Singapore Prime Minister Encourages U.S. Taxpayers To Continue to Subsidize Singaporean Defense

You read stuff like this and it actually requires translation

SINGAPORE—Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made the case for a sustained U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region on Friday, saying American forces were “a key factor for peace and stability in the region.”

Source: Singapore Prime Minister Encourages U.S. Role in Asia – WSJ

Translation: Singapore needs U.S. taxpayers to continue subsidizing our defense so we can use our resources for improving Singaporean life.

The Final Judgment 

In response to a statement that I made that from a Christian perspective all of us, every single human, was in need of salvation a friend of mine asked if from a Christian perspective I thought that he, an atheist, was condemned to eternal damnation just because he didn’t believe in Jesus. My response to him might be considered a cop out because I replied that from a Christian perspective I was not to judge the condition of another person’s soul. So let me go a little deeper.

From a Christian perspective I am to follow the teachings of Jesus and I am to take his parables to heart. Jesus had this parable about who is and who isn’t condemned to eternal damnation.

31 “But when the Son of Man[a] comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations[b] will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

Source: Matthew 25:31-46 – The Final Judgment – “But when the – Bible Gateway

Go ahead and follow the link if you aren’t familiar with this passage. Jesus goes on to explain who are the sheep and who are the goats. When taken in totality the requirements Jesus gave on entering the Kingdom of God are not exactly as exclusive as a lot of Christians might think.

Patriot Act That Dennis Hastert Passed Led To His Indictment

Then House Speaker Dennis Hastert with President Bush celebrating the passing of The Patriot Act

Dennis Hastert laid claim to The Patriot Act as a personal achievement of his. Little did he know how this would lay the groundwork for his ultimate demise. Evidently Speaker Hastert had his own little secrets that he was willing to pay millions to keep from coming to light. Paying those millions is what brought him down.

The indictment suggests that law enforcement officials relied on the Patriot Act’s expansion of bank reporting requirements to snare Hastert. As the IRS notes, “the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 increased the scope” of cash reporting laws “to help trace funds used for terrorism.” The Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, which was amended by the Patriot Act, had already required banks to report suspicious transactions.

Source: Patriot Act That Dennis Hastert Passed Led To His Indictment

For now Hastert’s secret is remaining secret, at least to the general public. I’m just finding a lot of irony in his arrest.

Society determined my level of privilege, not me.

Sometimes I love The Onion:

“If our culture has decided I get to live a life of ease and limitless opportunity—and clearly it has—there’s got to be a good reason for that, right?” said the 29-year-old, who reportedly possesses such advantages as financial security, the routine deference of almost everyone he meets, and a general freedom from discomfort or want. “As far back as I can remember, I’ve been helped along by a social order that has smoothed the path in front of me, and I can’t imagine that would continue to happen if it weren’t somehow justified.”

Source: Man Going To Trust Society’s Determination That He Deserves His Privilege – The Onion – America’s Finest News Source

If you don’t like the level of privilege automatically given to a class of individuals don’t beat the individual with it, change society.

No Bullet Train Between Chattanooga and Atlanta?

Andy Berke doesn’t see it happening. I tend to agree with him. A high speed train between Atlanta and Chattanooga is just too large of a project for any politician to want to stick their neck out over and the money just isn’t there.

“Any kind of intercity rail doesn’t happen without large-scale federal investment,” Berke said. “It’s pretty clear that the federal government is not in a position right now to do large-scale infrastructure investments.”

Source: Light rail possible for Chattanooga, but bullet train unlikely, Berke says | Local News | Times Free Press

And I also think Chattanooga’s mayor is on the right track in regards to light rail, however, I think the plan needs to look farther than just East Lake, Alton Park and Enterprise South to make sense. Think Chickamauga, Lafayette and Cleveland if you want to see real success with it. And I would love to see the old depot in Spring City be used for passenger train service into Chattanooga again.

And Atlanta needs to think about pulling Gwinnett and Cobb counties into Marta with train service extending to Dacula and Acworth. While there is still opposition to this I think its fading and can be overcome in the next few years.

Do these things and soon Ringgold will want to be included and then Dalton will want to get in on it. Sweetwater will want to connect to Cleveland and then Knoxville will want to connect to Sweetwater and Spring City.

From Atlanta you will have Athens wanting to connect to Dacula and Cartersville to Acworth. This thing could spider everywhere.

Charter to buy Time Warner Cable

Charter Communications Inc, controlled by cable industry pioneer John Malone, offered to buy Time Warner Cable Inc for $56 billion, seeking to combine the No. 3 and No. 2 U.S. cable operators to compete against market leader Comcast Corp.

Source: U.S. cable operator Charter to buy Time Warner Cable for $56 billion | Reuters

This is marginally better for the consumer than the Comcast/TWC deal but not by a lot. What we will have after this merger is one less entity to compete nationally for broadband and cable TV services. What we need are more regional competitors for broadband and cable TV services.

I have no problem with national providers competing in the regional markets but they need to do so on a somewhat level playing field with the smaller, regional providers. Right now there are few to none of them.

In Search of a Motorcycle I can call mine.

1965 Montgomery-Wards Riverside, built by Benelli.

1965 Montgomery-Wards Riverside, built by Benelli.

When I was seventeen I bought a bike just like this one. I loved this bike but it was one of the most contrary bikes I’ve ever ridden. I think that may have been a part of the charm, every ride was an adventure. It’s looks were killer in my opinion and the torque that single cylinder 250cc engine put out was astounding. Ever since then I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for big single road bikes.

Walmsley Matchless-G.50

Walmsley Matchless-G.50

Around a year ago I came across this picture of a Walmsley built bike based on the Matchless G.50 496cc single. I fell in love again. I absolutely think this is the epitome of a cafe racer but, alas, it’s a $40,000 or more bike and it isn’t street legal. It was built for the track and the engine went out of production in 1963.

This isn’t really a bike I could ever justify owning. So I made this picture one of the photos that cycles through as wallpaper on my computer and I just sigh every time it’s its turn to display.

Suzuki S40 based RYCA cafe bike

Suzuki S40 based RYCA cafe bike

A few months back I came aware of a company making bolt on parts that would convert a Suzuki S40 Boulevard into a cafe bike with nearly the look I’m looking for. The S40 is a cruiser bike so the rake is a little too long and the rear shocks are mounted a little too steep but other than that this conversion has promise.

RYCA, the company making the bolt on parts also makes a scrambler pipe for the S40 that looks a lot like the pipe on the Matchless. I just need to find a gas tank with lines more similar to my old Riverside or the Matchless.

Gas tank decal

Gas tank decal

Good S40s can be had for around $1500. Since I’ll be replacing the gas tank and a few other body panels I don’t need one that’s cherry so maybe I can pick a good sound one up for less if it looks a little rough.

If I ever build this bike the tank will be painted red and I’ll add the decal to the right to the tank. Y’all recognize that decal. Don’t you?

Over 30,000 people in the United States perish as a result of auto crashes, and one third of those accidents are the result of drunk driving.  The other two-thirds are the result of behaving drunk while driving.  Police all over the country test people after they’ve been involved in crashes to send a strong message,”if you recklessly speed, run through a red light, or otherwise endanger pedestrians, you better not be drunk when you do it.”

Source: Dearest District 5: Officials Send Strong Message to Motorists: ‘Don’t be Drunk When You Drive Like a Drunk’

Who Decides The Issues?

Jay Rosen makes a great point:

Political reporters: You have no guaranteed “role.” That’s a fiction you and your colleagues created to keep the game the same every four years so you don’t have to go to school on how to be useful and powerful in the election system as it evolves. The fiction works if you can get the right people to believe it, but when they clearly don’t care about your “role in the process” how are you going to make ’em care? Got a plan for that?

Source: Campaign reporters: you are granted no “role in the process.” It is your powers against theirs. » Pressthink

During the election cycle we are constantly being told what the issues are, but who decides what those issues are? Is it you? Me? No, those running for office decide what issues they want to run on and those reporting on the election decide what issues they want to report on. However you and I have our own issues. It’s time for the journalist to report on our issues, not theirs and then perhaps the politicians will confront our issues.

Chicken embryo grows face of dinosaur

Scientists have figured out the genes responsible for creating a beak rather than a snout in birds and have had success in creating a chicken with a dinosaur’s snout. However, they didn’t hatch the eggs. I’m puzzled by that.

For now Bhullar has no plans, or ethical approval, to hatch the snouted chickens. But he believes they would have been able to survive “just fine”.

Source: BBC – Earth – Chicken grows face of dinosaur

Seriously, if they have created the embryo just to destroy before it hatches then what’s the ethical difference in allowing them to hatch and then destroying them an hour or so later?

Why Cops … Stay Quiet About Police Brutality

Ten percent of you were meant to be police officers. You have it in your blood and bones and you will excel in this profession. For 80% of you, this is a job. It’s a job you will do well and honorably for your career with the NYPD. Ten percent of you should never have made it this far. You are too dumb, too damaged, or too criminal to be police officers and you very well will be hurt, killed, or arrested in the years to come.

Source: Why Cops Like Me Stay Quiet About Police Brutality

This story is one everyone should read. I’m fairly fast at bashing bad police behavior but I hope I never lose sight of the fact that these men and women in blue are human and even the best of them can make a wrong choice in the split second they are given to make them. Occasionally one of those wrong choices has horrible, horrible consequences.

We still need to condemn those bad decisions, those bad actions, and hold people accountable but never lose sight of the fact that all lives matter, even the cops.

Thanks, Dan.

Toya Graham: Mom of the Year?

Toya Graham is being hailed as “Mom of the Year” for snatching her son out of the Baltimore riots. I can fully understand why. You see all those misbehaving youth throwing rocks and police and you wonder where their parents are. You saw where Ms. Graham was.

However, not everyone sees Ms. Graham in such a positive light.

6 Baltimore Police Officers Charged in Freddie Gray Death

Charges are being filed against the six officers that were involved in taking Freddie Gray into custody and one of the officers is facing a second degree murder charge. I think that may be fitting however, I’m troubled by the speed at which the prosecution is moving.

The state’s attorney for Baltimore, Marilyn J. Mosby, filed the charges almost as soon as she received a medical examiner’s report that ruled Mr. Gray’s death a homicide, and a day after the police concluded their initial investigation and handed over their findings. Officials had cautioned that it could take considerable time for her office to complete its own investigation and decide whether to prosecute.

Source: 6 Baltimore Police Officers Charged in Freddie Gray Death – NYTimes.com

The timeline for this is a little more than two weeks. I can’t help but believe that there is a rush to put all this to bed regardless of the facts in the case. I don’t think there can be justice when the process moves this fast.