Saturday, April 7, 2018

"Count Five - Psychotic Reaction (1966) HQ"

"Aldo Nova - Fantasy"

"Billy Thorpe - Children of the Sun"

"How To Recognize When Your Society Is Suffering A Dramatic Decline"

How To Recognize When Your Society Is Suffering A Dramatic Decline

Authored by Brandon Smith via,
When historians and analysts look at the factors surrounding the collapse of a society, they often focus on the larger events and indicators — the moments of infamy. However, I think it’s important to consider the reality that large scale societal decline is built upon a mixture of elements, prominent as well as small. Collapse is a process, not a singular event. It happens over time, not overnight. It is a spectrum of moments and terrible choices, set in motion in most cases by people in positions of power, but helped along by useful idiots among the masses. The decline of a nation or civilization requires the complicity of a host of saboteurs.
So, instead of focusing on the top down approach, which is rather common, let’s start from the foundations of our culture to better understand why there is clear and definable destabilization.

Declining Moral Compass
There is always a conflict between personal gain and personal conscience — this is the nature of being human. But in a stable society, these two things tend to balance out. Not so during societal decline, as personal gain (and even personal comfort and gratification) tends to greatly outweigh the checks and balances of moral principles.
People often mistake the term “morality” to be a religious creation, but this is not what I am necessarily referring to. The concepts of “good” and “evil” are archetypal — that is to say they are psychologically inherent in most human beings from the moment of birth. This is not a matter of faith, but a matter of fact, observed by those in the field of psychology and anthropology over the course of a century of study.  How we relate to these concepts can be affected by our environment and upbringing, but for the most part, our moral compass is psychologically ingrained. It is up to us to either follow it or not follow it.
Watching how people handle this choice is a bit of hobby of mine, and I do take notes. You can learn a lot about the state of your environment by observing what people around you tend to do when faced with the conflict of personal gain versus personal conscience. It is saddening to admit that even though I live in rural America, where you are more likely to find self-reliance and cultural stability, I can still see a faltering nation bleeding through.
I have seen supposedly good people act dishonestly in business agreements. I have seen local institutions scam hardworking citizens. I have seen a court system rife with bias and a “good old boy” attitude of favoritism. I have seen local companies pretend to be benevolent contributors to the community while at the same time running constant frauds and rackets. I have even seen a few people within the liberty movement itself put the movement at risk with their own avarice, gluttony, narcissism and sociopathy.
Again, it is important to make a note of such people and institutions, for as the system continues its downward spiral it is these people that will present the greatest threat to the innocent.
As Carl Jung notes in his book The Undiscovered Self, there is always a contingent of latent sociopaths and psychopaths within any culture; usually about 10% of the population. In normal times, they, at least most of them, are forced into moral acclimation by the rest of the populace. But in times of decline, they seem to leak out of the woodwork like a slimy fungus. During heightened collapse, they no longer have to pretend to be upstanding and they show their true colors.
Most dangerous is when latent sociopaths or full blown sociopaths assume roles of leadership or power during the worst of times. With everyone distracted by their own plight, these people can become a cancer, infecting everything with their narcissistic pursuits and causing destruction in their wake.
Disinterest In Rewarding Conscience
During wider cultural collapse, it can become “fashionable” to see acts of principle as something to be scoffed at or ridiculed or to even see them as threats to the status quo. The concept of “going along to get along” takes precedence over doing what is right even when it is hard; this attitude is not relegated to the less honest people within society.
As a system collapses, a fog of apathy can result. Good people can become passive, scrambling to their individual corner of the world and hoping evil times will simply pass them by. The phrase “I just want to put all this behind me” is spoken regularly; but as we ignore the trespasses of terrible men and women, we also enable them. How? Because by doing nothing we allow them to continue their criminality, and we subject future persons and generations to victimization.
When doing the right thing is treated as laughable or “crazy” by what seems like a majority in the midst of widespread corruption, you are truly in the middle of a great decline.
In Christian circles, the idea of “the remnant” is sometimes spoken of. In Christian terms, this usually represents a minority of true believers surviving a tumultuous and immoral era. I see “the remnant” not so much as a contingent of Christians alone, but as a contingent of people that continue to maintain their principles and conscience when faced with unprecedented adversity. In the worst of times, these people remain stalwart, even if they are ridiculed for it.
Disinterest In Independent Effort
It is said that in this world there are two kinds of people — leaders and followers.  I’m not so sure about that, but I can see why this philosophy is promoted; it helps evil people in power stay in power by encouraging passive acceptance.
I would say that there are in fact two kinds of people in this world — people who want to control others and the people that just want to be left alone. In life sometimes we are both leaders and followers; we just have to be sure that when we lead we lead by example and not by force, and when we follow, we follow someone worth a damn.
In any case, passivity is not a solution to determining our roles in society. In most situations, independent action is required by every person to make the world a better place. Yet, in an era of systemic crisis, it is usually independent effort that is the first thing to go out the window. Millions upon millions of people wait around for someone, anyone, to tell them what they should be doing and how they should be doing it. In this way, society finds itself in stasis, frozen in a position of inaction.  Poisonous collectivism wins through mass aggression, but also through mass passivity.
In fact, when individualists do take action they can be admonished for it during times of societal breakdown, even if their actions have the potential to solve a problem. The idea that one man or woman (or a small group of people) could do anything about anything is sneered at as “fantasy” or “delusion.”  But mass movements of citizens working towards a practical goal are rare, and even more rare is when these movements are not controlled or manipulated to benefit the established order. It is not mass movements that change the world for the better, but individual people and small organizations of the dedicated, acting without permission and without administration.
It is these individuals and small groups that, over time and through relentless effort, inspire a majority to do what is necessary and right. It is these people that inspire others to finally take leadership in their own lives.
Individual Self-Isolation
I write often on the plight of the individual and individual rights within society, and I continue to see the factor of the individual as the most important element in any culture. A culture based on protecting and nurturing individualism and voluntarism is the only culture, in my view, that will ever be successful at avoiding full spectrum collapse. That said, the downside to overt individualism is the danger of self isolation. That is to say, when true individuals only concern themselves with their personal circumstances and ignore the circumstances of the rest of the world, they eventually set themselves up to be crushed by that world.
Organization on a voluntary basis is not only healthy but vital in the longevity of a society. The more people turn in on themselves and only care about their own general conditions, the easier it is for evil people to do evil things unnoticed. Also, self isolation in the wake of collapse sets individuals up for failure, as no one is capable of surviving without at least some help from a wider pool of knowledge and talents.
In a system based on corruption, the establishment will encourage self isolation as a means to control the populace. Or, they will offer a false choice, between self isolation versus mindless collectivism. The truth is there is always a middle ground. Voluntary organization and individualism are not mutually exclusive. I call this the “difference between community and collectivism.” A community does not supplant the individual, while a collective requires the complete erasure of individual pursuits and thought.
If you find yourself surrounded by people who refuse any organization, even practical and voluntary organization in the face of instability, then your society may be in the latter stages of a collapse.
Disaster Denial
Even as a crisis or collapse unfolds, if a society actually reels or reacts to it and takes note of the problem, there is hope for that society. If, however, that society willfully ignores the danger and denies it exists when presented with overwhelming evidence, then that society will likely suffer complete disintegration and will probably have to start all over from scratch — hopefully with a set of principles and ideals based on conscience and honor.
The strength of a culture can be measured by its willingness to self reflect. Its survival can be determined by its willingness to accept its flaws when they arise and its willingness to repair the damage done. Self-aware societies are difficult to corrupt or control. Only in denial can people be easily manipulated and enslaved.
If you cannot accept the reality of the abyss, you cannot move to avoid it or prepare yourself to survive the fall. I see this issue as perhaps the single most important element in the fight to save the portions of our society worth saving. Educating people on the blatant facts behind our own national decline can dissolve the wall of denial, and perhaps we will find when disaster strikes that there are far more awake and aware individuals ready to act than we originally thought.

Open Blog - Weekend

Have some Pie in the Sky!

Friday, April 6, 2018

"Foxconn's promised jobs boom could miss neighboring city Racine"

From JSOnline:

RACINE - If it fulfills its pledges, Foxconn Technology Group is destined to shatter job-creation records. Its flat-screen manufacturing campus in southeastern Wisconsin could eclipse Boeing’s footprint in Seattle, Tesla’s in Nevada and some of the biggest factories in China. Fully built out, it would be three times the size of the Pentagon, the world's largest office building.

And yet, despite its multibillion-dollar taxpayer subsidy, Foxconn’s jobs boom might ripple right past Wisconsin’s fifth-largest city, five miles east on Highway 11.

Once a titan of manufacturing, Racine's identity has been largely erased in the digital age. Its industrial heyday now an echo, the city has been impervious to decades of jobs programs, wars on poverty, upswings in the national economy and the consistent philanthropy of local industrial champion S.C. Johnson & Son.

"News of the Weird: Apr. 5, 2018"

From The Shepherd Express:

April 3, 2018
3:24 PM

Sheboygan Strangeness
Police in Sheboygan, Wis., appealed to the public for help in late March tracking down a most unusual perpetrator. “Over the past year and a half,” the department posted on its Facebook page, “someone has been clogging the women’s toilet (at the Deland Community Center) with 20-ounce soda bottles. This is very strange… and gross.” The Sheboygan Press reported that the string of more than 25 incidents began in 2016. Joe Kerlin, the city’s parks and forestry superintendent, says the suspect is likely an adult male, based on security camera footage from outside the restroom. The city’s resulting plumbing bills have totaled between $2,000 and $3,000.
In a Tight Spot
A man playing with a baseball on the roof of a parking structure in Honolulu on March 23 had to be rescued by firefighters after he fell into the seven- to nine-inch-wide space between two buildings and got stuck, KHON2 TV reported. Security guard Ray Rodrigues was dispatched to the roof to run the 55-year-old off, but found the man had fallen into the narrow gap between the cement walls. When pulling him out with a rope failed, firefighters resorted to using drills and saws to cut through the concrete to free him. He was taken to a hospital in serious condition.
More Than They Bargained For
Shoppers at the Miracle Mile Shopping Center in Monroeville, Penn., got an eyeful on April 8, 2017, as model Chelsea Guerra, 22, and photographer Michael Warnock, 64, conducted a nude photo shoot around 11 a.m. inside the mall. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, as Warnock took photos and families looked on, Guerra walked around and posed wearing only thigh-high black stockings and high-heeled shoes. In early March of this year, Guerra and Warnock pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct after other charges were dropped, and paid a $300 fine. “My nude modeling is honest work,” Guerra said, “and I use it mostly to fund my college career.”
Don’t Drink the Yellow Milk
A dairy truck driver lost his job in early March after being caught on a surveillance camera urinating near dairy cows in a barn at Tremblay Farm in Highgate, Vt. While no charges were filed, Monica Massey of the Dairy Farmers of America said the driver’s behavior was unacceptable. “We saw the videos. What we saw was deplorable,” Massey said told WCAX TV. Farm co-owner Darleen Tremblay said she was “shattered” by what she saw on the video. “I couldn’t move. I froze and I shook,” she added.
Next Stop: Mordor
In Didcot, England, known as the country’s “most normal town,” one resident creatively tried to change people’s perceptions with additions to road signs along local highway A4130. The prankster added destinations such as Narnia, Gotham City, Middle Earth, Emerald City and Neverland to roundabout signs, telling the BBC (on condition of anonymity): “To me, there’s nowhere that is ‘normal’; there’s no such thing.” He said he’s been making “creative interventions” all over the country for about 20 years. The Oxfordshire County Council responded that, while the additions were “amusing,” they’ll be removed as soon as the county’s potholes are fixed.
Expedition: Victoria
Maghan LeGlue, 25, of Bridge City, La., shifted her rage into high gear on March 24 when she used her 2004 Ford Expedition to pin her 27-year-old boyfriend up against his Ford Crown Victoria, according to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. The Times-Picayune reported that the couple, who have three children together, had been arguing when LeGlue hit him, shattering his leg. Doctors performed emergency surgery on the victim, and LeGlue was taken into custody and was held without bond.
What an Asphalt
Eastern Michigan University student Andrew (who, understandably, didn’t give a last name), 22, claims that he wasn’t making any kind of statement or protesting any government action (or lack thereof) on March 12 when he filled a pothole in Trenton with a whole box of Lucky Charms and a gallon of milk. Andrew then lay on the road with a spoon and ate the cereal out of the pothole. “I don’t know where the inspiration came from, but when it hit me, I knew it was a great idea,” he told “It tasted great”


"A Failed Racine"

The entire economy of SE WI might depend upon it.


Tim & Cindy

"Made in NY CITY!"

Cory Mason is UNLIKE Pace Thick & Chunky Salsa.
He was made in NY CITY!

"Last Gasp"

Dear City of Racine Alderpersons,

This is the view of Cindy and myself in regards to your financial situation.
Best of luck in digging yourselves out.


Tim & Cindy

"Racine WI – A Failed Community"

From The JT:

How does Racine’s financial future look? New report digs deep

RACINE — A growing portion of taxes paid to the City of Racine is being spent to pay down debt, a newly released analysis shows.
Racine spent more than 30 percent of the taxes it collected in 2016 on its debt, according to the study titled “City of Racine’s Fiscal Condition: Living Within Its Means.” The analysis was released Wednesday by the Wisconsin Policy Forum. It analyzes the city’s financial status and strategies to determine how healthy Racine’s future looks.

Four for Fridays!

Good morning everyone I hope all of you had a good week. I am still recuperating from helping my mom out last week. Trying to get back to my own routine is very hard or I have just been over tired from being up north. Thank you to everyone for your prayers and comments for my mom. I just want to let you know she is getting a little better each day.

Here are your questions-

1) Is there someone other than a family member you know you can count on?

2) If so are you both there for each other?

3) Do you have a family member that you can count on?

4) Has a family member ever let you down?

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Open Blog - Friday

Hello, hello, hello.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Orphans' Website


"Road Rage Outburst Over Engine Braking"

Brake parts are cheaper than engine and transmission parts. I was taught that engine braking (in passenger vehicles) is for show-offs.

"Man shoots himself in hand wondering why his laser won't work"

There are so many dumb asses out there that they pose a threat to themselves and us.

Animal Kingdom



"Paul Kantner Grace Slick - Sunrise (Blows Against the Empire - 1970)"

My computer table faces the south. That blasts the sunrise onto the computer from approx. 7:30 - 9:00 AM. This was never an issue before because I rarely got up before noon. Now, I'm sleeping 4 hours here, 4 hours there, and find myself blinded by the sun early in the day.

"Russia in 15 seconds"

"10 Movie Effects You Always Thought Were CGI"

Open Blog - Thursday

My thoughts are often jammed together like that.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

"Facebook now thinks 87 million had data shared with Cambridge Analytica"

Laura Mandaro and Mike Snider, USA TODAY Published 1:55 p.m. CT April 4, 2018 | Updated 4:31 p.m. CT April 4, 2018

The new estimate, disclosed in a blog post where it detailed other plans to tighten privacy of its users' personal information, is higher than the estimate of 50 million people reported three weeks ago by The New York Times and The Observer.
The social network's latest disclosures are likely to heighten concerns about how it gave too-free access to its users' personal information and that efforts to roll back this access come too late. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been on the defensive and is now scheduled to testify next week before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
In an hour-long call with reporters, Zuckerberg addressed these concerns while acknowledging how vulnerable users had been to malicious activity. 
"It's clear now we didn't focus enough on preventing abuse and thinking through how people could use these tools for harm," he said. "We didn't take a broad enough view of what our responsibility is, and that was a huge mistake. It was my mistake."
Zuckerberg's April 11 appearance before the committee will be his first congressional appearance, but not likely his last. Discussions continue into Zuckerberg's appearance before two other congressional committees: the Senate Commerce and Judiciary committees.
Facebook last month disclosed it knew Cambridge Analytica had obtained personal information from hundreds of thousands of users who had downloaded a personality profile app that then passed it on to the firm, which says it had assisted Donald Trump in his successful presidential campaign. Cambridge Analytica denies using any ill-gotten Facebook data in those efforts and repeated that defense Wednesday.  
The situation has resulted in an investigation into Facebook by the Federal Trade Commission and attorneys general from 37 states and territories calling for information from the company on its data security procedures.
Even before news arose of this massive data-mining operation of Facebook users, CEO Mark Zuckerberg had pledged to spend 2018 attempting to counter various concerns facing the social network. Among them: fabricated news that misled millions, live broadcasts of homicides and terrorism, racist targeting of ads, troubling search results and Russian manipulation.
The increased estimate follows a disconcerting pattern for Facebook when it's come to disclosing practices that have violated its users' privacy.
Zuckerberg, after initially calling suggestions that "fake news" on Facebook influenced the election in any way "pretty crazy," later backtracked and apologized. Under pressure from lawmakers' last fall, Facebook executives testified and released increasingly higher estimates on the extent and breadth of Russian manipulation on the platform. Just this Tuesday, Facebook again disclosed it had found more Russian-organized fake accounts and posts on its platform and its Instagram service.
On Wednesday, Zuckerberg again apologized for initially dismissing the worries about faked news

Join up!  Join up!  Join up!  What could possibly go wrong?

"Bice: Gov. Scott Walker a big loser among 5 takeaways from Wisconsin's spring election"

From JSOnline:

, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Published 9:08 a.m. CT April 4, 2018 | Updated 2:05 p.m. CT April 4, 2018
Madison reporter Patrick Marley discusses the results and the aftermath from yesterday's elections including what this means for the Republicans and the next races to watch.     
1. Gov. Scott Walker got the message — loud and clear: The biggest losers in the state on Tuesday were the St. Louis Cardinals (walk-off homer by Ryan Braun), the Boston Celtics (swatted away by Giannis) and Walker. Not only did the second-term Republican governor's pick for the Supreme Court go down in flames, but the voters also rejected his party's proposed constitutional amendment to do away with the state treasurer's office.
And a Walker-endorsed candidate narrowly lost in a race for Waukesha County Circuit Court judge. Yes, in Waukesha County, the base of the Republican Party in Wisconsin, making the governor 0 for 3 for the night. And how did Walker respond? By going to Twitter and blasting his opponents — "driven by anger & hatred" — while most people were still in bed. Hmm, sound familiar?
The big question for Democrats now is, can they settle on an opponent for Walker this fall? Last we checked there were still nine legitimate candidates, with no clear frontrunners, vying for the right to challenge him.
2.Democrats are deeply motivated to vote: Both Republican and Democratic insiders were in agreement on one thing Tuesday night — a blue wave had just swamped the state. Said one top GOP official: "Dems are pissed at losing." And at President Donald Trump. And at the National Rifle Association. And just at whatever. 
This was never more true than in Dane County, where liberal Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Rebecca Dallet rolled up an 81% to 19% advantage over conservative Sauk County Judge Michael Screnock.
The numbers have got to worry U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman and House Speaker Paul Ryan at least a little bit — Dallet got about 48% of the vote in their districts — and the Republicans running in the upcoming special elections in June. "You'd have to call out the National Guard to keep Democrats from the ballot box right now," said a Dem strategist. 
3. Eric Holder and his group were massive in the election: One top Democrat had this to say Tuesday night: "The full extent of the weight Holder laid down here isn't totally understood." Behind the scenes, the former Obama attorney general and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee pumped $500,000 into local groups for organizing, advertising and getting other groups, especially unions, to help Dallet. 
Beyond that, Holder's outfit successfully sued Walker over his decision not to hold special elections after two GOP lawmakers stepped down to join his administration. The court fight meant two weeks of bad publicity for the governor.
Holder's help was key, given that the state Democratic Party did next to nothing to help out Dallet. While the Republican Party spent more than $345,000 on Screnock, the Dems gave a single in-kind donation of about $6,000 to her campaign. 
4. Democrats finally found a winning formula for the Supreme Court: The last time a liberal candidate won an open seat on the state Supreme Court was 1995. Many of the young Dems getting out the vote this week weren't even born then. 
How did the Democrats do it? Consider Dallet's profile. She's a veteran local judge with experience as a prosecutor. And she's a Gen-X-er. And a woman. Don't be surprised to see Democrats field similar candidates for the Supreme Court in the future. 
With her victory, the state's highest court will soon have six female justices and one male. Back in 1992, when I first started covering politics in Wisconsin, it was the reverse, with six male justices and one female. The one constant: liberal Justice Shirley Abrahamson, who is up for re-election next year. 
Washington Bureau Chief Craig Gilbert talked to voters in three of Wisconsin’s most Republican counties, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington
5. Money can't buy you love or even a new Milwaukee County Board: First, let's all agree on this — Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele has more money than any of us realized. We should have figured that out when he spent $5.6 million of his own cash to win re-election in 2016.
Then Abele goes out over the past year and drops another $1 million from his campaign account and via a new group, Leadership MKE, on County Board and other local races. In all, he won in nine of the 14 races in which he took sides, even knocking off incumbent Supervisors Peggy West and Steve F. Taylor. 
But Abele missed his biggest target — Milwaukee County Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb Sr. It's not clear yet how much the county exec spent from his wallet on the board chairman, but many in the district would say it was too much. In the end, some strategists say, there was a backlash in the district against all the ads and numerous mailers from Abele's team. 
Contact Daniel Bice at (414) 224-2135 or Follow him on Twitter @DanielBice or on Facebook at 

Dear Madame Zoltar

Hello, my childrens!  How are you?  What happened to Spring?  The whole darn winter was weak, but it's gaining strength now that it's officially over.  I'm sure the weather played a big part in keeping the vote down yesterday.  "Racine's City Council President Dennis Wiser was unseated in Tuesday's election for District 10 alderman, according to unofficial election results. "  Hooray, hooray!  More of the slimy monsters should follow suit.  We're taking back our city.

I'd like to take us back 50 years when jobs were plentiful and crime much lower.  The American worker stood for something back then besides unemployment benefits.  We'll see what effect Foxconn has.  Yesterday they held an event and 500 companies showed up.  There's the real indication of where our economy is headed.  Everybody needs help.  I know.  I've tried to meet the requirements to have an apprentice.  I"m sorry, but I can't have lackadaisical know-nothings on my team, even if they do run the city.  Skill has given way to power grabs.

The clown at the front of the room is our guide.  His name is Trump.  Rhymes with rump.  A complete idiot.  He's perfect for us.

As we lower the intelligence level required for certain jobs, we should remember that everyone's intelligence is affected by that.  Dumb it down, dumb it down, and you end up with a roomful of dummies.  Or a nation.  Keep watching people walk into things as they're preoccupied with the electronic gadgets in their possession.  Weld those games to their hands.

Darn, the Chinese satellite didn't hit me in the head.  Maybe I can till sue.  I can say that worries affected my job performance. Because they do.

Does anyone know what Mayor Cory Mason does all day?  Mayor Do-Nothing.  Delegate, delegate, delegate, and then blame, blame, blame.. Mr. Mason strikes me as the type of person who would fit in in a library, hushed amongst the books.  He seems to be a man of intelligence, but not action.

Guess what?  Junior has his own car.  Some piece of junk he picked up with his lawn mowing money.  It's not currently running, which is where I hope it stays. I get the feeling that this car has made the rounds of Junior's friends and now it's his turn to try to start it.  I can make sure it starts, but that the transmission falls out.  The car was built before Junior was born. I shouldn't complain because Señor Zanza is overseeing all of this.  That wonderful man.  I think I love him.

There.  I said it.  I love you, too.  I love all of my readers and critics.  You make my world spin.

Take some comfort that the calendar is on our side.  It will warm up one of these days.  I think . . .
Please donate: 
If you don't like PayPal, send me a note at and I'll send you my street address so you can send a check or money order.  Thank you

Open Blog - Wednesday

Have a good day.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

"Operating While Intaxicated"

From The Shepherd Express:

I’m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain’a? So I hear we got that Masters golf tournament coming up and that Tiger Woods, after quite a focking fallow spell, is looking pretty gosh darn good again. But apparently there’s one aspect of his game that has yet to come around, as illustrated by this old chestnut:
What did Lady Di have that Tiger Woods doesn’t? A better driver, don’t you know. Ba-ding!
Or something like that. Anyways, maybe I’ve been watching too much college basketball on the TV of late, but I don’t contemplate much of an essay for you’s this week ’cause I really ought to suspend myself with pay for being flagrantly foul. And I got to tell you, it couldn’t come at a better time. I’ve been experiencing some stiffness if not downright soreness in the skull compartment and before I take the measure of having my head examined, maybe a little time off is what the doctor would’ve ordered anyways, so what the fock.
Besides, I got some off-the-page personal matters that need tending to before they fester into some kind of career-threatening carbuncled calamity. I abso-focking-lutely need to deal with the chaotic morass that is my sock drawer ’cause I’ve just got to believe there has to be at least one sock in there that bears a resemblance to another. I need to check the sofa for loose change. And speaking of morass, I need to renew my subscription to Bend Over Magazine ’cause they’re offering a free Jane Russell Bra Phone if you sign up for two years, I kid you not.
And I got to finish filling out my goddamn income tax form—no sense waiting ’til the last minute—which every year consists of a short note I mail in, and it goes something like this:
Dear Sir or Madam,
Hey, I already paid. The federal tax on cigarettes alone I cough up yearly to you’s ought to be enough to buck-up a bridge or fill a focking pothole somewheres, ain’a? So let’s call it even. And may I remind you that in the Book of Kumbalek, “income” is a synonym for “imaginary.”
But thanks for your interest.
Art Kumbalek
As I’ve said maybe in the past, I do believe this Internal Revenue Service tax compact really ought to be made voluntary, like they did with the military service. How ’bout they turn tax-time into a pledge drive, à la National Public Radio. If the citizen chooses to flip the government some dough, he and/or she at least should receive a focking tote bag or coffee mug for making the donation, don’t you think?
And if any high roller chips in big time to the government, say, in appreciation for all the corporate welfare entitlements the Feds provide, the high roller receives, not some crappy-ass tote bag, but the CD boxed set of all the John Philip Sousa marches, as recorded by the United States Air Force Band.
Talk about listening pleasure, you betcha. JPS all told wrote 136 marches; or was it he wrote one march one hundred and thirty-focking-six times? I forget. But I do know that a CD collection of the Sousa marches would last me a musical lifetime. I could listen to one of his marches and, what with all those blaring flugelhorns blasting their butts off to kingdom come and back, I’d say it’d be at least a year ’til I was ready to listen to another. One down, only 135 to go, yes sir.
But before I go, a little story. My buddy Little Jimmy Iodine told me he was over by his brother-in-law’s place in West Allis there on Easter Sunday when they had the Easter egg hunt in their dinky backyard for Jimmy’s two little nephews. So these katzenjammer kids are traipsing around and they come across some rabbit turds, except the younger kid doesn’t know that, so he asks his older brother, “Hey, what’s that?”
The older kid says, “They’re smart pills. Eat them and they'll make you smarter.” So the younger nephew chews on a couple, three and says, “Hey, these taste like shit.” And the older boy says, “See? You’re getting smarter already.”
Yeah yeah, I take it the moral being that the older you get, the more you know what shit tastes like. But the trick is that you never want to develop a taste for it, ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.

Open Blog - Tuesday

It's supposed to snow across the state today, with heavier stuff to the north.  I know the weather is crappy, but please drive carefully to your polling place and vote.  Then drive carefully home and smile, knowing that your voice will be heard.

Monday, April 2, 2018

"Congressman Darren Soto's wife arrested"

From the Orlando Sentinel:

Amanda Soto, the wife of U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, was booked into the Orange County Jail late Sunday night on suspicion of disorderly intoxication. (Orange County Jail)

  The wife of U.S. Rep. Darren Soto was released from the Orange County Jail early Monday morning after her arrest on a charge of disorderly intoxication.

Amanda Soto, 33, was booked into jail at 10:44 Sunday night, according to the jail’s online database.

The charge against her is a second-degree misdemeanor.

In a statement, Darren Soto said his wife has been treated for depression for years and recently stopped taking medication “in accordance with her treatment plan and under her doctor’s [supervision].’’

“Yesterday, she drank too much and reached an argumentative state with a family member, which led to arrest,’’ Soto said in the statement. “She deeply regrets her actions and takes full responsibility for them. Amanda and her physician will be reviewing her mental health treatment, immediately.’’

Soto, a Democrat, was elected to Congress last year from the Ninth District, which includes parts of Orange and Polk counties and all of Osceola.

Natural Gas Flaring via Satellite Imaging!



Open Blog - Monday

Ahh, back to work.  Or whatever.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

"Michigan Activates Emergency Ops Ahead Of Chinese Space Station Crash"

With China's Tiangong-1 space station (translated as "Heavenly Palace") full of highly toxic chemicals such as hydrazine, set to crash into the earth at a still unknown location some time today, Michigan isn't taking any chances.
As a reminder, several weeks ago predicted that while the list of possible crash sites includes locations in Northern China, South America, Southern Africa, Northern Spain and the United States, lower Michigan in particular is among the regions with the highest probability of a direct hit.

Fast forward to today when in advance of Tiangong's atmospheric reentry, sometime between now and April 2, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has activated the state's Emergency Operations Center today to monitor its travels.
According to the Detroit Free Press, and as noted previously, pieces of the 8.5 ton space station have the potential to land in the southern Lower Peninsula of Michigan, according to the Aerospace Corporation. Still , while the possibility that space debris could land in Michigan looms, the odds of it actually happening are miniscule.
"When considering the worst-case location ... the probability that a specific person (i.e., you) will be struck by Tiangong-1 debris is about 1 million times smaller than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot," according to Aerospace, a government contractor that provides research, development, and advisory services to national-security space programs.
In any event, Michigan's Emergency Operations Center urges anyone who suspects they have encountered debris from the space station to call 911 and stay at least 150 feet away from it.
In a follow up article we will present readers with several options on how to track the space station's trajectory in real time.

This is a real-time display of the Tiangong-1 ground track which is continuously updated to show the current position. The red area around your location shows where the satellite would be visible above your horizon. The size of this area depends upon the current height of the satellite. You can see the current height above the ground updating in the data table. Re-entry will start when the height drops to roughly 100km:

Thank You!

I just want to give a real big Thank You to Daddy Orbs for always being there for me to do Four for Fridays. He is always there when I need someone to post it for me.

This past week I was up north taking care of my Mom she was real sick. I went up there last Sunday and came home yesterday. She was in the hospital with pneumonia and the flu the week before then she was real weak. So during the week I got her to eat, drink and got her strength up. I will tell you it wore me out taking care of her and I also spring cleaned her house. I came home last night and I am so happy to be home.

The only thing I do not understand is my younger sister lives down the hallway in the same apartment building and she can not look after my Mom.

"What If All The Cheap Stuff Goes Away?"

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,
Nothing stays the same in dynamic systems, and it's inevitable that the current glut of low costs / cheap stuff will give way to scarcities that cannot be filled at current low prices.
One of the books I just finished reading is The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire. The thesis of the book is fascinating to those of us interested in the rise and fall of empires: Rome expanded for many reasons, but one that is overlooked was the good fortune of an era of moderate weather from around 200 BC to 150 AD: rain was relatively plentiful/ regular and temperatures were relatively warm.
Then one of Earth's numerous periods of cooling--a mini ice age--replaced the moderate weather, pressuring agricultural production.
Roman technology and security greatly expanded trade, opening routes to China, India and Africa that supplied much of Roman Europe with luxury goods. The Mediterranean acted as a cost-effective inland sea for transporting enormous quantities of grain, wine, etc. around the empire.
These trade routes acted as vectors for diseases from afar that swept through the Roman world, decimating the empire's hundreds of densely populated cities whose residents had little resistance to the unfamiliar microbes.
Rome collapsed not just from civil strife and mismanagement, but from environmental and infectious disease pressures that did not exist in its heyday.
Colder, drier weather stresses the populace by reducing their food intake, which leaves them more vulnerable to infectious diseases. This dynamic was also present in the 15th century during another mini ice age, when the bubonic plague (Black Death) killed approximately 40% of Europe's population.
Which brings us to the present: global weather has been conducive to record harvests of grains and other foodstuffs, and I wonder what will happen when this run of good fortune ends, something history tells us is inevitable. Despite the slow erosion of inflation, food is remarkably cheap in the developed world.
What happens should immoderate weather strike major grain-growing regions of the world?
Then there's infectious diseases.  Global air travel and trade has expanded the spectrum of disease vectors to levels that give experts pause.  The potential for an infectious disease that can't be mitigated to spread globally is another seriously under-appreciated threat to trade, tourism and cheap stuff in general.
There are other factors that could spell the end of cheap stuff, not just food but manufactured goods:
1. Fossil fuels could become much more costly. While I consider it highly likely that the price of oil in US dollars will fall to $40/barrel or lower in a global recession due to a sharp drop in demand (what I've long termed the head-fake), longer term, it's inevitable that the cheap-to-access fossil fuels (other than coal) will become depleted and the cost of accessing, processing and transporting what's left will rise.
Since fossil fuels remain the backbone of industrial societies everywhere (yes, including Germany), a steady increase in fuel costs will push the cost of everything that uses energy (i.e. everything) higher.
2. Trade restrictions/conflicts. Globalization and populism both target "unfair trade practices" in which "unfair" is in the eye of the beholder: imports hurt the domestic economy everywhere, and exports help the domestic economy everywhere.
If trade is restricted for whatever reason, the costs of commoditized goods will likely increase, possibly by a lot.
3. Global wages are rising. You've probably seen signs at Home Depot and fast-food chain outlets announcing "we're hiring": even though 100 million working-age people are "not in the work force" in the U.S., many of these individuals lack the skills and/or willingness to take jobs in the modern economy, which demand a lot of workers even in so-called low-skill fields such as fast food. To work in fast food, individuals must be able to handle high pressure and a fast pace; it's not an easy job by any means.
Many employers are reporting that they can't find enough qualified candidates who pass drug tests, yet another fallout of the opioid epidemic. Many people are saddled with felony convictions for nonviolent drug offenses, rendering them ineligible for most corporate or government employment.
Immigration restrictions and minimum wage laws will add to the rising cost of labor.
Globally, the baby Boom generation is retiring, leaving worker shortages on the horizon even in China. (Note that workers tend to retire much earlier in Asia and Europe than in the U.S.: 60 or 62 is typically the mandatory retirement age in much of the global economy.)
As Immanuel Wallerstein has observed (I've written about his work many times), there are systemic, secular pressures to raise wages and benefits everywhere: costs are rising, and people expect more government services such as education and income security, and as taxes increase, wages must rise to maintain the net earnings (purchasing power) of the workers.
We in North America have become accustomed to cheap stuff; we consider it our birthright: cheap fuels, cheap manufactured goods, cheap food and cheap labor. Without even being aware of it, we feel entitled to "low prices always." We may feel fuel, food and consumer goods are expensive now, but we are comparing prices to an extended period of extraordinarily low costs.
Prices for energy could easily rise 50%, impacting the cost of everything; should harvests be crippled by bad weather, the cost of grains could easily double or triple from their current historic lows. Should trade be restricted and wages rise virtually everywhere, manufactured consumer goods could go up in price even as robots replace human labor: energy and raw materials will still be costly inputs even if all human labor is eliminated.
Add in some stiff tariffs for unfair trade practices, and all the robots in the world won't keep prices down.
Nothing stays the same in dynamic systems, and it's inevitable that the current glut of low costs / cheap stuff will give way to scarcities that cannot be filled at current low prices. Cheap stuff will go away, and everything will cost more. It seems highly likely that the next decade will not be like the last 10 years of abundance and cheap stuff.
Courtesy of Incrementum AG, here is a chart of the commodity/S&P 500 ratio. Commodities are at historic lows in relation to stock market valuations. Stocks can decline, or commodities can rise, or both can occur in tandem. If history is any guide, this ratio will reverse and reach a peak within the next decade.
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"Not So Happy Motoring"

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via,
It hasn’t been a great month for America’s electric car fantasy.

Elon Musk’s Tesla company — the symbolic beating heart of the fantasy — is whirling around the drain with its share price plummeting 22 percent, its bonds downgraded by Moody’s to junk status, a failure to produce its “affordable” ($36,000 — Ha!) Model 3 at commercial scale, a massive recall of earlier S Model sedans for a steering defect, and the spectacular fiery crash in Silicon Valley last week of an X model that may have been operating in automatic mode (the authorities can’t determine that based on what’s left), and which killed the driver.
Oh, and an experimental self-driving Uber car (Volvo brand) ran over and killed a lady crossing the street with her bicycle in Tempe, Arizona, two weeks ago.
Don’t blame Elon for that.
There’s a lot to like about electric cars, of course, if, say, you’re a Google executive floating through life in a techno-narcissism bubble, or a Hollywood actor with wooly grandiose notions of saving the planet while simultaneously signaling your wealth and your “green” virtue cred.
Teslas supposedly handle beautifully, ride very quietly, have great low-end power, and decent range of over 200 miles. The engine has something like twenty moving parts, is very long-lasting, and is easy to repair or change out if necessary.
Are they actually “green and clean?” Bwaahaaaaa….! Are you kidding?
First, there’s the energy embedded in producing the car: mining and smelting the ores, manufacturing the plastics, running the assembly line, etc. That embedded energy amounts to about 22 percent of the energy consumed by the car over a ten-year lifetime. Then there’s the cost of actually powering the car day-by-day. The electricity around the USA is produced mostly by burning coal, natural gas, or by nuclear fission, all of which produce harmful emissions or byproducts. But the illusion that the power just comes out of a plug in the wall (for just pennies a day!) is a powerful one for the credulous public. The cherry-on-top is the fantasy that before much longer all that electric power will come from “renewables,” solar and wind, and we can leave the whole fossil fuel mess behind us. We say that to ourselves as a sort of prayer, and it has exactly that value.
There are at least a couple of other holes in story, big-picture wise.
One is that electric mass motoring — switching out the whole liquid fuel fleet for an all-electric fleet — won’t pencil out economically. We probably started the project forty years too late to even be able to test it at scale, because economic events are now moving so quickly in the direction of global austerity that the putative middle-class customer base for electric cars will barely exist in the near future. Americans especially nowadays are so financially stressed that they can’t qualify for car loans — and that is mainly how cars are bought in this land. The industry has strained mightily to bend the rules so that these days it’s even possible to get a seven-year loan for a used car whose collateral value will dissipate long before the loan is paid back. Hard to see how they can take that much further.
The usual answer for that is that you won’t need to own a car because the nation will be served by self-driving electric Uber-style cars-on-demand, which will supposedly require far fewer cars in all. That really doesn’t answer some big questions, such as: how might commuting work in our big metroplex cities? Even if you posit multiple occupancy vehicles, it still represents a whole lot of car trips. Oh, you say, everybody will just work from home. Really? I don’t think so — though I wouldn’t rule out an end to corporate organization of work as we’ve known it, and if that happens, we will be a nation of farmers and artisans again, that is, a World Made By Hand. Also consider, if the car companies only need to make and sell a fraction of the vehicles they sell now, the whole industry will collapse.
Another hole in the story is the universal assumption that the USA must remain a land of mandatory car dependency, hostage to the fiasco of our suburban infrastructure. I understand why we’re attached to it. We spent most of the 20th century building all that shit, and squandered most our wealth on it. It’s comfortably familiar, even if it’s actually a miserable environment for everyday life. But none of those monetary and psychological investments negate the fact that suburbia has outlived its limited and rather perverse usefulness.
We’re so far from having any intelligent public debate about these issues that the events now spooling out will completely blindside the nation.

"No Breakfast, Better Government."

Kelly Gallaher:
"The divide in Mt. Pleasant isn't partisan, it's personal. A group of friends who work for and with each other. Hiring family, neighbors and friends - working to enrich each other - using your tax dollars."

[Ed. - Check out the video embedded in the above link.] 

"Most Brutal Chimpanzee Society Ever Discovered | Rise of the Warrior Apes"

Happy April Fool's Day!

Happy April Fool's Day!

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!