Superglue Your Special Lego Creation




This is what vandals did to something cool. What a bunch of idiots.

Superglue Your Special Lego Creation


This is what vandals did to something cool. What a bunch of idiots.

Who Are These People?




I'm beginning to think that all of the events surrounding Edward Snowden are a magical laugh factory designed to entertain us with absurd jokes:

The proposal was laid out in a letter, dated Thursday and obtained Friday by CNN's "Amanpour," addressed to Attorney General Eric Holder and written by Bruce Fein, a Washington-based lawyer for Snowden's father, Lonnie G. Snowden. 


It demands that the former National Security Agency computer contractor who exposed details about U.S. surveillance programs remain free prior to trial; not be subject to a gag order; and be tried in a place of his choosing. 


It further demands that, if any of those promises is broken, the prosecution would be dismissed.


Let's say that it was China from which Snowden had stolen classified information. Let's say that Snowden lied to the Chinese government, used a security clearance that they gave him, and then coordinated his efforts with foreign journalists to expose what the Chinese government was doing to its people.

Now imagine Snowden's daddy telling the Chinese exactly what conditions are permissible for him to go back to China and undergo a trial.

Let that sink in for a moment. Snowden's father thinks his son will come back to America if everyone just forgets what he did because, you know, stuff and all that. Jeeeeeeeee-zus.

These people are nuts. I don't know who's crazier--Snowden, Greenwald, the ballerina girlfriend, Crazy Uncle Liberty, Julian Assange, the people defending Snowden, his daddy--they're all crazy. I mean, what the hell is going on here?

At first I thought Snowden was merely someone trying to be someone rather than actually do something; now I think he's just some idiot, running around and pretending he knows where the Holy Grail is hidden.

Newspapers Can Say Anything and Get Away With It



Tom Scholz has lost his case against a newspaper called The Boston Herald and two of the people who write for the paper. This is one of those times when I wish that someone had been able to hold a media outlet accountable for printing unsubstantiated allegations and outright lies.

In 2007, singer Brad Delp killed himself. Here's the story on that:

Boston singer Brad Delp installed a hidden camera in his fiancee’s sister’s bedroom – and killed himself nine days after he was caught. 


Evidence given in the court case between Boston mainman Tom Scholz and a newspaper revealed how Delp, who committed suicide in 2007, was ashamed and apologetic after his spy device was found. 


Events came to light as part of Scholz’s claim that the Boston Herald defamed him by suggesting he was to blame for his bandmate’s death. 


Delp was engaged to Pamela Sullivan while her sister Meg Sullivan lived in the singer’s house. His relationship with Meg was described as “platonic”.
But in February 2007 she discovered his battery-powered spy device when it fell from its hiding place. She confronted him about it then went to stay with her boyfriend.
 


Delp emailed her to apologise, saying: “I feel sick about this, and deservedly so.” He later added: “I want to try and make you understand that I consider myself a decent person who made a dreadful error in judgement. I acted out of some impulse that is still not completely fathomable to me.” 


But her boyfriend, Boston sound engineer Todd Winmill, ordered him to tell his fiancee what had happened. “He essentially apologised for half an hour,” said Winmill. “I told him he had to tell Pamela. He didn’t like the thought of having to do that.” 


Delp later took his own life by lighting two charcoal grills in his sealed bathroom, leading to his death by carbon monoxide poisoning. In one of four notes he wrote: “I have had bouts of depression and thoughts of suicide since I was a teenager.”


Now, remember. The Boston Herald printed a story in 2007 claiming that Tom Scholz was to blame for Delp's suicide. They claimed that Delp was "beaten down" because of his dealings with Scholz but you can clearly see in his suicide note that he had thought about killing himself for most of his life.





So, after all of this tragedy, when the real story came out, was the newspaper held accountable?





Hell no.





If that's not a travesty of justice, then what the hell is a travesty of justice anymore?

Nobody Who Understands Racism Should Feel Sorry For Paula Deen


Pitying Paula Deen is misguided and foolish. How can you feel sorry for a woman with multi-million dollar endorsement deals with retailers who routinely prey on the poor? How can you feel sorry for a woman who peddled "southern cuisine" and high sugar recipes while endorsing a diabetes drug? How can you feel a shred of anything for a woman who kept her own diabetes a secret while selling exactly the kinds of foods that create diabetic comas?

Racism is toxic in this country, and it should remain toxic and it should end careers and break multi-million dollar fortunes. In the case of Deen, everything that is happening to her is as it should be. Her ability to make money sickening others has been greatly reduced and her endorsement deals are crashing all around her. Nobody making the kind of money that she was making ever puts enough of it away and so now she'll have to adjust her lifestyle and live like other Americans. This is not about hating the rich. It is about making certain that you can't get rich from hating people.

Censorship and Information






There is no good reason for the Army to censor the Guardian newspaper. All they are doing is increasing the impact of the story and attracting more attention to the issues surrounding the disclosures made by Edward Snowden. This is a stupid move and not only because people are getting their information from handheld devices that cannot be censored--but, maybe, precisely because of it.

When you think about how information savvy people are getting their own personally selected and filtered version of the news, there's no reason to deny access to a newspaper website. The Army can survive non-soldiers like Major Nidal Hasan and Bradley Manning and never-got-out-of-training types like Snowden because it is a dynamic institution that reflects American society.

I am of the opinion that Snowden and his disclosure was an inherently criminal and anti-American act based on Snowden wanting to be somebody rather than do something. His childish libertarianism is the best indicator of a mind focused on the self and not on anything related to a greater good. He lied to get access to classified information and then he went to Hong Kong and played into the hands of the Chinese government. Now he is flirting with the Russians, who live under the yoke of a totalitarian dictator who hides behind his fixed ballot boxes. Putin and the rest of them are loving their chance to tweak America.

How does that advance the cause of privacy?

Headless Roman Statue




A headless Roman Statue at the Welzheim Fort. This statue is all but worthless, but it is very old and very detailed. The aging process and the outside elements are the real details, however.

Headless Roman Statue


A headless Roman Statue at the Welzheim Fort. This statue is all but worthless, but it is very old and very detailed. The aging process and the outside elements are the real details, however.

Notre Dame, Strasbourg




Strasbourg Cathedral, or Notre Dame, in Strasbourg, France. This cathedral is incredible to behold. When I visited, they were trying to restore the facade and strengthen the supports. The haze is due to the fact that it was December 31 and very overcast.

Notre Dame, Strasbourg


Strasbourg Cathedral, or Notre Dame, in Strasbourg, France. This cathedral is incredible to behold. When I visited, they were trying to restore the facade and strengthen the supports. The haze is due to the fact that it was December 31 and very overcast.

Roman Tablet, Welzheim




One of the things I have always enjoyed about actual Roman carvings and artifacts is that you can plainly see the flaws. Nothing is ever perfect when it comes to things like this, which is a tablet dug up from the grounds of the old Roman fort at Welzheim in Germany. This is simply displayed outside; it is from the era of the Limes and it is not in a museum. It's out in the wind and rain where anyone can walk up and look at it.

Roman Tablet, Welzheim


One of the things I have always enjoyed about actual Roman carvings and artifacts is that you can plainly see the flaws. Nothing is ever perfect when it comes to things like this, which is a tablet dug up from the grounds of the old Roman fort at Welzheim in Germany. This is simply displayed outside; it is from the era of the Limes and it is not in a museum. It's out in the wind and rain where anyone can walk up and look at it.

Kipa Kinderparadies in Calw





Kipa is an indoor playground in Calw, Germany. It is run by some wonderful folks who always made us feel right at home. 





This facility used to be an indoor tennis court, probably built when Boris Becker was all the rage. I miss being able to go to these places--they are perfect when the weather is bad.







You can still see tennis balls embedded in the girders in the roof, although this picture would beg to differ on that fact.

Kipa Kinderparadies in Calw


Kipa is an indoor playground in Calw, Germany. It is run by some wonderful folks who always made us feel right at home. 

This facility used to be an indoor tennis court, probably built when Boris Becker was all the rage. I miss being able to go to these places--they are perfect when the weather is bad.


You can still see tennis balls embedded in the girders in the roof, although this picture would beg to differ on that fact.

Never Say You Are Sorry




Sean Parker has written an account of the controversy over his wedding that runs around 9,600 words and no where does the word "sorry" appear.

And why should it? Don't like what he did? Go fuck yourself. He has the money and you do not. The law belongs to the rich. The article is exhaustive and comprehensive and delivers a single message to anyone and everyone who might have a problem with anything Parker did: go fuck yourself. And, by the way, he has a slew of public officials lined up who have been bought off so that he can specifically instruct you to go fuck yourself.

Seriously. This level of elitist delusion and crass hubris is the classic example of how a white person's problem has manifested itself into the perfect symbol of this gilded age of ours. If you have money, you spend it specifically in order to make your own reality because go fuck yourself, that's why.

Beady Eye to Play Secret Gig at Glastonbury




You can almost bet on a Beady Eye appearance at Glastonbury, and this violates another one of Liam Gallagher's promises. In 2004, Gallagher said he would never play Glastonbury again; in 2013, with an album to push, he's all but begging people to come see Beady Eye play in the middle of the day.

I hate to mock this band. I really like what Andy and Gem have had to offer, both before and after their stints in Oasis. But Liam Gallagher's descent into insecurity is insufferable to watch.

The Horrible People Won Today




John Fund is a conservative who is unafraid to tell you exactly why he thinks we should stop letting minorities vote. Be thankful for this horrible man and his horrible ideas. Without them, it would be impossible to see what the face of race-based bigotry really looks like when it comes to the establishment conservatives of the Republican Party. It's a smug face these people wear and they have been enabled by a conservative Supreme Court that is going to leave a lasting legacy of shame and incompetence. In our nation's long history of respecting the rule of law, we have a five person parade of ninnies, and these men are the real faces of institutionalized racism and stupidity.

When he says that "the rest of the Voting Rights Act remains in place" he is telling the truth. What was struck down today was the means by which those tools can be utilized to ensure that states like Florida and Arizona and Texas can be stopped from suppressing the votes of minorities (people of Hispanic descent) and that's all anyone needs to know about that.

In each and every state, people are now going to have to fight harder for the right to vote. If you think that the 2016 election is going to be decided early by the heavy voter suppression that will now follow this Supreme Court ruling, you would probably be correct. We will see an even heavier hand used to stop people from voting, and it will disenfranchise a shocking number of people.

That's pretty much the only way we will get this fixed. We are going to have to live through a nightmare of an election, and then you might see progress in the other direction. You might see someone stand up for the right to vote. Until then, welcome to a country where conservative legislators are going to lose sleep trying to figure out technicalities and the means by which they can stop people from voting.

Yes, Nickleback is Really That Bad




Nickleback is a lame band.

Throughout the music world, you cannot escape the perception of Nickleback as a band that is hated almost solely because of the inherent lameness of their music and the lack of anything that would change the minds of people who hold that position.

There are two parallels to this. You cannot change the impression that Foo Fighters are the anti-Nickleback even though there are times when people can't tell the difference. If you slice out bits of music, I would be willing to bet that there are people who couldn't tell them apart. And you cannot change the fact that people respect Radiohead as being a difficult, arty band. If you gave music fans a choice between verse-chorus-verse and crackle-snap-glasssy whoosh and then aw-uhh, what do you think they would choose, en masse?

Radiohead sell a lot of records, just like Nickleback, but do they get played? Or are they status symbols?

Magazines and critics can argue about who is cool and who is not cool all they want. When the fans of music reach a general consensus, there isn't much that will reverse that. In 1965, Herman's Hermits outsold the Beatles. If you were a working historian of popular culture, you might begin the academic argument that the popularity of the Beatles actually faded when they became experimental and that their appeal shifted considerably when they split up. What has elevated them above all others are fans who insist on doing so and the music publications who spent the 1970s and 1980s cementing their legacy.

Reality need not apply. You cannot prove someone and their band sucks; you have to rely on the unfair and unflattering perception that has been attacked to said person or band.

In and Out of the Band



The short answer is, 'now that these assholes are gone, everyone will do what I tell them.'

There is no "Nine Inch Nails." There's Trent Reznor, and then there are the people he hires to play with him. There is no significant difference between him and Billy Corgan. They're just trying to find people who aren't assholes who will help them make music.

This is not a bad thing, but let's dispense with the idea that these are bands. At this stage of the game, being over twenty years on for both artists, there is no point in hiding behind the facade that these are actual bands where people have to agree on the way forward or compromise with one another. If these were bands, the departure of two members would mean that the band cannot continue under the same name. In the case of the Smashing Pumpkins, Billy has either kicked out or driven out everyone and it is no longer a band. It's a brand name that helps him sell more of whatever he's selling.

To continue under a different name may seem artistically viable but it is, in reality, a difficult proposition for fans and artists alike. No matter how savvy people claim to be, they still don't know that Roger Waters was in Pink Floyd, and that if they go see Roger play live, he will play a lot of Pink Floyd songs.

Reznor and Corgan should just go out under their own name and their fans will know what they're going to get--Trent and Billy songs, played with backup players.

It Must Be Magic




I thought this was a good example of intellectual wanking in public:

An ancient Egyptian statue appears to have started moving on its own, much to the amazement of scientists and museum curators. 


The statue of Neb-Senu, believed to date to 1800 B.C., is housed in the Manchester Museum in England — at least for now. But if the statue keeps moving, there's no telling where it will end up. 


"I noticed one day that it had turned around," museum curator Campbell Price told the Manchester Evening News. "I thought it was strange because it is in a case and I am the only one who has a key.

Who cares? It's magic. Are we done yet? Don't make me think about it.

It moves because of vibration or magnetism, and it does not move because of anything related to a curse or magic or anything like that. The problem is, we live in an era of anti-intellectualism and ignorance. We see examples of this every day--people smuggling severed bear feet, people using rhino horns to cure cancer, people thinking that we can cut taxes and grow the economy. When does it stop?

Widebody Slapface


This is a still image that has been resting in the celebrity disaster archives for a while now. The policeman on the left is taking a statement or evaluating the widebody slapface on the right who, with his bandaged wrist and forearm, looks all lost and forelorn.

Before you boo hoo for my boy up there, please note that he is a paparazzi who has been injured by a celebrity who drove normally and bounced off of him, thinking he was a traffic cone, or by a maniac behind the wheel.

Today's paparazzi are shells of their former selves. They are simpering idiots who "flatter" the celebrities they are following and try to be their equal or their "buddy." When you watch the celebrity videos that appear on TMZ, you see them, trying to be helpful to the celebrities they are stalking and following.

Remember that most of them look like this fellow, a t-shirt wearing idiot who was photographed faking his injuries because he may have believed that he could sue a celebrity and make some money. Lawyers in the entertainment industry tear these people to shreds every day, just after breakfast, churning out court cases and precedents that are rendering modern celebrity a field day for anyone who can rise above the level of being a pathetic fraud.

Adapt or Else




Smartphones are becoming a new dividing line in American society. Got one? You're fabulous. Don't have one (like me)? You are garbage. Or something along those lines.

I cannot stand small devices; I would rather have ease of use than sit there and tap something, gingerly, with my finger. I would rather spend the money and get a regular desktop computer than get something I can carry in my pocket. The functionality isn't the issue--I know that smartphones can do everything. It's the experience that I don't want to have. I don't want to sit there and fight with a device when I can just use a keyboard (pretty soon, there won't even be desktops or keyboards, and then where will I be?).

It's pretty clear to me that the phone companies weren't ready for the explosion of the smartphone. The networks aren't big enough and the infrastructure isn't there. When you hear about how much trouble people have in urban areas, you have to wonder why anyone would switch at all unless it is a status symbol kind of thing. Real audiophiles didn't stick with cassettes and boomboxes; they kept their vinyl and their turntables. This is how it is with desktop computers. Both are items that are large, clunky, can't be transported, and provide a specific user experience that cannot be replicated by the possession of a miniaturized device.

Oh, and every month I'm not paying over a $140 for a phone I wouldn't want to use is a bonus.

What World Are These People Living In?




Steve Wozniak (Hannes Magerstaedt/Getty Images for Best Brands)

When I read things like this, I want to tear what is left of my hair completely out:

In an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan on Thursday night, "Woz" shared his thoughts on the recently revealed NSA surveillance programs.

He admitted to feeling bad for somehow contributing to the "crime," as he called it, and said that computers were created to "free the people up, give them instant communication anywhere in the world, any thought you could share it freely."
 


"That was going to overcome a lot of the government restrictions," he continued. "We didn't realize that in the digital world, there are a lot of ways to use the digital technology to control us, to snoop on us. In the old days of mailing letters, you licked it, and when you got an envelope that was still sealed, nobody had seen it. You could have private communication. Now they say because it's e-mail, it cannot be private, anyone can listen."  [emphasis, mine]


Wozniak also acknowledged that he was fan of Edward Snowden, the former intelligence contractor behind the documents leaked to The Guardian and The Washington Post. "I felt about Edward Snowden the same way I felt about Daniel Ellsberg," he said, referring to the famous whistleblower who leaked the Pentagon Papers and exposed the U.S. government's misrepresentation of the Vietnam War.

Mr. Wozniak is from a generation that came of age when J. Edgar Hoover was in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Why we are talking about what is being read or intercepted or listened to is baffling because, in the Hoover era, there were no limits. There wasn't anything the government wasn't doing. And Hoover had an army of people who intercepted the physical snail mail, copied it, filed it, and stored it for perpetuity.




At least when they do that now, it is legal. Or did you forget that you voted for it?

The Cultural Impact of Festivals



This is a great article that exposes the cultural differences between a British music festival and a festival held anywhere else.

In America, we have made numerous attempts to match the British music festival. Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo are the ones that come to mind, and maybe Lilith Fair when it was happening (is it still happening?), but those events never brought people to a cohesive state of mind. Somehow, in Britain, those gaps have been bridged and people have been brought mostly together for shared experiences.

The fleeting attempts made in America haven't had the social impact that music festivals in Britain have had, and that extends to consumer goods and fashion choices. Above, you can see the decorated Wellington boots that people now buy and love. Would we have them if it hadn't been for the mud at Glastonbury?

The Cultural Impact of Festivals

This is a great article that exposes the cultural differences between a British music festival and a festival held anywhere else.

In America, we have made numerous attempts to match the British music festival. Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo are the ones that come to mind, and maybe Lilith Fair when it was happening (is it still happening?), but those events never brought people to a cohesive state of mind. Somehow, in Britain, those gaps have been bridged and people have been brought mostly together for shared experiences.

The fleeting attempts made in America haven't had the social impact that music festivals in Britain have had, and that extends to consumer goods and fashion choices. Above, you can see the decorated Wellington boots that people now buy and love. Would we have them if it hadn't been for the mud at Glastonbury?

Tara Reid is the Lead in Sharknado




Where Do You Park Something You Will Never Use Again?




After all of the screaming about going to war with the Army we had, not the one we wanted, we learn what will happen to it all:

The Pentagon has determined that it will no longer have use for about 12,300 of its 25,500 MRAPs scattered at bases worldwide, officials said. In Afghanistan, the military has labeled about 2,000 of its roughly 11,000 MRAPs “excess.” About 9,000 will be shipped to the United States and U.S. military bases in Kuwait and elsewhere, but the majority of the unwanted vehicles — which cost about $1 million each — will probably be shredded, officials said, because they are unlikely to find clients willing to come pick them up.

A year ago, there was a wonderful plan floating around out there to take care of all of the MRAPs:

The US Army is devising a long-term plan to help preserve its fleet of 20,000 mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles (MRAPs), following the completion of the mission in Iraq and strategic withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. 


Colonel Mark Barbosa, US Army G-8 department director and focused logistics division chief, said that roughly 60% of vehicles would be kept in storage or prepositioned stocks. While 30% would be deployed with brigade combat teams to help in troop transport and route clearance missions, with 10% used for home-based troop training. 


"The MRAPs were a very successful programme. The $45bn investment had Office of the Secretary of Defense oversight, with very strong support in Congress," Barbosa added. "The platform was rushed to theatre to protect our soldiers and it did very well."


We will foolishly hang on to the vehicles that we do not abandon; they will be as useless in the next war as anything left over from the Vietnam War would have been to our troops over a decade ago. America will not be fighting any wars on this scale halfway around the world anytime soon. Military vehicles have a shelf life, and they rapidly deteriorate when left idle. If we do fight another war like Iran or Afghanistan in the next few years, that will be the end of our military, which is now broken and exhausted.





The MRAP was a boondoggle. We should have removed our troops BEFORE we needed thousands of these things.





Get rid of all of these vehicles. They will be useless in the future. If we hang on to them, policymakers will find a way to put troops in Africa and do we really need to discuss what sending three or four brigades of Americans into the back areas of Chad would mean for what is left of the U.S. Army?





We are not going to fight a COIN-centric war any time soon and we should not continue to equip ourselves to do so.In a land war against an enemy with tanks and any kind of anti-tank weapon, these high-profile vehicles will not survive. They were built for the Improvised Explosive Device, not the shape-charged projectiles that a land army would use. These are the vehicles of an army of occupation that has to patrol, endlessly, and we would be foolish to seek out another war like that again.





So much for fiscal restraint, asset management, and "the surge" into Afghanistan. The end result of all of this misery? A million dollar vehicle being pulled apart with worn-out tools by underpaid contractors in a far off compound. A hundred years from now, the rusting hulks of what is left of our "bomb proof" vehicles will still be in Afghanistan, left in piles and abandoned. You can see the stuff we left behind in Vietnam, of course, but we didn't have anywhere near as many armored vehicles there.





Oh, and you paid for it. You paid for it with money that no longer exists that could have paid to fix bridges, roads, schools and lives.

That's the End of Beady Eye




How do you handle the thrill of playing sold-out tours and headlining festival shows and the best arenas in the world when it ends? How do you go from playing huge stadiums to 1,500 seat venues?

If you're Liam Gallagher, you handle it badly, of course.

Beady Eye will not survive the indignities being thrust upon it. At some point, Gem Archer and Andy Bell are going to leave because being a bit player in a band well below the likes of the Killers or Snow Patrol doesn't have the same appeal it had two years ago.

Liam's going to have to do a solo album next, and then maybe we'll get his version of Stop the Clocks.

The Chilling Effect




The government is getting better and better at rooting out people who leak and give background information to the press. The press, as usual, is so awful that there isn't any point in leaking and what does come out is usually so self-serving as to not be believed.

I don't know what Pruitt is complaining about, however. The Department of Justice openly seized their records; this was not done electronically by covert means. The DOJ grabbed the records in the broad light of day and the public does not care. The media's inherent uselessness precludes the necessary level of outrage and so you are treated to Mr. Pruitt's outrage about being shut out of the usual spate of self-serving leaks.

What, exactly, is the thing we are supposed to lament right now?

Will Pixies Carry On or Call it a Day?




I would guess that the departure of Kim Deal centered around adding to their recorded output or how revenue was being shared from their never-ending reunion tours.

Deal's departure means that they can find a new bass player, record something, and watch as people illegally download their music. How this is going to make anyone money is a good question to put to whoever thinks this is going to work.

They will probably do something, and it'll happen, and people will continue to express their sense of indifference, and then we'll all realize that this matters to the core fan base of the band and not many people outside of that.

Bands have to find a way to survive, and the only way to do that is to break through and satisfy that small number of people who will still pay money for the music they receive. Without them, the numbers don't add up anymore. To ask "should they go on" is to ignore the existing economic destruction of the careers of people who used to make albums that would sell respectably. The money might be out there, but Pixies are just like everyone else--they have to figure out how to make it work and how to get along and how to deal with the outright theft of their intellectual property that continues.

James Gandolfini 1961-2013




Of Course Paula Deen Says the N Word

Paula Deen is in a lot of trouble, public relations-wise. I don't know about the legal ramifications--being ignorant and racist will get you elected to high office as a Republican these days, so all bets are off on that front.

This case is being heard in Georgia. Does that matter? Will Deen's empire be destroyed? Is this worse than anything Martha Stewart has ever done? Even if the lawsuit is settled or dismissed, could the testimony be the thing that lingers?

My guess is that Deen is finished. This is a devastating revelation that makes her a toxic personality.

The Chappe Telegraph


The Chappe telegraph was yet another modern convenience that began during the French Revolution and then quickly died off when someone came along and "invented" the actual telegraph.

Claude Chappe's invention worked wonders:
Napoleonic semaphore was the world's first telegraph network, carrying messages across 19h-Century France faster than ever before. Now a group of enthusiastic amateurs are reviving the ingenious system. 
Before the web, before the computer, before the phone, even before Morse code, there was le systeme Chappe. 
Not for the first time or for the last, at the end of the 18th Century France made an important technological advance - only to see it overtaken by newer science. 
In this case, it was the world's first ever system of telegraphy.

In the event of the breakdown of technology and electronic communications, we could easily go back to this system:

Of course, no one is willing to actually learn how to use it, except for the people in France restoring the system. Brilliant.

Melissa Etheridge is Fully of Nutty Ideas






Melissa Etheridge is attempting to supplant Jenny McCarthy as the purveyor of celebrity-based medical advice that is rooted in bullshit and superstition.

Her attack on Angelina Jolie is based on the myth that acidity in the body has a determining impact on cancer. It does not:

While tumors appear to develop acidic pH, we have not yet found any clinical data supporting claims that diet can change the pH balance in the microenvironment of tumors, or, if it could, that doing so would have a clinical effect on the disease.
"The unsubstantiated theory is based on lab studies that suggest cancer cells thrive in an acidic (low pH) environment, but cannot survive in alkaline (high pH) surroundings.
... While these findings are accurate, they apply only to cells in an isolated lab setting. Altering the cell environment of the human body to create a less-acidic, less-cancer-friendly environment is virtually impossible."
Source: aicr.org

And:

While proponents of this myth argue that avoiding certain foods and eating others can change the body’s pH level, these claims stand in stark contrast to everything we know about the chemistry of the human body. Acid-base balance is tightly regulated by several mechanisms, among them kidney and respiratory functions. Even slight changes to your body’s pH are life-threatening events. Patients with kidney disease and pulmonary dysfunction, for example, often rely on dialysis machines and mechanical ventilators (respectively) to avoid even small disruption of acid-base balance. 


Lastly, home “test kits,” which measure the pH of urine, do not relay information about the body’s pH level. True, foods, drinks and supplements will affect the acidity or alkalinity of urine, but it is the only fluid that is affected. In fact, excess acid or base is excreted in the urine to help maintain proper pH balance in the body.


The take-away: What you eat can have a profound affect on your cancer risk, but the acidity or alkalinity of foods is not important. Instead, focus on making dietary choices that can truly affect your risk: Eat a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans; Limit consumption of red and processed meats; Enjoy alcohol in moderation, if at all.

Etheridge is thus using her own status and celebrity (meager, and declining with each passing year) to influence people to believe something that she believes which has been proven to be a myth. The amount of medical mythology that floats around out there is already well past the danger point, and to continue pushing this bullshit is irresponsible. Etheridge can believe whatever she wants to believe--ignorance is a right--but she needs to explain her scientific basis for all of this so that the actual scientists can, you know, get behind her and her expertise and correct their mistakes.

Far too many celebrities live in the bubble of holistic and alternative medicines. McCarthy and her anti-vaccination advocacy have helped sentence kids to unnecessary health problems and risks. This is all based on for-profit alternative medicine practitioners who profit from celebrities who cling to their stupid misconceptions about health because they refuse to believe that they are like everyone else and did things that made themselves ill like commoners.

Their need to be exceptional and different from everyone else opens up the opportunity for quacks and snake-oil salesmen to take advantage of their vanity and persuade them that they, as special people, only got sick because of some exotic and unsubstantiated reason. They appeal to the celebrities precisely because they have an answer as to why something went wrong--it was not because they were dumb like everyone else--it was because of this mythical cause for which only they have the cure (which, as always, has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration) that is based on emotions, feelings, and a gut instinct that exists outside of scrutiny.

There are, perhaps, some things that are wrong with what Angelina Jolie did to herself, but I haven't seen anyone refute the science of what she did. I have seen people tackle the economics of her decision (she is wealthy and can thus afford what many others can not) and the emotions of her decision, but the science behind why she did what she did and the genetics are solid. This is a woman who, at a young age, has lost two female relatives to breast cancer. She took the statistically sound option and had a double mastectomy.

Now she has to put up with being criticized because some nutty celebrity still clings to the acidity myth?

The world embraces ignorance, and celebrities help it along.

The L.A. Times Has a Long, Proud History of Being a Shitty Newspaper


When you read articles like this, you have to ask yourself--why would I care if the Koch Brothers bought the L.A. Times?

What a crappy, shitty newspaper. They were basically the go-to newspaper for the shaming and discrediting of Ronald Reagan's enemies for as long as they could get away with it. What tradition are they going to cite as a reason to keep consuming the news they produce now?

What Can This Douche Canoe Do For You?


So, if Jon Gosselin can ruin your brand, why wouldn't you admit that your brand was trendy garbage to begin with?

It would seem to me that if your clothes appeal to douchebags, you're selling douchebag attire. That makes you a douche canoe, whatever the heck that is.

Who Can Afford Led Zeppelin?




Sometime in the next two years, barring tragedy or a worldwide economic meltdown, Led Zeppelin will mount a very lucrative mini-tour of the world and attempt, once again, to shut people up. Despite the fact that they have reunited and played several times in two different incarnations--why people don't view No Quarter and Walking Into Clarksdale as Led Zeppelin reunion albums is confusing--the world simply cannot live without a reunion.

This is the fat cat tour, and there will be few, if any, "fans" at these shows. There will be a lot of rich people who want to be able to say that they saw Led Zeppelin; tickets for these shows will run wild. Never mind that, in the 1970s, these people never bothered to go see the band and preferred the Electric Light Orchestra or Three Dog Night or Foghat instead.

If you can be charged over $400 to see Rush, I would imagine that you can expect to pay $1,000 or more to see Led Zeppelin.

How does that square with the economics of a festival like Download? Are they going to charge everyone that much? If not, how are they going to afford a reunited tour of the three surviving members of Led Zeppelin?

Swans of Bad Liebenzell




For Monochrome Monday, three swans in Bad Liebenzell...

Swans of Bad Liebenzell


For Monochrome Monday, three swans in Bad Liebenzell...

Edward Snowden is a Megalomaniac




If I were one of the many people who jumped to the defense of Edward Snowden, I would be looking for a way to walk it all back and delete those old blog posts because today was the day that megalomania set in for this troubled young man.

And, really, this is no longer about what the government is or is not doing. This is about his public meltdown and his descent into delusions and irrationality. His role as the only person who can tell everyone the truth, which was evident the moment he asserted that he couldn't live in a world where his government was doing things he found unconscionable, has brought us to a debacle, not a moment of enlightened discussion. Has the law been broken? If not, then what is this about?

He has socialization issues and a need to be the equal of the people he has a problem with. In reality, he's a 29 year-old who simply hasn't done anything other than steal secrets, run to Hong Kong, and parade them in front of the world. This lack of accomplishment--why not write about what you know and accept punishment as an act of civil disobedience?--and this cowardice will result in the disruption of untold numbers of lives. Private contractors with clearances who have given money to Ron Paul should wake up--this government doesn't want any more screwed-up kids flying to Asia with thumb drives full of crap.

When the former Vice President of the United States calls you a traitor, you don't laugh it off and wear it as a badge of honor for all of your libertarian/privacy advocate friends to chortle about--you really don't. If you arrive at a point where Dick Cheney knows your name, you've already lost. A life lived trying to insult or offend Dick Cheney does not end well, no matter how many times you and your buddies want to joke about his trial for war crimes before The Hague.There are people in this world you can piss off and then there are people you should avoid upsetting. Don't upset Dick Cheney. Unlike virtually every other Vice President in American History, this man comes with a body count that has no equal.

In another time, they would have gotten Edward Snowden the help that he needs. They would have found him some outlet for his issues and dealt with his mental health. In modern society, this is now manifested as damage to the state by way of what was available at work, spread throughout the media and flashed all over the world.

I am no expert on insanity or mental health, but Snowden has seemed crazy to me from the get go. When someone can't stop talking about themselves and when someone welcomes a debate with the former Vice President, there has to be something wrong there.

Snowden does not understand the intelligence world:

Journalists should ask a specific question: since these programs began operation shortly after September 11th, how many terrorist attacks were prevented SOLELY by information derived from this suspicionless surveillance that could not be gained via any other source? Then ask how many individual communications were ingested to acheive that, and ask yourself if it was worth it. Bathtub falls and police officers kill more Americans than terrorism, yet we’ve been asked to sacrifice our most sacred rights for fear of falling victim to it.

This is not how we function and it is not how things work. Basing this on what is "solely" prevented by collecting intelligence material is laughable and ridiculous. You don't do anything based on one form of intel; you collect a broad range of pieces of information and then you fuse them together. You combine signals and imagery and human-gathered intelligence and you fill in the gaps with what you can add to those blended pieces of intelligence.


My guess is that we now know exactly what Snowden knew--nothing. Because he came from the fringes and worked on networks, he is ignorant of why we actually do sift through massive amounts of data. We do this to correlate other pieces of information and improve our understanding. We don't do it to violate privacy; we do it because that's how it is done. Don't like it? Too bad. This is how it has been done since forever. This is how police do their work--they gather up different pieces of information and analyze them and interpret them. The world of intelligence didn't spring into existence on September 12, 2001. 

This country is still at war with the tactic of terrorism. The Congress has authorized the President to defend America. Last time I checked, Dick Cheney was free and clear and still part of the national security establishment. As bad as you think these people are, they're accountable to the rule of law. Everything that has been said so far has buried the lede--no one has broken existing laws. In this country, that means something--the rule of law still means legitimacy and anyone challenging the legitimacy of the United States needs to remember that fact. And Mr. Snowden is running around Hong Kong, boasting about what he knows and how he's going to tell everyone the truth. He has violated his agreement to safeguard classified information primary because he learned something that "he" could no longer live with that is, in fact, legal under U.S. laws. He has engaged in a public spat with the last superpower on Earth and he is still alive because, well, we're just not the monstrous killers everyone thinks we are, are we?

If that's not megalomania, I don't know what is.


Otto Fenichel states that, for those who react in later life to narcissistic hurt with denial, ' a regression to narcissism is also a regression to the primary narcissistic omnipotence which makes its reappearance in the form of megalomania'.

Everyone Spies on Everyone Else




Do you know what has been revealed this past week? The naivete of the supposedly smart crowd. That is the case here--anyone who thinks that the British have NOT been spying on others needs to have their head examined.

It can be reasoned that only those countries who have nothing but contempt for themselves would eschew spying or surveillance. No one wants to be helpless and incompetent. Spying is the assertion of the legitimacy of the state--somewhere, in every language, is some version of 'this we'll defend.'

Going back as far as anyone can remember, there have been spies. There has been surveillance and there has been the interception of communications. This is not even a modern or a Napoleonic-era thing--this goes back to whomsoever was reading the mud tablets of their adversary while someone distracted the merchants behind their counters and the men who weighed the money and the wheat. This is a human condition for which only the really, really infantile would claim to be something shocking or new.

Everyone spies and everyone gathers information. Information is then used to assess the situation and go forward. The world is not safe, nor is it full of virtuous people who always do the right thing. If you don't like the tactics of the Americans or the British, grow up. Our adversaries have unlimited budgets and the weight of the state to do far, far worse.

Harvey Updyke is a Free Man




One of college football's most insane fans is now a free man:

The University of Alabama fan who poisoned Auburn University's landmark oak trees at Toomer's Corner has been released from jail and cleared to leave the state. 


Harvey Updyke Jr., 64, left the Lee County jail in Opelika on Monday morning after serving 76 days following his guilty plea. Attorney Andrew Stanley said Updyke was on his way to Louisiana where he will live with his wife, Elva. 


"He's very sincere. He wants to go back to Louisiana and never wants to be heard from ever again," Stanley said.


He's very sincere about what? About being a complete and utter lunatic?

The Return of the Irish Republican Army




In case you were paying attention to a million other things, we now have word that the Irish Republican Army in Northern Ireland has decided to resurrect itself and start committing acts of violence.

Given everything that is going on in the world, can you blame these "splinter" groups for not wanting to be left behind?

I think a lot of this is driven by economics and not necessarily ideology. If the average person could reasonably expect to find a job and earn a living wage in Northern Ireland without having to worry about the old sectarian biases, would it be easier to keep disaffected groups from finding ways to terrorize others? Much of the "terrorism" that happened in Northern Ireland was designed to extract money from people. Extortion ruled the day at one point. Perhaps this is what is coming back.

See this and this for good examples.


Forgery and Embarrassment



There has to be a moment when someone who has spent a lot of money on art realizes that they have purchased a forgery. That moment has to be a difficult one (the ultimate 'wealthy person's problem). Many of those moments are coming.

The number 400 seems low to me, but this could be based on the records of the forgers (why would they keep good records? why wouldn't they lie in order to reduce the extent of their crimes?). Greed would, I would think, drive this market and it would have driven these people to supply their clientele with works that could sail under the radar and keep the lucrative process of spreading fakes throughout the European art community flourishing.

How many families now realize that their works of art are crap? Will they suffer the embarrassment of admitting that they were taken? That they spent their money in this manner? It would come down to who is more status driven and who has been trying to appear sophisticated to their neighbors.

Forgery and Embarrassment

There has to be a moment when someone who has spent a lot of money on art realizes that they have purchased a forgery. That moment has to be a difficult one (the ultimate 'wealthy person's problem). Many of those moments are coming.

The number 400 seems low to me, but this could be based on the records of the forgers (why would they keep good records? why wouldn't they lie in order to reduce the extent of their crimes?). Greed would, I would think, drive this market and it would have driven these people to supply their clientele with works that could sail under the radar and keep the lucrative process of spreading fakes throughout the European art community flourishing.

How many families now realize that their works of art are crap? Will they suffer the embarrassment of admitting that they were taken? That they spent their money in this manner? It would come down to who is more status driven and who has been trying to appear sophisticated to their neighbors.

Do Not Do the Race Material




When you're going to do race material, remember the first rule of doing race material: don't plan on having a job when you hit publish. Oh, and kicking down and making fun of people is automatically going to get you fired no matter how "funny" you think you're being. Nobody laughs at this stuff anymore except racists and buffoons. Let me explain this to you succinctly: don't do the race stuff. It's that simple.

You may want to take offense and note that the only people you can make fun of are overweight poor white people, and that's okay. But, at the end of the day, you can't do the race stuff.

The great Phil Hendrie can do this stuff and thrive in the process. When some assclown working somewhere does it, he gets fired because he doesn't understand context and characterization.Oh, and what will get you fired ought to be at the forefront of your efforts to be funny. If you don't know what these things are, you're going to get fired.

Foosball Table at Experimenta




This is the oversized and extended foosball table at Experimenta.

Foosball Table at Experimenta


This is the oversized and extended foosball table at Experimenta.

Maypole




Maypole


River Scene


This is between Heidelberg and Heilbronn.

River Scene


This is between Heidelberg and Heilbronn.

Kirche




Stone Tablet Above Door




Kirche


Stone Tablet Above Door


Obesity and the Military



Yes, we wouldn't want anyone fat to sit in a room and fly drones around and kill people by remote control, would we? [pdf alert]

This mentality stems from several hundred years of institutional bias. If you do not look good in a uniform, you cannot serve in that uniform. The military is going to have to either accept tubby and fat people or they are going to have to continue to outsource this work to contractors who are, by and large, pretty doggone fat. As in, shove a pair of canned hams in your pants fat. Jeebus.

You see, the military routinely kicks out fat people. Those fat people take their skills and their clearances and go to work for contractors. Those contractors turn right around and run these expensive weapons systems. They have criminal records, they are woefully short of ethics, they are paid a great deal, and they are also fat. Have you ever seen a group of defense contractors? My God, they are huge and they do everything. They fix things, they configure things, and they run things a lot of the time. A good number of them cannot walk up stairs without splitting their pants. I mean, holy hell in a Twinkie kind of overweight.

They are the EXACT SAME PEOPLE who cannot serve in the military. Except that they are doing the jobs military people cannot do because they don't have the skills. It's not rocket science. The contractors are doing everything now, and we are seeing the results of over a decade of outsourcing things to, ahem, lardasses.

At some point, we will figure all of this out. Until then, just enjoy the show.

Spying On Europeans is Perfectly Legal




This story is asinine and ridiculous.

Do you suppose that there are people who actually think it is illegal for America to spy on Europeans? Well, guess what? It is perfectly legal, under U.S. law, for us to spy on anyone in Europe. That's actually what our intelligence community is supposed to be doing--spying on people who are not Americans.

The rights of European people mean nothing to us when it comes to privacy. This is why we don't countersue them and claim that they are infringing on the rights of Americans when they spy on us. And if you think they do not spy on Americans, you live in a world of wonder and naivete.

Seth Rogen Craps on His Own Career


Seth Rogen has made a slew of bad movies and a number of bad choices. He has tremendous talent but he's been riding on the coattails of previous achievements for far too long to be able to keep taking a dump on his own decisions and choices.

What producer would want to work with him at this point? He seems to understand that the only thing left to do is television so perhaps he should be lining something up, and soon.

What's a Record Company?



Black Sabbath take us back to the days when there actually were record companies and when an artist could "piss them off" and thumb their nose at the business.

Bear in mind, this is an old rock band, operating under the assumption that there even still is a music business, releasing an album that they hope won't be downloaded for free en masse by a public that just wants to hear the old hits.

It almost makes me nostalgic for a Neutral Milk Hotel reunion.

The George Zimmerman Trial



George Zimmerman is on trial this week for killing Trayvon Martin. This has not stopped people from saying stupid things in public:

“I know everybody keeps sarcastically saying about he Skittles,” [Doug] Burns said. “You could probably kill somebody with Skittles.”

Congratulations, Mr. Burns. You are the stupidest fucking guy on the planet.

Not Booz Allen Hamilton Material




About four years ago, I was up for a position with Booz Allen Hamilton. I drove down to one of their myriad facilities in Northern Virginia, sat through a round-robin series of interviews with different hiring managers, and ended up missing several of them because they were held up in traffic. I signaled my thanks, and my willingness to come back for more interviews, and then went home.I figured I had at least one offer coming, maybe two. The interviews went well, the encounters were free of that awkwardness that usually signals a bad interview, and I answered a lot of questions. These were not "dump out" interviews because I was able to talk about what I can do and answer what they wanted to know.

A week went by, and no offers were made. Nothing was explained to me. The recruiter who had brought me in said nothing to me in the way of an explanation. I wrote it off to my being unsuitable for their corporate culture and went on to do other things. I was already employed and I would have had to commute down into Washington D.C. This was not really a tragedy, and I hadn't thought about this incident until today.

I suspect that the fact that I didn't have a degree was what worked against me. Since earning my degree, I'm two for two and I have a lot more confidence. The thing is, I was confident then as well.

What stands out to me is the clear lack of diversity I saw when I visited their facility. There are numerous facilities, so this is not a scientific observation. One of the things you notice when you sit in their corporate area and watch people come and go, randomly, is that they hire people who look like they are ex-military; that's because they hire ex-military at the drop of a hat. I saw hundreds of people coming and going. I didn't see hardly any fat people, and I didn't see any weirdo-looking people. I saw a lot of ex-Air Force and Army officers who were wearing suits with their old dress shoes. I saw conformity and I knew they weren't looking for me.

After what has happened with one of their new hire employees, I've never been happier to have been rejected by a company. Someone hired this man, Edward Snowden, and they brought him in for $200,000? Even for Hawaii, that sounds ridiculously high. I know the cost of living out there is tough, but, I can't imagine how they would rate someone with such a thin resume at that level.

Edward Snowden was Booz Allen Hamilton material, and for a publicly traded company to see a 5% dip in value, in just one day, is priceless.

Since When do Civil Libertarians Make Threats?







Tech bloggers are already blowing apart the story of what has been leaked, and they are comparing the original versions of the story to what we now know, and at the center of this is Glenn Greenwald. The story has become a tiger, and no one wants to let go of the tail. He has moved beyond being a mere advocate for civil liberties and he is publicly engaging government officials and taunting them over his Twitter thread. He is making threats and charges for which he does not appear to have any evidence beyond spending years looking at every worst possible scenario. He may have everything right, but what he has is less important than the story itself, which is his own involvement with a man who went to Hong Kong because he thought his own government was a monster.





What's happening here? Who's really in danger? People like Greenwald consider themselves experts on things they have never actually seen. Has Greenwald ever held a clearance? Would anyone give him one? The only way to determine who has been harmed with regards to these disclosures is to actually see the results of counter-terrorism operations. If it's all a lie, then someone needs to explain why by using actual evidence.





If the only people who have been harmed are the ones who want to conceal their actions and their wrongdoing, as Greenwald alleges, then why isn't anyone under indictment? Why isn't the Congress demanding action from the Justice Department? Our government loves a scandal, and if there is a real scandal here, there is no shortage of people ready to spring to action and begin the process of looking for a hide to nail to the wall.





You have to attack the enemy where they are, not where they have been. If terrorists hide in the population, and strike when there is complacency and weakness, then why are we surprised to discover that our government is savvy enough to attack the enemy where they are hiding? Wouldn't we demand accountability, results and competence and demand wholesale firings if they weren't actually getting anything done?





It would seem to me that the perfect dodge is to make allegations that can never be proven or fully discredited if your target is the government and the subject is classified material. You can sucker people into thinking you're a genius if you ensure that there's no chance anyone can expose your work by the simple method of dropping the veil over classified information. You can allege anything and never have to say you're sorry because, well, the government always lies.

History Repeating Itself Over and Over Again

Fouche, Napoleon's dreaded Chief of Police
All of this talk about being under surveillance and privacy--please. We are mere amateurs when it comes to keeping track of what people say and do.

Here are two wonderful pieces of history from Alan Forrest:

What recourse did anyone have under the rule of law? None. And America is the originator of evil in the world? They used to say that about Napoleon as well. His enemies were everywhere and he knew it.

The police state is over two hundred years old, and counting. It certainly did not begin with Napoleon, but his chief of police, the dreaded Fouche, is the predecessor of so many bad men of history that it is impossible to count them all.


And so, we must conclude that even the President is being spied upon. And, remember. Only Americans do bad things to their people.

The Soldier in the Band




Apparently, Sergeant Sommers cannot follow a lawful order. If he feels he has been given an unlawful order, then he, as a Master Sergeant in the United States Army, should use his chain of command to express his concerns about the order he has been given.

On his own time, he is free to read whatever he wants to read as far as Hannity, Levin and Limbaugh are concerned. He is free to follow the UCMJ as well, and if he expresses displeasure about the chain of command or regulations now being enforced, he needs to make damned certain as to whether or not this is worth throwing away his career (as a singer in the United States Army--think about that) over because that's what it is going to come down to for this soldier.

Sommers has gone beyond having an opinion to making his opinion an expression of politics while in uniform. His chain of command has said that he needs to check his attitude and his disobedience and get back into line with his behavior. I'm sure that they have counseled him and that they just want him to keep his advocacy in line with their idea of good order and discipline.

Clearly, Sommers has gone beyond good order and discipline and has moved into that grey area where it becomes more about attracting attention to himself (hello, news media and retirees) and less about shutting his mouth and playing his band instrument.

In Army parlance, this guy is a joke. He's celebrating the winning of an ARCOM and he's proud of being a funeral soloist? Good for him. Real soldiers don't brag on their ARCOMs.

I'm sorry but he's a musician. He's in the band. He wears the uniform and the rank, but please. He needs to shut his ass up and retire honorably and then go out and make all the noise he wants to make.

Becoming the next LTC Terry Lakin is not something this clown needs to pursue as a career goal.

Sommers is, I'm sad to say, not merely a conservative in uniform but an intolerant bigot:

Sommers claims he was told by an openly-gay superior officer that unidentified members of the U.S. Army were offended by his statements on Twitter. 


Sommers was reprimanded, given a bad report and targeted by an investigation, which found he had tweeted in 2010: “Lordy, Lordy, it’s faggot Tuesday. The lefty loons and Obamabots are out in full force."

I love the words "openly-gay" in this article. Clearly, no one has explained to Fox News that being openly-gay in the military is legal now and is not something salacious or naughty. It's as if Sommers does not have to follow the orders of an openly-gay officer or even someone who is sorta-kinda-gay.




Sommers plans on filing a lawsuit. I hope he has saved a lot of money because he is well on his way to losing his retirement benefits.

Wolves Are Always On Their Own


This idea of a keystone predator is interesting. I don't think people realize that we actually need to control populations of wild animals and that we have traditionally done a poor job of this. Every time I see a deer carcass by the side of the road, I wonder whether removing predators was a smart thing to do. The automobile is the new predator, and it is devastatingly effective in some ways and awful in most others.

Apple Rind With Texture




Apple Rind With Texture


SNAP is Under Attack




America has made the decision to starve children and the elderly. Don't believe me? Read it for yourself:


The majority of the bill’s SNAP cuts come from eliminating a state option known as “categorical eligibility.”  Congress created this option in the 1996 welfare law, allowing states to provide food assistance to households — primarily low-income working families and seniors — that have gross incomes or assets modestly above federal SNAP limits but disposable incomes in most cases below the poverty line.  The bill also would eliminate SNAP incentive payments to states that have improved payment accuracy and service delivery, would cut nutrition education funding, and would curtail a state option that reduces paperwork for many households with utility expenses and also lowers state administrative costs.  Table 1 provides information about the effects of the provisions in specific states.
The proposed cuts would cause significant hardship to several million low-income households.

  • The bill would terminate SNAP eligibility for several million people.

  •   By eliminating the categorical eligibility state option, which over 40 states have adopted, the bill would cut nearly 2 million low-income people off SNAP. 


  • Several hundred thousand low-income children would lose access to free school meals.

  •   According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), 210,000 children in low-income families whose eligibility for free school meals is tied to their receipt of SNAP would lose free school meals when their families lose SNAP benefits.


  • Some working-poor families would lose access to SNAP because they own a modest car, which they often need to commute to their jobs, especially in rural areas.

  •   Eliminating categorical eligibility would cause some low-income working households to lose benefits simply because of the value of a modest car they own.  Many of these families would be forced to choose between owning a reliable car and receiving food assistance to help feed their families.

Contrary to proponents’ claim that the bill’s SNAP cuts are needed to rein in out-of-control program growth, CBO has found that SNAP’s expansion in recent years is primarily due to the severe and prolonged economic downturn and that SNAP spending will fall significantly as the economy recovers.  CBO projects that the share of the population that participates in SNAP will fall back to 2008 levels in coming years and that SNAP costs as a share of the economy will fall back to their 1995 level by 2019. 

Conveniently, we have the distraction of the latest revelations about government spying. This will allow everyone to focus on the wrong issue and ignore the fact that people are, basically, going to go hungry.

This is the kind of thing worth getting outraged about.