian corporations.
Racing into the Sea
Austfonna Ice Cap
A remote ice cap in northern Europe, above the Arctic Circle, is shedding so much weight that it now races toward the sea 25 times faster than it did in 1995, a new study finds.
The Austfonna ice cap, which hugs an island offshore northeastern Norway in the Svalbard archipelago, holds about 600 cubic miles of ice (2,500 cubic kilometers) - a volume bigger than most glaciers but smaller than the Greenland or Antarctic ice sheets. Most of this ice cap sits on land, but on the island's eastern side, the ice floats outward into the Barents Sea.
Now, observations from eight satellites reveal that the ice cap is shrinking significantly faster than it was 20 years ago, especially where the ice sticks a tongue into the sea, according to a study published online Dec. 23, 2014, in the journal Geophysical Research Letters (GRL).
The most significant changes were seen in the past five years in a glacier called Basin-3 within the eastern ice cap, the researchers said. Basin-3 is surging for the first time in 140 years, shooting forward at an incredible speed. But starting in 2009, the ice also started rapidly thinning. (In general, a surge in a glacier is not directly related to its ice loss or gain.)
Austfonna Ice Cap
Chupacabra In His Suitcase
Johnny Depp has recovered from a cold. And a chupacabra attack.
The 51-year-old actor was all smiles while joking Wednesday with journalists in Tokyo about why he was a no-show at a news conference a day earlier. Depp explained he had been ill but said that wasn't the reason.
"I was attacked yesterday morning by a very rarely seen or experienced animal called 'chupacabra.' I fought with it for hours. They're very persistent, very mean. And I'm pretty sure it came into my suitcase. I threw him off the 23rd floor. So we'll never see him again. Thank you for understanding," he said.
More than 200 journalists were kept waiting for an hour before organizers canceled Tuesday's event because Depp was unwell.
Le Coultre Deep Sea Alarm
Earlier this month, Zachary Norris was scouring a Phoenix Goodwill for a used push golf cart when he spotted a collection of old watches. Among them was a watch with a dial that read "Le Coultre Deep Sea Alarm."
Norris, a vintage watch collector, knew the watch had to be worth significantly more than the $5.99 price tag, so he purchased it and immediately brought it to an authorized Jaeger-LeCoultre retailer in Scottsdale, Ariz..
Sure enough, the watch was an extremely valuable one: It was a rare 1959 LeCoultre Deep Sea Alarm, one of the brand's most desired design - less than 1,000 were made for the American market - and one of the first watches to feature an alarm for divers.
Norris eventually accepted an irresistible offer from Rolex dealer and collector Eric Ku, who offered Norris $35,000 for the watch, and threw in Norris' dream watch, an Omega Speedster Professional, to sweeten the deal.
Le Coultre Deep Sea Alarm