U.S. Air Force demands airman make religious oath

Posted on: Sat, 09/06/2014 - 09:32 By: Tom Swiss

There has been a definite and disturbing effort the past few years to push secularism out of the U.S. military.

Group: Airman denied reenlistment for refusing to say 'so help me God' (Air Force Times)

An atheist airman at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada was denied reenlistment last month for refusing to take an oath containing “so help me God,” the American Humanist Association said Thursday.


According to the AHA, the unnamed airman was told Aug. 25 that the Air Force would not accept his contract because he had crossed out the phrase “so help me God.” The airman was told his only options were to sign the religious oath section of the contract without adjustment and recite an oath concluding with “so help me God,” or leave the Air Force, the AHA said.

That is unconstitutional and unacceptable, the AHA said.

"knee defender"?

Posted on: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 19:28 By: Tom Swiss

Wait, this is a thing? There are people think it's ok to use a gizmo that breaks other people's seats?

Knee Defender Passenger Speaks Out About In-Flight Dispute (The Huffington Post)

...When the jet was airborne, Beach took out his laptop to review a contract for his company, which develops waste recycling facilities, primarily in Russia. He used the Knee Defender — a Christmas gift a few years ago from his wife — to prevent the woman in front from reclining.


"I put them in maybe a third of the time. Usually, the person in front tries (to recline) their seat a couple of times, and then they forget about it," Beach said. The device comes with a courtesy card to tell passengers that you've blocked them, but he doesn't use it.

"I'd rather just kind of let them think the seat is broken, rather than start a confrontation," he said.

Bmore PD shows why "good cops" are a rarity

Posted on: Fri, 09/05/2014 - 14:10 By: Tom Swiss

The "blue wall of silence" strikes again. American policing has been thoroughly corrupted by this culture, and as a result any citizen dealing with an LEO must assume the worst until proven otherwise. Good cops would like to change that, but this culture does its damnedest to either push those good cops out or corrupt them.

City Police Detective Plans To Leave After Alleged Intimidation - CBS Baltimore

A Baltimore City police detective who claims he’s been intimidated on the job is leaving the force. He says he’s been harassed since testifying against fellow officers who were convicted in a misconduct case.


Detective Joe Crystal will no longer be a member of the Baltimore City police force. His lawyer says his work environment has become intolerable since Crystal testified against an officer and sergeant who were later convicted of misconduct. That intimidation against Crystal included somebody putting a dead rat on his windshield.

BP found "reckless", grossly negligent in 2010 spill

Posted on: Thu, 09/04/2014 - 13:48 By: Tom Swiss

Not that they'll face significant penalties for it of course, and indeed the whole thing may still be thrown out on appeal.

BP Found Grossly Negligent in 2010 Spill; Fines May Rise (Bloomberg)

BP acted with gross negligence in setting off the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, a federal judge ruled...

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier held a trial without a jury over who was at fault for the environmental catastrophe, which killed 11 people and spewed oil for almost three months into waters that touch the shores of five states. The case also included Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton Co., though the judge didn’t find them as responsible for the spill as BP.

“BP’s conduct was reckless,” Barbier wrote in a decision today in New Orleans federal court. “Transocean’s conduct was negligent. Halliburton’s conduct was negligent.”

Japan ready to invest $5 billion in Baltimore-Washington maglev train

Posted on: Thu, 09/04/2014 - 11:06 By: Tom Swiss

Yes, please. It's past time to have real passenger rail service in the U.S.

Backers of high-speed 'maglev' train to Washington claim $5 billion in funding (baltimoresun.com)

An investor group hoping to build a high-speed train capable of cutting the travel time between Baltimore and Washington to 15 minutes says in a filing to state regulators that it has lined up more than $5 billion in financial backing.

The commitment is from the Japanese government...


The details were included in Rapid Rail's filing Wednesday asking Maryland regulators for the old state franchise rights of the former Washington Baltimore & Annapolis Electric Railroad, a once-busy interurban electric rail car system that linked the three cities in the early 20th century.

"In a back-to-the-future type way, you see that there was already a Baltimore-Washington service that previously existed ... sort of sitting on the shelf waiting for people to pull it off and dust it off, for us to get back to providing what they had in 1935," said Wayne Rogers, a major shareholder...

could systemd kerfluffle move people to BSD?

Posted on: Tue, 09/02/2014 - 22:40 By: Tom Swiss

An interesting possibility...

You have your Windows in my Linux (InfoWorld)

I see one common thread in the heated discussions over systemd. The most vocal proponents of systemd seem to be singular desktop users, whereas server admins and architects lean the other way. An exchange on one of my recent posts showcases this. User ZincKidd comments, "BSD is looking better and better...." In reply, Adam Jorgensen notes, "Good luck running it on your laptop :-)".

With all due respect, Adam, I'm not going to run RHEL 7 on my laptop either. I'm going to run it on servers, and that is a vastly different workload. Nobody here is talking about laptops.

In another post, pro-systemd commenter Luya Tshimbalanga disparages runlevels as being "unclear." He later says the basic 0,1,2,3,4,5,6 runlevels that have been part of every Unix derivative are somehow too complex. When asked to whom those runlevels are unclear, he states: "New generation of administrators and users. You asked because you are already familiar with the init numbers term but future administrators won't without documentation. Init numbers are arbitrary and mean nothing on their own."

I don't mean to pick on these few, but they're indicative of a larger trend toward users who appear to believe that reading manuals and learning OS internals is bad, and we should plaster over all of that mumbo-jumbo with a nice, sleek -- and completely opaque -- management layer. For example: systemd.

I believe this thinking is pretty much in line with Microsoft's train of thought back in the early 1990s.

Russia threatening nuclear attack on Ukraine

Posted on: Tue, 09/02/2014 - 22:26 By: Tom Swiss

Welcome to the end of the world, folks. In a surprise upset, it's not going to be runaway climate change, post-peak-oil crisis, or a massive disease epidemic, but a come-from-behind victory for nuclear armageddon.

Russia Has Threatened Nuclear Attack, Says Ukraine Defence Minister (Newsweek)

“The Russian side has threatened on several occasions across unofficial channels that, in the case of continued resistance they are ready to use a tactical nuclear weapon against us,” Heletey’s statement reads.


Putin also alluded to potential nuclear conflict when he told Russian youth campers last week: "Thank God, I think no one is thinking of unleashing a large-scale conflict with Russia," he said. "I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers.”

author arrested(?) for novel about school shooting

Posted on: Tue, 09/02/2014 - 01:18 By: Tom Swiss

Write a novel about kids getting shot, get locked in the psych ward. Actually shoot a kid, and as long as he's black, well, you know.

In Maryland, a Soviet-Style Punishment for a Novelist (The Atlantic)

A 23-year-old teacher at a Cambridge, Md. middle school has been placed on leave and—in the words of a local news report—"taken in for an emergency medical evaluation" for publishing, under a pseudonym, a novel about a school shooting. The novelist, Patrick McLaw, an eighth-grade language-arts teacher at the Mace's Lane Middle School, was placed on leave by the Dorchester County Board of Education, and is being investigated by the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office, according to news reports from Maryland's Eastern Shore. The novel, by the way, is set 900 years in the future.

U.K. parents arrested for seeking advanced cancer treatment for their son

Posted on: Mon, 09/01/2014 - 13:22 By: Tom Swiss

Medical authoritarianism is a growing problem. Under no sane system do you need a hospital's consent to leave. Under no sane system is going to a different hospital grounds for suspicion of neglect. And this isn't just a problem in the UK -- pregant women in the U.S. have been imprisoned in hospitals for failing to be properly subservient. It's almost getting so that I wouldn't advise anyone to check themselves or loved ones into a hospital without an extraction team on standby.

U.K. parents who took son with brain tumour to Spain to fight extradition (CTVNews)

The family had fled to Spain in hopes of selling a property to obtain enough cash for a new treatment in the Czech Republic or the United States they hope will help their child. Police pursued them and issued an arrest warrant on suspicion of neglect after Southampton General Hospital realized their patient -- 5-year-old Ashya King --was gone, without their consent.

British authorities have made no apology for the warrant and travelled to Spain to question the couple.


The family has criticized Britain's health care system, saying he has a serious tumour that needs an advanced treatment option called proton beam therapy and that it wasn't being made available to him.


In Britain, proton beam therapy is currently only available to treat certain patients with cancer in their eyes. Other countries, including the U.S., Switzerland and Japan, also use proton beam therapy to treat cancers of the spinal cord, brain, prostate, lung and those that affect children.

Americans hate Congress, will vote for them anyway

Posted on: Mon, 09/01/2014 - 10:05 By: Tom Swiss

American hate Congress. Their approval rating is at 13%, and a whopping 69% of likely voters believe that most members of Congress don’t care what their constituents think. But the system is about to send almost all of those same people back into office.

No rational person can look at that and conclude that the system is not broken. Attempts to reform it from within, therefore, are pointless.

Surly 2014 electorate poised to 'keep the bums in' (Yahoo News)

A surly electorate that holds Congress in even lower regard than unpopular President Barack Obama is willing to "keep the bums in," with at least 365 incumbents in the 435-member House and 18 of 28 senators on a glide path to another term when ballots are counted
With less than 10 weeks to the elections, Republicans and Democrats who assess this fall's midterm contests say the power of incumbency....trumps the sour public mood and antipathy toward gridlocked Washington.

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