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

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

This week's best wargaming 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."

Today's funny posts

*More funny posts.

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

Thursday, October 29, 2020

The Wirecutter's pick for best bargain bluetooth earbuds is $24.99 right now

The Skullcandy Sesh Evo True Wireless In-Ear Earbud are 58% off right now at Amazon.

Today's funny posts

*More funny posts.

A high stakes game to play in elevators; This bizarre home's layout is the map of the year; The PS5 controller's smallest easter egg

Tony Shalhoub in Addams Family Values; Summon a terrifying clown in Burger King bathrooms; Pinhead jack-o-lantern; Genuine Nightmares

*More Halloween links.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Seven people executed at an illegal marijuana farm in the Inland Empire, "ground zero for drug trafficking in the United States”


Violence haunts California’s illegal marijuana market, which, law enforcement authorities concede, dwarfs its fledgling, legal counterpart and comprises a sweeping array of players, from mom-and-pop grows to sophisticated drug trafficking organizations.

The murder scene in Aguanga was a large marijuana cultivation and processing site — a “major organized-crime type of an operation,” ...Everyone on the property — living and dead — was Laotian.


[A DEA Agent] divided the region’s illegal marijuana cultivators into three loose groups, each with a distinct modus operandi. Chinese nationals, he said, have set up sophisticated grows within suburban rental homes. They typically divert electricity before it reaches the meter and use it to power high-wattage grow lights and irrigation systems, he said.

They will grow inside a rental home for a few years, then abandon it. By that time, [the Agent] said, the house is all but ruined by the humidity, which breeds mold, and the reek of marijuana, which seeps into the drywall.

Mexican drug trafficking groups, [the Agent] said, oversee the largest cultivation sites in the Inland Empire — fields that are carved out of public forest land, tended by low-paid laborers, irrigated with water siphoned from public sources and doused in illegal pesticides that can poison groundwater. A bonus of growing marijuana on public land, he added, is that if the operators are prosecuted and their property subject to forfeiture, the government cannot seize the land because it already owns it.

The third group in the Inland Empire are Laotian growers, [the Agent] said. Concentrated in the Anza Valley, they typically raise their crop in plywood sheds and grow houses erected on private land.

A comic strip about enjoying Columbo in 2020

A bunch of charming illustrations.

Unicron given a cel-shaded paintjob

First, the before:

And the repaint: