Foley seems to have been quite highly regarded. A brief excerpt of a 2011 interview with him can be seen from 00:33 to 01:58 here.
It should be noted that the executioner has a British accent, which is not entirely surprising, but is worrisome. Likewise, the fact that Sotloff was taken prisoner in Libya and transported to Iraq indicates an impressive reach and logistical capability by ISIS.
The situation in the Ukraine has taken a hopeful turn as Russian and Ukrainian leaders representatives are set to meet negotiations next week. This comes as Ukrainian forces seem to be getting the better of the secessionists. This is a conflict with some very nasty ethnic components, so a diplomatic solution would be most welcome.
In related news; Apparently there is a group of American volunteers/mercenaries fighting with the Ukrainians and one of them was just killed.
On the Ebola front, the experimental drug tested on the three missionaries from the US and Spain looks promising. While the Spanish patient died, the two American aid workers seem to be recovering. The few remaining samples have been sent to Liberia, but the drug takes a long time to make, and there are regulatory hurdles. However, accelerated testing is being done of this and other vaccines.
While all this is going on the military is downsizing. That's not necessarily a dreadful mistake as there is a good bit of waste in the Pentagon. Particularly in the Army, after 10 years of war, one might well consider it good to weed out the people who in that time avoided combat and promote those who displayed out of the box thinking in time of war. One might especially want to retain those with awards for valor. Well, if one thinks that, then one is not in charge of the current downsizing process....
This is terrifying:
The derogatory information didn't have to be recent. Got a GOMOR as a 2nd Lieutenant for Dumb LT Tricks, eight years ago? Kiss your ass goodbye. Got an Article 15 as a private before soldiering your way back into the Army's good graces, and then getting a ROTC scholarship? You're gone.
A non-GO Memorandum Of Reprimand was also a career killer, if you got it for something the Chief of Staff doesn't like - like carrying a personally owned weapon. That sent one combat-vet with a Purple Heart to the Dreaded Private Sector.
Being overweight, or looking overweight in your photo: killer.
A more trivial career killer, but one the board actually used: having your official DA photo in the old Army Green service uniform, not the new blue Army Service Uniform.
Purple hearts and bronze stars seem to have no effect on ones assessment. Having no combat experience is NOT a demerit. This is how you build an Army of bureaucratic wienies. It is how third world dictators set up their armies, with yes-men and those who fear above all taking a chance or trying new things.
As to Ferguson itself...it's probably good to withhold judgement until the facts of the shooting are made public later this week. Like so many recent news stories most of the initial reports were wrong, and that trend seems to continue nightly. The near nightly looting, is, of course, unacceptable and ( conversely) there are many concerns, not unfounded, regards the militarization of police forces. However, I urge you to read Tamara K's thoughts on the issue in full. It makes no judgments but provides important historical perspective.
Finally, it should be mentioned that there is another demonstration taking place by individuals who are fed up and seek respect from the police. For some reason, despite being in the media mecca of New York, this is not garnering a lot of coverage...
Just checking to see if we can
replicate the foul up in the recent RWBY post.
To that end we'll post this pic of a Thai gunboat and center it...
Four 8 inch naval rifles on 2300 tons full load. That's smaller than a Fletcher class destroyer.
Next, we'll express our confusion and discomfort at this animated .gif
Seriously guys...What the HELL?
Then we'll bring about an end to the spoiler tag text by typing [ / s p o i l e r ] but all scrunched up like so
Just for good measure we'll post some surreptitiously taken footage of Steven Den Beste enjoying his hiatus. However, out of consideration to our readers we'll put it behind a NSFW tag...
Aaaaaand let's see if it works....
The blog does indeed seem to be broken.
(Though thankfully the NSFW tag still works.)
Let's try a simple spoiler tag with only text inside it here
It wasn't Scotty. It was REDJACK!
UPDATE 2: It looks like the hidey tags just don't like centering. Of course I eliminated the centering on the RWBY post at one point but that did not fix the problem.
Now I'll try de-centerizing the images and captions and see if that works.
UPDATE 3: Nope. That did not fix the problem. All but the first line of the spoiler text is still visible and now the formatting just looks bad. Obviously the blog is possessed so we'll re center everything and call in the exorcists from Oceania.
Be advised gentle readers that Tiki torches may present a burn hazard.
I can see the problem; the WYSIWYG HTML editor combined with the BBCode tags is producing what is known as "tag soup". That's when the tags overlap each other, like this:
<i>This text is italicsthis <b> is italics and bold </b>and now your browser throws a fit.</i>
This is tricky to prevent at the source, but I think I can fix it in post.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sun Aug 17 10:11:50 2014 (PiXy!)
On second thoughts, nope. That didn't work at all.
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Sun Aug 17 11:46:45 2014 (PiXy!)
Well, just to nit pick a little, what you posted wasn't overlapping tags.
Posted by: RickC at Sun Aug 17 16:42:42 2014 (0a7VZ)
Meanwhile, Russian naval otaku seem oddly interested in a 5-second fragment of a video, which seems like a first glance of some kind of new destroyer (could be a pipe dream of a shipbuilding company).
Tonari No Seki-Kun!Tonari no Seiki-Kun! The Master of Killing Time is an odd concept for a series. Rumi Yokoi, the exasperated silver fox on the left is bothered to utter distraction by the fact that Toshinari Seki has developed elaborate methods for wasting time in class.
That's pretty much it.
Amazingly however, at 7 minutes an episode, it almost always works. I'm 7 episodes in and 6 have been quite solid. Tonari no Seki-Kun does not lend itself to extended marathons, being a one joke show, but it is cute, clever and quite enjoyable in its intended format.
Car Eating Ants (and Other Sundry Annoyances)
Ants have eaten my car. The spoiler tags on the previous post are all wonky. I did my GPA no favors with this most recent class. I've used up all my personal holidays at work for the year and it looks like I'll have to move very soon, Finally, I spent 10 minutes trying to find the ampersand on my Blackberry.
Some of that may warrant elaboration, but for those already worn down by that fusillade of first world problems, here is Hanako playing billiards.
The last episode of RWBY ended with a huge "revelation"...that surprised absolutely no one1. This episode is just full of surprises...
...Take, Neo here, the latest addition to the rogues gallery; she never says a word and I'm not sure exactly what she does, but she does it very well.
The short interlude with Junior (the antagonist from the 4th trailer) went way more congenially than expected with Junior being surprisingly calm corporative and reasonable in attempting to find out why Yang crushed his nuts, wrecked his bar and beat up his people.
And we still don't know why she did it.
This scene does have some worrying implications in that Junior is unaware of what happened to his henchmen in episode one, meaning none of them have contacted him from jail. Does this mean Ruby killed them? (Or more likely, did someone else?).
Of course there was also GIANT ROBOT RAMPAGE!
This had been shown in the teaser but it was surprising to see it so soon.
Yang's "special talent" is explicitly stated and, yeah, Super Saiyan pretty much sums it up.
All that and more in 12 minutes.
We're 4 episodes in, and I think we've already covered everything in the teaser not involving Pyrrha.
1: Penny is, get this, A ROBOT!
2: Aside from "Iceflower" the attack names just happen to correspond to some of the "ship"names the fans have assigned to their fanfic pairings. (I an SO glad they went with Freezerburn instead of Yellow Snow.)
There are clever bits too. It's obvious that Ruby's team has been training and as a result, instead of the "I have a plan!" trope they have a whole bunch of prepared plans with distinct and descriptive names2.
One question though : What the HELL are those 'holographic crash barriers' actually supposed to do?
That quibble aside, the pacing of this episode was excellent. RWBY is rather silly, but it's fun and developing nicely.
Posted by: Wonderduck at Thu Aug 14 15:53:51 2014 (8KjSa)
I like the show well enough to watch it from time to time but I think sometimes it doesn't have enough material to fill the episode and compensates by stretching it out a bit too much. Worked better for me as a comedy manga.
Lots of copybooks, back in the day when handwriting was something you were expected to pick up on your own, had "headings" (the handwriting you were copying) which were proverbs or maxims. "If you write down a moral statement five hundred times, maybe it will take," was the thinking. So, basically, a shorthand for "the sorts of moral lessons that were expected to be learned by children by rote"...
Many years ago schools in England had what were called copybooks. These were used to teach penmanship and had in addition to their text, many blank (but lined) pages. The printed pages usually contained bits of wisdom from philosophers, the Bible and great historical figures from around the world. The idea was that one would copy the quotes on the blank pages to practice proper penmanship and hopefully gain some of the wisdom in the words via 'osmosis' after copying said phrases innumerable times.
Copybooks fell out of favor in the US in the 20s or 30s but were still in use in the UK in the 1960s (Bill Whittle has mentioned that he was beset by them when he was growing up in the Bahamas).
The poem refers to a fellow going back in time through all of his previous incarnations and noting the great truths that are often discarded as passe or no longer applicable by utopians but inevitably come back to bite the societies that do not heed them.
A Bit of Good NewsBrett Kimberlin, a cyberbully and convicted terrorist has lost his defamation suit against several bloggers who pointed out that he is a genuinely nasty piece of work. This was an important case as it threatened to set a troubling precedent with regard to the ability of individuals to shut down online free speech via lawfare and intimidate those with different political views . Additionally, some of the defendants in the case had endured death threats and SWATTings.
Popehat has a roundup. It is particularly pleasing to me that this was not just a legal victory for the defendants. It was also a thorough, total and ignominious defeat for Kimberlin. Sometimes the good do win.
He did lose this case, which is good. But he still hasn't made good against all of the people who had to spend their time and resources in order to deal with his baseless complaints. So to really, really reach the "stopped getting away with it" point, the following things have to happen:
-The court needs to find for attorney costs for the defendants in this case.
-The judgment for those costs actually needs to be executed - it's easy to get a court order saying "you owe me twenty thousand bucks for legal fees" but a lot harder to actually get the twenty thousand bucks out of someone. Specifically, any assets Kimberlin might own which could be used to pay are almost certain to be transferred out of his name by now.
-He also needs to lose his federal case in the same manner.
-And the appeal to this case.
-And any follow-on cases he decides to file, until the court finally steps in and says "look, you don't even get to file anymore, get out".
Until all of these things happen, he's still getting away with it, because the whole point is that he's forcing people to put time and attention into defending against this crap - because the number one piece of advice any lawyer will give their client is "don't say a word about the case", and that shuts them up.
It's also worth noting that one of the defendants dropped his lawyer before the case went to trial, and Popehat bitched him out for it. Because even if the case is meritless, and should have been thrown out immediately, and WAS thrown out before any of the defense lawyers got to do anything but raise some objections, you need to have your lawyer to cross all the Ts and dot all the Is; basically because it was even remotely possible to lose. It says a lot about the legal system that this is the case.
In fairness to Popehat, he did do a follow-up post today asking for assistance in gathering up the sort of evidence necessary to get a vexatious litigant finding through the courts. Several volunteers have already come forward. Maybe this sort of thing will be easier in the modern era, with computerized records and loose networks being able to club together for what is surely a good cause.
A Slight Detour
Yesterday, I got up and zipped off towards the west with the intention of going to the mountains. However, there was a monstrous traffic jam in Newport News and I decided it was prudent to exit the interstate, make my way to Yorktown, drive up the Colonial Parkway and get on the interstate up near Williamsburg, some thirty miles on. When I noted that the on ramp was backed up because I-64 was STILL a parking lot that far west I decided to take drastic measures and headed all the way to Jamestown, where I took the CF Pocahontas across the James River to Scotland.
I keep hearing about how Scotland is trying to break away and form their own country, but I don't think they're going to be able to make a go of it. Built on a steep embankment they only have a dozen or so houses, a ferry pier , some fishing boats and no place at all to pull over and take pictures. But hey, if Sealand can make a go of it, who am I to judge?
I continued down State Route 31 with the intention of taking it to Route 460 and via that highway, heading west. Where routes 31 and 10 meet there is a stoplight. This is the center of Surry, the capital of Surry county.
I stopped at a small grocery and purchased an iced coffee from a pleasant south asian gentleman and zipped off down the road.
After some time I encountered a small cluster of churches around a large Fire station and out the corner of my eye spied the word MUSEUM.
The word museum was attached to the word Dendron which is usually attached to a neuron, so I determined that it was advisable to examine the place more closely and do some disambiguation.
It turns out that the town of Dendron, is, like the postsynaptic branch of a neuron, named after the Greek word for tree. Also, the aforementioned nerve thingy is actually called a dendrite so my confusion was quite inexcusable and no disambiguation was, in fact, needed.
The little museum contained an eclectic collection of artifacts including a list of the 12 men from this tiny town that died in the war that began 100 years ago this month.
The museum also solved a mystery of my youth. In my childhood days I lived in a little town called Zuni, some 40 or 50 miles to the southeast of this place. Wandering through the swamps there I had encountered a set of odd very narrow gauge railroad tracks that disappeared into the Blackwater river. It turns out that there had once been a lumber mill in Dendron that had micro gauge rail lines for hauling trees from tree farms as far as 100miles away. The Lumber mIll had closed up shop in 1929 and taken with it the fire station they had provided, to the town. In 1931 the town burned down, leaving the churches the post office and one small grocery. Now there is also a hardware store and a few other buildings including a very large 4 bay corrugated steel fire house.
Among the churches was this one, the oldest in the town having been built before 1890.
Now a Methodist church, it was originally non-denominational and was unusual for many years in that it was a nonsegregated church. The other churches were all built much later.
Thus edified I proceeded on my way finally reaching a town called Wakefield. Wakefield located on RT 460 (between Disputanta and Ivor if you were wondering)describes itself as "The Peanut Capital of the World" this may or may not be true, but the town is home to the Virginia Diner, which has the best peanut soup and ham biscuits in the entire solar system.
They had just run out of peanut soup but I got a plate of their exquisite, heavenly, ham biscuits and partook of the buffet where, it seems, the beets and the meatballs, both being red spheres, somehow got confused. For a brief moment EVERYONE in the restaurant was made very aware of this most vexatious calamity at the moment it befell a hapless but quite vocal young diner. One horrified shriek notwithstanding, the dining experience was superb. As I left, I observed this theological conundrum across the street.
"The Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague" Wait. WHAT!?
I then proceeded to my car and noted that my muffler had broken off and was hanging by a single clasp.
Thus ended my journey to the west. I turned east down 460 and headed back towards home via Suffolk. Along the way I stopped in my old home town of Zuni and discovered that most of it had been washed away during Hurricane Floyd, but the grain elevator (the explosion of which had blown windows out 11 miles away in my youth) still had the lift machinery dangling precariously after 33 years.
Shortly thereafter the passenger side of my car began filling up with water. I soon realized that the AC drain was somehow diverting water into the passenger compartment. I arrived home last night an\d have spent the day flitting between car repair shops.
Robin Williams 1951-2014
He was a great actor, a fantastic talent and one of relatively few thespians to be capable of such astounding range. He had the ability to be moving and even inspirational in the most unlikely roles, one result being that very young man alive should watch Dead Poet's Society. One thing not widely mentioned about him is that he was one of the few celebrities who went to the considerable trouble of participating in USO shows in Iraq and Afghanistan, something that in today's Hollywood, speaks to a certain moral courage in addition to his talent.
The world is a less happy place and we are certainly all diminished by his loss.