Drones vs. anti-drone laser cannons for fun and profit. UPDATED.

UPDATED BELOW.

Loyal Readers™, prepare to be dazzled—if unsurprised—by my astonishing prescience.

Early last week I was dining with My Amazing Lover™, and of course the topic of drones naturally came up. We were discussing the article by The Washington Post’s Craig Whitlock that I had linked in one of my Recent Reads roundups; thanks to a whistleblower at FAA, we now know about the 700 near-collisions between planes and drones this year (so far).

“But don’t worry about it!” I scoffed. “Drone manufacturers will surely come up with a perfect solution to the very drone menace they created! Then our tax dollars will not only pay for drones themselves, we’ll also happily pay America’s Owners for the technology to neutralize them! WIN-WIN!”

We ordered another bottle of rosé. It was half-price bottle night! But let’s face it, we would have ordered another one anyway.

And then lo and behold, on Wednesday morning Boeing debuted its new compact drone-blasting laser cannon!

dronelasercannonImage: Jordan Golson/WIRED

Isn’t it cute? It looks like the infant spawn of R2D2 and the girl robot from WALL-E!

ever2d2^These two are working for Boeing now, OBVIOUSLY.

The adorable little laser weapon is designed specifically for turning drones into flaming piles of wreckage. The device is controlled with a standard Xbox 360 controller, and no, I did not just make that up. (“If it breaks, just head to the barracks to get a replacement!”).

In the demo, Boeing used the laser to burn holes in a stationary, composite UAV shell, to show how quickly it can compromise an aircraft. Two seconds at full power and the target was aflame…the compact system is small enough to fit in four suitcase-sized boxes and can be set up by a pair of soldiers or technicians in just a few minutes.

Front_View_2kW_Session_1GIF: Boeing.

What could possibly go wrong shooting high power laser beams at drones buzzing around commercial aircraft? FLAMING WRECKAGE FTW.

And what a business opportunity! The market is huuuuge, and I’m not just talking about every single airport in the U.S. (and beyond), or even the military. Last month, drones chased away firefighting helicopters from burning cars on a California highway, which means that every municipal fire department requires a laser cannon, too. There has been a rash of drones dropping all sorts of contraband—weed, weapons, heroin, porn—into prison yards in Ohio, Maryland, South Carolina and probably other places where they went undetected. Boeing blasters on top of every guard tower, anyone? Hundreds of stadiums need laser beam drone exploders, amid growing concerns about all those drones flying overhead. Better to have flaming drone wreckage falling on football fans and players than take a chance on nefarious jihadi plots involving unmanned aerial vehicles, amirite? It would certainly make watching the games much more interesting, that’s for sure. Oh and remember last year when I told you about that 400 pound military drone that crashed landed at a Pennsylvania elementary school? There are a hundred thousand or so public schools in the U.S., and all of them now require an advanced laser weapon. And a working Xbox controller.

And why stop there? The Second Amendment surely guarantees that anyone in the market for a drone blasting laser cannon should be able to get one from Boeing. I’ll certainly need a few of these babies myself, stationed atop the Palace turrets. I’ll be a goddamned one-woman well-regulated militia, necessary to the security of a free state! Whoo-hoo!

Now I ask you: besides Your Humble Monarch™, WHO ELSE COULD HAVE POSSIBLY PREDICTED BOEING’S DRONE-KILLING LASER CANNON?*

__________

Now that you are utterly in awe of my psychic prediction powers, here are some super fun facts about The Boeing Company:

droneattackBoeing’s Unmanned Little Bird H-6U drone under laser attack by Boeing’s new Compact Laser Weapon System.
(Artist’s rendering.)

  • Boeing paid no federal taxes from 2008 to 2010, instead receiving $178 million in tax rebates on profits of $9.7 billion. It spent $52.29 million on lobbying during the same period, when the Democratic Party controlled both houses of Congress and the White House.
  • In the 2008 presidential election, Barack Obama “was by far the biggest recipient of campaign contributions from Boeing employees and executives, hauling in $197,000 – five times as much as John McCain, and more than the top eight Republicans combined.”
  • Since 2008, Boeing has laid off 14,862 workers. In 2010 it increased pay for its top five executives to $41.9 million—a 31% raise.

Have a nice day.

palacehappyface__________
*Okay, anyone with even a minimal understanding of how U.S. capitalism and government work would have predicted precisely this development. But My Amazing Lover™ sure seemed quite impressed with me as I jumped around the Palace animatedly, shrieking “Didn’t I JUST SAY this would happen?! Huh? Weren’t we JUST TALKING about this?!” All right, so maybe “impressed” isn’t exactly accurate. But it’s what I’m going with, people.

nonprofitdefenseUPDATE:

Two things pinged my radar after posting yesterday:

Just a little reminder, from the Palace Library archives:

A study conducted by a US military adviser has found that drone strikes in Afghanistan during a year of the protracted conflict caused 10 times more civilian casualties than strikes by manned fighter aircraft.

 

Barry Lynn Is a Kick-Ass Warrior in the Battle Against Creeping Theocracy

barrylynngod&government

-A review of Barry W. Lynn’s new book God and Government, by Don Ardell.

Preface

I don’t think the Religious Right understands that religion thrives best where government takes no sides and offers no ‘help.’ There are two thousand different religious groups in the United States and tens of millions of Americans who choose no spiritual path. We all live in relative harmony. Look at Iran; look at Northern Ireland; look at Afghasastan  – state-sponsored religions and the wars against other faiths it engenders should teach us all that we have a pretty good thing going here. In fact, the separation of church and state is probably the single best idea that our two-hundred- year experiment in democracy has engendered.

Barry W. Lynn, “God and Government, p. 61.

Introduction: Barry W. Lynn

Barry Lynn once confessed, though not, I suspect, with heavy heart, that the Reverend Jerry Falwell does not like me. That was about as caustic and mean-spirited as Barry can manage but, oh my, how incisive, informative and entertaining he can be defending and advancing church/state separation. Make no mistake—this book is timely, for such a defense is vital at this time in the nation’s history. God and Government demonstrates as well as the landmark books by Dawkins, Harris, Dennett and Hitchens, if in a nice and velvet glove way, that secularists are in a serious battle against a home grown Right Wing ISIS-of-the-mind religionists whose passions extend well beyond denying evolution, science, climate change, women/gay and unbeliever liberties and the human right to be free from religion. They want what they have long and falsely claimed the founders of this country wanted America to be—a Christian nation.

Were it not for Barry Lynn and others like, if not quite the equal of him, we might be such a society already.

Mr. Lynn has for decades been the Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU). I’ve listened to him in person on several delightful and inspirational occasions. (I refer to him with the Reverend deliberately omitted — I don’t care to utilize the Reverend prefix, even though he has earned and never abused it. I try to avoid use of all religious titles, including Father, Your Excellence, Your Holiness, Your Eminence and so on. If Mr. Lynn desired it, however, I’d make an exception in his case, and for other heroic figures with clergy credentials. I’m still a little flexible. For now, I prefer The Most Right Honorable and Highly Esteemed Sir Barry Lynn.)

Like millions of others, I’ve enjoyed Mr. Lynn’s articles and countless media interviews and appearances before Congressional committees. (His description of an encounter before a committee chaired by the god-addled Republican Congressman from Texas, Louis B. Gohmert, is hilarious. You can find that on page 289.)

Mr. Lynn is a lawyer and minister in the United Church of Christ. The latter background is, no doubt, a big boost for his effectiveness with Christians and others who still have some respect for faith-based thinking, despite the superstitions that attend the dogmas, grotesque policies and deviant behaviors professed and/or exhibited by many religious figures.

Real Wellness and Religion

Liberty is one of the four dimensions of REAL wellness: separation of church and state helps preserve our secular democracy. This is more important than ever now at a time when the Protestant Religious Right and the Roman Catholic hierarchy seek a Christian nation agenda. While I believe most Christian leaders favor an American theocracy, this goal is rarely expressed publicly. Of course, to a regrettable extent, America is already something of a theocracy, given In God We Trust on our money, in courtrooms, in the Pledge of Allegiance and with enormous tax exemptions for religions and on and on. If there were a god that controlled everything, as most Americans seem to think, I’d thank him, her or it for Barry Lynn, who among other stalwarts for secularism works tirelessly and effectively to keep American ununited in church and state. So far, they are succeeding, if just barely.

Religion and REAL Wellness Are Incompatible

Reason, the R in REAL wellness, and religion represent two distinct ways of thinking. One trusts in revelation (i.e., assertions based on authority); the other is found upon critical thinking, evidence and an objective search for understanding the true nature of reality. Religion does not blend well with democracy, freedom, human rights, joy, happiness, wellness orgasms or other states that secularists seeking well-being of the mind and body associate with quality of life pathways. Religion is antagonistic to reason. Religious authorities insist that the faithful submit their wills to a higher power (whose wishes only they can interpret). They demand belief in religious dogmas, adherence to rituals and respect for all of these things from the rest of society that has and seeks no part of any of it. They make a virtue of faith (aka believing what you know ain’t so, as Mark Twain put it) which, by definition, means lacking evidence or other rational bases. Religions have no use for such life-affirming, reason-based democratic principles as expressed in the Affirmations of Humanism, or in the U.N’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

While there is no connection with the A (athleticism or exercise and nutrition), the E (exuberance) and L (liberty or personal freedoms) dimensions are equally incompatible with the toxicity of religion. Thus, it seems entirely legitimate and reasonable if not imperative for REAL wellness enthusiasts to address religion in the context of describing the nature and dynamics of living a healthy, happy and meaningful life guided by reason and freedom that facilitates exuberance.

Thus, Barry Lynn’s God and Government could be and in my view is a REAL wellness worthy publication. One needs not be a history professor to know that religions have not displayed much enthusiasm for or tolerance of qualities associated any one of these three dimensions.

God and Government

Mr. Lynn’s latest work, published by Prometheus Books, contains ten chapters that represent a mix of his columns, testimony and speeches over the course of two and a half decades. The book contains extensive notes (references) and an index. Hundreds of the author’s encounters with Religious Right theocracy-promoting activists are described with wit and humor. Among my favorite sections are those dealing with these critical church/state issues:

  • School prayer and prayer everywhere else.
  • Taxpayer-subsidized vouchers for religious schools.
  • Creeping religious beliefs into the public sector (e.g., preventing end-of-life choices, promoting censorship and so on).
  • The imposition of religious beliefs by legislators into policies and laws.
  • Opposition to science in a broad sense and evolution in particular.
  • Attempts to proselytize by including religious content into public educational curricula.
  • Religion in the military, the court system and local governments.
  • Tax preferences for clergy; subsidies for chaplains, etc.
  • Criminal clerics.
  • Encounters with nice and strange famous people while fighting the battle of church and state.
  • Descriptions of historic events that shaped the current standoff so far preventing the loss of our right to freedom from religion.

Five Stars

I fully agree and endorse what comedian Lewis Black, author Frank Schaeffer (Crazy for God), Feminist Majority president Eleanor Smeal and filmmaker Jill Soloway wrote in blurbs for God and Government, respectively:

  • No one is more on top of the challenges facing the first amendment than Barry Lynn…with intelligence, wisdom, humanity and a devilish wit, Lynn makes the issues come alive.
  • This book is literally a defense of freedom against the theocratic illness.
  • Barry Lynn knows all the tricks, twists and turns of those who want to turn the clock back several centuries.
  • Barry Lynn has the extraordinary ability to demonstrate how religious fundamentalism poisons almost every public policy debate that matters.

To paraphrase Bruce Springsteen’s tribute to Robert Green Ingersoll, Barry Lynn’s God and Government demonstrates what he has done for equality, education, progress, free ideas and free lives, against the superstition and bigotry of religious dogma. We need men like him today more than ever. His writing still inspires us and challenges the ‘better angels’ of our nature, when people open their hearts and minds to his simple, honest humanity. Thank goodness he (is) here.

An Open Letter from a Black Man to His White Family in a Moment of Violence

Iris Vander Pluym:

Reblogging for my non-black readers, because you should read this eloquent, urgent and impassioned plea right now. If it makes you uncomfortable, good. Because that is a necessary first step toward examining exactly why that is—and then doing something about it.

Originally posted on RADICAL FAGGOT:

The name of the movement is Black Lives Matter. If you are not involved, I assume you take issue with the statement. The name of the movement is Black Lives Matter. If you are not involved, I assume you take issue with this statement.

To the white people I share home with,

I’ve gotten degrees. I’ve been published. I’ve spoken at academic gatherings. I’ve taught classes and workshops. I’ve built up a resume. I’ve gained employment in the acceptable fields of social justice. For years, you told me these were the things I needed to do in order to be listened to.

I’ve participated in direct action. I’ve been arrested. I’ve survived nearly three decades in a country that hates me. I’ve predicted the formation of movements, the swell of riots, months and even years before their occurrences. I don’t know what else I need to do to be legitimized, be validated, to be worthy of being heard and taken seriously.

I am exhausted from trying to get you on board with…

View original 905 more words

MOAR things I would wish upon my enemies.

Loyal Readers™ will surely recall my post last month about things I would wish upon my enemies. The point of the exercise was that although the original meme was quite good, for the enemies of the Palace and our like-minded subjects disciples worshipers followers it was simply WAAAAAAY too nice. I noted:

There are armies of hateful asshats arrayed against you, right at this very moment, plotting and scheming your demise with glee. If you don’t believe it, well, that is purely a matter of projection on your part, since you cannot imagine yourself being a hateful asshat plotting and scheming a stranger’s demise (much less with glee). And this, my friends, is the liberal’s Achilles heel: we simply cannot believe people could truly harbor such a deep, abiding hatred for us, and sincerely want to see us utterly destroyed. They can, and they do.

It seems to me our enemies’ punishments should fit their crimes, and so I simply wished upon them the horrible things they wish upon us. In many cases, they have actually inflicted these things upon their fellow citizens, or they are trying very, very hard to do so—much like all of the involuntary organ donors residing in the Abattoir.

Speaking of the the involuntary organ donation advocates, it has come to our attention that they have a new tactic: digging through clinic dumpsters in search of patient records…and then claiming that the clinics are violating patient privacy.

facepalmstartreksmh.

The dauntless dumpster divers often trespass on private property and break into locked dumpsters and storage facilities to attempt to obtain patient records. (Forced Birthers, of course, have long been known for caring very deeply about the medical privacy of clinic patients.) And so I wish upon these particular enemies of humanity some very specific afflictions, appropriate to their own actions and intentions—i.e., shutting down clinics that provide excellent health care and preventive screenings for millions of people.

moarthings4enemiesThis should go without saying, but in case it does not: Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue and her merry band of dumpster divers are now all involuntary organ donors happily ensconced in the Palace Abattoir. Or, you know, unhappily. Who gives a shit.

DEATH TO SQUIRRELS. -UPDATED. -UPDATE 2.

People, there is some VERY disturbing news coming out of California. No, not the devastating droughts and unprecedented wildfires, or the L.A.P.D. getting cartoonist Ted Rall fired from the Los Angeles Times by dropping an audio tape that of course turned out to be bullshit. I refer, of course, to the squirrels.

You see, part of Yosemite National Park has been closed by health officials because, it seems, a second tourist there has contracted the plague. The plague! As in, you know, the Black Death? That little pandemic that killed an estimated 30–60% of Europe’s total population in the fourteenth century? YES THAT PLAGUE.

And guess how it’s being spread. Go ahead, guess.

By fucking squirrels.

Squirrels are a fucking menace.

I need to come clean here with Loyal Readers™. You might expect that since I live in downtown Manhattan, if I were to seriously hate on a fellow species–and let’s face it, all species are fellow species—it would probably be pigeons or something. Rats. Maybe cockroaches, which, as far as I’m concerned, ought to be the official symbol of New York City based on their sheer impudence and tenacity alone. Or perhaps those giant waterbugs everyone thinks New Yorkers are totally exaggerating about, until they actually see one and realize that some insects never got the memo that the Permian era ended hundreds of millions of years ago.

NOPE. I have come to loathe and detest no species on Earth so much as those members of the Order Rodentia, Suborder Sciuromorpha, Family Sciuridae. Well, besides H. sapiens, but that should go without saying. (See: virtually every post on this blog.)

Oh, I know what you’re thinking. But Iris! Squirrels are soooo cyoooot! How could you harbor such ill will towards our adorable little bushy-tailed cousins?

Okay first of all, you are woefully uninformed about the true nature and utter depravity of these beasts, an unfortunate and increasingly urgent state of affairs I intend to remedy shortly, and at length. (Wait, what?) Second, “ill will” does not even begin to cover it.

The squirrel-plague nexus.

Yersinia_pestis_fluorescent

Yersinia pestis bacteria. THE FUCKING PLAGUE, people.

In the wild, the plague bacteria Yersinia pestis circulates via flea bites among animal populations, particularly rodents—and squirrels are fucking rodents. Humans, such as our Yosemite tourists, become infected when bitten by a flea that has bitten a plague-ridden rodent. (Like, oh, say…a squirrel.) But that’s not the only disease vector. Once infected, humans can spread the plague amongst themselves by coughing or sneezing, contact (including sexual contact) with an infected person, indirect contact like touching a contaminated surface, breathing air under certain conditions where the plague bacteria can remain airborne, and the most disgusting transmission route of all, “fecal-oral,” from ingesting food or water contaminated with the diseased shit—literally, the actual shit—of the plague-infected. Think: Ebola. But with squirrels.

Take a look at how fast the plague spread in the fourteenth century, and consider that back then, exposure to infected populations would have happened much more slowly than in the age of widespread air travel and crowded trains.

BlackdeathSPREADNow it is true that these days the plague is generally treatable with antibiotics, which did not exist during the Black Death pandemic because Jeezus “forgot” to tell us about them. However, the plague can still be fatal if left untreated for whatever reason, including misdiagnosis, or lack of access to quality health care in this truly exceptional country. Just think about that the next time you have “fever, chills, nausea, weakness and swollen lymph nodes,” and your doctor tells you to just go home, get some rest and drink lots of fluids. By the way, do you think the United States has a stash of antibiotics for 321,216,397 people? And what happens if (when?) an adaptive mutation leaves Yersinia pestis impervious to antibiotics?

Anyway. It turns out the two recent cases of squirrel-plague in Yosemite tourists are by no means isolated incidents, either. In fact:

Since 1970, 40 cases of plague have been reported in California, and nine people have died from the disease.

OMFG. I had no idea.

Squirrels are escalating their attacks.

Last year, a squirrel caused $300,000 in damage to a community center in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Just this summer alone:

  • A Michigan police department has named a squirrel a suspect in a $128,000 nut heist.

squirrelmugshotDO NOT APPROACH!
This squirrel is considered armed and dangerous.

  • Then, a squirrel was caught on camera devouring A FUCKING SNAKE in a Texas Park.

    squirreleatingsnake

    Oh, did you think they only ate nuts? NOT ANYMORE.

  • A drunk squirrel—yes, you read that right—caused massive damage at a UK pub. When workers arrived they naturally assumed the place had been robbed by H. sapiens: beer all over the floor, glasses and bottles knocked off the shelves, a real shitshow. Then a slow moving squirrel staggered out. The little fucker managed to turn on a tap, and drained (or drank!) more than $450 worth of beer. WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE BEER.
  • On Friday in Clark County, Washington, a suicide terrorist squirrel bit into an overhead power line in order to set himself ablaze and fall to the ground, thereby setting a patch of grass on fire. Fortunately, firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze and no one was harmed. This time.

The squirrels are clearly escalating their attacks. They have become much more brazen and organized, as these pictures I just found with a quick Google search on the Internets clearly attest:

squirrelcompBe afraid. Be very afraid.

Shit gets personal.

When squirrels begin to overpopulate an area, they will cause damage to trees, shrubs, ornamental plantings, gardens, and “structures”—as in, your fucking house. Squirrel populations are normally kept in check by environmental factors including weather patterns, predators (foxes, hawks and owls) and the availability of food. This is why no one should feed squirrels, ever, not even accidentally: squirrel-proof bird feeders are A Thing for good reason.

Well. It has come to our attention that the Palace’s neighbors—whose outdoor space is separated from our magnificent gardens by a fence—have been feeding squirrels. ON PURPOSE. They even have a fucking sign and everything!

squirrelxingOH. NO. THEY. DIDN’T.

As a result of this unconscionable perfidy, large numbers of squirrels have been digging burrows all over the place, uprooting and eating our bulbs, flinging mulch hither and fro, PLANTING THEIR FREE FUCKING PEANUTS THAT THE NEIGHBORS ARE FEEDING THEM which very quickly sprout up into unsightly peanut plants, and just generally trashing the joint with wild abandon.

castlepalacegardensOur Humble Abode: The Palace and surrounding gardens.*

We read somewhere that dogwood berries are poisonous to squirrels, so of course we planted a big dogwood tree right up against the shared fence line last fall. Yet we are still overrun with the little fuckers. We have doubled the gardening staff and landscaping crews, and still we can barely keep up with all of the wanton destruction. Last year, My Amazing Lover™ asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I told him a high-powered BB gun with a scope. He declined to purchase me one, which, okay, I admit that was probably for the best. But I did insist on decorating the Palace Yule tree with owl ornaments in order to make an anti-squirrel political statement.

Action plan.

This much is clear: all of us will need to do our parts to at the very least mitigate the pestilential scourge of squirrels, if not eradicate them entirely. We certainly have our work cut out for us too, because of so many unrepentant assholes—including my very own mother! Can you even believe this shit?!—who insist on feeding them, or even keeping them as pets. (?!) These people cannot be reasoned with. As a first step, then, we must educate ourselves and any others who can be reached before the Squirrelpocalypse is upon us and it’s too late.

Here are some links to get started:

How to Stop Squirrels. Squirrels will happily destroy your garden, invade your attic, and eat your fucking house: they can and will chew through pretty much anything that isn’t metal. This website offers tips, tactics and product suggestions for keeping your Palace and surrounding areas squirrel-free.

Natural predators of squirrels. I propose that we immediately scale up massive breeding programs for rat snakes, hawks, great horned owls and barred owls, red and gray foxes and bobcats.

“Squirrels were once major pests.” Read about the experiences of early European settlers in Ohio and see for yourself just how bad things can get. TRIGGER WARNING: this is the stuff of nightmares and horror movies—and yes, it can still happen today.

Squirrel hunting tips on how to get started. (<—Self-explanatory.)

Know your squirrel hunting season. For example, in most of New York State the hunting season for gray, black and fox squirrels starts September 1 and continues through February, with a bag limit of six. That’s six daily. RED SQUIRRELS CAN BE HUNTED YEAR ROUND WITHOUT LIMITS.

squirrelhuntingseasonNYSquirrel Recipes. (These are via the Missouri Department of Conservation, but there are many others.) Squirrel is one of the most ethical meats one can consume, and apparently pretty tasty too. Hey, don’t knock it until you try it.

braisedsquirrelBraised squirrel with bacon, mushrooms and Pinot Noir.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: cook your squirrels thoroughly to make sure you KILL ALL OF THE FUCKING PLAGUE BACTERIA.

It’s time to wake up, people. Forget the War on Terror. And we definitely do not need a War on Drugs. What we need is a war on squirrels. These demon spawn pose perhaps the greatest threat human civilization has ever faced.

nosquirrels#deathtosquirrels

__________
*Due to security concerns, we obviously cannot reveal publicly what the Palace and its surrounding gardens actually look like. The pictures herein are simply meant to give readers an idea of the overwhelming scale of the squirrel problem we are dealing with here.

UPDATE: Texas firefighters are rescuing squirrels. JFC.

UPDATE 2: In Verona, Wisconsin another suicide terrorist squirrel blew up some electrical shit and disrupted power to 2,172 customers. And in Eagle Mountain, Utah, another squirrel pulled the same shit, leaving 3,125 homes and businesses in the dark.
#signsofthesquirrelpocalypse

Recent reads.

library4

PRISON + SENTENCING REFORM.

Bernie Sanders Will Introduce Legislation To End Private Prisons. Lavender, P., The Huffington Post (Aug. 2015). [GOOD. –Ed.]

DRONES.

FAA records detail hundreds of close calls between airplanes and drones. Whitlock, C., Washington Post (Aug. 2015). [This story is brought to you by a government whistleblower. I am sure the Obama administration is hunting down this terrorist threat to national security as we speak. I know I sure don’t want to live in the kind of country where I can know about the 700 near-collisions between planes and drones so far this year! –Ed.]

ENERGY + ENVIRONMENT.

Islamic Leaders Want A Jihad Against Global Warming. Bastasch, M., The Daily Caller (Aug. 2015).

July was the hottest month in Earth’s hottest year on record so far. Samenow, J., Washington Post (Aug. 2015). (“And the globe is well on its way to having its hottest year on record.”) [Great job, everyone! –Ed.]

Global warming worsened the California drought, scientists say. Fears, D., Washington Post (Aug. 2015):

The study by Columbia University’s Earth Institute isn’t the first to say warming has played a key role in fueling California’s dry conditions, but it’s the first to measure its impact, calculating that it increased the problem by as much as 25 percent.

LGBT.

The Troubles with Gender. Veronica, Skepchick (Aug. 2015).

Elisha Walker Is Third Trans Woman Reported Dead Today. Matthews, G., The Rainbow Hub (Aug. 2015). [PEOPLE ARE TERRIBLE FUCK EVERYONE THE END. –Ed.]

WAR, VETERANS.

“You Grow Up Wanting to be Luke Skywalker, Then Realize You’ve Become a Stormtrooper for the Empire”. Crimmins, D., Reddit via Democratic Underground (Oct. 2014):

Then you realize you haven’t seen anything to support the idea that these poor fuckers are a threat to your home. You look around and you see all he contractors making six figure salaries to fix your shit, train Iraqis, maintain the ridiculous SUVs the KBR dicks ride around in. You consider the fact that every 25mm shell costs about forty bucks, and your company has been handing those fuckers out like shrapnel flavored parade candies. You think about all the fuel you’re going through, all the ammo and missiles and grenades. You think about every time you lose a vehicle, the Army buys a new one. Maybe you start to see a lot of people making a lot of money on huge amounts of human suffering.

Then you go on leave, and realize that Ayn Rand has no idea what the fuck she’s talking about. You realize that Fox News and Limbaugh and John McCain don’t respect you or your buddies. They don’t give a fuck if you get a parade or a box when you get home, you’re nothing to them but a prop.

WAR, ACTIVISM.

Where Did the Antiwar Movement Go? Or What It Means When You Kill People On the Other Side of the Planet and No One Notices). Engelhardt, T., The Greanville Post (Aug. 2015).

RACE.

blackpeopleBUT

blackonblackNYC, POLICE, POVERTY.

Police are posting photos online of New Yorkers at their most vulnerable. Badger, E., Washington Post (Aug. 2015). [This is all kinds of fucked up. –Ed.]

FEMINISM.

Stephen Colbert Shares Why He Thinks Women Should Be in Charge of Everything. Colbert, S., Glamour (Aug. 2015). (“I’m going to do my best to create a Late Show that not only appeals to women but also celebrates their voices.”)

Amazon Warriors Did Indeed Fight and Die Like Men: Archaeology shows that these fierce women also smoked pot, got tattoos, killed—and loved—men. Worrall, S., National Geographic (Oct. 2014).

ECONOMICS.

Overcoming systemic roadblocks to sustainability: The evolutionary redesign of worldviews, institutions, and technologies. Beddoe, R., PNAS, vol. 106 no. 8, 2483–2489, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0812570106 (Dec. 2008).

Participatory Economics. (“a model for a new economy based on democracy, justice and ecological sustainability proposed as an alternative to our current economic system.”)

 The Root of all Evil. Wood., S., The 99.99998271% (Feb. 2015):

The profit motive, therefore, is the fundamental principle underlying modern capitalism; the all-encompassing priority of corporate entities. This drive for profit, however, is incompatible with the complex needs of humanity and the environment, as it leads to exponential ‘growth’ in a limited system, meaning it is unsustainable, creating mounting misery and chaos for ever increasing numbers of people, even those in so-called ‘rich’ or ‘advanced’ nations.

Yes, there is an alternative to capitalism: Mondragon shows the way. Wolff, R., The Guardian (Jun. 2008). (“Why are we told a broken system that creates vast inequality is the only choice? Spain’s amazing co-op is living proof otherwise.”)

MEDIA.

‘You Say What You Like, Because They Like What You Say’. Cromwell, D., Media Lens (May 2013):

In a talk almost twenty years ago, the American political writer and media critic Michael Parenti explained powerfully how journalism works in practice:

‘Oddly enough, if you talk to most reporters, most of the reporters I know who are giving me stories about censorship, about top-down control and all, are ex-reporters. They’re often people – I began noticing, “Well I used to work for Associated Press…”, or “Well, I used to work for CBS…” – “Well I used to…” The ones who are still in there absolutely vehemently deny that there’s any such thing like this. They get very indignant. They say: “Are you telling me that I’m not my own man? I’ll have you know that in 17 years with this paper I always say what I like.” And I say to them: “You say what you like, because they like what you say.[emphasis in original.]

Beyond Manufacturing Consent. Street, P., teleSUR (Mar. 2015). (“The leading capitalist US media corporations are naturally no less committed to advancing ‘homeland’ oppression structures and ideologies than they are to hawking related imperial policies and propaganda.”)

The Gatekeepers. Wood, S., The 99.99998271% (Apr. 2015):

True democracy – a community sharing resources fairly and working together for peace, security, justice and prosperity – is antithetical to the ideology of the profit motive. For this reason, rule number one of the corporate media’s version of reality is to present at all times the illusion of freedom, the idea that people are actually in control of their societies, economies and leaders. This demonstrably false idea must be promoted relentlessly in order to quell and misdirect the anger and hopelessness felt by the millions upon millions of victims of the corporate credo – the now utterly discredited idea that the ‘free market’ is the best and fairest method of running humanity.

BODY IMAGE, INTERSECTIONALITY.

Towards a Fatter Insurrection: Introduction to a Revolutionary Body Liberation Movement. Burley, S., Institute for Anarchist Studies (Aug. 2015).

GODLESSNESS.

godchildrape[Also, fuck your god too. –Ed.]

drugdealerpreacher__________

PLZ NOTE: Acquisition of links for the fabulous Palace library does not imply 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization, source or individual.

The Condom Pope.

condompopeArtist Niki Johnson has created a portrait of Pope emeritus Benedict XVI (a.k.a. Joseph Ratzinger) fashioned entirely from 17,000 colored condoms. She says the work aims to “critique Benedict’s views while raising awareness about public health.”

Benedict’s views.

*snort*

In March 2009, Pope Ratzi ‘splained to the world that the AIDS crisis in Africa could not be mitigated with condoms, and that indeed condom use would only aggravate the epidemic and make the spread of HIV worse. Here in reality of course, condom use is actually “highly effective” in reducing the spread of HIV. Just FYI, in sub-Saharan Africa, 25.8 million people are currently living with HIV. Last year an estimated 790,000 adults and children died of AIDS and 1.4 million people became newly infected.

The Archbishop Archvillain of Milwaukee, where Johnson’s condom pope portrait is currently on display, well he no likee:

An artist who claims his or her work is some great social commentary and a museum that accepts it, insults a religious leader of a church, whose charitable outreach through its missionaries and ministers has eased the pain of those who suffer throughout the world, must understand the rejection of this local action by the believers who themselves have been insulted.

Apparently in the unique Catholic dialect of the English language, “charitable outreach” means lying to people about the efficacy of condoms and thereby inflicting early death upon millions of people, as well as the kind of unfathomable agony that makes Jeezus’s notoriously bad weekend seem like a holiday at a luxury spa resort by comparison. Also, “easing the pain of those who suffer throughout the world” explicitly excludes the pain and suffering of sub-Saharan Africans. Good to know.

And yes, clearly the Real Victims™ here are Pope Ratfucker and his fellow believers: they have been insulted, people. That’s, like, WAY worse than millions of people dying of AIDS.

A favorite quote from Madalyn Murray O’Hair comes to mind:

I’ll tell you what you did with atheists for about 1500 years. You outlawed them from the universities or any teaching careers, besmirched their reputations, banned or burned their books or their writings of any kind, drove them into exile, humiliated them, seized their properties, arrested them for blasphemy. You dehumanized them with beatings and exquisite torture, gouged out their eyes, slit their tongues, stretched, crushed, or broke their limbs, tore off their breasts if they were women, crushed their scrotums if they were men, imprisoned them, stabbed them, disemboweled them, hanged them, burnt them alive.

And you have nerve enough to complain to me that I laugh at you?

Personally, I think we should all do a lot more insulting of Catholic religious leaders. It’s obvious to me that if they really don’t enjoy being insulted, and their tender fee-fees are just so, so hurt, then they can stop behaving like horrible lying genocidal fucking shitweasels. Easy-peasy.

Until then, though…

palacefuckyou…they can simply go fuck themselves. With or without condoms.

Have a nice day.

palacehappyface

Offered without comment.

I was just at the fookin’ gym getting my jam on whilst torturing myself on some medieval device apparently known as an “elliptical,” when I caught this on the TeeVee:

trumpfreeridemystery

 IMAGE: split screen of two very serious faces, a man and a woman, on CNN (live), looming above a large caption that reads in bold block letters:

RACE FOR 2016
IS MEDIA GIVING TRUMP A FREE RIDE?

It was on for quite some time—or at least I think so, but I cannot be sure because the laws of relativity cease to function properly at the fookin’ gym: one minute to other observers passes like an excruciatingly long hour to this one. But seriously, people, OMFG IS MEDIA GIVING TRUMP A FREE RIDE???

“After we’re done talking about Trump, let’s talk about talking about Trump.”

#yourliberalmedia

*snort*

Two police encounters, in black and white.

radazzhearnsOn Friday night, in Trenton, New Jersey, a black, unarmed, 14-year old boy was shot seven times by police officers while attempting to run away. Incredibly, Radazz Hearns survived and remains in stable condition. At about 10:20 p.m., two state troopers and a county sheriff’s officer were responding to a report of shots fired when they spotted Radazz walking with two other males. Witness Rhonda Tirado, sitting in front of her home at the time, said the three were laughing, joking and didn’t appear to be in any hurry when the officers, driving an unmarked gray minivan and dressed in plain clothes, abruptly stopped their vehicle and came out to question them. Radazz ran, the officers briefly gave chase, and then they shot at him at least ten times.

According to the Attorney General’s office, which is investigating the shooting, witnesses said they saw Radazz “reach for his waistband” before two officers opened fire.

Rhonda Tirado said she did not see Radazz with a gun, and that as he turned and ran he grabbed his sweatpants to keep them from falling down. “Those police were amped and they didn’t give that little boy a chance,” she told a reporter from NJ.com on Wednesday, while re-enacting the shooting. “There was no room for no chase. They just shot that little boy right there.” Tirado said no one from law enforcement has interviewed her about the events she witnessed on Friday night. The Hearns family’s lawyer, Samuel A. Anyan Jr., said he’s spoken to multiple witnesses who also saw the shooting and who would testify that Radazz never had a gun.

Around 10 a.m. the next morning—12 hours after Radazz was shot—a handgun was suddenly discovered under a nearby car. The Attorney General’s initial statement on the shooting said the .22-caliber pistol was recovered “later,” but upon further questioning admitted that “later” meant 12 hours later. According to the AG’s office, “darkness and the vehicle both impaired the ability of investigators to find it.”

The sun rose on Saturday morning at 6:03 a.m.

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josephparkerAt a traffic stop in Revere, Massachusetts, during the early morning hours on Tuesday, Joseph Parker, 34, threatened to kill police, punched 57-year-old Lt. Jeremian Goodwin in the head—knocking him out—and injured six other officers, two of whom were hospitalized. He violently resisted arrest while being taken into custody at the scene. Later on Tuesday, he pleaded not guilty to assault and other charges, and was ordered held on $25,000 bail. He is due back in court on Sept. 15.

^THIS IS WHAT WHITE PRIVILEGE LOOKS LIKE.

“Unfortunately, it’s becoming the new normal in law enforcement in America these days,” opined Chief Joseph Cafarelli of the Revere PD.

No. It is anything but “the new normal” for black people.

Recent reads.

library4DEMOCRATS, RACE.

Open letter to progressives: You’re doing it wrong and it’ll cost the Democratic Party. Teal. M., Daily Kos (Aug. 2015). (“At every single point of transformative change in this country, disruption has been key.” -emphasis in original.)

Democrats Can’t Win on the White Vote. Svan, S., FreeThoughtBlogs/Almost Diamonds (Aug. 2015):

When black people tell you it’s important that Sanders address race issues, they don’t just mean it’s important to them. They don’t just mean it’s a matter of their equality and their very lives, though it is. They mean that it’s important to Sanders or Clinton or whoever it is who ends up the Democrats’ nominee for president next year. Why? Because white people haven’t voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in the last forty years.

Let me repeat that: In the last ten elections, white people as a group have chosen the Republican candidate every single time. No exceptions. The closest they came was in voting for Bill Clinton, where there was only a deficit of 2% of the white voting population, when Perot was splitting the white vote.

Some People of Color Bernie Sanders Fans Would Do Well to Listen To. Hunter, D., FreeThoughtBlogs/En Tequila es Verdad (Aug. 2015).

Bernie Sanders, Black Lives Matter and the racial divide in Seattle. Oluo, I., The Seattle Globalist (Aug. 2015). [FAQs for white “progressives”. –Ed.]

OH LOOK IT’S WORKING.

Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Adds Young Black Woman As New Public Face. McMorris-Santoro, E., BuzzFeed (Aug. 2015). (“After meeting with Bernie Sanders about criminal justice and Black Lives Matter, Bernie Sanders has hired Symone Sanders as national press secretary.”)

Bernie Sanders Unveils Sweeping Policy Platform To Combat Racial Inequality. Fang, M., Huffington Post (Aug. 2015).

POLICE, RACE.

The Dogs Are Still in the Streets: Ferguson 2015—It’s Still Right to Rebel Against Injustice! Dix, C., Stop Mass Incarceration Network (Aug. 2015).

racismmuch[The arrested girl is 12. TWELVE. –Ed.]

POLICE, YOUR LIBERAL MEDIA.

Cops Gun Down Unarmed Journalist’s Career. Palast, G., Reader Supported News (Aug. 2015). (“LA Times fires Ted Rall – evidence blows up in newspaper’s face.”)

PRISON & SENTENCING REFORM, TORTURE.

Man’s US extradition over terror refused. O’Riordan, A., Irish Examiner (May 2015). [Ireland’s High Court refuses to extradite an alleged terrorist to the US because our criminal justice system and prison-industrial-complex are human rights atrocities. Go USA! –Ed.]

Who Are the Biggest Killers in America? The Numbers Will Shock You. Jilani, Z., AlterNet (Aug. 2015) (“The crimes committed by the rich not only cause more monetary damage but kill far more people than ordinary street crime, yet the former are treated with kid gloves while the latter are treated with long prison sentences or even executions.”) [For the record, I am not shocked. –Ed.]

ECONOMICS, ENERGY + ENVIRONMENT.

G20 countries pay over $1,000 per citizen in fossil fuel subsidies, says IMF. Carrington, D., The Guardian (Aug. 2015).

Subsidies for fossil fuels amount to $1,000 (£640) a year for every citizen living in the G20 group of the world’s leading economies, despite the group’s pledge in 2009 to phase out support for coal, oil and gas.

New figures from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) show that the US, which hosted the G20 summit in 2009, gives $700bn a year in fossil fuel subsidies, equivalent to $2,180 for every American. President Barack Obama backed the phase out but has since overseen a steep rise in federal fossil fuel subsidies.

[Free Market™ capitalism, YAY! And remember, kids! THIS is why we can’t have nice things. Like health care, food, education, a living wage, affordable housing, Social Security, infrastructure investment, etc. –Ed.]

deepgreencoalPOVERTY, RACE.

The Resurrection of America’s Slums: After falling in the 1990s, the number of poor people living in high-poverty areas has been growing fast. Semuels, A., The Atlantic (Aug. 2015).

The number of people living in high-poverty areas—defined as census tracts where 40 percent or more of families have income levels below the federal poverty threshold—nearly doubled between 2000 and 2013, to 13.8 million from 7.2 million, according to a new analysis of census data by Paul Jargowsky, a public-policy professor at Rutgers University-Camden and a fellow at The Century Foundation. That’s the highest number of Americans living in high-poverty neighborhoods ever recorded.

[In case you were wondering, this is what “economic recovery” apparently looks like. –Ed.]

Black poverty differs from white poverty. Badger, E., The Washington Post (Aug. 2015).

In five-year American Community Survey data from 2009-2013, more than a third of all poor African Americans in metropolitan Chicago live in high-poverty census tracts (where the poverty rate is above 40 percent). That number has gotten worse since 2000. And it’s about 10 times higher than for poor whites.

In St. Louis, 29.5 percent of poor African Americans live in concentrated poverty. Among poor whites, just 1.6 percent do.

RACE, EDUCATION.

Why do people believe myths about the Confederacy? Because our textbooks and monuments are wrong. Loewen, J.W., Washington Post (Jul. 2015):

“The Confederates won with the pen (and the noose) what they could not win on the battlefield: the cause of white supremacy and the dominant understanding of what the war was all about. We are still digging ourselves out from under the misinformation they spread, which has manifested in our public monuments and our history books.

 HEALTH CARE, SECULARISM, REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS.

Bishops Meddle in Health Care. Novella, S., Neurologica Blog (Aug. 2015).

“the country’s Conference of Catholic Bishops declared a boycott of the World Health Organization’s vaccination campaign, saying they needed to “test” whether ingredients contain a derivative of estrogen. Dr. Wahome Ngare of the Kenyan Catholic Doctor’s Association alleged that the presence of the female hormone could sterilize children.”

[“Pro-life,” everyone. And no, they have no idea what they’re fucking talking about. –Ed.]

Hospital Denies Mother’s Choice For Tubal Ligation Minutes Before Surgery. Salzillo, L., Daily Kos (Aug. 2015):

When Angela Valavanis established her birth plan for delivering her youngest child, she indicated that if a C-section was medically necessary, she wanted to get a tubal ligation at the same time. But, at the last minute, the Illinois mom was denied the sterilization surgery because the hospital where she was delivering was a Catholic institution and policy dictated it couldn’t perform contraceptive procedures — something Valavanis was never made aware of throughout her pregnancy.

[Paging smiley progressive pope? HELLO…? –Ed.]

Paying through the nose for prescription drugs: We pay far more for prescription medications than any other country – just the way Big Pharma and the insurance industry likes it. Potter, W., Medicare Resources (Aug. 2015). [Good article, but buries the lede in the penultimate paragraphs:

The industry’s influence with Democrats is just as strong as it is with Republicans. That’s why provisions that would have allowed the importation of drugs from Canada and that would have given Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies were stripped out of the Affordable Care Act before it reached President Obama’s desk.

That was by design. Obama and Democratic leaders had agreed to strip out those provisions when PhRMA said it would spend millions to torpedo Obamacare if the industry didn’t get what it wanted.

…with friends like these… –Ed.]

4 New Depression Treatments You Won’t Believe Actually Work. Coville, C., Cracked (Jul. 2014).

GODLESSNESS.

The Maturing Secular Community: Fewer Personalities, More Good Deeds. Lee, A., Patheos/Daylight Athiesm (Aug. 2015).

ABORTION, TERRORISM.

Planned Parenthood Clinic Construction Site Vandalized in New Orleans. Wilson, T., RH Reality Check (Aug.  2015).

FEMINISM, MEDIA, NYC.

The real reason some men still can’t handle the all-female ‘Ghostbusters’. Thériault, A., The Daily Dot (Jul. 2015). (“On social media, people’s reactions have been hilariously out of touch with reality, ranging from faux-intellectual comments about how gender-swapping is ‘pandering’ to women to complaints from Twitter users that the new film will ‘ruin’ their childhoods.”) [FEMINISM: ruining men’s childhoods by going back in time and digitally inserting women into every copy of the original Ghostbusters! Bwhahahahah! –Ed.]

Central Park Has 22 Statues of Historical Figures. Every Single One is a Man. Blakemore, E., The Smithsonian (Jul. 2015). (“Could a crusade to bring historic women into the park change the face of the city?”) [Or does having a female statue in Central Park ensure we’ll all drown in male tears? Do I really need another fucking pool?Ed.]

oppressedwhitemale_zpsa18a02dbbathinginmaletears

maletearsmug[There is a distinct chance that this mug actually contains vodka. –Ed.]

DEMOCRACY, RULE OF LAW.

A mathematician may have uncovered widespread election fraud, and Kansas is trying to silence her. Green, J., America Blog (Aug. 2015).

The irregularities are isolated to precincts that use “Central Tabulator” voting machines — machines that have previously been shown to be vulnerable to hacking. The effects are significant and widespread: According to their analysis, Mitt Romney could have received over a million extra votes in the 2012 Republican primary, mostly coming at the expense of Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. President Obama also ceded significant votes to John McCain due to this irregularity, as well.

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REMINDER: Acquisition of links for our fabulous library does not imply the Palace’s 100% agreement with or endorsement of any content, organization, source or individual.

Have a nice day.

palacehappyface