Saturday, April 30, 2011

Approaching Storm

All I have as far as information on this photo is this:

Credit: This ship is approaching a severe localized storm at sea and is about to experience tumultuous conditions.

Information about the Latest Turkish Internet Ban

Turkey moves to ban domain names containing indecent language

Istanbul - Critics said thousands of websites face being shut down in Turkey after the country's Telecommunications Directorate ruled against the use of 138 words deemed indecent or provocative in internet domain names, local media reported Friday.

'According to our research, we have determined that 120,000 websites in Turkey will be closed,' Tacidar Seyhan, a member of parliament from the opposition Republican Peoples' Party (CHP), told Milliyet newspaper.

The telecommunications directorate notified web-hosting companies Thursday that websites should not be assigned domain names that contain the prohibited words and that existing sites whose domain names contain any of the words would be shut down.

The list includes suggestive words such as 'escort,' 'naked' and 'nubile' but also a number of seemingly innocuous words like 'homemade,' 'beat' and 'fire.'

The word 'gay' and its Turkish spelling, 'gey,' as well as the Turkish word for 'forbidden' are also on the list, as is the number 31, which is Turkish slang for masturbation.

Internet freedom activists called the ruling ludicrous, saying it would also lead to the closure of many websites that contain nothing indecent or objectionable.

Domain names with the word 'sanal' ('virtual'), for example, could be shut down because they contained the banned word 'anal.'

Turkey has drawn criticism in recent years for having blocked YouTube and numerous other websites over politically sensitive messages or because they included content deemed threatening to public morality.

Human rights watchdog Freedom House rated Turkey only 'partly free' in a recent report on internet freedom, noting that more than 5,000 websites are estimated to be blocked in the country.


From Hürriyet Daily News

…“Providing a list and urging companies to take action to ban sites that contain the words and threatening to punish them if they don't has no legal grounds,” Yaman Akdeniz, a cyber-rights activist and a law professor at Istanbul Bilgi University, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review in a phone interview Friday. Akdeniz said no authority could decide that an action was illegal just by association.

The TİB sent a list of 138 words Thursday to Turkish web-hosting firms, urging them to ban Internet domains that include such words. The directive leaves tens of thousands of Turkish websites facing the risk of closure.

“Hosting companies are not responsible for monitoring for illegal activities; their liability arises only if they take no action after being notified by the TİB – or any other party – and are asked to remove certain illegal content,” Akdeniz said.

The TİB cited the Internet ban law number 5651 and related legislation as the legal ground for its request. The law, however, does not authorize firms to take action related to banning websites.

“The hosting company is not responsible for controlling the content of the websites it provides domains to or researching/exploring on whether there is any illegal activity or not. They are responsible for removing illegal content when they are informed and there is the technical possibility of doing so,” according to Article 5 of the law.

On Thursday, following the heated debate surround the “forbidden” list, the TİB said the list was sent to hosting firms for informatory purposes. But the statement further confused the situation, as the body threatened companies with punishment if they did not obey its directions regarding the list in the first letter sent to service providers.

“The TİB’s press statement is not clear, nor is it satisfactory,” Akdeniz said, adding that it was a pity the directorate was still standing behind the list.

The complete list hasn't been published yet but here are some words on the list of "banned words"




Hayvan ('Animal'),

Baldiz (sister-in-law'),


Buyutucu ('enlarger'),

Ciplak ('nude'),

Citir ('crispy'),


Etek ('skirt'),



Ateşli ('passionate'),

Frikik ('freekick'),


Gey ('gay'),


Gizli ('confidential'),





İtiraf ('confession'),

Liseli ('high school student'),

Nefes ('breath'),




Sarisin ('blond'),

Sicak ('hot'),

Sisman ('overweight'),


Yasak ('forbidden'),

Yerli ('local'),

Yetiskin ('adult')

Friday, April 29, 2011

Republican Faust: The Rise and Fall of Mike Connell -2

In the first part of this three part series ( , we saw rise of Mike Connell, the tech-wizard for the GOP. Connell became an important strategist for many Republican politicians and eventually rose to prominence in the Bush-Cheney presidency. In an ongoing trial in Ohio regarding the possible rigging of the 2004 presidential election results for that state, Connell has been coaxed into giving a deposition about what actually took place.

Taking the Fall

After agreeing initially to give critical information in a vote-rigging case in Ohio, Connell, for whatever reasons, apparently had a change of heart and hesitated. Given the potential disastrous consequences of defying his former bosses, it is perhaps understandable that he should have second thoughts.

Back in Ohio courts, King Lincoln Bronzeville v. Blackwell was an ongoing case filed on August 31, 2006 and dragged on and on. The former Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell the defendant, was accused of "having conspired to deprive and continue to deprive Ohioans of their right to vote and have, in fact, deprived and continue to deprive Ohioans of their right to vote by, in a selective and discriminatory manner, unfairly allocate election resources (such as voting machines), institute a system of provisional ballots, purge voter registrations, and broke the bi-partisan chain of custody ballots."

Clifford Bryan, writing for, outlines the charges in the case.

It has since been alleged that at several points on election night, the Ohio secretary of state’s official Web site, which was responsible for reporting the results, was being hosted by a server in a basement in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Blackwell had hired a company called GDC Limited to run the IT systems, which had subcontracted the job to Michael Connell’s company, GovTech. Connell had in turn sub-contracted SMARTech, an IT firm based in Chattanooga, to act, it was claimed, as a backup server.

“By looking at the URLs on the Web site, we discovered that there were three points on election night when SMARTech’s computers took over from the secretary of state,” says Arnebeck [ the prosecuting attorney of the case]. “It is during that period that we believe votes were manipulated.”

“We decided to try to bring a racketeering claim against Rove under Ohio law,” says Cliff Arnebeck, “We detected a pattern of criminal activity, and we identified Connell as a key witness, as the implementer for Rove.”

It is worth a moment to stop and take a closer look at Clifford Arnebeck. Like Stephen Spoonamore, the IT specialist that investigated the technical aspects of the electronic vote rigging, Arnebeck was also a Republican and had, in the past, even done some volunteer work for the Republican Party. The son of a postal worker, Arnebeck attended Wesleyan College and Harvard Law School. In 1990 he challenged incumbent Congressman Chalmers Wylie in the GOP primary, but lost badly. Since that time, he became involved in groups that sought to reform the system, including setting term limits and methods for insuring honest elections. And like Spoonamore, Arnebeck saw this issue not as a partisan one but of an ethical issue.

Meanwhile in the summer of 2008, with the presidential election heating up, for Mike Connell, the noose was obviously tightening and events were beginning to take a life of their own. In an attempt to extricate himself from the world of politics, he had sold two of his businesses, including GovTech. He reportedly returned to his religious roots, attending Catholic Mass much more often.

The OhioNewsBureau reported in July of 2004, Attorney Arnebeck asked Nancy H. Rogers, the former dean of the law school at The Ohio State University and interim Attorney General, was asked to provide immunity protection services to Connell.

This request was prompted by information from a confidential source that Karl Rove had threatened that if Mike Connell didn't "take the fall" for cyber-rigging the 2004 election in Ohio, his wife, Heather, would be sued for lobbying law violations.

Clearly the White House was anxious about Connell's testimony and what it would undoubtedly reveal. Meanwhile, the question on everybody's mind was whether Connell would remain loyal to his bosses and possibly perjure himself or would he reveal all that he knew.

Even the attorneys prosecuting the case were unsure what he would do. Throughout the fall of 2008, his plane was being tracked by Arnebeck and his associates so they could serve him with a subpoena.

Here is a video clip of an interview with Arnebeck made in October 2008.

On October 8, 2008, the axe fell. Connell was served with his subpoena at College Park Airfield outside Washington, D.C. Under the terms of the supoena, he was ordered to produce all documents related to the case.

Connell was defiant when challenged. He responded by hiring three high-powered GOP-connected attorneys, including Bill Todd, former counsel to Bush/Cheney '04. Connell's attorneys filed a motion to quash the subpoena and an affidavit stating that his information is confidential.

Convinced that Connell had the vital information n the case, Arnebeck attempted to secure a court order to enforce the subpoena. The judge agreed and, on October 31, Mr. Connell, appearing before a federal judge in Ohio was ordered to testify under oath at a deposition on November 3rd, the day before the presidential election.

"A Really Nice Christmas Present"

What became of the Connell's sworn deposition? (Even online references are not easy to find.) It was a two-hour closed-door session in Cleveland. A report of the hearing comes from Ohio News. At the hearing, Connell was relaxed but not especially cooperative. Justice Solomon Oliver of the Northern District Court carefully limited the range of the questions that Arnebeck could ask.

For example, threats allegedly made by Rove were off-limits. Connell's lawyers were adamant that the suit was nothing more than a witch hunt. According to reporter John Michael Spinelli, the unimpressed judge advised the prosecution:

"I understand the theories, some of the theories of this case, and I understand some of the emotion around this 2004 election and other elections, but you are not going to win your case for 2004 with this deposition, not right now. And so I am just trying to be clear, you are not going to pack two and a half years of litigation into this deposition." He warned Arnebeck to stick to the issues discussed and not make up for lost time in a case that has very little to show for itself so far. "I can't say that any more strongly than I'm saying that to you now. So you are going to have to be reasonable, and you are going to have to stop at some point. There may be a day when you can come back, and there may be a day when you can follow up."

That day, the day to ask Connell follow-up questions, would never come. Within six weeks, Mike Connell would be dead.. and silent. It surely must have been a relief to many inside the White House.

As quoted in Simon Worrall's excellent article The Mysterious Death of Bush's Cyber-Guru, Connell’s younger sister, Shannon, says:

Mike had been deposed, but he hadn’t been called as a witness yet,” she says of the possibility that her brother was murdered. “He was incredibly loyal to the people he worked for, but he would never have lied under oath. For want of a better expression, I think they played him. His death would have been a really nice Christmas present for Rove and Cheney."

The Velvet Revolution Theory

Two weeks prior to the election of 2008, when it was still uncertain what Connell would or would not reveal in his deposition, Rove had been proclaiming that John McCain could win the ten deciding states and become president. McCain was confidently telling everyone that he would win with a surge in the wee hours of election night. McCain said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he can “guarantee” a win on Nov. 4 in a squeaker victory that won’t be clear until late that night. Of course, there's nothing particularly unusual or suspicious about a candidate having a strong sense of self-confidence, even when all the projections show him or her trailing behind.

Velvet Revolution has its own theory about what happened next.

Michael Connell was forced to appear before Solomon Oliver, a Clinton appointed Afro-American federal Judge in Cleveland. After Attorney Cliff Arnebeck accused Connell in open court of rigging elections for Karl Rove, the judge ordered Connell to submit to a sworn deposition 18 hours before the polls were to open. On Monday at noon, Connell was placed under oath and grilled about election fraud, Man in the Middle attacks, Trojan horse manipulations and threats from Rove.

And guess what happened? Connell didn't know a thing! He had no knowledge of any secret steps to change the vote-counts, in any past elections--or in the election to come. He stonewalled like a champion, denying everything.

It was a remarkable performance; but what was even more remarkable was the abrupt reversal, just hours later, by Karl Rove. Rove wrote on his blog late Monday that Obama would win by a landslide--even in those states he had previously predicted McCain would win.

In other words, Rove pulled the plug, because he felt the heat, and knew that using Connell to rig this election too would be too risky.

Manmade Emergencies

The most intriguing question isn't whether Connell helped to steal the elections of 2004 or whether he was silenced for threatening to reveal what he knew. The most interesting question isn't who or how it was done.

The most interesting question for future historians might be this: did the threat that Connell's deposition posed (and subsequent possible subpoenas) cause the power elite inside the upper echelons of the Republican party to have a re-think of their plan for the 2008 elections. And related to that question, what would have been the national reaction if McCain had won by the same slim margin that carried Bush to re-election back in 2004.

It is hard to know but if the Velvet Revolution's theory is true, then it is possible that the Republican administration had already made plans for widespread civil unrest as a result of the election result. Paul Joseph Watson, writing for Prison Planet, wrote back in September 2008,

U.S. troops returning from duty in Iraq will be carrying out homeland patrols in America from October 1st in complete violation of Posse Comitatus for the purposes of helping with “civil unrest and crowd control” – which could include dealing with unruly Americans after a complete economic collapse.

The article goes on the cite an Army Times report:

This shocking admission was calmly reported on September 8th by the Army Times website, which reports that from the beginning of next month the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team “Will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.”

The article notes that the deployment “marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.”

The purpose of the unit’s patrols includes helping “with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.”

Of course, this is speculation built upon speculation. Some have theorized that this troop deployment was in preparation for some kind of terrorist attack which might have been used to swing the election. Others have also postulated that the deployment of troops for crowd control was related to the economic meltdown and was used to intimidate the legislative branch into passing the unprecedented Bush bailout known as TARP, The Troubled Asset Relief Program, which cost the U.S. taxpayers as much as $300 billion.

Perhaps it served many purposes. We may, of course, never know the reasons behind the move or whether it is in any way related.

If, however, The Velvet Revolution theory is true, then, in the end, Connell's apparently worthless deposition, the only testimony he would ever give -- would have at least served one noble purpose. It helped to put a truly democratically-elected president in the White House.

The final installment of this series will cover the crash investigation, it flaws and will lay out the case for a conspiracy in the death of Connell.

To re-tweet. click on the pic below:


Spring Lilly

spring lilly

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tornadoes and Koch Industries: An Elegant Solution

by Nomadic Joe
 A Declaration of Emergency
Yesterday, tornadoes swept through the south of the United States, killing 128 people in Alabama and 32 others in Mississippi and leaving long trails of destruction. Homes and businesses were left as piles of rubble. Towns were plowed down the middle and many residents, having lost all they owned, felt lucky just to be alive. My sympathies go out to the survivors and my condolences to the families that have lost loved ones.
This all came after a week in which storms have torn through a half a dozen states in what meteorologists have called the deadliest season in nearly four decades. Republican Governor Robert Bentley of Alabama declared a state of emergency and said he was deploying 2,000 National Guardsman.
Similarly, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour declared a state of emergency for 39 counties. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who lost loved ones or property in these devastating spring storms,” Gov. Barbour said. “A large section of our state has been impacted, and our emergency responders are doing an excellent job in helping communities. This State of Emergency declaration will allow the state to offer aid to begin recovery efforts.”
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency coordinates with the Federal emergency Management Agency, better known as FEMA in administering disaster recovery. Federal sources contributes at least 75% of damage repair costs while while state and local entities share the remaining 25 percent or less of repair costs.
Nobody can blame the governor for requesting money when it is urgently needed. However, there's a ugly, hypocritical side to Barbour's requests. Like numerous Republican politicians of late, Gov. Haley Barbour last March chastised Obama for "limitless government" and out of control spending. His stand against Big Government has made him something of a "politician of note" in the Republican party.
Mind you this is the same governor who easily took $15 billion in aid following Hurricane Katrina, which critics of Barbour have charged, was mishandled. Timothy J. Burger, writing for Bloomberg notes, the use of those funds has raised many questions.
No evidence has surfaced that Barbour violated the law; at the same time, the pattern that emerges from public records and interviews raises ``many red flags,'' said Ken Boehm, chairman of the National Legal and Policy Center, a watchdog group in Falls Church, Virginia, that investigates the investments of government officials. ``At the minimum, the public is entitled to a full explanation of the facts,'' he said.
Exactly what Boehm is referring to is illustrated in an article from the website, The National Corruption Index :
The wife of Barbour’s nephew, Rosemary Barbour, was one of the biggest Mississippi-based winners of Katrina contracts. Her company, Alacatec LLC, picked up nearly $300 million in contracts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the General Services Administration, the bulk of it for trailer maintenance. The FBI began an investigation in 2007.
Of course, there's' nothing particularly remarkable about a politician being hypocritical. Of course, in Babour's case, in terms of hypocrisy, it is a little above the usual standard.
Shall We Talk About The Weather?
But first of all, let's take a small step back and examine what on earth is going on with the weather. Most meteorologists have already declared this year to be something special in terms of storm activity and indeed, records seem to show an overall increase in the number of tornadoes from decade to decade. A 2011 preliminary count from all National Weather Service reports for the month of April is an eye-opening 654 tornadoes, compared to 2010 count of 139 and 2009 count of 226.
So what is the cause? NOAA 's answer is somewhat guarded.
Does "global warming" cause tornadoes? No. Thunderstorms do. The harder question may be, "Will climate change influence tornado occurrence?" The best answer is: We don't know. According to the National Science and Technology Council's Scientific Assessment on Climate Change, "Trends in other extreme weather events that occur at small spatial scales--such as tornadoes, hail, lightning, and dust storms--cannot be determined at the present time due to insufficient evidence."
Many researchers feel the evidence suggests a more direct influence.
Research Meteorologists found that the temperature changes brought on by global warming are significant enough to cause an increase in the occurrence of severe storms.
"What we found is that increases in human-induced greenhouse gases will lead to more frequent severe storms in the United States," Jeff Trapp, Ph.D., a meteorologist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., said.
Based on the models, the researchers believe the number of days that favor the formation of severe storms could more than double in places like Atlanta and New York. These added storms will likely hit areas during already heavy storm seasons and extend wet weather seasons.
"This obviously impacts people in terms of potential hazards to their life and property," Dr. Trapp said.
Purdue University scientists are not alone in that assessment. NASA scientists have developed a new climate model that indicates that the most violent severe storms and tornadoes may become more common as Earth's climate warms.
"..[T]he model suggests that the most violent severe storms and tornadoes may become more common with warming.'
Clouding the Issue
This kind of research isn't universally accepted, especially by climate change deniers. According to a Greenpeace report, one of the largest private corporations in the country has spent a veritable fortune in undermining climate change research by funding organizations that spread inaccurate and misleading information about climate science and clean energy policies.
This report documents roughly 40 climate denial and opposition organizations receiving Koch foundation grants in recent years, including:
More than $5 million to Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFP) for its nationwide “Hot Air Tour” campaign to spread misinformation about climate science and opposing clean energy and climate legislation
• More than $1 million to the Heritage Foundation, a mainstay of misinformation on climate and environmental policy issues.
• Over $1 million to the Cato Institute, which disputes the scientific evidence behind global warming, questions the rationale for taking climate action, and has been heavily involved in spinning the recent ClimateGate story.
• $800,000 to the Manhattan Institute, which has hosted Bjorn Lomborg twice in the last two years. Lomborg is a prominent media spokesperson who challenges and attacks policy measures to address climate change.
• $365,000 to Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE) which advocates against taking action on cliimate change because warming is “inevitable” and expensive to address.
Additionally the report cites the tremendous political power that the Koch brothers have used to defeat carbon-limiting regulatory legislation, through direct federal lobbying and campaign contributions.
• Spent $37.9 million from 2006 to 2009 for direct lobbying on oil and energy issues, outspent only by ExxonMobil ($87.8 million) and Chevron Corporation ($50 million).
• Spent $5.74 million in PAC money for candidates, committees, and campaign expenditures since the 2006 election cycle.
• Contributed at least $270,800 to federal political party committees since the 2006 election cycle.
Flexing Muscles
It shouldn't surprise anybody that Koch Industries should be willing to invest a fortune to derail any legislation that might negatively affect its ability to do business, much of which involves the petro-chemical sector.
Koch Industries would certainly have a lot to lose if carbon emission industries were more carefully regulated.
According to SourceWatch, for example, Koch Carbon trades and transports petroleum coke, coal, cement, pulp and paper, sulfur and other commodities, the Koch Exploration Company acquires, develops and trades petroleum and natural gas properties in the United States, Canada and Brazil. Flint Hills Resources operate crude oil refineries in Alaska, Minnesota, and Texas and petrochemical plants in Illinois, Michigan and Texas. The Koch Pipeline Company owns and operates approximately 4,000 miles of pipelines used to transport crude oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas liquids and chemicals while the Koch Alaska Pipeline Company owns an approximate 3 percent interest in the Trans Alaska Pipeline System. Koch Industries also owns a 28% interest in the Colonial Pipeline Company which it describes as the "owner and operator of the world’s largest-volume refined products pipeline.
That's capitalism in action and with an estimated of $100 billion (2008 figures) Koch Industries can afford to flex its muscles.
And another way that the Koch brothers have flex their political muscle is through the funding of political organizations like Americans for Prosperity (mentioned above) which has been, among other duties, useful in campaigns against any legislation involving cap and trade or carbon emissions.
Purporting to be a grassroots group, AFP, founded and chaired by David Koch, is the "third largest recipient of funding from the Koch Family Foundations, behind the Cato Institute and the George Mason University Foundation,according to DeSmogBlog.
AFP is a non-profit organization who does not to disclose its donors.  However, the Media Transparency project shows from 2003-2006, Americans for Prosperity received $1,181,000 from conservative foundations.  $1 million of that funding was given by the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation--one of the Koch Family Foundations.
In the past years, the AFP has organized various Tea Party events throughout the nation. Koch was reported to have said at a Americans for Prosperity Conference in 2009 that in creating AFP:
"'we envisioned a mass movement, a state-based one, but national in scope, of hundreds of thousands of American citizens from all walks of life standing up and fighting for the economic freedoms that made our nation the most prosperous society in history.'"
In other words, the birth of the Tea Party.
A Fair Solution
Last year there was a string of weather related disasters, such as flooding in Nashville, tornadoes in the Midwest, extensive blizzards throughout the nation and powerful hurricanes in the southern states. The problem is simple: If Tea Party members wish to limit the role of big government and also wish to reduce taxes, who then is going to pay for clean-up and rebuilding? Not to mention preparedness training and search and rescue. Who is going to build the levies and the dikes that keep the waters back? Who is going to keep the snow off the streets if nobody is paying taxes?
Fear not, I come with what I consider a brilliant and fair solution to this problem. Why shouldn't Koch Industries pay for the clean up and rebuilding? The Koch Brothers do not seem at all hesitant about spending their fortunes on lobbying against climate change and cap and trade; they don't seem to worry about the vast sums of money for setting up fake grass roots organizations, or sponsoring phony science. After all, they are the ones that are making enormous sums of money by dumping more and more carbon into the environment which seems to be causing more and more dangerous weather.
Let's just drop the middle men. The government officials, the regulatory busy-bodies, and the corrupt politicians asking for their piece of the action.
With that problem solved, let's take a moment and return to Mississippi Governor Barbour. By decrying the sins of Big Government while happily taking federal emergency funds again and again, Barbour seems to want his cake and eat it too. but that's not all of it.
During the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill Barbour said he was not sure it was a good idea for the federal government to make BP put $20 billion into escrow to compensate victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Barbour said that BP needed to use its money to drill oil wells and produce revenue.
So, making the government pay for cleaning up tornadoes and hurricanes is okay, even while you are condemning Big Government spending.. but making oil companies clean up after their own spill is a question?
Barbour raised significant amounts in campaign contributions from the industry, and from 1999 to 2003, was a lobbyist for various energy interests. Even as oil was touching Mississippi shores in the summer of 2010, Barbour downplayed the effects of the catastrophic spill. A ThinkProgress review of IRS documents revealed that with Barbour at the helm, the RGA received over $5 million in contributions from the oil and gas industry – including four of the Big Five oil companies – in just one year:
• $1,000,000 from David Koch, $25,000 from Koch Industries
• $625,000 from Exxon Mobil
• Over $150,000 from Chevron
• $50,000 from Shell
• $25,000 from ConocoPhillips
So, Koch Brothers, let's get those angry Tea Party members out there, let them burn off some of that anti-government fury. I imagine many of the people who have lost everything already belong to the Tea Party.
Just like Michele Bachmann, that popular Americans for Prosperity event speaker, said, “Do you see what we can do when we all work together?”

To retweet this post:!/ANomadicView/status/63674235305992192

Storm over the Canyons

Storm Clouds, Grand Canyon National Park

Photograph by Michael Nichols, National Geographic

Storm clouds clear to reveal frosted cliffs near Point Hansbrough in Arizona's Grand Canyon National Park.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Enough Already

For an analysis of the other documentation, see

In the end, I doubt very much whether this will convince some people, because after all, the president will still be a black man and he will still have been elected by a majority of the citizens. For some people that fact  alone will always stick in their craw.

Of course, now the tables can be turned. Let's see, Palin's graduation for university degree  in erm.. journalism. And her son's birth certificate- which will put to rest all those rumors about the faked pregnancy. Let's see Michele Bachmann's law degree from William and Mary. Because in both of those cases, it really defies credulity.

Hello Anatolia

Valanatis, a friend of mine has developed an interesting film proposal and is looking for support. He is looking to raise only $5000, which for an independent film is "peanuts." (a filmmaking term). I hope you'll take a look at this concept video and tell me what you think.

Excellent Advice


This is something I probably needed to learn. Perhaps I knew it but it can be hard to apply to each day of your life. But it IS easier when you have more free time.

Working too much, especially for somebody who doesn't respect you, can really warp your perspective- making a lot of wonderful little/big moments slip right through your hands.

That, and television.

Spring Wisteria

Painting, Wisteria, Impressionism
Here's a digital painting I made from a photograph. This trellis was in front of an apartment building near my home.
If you'd like to see more of my artwork, you can find more on my other page:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Attack of Banana Man

Deputies arrest man in banana costume with shotgun

By Paige Dickerson
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES -- A man in a child's banana costume and a friend were arrested after a string of events led Clallam County Sheriff's deputies to corner their car on Old Olympic Highway on Tuesday evening.

Carlton Jeffery Kohnert, 21, who is apparently in the Marine Reserve, was arrested for investigation of reckless endangerment, aiming or discharging a weapon and indecent exposure, said Clallam County Sheriff's Sgt. Randy Pieper.

Police believe Kohnert -- fully costumed in the yellow banana costume -- exposed himself to a woman at the Port Angeles Wendy's restaurant and drove through Four Seasons Ranch brandishing a shotgun.

Anthony Marks Maybury, 21, was arrested for investigation of reckless endangerment. An 18-year-old woman was in the car with them, but Pieper did not name her because she was not arrested nor is she thought to be involved in any crimes.

"The banana costume has been seized and put into evidence," Pieper said.

"[Kohnert] couldn't really tell us why he was in the costume.

"All we know is he was drinking earlier in the day, but he didn't really have a reason for the costume."

The Port Angeles Police Department received the first report about a costumed man at about 6 p.m., after he was seen at Wendy's, Pieper said.

After leaving Wendy's in a Dodge Stratus, Kohnert -- the costumed man -- and Maybury drove to Saar's Market on U.S. Highway 101 on the east side of Port Angeles, Pieper said.

"They then were called in for a car doing a burnout -- in other words pulling 360s in the Saar's Market parking lot," Pieper said.

"They did not, it appears, get out at Saar's, though."

After leaving Port Angeles, the group made a stop at Four Seasons Ranch, where Kohnert -- still dressed in the banana costume -- got out, brandished a shotgun and began yelling, Pieper said.

"We believe he was yelling something or other about white supremacy," Pieper said.

That last sentence, I take it, was the punch line. Never one to leave well enough alone, I searched for a little bit more on Banana man and found this.

Carlton Kohnert, American Hero, Accused of Exposing Himself and Brandishing Shotgun All While Wearing Child's Banana Costume

By Caleb Hannan

Carlton Kohnert is living the American dream. According to his Facebook page, the Sequim native is young (21), engaged to be married and loves his life in the Marine Corps. (Listed under his favorite quotes is, "If grass hoppers had machineguns, birds wouldnt fuck with them.")

Kohnert also allegedly enjoys a different sort of past-time:dressing up in a little kid's banana costume and wreaking havoc.

carlton kohnert.jpg

Carlton Kohnert, seen here in something other than a banana costume.

​Port Angeles police first got a call about a man in a banana suit around 6 p.m. last night. The caller was at a Wendy's, where she said Kohnert had just exposed himself to a customer.

Next came a call from a local department store, where Kohnert and his buddy were apparently doing 360s in the parking lot in a Dodge Stratus. The final emergency call came shortly after from a local ranch, where Kohnert -- still in a banana suit, mind you -- allegedly got out of his car holding a shotgun and started talking some gibberish about white supremacy.

We're not sure who delivered the rebuttal to this persuasive argument. But sources say Kohnert's contention of intellectual superiority could have easily been disputed had anyone bothered to simply point at him and say, "I rest my case."

Eventually, Clallam County sheriff's deputies cornered Kohnert and his buddy and arrested the Marine for investigation of reckless endangerment, aiming or discharging a weapon and indecent exposure.

"[Kohnert] couldn't really tell us why he was in the costume," said one of the arresting deputies. "All we know is he was drinking earlier in the day, but he didn't really have a reason for the costume."

Quit digging officer, you already struck oil. Looking for logic in this case is going to leave you a very frustrated man. I think you've got all the answers you're ever going to need in that "drinking earlier in the day" comment.

Is this some kind of weird form of war-related post traumatic shock syndrome? You know, it's sad and quite a comment on my own weirdness, but the only thing that absolutely shocked me was the fact it was a child's banana costume. Go figure..

500 Years Of Female Portraits In Western Art

There is something quite hypnotic about this video clip. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Arrival of Spring

Spring, Paintings, Impressionism

Courtesy of Nomadic View Studios.

Vivian Maier Monday-2

Last week I wrote a post about Vivian Maier and the strange story of her life, her work and its discovery.

Here are two more photos from her collection (which continues to grow every month.)

If I am not mistaken, both of photographs were taken on the Staten Island Ferry in New York City. I took that ferry very nearly every day when I was staying in New York a few years ago.

To retweet:!/ANomadicView/status/62410968285708288

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Strange things afoot..

April 24 2011

On my homepage, I keep a widget for tracking earthquakes in my area. Why? Well, I guess I am just that type of person. Anyway, since it has been watching for almost two years or so, I have never seen as much activity as I have in the past few days. Usually there are one or two points on the map.

However, the points you see here are minor earthquakes in the last 24 hours!! Now most of the blue dots are far beyond what most people notice, Magnitude 2.-3 or so. The green points, however, are stronger, in the 3.-4 range. Here's a wider view.April 24 2011.2

Although it looks unusual to me, based on what the map usually looks like, I couldn't find any scientific opinion on this latest news. I will keep looking. If anybody reads this and hears of anything, could you please forward it to me? Thanks.

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In a single generation, The Turkish leader, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was able to transform the Turkish nation ravaged by war into a stable and strong country. One of his best achievements- which in turn allowed even greater development- was to invest in improving education for all citizens of the Republic. Developing a strong educated population, in his opinion, was a patriotic duty.

"Education," he told his people, "must be apart from all kinds of superstition and alien thoughts; it must be noble, national and patriotic."

Education was not merely a matter of personal development, in the eyes of Ataturk. Without education, no nation can flourish economically.

Our principle is that national education shall be based on single school and secularism. Our goal in education is to raise citizens that shall increase the economic power and civilization and social value of the national society

Unfortunately in the United States, the general attitude among conservative Republican politicians has devolved into something quite different. Check out this information from

  • The Republican governor of Indiana would have you believe that teachers are the “privileged elite.” Gov. Daniels believes that teachers and other public-sector employees enjoy “feather-bedded payrolls, very expensive salaries and benefits.”
  • In Ohio, a bill dramatically curbing the rights of teachers to collectively bargain for pensions, benefits, and an array of other contract items has just passed the state Senate.
  • In Tennessee, teachers statewide are rallying this weekend to protest bills pushed by Republican legislators that would abolish the rights of teachers’ unions to negotiate. (Fun fact: Tennessee teachers are the 9th worst paid in the country, with NAEP math and reading scores at 42 and 33 out of 50, respectively.)

    From the floor of the state Senate, tea party Republican Jim Summerville recently warned Tennessee's teachers to mind their own business where education reform is concerned.

    "Make no mistake,'' he said, "the final responsibility is ours — and we are warriors.''

    Lest his point be missed, Sen. Summerville added, "We will bend public education to our awe, or break it all to pieces.''

  • In Alabama, a law passed by the Republican-controlled legislature in December has upset the Alabama Education Association so much that the AEA has filed a lawsuit that seeks to prevent the bill from taking effect. The new law would block teachers and school employees from having the state automatically deduct AEA membership dues from their paychecks. The AEA argues that no legitimate government interest is served by the prohibition, and that the organization was singled out by Republican lawmakers because of the organization's tendency to support Democrats.

And there's more…

  • New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s claims that teacher pensions are bankrupting the state. Meanwhile, Christie now says he wants to cut income taxes for the rich.
  • Under the guise of solving Wisconsin’s budget problems, Walker has declared war on public-sector unions. He sponsored legislation that would cut the salaries of state and local public employees, slash their benefits, prohibit them from bargaining for anything but wages, force a yearly vote of union members, and allow management to fire workers who try to form a union. He’s also threatened to call out the National Guard to take the jobs of any employees who refuse to comply with his new rules.
  • North Carolina’s Virginia Foxx, who is noted for bizarre statements on the House floor and has publicly asserted that federal funding for education is unconstitutional. Incidentally, Foxx chairs the subcommittee on higher education. Other committee members include Tim Walberg of Michigan and Joe Heck of Nevada, both of whom support abolishing the U.S. Department of Education..

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Refrigerator Cat Dance

Time for some saccharine. Ready, steady… indulge yourself!!

Cute…okay, I'll say it.  but, niggly-picky person that I am, I object to the term "praying." When did praying becoming begging? I hope this isn't another intrusion of religion into our lives. Praying should be about appreciating and giving thanks and not pleading or deal making with God.

Well, rants aside,  I don't think this is what's really going here. This cat seems to be demonstrating how to open the fridge door, thinking, "Put that damn camera down and feed me!"

The Curse of the Crying Boy

In my previous blog, one of my loyal readers mentioned a famous postcard once seen all over Turkey, known as "The Crying Boy." For some reason, I somehow missed seeing it. I decided however to make amends CryBoyfor this oversight by offering this copy with an accompanying background story.

David Clarke, who lectures on investigative journalism at Sheffield Hallam University, has written of the strange urban legend that has grown up around the likeness of the boy with the sad face in an article for Fortean Times, an online magazine that focuses on the bizarre and mysterious.

The Curse of the Crying Boy’ appeared out of the blue one morning in 1985. The Sun, at that time the most popular tabloid newspaper in the English-speaking world, published on page 13 of its 4 September edition a story headlined: “Blazing Curse of the Crying Boy”. It told how Ron and May Hall blamed a cheap painting of a toddler with tears rolling down his face for a fire which gutted their terraced council home in Rotherham, a mining town in South Yorkshire. The blaze broke out in a chip-pan in the kitchen of their home of 27 years and spread rapidly. But although the downstairs rooms of the house were badly damaged, the framed print of the Crying Boy escaped unscathed. It continued to hang there, surrounded by a scene of devastation.

Normally a chip-pan blaze would merit nothing more than a couple of paragraphs in a local newspaper. What transformed this story into a page lead in Britain’s leading tabloid was the intervention of Ron Hall’s brother Peter, a firefighter based in Rotherham. A colleague of Peter’s, station officer Alan Wilkinson, said he knew of numerous other cases where prints of the ‘Crying Boy’ had turned up, undamaged, in the ruins of homes destroyed by fires.

Accompanying the article was a photograph of a ‘Crying Boy’, with the caption: “Tears for fears… the portrait that firemen claim is cursed.” The firemen concerned had not actually used the word ‘cursed’, but nevertheless the newspaper report had helped to give the story a certain level of credibility. The paper added that an estimated 50,000 ‘Crying Boy’ prints, signed ‘G Bragolin’, had been sold in branches of British department stores, particularly in the working class areas of northern England. Examples could be seen hanging in the front rooms of family homes across the nation, and one story even suggested a quarter of a million had been sold.

Of course if there were so many copies of the painting scattered about then it is hardly much of a coincidence. I mean, it is like saying Madonna music is cursed because wherever and whenever it is played, something terrible happens. That might be redundant, I suppose.

There's also a psychological dimension to this as well. If you have suddenly lost everything you own in a fire, all your belongings reduced to a smoldering pile of black bits, you are bound to be rather shell-shocked. And then to see that the only thing untouched was a cheap painting you bought in a garage sale for a couple of quid, (I am quick with the local jargon, what?) it is only natural you would turn to the supernatural to explain it. And you might feel cursed if that's all you have left.

David Clarke wisely attributes the so-called curse as merely a ploy of tabloids to "out-hoax" one another. This was probably before "Bat Boy"  (also known as "Edgar") a completely manufactured  product of the The Weekly World News. (Incidentally, the story of Bat Boy was turned into an Off-Broadway musical, Bat Boy: The Musical.  Songs included: “Another Dead Cow,” “Hold Me Bat Boy,” and “Let Me Walk Among You.” That's not a joke, by the way.)

But I digress. The Curse of the Crying Boy seems pretty plausible- mundane even- in comparison to the carryings-on the Bat Boy, who seemed to rear his shiny grey head in nearly every issue back in the early 1990s. Anyway, back to the curse,

On 5 September 1985, The Sun ran its follow-up, reporting that scores of “horrified readers claiming to be victims of the ‘Curse of the Crying Boy’ had flooded [the paper] with calls… they all feared they were jinxed by having the print of a tot with tears pouring down his face in their homes.” Readers were left with an overwhelming impression of a supernatural link, reinforced by the use of words like ‘curse’, ‘jinx’, ‘feared’ and ‘horrified’.

Typical of these additional stories was that told by Dora Mann, from Mitcham, Surrey, who claimed her house was gutted just six months after she bought a print of the painting. “All my paintings were destroyed – except the one of the Crying Boy,” she claimed. Sandra Kaske, of Kilburn, North Yorkshire, said that she, her sister-in-law, and a friend had all suffered disastrous fires since they acquired copies. Another family, from Nottingham, blamed the print for a blaze which had left them homeless. Brian Parks, whose wife and three children needed treatment for smoke inhalation, said he had destroyed his copy after returning from hospital to find it hanging – undamaged, of course – on the blackened wall of his living room.

As the stories accumulated, new details emerged that encouraged the idea that possession of a print put owners at risk of fire or serious injury. One woman from London claimed she had seen her print “swing from side to side” on the wall, while another from Paignton said her 11-year-old son had “caught his private parts on a hook” after she bought the pict­ure. Mrs Rose Farrington of Preston, in a letter published by The Sun, wrote: “Since I bought it in 1959, my three sons and my husband have all died. I’ve often wondered if it had a curse.”

Another reader reported an attempt to destroy two of the prints by fire – only to find, to her horror, that they would not burn. Her claim was tested by security guard Paul Collier, who tossed one of his two prints onto a bonfire. Despite being left in the flames for an hour, it was not even scorched. “It was frightening – the fire wouldn’t even touch it,” he told The Sun. “I really believe it is jinxed. We feel doubly at risk with two of these in the house [and] we are determined to get rid of them.”

Comedian Steve Punt investigated the story of the curse for a BBC program in 2010 and made a surprising discovery. Wikipedia supplies us with the crucial findings.

The conclusion reached by the programme, following testing at the Building Research Establishment is that the prints were treated with some varnish containing fire repellant, and that the string holding the painting to the wall would be the first to perish, resulting in the painting landing face down on the floor and thus being protected.

Interesting stuff and I owe a special thanks to my friends for bringing this odd little tale of the curse of the crying boy to my full attention.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

More Turkish Soldier Postcards

If you don't know, one of my hobbies is to collect rather tacky or strange postcards. Nothing intentional, thank you. American probably has a near monopoly on this but Turkey has its share too. You have to look for them now because they are disappearing fast.

Ah, yes, One of my favorite genres of old Turkish postcards. The soldier postcards. Here are two gallant men in green on a day pass, trying with limited success, to make contact with a person of the opposite gender. The odd posture is perhaps meant to suggest they have been walking and have suddenly, unexpected looked into each other's eyes and found love. Unfortunately it comes across as a merely mild failure of gravity. love those Jackie O glasses. I have a pair actually but mine are white with real diamonds on the frame!Turkish Soldier Postcard funnyBecause of problems with the printing process this postcard came off looking like a 3D attempt. Girls, check out those shoes! And that skirt. I suspect that the soldier's odd pose, hand clutching air, was supposed to allow for a rose to be clumsily superimposed, Either that, or he is challenging her to an arm wrestle. funny Turkish Soldier Postcard

Here is the first installment of my Turkish soldier postcard theme.

More of these shall be forthcoming.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Republican Faust: The Rise and Fall of Mike Connell - 1

Blunt Force
At about 6 p.m. on Friday December 19, 2008 a single-engine 1997 Piper Saratoga aircraft, with only the pilot aboard, crashed into a residential area in Uniontown, Ohio as it was preparing to land at Akron-Canton airport. Upon arriving to the scene, fire crews found only burning wreckage of the plane scattered between homes on Charolais Street. The pilot had been thrown upon impact and had died instantly of massive blunt force trauma, his belongings scattered in the yards.
First responders arrived on the scene immediately after the crash. Even then, irregularities began. Simon Worrall in an article The Mysterious Death of Bush's Cyber-Guru, writes of those first minutes:
Capt. Lorin Geisner of the Greentown Fire Department was the first person to arrive at the scene. “We received a 911 call, so we contacted the tower and asked what size plane it was and how many souls were on board,” he recalls. “But we were informed that the tower was in lockdown and that no information was available.”
This was to be the first of many abnormalities in a case that would send shock waves through the blogosphere with speculations of sabotage and foul play. In the bewildering reality-bending world of conspiracy theories, the events that surround the Connell crash belong in a class all their own.


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