Thursday, August 28, 2014

Throw Back Thursday - School Days

Jack Curtis -

The summer of 1929, my father grew rich selling Fords, trading oil leases, speculating in stocks and farming marginal land. Mother had a gas stove, a fur coat, her own car, went to the beauty parlor once a week and played bridge.

In a small town in central Kansas, my father was a very big frog, and that summer when I was eight, I assumed he was so successful because he was so smart.

And because I had failed to pass the third grade, there was never any end to hearing how capable my father was compared to his lazy, stupid, stubborn son.

Why couldn't I do arithmetic? Why couldn't I read and write? Why did my classmates bedevil me?

In those days, none of the geniuses in psychology or Ph.D.'s in education had discovered dyslexia; nothing is known about it now except that as many as twenty percent of children have some degree of it. It symptoms are mirror writing, reversing numbers, awkwardness and an inability to understand the usual codes of communication. The only cure is to circumvent it with special close training.

But in the summer of 1929 it was called mental retardation or brain damage and those unlucky enough to have it were soon taken out of school and put in the back room for the rest of their lives. The educator's solution to it progressed from contempt t thrashing and, finally, banishment.

From the Short Story "Grandfather" (Circa 1978)

Jack Curtis was born in Lincoln in 1921. As a child he battled dyslexia, and was told he'd never amount to anything.

But life is odd and Jack Curtis grew up to become a heck of a writer.

Writing scripts for some of television's top westerns including Zane Grey Theater, Have Gun Will Travel, Gunsmoke, The Rifleman, Rawhide, Big Valley, The Outlaws, Cimarron Strip, and Wagon Train. Curtis went on to write a dozen novels about the west and was one of Sports Illustrated's most prolific fishing and hunting writers.

This writer too can recall the day at South Meck High School, when a vice principle suggested that I drop out of school and take a job at Florida Steel as a welder or laborer. I honestly think he was on some sort of commission arrangement with the company.

To this day I struggle with 6s, 9s and people who say their telephone or credit card numbers without hyphens. But once you understand dyslexia it is all pretty easy to work around it. Imagine, that for 27 years I've worked with numbers in the banking and investment business.

So take heart parents without honor roll bragging rights, your gold starless child will survive this another school year. Understand that 6 x 7 is 42 for most but, equals 24 for some, and while turn left is often followed by "no your other left" you too will survive.

The best you can do, is let them know they are loved and that "I can't" or "I quit" is not an option.

Mikheil Saakashvili on Putin Kicking Obama To The Curb

Former Georgina President Mikheil Saakashvili posted the following on his facebook page last night in English:

Right now I am sharing (an) experience with our Ukrainian brothers and sisters in Kyiv (Kiev) on something we Georgians have known too well: hundreds of Russian tanks, armored vehicles and grad system crossing an international border and attacking villages and towns.

And the world hesitating (on what) how to call it.

Well, it is neither a separatist conflict, nor a terrorist attack, even less a “Russian counter-attack" when did Ukrainians attack the Russian territory?

It is an invasion. And a war.

Why won’t the international community call it by its name? I think there are more important things going on in our region now than just pouring ice water on one’s head. The fate of Ukraine, Georgia and all Russian neighbors are now at stake in Donetsk, Luhansk, Mariupol.

Slava Ukraine!

Cedar's Take: Flash Back to 2012 when the Obama Administration and the main stream media mocked the Presidential candidate Romney for referring to Russia as “our number one geopolitical foe.” 
Even as recently as March of 2013 A New York Times editorial said Romney’s assertions regarding Russia represented either “a shocking lack of knowledge about international affairs or just craven politics.” 
And who could forget Obama mocking Romney a Presidential debate in 2012:
“The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”
The Obama foreign policy has been a dismal failure, but its not just "Barry" the president has surrounded himself with psychopaths and leg humpers. Staffers and appointees who have not a clue of real world outside of the White House.

Our intelligence agencies are apparently blind even though we have the most advanced technology the world has ever seen.

And why is Putin pressing the sword to the Ukraine? One reason is that the Russian economy is in a tailspin and nothing unites and distractes the Russian people like a cause for preservation of the "mother land". The other because Obama is the weakest leader this country has seen since Jimmy Carter. 

Two years from now we may be on the route to "hope and change" but it will be too late for the Ukraine.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday's Musical Interlude - Jimmy Buffett Live in Anguilla

As summer is fleeting, the snow birds begin chatter of where to head this year. Jimmy Buffett's 2011 video is one of our best sales pitches. So what are you waiting for? Head to the islands this winter! We'll see you on the docks!

Watch for one of our friends (Jim) sporting our "Southern Comfort" t-shirt.

Cedar Notes: Best part is watching the crowd grow from impromptu beach side concert to full blown Parrot Head gathering on "One Particular Harbor" at 11:00.

The back story is that this benefit concert is invitation only with tickets shipped stateside weeks in advance. To score a ticket to this event is a Parrot Head's dream.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

L Jinny Totally Radioactive

Elite British and US special forces troops are forming a hunter killer unit called Task Force Black – its orders: “Smash the Islamic State.”

The Task Force Black will aim to “cut the head off the snake” by hitting the command structure of the Islamist terror group responsible for a trail of atrocities across Iraq and Syria, reports the Sunday People.

British Prime Minister David Cameron has told the SAS and UK spy agencies to direct all their resources at defeating IS after a video of US journalist James Foley being beheaded shocked the world.

British special forces will work with America’s Delta Force and Seal Teams. The move sees a rebirth of top secret Task Force Black, which helped defeat al-Qaeda terrorists in Iraq .

This time the counter-terrorist experts will be targeting Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of IS and now the world’s most wanted terrorist.

A source said: “We need to go into Syria and Iraq and kill as many IS members as we can. You can’t negotiate with these people.

“This is not a war of choice. They are cash rich and have a plentiful supply of arms. If we don’t go after them, they will soon come after us."

“And it will be like nothing the West has ever had to confront before.”

The new task force will comprise a squadron of the SAS, special forces aircrews from the RAF and agents from MI5 and MI6.

The operation will be led by America’s CIA spy agency.

One of the first jobs will be to go after the British Muslim shown on an IS video released last week cutting James Foley’s head off with a knife.

UK intelligence sources confirmed that the killer, believed to be British-born Pakistani Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, aka L Jinny from London, is already at the top of a CIA “kill list”.

Bary, sometimes called Britain's "hip-hop jihadist," has a handful of rap videos on YouTube.
But last year, he reportedly left his affluent family home in west London to join the Sunni militant group ISIS in Syria.
​Since then, he has been a subject of fascination for the British media with stories following his Syrian exploits appearing in The Sun and the Daily Mail.
The Mail put up a story earlier this month showing a man identified as Bary posing with a severed head in Syria. Late last December, the Mail posted another photo apparently showing him holding an assault rifle.
Cedar's Take: Dead Man Walking, it is one thing to be on the FBI's most wanted or Interpol's world wide arrest list, but being the number one target of Task Force Black makes L. Jinny totally radio active. ISIS would be wise to just hand him over, not that that will stop what's coming.
The finger pointing will continue, but Obama's foreign policy is a disaster our intelligence agencies a dismal failure. The message to the President, there are no mulligans when it comes to the Middle East.  

Sunday, August 24, 2014

According to Brown Moses This Is Where James Foley Was Murdered

From The UK Telegraph's Josie Ensor
British expert believes he has pinpointed the exact location American journalist James Foley was beheaded by an Islamic State fighter in Syria.
Eliot Higgins, a Leicester-based video and photo analyst who specialises in Syria, has methodically analysed the five-minute video of the beheading of the 40-year-old reporter and believes he has identified where the murder took place.

Mr Higgins’ findings could provide a breakthrough as to the group's whereabouts and the identity of Mr Foley's killer.

First he blackened out the figures in the footage in order to analyse the barren landscape.

It is a hilly, featureless terrain which gives away few clues, but in the distance it is possible to make out a green plain below the hills. Mr Higgins compared this to the below map of Raqqa in northern Syria - the “capital” and heart of the new Islamic State - where you can see the city, surrounded by green plains, with more hills to the south. Having analysed all areas of Syria under Isil control, he found no other locations which fit the geography.

Mr Higgins, who uses the pseudonym Brown Moses online, then looked at the position of the shadows, which he says suggests the video was filmed in the morning, with the camera pointing northwards. It then seemed reasonable to start looking at the hills to the south of Raqqa for a possible location.
Looking for other clues, he pointed to an area of raised ground, circled in red in the below image.


He then turned to another point of interest. There is a visible edge of a track, which he circled in green, leading to a break in the rocks, which he circled in purple, which is also visible in the picture.

He then focused his attention on the tracks and comparing the landscape with satellite images of the hills south of Raqqa. The below images show the track entrance to the area, and you can see in the satellite map images the rock outcrop would be partly covering the entryway, as it does in the video.

Then he suggested the same configuration of trees can be seen in the video and in this satellite image taken south of Raqqa:

Putting all this together and having reviewed all locations along the hills south of Raqqa, he pinpoints the exact co-ordinates of where he believes Mr Foley was killed - 35.88219, 39.03617.
He concluded it is the only location which fits with what little information is available in the video and he believes the Islamic State chose the most isolated spot on the hill to carry out the murder.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

An Open Letter to Captain Ronald S. Johnson

The following is a letter from Chief Ed Delmore:

August 18, 2014

Captain Johnson,

I have to call you out.

I don’t care what the media says. I expect them to get it wrong and they often do. But I expect you as a veteran law enforcement commander—talking about law enforcement—to get it right.

Unfortunately, you blew it. After days of rioting and looting, last Thursday you were given command of all law enforcement operations in Ferguson by Governor Jay Nixon. St. Louis County PD was out, you were in. You played to the cameras, walked with the protestors and promised a kinder, gentler response. You were a media darling. And Thursday night things were better, much better.

But Friday, under significant pressure to do so, the Ferguson Police released the name of the officer involved in the shooting of Michael Brown. At the same time the Ferguson Police Chief released a video showing Brown committing a strong-arm robbery just 10 minutes before he was confronted by Officer Darren Wilson.
Many don’t like the timing of the release of the video. I don’t like that timing either. It should have been released sooner. It should have been released the moment FPD realized that Brown was the suspect.
Captain Johnson, your words during the day on Friday helped to fuel the anger that was still churning just below the surface. St. Louis County Police were told to remain uninvolved and that night the rioting and looting began again. For much too long it went on mostly unchecked. Retired St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch tweeted that your “hug-a-looter” policy had failed.
Boy did it.
And your words contributed to what happened Friday night and on into the wee hours of Saturday.
According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, you said the following regarding the release of the video: “There was no need to release it,” Johnson said calling the reported theft and the killing entirely different events.
Well Captain, this veteran police officer feels the need to respond. What you said is, in common police vernacular—bullshit. The fact that Brown knew he had just committed a robbery before he was stopped by Officer Wilson speaks to Brown’s mindset. And Captain, the mindset of a person being stopped by a police officer means everything, and you know it.
Let’s consider a few examples:

On February 15, 1978 Pensacola Police Officer David Lee conducted a vehicle check. He didn’t know what the sole occupant of the vehicle had recently done, but the occupant did. Who was he? Serial killer Ted Bundy. Bundy attempted to disarm Lee. Lee was able to retain his firearm and eventually took Bundy into custody.
On April 19, 1995 Oklahoma State Trooper Charlie Hangar stopped a vehicle for minor traffic violations. He didn’t know that 90 minutes earlier the traffic violator, Timothy McVeigh, killed 168 people with a truck bomb at the Murrah Federal Building. But McVeigh sure knew it, didn’t he? Fortunately, given his training and experience Hangar was able to take McVeigh into custody for carrying a concealed firearm. It was days later before it was determined that McVeigh was responsible for the bombing.
On May 31, 2003 then-rookie North Carolina police officer, Jeff Postell, arrested a man digging in a trash bin on a grocery store parking lot—an infraction that would rise to about the level of jaywalking. Postell didn’t know that he had just captured Eric Rudolph, the man whom years earlier had killed and injured numerous people with bombs and was on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list.
So now, let’s consider Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson’s stop of Michael Brown. Apparently Wilson didn’t know that Brown had just committed a strong-arm robbery. 

But Brown did! And that Captain, is huge.

Allegedly, Brown pushed Wilson and attempted to take Wilson’s gun. We’re also being told that Officer Wilson has facial injuries suffered during the attempt by Brown to disarm him. Let’s assume for a moment those alleged acts by Brown actually occurred. Would Brown have responded violently to an officer confronting him about jaywalking? Maybe, but probably not.
Is it more likely that he would attack an officer believing that he was about to be taken into custody for a felony strong-arm robbery? Absolutely.
Officer Wilson survived the encounter with Brown as did Lee, Hangar, and Postell. Michael Brown didn’t survive and it’s too soon to say if Officer Wilson’s use of deadly force was justified and legal. You and I both know that not all officers survive such confrontations. Officers die in incidents like this Captain Johnson, including a couple that I remember from your own organization:
On April 15, 1985 Missouri Trooper Jimmie Linegar was shot and killed by a white supremacist he and his partner stopped at a checkpoint; neither Trooper Linegar nor his partner were aware that the man they had stopped had just been indicted by a federal grand jury for involvement in a neo-Nazi group accused of murder. The suspect immediately exited the vehicle and opened fire on him with an automatic weapon.
Just a month before, Missouri Trooper James M. Froemsdorf was shot and killed—with his own gun—after making a traffic stop. When the Trooper made that stop he didn’t know that the driver was wanted on four warrants out of Texas—But again the suspect knew it.
So Captain Johnson, I guess the mindset and recently committed crimes of the suspects that murdered those Missouri Troopers didn’t mean anything. The stops by the Troopers, as you have said, are entirely different events right?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Intercept Reporters Dressed As Ninjas While Covering Ferguson Riots

File this under crazy shit. No doubt you've heard that some of the protesters arrested last night during the continued Ferguson riots have come from as far away as New York.

Well, that would be these two guys dressed like amateur ninjas wearing all black. Later indentified as Ryan Deveraux on the payroll of "The Intercept" and Lukas Hermeier reporter for the German newspaper De Bild, The-Intercept" is an on line publication launched in February 2014 by First Look Media, the news organization created and funded by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar

Hermeier (Left) and Deveraux (Right) Photo: David Carson/St Louis Post Dispatch/Polaris
Deveraux Explaining how to turn off his recorder Photo: David Carson/St Louis Post Dispatch/Polaris
They are I suppose, "journalists" (albeit fringe journalists aka hacktivists) but after being shot with bean bags and/or rubber bullets, hit with Mace and tear gas they got a nice 12 hour stay at the St Louis County Hilton, maybe they'll rethink their operational tactics.

I guess it's a living.

CP contacted both the Intercept and then Ryan Deveraux via Twitter asking about the All Black apparel, but received back only crickets. I'd guess the if they had t-shirts that said PRESS they might have spent the night at Motel 6 rather than jail. But that wouldn't be much of a story, now would it.