Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Now, let's see. John Oliver is on vacation. Hm.

Kindly note, I will be away until Friday. I probably won't be at the blog for those days.

Be well.

Until later.

Well done.

August 30, 2016
...For the past two years Abu Muhammad al-Adnani had been making strident calls for attacks on the citizens of Western and other countries, notably France. His call to intensify attacks on IS's enemies this summer resulted in one of the bloodiest months of Ramadan in recent memory....
...Adnani was born Taha Sobhi Falaha in the northern Syrian town of Banash in 1977.
US officials say he was one of the first foreign fighters to oppose the presence of US-led forces in Iraq after the 2003 invasion.
Really, Since 2003. He was among the first to fight with the Ba'athists. And who exactly was President in 2003?

August 30, 2016
Grand Forks, N.D. (AP) — The National Weather Service (click here) says a tornado that caused damage in the Hillsboro area had wind speeds up to 140 mph.
The agency rated the Saturday twister in Traill County an EF-3 on the enhanced Fujita scale. An EF2 or higher rating is considered a significant tornado.
The tornado smashed bins at a grain elevator complex, destroyed a garage and uprooted trees on one area farmstead, and heavily damaged a home and a metal building at another farmstead. No one was hurt.
Storms on Saturday spawned two other weaker tornadoes in Grand Forks County. One with wind speeds estimated at 70 mph touched down in an open field near Arvilla. Another with wind speeds up to 110 mph uprooted trees and demolished a barn in the Pleasant View Township area....

August 29, 2016
By Eric Elwell

The return of much-needed rain (click here) in the region has eased drought conditions and brought about unusual spring-like severe storms resulting in a record breaking number of tornadoes for August in Ohio and Indiana.
There were over two dozen tornadoes across the two states with eleven tornadoes touching down on Wednesday. This broke a record in Ohio for the number of August, single-day tornadoes. The previous record was seven touchdowns on Aug. 28, 2006. This tornado outbreak was the largest tornado outbreak for the month of August in the United States since 1950 that was not produced by a tropical storm or hurricane. According to data from the Storm Prediction Center, Ohio has had 31 tornado touch-downs this year. That is quite the uptick in the number of tornadoes when we’ve only had 27 tornado touch downs in the last two years combined....

August 29, 2016
By Don Haney

Tornado east of Climax, MN

Grand Forks (KFGO) - A stormy night Sunday (click here) across portions of Northeastern North Dakota and Northwestern Minnesota. Strong thunderstorms dumped torrential rain, hail and several tornadoes, prompting a number of warnings and advisories.
The National Weather Service in Grand Forks says a tornado tracked through a farm yard and destroyed a barn northwest of Gary, in Norman County around 10 p.m. Tornadoes also briefly touched down four miles east of Beltrami and east of Nielsville, both in Polk County. There were no reports of any damages from either twister. Both were reported around 8 p.m. One inch hail and 60 mph winds were reported in Fertile.
The weather service says heavy rain, as much as 4 to 4.5 inches, fell in a line roughly from Fertile, in Polk County across eastern Norman County through western Mahnomen County.
The video in this article validates the scary reality.
By Kara Kenny
Hancock County, Ind. -- A pregnant mother (click here) is demanding answers after she and her baby were locked out of a McDonald’s during a tornado warning
Jené Winchester was driving on I-70 in Hancock County Friday morning on her way to drop off her 18-month old daughter Olivia at her grandmother's.
At approximately 9 a.m., Winchester received a tornado warning alert on her cellphone, telling her to seek shelter immediately.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security says during a tornado, you should “get out of your vehicle and go into a strong building if possible.”...

August 29, 2016

A tornado touched down in LaSalle, Ont. on August 24. It damaged houses and businesses in LaSalle. Another part of that system damaged businesses in nearby Windsor, but Environment Canada has not confirmed whether it was the same twister. The morning after the storm, cleanup efforts were underway. 

The tornado that touched down in a Windsor, Ont. (click here) industrial park last week has temporarily halted vehicle production at a FCA plant in Illinois.

An estimated 4,000 workers will be out of work for a week at FCA's Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois because of supply issues.

The plant receives parts from a Windsor supplier, which was severely damaged by one of the tornadoes.

"FCA U.S. will monitor the recovery efforts and will make a decision regarding future production actions next week," according to a statement from the company....

American Baptist Home Mission Societies (click here)

August 30, 2016

Valley Forge, PA (ABNS)—In response to recent natural disasters (click here) in Louisiana and Indiana, American Baptist Home Mission Societies’ (ABHMS) Disaster Relief Office has distributed Emergency Disaster-relief grants from American Baptist Churches USA’s One Great Hour of Sharing funds.

More specifically, $10,000 was released to American Baptist Churches of the South (ABCOTS) in response to torrential rain and flooding in the Baton Rouge, La., area, while $5,000 was released to American Baptist Churches of Indiana and Kentucky (ABC-IN/KY) in response to tornadoes in the Kokomo, Ind., area....
...How you can help
Both Louisiana churches have requested monetary donations to meet housing needs, as it remains undetermined as to when families will be permitted to return to homes. In addition, damage to many personal vehicles indicates a need for assistance with transportation costs.
Donations designated to “One Great Hour of Sharing/Southern floods/Storms” and/or to “One Great Hour of Sharing/Indiana/Kentucky tornado” can be mailed to the attention of Kim Wilkins at American Baptist Home Mission Societies, P.O. Box 851, Valley Forge, PA, 19482-0851. One hundred percent of donations go to relief efforts; no dollars are retained for administrative costs. For more information, contact Wilkins at 1-800-222-3872, x2413, or kim.wilkins@abhms.org....

Is everyone ready?

The debate will be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on major topics to be selected by the moderator and announced at least one week before the debate.
The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. Candidates will then have an opportunity to respond to each other. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic....

That is simply overkill. This is a police force without mercy or any understanding of restraint.

Anatomical diagram of the police assault on Laquan McDonald (click here).

August 30, 2016
By Jeremy Gorner and Dan Hinkel

Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson (click here) has filed administrative charges seeking to fire five officers involved in the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald in October 2014.
The charges, filed Tuesday with the Chicago Police Board, seek the dismissal of Officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot McDonald 16 times, as well as four officers who gave reports contradicted by video of the shooting, suggesting an attempted cover-up.
In addition to Van Dyke, Officers Janet Mondragon, Daphne Sebastian and Ricardo Viramontes as well as Sgt. Stephen Franko face potential firing by the board.
Cook County prosecutors have also criminally charged Van Dyke with first-degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty....

The Chicago mayor and his police leadership might want to explore the reasons gangs are so successful in Chicago where guns from every corner of the USA find a market.

August 30, 2016
By John Kass

The dead multiply in Chicago, the fruit of the gang wars ripening in August. (click here)
With at least 78 killed so far, August is the deadliest month in nearly 20 years, according to a Tribune analysis. It's all but certain that the city's homicide total will push beyond the 491 dead of last year.
And people in those Chicago neighborhoods that have become killing fields look with dread toward the Labor Day weekend. So do City Hall and the police.
Twenty-five years ago, August 1991 was also an exceptionally bloody month in Chicago, with 122 homicides, the most in the city's modern history, according to police figures....

They call it abusive practices. I call it corruption.

When a business or financial institution can control everything about it's practices, including judicial hearings that is not abusive, that is corruption. The current practice of mandatory arbitration is to minimize the power of the consumer.

When the power of the consumer conscience is minimized it allows for more than control over financial settlements but also the very health of the consumer. Why not make a product as cheaply as possible putting a dangerous element in because it brings down the cost of the product? There is nothing stopping that practice. The government comes in after the damage is realized to end the practice and pick up the pieces.

I know it seems inconceivable today, but, in the recent past the federal government would prohibit dangerous products in the market. The FDA actually had power to prevent dangerous products from entering the market. Lawsuits were avoided. The effects of danger was eliminated.

The return to sane government policy is vital and it needs to be federal. What is stopping states such as Texas or Mississippi from allowing danger into citizen's lies while New York or Connecticut demands safe products in their state? Nothing and in that lies the idea companies will gravitate to states without regulations as a way of making more profit. Such potential causes economic strain on our most moral states while companies migrate and displace workers. These laws need to be consistent around the country.

These exploitative practices have to be upheld as corrupt IN OUR TRADE AGREEMENTS AS WELL!

The SPLC joined 286 advocacy groups (click here) today voicing support for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) proposal to restrict the financial industry’s use of forced arbitration – a tactic employed by Wall Street banks and predatory lenders to prevent consumers from challenging illegal practices in court.

In a letter submitted on the final day of the proposed rule's public comment period, the groups lauded it as "a significant step forward in the ongoing fight to curb predatory practices in consumer financial products and services." The CFPB will consider the public's comment before issuing a final rule.

Banks and lenders bury arbitration clauses in the first print of contracts to ensure that all customer disputes are decided by a private firm of the financial company's choice, rather than an impartial judge or jury. Most financial arbitration clauses are prevent consumers from joining class action lawsuits to challenge systemic abuses as a group.

"Forced arbitration leaves consumers virtually no legal recourse to stand up to abusive lenders," said Sara Amzpierin, SPLC senior staff attorney. "It's why we see these clauses in most lending agreements, including payday and car title loans. The CFPB rule will help ensure consumers can defend their legal rights. It gives them access to the courts and ability to bring class action suits that can help eliminate the financial industry's abusive practices....      

The east coast of the USA slated for rain and no doubt flooding and Hawaii has repeated storms.

August 30, 2016
UNISYS water vapor satellite of the north and west hemisphere (click here - thank you)

Gaston, currently a category 2 hurricane, in the Atlantic is probably headed for Europe.

August 29, 2016
By John Erdman
  • Only 13 hurricanes have tracked within 200 nautical miles of the Hawaiian Islands (click here) from 1949 through 2015, for an average return period of once every five years, according to NOAA's historical hurricane tracks.
  • Virtually every system approaching Hawaii from the east since 1950 tracking at least as far north as the latitude of the Big Island of Hawaii eventually weakened to a tropical storm or depression by the time it reached the islands. This included a large majority of those migrating from the eastern Pacific Basin.
  • Dating to 1949, there is no record of a hurricane landfalling on the Big Island of Hawaii. Tropical Storm Iselle became only the second tropical storm, and the strongest, to landfall on the Big Island in August 2014. The only other storm to do so was in 1958.
  • Virtually all hurricanes near the Hawaiian Islands since 1949 have approached from the southeast, south or southwest.
  • Three hurricanes struck the island of Kauai hard, including the most destructive in state history, Hurricane Iniki in 1992.
September 11, 1992

...Hans Rosendal, (click here) the lead forecaster at the National Weather Service Honolulu office has a synopsis of the storm's development and progress. Spawned during an El Nino year, the details on Iniki's path outlined in the 1992 Tropical Cyclone Summary shows Iniki (satellite photo)forming over warm equatorial water, deflected by the normal high pressure system to the northeast, swinging northward as it was drawn into a low pressure system that formed north of the Hawaiian Islands. Diagrams from SOEST (School of Ocean Engineering Science and Technology, University of Hawaii at Manoa) contrasts the path of Iniki to the paths of other hurricanes in the Central Pacific area.
At 5:30 am Friday morning, Oahu residents awoke to the sounds of sirens. Joe Dellinger offers insight into what the mad rush for the stores was like on Oahu right after the sirens sounded. Many vacationers on Kauai changed their plans to depart immediately. A report by ABC Consulting shows the path of Hurricane Iniki took right over Kekaha, smashing Waimea with punishing winds.

Amateur radio played an important role in keeping active communications between Kauai and Oahu during the peak of Hurricane Iniki. The microwave antenna dishes providing telephone communications between the islands fell or were severely damaged by the intense winds. Cut off from the rest of the world, it would be many hours before Kauai's on-island and inter-island phone service was restored. Critical communications provided by amateur radio and Civil Air Patrol jump-started the recovery and relief efforts. Articles in QST, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, and WorldRadio highlighted the wide range of activities and contributions made by amateur radio during those critical early hours....

Storms over warm water ignite into high velocity storms within hours. Katrina was a category 1 storm when it crossed Florida, but, as soon as it moved into warm Gulf waters it maximized to a category five in a short period of time. 

The only reason I bring this up is because Katrina occurred at the same time of year major storms such as Katrina and Iniki formed due to the position of direct solar rays. I am not wishing Hawaii two enormous and dangerous storms, I am just stating the heated Pacific and the solar rays carry potential that cannot be ignored.

Kindly consider SEA LEVEL RISE when the storm surge occurs.

Iniki was the deadliest (click here) and by far the costliest hurricane to ever strike Hawaii. The death toll of four was remarkably small for an intense hurricane. Adjusted for inflation, Iniki caused roughly $3 billion in damages. More than 14,000 homes were affected, with 1,421 destroyed and 5,152 with major damage. While wind was the cause of most of the damages, storm surge and waves obliterated many structures along Kauai’s southern shore. The other main Hawaiian Islands including Oahu were affected by Iniki, mainly in the form of high surf but also with some wind damage, but Kauai took the full force of the hurricane. Iniki taught us how hurricane vulnerable Hawaii is, but a nagging question has lingered ever since Iniki struck: what would have happened on Oahu, and to the entire state, if Iniki had moved a little farther east?...

Renewable energy country attractiveness index (investors)

The chart (click here).

The USA is number one.

The TTIP fails. I find it interesting Sigmar Gabriel is so open after David Cameron resigned.

By Frank Jordans
...Sigmar Gabriel, (click here) who is also Germany's Vice Chancellor, compared the TTIP negotiations unfavorably with a free trade deal forged between the 28-nation EU and Canada, which he said was fairer for both sides.
"In my opinion, the negotiations with the United States have de facto failed, even though nobody is really admitting it," Gabriel said during a question-and-answer session with citizens in Berlin.
He noted that in 14 rounds of talks, the two sides haven't agreed on a single common item out of 27 chapters being discussed.
Gabriel accused Washington of being "angry" about the deal that the EU struck with Canada, known as CETA (click here), because it contains elements the U.S. doesn't want to see in the TTIP.
"We mustn't submit to the American proposals," said Gabriel, who is also the head of Germany's center-left Social Democratic Party.
Gabriel's ministry isn't directly involved in the negotiations with Washington because trade agreements are negotiated at the EU level. But such a damning verdict from a leading official in Europe's biggest economy is likely to make further talks between the EU executive and the Obama administration harder....

"Love It or Leave It," remember that one.

If I remember correctly, that was a defense of being involved in the Vietnam War. When protesters opposed the war, the battle cry was "Love It or Leave It." That proved to be a foolish expression as the Vietnam War was based in lies to the American people where over 50 thousand American lives were lost.
Colin Kaepernick has every right to protest. I may cost him personally and it may effect the outcomes of his team, but, he has the right to express himself in any way the First Amendment allows.
I suggest the coach, manager and owner put him in the game. There is no law that protects those that punish him.
Colin Kaepernick is within his right as an American to free speech. Heck, flag burning in protest is allowed, too. (click here)

He certainly seems to believe in self expression by the number of tatoos alone.

August 29, 2016
...It‘s unprecedented. (click here) On Sunday afternoon Kaepernick had what observers thought was the longest press briefing with Niners’ media of his five-year career—18-and-a-half minutes—to double-down on the statements he made to Steve Wyche of NFL Media on Friday night. Kaepernick will continue to sit during the national anthem, as his protest of the way blacks are treated in America, even if it costs him dearly as an NFL player. And he hammered away at police, and the training of police, and police brutality. “You can become a cop in six months,” he said by his locker at the Niners’ training facility, “and you don’t have to have the same amount of training as a cosmetologist. That’s insane. I mean, someone that’s holding a curling iron has more education and more training than people that have a gun and are going out on the street to protect us.”         

First the F35 and now the country. Who needs missiles when Americans stupidly have computerized elections?

August 30, 2016
By Dustin Volz and Jim Finkle

Washington: The US Senate minority leader, (click here) Harry Reid of Nevada, asked the FBI on Monday to investigate evidence suggesting that Russia may try to manipulate voting results in November.
In a letter to the FBI director, James B. Comey jnr, Reid wrote that the threat of Russian interference "is more extensive than is widely known and may include the intent to falsify official election results." Recent classified briefings from senior intelligence officials, Reid said in an interview, have left him fearful that President Vladimir Putin's "goal is tampering with this election."

News organisations reported on Monday that the FBI warned state election officials several weeks ago that foreign hackers - the bureau did not say what country they were from - had exported voter registration data from computer systems in at least one state, and had pierced the systems of a second one....

Something is rotten at Apple.

August 29, 2016
By Dara Doyle and Stephani Bodoni

Apple (click here) was ordered to repay a record 13 billion euros ($14.5 billion) plus interest after the European Commission said Ireland illegally slashed the iPhone maker's tax bill.
The world's richest company benefited from a "selective tax treatment" in Ireland that gave it a "significant advantage over other businesses," the European Union regulator said Tuesday in its largest tax penalty in a three-year crackdown on sweetheart fiscal deals granted by EU nations.
Apple and the Irish government have both vowed to fight the decision, which also risks stoking a fight with the U.S.
"Ireland granted illegal tax benefits to Apple, which enabled it to pay substantially less tax than other businesses over many years," EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in an emailed statement. "This selective treatment allowed Apple to pay an effective corporate tax rate of 1 percent on its European profits in 2003 down to 0.005 percent in 2014."...

Tim Cooke stated, "You can have taxes or you can have jobs, but, you can't have both." 

Well, if that is the case, Ireland should nationalize Apple's operations there. That is basically what Cooke said. He has brought an industry to Ireland that is only profitable if he pays no taxes. Why can't Ireland simply nationalize Apple's operations there and give it a new name, such as "Elstar." (click here)

October 27, 2015
CUPERTINO, California — Apple® today announced financial results (click here) for its fiscal 2015 fourth quarter ended September 26, 2015. The Company posted quarterly revenue of $51.5 billion and quarterly net profit of $11.1 billion, or $1.96 per diluted share. These results compare to revenue of $42.1 billion and net profit of $8.5 billion, or $1.42 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin was 39.9 percent compared to 38 percent in the year-ago quarter. International sales accounted for 62 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

The growth was fueled by record fourth quarter sales of iPhone®, the expanded availability of Apple Watch®, and all-time records for Mac® sales and revenue from services.

“Fiscal 2015 was Apple’s most successful year ever, with revenue growing 28% to nearly $234 billion. This continued success is the result of our commitment to making the best, most innovative products on earth, and it’s a testament to the tremendous execution by our teams,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We are heading into the holidays with our strongest product lineup yet, including iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, Apple Watch with an expanded lineup of cases and bands, the new iPad Pro and the all-new Apple TV which begins shipping this week.”

“Apple’s record September quarter results drove earnings per share growth of 38% and operating cash flow of $13.5 billion,” said Luca Maestri, Apple’s CFO. “We returned $17 billion to our investors during the quarter through share repurchases and dividends, and we have now completed over $143 billion of our $200 billion capital return program.”...

September 13th is the first day of the United Nation's General Assembly.

I would expect the global alliance against Daesh to be more than obvious. (click here) I believe any and all mentions of attacks within countries, including a list of victims, would be brought to the meeting as well. I think documentation on an annual basis of such terrorist attacks and their victims should be a part of the assembly this year and every year thereafter. The people we lost must be remembered.

August 30, 2016
By Tribune

Arkan Qassim, center, stands May 19, 2016, at the site where he witnessed the killing dozens of Yazidi men including two sons of Rasho Qassim, right, in August 2014 in Hardan, northern Iraq.

Surrounded by smoke and flames, (click here) the sound of gunshots echoing around him, the young man crouched in the creek for hours, listening to the men in his family die.
On the other side of the mountain, another survivor peered through binoculars as the handcuffed men of neighboring villages were shot and then buried by a waiting bulldozer. For six days he watched as the extremists filled one grave after another with his friends and relatives.
Between them, the two scenes of horror on Sinjar mountain contain six burial sites and the bodies of more than 100 people, just a small fraction of the mass graves Islamic State extremists have scattered across Iraq and Syria....
One thing to remember is that many of these mass graves were dug by those buried in them.
I will miss him. 

Gene Wilder was so incredibly talented. I am thoroughly convinced he was the only person able to perform Willy Wonka. He was able to catch that sliver of dark humor that would attract a G rated audience.

August 30, 2016
By Peter Travers

Gene Wilder made it impossible not to laugh. (click here) Sometimes it's as simple as that — a gift that keeps on giving. So even as we mourn Wilder's death at 83 from complications of Alzheimer's disease, we remember that talent he had for reducing us to helpless giggles.
How did he do it, this bullied Jewish kid, Jerome Silberman, from Milwaukee, the son of a Russian immigrant father and a mother who thought military school was a good idea for her sensitive son? In the army, he served as an aide in a psychiatric unit, putting him in close contact with the madness he would later turn into comic gold....
Good morning.

I apologize for being absent yesterday, but, I do have a private life that needs attending at times.