Texas coed rams cop car while taking topless selfie


The dog has brains enough NOT to take selfies while driving

❝ Police say a 19-year-old Texas A&M University student who rear-ended a squad car told an officer she was taking a topless selfie.

Miranda Kay Rader posted $200 bond after she was charged with drunken driving and possessing alcohol as a minor.

❝ A police report says an officer was checking a reported disturbance when he heard brakes squeal and an SUV slam into the patrol car behind him. Rader told the officer she was taking a topless selfie of herself to Snapchat to her boyfriend.

Police say an open bottle of wine was in her console cup holder.

Hopefully, her major is not Public Safety.

Save the day

It was a big deal in the neighborhood where I grew up – to be a second generation American. My mom and dad, all their brothers and sisters, were the first generation in their respective families to be born in the USA.

It’s a shame how many Americans have forgotten what a good feeling that was. How it was available to all.

New Hampshire now the least religious state in the United States

❝ New Hampshire is the least religious state in the U.S., edging out Vermont in Gallup’s 2015 state-by-state analysis…Mississippi has extended its eight-year streak as the most religious state, followed closely by neighboring Alabama…

Hmmm. Think education has anything to do with this?

❝ Gallup classifies Americans into three religious groups based on their responses to a question measuring religious service attendance and how important religion is in their daily life.

Very religious Americans are those who say religion is important to them and who attend services every week or almost every week.

Nonreligious Americans are those for whom religion is not important and who seldom or never attend religious services.

Moderately religious Americans meet just one of the criteria, either saying religion is important or that they attend services almost every week or more.

❝ Gallup began tracking several religious indicators on a daily basis in 2008. Some of these indicators have shown significant change over this time, most notably the percentage of Americans who report no formal religious identity when asked to name their religious preference. But the percentage classified as very religious on the basis of their attendance and view on the importance of religion has stayed remarkably stable.

Yup. My view on the not-usefulness of religion hasn’t changed since 1951. Been an atheist ever since. Extended the depth of that understanding through studies in science and philosophy in following years.

Inside the Trump data bunker

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By Josh Green and Sasha Issenberg

❝ On Oct. 19, as the third and final presidential debate gets going in Las Vegas, Donald Trump’s Facebook and Twitter feeds are being manned by Brad Parscale, a San Antonio marketing entrepreneur…Parscale is one of the few within Trump’s crew entrusted to tweet on his behalf…On the wall, a poster of Julian Assange reads: “Dear Hillary, I miss reading your classified emails.”…

❝ When the debate wraps, Parscale leaps up, open laptop still in hand, and bolts from the trailer with Priebus and the rest of the senior staff to congratulate Trump as he comes off the stage. In the wings, Parscale joins Steve Bannon, Trump’s Machiavelli and campaign chairman, on leave from Breitbart News Network…and a clutch of Trump children and their spouses…

Parscale, now tweeting from his own account, celebrates the night’s haul: “HUGE 24hrs of online donations for @realDonaldTrump. 125,000+ unique donors grossing over $9,000,000! Thank you America! #MAGA.”

❝ …Almost every public and private metric suggests Trump is headed for a loss, possibly an epic one. His frustrated demeanor on the campaign trail suggests he knows it. Yet even as he nears the end of his presidential run, his team is sowing the seeds of a new enterprise with a direct marketing effort that they insist could still shock the world on Election Day.

Beginning last November, then ramping up in earnest when Trump became the Republican nominee, Jared Kushner quietly built a sprawling digital fundraising database and social media campaign that’s become the locus of his father-in-law’s presidential bid. Trump’s top advisers won’t concede the possibility of defeat, but they’re candid about the value of what they’ve built even after the returns come in — and about Trump’s desire for influence regardless of outcome. “Trump is a builder,” says Bannon, in a rare interview. “And what he’s built is the underlying apparatus for a political movement that’s going to propel us to victory on Nov. 8 and dominate Republican politics after that.”

“When we won the nomination, we decided we were going to do digital fundraising and really ramp this thing up to the next level,” says a senior official…When Bannon joined the campaign in August, Project Alamo’s data began shaping even more of Trump’s political and travel strategy — and especially his fundraising. Trump himself was an avid pupil. Parscale would sit with him on the plane to share the latest data on his mushrooming audience and the $230 million they’ve funneled into his campaign coffers. Today, housed across from a La-Z-Boy Furniture Gallery along Interstate 410 in San Antonio, the digital nerve center of Trump’s operation encompasses more than 100 people, from European data scientists to gun-toting elderly call-center volunteers…

❝ Still, Trump’s reality is plain: He needs a miracle…To compensate for this, Trump’s campaign has devised another strategy, which, not surprisingly, is negative. Instead of expanding the electorate, Bannon and his team are trying to shrink it. “We have three major voter suppression operations under way,” says a senior official. They’re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly: idealistic white liberals, young women, and African Americans…

❝ Regardless of whether this works or backfires, setting back GOP efforts to attract women and minorities even further, Trump won’t come away from the presidential election empty-handed…Since Trump paid to build this audience with his own campaign funds, he alone will own it after Nov. 8 and can deploy it to whatever purpose he chooses. He can sell access to other campaigns or use it as the basis for a 2020 presidential run…

Whatever Trump decides, this group will influence Republican politics going forward. These voters, whom Cambridge Analytica has categorized as “disenfranchised new Republicans,” are younger, more populist and rural — and also angry, active, and fiercely loyal to Trump. Capturing their loyalty was the campaign’s goal all along. It’s why, even if Trump loses, his team thinks it’s smarter than political professionals. “We knew how valuable this would be from the outset,” says Parscale. “We own the future of the Republican Party.”

RTFA. There’s a lot of it. Josh Green and Sasha Issenberg have constructed a truly detailed blueprint of the Trump digital attack on electoral politics.

Contemptible, disgusting, certainly anti-democratic – are the qualities that leap out as the themes of the campaign, the politics of Trump, Bannon and the rest. They’ve used disaffected Republicans and Democrats to build a populist, racist, sexist juggernaut easily the equal of George Wallace’s White Citizens Council. And in an age easier to mobilize in any direction – or just for random destruction – they’re getting ready to march ahead of the cockroaches still officially in charge of the Republican Party.

What the Republicans will munch on if the Tea Party sheeple march off to Trump’s drummers is questionable. They may retain some figurehead positions, of course. Trump knows he can always count on the least-principled opportunists to back him up. Eh, Jason?

Google (quietly) drops privacy policy that kept your name out of web-tracking database

❝ When Google bought the advertising network DoubleClick in 2007, Google founder Sergey Brin said that privacy would be the company’s “number one priority when we contemplate new kinds of advertising products.”

And, for nearly a decade, Google did in fact keep DoubleClick’s massive database of web-browsing records separate by default from the names and other personally identifiable information Google has collected from Gmail and its other login accounts.

But this summer, Google quietly erased that last privacy line in the sand – literally crossing out the lines in its privacy policy that promised to keep the two pots of data separate…

❝ The practical result of the change is that the DoubleClick ads that follow people around on the web may now be customized to them based on your name and other information Google knows about you. It also means that Google could now, if it wished to, build a complete portrait of a user by name, based on everything they write in email, every website they visit and the searches they conduct.

❝ The move is a sea change for Google and a further blow to the online ad industry’s longstanding contention that web tracking is mostly anonymous. In recent years, Facebook, offline data brokers and others have increasingly sought to combine their troves of web tracking data with people’s real names. But until this summer, Google held the line.

“The fact that DoubleClick data wasn’t being regularly connected to personally identifiable information was a really significant last stand,” said Paul Ohm, faculty director of the Center on Privacy and Technology at Georgetown Law.

“It was a border wall between being watched everywhere and maintaining a tiny semblance of privacy,” he said. “That wall has just fallen.”…

RTFA for instructions on how to opt-out of GOOGLE’s omnivorous appetite for tracking folks. I consider their statement hogwash, PR rationales for plausible deniability. At best, a temporary solution until GOOGLE drops another one of their centipede shoes.

Milestone: IED drone kills combatants allied against ISIS in Iraq

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❝ On October 2nd, in Irbil, Iraq, a drone flown by ISIS injured two French paratroopers, who were supporting Kurdish forces. Two Peshmerga, or Kurdish soldiers, were killed in the blast, according to French newspaper Le Monde. The attack is possibly the first where a drone fitted with an improvised explosive device has inflicted casualties on troops from a Western nation.

Le Monde reports:

❝ The two commandos were struck by the flying, booby-trapped drone, sent by a group linked to ISIS. The exact context/circumstances of the attack remain to be specified. The soldiers reportedly intercepted the drone before it exploded on the ground. This type of attack against French forces is in any case without precedent.

❝ Unlike drones used by the United States for attacks, ISIS is converting small, cheap commercial models into one-way weapons. Kurdish forces spotted these drones at least as early as last winter. Iraq is not the first battlefield to see cheap drones.

The Washington Post notes:

❝ Drone use by militants and insurgent groups has steadily risen years as cheap off-the-shelf models have become easily acquired and simple to fly. In Ukraine, store-bought quadcopter drones are used on the front lines in the country’s east by both government troops and Russian-backed separatists in primarily a reconnaissance role, helping locate trench lines and spot for artillery.

In Iraq and Syria, a host of insurgent and opposition groups have used the drones in similar roles, though there have been a few instances of the remotely piloted craft being used to drop what appear to be explosives. Insurgent groups, including the Islamic State, also use the vehicles to film propaganda videos…

❝ DARPA wants the United States to have anti-drone lasers by 2020, a goal every part of the military, from the Air Force to the Marine Corps, is independently working towards. Laser weapons are costly to build, but their appeals as an anti-drone weapon is that every shot of directed energy is cheap, so one laser system could shoot down many cheap drones, without spending expensive missiles or lots of bullets to do so.

Or so the reasoning goes.

My first response? Make our laser weapons small enough, portable enough, any competent guerilla band will capture them and use them on us. How it always works, folks.

Feds investigating church selling bleach as a cure for autism

❝ Federal prosecutors continue to scrutinize a bizarre church and its exiled founder who claims he was sent here from another galaxy to sell a “miracle cure” for autism.

The Genesis II Church of Health and Healing has been accused of preying on thousands of families with autistic children by selling the corrosive antidote known as “Master Mineral Solution,” which is nothing more than household bleach…

“They might as well be selling Clorox,” Ben Mizer of the U.S. Department of Justice told ABC News in an investigation into the church. Mizer said so far one person has been prosecuted for selling the so-called cure…

❝ Humble, who…now says he is a billion-year-old god from another galaxy, writes on one of his websites that he “discovered” the antidote “whilst prospecting for minerals deep in the jungles of South America” and used it on a companion who fell ill with malaria.

Now the bottles are sold on several fringe websites, including one U.S. based company that charges $12.95 for a 4 ounce bottle, and up to $96 for a package of 12 bottles. The store’s site says all sales are donated to the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing…

❝ Experts in the autism community say there’s no merit to their claims and that Humble and other church members are peddling “poison.”

This is a poison. This is high-strength industrial bleach,” Dr. Paul Wang, the senior vice president of Autism Speaks…“It really scares me that people would give this to their kids, because it is a poison…”

A sucker born every minute is a long-standing American religious proverb.

Our government’s plutonium disposal plant is, wait for It…wait for it…41 years behind schedule


They did a good job on the parking lotsGoogle Earth

❝ Imagine you have a contractor working on your house. They quoted you a price and told you the project would be done in no time. Sure, you realize costs will probably go up some and the schedule will slip due to an unexpected problem or two.

But months turn into years, years turn into a decade, and now, 14 years later, you find that they’ve already spent five times their original estimate and they aren’t even halfway done!

That’s the situation the Department of Energy is facing with the contractor building a nuclear fuel facility in South Carolina.

❝ The Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility, known as MOX, is a multi-billion dollar boondoggle that is behind schedule, over budget and will never be able to complete its mission.

Now the Army Corps of Engineers has released an independent cost estimate for the project that reveals things are even worse than we thought…

❝ MOX was originally conceived as part of an agreement between the United States and Russia in which each country pledged to dispose of weapons grade plutonium. But that was back in 2000.

As cost overruns and technical failures have become clear, the Department of Energy asked Congress to cancel the program in 2016. The South Carolina delegation, defending jobs in their districts, pushed back and claimed doing so would violate the agreement.

Last week, Russian Pres. Vladimir Putin announced he would be withdrawing from the agreement. Without Russia being party to the agreement, the last remaining pretense for this boondoggle is shattered…

❝ While the facility was supposed to be fully constructed in 2007, the Army Corps of Engineers stated that MOX won’t be finished and ready for operations until 2048 — putting it 41 years behind schedule.

But even if Congress decides to accept spending $17 billion in taxpayer dollars and waiting 41 extra years for the facility, the project will never work…

Moreover, even if the facility were to work perfectly and produce the mixed oxide fuel as intended, there aren’t any commercial nuclear reactor companies interested in purchasing it. In 2008, the project lost its only potential customer and hasn’t been able to find a single replacement.

RTFA for all the gruesome details. This is how Congress functions on a good day. Bilateral agreement to fund local make-work projects even if they are valueless and provide no benefit to that local community.

Or in this case, providing no benefit to anyone at all. Except the favorite contractors of each politician involved.