Friday, August 15, 2014

They learn so young.

I LOVE BENDER: "Mind-blowingly FUCKING AWESOME Nebula cosplay"

They learn so young.


How America’s Police Became an Army: The 1033 Program: "America has been quietly arming its police for battle since the early 1990s. Faced with a bloated military and what it perceived as a worsening drug crisis, the 101st Congress in 1990 enacted the National Defense Authorization Act. Section 1208 of the NDAA allowed the Secretary of Defense to “transfer to Federal and State agencies personal property of the Department of Defense, including small arms and ammunition, that the Secretary determines is— (A) suitable for use by such agencies in counter-drug activities; and (B) excess to the needs of the Department of Defense.” It was called the 1208 Program. In 1996, Congress replaced Section 1208 with Section 1033.

The idea was that if the U.S. wanted its police to act like drug warriors, it should equip them like warriors, which it has—to the tune of around $4.3 billion in equipment, according to a report by the American Civil Liberties Union. The St. Louis County Police Department’s annual budget is around $160 million. By providing law enforcement agencies with surplus military equipment free of charge, the NDAA encourages police to employ military weapons and military tactics. 1033 procurements are not matters of public record. And the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), which coordinates distribution of military surplus, refuses to reveal the names of agencies requesting “tactical” items, like assault rifles and MRAPs — for security reasons, a spokesperson for DLA told Newsweek via email. One can only trace “tactical” items as far the county of the requesting agency. In the case of Ferguson, that means St. Louis County."

 Kids get all the cool toys these days.

Texts From the Avengers:

Training - PRs/Progress - "I believe in challenging yourself so that you can change yourself."

8/14 - deadlifts, pulldowns, back xt, seated rows, knee/leg raises, neck nods/rotations

PR/Progress testing the last few weeks.  New PRs in 5 of 6 [weighted] and 2 of 3 [bodyweight] benchmark lifts/exercises.  [Squats done with a belt, DL w/chalk & belt.]  And at least matched PRs in those other two movement that I didn't improve on.  
  Nothing earth shattering or world breaking [that's why they're PRs, not WRs] but overall I'm pretty pleased with my progress for what amounts to, honestly, only a year of solid barbell work.  Before that, basically a lot of bodyweight and adjustable dumbbell work [rounds of P90X+ and P90X2 back in the US, prior to BKK.]  Which was great, and I made gains/got in good shape doing that, but the bar is a whole different beast.  [Also, I had to fundamentally relearn to squat, not having done it, honestly, since HS football.]  About another 9 months in my current location so I'm interested to see how much I can push the strength gains in that time.  The next few months - say, through the end of 2014] I'm gonna chase the Holy Grail of strength/muscle gains while cutting bodyfat and leaning out.  So, tightening up the nutrition & upping the conditioning while trying to push bigger weights [but probably/possibly reducing overall lifting volume.]  Onwards.  

Timeline Photos - Amy Updike IFBB Pro: "I believe in change. I believe in determination. I believe in setting goals. I believe in challenging yourself so that you can change yourself. I believe not everything in life is easy. I believe that sometimes things get really really hard and it's difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I believe in hope. I believe in having faith in yourself. I believe in trying so hard that someday you can look back and know that you gave it your ALL. I believe in me."

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"You get exposed to a little bit of evil, a little bit of rule-breaking... you can come to justify it... And so you see it as normal. And that's the problem."

Edward Snowden a 'uniquely postmodern breed of whistle-blower' - CNET: "Snowden considered becoming a whistle-blower in 2008, but held off because of Barack Obama's election, only to be disappointed: "Not only did they not fulfill those promises, but they entirely repudiated them. They went in the other direction. What does that mean for a society, for a democracy, when the people that you elect on the basis of promises can basically suborn the will of the electorate?"
"You get exposed to a little bit of evil, a little bit of rule-breaking, a little bit of dishonesty, a little bit of deceptiveness, a little bit of disservice to the public interest, and you can brush it off, you can come to justify it. But if you do that, it creates a slippery slope that just increases over time, and by the time you've been in 15 years, 20 years, 25 years, you've seen it all and it doesn't shock you.  And so you see it as normal. And that's the problem, that's what the [James] Clapper (director of national intelligence) event was all about. He saw deceiving the American people as what he does, as his job, as something completely ordinary. And he was right that he wouldn't be punished for it, because he was revealed as having lied under oath and he didn't even get a slap on the wrist for it. It says a lot about the system and a lot about our leaders."
On leaving breadcrumbs for the NSA to follow: "That way, he hoped, the agency would see that his motive was whistle-blowing and not spying for a foreign government. It would also give the government time to prepare for leaks in the future, allowing it to change code words, revise operational plans, and take other steps to mitigate damage," Bartman wrote. "But he believes the NSA's audit missed those clues and simply reported the total number of documents he touched--1.7 million. (Snowden says he actually took far fewer.)." "I figured they would have a hard time. I didn't figure they would be completely incapable," Snowden said."

That Short-Term, Narrowly Tailored Mission in Iraq Is Going to Last a Long Time, and Maybe Involve Ground Troops - Hit & Run : "When President Obama announced last week that he had authorized "limited airstrikes" in Iraq, he went out of his way to try to reassure those who were worried that the missiong would eventually lead to a lengthy, indefinite engagement and American troops once again fighting a ground war..

In summary, the mission would be short-term, and narrowly targeted. The airstrikes had been authorized, but hadn't even happened. Maybe they wouldn't even be necessary.  To almost everyone's genuine puzzlement and surprise, however, it's not working out quite that way. Airstrikes began less than a day after they were authorized. Less than a week has passed since the initial announcement, and it has already been updated and clarified. The mission's limits now seem less limiting. "I don’t think we’re going to solve this problem in weeks," Obama said on Sunday. "This is going to be a long-term project." And now it looks like it's going to be a long-term project that may involve ground troops. Via The New York Times...

The gimmick here is that these ground troops, should they be deployed, would not be in a "combat role." They'll just be not engage in combat, or something.  "What he’s ruled out is reintroducing U.S. forces into combat on the ground in Iraq," Mr. Rhodes said. He added, using an alternative name for the militant group, that the deployment of ground troops to assist a rescue was "different than reintroducing U.S. forces in a combat role to take the fight to ISIL." He acknowledged that any ground troops in Iraq would face dangers, even if they were there to help the refugees find a safe way off the mountain. He said that like American forces anywhere, the troops would have the ability to defend themselves if they came under fire. So to clarify: American troops won't be in Iraq in a combat role. They just might happen to engage in combat, if circumstances require.  This is all very reassuring."

Provide basic services, then leave people alone = success.  How Did Hanoi Grow So Big Without Developing Slums?: "There's a fascinating article by Lauren Quinn about Hanoi in the Guardian this week that explores the history of Hanoi's growth and urban planning (or lack thereof). She notes that "90% of the buildings in Hanoi have been built without official permission," and this paradoxically seems to be the key to its unusually well-tended neighborhoods...

In Vietnam, the city of Hanoi is going through a population boom. It has grown by several million people in just a few decades, mostly due to migration from rural areas of the country. But unlike many other urban areas, it hasn't ever developed slums. One reason is the region's lack of regulation...

In the culture of semi-legal construction, if someone built a structure that adhered to minimum standards, it became legal – and for the most part was provided with basic services such as electricity and sanitation. In most developing cities, those flooding from the countryside end up living in sprawling squatter encampments, lacking basic sanitation and vulnerable to eviction. But in Hanoi, the new arrivals could build houses that didn't have official permission but often received basic services anyway. Because the buildings were legal, residents had incentive to improve and rebuild with stronger materials when their finances allowed. As well as these new homes, there was a similarly positive trend in the existing overcrowded and under-serviced public housing blocks, with an incentive for residents to improve the buildings...

By allowing city-dwellers to own what they build, the city has managed to create a situation that is far more livable than other metropolitan areas. The city may look like a a crazy-quilt of construction and demolition, but nearly everyone living there has a roof over their head and plumbing — as well as incentives to improve their homes. It's a fascinating example of urban growth in an era when city population booms are causing crises across the world."

Training - "The Only Disability in Life..."

8/13 - pushups, pullups, dips, rope pulls