dawn 07.16.16

The military coup in Turkey kinda blew my mind. There’d been rumors of one in the works, but I blew them off as Erdogan leveraging more power. We’re all fucked. Either way it went, it was going to go badly, with the nation lurching deeply into more authoritarianism, secular or Islamist. Erdogan is hanging this on Fethullah Gülen, a charter school scam artist with ties to the CIA. The truth? Maybe. Gulenists came out to oppose the coup, although seemingly later than other factions. None of this is good. Nope.

Originally there was a post cobbled together of all of the video and reports of the protests in Baton Rouge in the aftermath of the killing of Alton Sterling. It’s a formatting mess and it’s now a week late. Two things worth noting though:

  • The head of BRPD’s Special Operations task force that used inappropriate militarized force against peaceful protesters last weekend? He’s the father of the cop who shot Alton Sterling.
  • The “credible threat” of the plot to kill cops with guns stolen from a pawn shop? One arrested was 13 years old. The fourth suspect who was finally caught? 12 years old. This was not a credible threat. Unlike the Dallas police murders, this was not an organized plot, but some dumb kids who may have been talking shit.

One of those crazy right-wing news sites cried out that James Comey is board member of a bank connected to the Clinton Foundation. So much conspiracy. Then it turns out that they’re right. Comey was appointed a director on the board of HSBC in 2013. HSBC and the Clinton Foundation have some ties. Even billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein ties into this. What the ever-loving hell? It’s pathetic that I bought for a minute any chance of indictment for Clinton.

Speaking of corruption- Bobby Jindal named to holding company’s board of directorsCotton Holdings Inc. As much as I despise Jindal though, he did have a knack of emergency response when it came to hurricanes. His effectiveness? I dunno, but he seemed to have a sincere passion in that area that went beyond his phony posturing in nearly every other field.

Many people were laughing at goofy old George W. Bush at the funeral of the 5 police murdered in Dallas. Bush began singing and dancing during the Battle Hymn of the Republic. Some think he was drunk or high on drugs. I’m sticking with premature dementia. Bush was no more in control during most of his administration as when Reagan was during much of his administration. Cheney was making most of the real decisions, only tempered by opposition by Rice and Powell.

Inline image 1



noon 07.10.16

I’ve spent the past few weeks immersing in world of Chapo Trap House. The latest episode with the interview with Tony about Oaxaca and Mexico might be the best one yet. It’s been difficult to find decent news and analysis of what’s going on there for a Spanish illiterate like me. He laid out the dynamics of the forces at work nicely. It was an odd episode too, as they tend to stick to mocking pundit shitheels and fuck-ups who I have been doing best to ignore for years. Ron Fournier now looms large. He’s been a complete nonentity for me before Chapo. Their dissection is Hamilton confirmed every suspicion for the past several months about it being a paean to meritocracy, then made it more absurdly rancid.

Last night- Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Final Hamilton Curtain Call Was to The West Wing Theme Song.

Meanwhile in Baton Rouge last night…

Just stumbled on this photo from Baton Rouge protests and need to throw it in.

Media preview

Origins of Philistines possibly in 3,000 year old Ashkelon cemetery in Israel. Sea Peoples?! Yeah!

Bronze Age marijuana use by the Yamnaya. Oh, Vice… ” …weed has been cultivated throughout Eurasia for hundreds of thousands of years.” Oops. Anyway, Yamna culture.

Last night Damien was figuring out whether whether Pin Ups or this image came first.

A helpful soul said it’s from a ’80s manga, art by Junichi Murayama (and story by Kazuo Umezu. I never followed up after Uzumaki, which haunts me years later.)

morning 07.09.16

I finally started watching Breaking Bad the other night, but discovering that I far prefer the lower key Better Call Saul. The transformation of a sick, neutered man into a merciless drug lord versus the struggle of a two-bit hustler against his better nature might be the difference. It might be that I have a neurotic fondness for Bob Odenkirk. Sticking with Breaking Bad is easy. Entertaining. Need more Better Call Saul though.

Alton Sterling was murdered by cops in Baton Rouge. The sick, pathetic justifications that he deserved to be murdered because he had a criminal record completely misunderstand how and why Sterling was killed and how most minorities and poor people get criminal records in the first place. At the time of of his murder, he was an innocent man minding his own damned business. Those cops jumped him because he was convenient. The lethal force used on him was unjustified. I’ve firsthand witnessed a cop successfully subdue a violent, mentally ill man who wrestled for that cop’s gun. Those two cops on top of Sterling were hot, agitated, and scared… and probably racist.

Watch the videos again. Notice what the cops yell and when. It’s verbal chaff. They are trained to say certain things to obscure what’s occuring in case it comes up in a court later.

5,000 year old Harappan site had industrial zone, with furnaces and hearths. 4MSR. Pretty sophisticated.

Neandertal cannibalism in northern Europe. Belgium. 40,500 and 45,500 years ago.

Yeah, I’m playing Pokémon Go. It’s fucking goofy. It’s a blast. I played Ingress a couple of years ago. That was a pleasant diversion, but the team I picked at random turned out to have the area pretty much locked down. They kept militaristic schedule running through all hours of the night and day, maintaining their territory and regularly organizing trips over an hour drive away to fuck up the turf of the other team. They were also very much into guns. I dropped out.

Anyway- Pokémon Go. I have friends/coworkers who grew up with Pokémon and are going apeshit with it. It’s fun sharing the weird phenomenon. I ran out last night around 8:30 in an attempt to help a friend better secure a gym. Downtown Hammond was bizarre. At least fifty people were walking around in the dark within a few blocks with their phones out looking for Pokémon. I’d already seen some geeks in walking around in parking lot of bookstore wearing Pikachu t-shirts staring at their phones, but last night the turnout was huge and the crow more diverse. I wasn’t able to help my friend, as I’m awful at the game. I drove over to Cate Square, a small park. Two bearded hipster guys were sitting on a bench in the dark with beers at their feet. One jumped up to scream, “Fuck yeah! A motherfucking Pikachuuuuuuuuuu!” I should probably be ashamed of this indulgence, but who gives a shit? A few days or weeks of sharing this peculiar diversion with some friends is totally worth it.

One odd friend who lives in north end of the parish has been spending weeks getting stoned and slapping Miitomos of himself into Roger Dean album covers. Now he’s spending all of his time getting stoned taking photos of the Pokémon in his yard, spinning bullshit about their behavior.

We all need little escapes.

morning 07.06.16

Phobos and Deimos formed when Mars was struck by a protoplanet a third of its size. Impact most likely on northern hemisphere, the Borealis basin.

Unique 12,000-year-old Galilee Grave of Female Shaman at Hilazon Tachtit. 45 year old woman, riddled with disease to the point she was abnormally short and probably with distorted features, was buried with a variety of animal bones. Natufian.

So many damned bombings:

Hillary Clinton and her merry gang escape all charges. Comey’s little grandstanding speech was pathetic. He knew the fix was in, but he wanted to get his two cents in while not taking the leap to recommend indictment. Some fucking Ahab he was. Perhaps he doesn’t have enough evidence for perjury and obstruction of justice (yeah, he does) but he laid out a decent case of gross negligence, which does not require intent.

It seems all of the Clinton Foundation corruption investigation rumors were all bullshit or have been quietly ceased.

My heart is broken. I loathe Hillary Clinton as much as I loathed George W. Bush. Fuck these inept, arrogant kleptocrats.

morning 07.02.16

New Horizons Receives Mission Extension to Kuiper Belt, Dawn to Remain at Ceres. Onward to 2014 MU69 and Adeona can wait.

How women shaped indie rock: ‘the lyrics could never have come from a male perspective’. Article accompanying a new compilation on Cherry Red. A lot of brilliant music that I don’t listen to often enough these days. I still regret not discovering Young Marble Giants earlier than I did. Never recall seeking out Alison Statton’s next band Weekend. Outside the flavor of my normal fare, but impossible not to hear how she made a mark on a generation of indie bands.

Fire discovery sheds new light on ‘hobbit’ demise. Since the revision of Homo floresiensis disappearing 50,000 years ago (previously 13,000 years ago) it seemed less chance for overlap with Homo sapiens. Now there’s evidence of human fire use Liang Bua 41,000 years ago.

It seems that Hillary Clinton will finally be interviewed by the FBI in the coming days, perhaps even today. It’s a slight relief that Lynch announced she’d accept whatever recommendations the FBI makes and presumably not pull the shit Holder & others did in the Petraeus case. However, Bloomberg news says:

Earlier Friday, a top Justice Department official told Bloomberg that Lynch would reserve her right to overrule prosecutors’ recommendation — an option attorneys general typically possess, but rarely use, in criminal cases.

So we could still see her pull the same shit as Holder with Petraeus. That probably won’t go down though, as this case is far more expansive.

The possibility of Lynch’s total recusal and a special prosecutor being named was an uncomfortable scenario. The last thing needed was a delay in the case and it being handed to Congressional Republicans. If anything happens, it needs to happen now, before the Democratic convention.

The rumors in comments on Reddit made it sound like Bill Clinton did indeed ambush Lynch and she couldn’t extricate herself diplomatically from the situation. The local news crew was tipped off about the meeting anonymously. Allegedly, the FBI security detail on Lynch said no photos or cellphones were allowed. It’s hard to trust the rumors as some spun into this weird world in which Clinton couldn’t have been golfing at all and he didn’t look like he’d been in 100 degree weather. Bill Clinton is a lying, corrupt bastard, but he really did have business in Phoenix.

morning 07.01.16

A few months ago, I realize there probably isn’t a single bookstore between Hammond, LA and Jackson, MS. Nor do I think there is one between Natchez, MS and Hattiesburg, MS. There aren’t many libraries in that space either. That’s large desolate area for reading.

Ancient Shrine That May Hold Buddha’s Skull Bone Found in Crypt. This is highly unlikely but what the hell? The stupa is 1,000 years old, found beneath Grand Bao’en Temple in Nanjing, China.

The coup to oust Jeremy Corbyn from Labour leadership was planned six months ago. It doesn’t have a fucking thing to do with Brexit. Those scumbag Blairite opportunists have been waiting for the moment to strike.

It’s startling that the bright spot on Ceres is a deposit of sodium carbonate. More on Gizmodo. It makes sense that a salt would cause such a reflective feature, but the hydrothermal activity is mighty surprising.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft sent its first photograph of Jupiter and moons back to Earth. This is going to be amazing.

Loretta Lynch’s 30 minute private meeting with Bill Clinton in private plane in Phoenix, Arizona

Edit: The more that I read about this meeting, the more that the theory about forcing a recusal of Lynch to delay the possibility of indictment of Hillary Clinton until after the Democratic convention makes sense. I leave the post below intact as memorial to my naivete.

My disgust with Loretta Lynch has died down last night since the news of Bill Clinton having a private meeting with her on her plane broke. I  partially agree with Paul Reid:

Regardless of Lynch’s downplaying of the conversation, CBS News Justice reporter Paul Reid called it “shocking, absolutely shocking.”

“The most high-profile national security investigation under the attorney general is the investigation into whether or not classified information was mishandled in connection with Hillary Clinton’s server,” Reid told CBSN. “Now, President Clinton and his foundation are also tangentially involved in that investigation, so the appearance of impropriety is just stunning.”

Reid also noted that the explanation that it wasn’t a scheduled meeting is unlikely to quiet critics.

“Loretta Lynch is no shrinking violet. This is a tough lady,” Reid said. “She’s stood up to El Chapo, she has taken on FIFA — she is not incapable to telling someone, ‘Look, you can’t come on my plane’ or ‘Look, I don’t want to talk to you.’ The optics of this for the investigation going forward are horrible.”

“It will definitely be fuel for those who do not believe this is an objective investigation,” Reid added.

Yes, it looked improper as hell, but Lynch was in an exceptionally difficult position. She should ideally refuse to meet with the spouse of someone who could be the target of an FBI investigation, but this isn’t El Chapo or FIFA. Bill Clinton is a former president and spouse of the probable future president. I neither like nor respect Lynch, but she had nothing to gain rejecting a meeting with him. The Clintons are more powerful and dangerous. They’re known to be vindictive and keep extensive lists of enemies and grudges. Pretending that Lynch can refuse to meet Bill Clinton because of ethics is silly.

What it does signal is that the Clintons are scared.

morning 06.29.16

37,000-year-old “Deep Skull” from Borneo is not related to indigenous Australians. It’s more closely related to the current indigenous people of Borneo. They acquired agriculture through culture several thousand years ago and were not replacing a people more closely related to the Australian at that time. Hm. Good to know. Two layer hypothesis of Southeast Asia is taking a hit.

Profile of Lee Berger in the New Yorker. I love his work, but he certainly raises the hackles of many people.

Ancient Mars Was Even More Earth-Like Than We Imagined. Curiosity rover finds high levels of manganese oxides at the Gale Crater. This means more free-floating oxygen was in atmosphere, or maybe… microbes. Opportunity rover discovered manganese oxides at the Pinnacle Island site thousands of miles away in 2014.

Laughing at wacky, corrupt Bill Jefferson with his bundles of cash in a freezer is good fun, but there’s something awfully odd about it. Library Chronicles points to a Times-Picayune piece on how the Supreme Court overturned the corruption conviction of Bob McConnell might signal hope for Jefferson. Why Mary Landrieu was not been charged like Jefferson (or Nagin) is bewildering. I hadn’t been thinking about Jefferson or Nagin, but of Terry McAuliffeBill de Blasio, Andrew CuomoDannel Malloy, and possibly in the near future, Hillary Clinton. The Supreme Court jumping to raising the bar on corruption cases for politicians (unanimously no less) while making two decisions this term that undermine the Fourth Amendment heightens awareness that the elite have a very different justice system from us plebes.

Media preview

morning 06.27.16

First images of 12,000-year-old Mexican mammoth skeleton emergeMammuthus columbi. Mexico City. I vaguely recalled an  original report of the discovery of this fossil in 2013, which stated the mammoth fell in a ditch and was buried by ash during a volcanic eruption. Now one of the paleontologists on the excavation says the position of the bones suggests that the mammoth could have been butchered by humans.

I never watched a minute of Vinyl outside of the initial trailer. It looked godawful, a turgid, male midlife crisis fantasy. My friend Damien hate-watched it, but he has a different relationship with that period and that music than I do. Even the reportedly superior material that should have informed Vinyl, Dannen’s book Hit Men, looks rancid. Winterbottom’s 24 Hour Party People really is more my speed. The Pitchfork post-mortem of Vinyl makes me ache to experience just how bad the show is. It might be worth taking a day or two to savor a little bile before I cancel HBO Go in the aftermath of the Game of Thrones finale.

Speaking of nostalgia, the Baffler has an article, The Nostalgia Gap. It plunges through the accelerated cycle of nostalgia, weaves through the lacuna of the actual ’70s, nostalgia as propaganda, and where this is taking us- the hyperreal and simulations of simulation.

Getting inside the head and life of Polish literary prodigy Bruno Schulz. I’d missed the existence of this book by Maxim Biller. It looks interesting, but again Schulz is a Christlike figure, in that his death overshadows his actual work. It’s all Shoah literature. All of his Jewish identity, all of his gnostic vision of the world- it feeds to his murder by Nazis. His being extinguished overshadows the nature of his actual writing. It didn’t help that his lost novel is titled Messiah. It seems Biller and the reviewer grasp this. There’s hope that Schulz’s surreal poetry echoes in Biller’s work.