New Mexico grants funds for prosecutions in ‘Rust’ shooting


Scene of the tragedy

New Mexico has granted funds to pay for possible prosecutions connected to last year’s fatal film-set shooting of a cinematographer by actor Alec Baldwin, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported Thursday.

The state Board of Finance greenlit more than $317,000 to cover the cost of investigating potential charges in the shooting on the set of “Rust” outside Santa Fe.

First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies made an emergency request for the funds to go toward a special prosecutor, special investigator, several experts and other personnel.

As many as four people could face charges, according to a copy of the request obtained by the newspaper, though Carmack-Altwies did not say anyone definitely would…

When reached for comment by the newspaper, she declined to say which crew members or cast could face charges. The possible charges her office is looking at range from homicide to violations of state gun statutes.

Not my area of expertise. I’ve had some small accounting over the decades with the discharge of firearms. Never involving injury much less death. Still sounds to me that accidents can happen no matter how much preparation is required, put in place…and that’s the way any prosecution should proceed.

GOP “Commitment to America” doesn’t include learning how to navigate the Web


They simply flipped documentary footage from Russia

House Republican leaders on Friday unveiled their “Commitment to America” agenda for 2023 ― and with it, an inspirational video full of scenes presented as exceptional imagery of America that were actually stock footage from Russia and Ukraine.

The GOP’s video, “The Preamble to the Commitment to America,” opens with a narrator highlighting aspects of what it means to be an American.

“We celebrate the rich heritage of the American story and the vibrancy of the American Dream,” the voice says, over footage of a drilling rig at sunrise.

But this video snippet, an apparent nod to America’s natural resources, wasn’t filmed in America. It’s stock footage created by Serg Grbanoff, a filmmaker based in Russia.

This bumped Jennifer Bendery’s curiosity enough to start her looking around, checking on productions on other websites “designed” to build the online presence of leading Republicans. Turds like Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy.

Consistent mistakes. Guess they just discovered the Web

Thanks, Ray K.

Polio vaccination rates are too low in some parts of the United States


During the height of the polio epidemic in 1956

For more than 60 years, vaccines against the poliovirus have protected virtually everyone in the United States from the disease. Due to an enormously successful polio vaccination campaign beginning in the 1950s when the first polio vaccines became available, by 1979 polio was considered eliminated in the U.S.

Unfortunately, even today, there are communities in the U.S. that have lower-than-necessary polio vaccination rates. Because many people have not been vaccinated, there is now a real possibility of a resurgence of polio in the U.S….

…In July 2022, a man from Rockland County, New York, was diagnosed with polio, the first such diagnosis in the U.S. in nearly a decade. The patient – who developed the severe, paralytic form of the disease – had been exposed to an altered live vaccine strain from overseas.

Then on Sept. 9, 2022, New York declared a state of emergency due to ongoing poliovirus transmission. As of that date, using wastewater surveillance, officials had identified 57 samples of poliovirus in wastewater from four New York counties. More than half of those were detected in the same county where the adult patient is from, just outside New York City.

As a result of the continued poliovirus detection in wastewater, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared that the U.S. now meets the World Health Organization’s criteria for “a country with circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus.”

OK. Unless you live near the trouble spots in the WHO report, you’re probably not in trouble. Yet. As long as you’re vaccinated. As long as you’re in a community with vaccination levels that qualify as providing “herd immunity”.

This news article provides lots of info. And the basic premise is the same for any comparable disease. You need to be vaccinated to even be capable of being out of danger.

 ‘We thought we’d die of hunger. Now we fear death from water’

Farmer Ali Baksh stands on an embankment and points across the flooded landscape of Sindh province towards the spot where his fields used to be. He is sheltering in a makeshift camp accessible only by boat with more than 2,000 others forced to flee their homes when the floods hit.

“There was no rain a few months back and there was a severe shortage of water for crops. We prayed for rain. But when it rained, we became homeless and our crops were destroyed. We have nothing left … just oceans on roads, on farms and submerging our homes.”

Pakistan has been battered by drastic weather extremes since the start of the year. Deadly heatwaves sent temperatures above 50C (122F) in the spring, followed by huge wildfires and crippling droughts.

But the floods that have left a third of the country’s provinces underwater in recent weeks have brought with them a new level of human misery – and a glimpse into the apocalyptic impact of the climate emergency in one of the countries least responsible for it.

Folks have to understand we’re all linked together by a singule global environment. You can’t ignore what the greedy idiot down the road is doing…when the result will threaten your own life.

Fascist-minded politicos have decided that LGBTQ folk are as “dangerous” as everyone else they fear and hate


WASHINGTON POST/GETTY

Last November, Cameron Samuels was met with cold stares when they attended a school board meeting to speak out against bans on LGBTQ books and resource websites in their district…

Now [Houston’s] Katy ISD students involved in the movement Samuels helped start are trying to push forward a book review policy, which would ensure at least one student is represented on the committee whenever a book is challenged in the district.

Katy ISD is just one of many school districts where students have begun pushing back against book bans. Recently, schools across the US have begun challenging—and in some cases successfully removing—a growing list of books from LGBTQ and Black authors. Some librarians have found themselves targeted for creating book displays featuring LGBTQ titles. And right-wing groups like Moms For Liberty have been organizing around the country to ban books they deem “obscene” from schools, and even make them illegal to sell or lend to minors…

Jonathan Friedman, director of free expression and education programs at PEN America says he is seeing youth voices play a critical role in book ban opposition.

“At a time when many teachers and librarians are having their speech chilled, it is often students who are leading the charge and speaking out for their rights—as they should,” Friedman told Motherboard.

I can empathize. BITD, as a night school student in profession-oriented college courses, simple self-interest pushed me into similar activism. Not often; but, often enough to identify me as a PITA to a few teachers and administrators, who felt they had a vested interest in blocking any doorway that allowed the entry of up-to-date textbooks.

NASCAR on fire!

Kevin Harvick’s fire-related DNF at Darlington during Sunday night’s Cookout Southern 500 marked the fifth time in recent months that a cockpit fire has impacted a NASCAR Cup Series race.

There have been no injuries, but drivers are increasingly angry and frustrated at the apparent lack of attention by NASCAR and its safety teams.

In the latest incidents, the Ford Mustangs of Harvick and backmarker J.J. Yeley caught fire during the 500-miler. Harvick’s fire was more serious because as a Playoff contender, everything he does is magnified. NBC-TV concentrated on his No. 4 Mustang as it made several fiery laps while green-flag pit stops cycled around. As the fire began to spread, he stopped on the apron and bailed out as safety crews arrived.

“What a disaster without a cause,” he told reporters later. “We didn’t touch the wall. We haven’t touched a car and here we are in the pits with a burning car…

The drivers are concerned for their safety. NASCAR doesn’t seem to be concerned about anything more than how their TV time gets featured on the news,

Building last sold for $4M. Then Banksy painted a small mural on it…

Asking price went to $30M

An historic building in downtown Los Angeles which is adorned with a world-famous Banksy artwork is being sold, and its owners hope the addition of the subversive artist’s work will push the price above $30 million.

Banksy painted the mural in 2010 while in Los Angeles for the premiere of his documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop. Tarina Tarantino and Alfonso Campos bought the building, at 908-910 S Broadway, in 2007 for $4 million and said that over the following decade they spent about $1.8 million on renovations…

The couple told The New York Times that tenants pulled out of leases during the pandemic and they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. As a result the building will be sold to the highest bidder next month.

Tarantino and Campos believe the building is worth $16 million. However, they say the addition of the Banksy pushes the price substantially higher.

Yeah, Banksy rocks! What a talent.

Fools learned it’s easy to turn a semi-automatic weapon into a machine gun

The number of shootings involving automatic weapons in the US has skyrocketed in recent years, suggesting a troubling resurgence in the use of machine guns by criminals, according to an analysis provided exclusively to CNN.

Incidents of machine gun fire have exploded by about 1,400% from 2019 through last year, according to statistics compiled by a gunfire detection company that has acoustic sensors placed in about 130 US cities. Last year alone, ShotSpotter, Inc. detected roughly 5,600 incidents of automatic weapons fire, the analysis showed.

The previously unreported figures add to growing evidence that the widespread availability of inexpensive so-called conversion devices — known as “auto switches” or “auto sears” — capable of transforming semi-automatic weapons into machine guns in a matter of moments are wreaking havoc on American streets.

There has been a corresponding spike in seizures of conversion devices by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in recent years, from fewer than 100 in 2017 to more than 1,500 last year…

Gun laws virtually eliminated automatic weapons from city streets for decades, Chittum said. “But now machine guns are back, and they’re everywhere.”

You might try enforcing gun laws. I realize that’s a simple answer. Truth is often simple.

What is there to say? I not only learned how to do this in the 1950’s…I did so more than once. It was fun. It was exciting. For many of the reasons you might imagine.

After I made a few, I stopped. I don’t know if the dude who showed me how kept at it or not. I didn’t want to know. I didn’t want to be a possible co-defendant. I didn’t want to be a defendant, either.

The fines were serious. The time in the slammer was serious time. We knew the local coppers could and would bust us…and put us away. We saw it happen to other silly young dudes. More criminal-minded than we ever could be.

That’s all it would take, today, I believe. Enforcing the laws. Further discussion may be needed about why it ain’t so. That isn’t why I posted this. Just saying.