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Harry Truman writes: “Limit CIA Role to Intelligence” [22 Dec 2013|03:02pm]
On 22 December 1963, on the one month anniversary of JFK's assassination, former President Harry Truman published and op-ed in the Washington Post about how he was “disturbed by the way CIA has been diverted from its original assignment” to keep the President promptly and fully informed and had become “an operational and at times policy-making arm of the government.” Truman's editorial only ran in the first printing of the Post before it was pulled. Good summary article on "Fifty Years of Struggle" blog, with copy of Truman's original article (click to enlarge).

Former President Harry Truman: “Limit CIA Role to Intelligence”
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50 Years Ago Today in Dealey Plaza - One Young Couple's Story [22 Nov 2013|11:29am]
On 22 November 1963, Gayle and Bill Newman with their sons Clayton and Bill Jr. went to see President Kennedy as the motorcade drove through Dallas. They became some of the closest witnesses to the assassination.


"We were just in front of the Triple Underpass on Elm Street and we were at the edge of the curb getting ready to wave at the President. [...] The President's car was some fifty feet still up infront of us coming towards me. There was a shot and the President, I don't know who was hit first, but the President jumped up in his seat and I thought it scared him, there was a firecracker, cause he looked, you know fear, and then, as the car got directly in front of us, well, a gunshot apparently from behind us hit the President side, side of the temple." -- Bill Newman

"We were standing next to the curb so the children could see the President. And the car was just up a piece from us. This shot fired out, and I thought it was a firecracker. And the President kind of raised up in his seat, and, uh, I though he was going along with a gag or something, and all of a sudden this next one popped, and Governor Connally grabbed his stomach and kind of layed over his side. And then another one, it was all so fast, and President Kennedy reached up, grabbed, looked like he grabbed his ear, and blood just started gushing out, and my husband said 'Quick, get down!' and I grabbed the baby and we ran and layed down on the grass and I got on top of him. It was just right by us when it all happened. -- Gayle Newman.

Usually in Presidential motorcades, a car or truck with press photographers rode right in front of the President’s limousine to take photos along the route. Somehow on this day in Dallas the press car wound up 8 cars behind the President’s. No doubt there’s some perfectly innocent reasonable explanation for that. Anyways. Some of the reporters jumped out when they got to where the assassination just took place, and seeing the Newmans on the ground covering their children, told them to stay put for a moment while they took their photos.


Jay Watson of WFAA radio & tv, per his own description, "commandeered a car" to bring the Newmans directly to the Channel 8 television studios. (Understand this was before the era of portable hand held television cameras.) A colleague was assigned to tell the studio to be ready to go live and to be sure to record it (not yet the usual practice). Within 20 minutes of the shooting, the Newmans were recounting what they saw on live television.

Oh, for anyone not familiar with Dealey Plaza, "behind" them where they thought the shots came from was the north knoll and pergola. The 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository was to the left and in front of them. The Newmans were not interviewed by the Warren Commission.
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Grassy Knoll + 50 [10 Nov 2013|10:50am]
Some JFK conspiracy/coup d'etat links

JFK Assassination: CIA and New York Times are Still Lying to Us, by David Talbot, Salon

21 Cops Who Heard a Grassy Knoll Shot, by Jeff Morley, JFK Facts

Surgeon in ER insists 2 gunmen shot JFK - Doctor first to see Kennedy's wound. By Michael A. Fuoco, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Correction - Doctor doesn't "insist 2 gunmen shot JFK", but rather points to medical evidence that it was a minimum of 2 gunmen.

Bush and the JFK Hit, Part 8: Prepping a Patsy? By Russ Baker

Inconsistencies Haunt Official Record Of Kennedy's Death - NPR story on the AARB
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Surveillance State [23 Aug 2013|10:09pm]
"No laws define the limits of the N.S.A.'s power. No Congressional committee subjects the agency's budget to a systematic, informed and skeptical review. With unknown billions of Federal dollars, the agency purchases the most sophisticated communications and computer equipment in the world. But truly to comprehend the growing reach of this formidable organization, it is necessary to recall once again how the computers that power the N.S.A. are also gradually changing lives of Americans - the way they bank, obtain benefits from the Government and communicate with family and friends. Every day, in almost every area of culture and commerce, systems and procedures are being adopted by private companies and organizations as well as by the nation's security leaders that make it easier for the N.S.A. to dominate American society should it ever decide such action is necessary." -- David Burnham, New York Times, March 27, 1983

THE SILENT POWER OF THE N.S.A. New York Times, 1983
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Flickr Redesign [13 Jun 2013|01:30pm]
Photo sharing site Flickr did a massive redesign last month. Photos are now displayed larger - and unless viewed individually, lacking titles and captions. Various other changes as well, most of which result in the site being slower loading and harder navigate. Flickr is owned by Yahoo. I remember when Yahoo killed GeoCities; I wonder if Yahoo is in the process of doing the same to Flickr.

Since the redesign I've been laying back, accessing Flickr lots less than I had been, hoping that they'd realize their "New Coke" mistake and at least offer the option of users being able to view images according to the old functionality. Some other long term Flickr user friends and online acquaintances have been posting images and comments critical of the redesign, one with decades of photos is in the process of transferring them elsewhere, and several others are looking for other options.

Michael Stutz on HufPo: How Flickr Redesign Leaves Out the Photographers

The Online Photographer: A Better, Brighter Flickr(?) Some interesting comments.

Infinite Hollywood: The New Flickr Sucks and Here’s Why

Among the many negative Flickr forum threads: Redesign literally making some users sick
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More on BP oil disaster links 3 years on [21 Apr 2013|03:27pm]
What BP Doesn’t Want You to Know About the 2010 Gulf Spill - The 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill was even worse than BP wanted us to know. Daily Beast article

US witness claims BP gas explosion cover-up Al Jazeera video with photos & interview
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French intelligence attempt to censor Wikipedia backfires. [07 Apr 2013|06:15pm]
Ars Technica: Wikipedia editor allegedly forced by French intelligence to delete “classified” entry

"This volunteer, which was one of those having access to the tools that allow the deletion of pages, was forced to delete the article while in the DCRI offices, on the understanding that he would have been held in custody and prosecuted if he did not comply. Under pressure, he had no other choice than to delete the article, despite explaining to the DCRI this is not how Wikipedia works. He warned the other sysops that trying to undelete the article would engage their responsibility before the law.
"This volunteer had no link with that article, having never edited it and not even knowing of its existence before entering the DCRI offices. He was chosen and summoned because he was easily identifiable.
"The "Station hertzienne militaire de Pierre-sur-Haute" entry is currently the most-viewed page in french-language Wikipedia."

French Wikipedia: Station hertzienne militaire de Pierre-sur-Haute

English Wikipedia: Pierre-sur-Haute military radio station

See also: Streisand effect
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BP Gulf Oil Disaster 2010-2013... [06 Apr 2013|05:11pm]
Three years on, the BP Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico oil disaster continues to poison the environment and cases continue in courts.

The Advocate: Report: Dolphins still dying as result of oil spill

Gambit New Orleans: Judge rules against BP in settlement dispute

Basically BP tried to get legal permission to wiggle out of paying damages by criteria they had already agreed to.

Financial Post: BP loses motion to dismiss gross negligence that could trigger US$17.6B in fines in spill trial
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Mardi Gras Day 2013 [16 Feb 2013|06:32pm]
Yeah, Tuesday was Mardi Gras! After spending the last two Fat Tuesdays Uptown, I again had did Mardi Gras Downtown.

I started off the day with Mimosas and King Cake at a friend's house in lower Marigny. Then walked up (through various groups of costumers and revelry) to meet with some musician friends in the Marigny Triangle neighborhood; we were playing for a friend's wedding. The couple were wheeled in home made floats for a short parade to the R Bar, and they were married on the porch across the street. Next on over to Frenchmen Street, for the presentation of the new court of the Krewe of Kosmic Debris, then the parade into the French Quarter. Then back down to Frenchmen Street, and walk back to my starting point, passing thru continued fun. Another fine Mardi Gras Day.

Photo! Video! Links!Collapse )
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Chewbacchus & early Carnival 2013 [04 Feb 2013|11:03am]
[ mood | Carnivalistic ]

It's Carnival Time in New Orleans. I've participated in a few events, mostly non-"mainstream" ones thus far.

Saturday 26 Jan I caught a little bit of the 'Tit Rəx mini-parade on St. Roch Avenue and later on Franklin Avenue on my way towards the lineup for the Chewbacchus Parade later that evening. Chewbacchus is a science-fiction related Carnival parade; the King was actor Peter Mayhew, the original Chewbacca in the Star Wars films.

Chewbacchus DAMN Band by Kimberly Edwards

Pair-A-Dice Tumbers, as the Dead Alien Musical Nerds (the D.A.M.N. Band) playing the Chewbacchus Parade. Faubourg Marigny, New Orleans. Photo by Kimberly Edwards.

Read more...Collapse )

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Krewe du Vieux 2013 [24 Jan 2013|12:34pm]
The Krewe du Vieux parade kicked off the New Orleans Carnival parade season last Saturday evening.

My pix on Flickr; some NSFW
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Old business - Exploding glass cookware [24 Jan 2013|12:28pm]
Eight years ago in this journal, I recounted how I had been cooking with glass pots dating back to about the first Reagan administration, until they all gradually broke. Further discussion revealed stories of glass cookware spontanious exploding!

And now, an update via techfragments.com: Exploding Pyrex Cookware Mystery Solved. It seems the problem was with a change in the formula in the 1990s.
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And now a word from our sponsor... [16 Jan 2013|01:09pm]
Groves Tasteless Chill Tonic

Grove Tastless Chill Tonic. Makes Children as Fat as Pigs.

Advertisement from "The Banner-Democrat", Lake Providence, Louisiana, 3 December, 1898
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Journal of the Institute of Scientific Santa-Clausism [24 Dec 2012|09:16am]
A bunch of back issues of the Journal of the Institute of Scientific Santa Claus-ism are on line... in scanned copies at least.


Astonishing scientific proof of Santa ClausCollapse )
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The End of the Baktun as We Know It [20 Dec 2012|03:04pm]
Advances in hieroglyphic decipherment have confirmed that the Ancient Maya had a rather crude and cruel sense of humor.

Catherwood Stela Troll

More seriously, USA Today article: Mayans unfazed about the end of the world

Good article, despite the usage of the shibboleth "Mayans". Since the author seems reasonably well informed, I'm guessing it was miscorrected by his editor to confirm to usage in teh innernet memez.

As Louis Maistros summarizes it, the modern Maya think we're idiots about that "end of the world" thing, but are happy to take our tourism money.
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COG at Lafayette Steampunk Fest [09 Nov 2012|11:47am]
COG Poster 10 Nov Lafayette

In case I have any readers in the Lafayette, Louisiana area who might be interested, COG, the Confabulation of Gentry, is to play at the Lafayette Steampunk Festival Saturday 10 Nov. As I understand it, there will free Steampunk events on and around the 100 block of Vine Street from 10am on. I believe our 5pm show is the last free admission event; at 7p there will be a cabaret show at the theater which is paid admission. (If they have a full schedule on line, I couldn't find it. There is this link however: http://citedesarts.org/Cite_des_Arts/Steampunk_Fest_2012.html )
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Sandy & Katrina [05 Nov 2012|09:16am]
The effects of Hurricane Sandy have of course been on my mind. I've not been sure what to say about it - of course, sympathy for those affected, and various striking similarities and striking differences compared with what the central Gulf Coast experienced in 2005.

All too familiar are the images of masses of flood totaled automobiles, flooded homes and businesses, worse effected neighborhoods totally smashed to rubble, more intact neighborhoods without electricity, blocks of buildings burned down. MREs, very long lines for gasoline when there was any at all.

No shortage of differences, big and small.

Some post-Katrina tips don't seem relevant here, like if your fridge had anything in it when you evacuated, after 40 days without power in hot summer heat, don't think of trying to open it, just tape the door shut and haul it to the curb (and use it as a billboard to write your frustrations on).

Greater New York didn't have a Federal anti-flood system that was supposed to prevent the worst of the damage but experienced at slew of catastrophic failures when put to the test.

Going through a major disaster is damn unpleasant and a long term inconvenience no matter what the circumstances. But getting water, food, and basic survival supplies to those in need, as opposed to not doing so even when there was capability to do so, makes a huge difference. There used to be a bipartisan consensus on this. I hope there will be again henceforth.

Here's what Paul Krugman says in the New York Times:

"Sandy Versus Katrina" by Paul Krugman, New York Times

Mirror of text behind cutCollapse )
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Do you get what you pay for? [05 Nov 2012|07:39am]
Do You Get It

Here's a little cartoon by Clifford Berryman from 90 years ago. You no doubt recognize the personifications of the USA's pair of ruling parties. "Borah" refers to William Borah of Idaho. It seems he was an intelligent fellow of honest principles who somehow wound up in the U.S. Senate -- sounds implausible, but statistical anomalies do happen once in a while. Well, Borah did a study of how elections were bought and sold and the attendant corruption. As the cartoon shows, those two animal headed deities that run this country weren't able to get their minds around the notion there was anything wrong in that.

We're winding down a 6 Billion Dollar political campaign here in the USA - I hope we all got our money's worth.
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Binders full of Women [04 Nov 2012|01:03pm]
"Binders Full of Women", a musical analysis by Jacob Haller jwgh:

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Voter Intimidation [04 Nov 2012|12:39pm]
Voting in Louisiana 1892

Voter intimidation, Louisiana, 1892. Cartoon from the New Orleans "Mascot".

Voters now have recourses lacking 120 years ago. Voter intimidation and fraud are FEDERAL CRIMES. Report any such criminal activity to the Justice Department, toll free 1-800-253-3931 or by emailing voting.section@usdoj.gov


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