Saturday, March 28, 2015

Andreas Lubitz Alone in the Cockpit

Some day I will do something that will change the whole system and then all will know my name and remember it.

According to the German newspaper Bild, a quote from Andreas Lubitz to a former girlfriend last year.

Brother Lubitz certainly did that. And why he did it is becoming less of a mystery almost every internet minute as the investigation into the crash of Germanwings flight 4U 9525 continues. Yes, at the moment, what happened is obvious and the why it did is increasingly apparent. The real question at this point--the unanswerable one--is how did someone as bat shit crazy as, Andreas Lubitz end up by himself in the cockpit of an Airbus A320 flying over the Alps with, if you include him, 150 passengers and crew aboard.

It isn't like people didn't know he was chronically depressed. Various media outlets are reporting his training was suspended in 2009 when the Lufthansa flight school deemed him, "not suitable for flying." He was, at the time, diagnosed as having a, "severe depressive episode." According to Bild he underwent 18 months of psychiatric treatment and had to retake a number of classes because of his condition.

Other sources are reporting he was not only dealing with mental heath issues, but having trouble with his eyesight, which could also cost him his job. In any event he convinced the powers at Germanwings he was okay to continue flying. It was frighteningly easy for him to do so. The Guardian reports investigators found a note from a shrink in the Rhineland saying he was unfit to be anywhere near a cockpit. Apparently the doctor assumed his patient would voluntarily show the diagnosis to Germanwings. Silly him--Lubitz simply tore it up and didn't tell anyone at the airline the warning existed.

This led Dr. Hans-Werner Teichmuller, the head of an association of German physicians who examine pilots, to exclaim, "Everything he did was highly criminal."

Right. The guy was fucking nuts and his intent was to commit mass murder. Tell us Doc, exactly how did you expect him to act?

Tragically, Andreas Lubitz isn't the first whack job at the controls of a fully loaded airliner. In 1999 Egyptair flight 990 dove head first into the cold waters of the North Atlantic, 60 miles from the coast of Nantucket Island. The National Transportation Safety Board came to the conclusion the, "probable cause of the crash was deliberate actions by the relief first officer." The Egyptians either couldn't, or wouldn't buy into the NTSB ruling and blamed the disaster on mechanical failure. There were 217 passengers and crew on board.

A little over a year ago, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 carrying 239 souls flew into the murky recesses of the Twilight Zone. Conspiracy theorists ran wild with dozens of reasons why, blaming everyone from the Illuminati to cabals of Zionists and alien spacecraft. While fringe elements are easy to write off, the sobering truth is someone on that flight with a working knowledge of a Boeing 777, civil air radar coverage, and international flight procedures went off his, or her nut. The most obvious suspects are the pilot, and or co pilot.

As these words are being typed the families of the victims of flight 4U 9525 are watching dozens of lawyers queue up on their front lawns. This isn't going to be pretty, or quick, but it most certainly will be breathtakingly expensive. The Egyptians were up front in denying their guy was the cause. Malaysia Airlines can, with all plausibility, say they have no idea what took place on flight MH370. Germanwings and its parent company Lufthansa don't have any such room to maneuver in order to do the old bob and weave when it comes to litigation.

In this case there are no dubious doubts. Andreas Lubitz's internal struggles were both lengthy and well documented. Yet, despite his extensive mental health issues, which were clearly available to them, the management of Germanwings still put the lives of 149 human beings directly into his hands.

The only fortunate thing to come out of this nightmare is that Herr Lubitz took the controls over a remote mountain area, rather than a city full of high rise buildings and people on the ground. God only knows what would have happened if he'd been alone at the wheel in the sky above Marseille, or Monaco.



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wednesday on the Plains: Storms in the Forecast and Michael Jones Cops a Plea in Duncan, Oklahoma

Outside, here on the southern plains, there are ominous gray skies and a moist thickness to the air. For those of us who have spent most of our lives in central Oklahoma the current conditions have a far too familiar feel to them. Indeed, meteorologists working for the local TV outlets have been on all day with dire predictions. According to each and every one of them Mother Nature could well throw out the first tornado of the season sometime around sunset.

Given the situation, speed at the keyboard may be of the essence. Or not. Many contend--with some justification--the local weather people are in the business of not only predicting what will happen, but scaring the bejeezus out of the populace. It is their way of justifying all those state of the art radar systems and helicopters, not to mention legions of  wild and crazy storm chasers.

While there is uncertainty about the weather, we do know that down in Duncan, OK, young Mr. Michael Jones copped a plea. The Oklahoman's Nolan Clay reports, Jones appeared in a Stephens County courtroom yesterday and admitted he was the wheel man when Australian baseball player, Christopher Lane was murdered as he jogged down a Duncan street.

The 2013 shooting was so senseless and utterly American it created a brief international storm. In it's wake at least one Australian official urged his countrymen to avoid all travel to the United States.

Clay writes Jones was convicted of second degree murder, which means life, with the possibility of parole after a little over three and a half decades in the joint. Michael Jones, who dropped out of high school after his freshman year, will enter the great black maw of the department of corrections at age 19. He will be at least 55 years old by the time he emerges.

Chancy Luna, who is 17, has been accused of being the shooter. He is currently charged with first degree murder and is set for trial in mid April. If convicted he will go away for life without any possibility of parole.

According to Clay, Luna's attorneys don't dispute he was the shooter, however they contend their client thought the gun was loaded with blanks and he had no intent to take a life.

That's right--Chancy Luna's defense is the whole grotesque incident was nothing more than a practical joke gone terribly awry.

Well everyone needs some sort of an excuse and given the circumstances, that one is probably as good as any.  

The third person in the car that day was 17 year old, James Edwards. In a preliminary hearing he turned states evidence against Luna and Jones. In return he was charged with accessory to murder, after the fact. Right now his status is up in the air as his attorneys fight to have him ruled as a juvenile rather than an adult.

A fourth person, Oddesse Barnes is already doing 12 years for accessory to murder, after the fact. He is the guy the three amigos gave the weapon to after Lane was killed. Barnes claims he threw it into a field near his apartment, but the weapon has never been found. That means one of two things. First, he is either lying and gave the piece to yet another person, or, second, some other fine citizen of this nation found it by accident and is now carrying it around on the sly. Neither option is particularly comforting, but both are also perfectly American.

Let's face it, you can say a lot about the United States, but you'll never be able to accuse us of not loving our guns. And, as someone said a long time ago, waste not, want not. Just ask the National Rifle Association, because, in the end, they are in charge of what we call liberty.

sic vita est


Monday, March 23, 2015

Tannerite Blows Up Real Good

If you don't need to own a bunch of high powered semi automatic weapons in order to get an erection you've probably never heard of Tannerite. Most of it is made by Tannerite Sports LLC but there are, according to their web site, a bunch of inferior knock offs floating around. Actually, if you want, you can go to any number of survivalist web sites and find out how to whip up a batch right in your own home. One word of warning though--apparently if you use the same blender to grind up the different ingredients things might not work out quite the way you intended.

Tannerite is ammonium nitrate spiced with aluminum powder. Tannerite Sports puts this mixture in what they call binary bricks. One online advertisement brags it will sell you four of the bricks at the low, low price of $39.95. When you put a brick, or two down range and shoot them with your weapon of choice they will, to borrow a line from the old Second City TV show, "blow up real good." That's right, those bricks are basically explosive devices manufactured to entertain gun nuts who aren't satisfied with simply shooting holes in things.

So someone has to be regulating this shit right? Hey, let's face it, those bricks are nothing more than bombs for God's sake and in most cities it's illegal to even buy, or sell a firecracker. Well, according to a NBC story written by Jeff Rossen and Jovanna Billington no one is.

The FBI issued a warning a couple of years ago saying Tannerite has the, "potential" to be used in Improvised Explosive Devices by all manner of thugs, loons, and terrorists, but other than an advisory sent to retailers they are hands off on the sale of the stuff. One part of the advisory warns retailers to be suspicious of people paying cash and who are unwilling, or reluctant to produce a valid ID. Another section urged sellers to be alert to large purchases and inquiries about bulk sales.

Unfortunately the FBI didn't specify what they consider a large, or bulk purchase to be, not that some sales clerk is going ask questions anyway. In the story Rossen claims he went into a sporting goods store and bought 40 pounds of it and no one even raised an eyebrow. One of his assistants bought the same amount online and it was delivered to his house the next week--again--without him having to offer any sort of reason for the size of the buy. According to the report 40 pounds is enough to destroy a house.

A reasonable person might wonder why the ATF, which is supposed to be in charge when it comes to explosives, isn't all over this insanity. They aren't because, by themselves, ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder are unregulated. It is only when they're mixed together that they are considered an explosive. Tannerite Sports separates the two elements within the one package thereby skirting the law and making the potential IEDs as easy to buy as tubes of tooth paste.

In the report Tannerite Sports issued a statement which said, "No additional regulations are needed beyond current laws, because the product is safe when used correctly." The company went on to say, "The only injuries that have ever happened were the result of the shooter misusing the product."

Tragically, there has been a lot of that going around lately and very little of it is accidental. All you have to do to figure it out is turn on the news. Of course, as we've seen far too often, vast amounts of carnage and outrage zips right over the heads of NRA types and those who love to hoot and holler whenever they can shoot something that blows up. Rossen and Billington write Tannerite's final statement to them was, "Only girly-men want to regulate Tannerite rifle targets."

Perhaps, but the other side of that coin is only people who are developmentally stuck in the sixth, or seventh grade want it unregulated.

At this moment there is only one state in the union which requires someone to have an explosives permit to buy Tannerite. That would be Maryland.

Everywhere else cash talks and any fucking whack job who hears voices and wants to cleanse the planet of the swarms of banana people squirming inside his skull can legally buy it without a question being asked.

Ah yes, sleep well tonight, America.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Week That Was: Bug Spray and Machetes in New Orleans, Five Courts in Italy, and Iowa State Forgets How to Jump

On Friday Mr. Richard White went a little off his rocker. For reasons known only to himself and presumably the voices in his head, he attacked a TSA security checkpoint at New Orleans International Airport, first with bug spray and then a machete. In addition he was carrying a bag full of Molotov Cocktail gasoline bombs and a barbeque lighter. The episode didn't end well for Brother White. He took three bullets to the body from a Sheriffs Department Lt. and is currently listed in critical condition. According to the Associated Press, during a press conference held earlier today, authorities, "suggested the suspect had mental health issues."

Oh, you think?

The media is also saying Amanda Knox, may, or may not be extradited to Italy later this year. The news outlets can hardly be blamed for not being sure. Knox and her boy friend of one week, Raffaele Sollicito were convicted in 2009 of brutally killing British housemate, Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy. Knox was convicted primarily because she signed a confession, which she later recanted and swore was made under duress.

In 2013 another Italian court threw out the conviction and both Knox and Sollicito were released. Knox flew home and within a few weeks of landing saw her acquittal nullified by a third Italian court. Last year, in yet another courtroom, she was once again convicted, this time in absentia. However, that verdict won't become official until a fifth panel of judges rules it so.

It has been a dizzying ride for Ms. Knox, who, depending on your point of view, is either a martyr in the making, or a savage psychopath running loose on the streets. She claims she'll have to be dragged kicking and screaming back to Italy to do her 28 years if the conviction is upheld. At the moment, she's working as a journalist, because, after all, in the 21st century, everyone is.

Meanwhile, Thursday was a bad day for many of us betting on the NCAA men's basketball tournament. Those rubes from Iowa State lost to Alabama Birmingham because they either forgot how to jump, or felt rebounding was simply too tiresome. Iowa State was the dark horse choice of many to reach the Final Four  They looked to be the hottest team out of the Big 12 after winning the conference championship. I had them getting to the Sweet 16, but losing there, so, personally, the damage was considerable, but not fatal.

Shortly afterward, Baylor, another three seed and Big 12 team, choked against Georgia State, which for those of you wondering, is located in downtown Atlanta. Luckily, unlike Iowa State,  I had the Bears losing today. Indeed, when you drop five out of 16 on the first day of the tournament you're in trouble, but utter disaster can be averted if four of those gangs of bozos are teams you picked to lose in the next round. As in most dire situations, you must stop the bleeding as quickly as possible.

Yesterday things went as well as they possibly could. I was 16-0 and as predicted, one of the winners was that crafty bunch from Dayton. The hope here is now their legs are gone from having played too many games during the past week and they'll fall short against Oklahoma.

So despite the rugged start, the big money is still within reach. Even the Dukies came through for me in fine fashion, although I shudder to think what will happen when they play San Diego State tomorrow.

And there we have it. In a world which Islamic State has graciously accepted the fealty of Boko Haram, tourists are gunned down in Tunisia because--well--they were there, and North Korea brags it has the capability to launch nuclear weapons, can there be any question why an escape is needed every so often?

I didn't think so.

sic vita est


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March Madness: Everyone Has a System

It's almost here. At some point this evening the field will finally be set. Once we know who the 64 teams are all sorts of people will hunker down in smoke filled sports bars with murky types who prefer to remain anonymous to the general public. Indeed, think of the scenes in Rick's CafĂ© Americain with far less class and a lot more beer.

Yes, it is time for the NCAA men's basketball tournament--the most spectacular one and done tournament in all of sports. Unlike the NCAA football final four, this event is the great equalizer among those with a taste for wagering. It annually makes fools and losers of amateurs and experts alike. Betting on the brackets is rather like playing a game of poker where aces, jokers, and deuces are wild. All the normal rules of gaming go straight out the window.

Usually I have my brackets done by now, because I write off the four teams who have to play their way into the tournament as first round cannon fodder. This year I'm not so sure. Tonight, Dayton plays Boise State in, you guessed it, Dayton. The winner plays Providence on Friday. The Flyers have a dangerous vibe to them. Later this evening they get the only true home court advantage in the entire tournament. If they do beat Boise State they can kick back in their own beds before making a 70 mile bus trip to Columbus tomorrow for what amounts to a second home game on Friday.

I never bet on the play in games, but the feeling is if Dayton wins later today they could pull an upset Friday, something I don't think Boise is capable of doing.

The president of these United States, Barack H. Obama is betting on Kentucky to win the tournament. Admittedly he has some talent for this sort of thing, but he isn't a pro. Kentucky is a solid choice since they are undefeated so far. And despite the tears and fears of Ashley Judd, not to mention the tongue of Dick Vitale, the Wildcats never trailed in the SEC championship game against Arkansas. In fact UK hasn't really been pushed all year. Therein lies a potentially fatal weakness. There is no telling how they will react if things get dicey at the very end of a game against say, Notre Dame, or Arizona.

Of course there are always a bunch of posers and choke artists who make the tournament. Kansas has traditionally been wildly inconsistent and the curse of the Dukies is well known. In fact Duke and Coach Mike Krzyzewski have made it their mission to put the screws to me on a yearly basis. If I pick them to fold they will happily march straight into the final four. If I think they can make a deep run some hungry bunch of nobodies will chew them up and spit them out. Last year it was Mercer, a couple of years ago it was Lehigh. Friday they open with the winner of the North Florida-Robert Morris play in game. If those sons of bitches tank in the first round again against either outfit, Coach K can count on me coming to Durham with my trusty Louisville Slugger to go all Barry Bonds on his car. So win Krzyzewski, or find a place to hide your ride.

Tomorrow and Friday huge numbers of The Volk will call into work with mysterious fevers, stomach ailments, and unexplained rashes. Entire businesses will grind to a halt as all semblance of responsibility is thrown to wind.

Yes, for a fleeting few moments, we can turn away from vicious political hacks, legions of armed lunatics, and snarling beasts who insist virulent racism is simply freedom of speech. For a blessed couple of days none of those vile fucks will exist and even as we look on in astonished horror while the Belmont Bruins take Virginia into overtime, the world will be good. Well, at least until someone like my wife smiles and says she picked Belmont, because she preferred red and blue uniforms to orange and blue.

Hey, there is a reason they call it March Madness. Everyone has a system and even if it doesn't make any sense, sometimes it works.


Monday, March 16, 2015

Turn Right, Turn Right ! Republicans on the Stump in the Biggest and Most Epensive Game in the World

Everyone who watches a NASCAR race knows the drivers must endlessly turn left. When it comes to republican presidential candidates just the opposite is true, at least until one of them actually gloms onto the nomination.
All sorts of GOP wankers are running around New Hampshire this week. Each one of them is trying to prove to the voting public he is the most right wing son of a bitch within the borders of these United States of America. 
It has gotten so bad Ted Cruz even told a three year old kid that, "Yes, the world is on fire! Your whole world is on fire!" This apocalyptic vision was accompanied by a series of gosh darn countrified comparisons between northern New Hampshire and Texas, because--you know--Canadian born Princeton graduates who call home an upscale Houston high rise condo are just plain folksy.
It should be no surprise Cruz is pitching this bilge. He has, after all, been doing it since he hit the floor of the Senate two years ago. He promised the crowds, if elected, he would immediately abolish the IRS and the Department of Education. He even dragged Steve Forbes' flat tax idea out of the attic, dusted it off, and proclaimed it his.
Wisconsin governor Scott Walker made that sharp right turn the other day when he said he is no longer in favor of a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. He has to add that, no longer part, because until he started pandering to the tea party edge of the party and the big money there, he was all for it. Walker has previously claimed he is qualified to take on the Islamic State loons in Iraq and Syria because he fought and won against the unions in Madison.     
Which brings us to Jeb Bush, who now says he wants to re-engage in Iraq with a small force of American troops. He wasn't specific on what his idea of small is, but sometimes it's best to remain vague on such issues. Bush spends much of his time, "explaining" his support of the common core educational program--he is for the idea, but against the federal government's involvement in it. In addition, he continues the nifty balancing act of being a Bush, but not one like his brother, or dad.
NBC reports that in an interview with a Tampa paper, Marco Rubio tried to exploit Bush's dilemma by saying, the GOP needs, "...a name from the future, not from the past to win (in 2016)." NBC also says both Rubio and Utah Senator Mike Lee were lauded by Ramesh Ponnuru, described by the network as, "an influential conservative writer and policy expert," for their joint tax plan. According to Ponnuru the senators, "..have come up with the most pro growth tax reform since Calvin Coolidge's presidency."
Yes, ol' Silent Cal's reforms worked out quite well for the nation didn't they. Within months of Coolidge leaving office his pro growth plan facilitated The Great Depression and millions of people became not only unemployed, but homeless.
In his never ending battle to remind everyone he is still around, Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal has been jetting around the south. Right now he is condemning every republican currently in congress for failing to hold onto their conservative roots. Jindal is in so much trouble he might want to go back to his home state and take care of business there. The Washington Post is reporting he spent 145 days of the last year on the road not being an official candidate. At the latest CPAC conference straw poll he garnered 0.9% of the vote and came in four places behind that political heavy weight, Donald Trump. National polls show him sitting at 2%.  
Finally, while we're on the subject of lost causes, pals of NJ Governor, Chris Christie have formed a super pac called, America Leads. Unfortunately Christie is a long way from leading anything. In the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll 57% of republicans say they couldn't support him.
The race is, as they say, heating up. The only thing certain is most of these clowns will be gone by the middle of next spring. And a couple, like Jindal and possibly Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas and Fox News shill, won't even make it that far.
Such is the nature of the biggest and most expensive game in the world.
sic vita est

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Fraternities Acting Badly

God bless 'em. Fraternities of all sorts just can't keep from fucking up beyond belief.

First we have the grandest and most exclusive frat of them all, the United States Senate. Led by the eminent foreign policy expert, Tom Cotton, R-AR, earlier this week, 47 republican senators signed off on a letter to the leaders of Iran.

The note, which was solely designed to undermine the administration's negotiations with the Iranians over that country's nuclear policies and pursuits, was authored by Cotton, the upper house's youngest member. It is an extraordinarily condescending piece of work which, according to the Senator from Arkansas, seeks to "educate" the religious and political leadership of Iran about the constitution of these United States.

That it may have broken a law which has been on the books since 1799 seems of little importance to the republicans who signed it. It could be argued Cotton didn't even know the Logan Act, which makes it a criminal offense for any citizen to contact a foreign government in order to influence its decisions during a dispute with the United States, even existed. After all he spent a mere two years in the house before becoming a Senator a couple of months ago. However, even if he did, the truth is he probably wouldn't have cared. Hey, what is some ancient law compared to undermining the office and prestige of the President of the United States just because you don't like him?

Obviously Cotton and the rest of the clowns who have their names attached to the letter didn't think things completely through. They should have figured out something might go wrong as soon as they realized seven senators of their own party wouldn't have any part of their nonsense. After the content of the note was made public the always subtle New York Daily News ran the glaring headline, "TRAITORS!" which was located just below mug shots of Cotton and guys like Ted Cruz.

The New York Times called the letter, "...disgraceful and irresponsible..." It also used the word idiocy. In addition within days, 159,000 people signed an online petition wanting everyone who was on board with the letter charged with violating the Logan Act. Several media sources are saying republicans in both houses have admitted Cotton's missive was a spectacular screw up. The blow back has been so intense John McCain, R-AZ now claims he didn't read the text of the note as thoroughly as he should have before signing it, because he wanted to get out of town before a snow storm hit.

That's right. Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain blamed his participation in the affair on the weather.

Meanwhile, locally, the alumni board of the exiled University of Oklahoma chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon has hired attorney Stephen Jones to represent them in a possible law suit against the school.

Jones called a press conference yesterday, probably because he loves press conferences and announced he wanted to enter into negotiations with OU president David Boren to find a "resolution" to the current racial issues roiling across the Norman, OK campus. Right--as if there could be any sort of compromise after a bus load of white kids joyously sang about n****rs never being able to join their frat and lynchings.

The attorney isn't a stranger to defending the undefendable. He represented that all American terrorist, Tim McVeigh a number of years ago. Despite earlier online reports, Jones claims he is not seeking litigation against the university--well--at least not yet. He did make sure to mention a court room option remains open if things don't go his way.

His argument is that Boren and the university are seeking to "exploit" the racist song sung by the SAE members and possibly their dates while they were on their way to a party at the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club last week. In his words it was only a nine second video clip on one bus out of five and the university administration is now trying to paint the entire fraternity with a, "tar brush," because of it.

Unfortunately for him, one of the leaders of the vile little ditty, has already publically admitted he and the rest of the true gentlemen of SAE, "were taught the song." Indeed, it was nothing new, or isolated to the cretins we saw on the video. Given his confession, we know senior members of the fraternity drilled that awful shit into the guys who pledged Sig Alph. It was, in the end, part of the SAE culture. Even the learned counselor has to realize, at least privately, that means everyone in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house not only knew the words, but on certain, wildly happy nights, rehearsed them for special moments, such as the bus trip to OKC.

Perhaps that's why Brother Jones also talked about free speech and due process. The lyrics, as he said, are inexcusable, but this is America and everyone can say whatever they want. Ultimately, it appears, he is angling for a way to get the fraternity back on campus. He has more problems than just David Boren though. The national office of Sigma Alpha Epsilon pulled the charter of the OU house, so if he does sue he is going to have to go after them also.

Why any current member of SAE would want to continue at OU is a tad beyond comprehension. Jones, without providing specific instances, or numbers claims Sig Alphs who are still enrolled at the university have been verbally and physically assaulted and many are afraid to attend classes.

He is probably right about the first assertion, might be about the second, and is no doubt correct when it comes to the third. That is the price you pay when your free speech and traditions date back to when the fraternity was founded at the University of Alabama in 1856.

Frankly, there are two things OU doesn't need at the moment. One is a mob mentality when it comes to the members of the now defunct Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. The other is Stephen Jones holding press conferences so he can tell everyone those rancid goofs of SAE are the real victims in this disgusting episode. Nothing good can come of either one.

sic vita est


Monday, March 9, 2015

The True Gentlemen of Sigma Alpha Epsilon

The true gentleman is the man whose conduct proceeds from good will and an acute sense of propriety...

The opening words of the True Gentleman's Creed, written by John Walker Wayland as they first appeared in an 1899 edition of the Baltimore Sun. According to Wikipedia, in 1966 Sigma Alpha Epsilon officially adopted the creed as its membership standard and Wayland was posthumously initiated into the fraternity.

John Wayland's brief essay touches on a lot of other stuff. Most of it is quite honorable, although a couple of passages can be interpreted as a bit iffy. Especially the part which says a true gentleman never makes any man conscious of his obscurity, inferiority, or deformity.

Of course, he was living in a different millennium than we are now and so we normally ignore such dated eccentricities, writing them off as products of the age. Hey, you should see what the Declaration of Independence says about Native Americans. Besides, things have changed haven't they?

Well sort of, but obviously not enough. That was proven by a bus load of the true gentlemen from the University of Oklahoma Sigma Alpha Epsilon house. As they were all decked out in tuxes on an unknown date, headed toward some sort of wildly decadent collegiate soiree they broke into a nifty little ditty whose lyrics were:There will never be a n****r in SAE, there will never be a n****r in SAE, You can hang him from a tree, but he can never sign with me,
There will never be a n****r in SAE.

Actually, as of this morning, thanks to university president, David Boren there won't be anyone signing with the Oklahoma chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon ever again. Once he saw the social media posting on Sunday night his first official act was to irrevocably shut down the chapter.

Earlier today he gave the entire membership until midnight tonight to clear their belongings out of the fraternity house. Police were standing by in case of violence. Even as they did at least one wall of the place was vandalized with spray paint by people none to pleased about what went down on the bus.

In a statement to the media, Boren, said he was "sickened" when he first saw the video while thinking to himself the vile clods in it couldn't possibly be OU students. This morning, knowing they were, he addressed them by saying, "You're disgraceful." He also used words like racist, bigots, and reprehensible. He currently has the university legal team looking into what the repercussions would be if he expelled each and every one of the little shits.

The national office of the fraternity has, "suspended" the chapter which is a trifle less than redundant since Boren had already locked down the house and told the membership to get off campus and not come back. The national office also said it would kick offending members out of the frat.

It is being reported an African American group at OU released the video to social media. However, they've been mum on how they got it. What is clear is that someone on the bus took it and it hadn't shown up previously on the net.

The optimist in me likes to think one of the SAE members knew what was happening was terribly wrong and decided not only to record it, but leak the video to the organization who put it out there. If that is what happened, then, other than Boren's swift actions, it would be the only hopeful thing found in this hateful episode.

The bad news is it's painfully obvious the clowns on that bus are far too stupid to have come up with the lyrics and melody of what they were singing. Trust me, that tune has been sung in the halls of the ol' SAE house in Norman for generations and most likely, despite what the national fraternity says, it isn't just confined to OU's chapter.

Every now and then a conservative will tell me he, or she is tired of "the blacks" and liberals playing the race card. More often than not that person will say racism is either dead, or nearly so and it is used as a cheap excuse in arguments.

Ironically, Barack H. Obama and the men of the Oklahoma chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon have one thing in common. Both have proven those who spout such right wing nonsense are either congenital liars, or they're as stupid as dusty bricks.

sic vita est


Friday, March 6, 2015

The Mystery of Flight MH370: Welcome to The New Journalism

A year ago on this coming Sunday 239 passengers and crew climbed on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. They were preparing to depart from Kuala Lumpur and were scheduled to arrive in Beijing early the next morning. Within an hour, or so after takeoff, between 1:30 and 2:30AM local time something went terribly awry over the South China Sea. The Boeing 777 made a sharp left turn then flew off into, not only never never land, but legend.

Within weeks of the disappearance conspiracy theorists from across the globe were running completely amok on the internet. Some claimed it was a false flag operation perpetrated for murky reasons by the United States military. Others said the aircraft was shot down accidentally by the U.S. and to avoid international condemnation a vast cover up was concocted. That was followed by the super secret particle beam weapon test, then the computer hacker remote control hypothesis. Both of those led us straight to the alien abduction/Star Trek like cloaking device argument.

In addition to all the other crazed bullshit there was a disturbingly large number of people who blamed the whole thing on not just Israel, but Jews everywhere. Indeed, the Illuminati under the leadership of the Rothschilds was frequently mentioned to be at the core of the mystery. The Bush family and Saudi royals, obvious allies of Jews, were also suspected Illuminati players because they supposedly had their hooks in a corporation called Freescale Semiconductor and a secretive holding company named the Carlyle Group. Both profits and patents were widely mentioned as motives for a mass whack job.
Depending on the person posting, MH370 either crashed in Vietnam, was hijacked to Afghanistan, was spirited to the American naval base at Diego Garcia, or was broken apart somewhere and secretly shipped to Israel where it would be reassembled for nefarious reasons.

Even members of the main stream media began wondering aloud what steps governments would be forced to take if the plane suddenly reappeared and whoever was in control seemed intent on a 9-11 type suicide mission.

Earlier today, James Wood the brother of the only American on the flight, Philip Wood, told NBC News that when it comes to conspiracy advocates, "I don't want your opinion." According to Mr. Wood dozens upon dozens of people have told him where the plane is, but not one of them has any proof.

In another NBC interview the Chief Commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, Martin Dolan, was quoted as saying, "...the outlandish theories are upsetting to the families of the victims." He also said--well, sort of--anyone who thinks flight MH370 ended up north of the equator is nuts.

A number of sources say the Aussies have covered over 9,200 square miles of the area they suspect the plane went down in with sophisticated deep water sonar equipment. Unfortunately that's only 40% of the target space.

How long they'll keep looking is up to question. Regarding the search, earlier this week Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss told the press, "We can't go on forever and eventually a judgment has to be made."  Other reports, which Mr. Truss seemed to back away from, said Australia had been talking to both Malaysia and China about ending the hunt in May of this year.

In January the Malaysian government officially declared the disappearance of flight MH370 an accident and that all on board were presumed dead.

The only thing most of us can agree on is the tragedy really wasn't an accident. Someone, probably the pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, or co-pilot Abdul Hamid, for whatever reason, went bat shit crazy and decided to end it all. Everyone else on the flight was nothing more than collateral damage to the squirming brain of the person who flew the airliner deep into the middle of nowhere.

That's my theory anyway.

And yes, you're right, I have no more proof of it than some clown in Bokchito, Oklahoma who claims Zionist bankers magically transported the entire aircraft to the planet Neptune for financial gain.

In the end, that's the nature of  mysteries and legends in the 21st century. Everyone can go worldwide with what they think happened, but precious few choose to back up their words with actual facts.

Welcome to The New Journalism.
sic vita est

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Weird Wednesday: Conspiracy Theories in Moscow, Civil Rights in Ferguson, Choosing to be Gay in Prison, and Opening Arguments in Boston

There is so much weird shit bouncing around the internet today it is hard to fathom it all. Maybe we're trapped in some global Twilight Zone episode filled with such leaps of illogic and bizarre speculations we might was well be playing rock songs backward, hunting down hidden, satanic, messages in the lyrics.
Reuters is reporting that earlier today Vladimir Putin said the murder of Boris Nemtsov had a, "...political subtext..." That's probably a safe bet, since Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister, was one of Putin's chief critics. He was gunned down Friday evening near Red Square during a stroll with his girlfriend.
Russian authorities have been looking into the usual suspects, some of Nemtsov's business contacts and friends. Meanwhile the Kremlin is saying the killing might have been perpetrated by people who were out, not to stifle Nemtsov's anti government sentiments, but who want to discredit his enemy, Putin.
That would be the old, let's kill our most effective and popular voice against the Russian president so people will think Vlad Putin is a bad guy theory. Of course since the police force investigating the murder is ultimately responsible to the Kremlin, as opposed to say, the truth, there is no telling who will end up taking the fall. A car, reportedly seen driving past the murder scene was identified as one belonging to a state owned business which provides security for the finance ministry. However, a ministry spokesperson told Reuters the car actually drove by the site after Nemtsov was killed.
Hey, when it comes to conspiracy theories, timing is everything. Just ask all those loons on You Tube.  
Here in the states, the Department of Justice, is saying both the Ferguson, Missouri police department and city government are full of racists and have a history of committing civil rights abuses. Unfortunately that won't do the family and friends of Michael Brown any good. 
Brown was shot and killed by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson last summer under circumstances which, at best, could be called murky. The DOJ released a statement today saying, "There is no evidence upon which prosecutors can rely to disprove Wilson's stated, subjective, belief that he feared for his life."
The report also cited conflicting witness reports and forensic evidence which was counter to some statements given to authorities during the investigation. The truth is we'll never know exactly what went down on that Ferguson street, but the feeling here is Officer Wilson got away with one.
Then we come to republican presidential candidate Ben Carson. In a TV interview he said being gay was "absolutely" a choice. The reason he knows this? According to the physician, who has never held a public office, it's because so many straight people go into prison and become gay there.
Yeah, well most of the time, Doc, choice doesn't have a thing to do with it. Usually it is that big ass lifer who really wants a blow job and doesn't care who gives it. Or, as a long time guard told me ages ago during a corrections center employee orientation session, "Don't bring anything in here you don't want shoved up your ass--if they riot that's going to happen before we can retake the place." Indeed, in the joint it isn't about sexual preference, it is all about power, intimidation, and revenge.
Thankfully, there was at least one moment of lucidity today. Opening arguments began in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, one of the two people accused of the Boston Marathon bombing. Tsarnaev's attorney, Judy Clarke reportedly looked at the jury and basically said, "Hey, he did it."
That's right. No ifs, ands, or buts--my guy is guilty. Clarke knows a lost cause when she sees one because she has been there before. She has represented such diverse personalities as the Olympic Park bomber, Eric Rudolph, Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski, and Jared Loughner, the crank who killed six people in Tucson and wounded then house member, Gabrielle Giffords. 
Given that list of deadly miscreants, Ms. Clarke's track record is actually quite good. All three may have gone away for life, but none of them took a needle in the arm. And that is what she is hoping to accomplish for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
It won't be easy. Her entire case depends on whether the jury believes her client fell under the evil and inescapable influence of his older brother, Tamerlan, who she contends was the real force behind the gruesome plot. If the panel doesn't buy it, young Mr. Tsarnaev's goose is cooked.
Yes, it is a rotten day here on the southern plains and elsewhere in the world. Winter still rages in all its icy might and in certain quarters there are those who seem to have bitten into an odd sub species of magic mushrooms in order to ward off cabin fever.
Thankfully, as always, the bar is open.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Birds Begin to Roost on the Playground Jungle Gym: CPAC 2015

Those angry, raucous, squawks you've been hearing for the last three days came from National Harbor, Maryland which is hard on the banks of the Potomac River. That's where the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference was held.

This years gathering included over 3,000 delegates, a gaggle of cult personalities, and several wannabe presidents. The list of speakers was a line up of the usual suspects, ranging from the bizarre rube, Phil Robertson, to a completely out of place Jeb Bush.

Robertson, who was there to accept some sort of off the cuff freedom of speech award, spent some of his time on stage telling the crowd that sexually transmitted diseases are, "The revenge of the hippies." While that might seem a little off track, it is reported he did wind up in fine fashion by advocating the abolition of the IRS, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Education.

Bush spent much of his speech defending his record, but let's face it, the hard right edge of the republican party will never buy into anything that has to do with immigration reform, or common core education standards. Yes, you know you're in the wrong place when another speaker, radio personality, Laura Ingraham suggests you and the despised Hillary Clinton should run on the same ticket.

In a similar vein the crazed Canadian, Ted Cruz railed against, "squishy moderates" in a clear reference to everyone who isn't--well--Ted Cruz. It is unclear if Donald Trump, who was also in attendance, will demand that the Texas senator drop out of the race because of his well documented place of birth. After all, sometimes it's best to turn a blind eye to such inconveniences when a guy has the same political views and skin tone you do.

Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, who is the latest conservative bright light du jour, seemed to compare American union workers to Islamic State terrorists when he said, "If I can take on 100,000 protesters (in Wisconsin) I can do the same across the world." While sounding completely confident, in fact he even mentioned he was, no one is exactly sure how well the governor would have fared if those 100,000 Wisconsin union members had been a well armed, blood thirsty, gang of ex-cons and religious fanatics.

Not to be out muscled in the race to yet another war, Rick Santorum said we need to put 10,000 troops on the ground in order to defeat IS. It might have played well in the hall, but the odds are it's an idea which will have extremely limited appeal to a nation which is sick and tired of war.     

Finally the delegates voted in a presidential straw poll which Rand Paul  won with 26%. This isn't anything new. Senator Paul has won the CPAC vote three years running now. The union/terrorist buster, Scott Walker came in second with 21% while Cruz and Dr. Ben Carson tied with a little over 11% each. Jeb Bush pulled a mere 8%, but considering the demographics of the room--raging right wing Anglos who want to forcibly deport roughly 11 million people immediately--that's probably not bad.

While 2016 is still 10 months off, much like in the Hitchcock movie, all the birds have begun to roost on the playground jungle gym, their eyes gleaming darkly, as they wait to swoop down on the unsuspecting. This bunch is more than desperate to run the show and trust me, there isn't a felony on the books they aren't willing to commit in order to do so.

Ladies and gentlemen, it will get ugly next year. If we learned anything from the crude slugs and corrupt shills at CPAC this weekend it is that.

sic vita est