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Saturday, Jun 24th

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Editorial

Shaking Hands, High Overhead

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You think things are scary now with drone aircraft, give it a few years:  You may find yourself being plucked from the ground and carried aloft, or abruptly instructed by loudspeaker to shake hands with The Man, hovering silently, just overhead.

Engineers at Drexel University have a grant from the National Science Foundation to see if "dexterous limbs" can be successfully added to drones.

The "Mobile Manipulating UAVs" (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) as they are being called, once developed, would be capable of performing "active near ground tasks."

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Motion Carries! And the Winner Is...

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We nonpartisan, equal-opportunity critics of political office holders, and the cuckoo process by which self-governance is currently practiced in this country, have, around our own meeting table, been chewing on a particular cud, in between beers, for some months:  What to call Republicans that is not as obscene, foul, or belligerent as most everyone would actually like.

Call it a party game that we've been enjoying, somewhat perversely.  Republicans started it, insisting on repeatedly calling their opponents the "Democrat Party," making sure they really leaned, vocally, on the "-rat" at the end.

It's all so childish, of course,  as is answering back in kind -- which makes it all the more irresistible to tickle, and such rich fodder to tackle, for our discussions down at Hack's BBQ Shack.

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I Scared Gore Vidal

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Living and working in LA was always pretty ugly but starting in the early 80’s it became especially brutal. All the dirty effing hippies were out of a job and the stupid swaggering Republicans who took over walked around like they owned the place … because they did. In the early 80’s nobody in the “Entertainment Industry” talked about making records or movies anymore. Now everybody made … product. And if I wanted to work in “The Industry” I had better jettison any idea I might have about doing something good and wrap my head around cranking out the movie equivalent of Velveeta Cheese ... The Sequel.

The balancing act of artistic vision vs. making money created a dynamic that made for some pretty good movies. But accountants and lawyers found out you could make a whole lot more money if you threw away the script and just filmed the bottom line.

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Getting Attention at Any Cost

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It certainly sounded outrageous:  A man was given 30 days in jail for having water on his property.  It certainly sounded like local government had slipped a major cog in its normally dull wheel, shambling off into abuse.

A few minutes later, after an online search and scanning various written pieces, it was far less certain what was really going on.

The initial piece was shrill in its tone.  Worse, it left out key information:  The man had dammed up a creek flow, a tributary to a river, without permission to do so.  He had done that before, and had done it again.  The first time, he received probation from the court; the second time, he drew 30 days in jail, to help get his attention.

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Should you throw a drowning man a bootstrap?

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The Republicans have trotted out an old talking point that you don't hear them use much with their taxes so low, but they think that you peasants should pay all the taxes. So here goes, "Say I start a business and so does my friend. His business fails and I succeed. Why should I be penalized for my success by paying income taxes, while he pays none?"

 

This almost sounds reasonable, and the knee jerk reaction is to try to justify taxes for all the good reasons we pay taxes. This is entirely wrong, that's what they want you to waste time on, while the basis of their argument continues to stand.

 

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Sometimes Giant Holes Just Happen

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Last week there was a large spike in unemployment claims and it was proclaimed that OBAMA CAUSES THE END OF THE WORLD  by the right leaning corporate media. This week the number is down by even more and they are calling that an "unexplained aberration". The five week moving average continues coming down (that's a good thing).

 

Weekly numbers often need to be corrected later because of delays in the states' reporting data. If there was a holiday that week you can count on it.

 

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How Redistricting Mismanagement Destroys Voting Rights

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By Bev Harris, Founder of BlackBoxVoting.org

Richard HoldenShelby County is currently enduring yet another botched election -- perhaps the worst one yet. Under Election Administrator Richard Holden's misleadership, this time thousands of voters are being disenfranchised by giving them the wrong ballot, a result of administrative foot-dragging on redistricting-related database updates.

Based on tips I have been receiving from several US locations, precinct boundary changes caused by redistricting will be bollixed in multiple jurisdictions across the USA in November. Some -- like Shelby County -- will be of strategic importance.

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