You’re going down in flames, you tax-fattened hyena! (#19 in a series)

April 2nd, 2015

Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey was indicted on bribery charges on Wednesday in what prosecutors said was a scheme to trade political favors for luxury vacations, golf outings, campaign donations and expensive flights.

More:

Through his company, Vitreo-Retinal Consultants, Dr. Melgen directed $700,000 in corporate contributions to Majority PAC, a super PAC intended to help Democrats retain control of the Senate. Dr. Melgen instructed the group to use those contributions to aid Mr. Menendez’s 2012 re-election campaign.
Among the favors for Dr. Melgen, the department said, Mr. Menendez encouraged the Obama administration to change the Medicare reimbursement policy in a way that would make millions for the doctor. Prosecutors said he also tried to push a port security deal that Dr. Melgen was involved in, and helped the surgeon’s foreign girlfriends obtain travel visas to the United States.

Happy April Fools Day!

April 1st, 2015

Our policy regarding your personal data:
Please stop sending us your personal data.
We are running out of places to put it.
Is this even yours?
Does anyone recognize whose data this is?
Oh jeez never mind here comes more data.
Why are you doing this?
Please stop.
Help.

NSA Tells Public To Reduce Use of Passive Voice In Email

“Congress To Extend Copyright Terms for All Artistic Works to ‘Life of Mickey Mouse plus 70 years.'”

The Internet of Fish.

California’s new state flag.

More later, maybe. It has been a busy morning.

Obit watch: March 31, 2015.

March 31st, 2015

Robert L. Hite passed away on Sunday.

Lt. Col. Hite was one of Doolittle’s Raiders. He was captured by the Japanese after his plane ran out of fuel and the crew bailed out over China.

Mr. Hite was imprisoned for 40 months, 38 of them in solitary confinement. His weight had dropped to 76 pounds from 180 when the war ended.

Duke sucks.

March 30th, 2015

Duke, however, does not suck enough.

Gonzaga!

Yes, I owe Lawrence $5. I’m not that disappointed, though: making the final eight is a pretty good run, and I think Gonzaga is going to get stronger and stronger in the coming years.

The horses have left…

March 29th, 2015

Not official yet, but various sources are reporting that Rick Barnes is going to be shown the door.

If there’s an official announcement today, I’ll update; otherwise, I’ll do a new post tomorrow.

Edited to add: Official. Statesman. Statesman II. ESPN.

Some interesting things about this:

  • The university is spinning this as an agreed upon parting of the ways.
  • Barnes says he wanted to stay, was told last week his job was safe, and he was let go for refusing to fire some of his assistant coaches.
  • Barnes is owed $1.75 million in severance pay. But if UT had waited until Wednesday to fire him, they would only have owed him $1.5 million. I wonder what the hurry was.

Gonzaga 74, UCLA 62.

March 28th, 2015

Elite Eight, baby.

Their next game is against Duke on Sunday.

Obit watch: March 27, 2015.

March 27th, 2015

This has been covered elsewhere, but I did want to highlight the NYT coverage of Richard III’s reburial.

After three days of viewing by thousands who lined up for hours to file past the bier in Leicester’s Anglican cathedral, Richard’s skeletal remains, in a coffin of golden English oak with an incised Yorkist rose and an inscription giving the sparest details of his life — “Richard III, 1452-1485” — were removed overnight from beneath a black cloth pall stitched with colorful images from his tumultuous times.

I wish I could have been there.

To those seething at the spectacle of a notoriously violent monarch being rehabilitated by the church, the cardinal cautioned that power in Richard’s time was “invariably won or maintained on the battlefield and only by ruthless determination, strong alliances and a willingness to employ the use of force, at times with astonishing brutality.”

Giggle. Snort.

For more than 500 years, he has been popularly cast as one of the most odious villains of English history — the “poisonous, bunch-back’d toad” of Shakespeare’s “Richard III,” reviled as a child killer for his role, as Shakespeare and generations of historians have depicted it, as the prime mover in the smothering murders of the two young brothers known as the Princes in the Tower.

Since the 1700s, there has been a minority voice among writers and historians that has cast Richard as the victim of a conspiracy by the Tudors, whose dynasty was founded on Henry Tudor’s victory. Among these protagonists, Shakespeare is seen as having won favor at court as a spin doctor for the Tudor cause, especially for Queen Elizabeth I, who, this version contends, wanted Richard’s reputation blackened to strengthen the Tudors’ own shaky legitimacy.

I’m just going to leave these links here.

The Richard III Society.

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey.

Also: nice tribute by the NYT to the author, John Burns.

Obit watch: March 23, 2015.

March 23rd, 2015

Izola Ware Curry passed away on March 7th. This is slightly old news, but I’ve been waiting for a good link.

For those of you who are saying, “Who?”: Ms. Curry was the woman who stabbed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The stabbing nearly cost Dr. King his life, requiring hours of delicate surgery to remove Ms. Curry’s blade, a seven-inch ivory-handled steel letter opener, which had lodged near his heart. If he had so much as sneezed, his doctors later told him, he would not have survived.

Ms. Curry was found incompetent to stand trial and spent the rest of her life in a series of institutions.

Chinua Achebe, noted Nigerian author, has also passed away. Somewhere I have a copy of Things Fall Apart. I need to dig that out, as I’ve been meaning to read it, and I seem to be out of Ross Thomas books at the moment.

Gonzaga!

March 23rd, 2015

They’ve made the final 16. And their next game is against UCLA, who they beat in the regular season.

I’m liking their chances. I might even order a shirt.

CINO.

March 20th, 2015

That’s “Cardinal In Name Only”, similar to “RINO“.

Scottish Cardinal Keith O’Brien has resigned his position.

O’Brien reportedly had long and multiple relationships with other men during his tenure, and at least five – including four priests – accused him of sexually harassing or pressuring them into sex in allegations that went back to the 1980s.

There were formal written complaints from multiple priests to the British papal nuncio; Cardinal O’Brien had stepped down from his regular duties in 2013 during the Vatican investigation.

Why is this interesting, other than my odd fascination with the inner workings of the Catholic church? Reason #1: there hasn’t been a resignation of a cardinal in the church since 1927 (according to this source).

Reason number two is that Cardinal O’Brien is still “Cardinal” O’Brien:

On Friday, the Vatican announced that O’Brien would become a cardinal in name only. He loses the rights and privileges of a cardinal, such as voting for pope, but is still a priest and a retired bishop.

You say Go-zinga, I say Gonzaga!

March 16th, 2015

Once again, Lawrence and I have agreed to a small ($5) wager on the NCAA bracket: I’m taking Gonzaga, he’s taking the field.

I like Gonzaga’s chances this year. And as I always say, even if I lose, I get $5 worth of entertainment out of the deal.

Pratchett.

March 12th, 2015

NYT. BBC. Tam. A/V Club. The discussion there, and on Fark, is surprisingly civil (at least, last time I looked).

I think I’m an outlier here. I’ve only read one and half Pratchett books. The half was Good Omens (which, as I recall, I read in an advance reading copy I picked up at an ABA convention).

One of my friends and cow orkers at Dell pushed Guards! Guards! on me when he found out I hadn’t read any Discworld novels. I liked it about as much as I liked Good Omens, which is to say quite a bit. But one thing that struck me about it was that, buried in this funny story, was actually a kind of nice and sweet vision of how the police should work: how they should combat crime, and how they should relate with the citizens they protect. In some ways (and I’m not sure Pratchett knew it), Guards! Guards! was very much like “Dragnet”, except funnier. Other people have made a similar point: Pratchett overlapped silly fantasy with contemporary social commentary.

I haven’t picked up any of his books since Guards! Guards!. That’s because I wanted to hold them in reserve. Now, I feel like I’ve got enough to keep me busy for several years.

There may be additional links tomorrow, but I’ll leave off with this. I wanted to purchase a membership in the NRA (or the British equivalent) for Pratchett when I first encountered it. From Night Watch:

There had been that Weapons Law, for a start. Weapons were involved in so many crimes that, Swing reasoned, reducing the number of weapons had to reduce the crime rate.
Vimes wondered if he’d sat up in bed in the middle of the night and hugged himself when he’d dreamed that one up. Confiscate all weapons, and crime would go down. It made sense. It would have worked, too, if only there had been enough coppers – say, three per citizen.
Amazingly, quite a few weapons were handed in. The flaw, though, was one that had somehow managed to escape Swing, and it was this: criminals don’t obey the law. It’s more or less a requirement for the job. They had no particular interest in making the streets safer for anyone except themselves. And they couldn’t believe what was happening. It was like Hogswatch every day.

Edited to add: LAT.

Edited to add 2: WP.