Saturday, October 31, 2020

Dame Lillard as Stone Cold Steve Austin; Vending machine dispenses tricks and treats; Free Curses tear-off flyer

*More Halloween links.

From 1999, David Carr writes about Ruth Shalit (author of that now infamous feature in the Atlantic)

David Carr's extremely lengthy article for the Washington City Paper:

It’s hard to remember that at a time when being a hot young writer in Washington was a big deal, Shalit was the biggest deal of all. As a featured writer in the opinion journal the New Republic beginning in 1993, she was a gorgeous stylist, with a gift for rendering the distant cousins of literary detail and policy nuance, often separated by nothing more than a comma. By the time she was 24, contracts, assignments, and bouquets were arriving steadily from some of the most reliable brand names in the business: the New York Times Magazine, GQ, and the New York Observer, among others. Her first real job out of college made her famous and well-compensated in a business not known for either.

Somewhere amidst all the buzz and sizzle, Shalit made the quintessentially ’90s journey from media employee to media celebrity. 


In Shalit’s version of things, she left Washington because she finally decided to walk away from all of the hectoring windbags who would lay her low. She exited the New Republic at the end of January, but her departure actually came after months of quiet pushing from Editor Charles Lane. Either way, Shalit is no longer a Washington journalist because she could not change the single most interesting thing about herself:

“People fall prey to a reductionist fallacy that the worst truth about you is the most consequential truth. [The plagiarism] was a truth about me and is a truth about me. But there are a lot of other interesting truths as well.”


As the covered and the coverers reached a new level of intimacy, stars like Shalit began serving as subjects, rather than authors, of extensive profiles for the likes of George magazine. And, like those politicians who are handed gobs of power and adulation for no particular reason, Shalit became unaccountable. Her editorial enablers chose not to notice that their cherished phenom had not mastered the basics of her profession.

Another reminiscence:

"Biden Team Cancels Texas Event After Highway 'Ambush' by MAGA Cavalry"


A Biden campaign staffer told The Daily Beast that Trump supporters surrounded the bus on the highway and slowed down in front of it, attempting to stop it or run it off the road. The official sent a picture taken on the bus, showing Trump trucks surrounding the front of the vehicle. Staffers on the bus called police, who helped the bus reach its destination.

Video from the highway shows trucks surrounding the bus, at one point colliding with an SUV.

An attorney that's been deemed a “vexatious litigant” in state court and federal court seems likely to win an election for judge

Austin Chronicle this week:

In January, barring some unexpected obstacle, Madeleine Connor will become judge in the 353rd state District Court. Following previous defeats as a Republican (twice) and a Democrat (once), Connor narrowly defeated incumbent Judge Tim Sulak in the March Democratic primary.

She has no Republican opponent in November.

Statesman from last Spring:

Sulak, in his 10th year on the bench, is well-regarded in courthouse circles. A survey of local attorneys last year showed him with the highest score for overall excellence among the county’s eight civil district judges.


“Having all of these experiences, I think I would make an excellent judge,” [Connor] said.

Today's funny posts

(I've been assembling these collections from Twitter for years now, and I've always had so many collected that I've scheduled the posts days ahead of time. This is the first time I ran out of Tweets. Not sure if that says something about my feed specifically, or reflects Twitter's mood before the election, or an exodus to Tiktok.)

A young Disneyland visitor meets Maleficent.

Dog loves cuddlign with the baby.

Retired horse and rescued greyhound.

The fence won't kepp the new neighbors apart.

Bird and dogs are partners in crime.

Rescued beaver has progressed to gathering sticks.

*More funny posts.

The Marshall's podracer engine jetbike from The Mandalorian

The Atlantic revealed they not only published an author with a "plagiarism and inaccurate reporting" scandal in her background, but allowed her to modify her name

The Atlantic has posted an in progress correction that's already 12 paragraphs long to its big article on wealthy families and student athletes. Lots of discussion of specific anecdotes in the article looking to be falsehoods or exaggerations, and this revelation about the author:

We are also updating Barrett’s byline. Originally, we referred to her as Ruth S. Barrett. When writing recently for other magazines, Barrett was identified by her full name, Ruth Shalit Barrett. (Barrett is her married name.) In 1999, when she was known by Ruth Shalit, she left The New Republic, where she was an associate editor, after plagiarism and inaccurate reporting were discovered in her work. We typically defer to authors on how their byline appears—some authors use middle initials, for example, or shorter versions of their given name. We referred to Barrett as Ruth S. Barrett at her request, but in the interest of transparency, we should have included the name that she used as her byline in the 1990s, when the plagiarism incidents occurred. We have changed the byline on this article to Ruth Shalit Barrett.

We decided to assign Barrett this freelance story in part because more than two decades separated her from her journalistic malpractice at The New Republic and because in recent years her work has appeared in reputable magazines. We took into consideration the argument that Barrett deserved a second chance to write feature stories such as this one. We were wrong to make this assignment, however. It reflects poor judgment on our part, and we regret our decision.

Sexy Lakitu (with gun) costume; Minecraft tower with kaleidoscopic falling experience; Splatterhouse paper masks

This week's best wargaming miniatures


*See more miniatures.

Friday, October 30, 2020

"The D.C. National Guard and Pentagon IG are fighting over who to blame" for the helicopters that menaced protesters in Washington D.C.


Two D.C. National Guard helicopters that flew low over protesters in Washington, D.C., on the night of June 1 were not properly authorized to be there — and were directed by a lieutenant colonel who was far from the scene, driving home in his car, according to an initial investigation by the D.C. National Guard.

The superior officer who authorized the deployment claimed he didn’t know that the regulations required him to have higher-level approval to use the helicopters at all, and that in any case, he in no way told the lieutenant colonel that the helicopters should be used for crowd dispersal.

Now the D.C. National Guard and the Defense Department Inspector General’s office appear to be at odds over who should take responsibility for the incident

The man that seems most targeted for blame is named "Wingblade."


The National Guard Bureau has established a new unit made up mostly of military policemen that could be dispatched to help quell unrest in coming days, after a turbulent summer in which National Guard members were deployed to several cities.

The unit, which also could be used to respond to natural disasters and other missions, was formed in September and initially described as a rapid-reaction force. But as one of the most divisive elections in American history closes in, National Guard officials have softened how they characterize the service members, instead referring to them as “regional response units."

A National Guard official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the new name more accurately details their mission. But the shift away from language used in war also hints at the complicated situation the National Guard could face, as President Trump signals that he might not accept the results of the election if he loses.

High school journalists at duPont Manual High School in Louisville revealed that the Kentucky State Police training materials repeatedly quoted Hitler

Manual Redeye:

A training slideshow used by the Kentucky State Police (KSP) — the second largest police force in the state — urges cadets to be “ruthless killer[s]” and quotes Adolf Hitler advocating violence.

The slideshow was included in KSP documents obtained via an open records request by [a] local attorney ... during the discovery phase of a lawsuit. [The attorney] requested KSP materials used to train a detective who shot and killed a man in Harlan County, and [the attorney] shared the presentation with Manual RedEye. 

A line from Adolf Hitler’s fascist and anti-Semitic manifesto, Mein Kampf, is featured in the slide: “the very first essential for success is a perpetually constant and regular employment of violence.”

The presentation also links to a Hitler page on Goodreads, a database of quotes and books. 

Two other slides quoting Hitler bring his total to three, making him the most quoted person in the presentation. 

There's other troubling content, but the police say it's not clear when the materials were last used. The reporters are related to a partner in the firm involved in the lawsuit.

USA Today:

Gov. Andy Beshear reacted to a report Friday showing a Kentucky State Police training slideshow quoting Adolf Hitler three times and advocating officers to use "ruthless" violence, calling it "unacceptable."


"This is absolutely unacceptable," said Beshear in an emailed statement. "It is further unacceptable that I just learned about this through social media. We will collect all the facts and take immediate corrective action."

The Toy Story Sid deluxe figure includes toys to torture

Toy Story Dynamic 8ction Heroes Sid and Scud by Beat Kingdom available for preorder:
20 Points of articulation
3 Face plates
4 Pairs of hands 
Scud dog figure (2 replaceable heads)
Mini Buzz Lightyear tied to a rocket (rocket can be disassembled)
Magnifying glass
Three-eyed Aliens
There's also an Andy.

Today's funny posts

*More funny posts.

The tiniest McDonald's; Star Wars Holiday Special custom figures; Shockwave helmet