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Person-Of-Interest, Part Deux

Those of you who know me, or who have read this blog at any length, know I love TV, movies, etc.  In spite of this, I’ve come late to the table on many popular shows (original Star Trek, Firefly/Serenity to name a couple) and am now dogged by the idea that anything I truly enjoy is doomed to be canceled.

Person-Of-Interest, for example.

Here is a show with interesting characters, good acting and an engaging theme with caught my interest a few years ago.

The government (and others) are spying on us ALL through public surveillance cameras, traffic cameras, ATMs, personal computers, security systems, cellular telephones ad infinitum, and crunching the data to use for their ‘purposes’ (propaganda, ‘nudging’, marketing, politics).

The lead actor (Jim Caviezel) who plays a spec-ops former CIA guy in the show, even took it upon himself to train with Navy Seals near his home to learn realistic weapon handling and unarmed combat techniques.

Sounds fantastic, right? (from the root word fantasy)

Now, approaching the delayed beginning of Season Five, we’ve been told this will be a truncated season (13 episodes) starting later this year, and probably the last.

Damn.

I’ve never written a letter to a production company (as an adult – I remember writing Sky King when I was age 7 for an autograph!  :-)) but I am considering writing one now.

But, a comment by another fan of the show on an entertainment website may have said it all:

Well, maybe it is not the rating but the subject matter this show speaks about – not so much science fiction at all anymore. Better shut up.

Sigh.

poi

355 Mass Shootings – NOT!

From Freedom Writer’s Publishing, in part…

(…) So when the media started posting this ‘fact’ that there has been more mass shootings than days this year, I was suspect.  I saw the number 355 repeated over and over again.

If you pay attention to the news you probably saw this number too.  And it would be understandable if your natural reaction was ‘REALLY?!  That doesn’t seem right’.

It turns out, you are right.  That number is complete BS.

This article lays it out in perfect detail: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/04/opinion/how-many-mass-shootings-are-there-really.html?_r=0

Here’s the facts:

  • There have been 355 incidents where 4 or more people were killed under ANY circumstances
  • The vast majority of these cases were, of course, driven by gang violence, robbery, or domestic violence
  • The most common definition we use of a true ‘mass shooting’ is one where the victims are random, a shooter or shooter attack a public place, and the motive is political or religious

So how many true ‘mass shootings’ of random victims in a public place have there been this year?  

Four.  FOUR. 4!

And the common media fallacy that more guns means more gun deaths?  Completely false.

The chart below shows that there is ZERO correlation between gun ownership and murder rates.

eegky_fotor.jpg

In fact, according to this article below, gun deaths have been steadily declining for two decades.  

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/12/03/weve-had-a-massive-decline-in-gun-violence-in-the-united-states-heres-why/

So next time you see those ‘facts’ from the media, you know what to do.  File it right under ‘more mainstream media bullsh*!

Whack-A-Mole!

SO…

I awaken fairly early this morning, shower, dress, morning rituals…

And begin my day – with the Internet.

Specifically, my email accounts, news, almanac, and the Guffaw in AZ blog.

Or so I thought I would…

I’ve been having browser trouble, yet again.  And today it was scary!

20150326_090022

WARNING! Will Robinson.

I received warnings like this one using Google Chrome and Opera browsers.  I recently had switched back to Chrome, as Firefox had been giving me some different trouble!  After ‘the troubles’ this morning, I ran both Windows Defender and Malwarebytes (the pay-for version).  WD said there were NO problems, MWB recorded 22, which were then removed.

And Chrome and Opera still ran with ‘issues’.  So I used Comodo Dragon and even reverted to Firefox to get my email and blogging chores done.

Word on the ‘Net is Firefox is going away (so, by extension, will her cousins Comodo Dragon and Comodo Ice Dragon!)  Because Mozilla is lacking in support.  And Internet Explorer is pretty much a ghost, now.  I won’t even mention Netscape, AWOL since she was acquired by AOL.

So, the question remains:  Is there a secure, modern browser with which one may check email, blog and even surf the ‘Net?

Or is accessing the Internet forever to remain a game of whack-a-mole, with regard to bugs, viruses and glitches?

This inquiring mind wants to know

Truth IS Stranger Than Fiction

And certainly more disturbing!

Long-time readers of my blog may recall my mentioning the television show Chicago PD, wherein the fictional detectives of the CPD Intelligence Squad sometimes sequester persons they have arrested detained kidnapped and subject them to torture to obtain information to convict them, and/or locate other crimes/criminals.

Certainly not in accordance with current civilian criminal law procedures.  Do we remember Escobedo?  Miranda?

I pooh-poohed the program, another in the long list of shows from the Law & Order producers, as highly fictionalized.

Hopefully.

Then comes this news…

Yesterday (March 1, 2015), ABC7 Chicago released a fact sheet from the Chicago Police Department on the Homan Square facility. There have been recent claims that the police department is operating a “secretive facility in Homan Square on Chicago’s West Side where criminal suspects are denied basic rights.” The Chicago Police Department is denying any alleged abuse of suspects, saying the lack of signage on the building is because Homan Square is the “base of operations for officers working undercover assignments.”Source: http://www.glennbeck.com/2015/03/02/secret-facility-in-chicago-where-criminals-are-being-tortured-without-due-process/?utm_source=glennbeck&utm_medium=contentcopy_link
REALLY?  Our own little Lubyanka Prison in America’s Heartland?
Of course, I’m certain everything is on the up-and-up with this facility, and that there are no other such places in New York or Los Angeles.  Or Middle America U.S.A. (sarcasm)
Let’s see.  We have ‘Star Chamber’ courts (FISA courts).  Persons can be detained without knowing where they are, or access to legal counsel, and subjected to extra-legal interrogation techniques.  Apparently now at both the federal and state levels.  We can be molested while traveling to determine if we are impaired, or our citizenship status, or if we possess any kind of weapon. (Department of Homeland Security, Border Patrol).
And now THIS!
DOES ANYONE SEE A PROBLEM WITH THIS TREND, ‘CAUSE I DO!
h/t Glenn Beck

I Haz A Sad…

(Sorry. I don’t normally utilize geekspeak any more than I do ebonics – Guffaw)

America’s Vanishing Historic Movie Theaters

by David Rosenberg

During the golden age of Hollywood, the excitement of going to the movies wasn’t only about seeing the stars on screen. It also meant spending time at the neighborhood movie theater, an architecturally ornate center of the community’s social life.

Photographer Stefanie Klavens has long been interested in 20th-century American popular culture, specifically its aesthetic qualities, and has created a photographic series of iconic movie palaces titled “Celluloid Dreams.”(…)

Please click here to see the entire article and collection of fantastic photographs of days gone by.

Palace Theatre Los Angeles, California

h/t Slate

I love living in The Valley of The Sun (except when it’s over 107) but, old buildings here were built in the 1920’s (until back East when it could be the 1820’s – or earlier!  Sadly, many folks here seem to think progress means destroying anything over 50 years old – at least some things, like the Orpheum Theater, are designated historic sites and immune from destruction.

And they are still being used today!

Big Bro Is UBIQUITOUS!

Knuckledraggin’ My Life Away brings to us yet another governmental intrusion.  Can you imagine agents of the government taking your child’s fingerprints at school without your knowledge or permission?

Of course not.  They just upgraded the technology and went with it, anyway.

Parents in Polk County, Florida are outraged after learning that students in area schools had their irises scanned as part of a new security program without obtaining proper permission.

Students at three facilities — an elementary school, a grade school and a high school — had their eyeballs scanned earlier this month as part of a ‘student safety’ pilot program being carried out by Stanley Convergent Security Solutions.

“It simply takes a picture of the iris, which is unique to every individual,” Rob Davis, the school board’s senior director of support services, wrote home to parents in a letter dated May 23. “With this program, we will be able to identify when and where a student gets on the bus, when they arrive at their school location, when and what bus the student boards and disembarks in the afternoon. This is an effort to further enhance the safety of our students.The EyeSwipe-Nano is an ideal replacement for the card based system since your child will not have to be responsible for carrying an identification card,” he added.

Parents at Daniel Jenkins Academy, Bephune Academy and the Davenport School of the Arts received the letter from the school board on May 24 informing them of the EyeSwipe-Nano program and that their child’s principal should be notified if they don’t want their son or daughter to participate.
MORE BIG SIS S**T HERE

I can’t help but notice this keeps getting worse.  There is no privacy, the Fourth Amendment seems as outdated as a blunderbuss, they keep chipping away at the Second Amendment, and the First.

And government no longer asks permission in advance of their infringements, they just state you must notify THEM before they act.  As if they wouldn’t do it, anyway, regardless.

h/t wirecutter

Boy, It Just Doesn’t Stop!

I receive some diverse emails from varied sources.  Last night, not so much…

First from the National Association for Gun Rights:

legupdate

Dear Guffaw,

“You bet!”

That’s what Republican U.S. Senator Jeff Flake said when asked if he supports President Obama’s nationalized gun-control agenda. 1

To make matters worse, he’s now touting President Obama’s rhetoric when it comes to expanded background checks.

“All of us Republicans and Democrats recognize that we need more effective and broader background checks,” he recently told Politico. 1

This sort of Washington beltway blabber is what we’ve come to expect out of Arizona’s Senior U.S. Senator, John McCain…

But watching Junior Jeff fold like a house of cards after spending months paying gun owners lip-service is disappointing. ~

This, after many of us wrote our Senators pleading with them NOT to buckle to Senator Feinstein and the state socialists!  I heard back from Senator Flake’s office just a few weeks ago stating he supported us!  Is he lying?  (I know, his mouth is moving – he’s a politician!)

THEN,

ILAEmergencyActionBanner

Dear Guffaw,
TODAY, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing on Senator Dianne Feinstein’s anti-gun bill…which would BAN millions of commonly owned semi-automatic firearms and BAN ammunition magazines that hold more than ten rounds.

YOUR SENATORS NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU RIGHT NOW!!!

Please call both of your Senators today at (202) 224-3121 and tell them to OPPOSE the Feinstein Gun Grab bill.

Tell your Senators that President Barack Obama’s own Justice Department recently reported that any ban on semi-automatic firearms WILL NOT WORK…unless it includes mandatory gun buy backs, which is federal GUN CONFISCATION!

Senator Feinstein herself told CBS’s 60 Minutes that if she could get the votes “for an outright ban, picking up every one of them — Mr. and Mrs. America turn ’em all in” she would do it!!!

If you live in Arizona, please call Senators Flake and McCain, TODAY!  Hell if you live in Flotsam’s Mistake, NJ! call them.  And call your own Senators, too.

I’ve called and sent emails, more than once.  They need to hear us…RIGHT NOW!

Don’t count on someone else to do it.  Take action!  Call the number above an let your voice be heard!

But Brutus is an honorable man…

Having studied American History for some time, with certain foci (The American Revolution, progressivism, political intrigue and assassination, Constitutional government, libertarianism) something has been bothering me.

Like most civilizations, historically, we have (had) a code and at least made an effort to abide by it.  A man’s word is his bond.  A handshake means something, as does a signature.  Being a gentlemen means holding to certain standards of behavior and deportment.  Honor.

But, it appears all this is now a facade; it has all fallen away.  Especially regarding men of influence and power.  Lying, cheating, stealing, having an alternate code of whatever it takes to accomplish ‘x’, rules the day.

I remember my College Course ‘Introduction to Western Civilization’ wherein Dr. Smith taught us that The Roman Empire didn’t fall because of barbarian attack.  It fell because of a decline in morals – in short, a loss of honorable men.

I’ve been following the articles on Manly Honor, as posted in The Art of Manliness website.  I suggest we need to return to the evolution of the Code in the Twentieth Century – Personal Integrity.

As author Brett states in Manly Honor VII…

But today in this final post I want to strip away many of those layers and try to get back down to the heart of manly honor – the basics of why it’s worth preserving and how we can, and must, revive elements of it in this anti-honor-honor world.

You should go and read, not only this chapter, but the previous six.  Both men and women.  We can restore civility, integrity and a code of behavior as it once was, if we agree to take a code upon ourselves to behave and act accordingly.  And by doing so, perhaps we can reverse this trend wherein people protest by destroying and stealing property, and songs are written about killing civil authority and defiling women.  By being an example for our youth.  By doing what’s right for the American Culture and our own worth.

How Sad

One of the things I’ve enjoyed about blogging is finding out persons from all over The United States, in fact, The World have clicked on a posting or a Google/Bing response and found their way here.  I’ve stated many times before that I’m continually amazed anyone stops by – so anyone doing so makes me happy.  Or used to.

I monitor the (meaningless) statistics about the blog – Where are readers located?  How many?  Total views for a 24 hour period.  Then I compare that to what posts I did that given day in an effort to find more titles/subjects appealing to more readers.  It really doesn’t affect my titles or content.  I’m compulsive.  It’s not as if I make any money doing this!

But, the other day, I quickly inserted a blog post blurb regarding the horrific tragedy in Connecticut, as the reports were coming in.  Just the name of the town, Newtown Connecticut was the title.

And I was deeply saddened to see 333 search views in 24 hours!  My average is 163 over the previous 28 days!

Are people so ghoulish that this is what drives them?  Even worse is so-called ‘news’ organizations are so thirsty to ‘get the story first’ they report anything without verifying facts or sources!

It used to be there was a twenty-four hour news cycle, many times longer.  Now it’s minutes; seconds.  No time to verify anything, just get ‘it’ out there!  If it’s wrong, we’ll submit a correction – or not.

And the people who just can’t wait to hear about the latest exploits of Lindsay Lohan or Honey Boo-Boo are waiting like vultures to lap it up.  Or search for it on the Internet.

How sad.

Foodstamps and Kardashians

AmericanMercenary: The slow collapse into the soft dark ages….
American Mercenary opines regarding the inevitable decline of the American Ideal.
All good things must come to an end.

“Infrastructure allows economic mobility.  Legal standardization combined with a culture that respects honesty minimizes the corruption that eventually hurts everyone.  China is a good example of a “civilization” that is rapidly turning from agriculture to industry.  However, because of the social climate of corruption corners are cut, contractors pay party officials to look the other way, and next thing you know a major earthquake flattens substandard housing.  But the corruption continues, because it is good for business in the Chinese culture.  And the Chinese know that business is good for China.
So what frightens me most about the United States is the death of Rule of Law.  When the Administration breaks contract law to support the UAW in the GMC Bankruptcy, when MF Global is legally allowed to raid customer accounts to pay off debt in total violation of established practice and law, when “Recess Appointments” fail to meet recognized legal standards, we have POWER unconstrained by our Laws.  Our civilization is falling apart.  Rule of Law is good for business in America, and the only replacement for rule of law is corruption.  However multinational corporations have learned how easy it is to operate in a corrupt society like China, do you think they will have any compunction of applying those lessons to a corrupt American Government?
It isn’t our “crumbling infrastructure” that makes economic powerhouses like China, India, and Brazil drool with envy that is causing our civilization to fail.  It is our rising culture of corruption.  Corruption allowing a modern Caesar to turn the Republic into a Dictatorship.”

~The old saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” also has a corollary “Rome didn’t fall in a day” either.  The UAW was protected because they had “their man” in power.  So far everyone has lost, and the only “redistribution” that has gone on is the spread of poverty to an ever growing population of “the underclass.”  But we have our bread and circuses.  Or as we like to call it “foodstamps and Kardashians.”  (emphasis Guffaw)

Go to the link, above, and read the whole thing.
But be forewarned.
It’s not pretty reading about your inevitable demise.   

h/t AM

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…

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