Robert Weller
Updated Dec 14, 2013, 8:21 AM
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The Beginning

INTERNET



Marines Desecrate Taliban Bodies As They Laugh: SSDD

The Marine Corps Times reports investigators at the highest level are reviewing whether Marines urinated on four Taliban bodies, as purportedly shown in a video on YouTube and elsewhere today. 
So far there has been no indication the video is a fraud. The Marines can be heard joking about what they are doing. "Have a good day buddy" and "Golden like a shower."
One poorly educated female YT page editor said she would like to have done it. Now that would have made a great video. Bottoms up!

Boulder Hockey Club Parents Use Texts To Track Sex Scandal

Is this the future of sports for American youngsters. Parents of a private Boulder ice hockey club are trading text messages to see whether their children might have been sexually exploited online by a 23-year-old coach.

Gina Finney, whose son was one of those who may have been assaulted, told the Boulder Camera parents are trying to get as much information as possible about ex-coach Zachary Thomas Meints. He turned himself into police Thursday and was being held without bond on five charges.

Details of the incidents were in sealed arrest warrants used to seize a computer and a mobile phone, said police spokeswoman Kim Kobel.

She said 13 people who were witnesses and or victims were involved in the case.

"To hear something like this is happening is very disconcerting because of how it impacts our life," said Finney.



Is It Such A Starry Night Without Suicide

Has the time come for envious artists to end their loathing of Vincent Van Gogh for showing them up? Two authors report he did not kill himself after selling only one painting. “Everyone wants to get on the Van Gogh boat. There’s no trip that’s so horrible that someone won’t take it,” in the words of Basquiat writer/director Julian Schnabel. 

Ignore the next Van Gogh and “you might be staring at Van Gogh’s ear,” he added. The extent of ear removed by Van Gogh has already been disputed, but it was enough for Paul Gauguin to carry him to the Auvers hospital in critical condition. That story must end there. It raises more questions that are even more scandalous. “Van Gogh: The Life” is 900 pages of even tiny details, but near the end the bombshell hits. Authors Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith say the painter was accidentally shot with a faulty gun by two teens he knew. 

As the story goes, and it seems consistent with the life that preceded it, Van Gogh helped cover up what happened. He wanted to die, despite being at the apogee of his painting life, because of his declining health and the burden he placed on brother Theo. Although some reports have the curator of the Van Gogh Museum damning the reports, Leo Jansen’s statement merely said many questions remain unanswered and it would be “premature to rule out suicide.

My Dog Wins World Cold Nose Contest: It's In the Huffington Post for those Who do not Believe it

For the first time in the history of the world contest for coldest dog nose, a Scottish terrier has won.

The dog, Gruff, recorded a nasal temperature of somewhere between 99 and 102.5 F. Celsius 37.2 to 39.2. See mystery photo above on right.


U.S. Outbids Saudis To Get Pakistan To Sell Out Bin Laden

Reports originating with security analyst Raelyn Hillhouse that a Pakistani intelligence officer sold out Osama bin Laden are spreading around the world.

Hillhouse's blog also says Saudi Arabia had been paying Pakistan millions to protect bin Laden.

Once the Pakistani approached the U.S. to get the $25 million being offered for bin Laden's location, Washington approached Islamabad and offered to double what the Saudis were paying. They said they would go ahead with a raid with or without Pakistani consent and they would stop the Saudi payments.

The story about U.S. intelligence knowing where bin Laden was for a year was a cover story, Hillhouse. It had seemed dubious from the start that they would have waited a year to kill the 54-year-old Al-Qaeda leader.

Wikipedia describes Hillouse as a national security analyst, former smuggler and spy novelist. She studied in Europe, including Russia. Her life story reads like a John le Carre character.

Her blog is: http://www.thespywhobilledme.com/





MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL

Anyone looking for an answer to the Libyan crisis should look to France, they have two. Negotiate with Gaddafi, who after all has already agreed to leave. Or bomb him up to the Stone Age.

It is reminiscent of the Holy Grail crew's treatment by the French, who for some unknown reason had a castle in England.

"What are you doing in England," one of King Arthur's knights asks? "None of your business," says the French warrior atop the castle.

Another possible solution: get one of Murdoch's boys to get all of Gaddafi's codes and put them on the Internet, unencrypted. See what the Vox Pop can do.


JOURNALISTS AS FIRST RESPONDERS

It is a question journalists have pondered for years, though perhaps mostly in their nightmares.

Forty years ago journalists were taught not to get involved. Do your job and get out.

How does a reporter square that with the fact that today's communications, and the spread of terrorism, result in them increasingly becoming what amounts to the first responders to a disaster?

Do you phone in a story or stop the bleeding of a victim? In some cases the wisest choice might be to run like hell. How about giving them another option by "arming" them with medical knowledge.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is breaking ground with a program to train journalists on how to help victims. The organization has found an ideal place to try out the idea: Pakistan, and more specifically the deadly Wiziristan region.

"Accidents, bomb blasts and other emergencies are frequent and journalists are generally the first to arrive at the scene. If they know the basics of first aid, they can save many lives while also protecting themselves," said Dr. Asif Raza, first aid director for the Pakistan Red Crescent Society in the federally administered tribal areas.

Journalists have died at news conference explosions. Perhaps some might have been saved.


COULD IT BE THAT ASSANGE WOULD BE SAFER IN EGYPT

Although a wave of democracy partly started by revelations of corruption and brutality released by WikiLeaks is freeing one Arab country after another, it now appears the site's editor-in-chief could himself become a political prisoner.

Editors frequently urge writers not to describe something as ironic. Well, this is.

The next question is whether Facebook, Twitter, Google, and others will become platforms to push for Assange’s release. It is difficult because he remains a moving target. Will he be moved from Sweden—rendition, as it is sometimes called? And after that where?

Many countries would like to try him because of information his group has provided that show how dirty their governments are. Is he becoming the next “Man Without a Country?” Even his own government, that of Australia, disowned him, though lately they are under growing pressure in Oz to protect him.


AFGHAN WAR DRONES ON

There is a simple way to keep a country at war: language tricks that obscure what is going on.

The Afghanistan War has contributed several. The most widely used is "militants."

There was "surge" before it. Instead of calling an offensive an offensive, which clearly implies increased casualties, the spinmeisters came up with surge.

The etymology of surge is somewhat confused. The following is in a Wikipedia history of the Vietnam War. "South Vietnam was inundated with manufactured goods. As Stanley Karnow writes, "the main PX [Post Exchange], located in the Saigon suburb of Cholon, was only slightly smaller than the New York Bloomingdale's..."[149] The American buildup transformed the economy and had a profound impact on South Vietnamese society. A huge surge in corruption was witnessed."

The use of the word militant, instead of insurgent/fighter/rebel/guerrilla may be clearer. There are many times when it is anything but clear who has died in a drone attack in Afghanistan or Pakistan.

Was it an insurgent? Was it a member of the People's Front for Judea? Or the Judean People's Front? The Judean Popular People's Front? It just drones on.

Was it a civilian? Who knows? Who really cares? Other than the families of the dead. If NATO calls it an insurgent then the mainstream media could end up appearing like an embedded writer who doesn't want to risk his/her ride. That's if President Karzai or Pakistan says those killed were civilians.

I could swear that militant used to mean someone who as an activist. Like the Students for a Democratic Society. They didn't carry AK-47s.

In this Internet age the No. 1 definition of a word, meaning the one most used, can quickly change. Now it seems to be someone who is "warring or fighting."

Dictionary.com stills lists its No. 1 definition of militant as: vigorously active and aggressive, esp. in support of a cause: militant reformers."



JIHADI HUMOR

While it might seem impossible to make a funny movie about would-be terrorists, British director Chris Morris has found a way in the Four Lions.

The director known for his spoofs of TV news stories, in a Monty Python style, tells the story of a group of Muslims who have grown up in England but want to be part of the holy war against infidels.

It's never clear why. Omar, the leader, has a home, a beautiful wife and an adorable son. He uses Disney's The Lion King to teach his boy what is right and wrong.

There's no talk of the invasion of Iraq, and these Jihadists have been so deeply coopted by Western culture that they sing "Dancing In The Moonlight" on the way to their mission to blow themselves up during the London Marathon. They call each other "bro."

The "Jihadists" use derogatory terms for Pakistanis.

The main issue, as Omar's wife puts it, is to find the right place to die. His son tells him not to worry, that his head will be in heaven before it hits the ceiling.



LINDSAY LOHAN CINDERELLA

Just as in Cinderella, the spell cast on Lindsay Lohan by the evil judge ended at midnight. After all, she got her start in a Disney movie.

She was out of the Los County jail before the stroke of midnight on Friday on bail.






THE UGLY AMERICAN

Harrison Carter McWhite seemed the perfect choice for ambassador to the fictitious country of Sarkan (Vietnam) during the Cold War.

A journalist, his plane was shot down over Sarkan by the Japanese during War War II, which led him to befriend the insurgents fighting Tokyo. One of them, Deong, beame a leading opposition figure after the war.

When Deong refused to disabow Communism, McWhite (Marlon Brando) branded him a communist.


INCEPTION: DREAM SHARING

Initially I felt like I was back in an Internet class for journalists, learning how to use Websites like Facebook.

And Like Facebook there would be a risk of people stealing information.

The idea for extracting information, according to the movie plot, was an idea called Dream Sharing that was supposed to have originated with the Army.



JOURNALISTS AS FIRST RESPONDERS

It's an ethical question that journalists have had to contend with for ages, but now the Red Cross is trying to provide practical answers: teach journalists how to help victims.

"Accidents, bomb blasts and other emergencies are frequent and journalists are generally the first to arrive at the scene. If they know the basics of first aid, they can save many lives while also protecting themselves," said Dr. Asif Raza, first aid director for the Pakistan Red Crescent Society in the federally administered tribal areas.


BLACK SWAN EVENTS

Latin poet and satirist Juvenal used the term 2,000 years ago.

“A good person is as rare as a black swan,” he said.

The idea is that sometimes things happen that are so bizarre and impossible to predict they are “black swan events,” and some in the oil industry would say the Deepwater Horizon is one of those.


MADAMA BUTTERFLY: A JOURNEY

Giacomo Puccini's Madame Butterfly emerged slowly from her cocoon to become one of the world's most beloved operas.

Despite many twists and turns, 123 years since the story was first told it is the most performed opera in the United States, according to Opera America.

The butterfly story debuted as a novel by Julian Viaud, a former French sailor who had visited Japan. He used the nom de plume Pierre Loti.

To get it performed at the Opéra Comique in Paris Puccini was forced to make significant changes in the libretto and music. Even Carmen, a French opera, had to make substantial changes to accommodate the bourgeois taste of Paris, said opera artistic director Roger Cantrell.

Great composers, including Mozart, were often pragmatic.

The resulting version, the fourth, was translated from French into Italian and has become the version most performed now, according to Julian Budden in Puccini: His Life and Works. It has been cut from three acts to two because of union costs. Puccini preferred two acts, according to Cantrel, whose mentor was taught by Cleofonte Campanili, the conducter of the first two Butterfly performances.

One reason the Paris version became the standard is the publisher withdrew the rights to use the earlier versions, although they were later released.

This summer, in the intimate surroundings of the Central City Opera, the story heard so many times seemed fresh. The display of the American flag on the stage is compelling and helps explain why, in 1989,Butterfly inspired a retelling, Miss Saigon.

BALLOON BOY


A 6-year-old Fort Collins boy feared to have fallen from an experimental balloon to his likely death was hiding in his garage attic all the time.

Authorities from Larimer County to Denver had been searching for Falcon Heene since his brother reported that Falcon had climbed into a small compartment under the helium-filled balloon moments before it unexpectedly came loose from its tether at the family house and rose into the sky.

Falcon’s parents, Richard and Mayumi Heene, called police, as well as KUSA-TV 9News to ask the television station to send its helicopter in pursuit. 

The balloon voyage southeast from Fort Collins was telecast live across the nation on cable news programs. Hearts broke when the balloon landed softly about 1:30 p.m. south of Denver International Airport and television coverage showed viewers that no one was aboard.

While all eyes were on the balloon chase and landing, Falcon apparently was lying low in a box in the attic above the garage. Police officers spent the day with the family and had searched the house and property when they first arrived.


SHAKESPEARE: DON'T KILL THE MESSENGER

In ancient times, as shown in the movie Gladiator, a messenger bringing bad news might return headless. Sophocles had expressed the concept even earlier: ""No one loves the messenger who brings bad news."

Shakespeare wrote of it at least twice. In Henry IV:

Yet the first bringer of unwelcome news Hath but a losing office, and his tongue Sounds ever after as a sullen bell, Remember'd tolling a departing friend

While the U.S. is seeking to find allies who might arrest Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who perhaps delivered the most voluminous message ever, there are other stories out there that they should be worrying about.

One is Pat Tillman. It just won't go away. Author Jon Krakauer came forward, much like Emile Zola's public letter "J'Accuse," and told of the repeated lies by the Army on how the former NFL star died.

His book, Where Men Win Glory, tells in great detail, down to the minute Tillman was killed by trigger-happy members of his own platoon. Thus was the fate of a man who had given up his career with the Arizona Cardinals to fight for his country after 9/11.

Tillman felt betrayed because he had enlisted to fight in Afghanistan but was sent to Iraqi to fight a war he called "Imperial Folly." Nevertheless, after he had completed his deployment there he turned down an offer from the Army to discharge him early so he could play for the Seattle Seahawks. The NFL and the military were very tight.

The Tillman family was not told how he died, even though it was determined right then and there that he had been killed by a fellow Ranger. Gen. Stanley McChrystal knew it and covered it up to the point of approving awarding of a Silver Star posthumously to Tillman.


WIKILEAKS FOUNDING FATHERS: CAVEAT LECTOR

While the Pentagon and much of the mainstream media are focusing on learning what Wikileaks will release next, Julian Assange may have a surprise for them.

Several sources, who remained anonymous because they knew nothing about it, say Assange's crew has found a way to break into the National Archives and Library of Congress.

The GOP and Tea Party better look out.

Wikileaks has gained access to classified documents written by the nation's founding fathers.

Shocking is an understatement for what Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, George Washington and the others had proposed for a future America.

First, Franklin was clearly a socialist. He founded the fire department and library system. One redacted essay suggests he thought all Americans should be entitled to health care.


CRIME WITHOUT PUNISHMENT
   Murderer Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, one of literature’s most famous villains, was created by Russian author Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky.
   And with him the moral dilemma of how to expiate one’s guilt. Raskolnikov, in “Crime and Punishment,” ultimately turns himself in and is sent to Siberia where he may one day find redemption.
   How can the weight that the former Soviet Union bears, in just one case, the Katyn Forest massacre, be lifted off its collective back if it won’t even apologize? No matter how much Vladimir Putin tries to absolve Russia of its guilt because it was committed under its previous name.
   On Saturday, a plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski and dozens of other senior military and other officials were killed near the site of the massacre en route to a memorial for the 22,000 Polish officers and intelligentsia killed in the spring of 1940.
   Also among those on the plane was Ryszard Kaczorowski, Poland’s president in exile during the Cold War.

        
















Putin Pissed at Hillary

One of my favorite memories of the Cold War, while was dad was maintaining Falcon air-to-air missiles up in Alaska, was Slim Pickens waving his cowboy hat as he used his body to navigate a nuclear missile right down to its Russian target after warning the crew that they were facing noo-clear combat toe-to-toe with the Russkies.

Or as Donald Fagen of Steekly Dan put it: “Yes we're gonna have a wingding
A summer smoker underground
It's just a dugout that my dad built
In case the reds decide to push the button down. We've got provisions and lots of beer. The key word is survival on the new frontier.”

And now for something completely different. The point of this story.

Vladimir Putin got his rear kicked in recent parliamentary elections though he his United Russian did hold on. And he is blaming Hillary Clinton. The sexy Russian better hurry or the French profession that his name sometimes is transliterated to will be banned. He might even have to arm the Anna Chapmans of the Russian secret service.


MYSTERY PHOTO

Read On To See What This Photo Is: Hint My Dog Wins Contest

Teddy Pendergrass Remembered, If Only In Passing
In the late 1970s, and early 1980s, Philadelphia’s Teddy Pendergrass was the hottest soul singer on the planet. He had started as a drummer, got a gig with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, and quickly became  their lead singer with songs like "If You Don’t Know Me By Now." These days people think of Simply Red when they hear that song.
It was clear Pendergrass, who had considered being a preacher and was ordained at age 10, had a special voice even when he sang in choirs. When he left the Blue Notes for a solo career it took awhile but after  he was marketed as a sex symbol he was all the rage. Women threw underwear at him. Some concerts were billed as women only.
He appeared headed for a huge career, until in 1982 his Rolls Royce  Silver Cloud crashed. He was paralyzed from the waist down. Pendergrass fought the depression that always follows, and founded an organization to help other victims in the same way that the late Christopher Reeve did years later. 
Many have commented that Teddy’s voice was weakened by the paralysis, but it gave him a special feel. In songs like "In My Time" he sang about how he had had so many good things happen to him.  He died in January of last year. His doctors were amazed he lived 28  years after the accident.

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